On Friday July 10, 2015, Child Centered Solutions and Stahancyk, Kent & Hook, P.C. hosted a continuing legal education seminar (CLE) on representing children in custody and parenting time cases. The CLE provided local attorneys with the skills and insights to serve as thoughtful and effective advocates for children in their time of profound need.
The event was held in the Deschutes County Services Building where panelists and attendees became very involved in a robust and engaged discussion on representing children.
Ms. Helen Hierschbiel, General Counsel for the Oregon State Bar, covered the vast array of ethical issues in representing children, including clarifying the lawyer’s role and managing potential and actual conflicts of interest.
The Honorable Michael C. Sullivan noted that he expected engaged advocacy from children’s attorneys in these high-conflict cases and that children’s attorneys should prepare, investigate, and try these cases just like any other.
Ms. Alison Emerson, who is a partner at Bryant Emerson, LLP in Redmond, shared her insights from her vast experience in representing children. In particular, Ms. Emerson led a vibrant discussion on the challenges children’s attorneys face in determining the scope of their appointment in a given case.
Dr. Deborah Coehlo, who is the founder of Juniper Pediatrics in Bend, provided an in-depth analysis of the issues children’s attorneys should be looking for and considering, including abuse, neglect, and the impact that parental conflict and different parenting time schedules have on children during these stressful and challenging proceedings.
Hosting and Boasting
As a result of the CLE, more attorneys joined the ranks of the Deschutes County Child Centered Solutions Program to help close the gap in representing child. Mr. Joel J. Kent, who is the managing shareholder of Stahancyk, Kent & Hook’s Central Oregon Office and the driving force behind the Program, spoke about the Program.
Mr. Kent noted that the lawyers in the Program volunteer their time to represent children in these high-conflict cases. Unlike juvenile court cases, there is no public funding to represent children in divorces and modifications. He also remarked that the Program was founded to fill this gap by ensuring that children who are in the most need of legal representation have access to it. Last Friday’s CLE continued the Program’s vital role in serving Central Oregon’s children and families.
Overall, the CLE was a grand success and sparked dynamic discussion and new ideas to ensure the steadfast representation of children throughout Central Oregon and the State.