Committee on Children and the Law Homepage

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    Welcome to the Committee on Children and the Law
  • Upcoming Events
    • Committee on Children and the Law Annual Meeting

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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.

      PROGRAM
      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 

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

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

      PROGRAM FACULTY
      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. 
      Adjournment


      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.

       

  • About the Committee

    Established in 1979, the Committee on Children and the Law is charged with the responsibility of rendering information and guidance to the Executive Committee, the legal community and the public on the effect of existing laws and pending legislation impacting children, and the administration of juvenile justice and child welfare.

    In furthering its mission, the Committee:

    • examines, studies and provides comment and reports on legal issues related to the rights and interests of children, in particular those involved in court proceedings; 
    • formulates and, with the approval of the Executive Committee, publishes practice standards for attorneys representing children in New York and periodically revises these standards so as to keep them current with the development of the law; 
    • drafts and promotes original legislation which it believes is necessary or useful to the rights and interests of children; 
    • develops, coordinates and conducts continuing educational programs; and 
    • recognizes, at least annually, contributions to the areas of juvenile justice and child welfare.

  • Howard A. Levine Award

    HOWARD A. LEVINE AWARD FOR EXCELLENCE IN JUVENILE JUSTICE AND CHILD WELFARE AWARD

    The New York State Bar Association’s Committee on Children and the Law each year presents the Howard A. Levine Award for Excellence in Juvenile Justice and Child Welfare to recognize individuals who have done outstanding work to improve New York's child welfare and juvenile justice systems. The Committee on Children and the Law created the award in 1986. It is named for retired Court of Appeals Judge Howard A. Levine (Whiteman Osterman & Hanna LLP), who was the first chair of what was then called the Special Committee on Juvenile Justice. He has been and continues to be a strong proponent and leader in the effort to improve New York ’s child welfare and juvenile justice systems.    

    View pictures from the 2016 Levine Award Ceremony here


    2017 Award Ceremony 

    Award Recipients:
    Hon. Karen K. Peters | Presiding Justice | Appellate Division | Third Judicial Department | Albany, NY
    Theodor S. Liebmann, Esq. | Professor | Hofstra Law School | Hempstead, NY 

    For more information about the Howard A. Levine Award and nomination information,  click here. 

  • Representing Children

    STANDARDS FOR ATTORNEYS REPRESENTING CHILDREN IN NEW YORK

    Standards for representing children were initially developed for a New York State Bar Association Law Guardian Study in 1984 (Law Guardians in New York State: A Study of the Legal Representation of Children). Subsequently, the Committee on Children and the Law (formerly known as the Juvenile Justice and Child Welfare Committee) concluded that Bar Association adoption and distribution of the standards would prove beneficial to the bench and bar. The preparation of standards and commentaries represent an important aspect in improving representation, and in assisting the large number of attorneys who appear before the Family Court. 

    Links to the revised and updated standards are listed below:
    Standards for Attorneys Representing Children in New York Combined File (2015) (170 pages)
    Standards for Attorneys Representing Children in Adoption Proceedings (2015) (29 pages)
    Standards for Attorneys Representing Children in Child Protective, Foster Care, Destitute Child and Termination of Parental Rights Proceedings (2015) (35 pages)
    Standards for Attorneys Representing Children in Custody, Visitation and Guardianship Proceedings  (2015) (31 pages)
    Standards for Attorneys Representing Children in Juvenile Delinquency Proceedings (2015) (44 pages)
    Standards for Attorneys Representing Children in Person in Need of Supervision Proceedings (2015) (23 pages)