About Us

Below you will find professional overviews of Siemens Family Law Group attorneys.


Jim Siemens

Jim SiemensEducation

UNC Chapel Hill, 1989, B.A.
Tulane University Law School, 1993, J.D.

Career

Jim moved to Asheville in 1994 and started his own practice.  He developed trial skills over more than a decade, primarily in criminal courtrooms in State and Federal Court, where the stakes are high, where the government usually has the advantage, and where judges hold lawyers to high standards of practice.  These years of practice were demanding and character building.

During this same period, Jim accepted family law cases, and for two years, he represented the Buncombe County Guardian Ad Litem (GAL) Program.  Jim enjoyed increasing exposure and success in family law cases, and his time and attention became divided between competing practice areas.

Jim began participating in mediation settlement conferences in the late 1990s.  He saw the utility of mediation and pursued mediation training.  The State of North Carolina Dispute Resolution Commission certified Jim to conduct Family Financial Mediations in 2003.  Since that time, Jim has mediated more than 100 disputes arising from the dissolution of marriage.

The birth of Jim’s daughter in 2006 and the rewards and demands of fatherhood necessitated professional choices.  Jim chose to focus exclusively on family law and mediation.  In 2007, Jim was certified by the North Carolina State Bar Board of Legal Specialization as a Specialist in the area of Family Law.

Credentials

  • Jim is a Family Law Specialist, certified as such by the North Carolina State Bar Board of Legal Specialization.  Jim achieved this honor by practicing family law over many years; through continuing legal education sanctioned by the North Carolina Bar Association and the North Carolina State Bar; and, by the review of his peers.
  • Jim is certified by the North Carolina Dispute Resolution Commission of the North Carolina Supreme Court to mediate all civil suits brought in the courts of the state of North Carolina.  Jim has mediated complex civil disputes but primarily serves as a mediator in family law matters.  Jim has successfully mediated for separating spouses who choose not to work with their own lawyers, and for separating spouses who are represented by the lawyer of their choice.
  • Jim has appeared in most state and all federal courts west of the Catawba River.  Jim has argued in the North Carolina Court of Appeals, the North Carolina Supreme Court and the Federal Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals.
  • Jim is presently a member of the North Carolina Bar Association Family Law Section and Practice Management Section.  Jim has served on committees in both sections.
  • Jim has led presentations at continuing legal education programs for the North Carolina Bar Association and the National Business Institute, on topics including alimony, equitable distribution of retirement, family law and bankruptcy, and law practice management.
  • Jim has participated in multi-day leadership training programs through Mindspring and through FrankinCovey.
  • Jim and the Siemens Family Law Group support Pisgah Legal Services, WCQS, Asheville Youth Cycling, the Asheville Bicycle Racing Club, and Consider Haiti.
  • Jim has been recognized by Super Lawyers in North Carolina in 2012, 2016 and 2017; as a Martindale-Hubble AV rated lawyer since 2011; included in Business North Carolina Legal Elite in 2013, 2015 and 2016; voted Best Lawyer in Asheville in a 2004 Mountain Xpress poll; and has a 10 out of 10 rating on AVVO.
  • Jim is a barrister in the Harry C. Martin American Inn of Court, a group of lawyers in Asheville committed to professionalism and ethics.

Personal

Jim moved to Asheville from Chapel Hill, where he lives with his daughter.  He is a member of Grace Episcopal Church, where he has served in various leadership capacities.  Jim is an avid cyclist and a member of the Asheville Bicycle Racing Club (ABRC) and Downtown Asheville Racing Club.  Jim serves as treasurer on the board for Consider Haiti, and has traveled with Consider Haiti on several medical mission trips.  Jim is always looking for ways to better himself and the lives of those he cares about.  He loves Asheville and all that this unique community has to offer.

View the video below featuring Jim in the NC Bar Association’s Members in Focus video series:

Testimonials

Back to Top


 

Brenda Coppede

Education

Brenda Coppede

Brenda attended North Carolina State University where she graduated cum laude in 2002, with a major in Public Relations and a minor in Spanish Language and Literature.  She then graduated from The Dickinson School of Law at The Pennsylvania State University in 2006, where she was a member of the Woolsack Honor Society.   Brenda received several distinctions and awards in law school for her pro bono work at the law school’s Family Law Clinic, including the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers Eric D. Turner award.

Career

Upon her graduation from law school, Brenda was privileged to have a one-year clerkship with three family court judges in Sussex County, Delaware.  In 2007, Brenda was admitted to practice law in the state of Montana and clerked for the Honorable Holly Brown, a district court judge in Bozeman, Montana, working again primarily on family law cases.  Following her clerkships, Brenda began private practice with Kasting, Kauffman & Mersen in Bozeman, with a primary focus on family law.  In 2010, Brenda was admitted to practice law in the state of North Carolina.  She has practiced family law in Asheville since November of 2010, joining Siemens Family Law Group in February 2013.

Credentials

Personal

Brenda resides in Asheville with her daughter and German shorthair pointer, Clem.

Back to Top


 

Diane McDonald

Education

Diane McDonald

Having grown up in the Midwest, Diane graduated from the University of Nebraska School of Social Work with a BSW in 1968.  In 1972, she obtained 16 hours towards her MSW, but decided to attend law school, beginning in 1976 at the University of Nebraska School of Law.  While in law school, she received the Gretchen Bechtol Lee Scholarship for two years, won the Thomas Stinson Allen Award for Moot Court, was on the National Moot Court Team, and was an Associate and Assistant Editor of the Nebraska Law Review.  While a law student and Legal Counsel at Western Carolina University, she published articles on the topics of corporations, patent law, contract, property rights under the 14th Amendment, and the Freedom of Information Act.

Career

Diane has been licensed by the North Carolina State Bar since 1979.  She was employed by Redmond, Stevens, Loftin and Currie, served as Legal Counsel to Western North Carolina University, represented abused and neglected children as a Guardian Ad Litem Attorney, and was employed by Robert E. Riddle, P.A. and The McDonald Law Office, P.A.

Credentials

Diane has been a Board Certified Family Law Specialist since 1996 and has participated in numerous trials and mediations.  She is certified as a Parent Coordinator pursuant to NCGS §50-90.  She has made professional presentations on Women and North Carolina Law, negligence and corporal punishment in North Carolina, affirmative action and nondiscrimination in colleges and universities, removing acrimony from family law, North Carolina Civil Procedure, and uses and abuses in termination of parental rights cases.  In the years 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2010, she was named a North Carolina Super Lawyer.

Personal

Diane’s proudest accomplishments are her three daughters, Megan, Molly, and Maggie, who have provided her love, insight, strength, humor and support.  Each one is outstanding in their respective fields of education and design.

Back to Top