Tülin D. Açıkalın

Tülin D. Açıkalın is one of three founding partners of ADZ Law, LLP, and a Certified Family Law Specialist.  Ms. Açıkalın uses her background in business management, civil litigation, poverty law, and domestic violence non-profit legal services to resolve cases in a cost-effective and equitable manner.  Ms. Açıkalın’s practice includes:

  • Family Law: high conflict custody, complex asset division, support, mediation counseling/MSA review, post marital agreements;
  • Domestic Violence Victim Representation: Restraining orders and and criminal court advocacy; 

Ms. Açıkalın uses a trauma informed approach to help clients achieve safety, economic stability, and dissolve their intimate relationships.  Ms. Açıkalın is a peacemaker resolving disputes by mediation, settlement, and Collaborative Divorce where possible.  Ms. Açıkalın is also a warrior when necessary, using litigation to enforce legal rights and protect assets, children, and personal liberty.  Ms. Açıkalın is skilled in legal strategy, negotiation, pre-trial discovery, motion practice, trials, and appeals.  Employing mental health, child development, financial, and other experts where productive, Ms. Açıkalın brings the full legal arsenal to bear to resolve cases expeditiously.  She uses domestic violence and family law best practices to ensure that clients are informed and supported in making their own decisions.

In 2024, Ms. Açıkalın attended the two-day Collaborative Divorce Skills Training offered by the Sacramento Collaborative Divorce Group and is attending the 40 Hour Basic Mediation and Conflict Resolution Training offered by the Center for Understanding in Conflict.  Ms. Açıkalın served on Judicial Council of California’s Elkins Family Law Taskforce to “study and propose measures to assist trial courts in achieving efficiency and fairness in marital dissolution proceedings and to ensure access to justice for litigants, many of whom are self-represented.”  The Elkins Task Force produced a report that resulted in the legislature adopting Family Code 217 guaranteeing family law litigants the right to trials to present testimony.

Prior to launching ADZ Law, LLP in partnership with Jessica Dayton, Ms. Açıkalın was a managing attorney at Bay Area Legal Aid, the largest poverty law firm in the Bay Area.  Ms. Açıkalın used her Spanish language skills to represent low-income immigrant survivors of domestic violence in their complex high-risk legal cases in family law, international child custody law, immigration law, housing law, and public benefits law matters.  Prior to her nonprofit legal work, Ms. Açıkalın was an associate attorney at Latham & Watkins and Gordon & Reese where she gained experience in the areas of business litigation, securities fraud litigation, health care fraud litigation, and international child custody litigation.

As a regular part of Ms. Açıkalın’s practice, she maintains an active pro bono case load for domestic violence clients.  Ms. Açikalin has served as faculty for Practising Law Institute, National Legal Aid and Defender Association, and Legal Aid Association of California programs on a variety of issues including, LGBT cultural competency, immigration issues for family law practitioners, domestic violence restraining orders for same-sex couples, and navigating international child custody cases.  She has also testified before state legislative committee hearings on a range of topics.  Some of her recent and current speaking engagements include:

  • November 2023/February 2024:  Second Saturday, Divorce Workshop, Co- presenters: Mark Flowers, CDFA, Larissa Pasut, LMFT.
  • October 2023: San Mateo County Bar Association Family Law Section, Intimate Partner Abuse, Co-presenter: Paula Vielman-Reeves, Esq. 
  • August 2020, Practising Law Institute, Family Law 101/ Overview in Low-Income Family Law Cases, co-presenter Erin Everett, Child Custody and Visitation Procedure, co-presenter Stephanie E. Ball and Fawn Jade Korr, How to Finish a Dissolution Case: Case Settlement and Trials, co-presenter Antonia More
  • May 2020, Lawyers for Family Justice, Once per Month training for the Legal Incubator Program, Family Law
  • 2015 to Present, La Casa de las Madres, Quarterly 40-hour domestic violence training, Domestic Violence and the Law
  • November 2019, Berkley Law School Domestic Violence Practicum, Representing Survivors in Tort Suits
  • October 2019, Golden Gate University School of Law Domestic Violence Law course, Representing Survivors in Family Law Matters
  • October 2019, La Casa de Las Madres Employee Training, Domestic Violence Restraining Order remedies and enforcement, co-presenter Emberly Cross, Cooperative Restraining Order Clinic
  • June 2019, San Mateo County Bar Association Family Law Section, Intimate Partner Abuse, Co-presenter: Charles Cavallino, Esq. from Community Overcoming Relationship Abuse
  • June 2018, San Mateo County Psychological Association Domestic Violence Update Training for Child Custody Evaluators Per California Rules of Court 5.225 and 5.230, Domestic Violence Legal Update
  • June 2017, National Crime Victim Bar Association (NCVBA) National Conference “Civil Actions for Criminal Acts,” Civil Remedies for Victims of Domestic Violence SA and Stalking, Co-presenters Jessica Dayton and Lauren Zorfas.

Ms. Açıkalın has volunteered with Court Appointed Special Advocates, Exhale, political campaigns, and the San Francisco animal shelter.  Ms. Açıkalın was a member of the San Mateo County Domestic Violence Council and its Legal Process Committee from 2006 to 2015, and San Mateo County Blue Ribbon Commission on Foster Care and its Information Sharing Committee from 2011 to 2015.

Ms. Açıkalın is a member of the San Francisco and San Mateo County Bar Associations.

Ms. Açıkalın is a 2011 graduate of San Francisco Chamber of Commerce’s Leadership San Francisco.

Ms. Açıkalın graduated cum laude from Tulane Law School in 2000.  During law school Ms. Açıkalın was a member of the Tulane Law Review and held the position of Associate Editor.  Ms. Açıkalın received her Bachelor of Science degree in Management with a concentration in finance from Tulane University’s A.B. Freeman School of Business in 1994.

Prior to her work as a lawyer, Ms. Açıkalın worked for several years in a variety of capacities for New Orleans Mayor Marc Morial as part of the Gumbo Coalition in the City of New Orleans’ Office of Economic Development.

Published decisions:

Arce v. Gutierrez, 311 F.3d 942 (9th Cir 2002).

Published articles:

Making Economic Justice and Homelessness Prevention a Reality in Domestic Violence Restraining Order Cases, Practising Law Institute Protecting Domestic Violence Survivors and Children in California: Pro Bono Representation in Low-Income Domestic Violence Restraining Order Cases (2015), Volume 43, #58049, p.571

Comment, Debunking the Dichotomy of Nonintervention: The Role of the State in Regulating Domestic Violence, 74 Tul. L. Rev. 1045 (2000)