Charlie, Chris, Anita, Tracey and Hailey possess the emotional intelligence and legal moxie to resolve your divorce, custody or family law dispute with compassion and heart. They will empower you to make the healthiest and best decisions you can for yourself and for a better future.
“My goal is twofold. First, understanding the legal process and likely outcomes helps my client navigate the turmoil of a family law case. Second, I work to minimize damage to the family unit and help position my client for a better future.” — Charles M. Wilson, III
Charlie has been practicing law in Dallas, Collin, Tarrant, Denton and Rockwall counties since 1975, and he has been board certified in Family Law, Civil Trial Law and Personal Injury Law since the early 1980’s. During his career, he has received The Lola Wright Foundation award for advancing and enhancing legal ethics within the practice of law, the State Bar of Texas Presidential Citation for outstanding contribution and service to the Bar, the Jim Bowmer Professionalism Award and the Gene Cavin Award for his outstanding lifetime contributions to continuing legal education.
Charlie is a past president of Dallas Trial Lawyers Association and served a three-year term on the State Bar Board of Directors. From 1995 through 2001, Charlie was a member of the District 6 Grievance Committee, which he chaired in 2000. From 2001 through 2007, Charlie served two terms on the Texas Board of Legal Specialization’s Family Law Advisory Panel. In 2007, Charlie joined the Board of Trustees of the Texas Center for Legal Ethics and Professionalism as chair of the Trustees. He is a sustaining Life Fellow in the Texas Bar Foundation, where he has served as the Chair of the Board of Trustees. Charlie has taught Trial Advocacy at the Southern Methodist University School of Law and also served as an Editor for the Texas Bar Journal. Additionally, Charlie helped author Volume II of the Texas Pattern Jury Charge and is a frequent speaker at State Bar programs in the areas of trial tactics, family law, torts, evidence, procedure, professional negligence, and the practice of law, including grievances, attorney’s fees and negligence issues.
Board Certified in Family Law (1981), Civil Trial Law (1982), and Personal Injury Trial Law (1981) Texas Board of Legal Specialization
- THE UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS SCHOOL OF LAW J.D., Law 1974
- Law Journal: Texas Bar Journal, Editor
- THE UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS AT AUSTIN B.B.A., Management 1970
- Inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America© in the field of Family Law, Woodward and White Press, 2017 – 2019
- The Gene Cavin Award from the State Bar of Texas, recognizing outstanding lifetime contributions to the CLE activities of the profession
- A Presidential Citation for outstanding contributions to the profession
- The Jim Bowmer Award for Professionalism, from the College of the State Bar
- 2015 Lola Wright Foundation Award for advancing and enhancing legal ethics
- U.S. Court of Appeals 5th Circuit, 1978
- U.S. Court of Appeals 11th Circuit, 1978
- U.S. Supreme Court, 1978
- U.S. District Courts of Texas
- Speaker, State Bar of Texas
- Adjunct Professor in Trial Advocacy, Southern Methodist University School of Law
- Frequent Speaker on areas of Trial Tactics, Family Law, Torts, Evidence, Procedure, Professional Negligence, and the Practice of Law
- Frequent Speaker on Grievances, Attorney’s Fees and Negligence Issues
- State Bar of Texas, Author
- Texas Board of Legal Specialization, Family Law Advisory Panel, 2001 – 2007
- Texas Center for Legal Ethics and Professionalism, Board of Trustees of Texas Center for Legal Ethics, 2007 – 2013
- District 6 Grievance Committee, Dallas County, Member, 2000 – 2001
- State Bar Board of Directors, 1991 – 1994
- Texas Bar Foundation, Life Fellow
- Texas Bar Foundation, Chair, Board of Trustees, 1999 – 2000
- Dallas Bar Association, Judiciary Committee
- Dallas Bar Association, Family Law Section, Board of Directors
- State Bar CLE Committee, Member
- Texas Bar Foundation, Trustee, 1997 – 2001
- Dallas Trial Lawyers Association, Past President, 1985
- Dallas Bar Association, Past Chairman, Fee Dispute Committee
- American Board of Trial Advocates, Advocate, 1999 – Present
- Dallas Bar Association, Pro Bono Clinics
- State Bar’s CLE Committee, Past Chairman, 1988 – 1991
- MCLE Committee, Member, 1989 – 1991
- American Inns of Court, Master
- Attorneys’ Fees Update, 6th Annual Advance Trial Strategies, State Bar of Texas, 2017
“I take pride in the fact that my greatest referral sources have been my former clients. I hope that’s because my clients know that we try to achieve their goals while being as cost effective as possible and as intelligently aggressive as necessary.” — Christopher M. Lake
In 2003, at the age of 33, Chris was one of the youngest attorneys selected for inclusion in Texas Super Lawyers, and Chris has been listed again and again every year since. He is Board Certified in Family Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization and he has written articles and lectured across the state on family law topics including child support, temporary issues arising in divorce, the use of mental health professionals in custody disputes, the use and methodologies of business valuation, as well as the use of discovery in litigation and creative methods of dispute resolution.
After growing up in Dallas and vowing never to attend Southern Methodist University, Chris earned both his undergraduate and law school degrees from SMU. He also taught at SMU’s Dedman School of Law in the intensive writing program called “Lawyering.”
A child of divorce himself, Chris strives to develop long-term solutions for families experiencing one of the worst life experiences that divorce can cause.
In 2016, Chris published A Christian Divorce, a book which reflects on his personal observations that the most acrimonious and the most uncommonly bitter litigation experiences he has encountered during his 25+ year family law career have been those in which either one or both of the parties professed to be Christians. Chris explains the genesis for his writing project:
“In a majority of circumstances, divorce outcomes are mostly predictable . . . yet strikingly few people put enough meaningful thought into the long-term effects on every individual affected by the wake of divorce — including children. A Christian Divorce is an attempt to help individuals approach divorce in a more intentional way . . . if divorce is truly inevitable. I wrote A Christian Divorce for anyone who finds themselves on the brink of divorce, in the midst of divorce, or in the wake of divorce’s aftermath . . . and for those individuals who possess influence in the lives of anyone affected by divorce.”
- SOUTHERN METHODIST UNIVERSITY, DEDMAN SCHOOL OF LAW J.D., Law 1995
- SOUTHERN METHODIST UNIVERSITY, B.A., Political Science, 1992
- State Bar of Texas
- Board Certified in Family Law, Texas Board of Legal Specialization, 2003
- Texas Super Lawyer – 2003-2020, Thomson Reuters
- Best Lawyers in Dallas: Family Law – D Magazine
- The Best Lawyers in America© in the field of Family Law – Woodward and White Press
- Texas Academy of Family Law Specialists, Member
- Texas Bar Foundation, Fellow
- Texas Family Law Foundation, Member
- Dallas Bar Association, Family Law Section, Member
- Southern Methodist University, Dedman School of Law, former Adjunct Instructor
- A Christian Divorce, WestBow Press, 2016
“The end of a marriage is incredibly difficult. It is a journey of anger and grief but also of hope and transition. My job is to help clients make the best decisions they can during the hardest time of their life.” — Anita C. Savage
Anita helps parents stay focused on their children and on protecting them from the trauma that contested and prolonged litigation brings with it. “I believe every child deserves the freedom to continue to love both parents even if they don’t live together anymore,” says Anita, “and every parent deserves to maintain a close, loving relationship with their child despite living apart from the other parent.”
As a seasoned litigator, Anita believes her clients benefit most when their divorce or custody matter is resolved by agreement, outside of a courtroom. When that is not possible, however, she’s the first to roll up her shirtsleeves and fight the good fight.
“Sometimes, no matter how much my client hopes to stay out of court, it simply can’t be avoided,’’ Anita explains. “This can happen when the other party refuses to compromise, thinking they will ‘win’ if they go to court. Unfortunately, going to court can be necessary when mental health issues or addiction cause an impasse or a safety concern that requires more protection than the affected party is willing to agree to.”
In and out of the courtroom, Anita pours all of her energy, knowledge and experience into understanding each client’s unique needs. She works hard, advocating with passion and compassion, to help each client achieve the best possible resolution of their case.
Anita began her legal career more than two decades ago, first in Georgia and then in Colorado. In 2003, she limited her practice to family law exclusively when she began working at one of Denver’s most preeminent family law firms. “That is where I found my calling helping families through crisis.” In 2008, Anita began practicing in Texas and she has called Dallas home ever since.
In 2020, Anita was selected to Lawdragon’s Top 500 Leading Family Lawyers in the United States and as a Best Lawyer in America in both Family Law and Collaborative Law. Texas Monthly listed her as one of the Top Women Attorneys in Texas in Family Law in 2020, and she has been recognized as a Texas Super Lawyer for each of the past 5 years. Anita is a Fellow of the Texas Bar Foundation and the Colorado Bar Foundation, which recognize individual attorneys who demonstrate an outstanding commitment to their clients and to the legal system. Anita is the President of Collaborative Divorce Dallas and immediate-past Program Chair of the Dallas Bar Association’s Collaborative Law Section, and she is member of The College of the State Bar of Texas and the Annette Stewart American Inn of Court.
- GEORGIA STATE UNIVERSITY J.D., Law 1994
- UNIVERSITY OF TORONTO B.A., Criminal Justice, 1990
- Georgia, 1996
- Colorado, 1997
- Texas, 2008
- The Best Lawyers in America©, Family Law Woodward and White Press, 2018-2020
- The Best Lawyers in America©, Collaborative Law, Woodward and White Press, 2019-2020
- Texas Super Lawyers, Thomson Reuters, 2015-2019
- Lawdragon 500 Leading Family Lawyers in the United States, 2020
- Top Women Attorneys in Texas, 2020, Texas Monthly
- Collaborative Divorce Dallas, President
- Dallas Bar Association, Collaborative Law Section, Past Program Chair
- Dallas Bar Association, Family Law Section, Past Board Member
- The College of the State Bar of Texas, Member
- Annette Stewart American Inn of Court, Barrister Level Member
- Texas Bar Foundation, Life Fellow
- Colorado Bar Foundation, Life Fellow
- 15 Tips Divorce Attorneys Use To Strengthen Their Own Marriages, Women’s Health, 2017
- 5 Important Questions to Ask Your Family Law Attorney About Custody & Divorce, Custody X Change, 2017
- Collaborative Divorce in Texas, Avvo, 2009
- How do I calculate child support if living in Texas?, Avvo, 2009
- “Collaborative Law Practice”, Dallas Area Paralegal Association, Family Law Section, Co-Presenter 2019
TRACEY E. GAJAK
“If you only have a hammer, every problem you approach looks like a nail. With my years of experience in family law, combined with a strong background in civil litigation and appellate work, I have a wide range of solutions in my toolbox for my clients.” — Tracey E. Gajak
Tracey Gajak’s top priority is to solve client issues in the most efficient way possible; he helps his clients to make sensible decisions for the short and long term.
Tracey’s broad knowledge base works for clients whether they’re going to trial or settling out of the courtroom. He is known for his ability to quickly grasp the technical and factual strengths and weaknesses in any situation, and how to approach problems and procedures.
Tracey’s broad knowledge base includes litigation, business scenarios, corporate law, child welfare and psychology. He understands the language of the experts, allowing him to efficiently move the case forward. He educates clients on the choices they have to resolve their particular issues, and how those choices matter immediately as well as far down the road. When children are involved, consideration of real life issues like future weddings, graduations, and grandchildren must be considered during the litigation process. Tracey understands that the choices made now will significantly impact the long term happiness of his clients as well as their children.
He has proven himself to effectively analyze and deal with the situations that arise in family law, and to find innovative ways to resolve problems. For family law clients who want an efficient and focused approach, Tracey Gajak will find their true needs and desires and get these accomplished as quickly, painlessly and economically as possible.
- Alimony & Maintenance
- Asset & Wealth Identification & Valuation
- Child Custody & Visitation
- Child Support
- Collaborative Law
- Complex Property Divisions
- Family Law
- Post Judgment Modifications & Enforcement
- Powers of Attorney
- Premarital & Post-Marital Agreements
- Property Division
- UNIVERSITY OF TOLEDO COLLEGE OF LAW J.D., Law 1997
- UNIVERSITY OF NORTH TEXAS B.A., PSYCHOLOGY 1994
- Texas, 1997
- Hutchinson Key Scholarship Award
- Selected to the Texas Rising Star list, Thomson Reuters, 2004 and 2006
- Collin County Bar Association, Family Law Section, Member
- Dallas Bar Association, Family Law Section, Member
- State Bar College, Member
- State Bar of Texas, Family Law Foundation, Member
- Texas Family Law Foundation, Member
- Co-Author, "Valuation of Property: A Practitioner’s Prospective"; Advanced Family Law 2011
- Strategic Planning Can Protect Your Business in a Divorce
- How to Prepare for Your Divorce Consultation
- Mediation Reminders
- New Definition of Marriage Should Bring Quick Parenting Relief to Same-Sex Couples
- Being an Effective Witness
- Pre- and Post-Marital Agreements: Common Misconceptions
- How National Same-Sex Marriage Rights Affect Texas Family Issues
“There is not a one-size fits all approach when it comes to family law matters. My goal is to work alongside each client to help them figure out the best way to confidently move forward in their next chapter.” — Hailey Merz
Hailey understands there is nothing more personal than issues involving your marriage and your family. She offers a respectful, compassionate and trauma-informed approach to clients and works to find individualized solutions for their unique set of circumstances.
Hailey’s desire to become a lawyer grew out of a passion for social justice and her concerns about the prevalence of domestic and sexual violence against women. She grew up in Missouri and attended the University of Missouri-Columbia, where she graduated with honors and earned degrees in Women’s and Gender Studies and Political Communication.
While attending Southern Methodist University Dedman School of Law, Hailey served as a Staff Editor and the Online Executive Editor for the International Law Review Association and President of the Family Law Association. She was a student attorney for the Judge Elmo B. Hunter Legal Center for Victims of Crimes against Women. After representing a survivor of human trafficking and domestic abuse in her family law matter, she knew she had found her calling.
Her clinic work led to an externship with the non-profit Genesis Women’s Shelter & Support in Dallas, where she was hired fulltime after her graduation from SMU in May 2019. She provided representation for Genesis clients in protective orders, custody disputes, and divorce matters before joining Wilson Lake & Savage in November 2020.
- Southern Methodist University, Dedman School of Law, JD 2019
- University of Missouri-Columbia, B.A., Women’s and Gender Studies and Political Communication, 2016
- Texas, 2019
- Dallas Association of Young Lawyers, Member
- Dallas Bar Association, Member
- Alternative Dispute Resolution Section, Member
- Collaborative Law Section, Member
- Family Law Section, Member
- State Bar of Texas, Member
- Family Law Section, Member
“A family law case is typically stressful enough, so it is imperative you find a lawyer with whom you feel comfortable.” — Patrick Clabby
Patrick was admitted to the State Bar of Texas in 2008 and enjoys being an active member in the Tarrant County Family Law Bar Association. Patrick is Board Certified in Family Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. Patrick earned the Top Texas Attorney in Client Satisfaction award in 2016 and is a Member of Mensa. He is passionate about handling clients’ cases with the sensitivity demanded by the clients and the expertise and precision appreciated by the Courts.
Patrick is a dedicated husband and a devoted father of two children. Mr. Clabby enjoys cooking and spending time with his wife and their children, traveling and camping. He also loves the Texas Rangers and the Dallas Cowboys.
- Admitted to the State Bar of Texas, 2008
- Certified Specialist in Family Law – Texas Board of Legal Specialization
- Tarrant County Family Law Bar Association, Member 2009 through present
- Top Texas Attorney in Client Satisfaction 2016, American Institute of Family Law Attorneys
“You and your concerns are important to me, no matter how big or how small.” — Hope Cory
Hope is passionate about helping spouses and families resolve their conflicts and move forward with their relationships. She uses her undergraduate experience with psychology to understand client’s needs on a deeper level leading to a more well-rounded solution.
While attending The University of Texas, she became involved in Austin’s Center for Child Protection. Hope found purpose in exploring the issues that prevented families from being the best versions of themselves and helping to enact solutions, legal and otherwise, to support positive growth. She saw the productive power the law could have when serving these clients and decided to attend law school.
Hope attended Texas A&M University School of Law, where she completed the Family Law Concentration and served as a staff member on the Texas A&M Journal of Property Law. While in school, she interned for Judge Mary Brown, gaining insightful experience on the inner workings of the Family Law court system. In addition, she spent a significant amount of time with the Texas A&M Family and Veteran’s Advocacy Clinic where she was given a chance to learn about the legal system from the client’s perspective.
Excited to move back home to Dallas, Hope joined Wilson Lake & Savage in September of 2022, looking forward to serving her community’s family law needs.
- Texas A&M University, School of Law, JD 2022
- University of Texas, B.S.A., Biology, 2018