Experts to Brainstorm June 24-25 on Lessening Negative Effect of Family Law Proceedings on Children, Families
June 10, 2010
Contact: University Relations
Recognizing that adversarial legal proceedings often have a devastating impact upon children and families involved in contentious cases, a distinguished group of more than 60 lawyers, judges, academics, mental health professionals, mediators and financial experts will meet at the University of Baltimore on June 24-25 to brainstorm about better ways to tackle family law matters. The Families Matter Symposium is a joint effort of the American Bar Association Section of Family Law and the University of Baltimore's Center for Families, Children and the Courts. It will launch a multi-year initiative to improve family law processes.
"With nearly half of all marriages ending in divorce, the need for a better way is pressing," said Mitchell Karpf, chair of the section.
Barbara Babb, CFCC's director and associate professor in the University of Baltimore School of Law, added that the symposium's interdisciplinary collaboration is meant to harness the collective wisdom of professionals who see from different perspectives the problems associated with current legal practice.
"The damage of adversarial methods is psychological, financial and legal. We want to fix what's broken across the board," Babb said.
Attendees will engage in small-group discussions to identify problems with and potential alternatives to current practice. They will generate a "to-do" list, which they then will convey to court officials across the country. With the family justice system at a crossroads in terms of its ability to effect positive outcomes for children and families in crisis—those undergoing divorce, custody determinations, domestic violence, and other problems that can cause permanent damage to children, parents, and the social networks that bind them together—the Families Matters Symposium will be an important starting point for vital reform.
Chief Judge Robert M. Bell of the Maryland Court of Appeals will provide the meeting's keynote address, and Georgia's former Chief Judge Leah Ward Sears will close the symposium.
"We look forward to a real melding of perspectives and the generation of creative ideas," said Babb.
The ABA Section of Family Law provides lawyers with education and analysis to further the development of family law and to help members serve their clients competently, efficiently and professionally.
With nearly 400,000 members, the American Bar Association is the largest voluntary professional membership organization in the world. As the national voice of the legal profession, the ABA works to improve the administration of justice, promotes programs that assist lawyers and judges in their work, accredits law schools, provides continuing legal education, and works to build public understanding around the world of the importance of the rule of law.
The University of Baltimore is a member of the University System of Maryland and comprises the School of Law, the Yale Gordon College of Liberal Arts and the Merrick School of Business.