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CLP Professionals:
The canonists of Canon Law Professionals have many years of experience in all facets of canon law. Our experience is drawn from working in various capacities with parishes, dioceses, and in canonical tribunals all over North America.   We pride ourselves on our breadth of experience and depth of knowledge.  The principal canonists of the firm are:
Mike Ritty

J. Michael Ritty

  • J.C.L., University of St. Paul
  • Ph.D., University of Ohio
Dr. Michael Ritty has professional experience in the fields of canon law, mediation/arbitration and education, and has a Ph.D. in education from the Ohio University.  His 20 years of canonical experience includes work as an advocate, defender of the bond and judge at both first and second instance marriage courts. He was the Director of a Tribunal for six years, supervising all aspects of the tribunal’s work. He has assisted in the work of administrative tribunals. He has represented religious in disputes with their communities which have led to indults of exclaustration and departure. He has represented priests and religious communities in misconduct procedures and offered advice on other canonical questions.  He is the primary litigator for Canon Law Professionals.  He has represented more than 250 priests accused of sexual misconduct as well as many religious and lay persons accused of wrongdoing or seeking to vindicate their rights in the Church.

Dr. Ritty has more than 200 hours of mediation training, including specific training to deal with church-related conflicts. He has mediated more than 200 individual cases. He is a member of the Association for Conflict Resolution. He was the coordinator of the Office of Conciliation and Arbitration for the Diocese of Madison, and his experience has included pastor-parishioner disputes. He is a member of the Canon Law Society of America and the Canadian Canon Law Society.
Margaret Chalmers

Margaret Poll Chalmers

  • J.D., Washington & Lee University 
  • J.C.D., University of St. Paul 
  • Ph.D., Ottawa University
Dr. Margaret Chalmers has many years experience working in canon law as well as being a civil attorney. She has over ten years experience working in a tribunal as a judge, defender of the bond, procurator/advocate, and auditor. She is a member of the Canon Law Society of America as well as a member of the Alabama State Bar.

Dr. Chalmers has also worked on a range of other canonical issues involving disputes with religious communities, exclaustration issues, and the protection of rights of the faithful. She has advised clients in disputes between pastors and parishioners. Dr. Chalmers has given local presentations to educate deacons-in training on canon law, as well as trained lay diocesan procurator/advocates. She has particular interest and expertise in ecumenical and Anglican affairs. Dr. Chalmers has articles published in both Studia Canonica and CLSA Proceedings, with particular emphasis given to issues of the remedy of harm.


Eduardo Huerta
  • J.C.L., Pontifical Gregorian University
  • S.T.L., Universidad La Salle Guadalajara (Mexico)
Mr. Eduardo Huerta has many years of professional experience working in canon law and in theology. His canonical experience includes being an advocate, defender of the bond and judge at both first and second instance marriage courts. He was the Director of a Tribunal for two years, supervising all aspects of the tribunal’s work. He also was the Chancellor of a diocese for two years dealing with many aspects of the diocesan curia. He is a member of the Canon Law Society of America.

Mr. Huerta also enjoys teaching and speaking at various universities and conferences in the United States and Mexico. He speaks and understands various languages and cultures.




Marilyn R. Vassallo, CSJ
  • MS Ed College of St. Rose
  • MAT in Theology  St. Michael’s College
  • J.C.L., University of St. Paul
  • M.C.L., University of St. Paul

Sister Marilyn R. Vassallo, CSJ is a member of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet of the Albany Province. 1964.  Since 1981 Sister has been involved in various aspects of canon law including defender of the bond, assessor, advocate, judge and auditor.  She has served in the dioceses of Albany, Birmingham, Shreveport and Dallas.

From 1998-2013, Sister served as Director of Canonical Services and Mediation in the Diocese of Shreveport in Louisiana. In addition to her administrative role as Director, Sister Marilyn has presented Annulment Workshops and prepared Lay Advocates throughout the Provinces of Mobile and New Orleans.

From 2006-2013 Sister was appointed Coordinator for Religious for the Diocese of Shreveport.   During this time she was a member of the National Conference for Vicars of Religious. 
Along with her canonical responsibilities, Sister served as a professor for the Greco Institute in the Diocese of Shreveport where she specialized in canon law, sacraments, church history and spirituality.  In addition, Sister Marilyn served as professor for the University of Dallas in which she instructed candidates for the deaconate for the Diocese of Shreveport. 

Sister Marilyn has been a member of the Canon Law Society of America since 1989.  She has presented various workshops for the society including a pre-convention workshop on “Advocacy.”  Sister has articles published in CLSA Proceedings, as well as the Religious Bulletin.

Sister Marilyn has been a member of Canon Law Professionals since 2000.   




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