Comm on Children & the Law Meeting

Friday, January 26, 2018 9:00 AM
9:00 AM - 12:15 PM
Total MCLE Credits: 3.50 (Professional Practice 1.00, Diversity 1.50, LPM 1.00)
Beekman, 2nd Floor

Register Here or Download The Registration Form Here.

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Committee on Children and the Law 2018 

Understanding Family Law Judges: Wellness, Bias, and Other Perils of the Profession
Robert J. Schack Memorial Program

Friday, January 26, 2018 | New York Hilton Midtown | NYC
3.5 Total Credits: 1.0 Law Practice Management, 1.5 Diversity, Inclusion, and Implicit Bias, 1.0 Professional Practice (Transitional)

Judges face stresses unlike those that they experienced as lawyers: isolation; the often stilted relationship with non-judges; intense constraints on spontaneity in speaking, writing, and even daily living; the inability to respond to criticism; and threats and even violence.  Family Law Judges face additional stresses because of the intense nature of the disputes over which they preside and the dangers of erroneous decisions.   Judges need to understand these special stresses in order to manage them effectively, and practitioners need to avoid exasperation from the great power granted to judges presiding over their cases.    

Judges and lawyers both face challenges based on identity differences and unconscious phenomena such as implicit bias and racial anxiety.  This presentation will draw upon research from the mind sciences to demonstrate how these factors can affect our decision-making and interactions, and pose a risk to objectivity and fairness in the justice system.  The presenters will share evidence-based strategies to align behavior with values and promote fairness in the courtroom.  We will have pointers on helping judges, helping family lawyers understand judges, and helping these lawyers manage similar stresses in their practices,  all with the goal of improving the judicial system by working to do justice while assuring the participants of the integrity and effectiveness of the system.

9:00 a.m. – 12:10 p.m.

New York Hilton Midtown
Beekman | Second Floor 
1335 Avenue of the Americas 
Between 53rd and 54th Street 
New York, NY  10019 

David J. Lansner, Esq., Lansner & Kubitschek, Brooklyn

George E. Reed, Jr., Esq., White Plains

Hon. Gerald Lebovits
Jessica MacFarlane, MPH
George E. Reed, Jr., Esq.
Hon. Gayle P. Roberts

Click here to view the program flyer.

Program Agenda

9:00 a.m. – 9:05 a.m.
Welcome and Opening Remarks

George E. Reed, Jr., Esq.

9:05 a.m. – 9:55 a.m.
Family Law Judges:  Managing  and Understanding Stresses of the Position

  • The Constraint of Judicial Correctness
  • The Pressure of Time
  • Anger, Disrespect, Result-Based Complaints and other Hallmarks of Unsuccessful Family Law Litigants
  • Isolation and its Effects
  • Wellness Resources for Judges and Lawyers

Hon. Gerald Lebovits
(1.0 MCLE Credit; 1.0 Professional Practice)

Understanding Bias

9:55 a.m. – 10:20 a.m.
Bias from the Perspective of the Bench

  • Recognizing the Role of Bias from the Bench and the Courtroom
  • Guarding Against Bias in Rendering Decisions

Hon. Gayle P. Roberts

10:20 a.m. – 10: 30 a.m. Coffee Break

10:30 a.m. - 11:20 p.m.
Obstacles to Fairness: Implicit Bias, Racial Anxiety, and Stereotype Threat

  • The Role of Implicit Bias, Racial Anxiety and other Unconscious Phenomena in Decision-making, including Reviewing Evidence, Recollecting Testimony, and Sentencing Decisions
  • Evidence-Based Strategies to Address these Phenomena to Align Behavior with Values and Promote Fairness in the Courtroom

Jessica MacFarlane, MPH
(1.5 MCLE Credits; 1.5 Diversity, Inclusion and Implicit Bias) 

11:20 p.m. – 11:45 a.m. 
Different Paths to the Same Goal

  • Meaningful Work: Working to Improve the Law and the Administration of Justice
  • Improving Communication between Attorneys and Judges
  • Streamlining the Judge’s Work by Simplifying and Standardizing Procedure and Clerical Functions

George E. Reed, Jr., Esq.
(0.5 MCLE Credit: 0.5 in Areas of Professional Practice)

11:45 a.m. – 12:10 p.m. 
Panel Discussion: Understanding Family Law Judges

Hon. Gerald Lebovits
Jessica MacFarlane, MPH
George E. Reed, Jr., Esq.
Hon. Gayle P. Roberts

(0.5 MCLE Credit: 0.5 in Areas of Professional Practice)

12:10 p.m. 

Special Note for Attorneys Representing Children and Family Court Assigned Counsel Panel Members:  Attorneys for Children and Family Court (and Family Court appeals) Assigned Counsel panel members who are members of the New York State Bar Association are eligible to apply for a fee waiver for this program. If you qualify, you cannot register online. Click here to download the waiver form, attach your completed form to Annual Meeting Registration Form, and fax or mail back the completed forms to the number/address listed. To inquire about these waivers, please contact Jessica Patterson at (518) 487-5596. All waivers must be received by Friday, January 12, 2018. No waivers can be issued after the cutoff date. Please note that if you are not a member of the New York State Bar Association, the $200 nonmember surcharge cannot be waived.