Best Interest Attorney Training


The MSBA Family and Juvenile Law Section is excited to offer a virtual presentation of Maryland’s Best Interest Attorney Training on Wednesday, April 6th and Thursday, April 7th, 2022 from 8:30 a.m. to noon. 

Experienced practitioners will cover crucial topics such as child development and access schedules, parenting coordination, custody evaluations, interviewing children, representing your child client effectively, the impact of family dysfunction, the use of expert witnesses and more.  

This training complies with Child Counsel and Custody Rules and Guidelines, Maryland Rule 9-205.1. 

6.5 hours of credit will be offered for the surrounding MCLE states. If you miss the livestream, it will be available on the MSBA CLE catalog


Course Level
Professional Area of Focus
Family Law
CLE Field of Study
Continuing Education Legal Credit
Craig Borchers Rebecca Fleming Wendy Meadows Christopher van Roden Rob Erdman Lindsay Parvis Maureen Vernon Laurie Wasserman
Event Information
Apr 7, 2022
8:30 am - 12:00 pm EST
Total CLE Credits


Day 1

8:30 am
Day 1 April 6, 2022

8:30 am Welcome & Introductions
Craig Borchers, Esq.
Rebecca Fleming, Esq.

8:40 am           Maryland Guidelines for Practice for Court-Appointed Lawyers representing Children in Cases Involving Child Custody or Child Access
Wendy Meadows, Esq.
Laurie M. Wasserman Esq.

  1. The Guidelines
  2. Child’s Best Interest Attorney
    1. Qualifications
    2. Order of Appointment
    3. Duties
    4. Ex parte Communication with Court
    5. Reporting
  3. BIA litigates rather than reports
    1. Considered judgment
    2. Liability
      1. Intent of Rules/Guidelines
      2. Legacy of Fox v. Wills

9:05 am           Your Job

  1. Roles & Responsibilities:
    1. Best Interest Attorney (BIA)
    2. Child Advocate
    3. Child’s Privilege Attorney
  2. Collecting Information
  3. Attorney – Child Client Relationship
  4. Role in Litigation
    1. Factors
  5. Representing Multiple Children
  6. Getting paid

9:30 am – 9:40 am – 10-minute break

9:40 am           Child Development
Maureen Vernon, Ph.D.

  1. Development and Cognitive Needs and Abilities
    1. Developmental stages
  2. Mental & Emotional Development
    1. Attachment
  3. Context for Healthy Development
    1. Stability
  4. Communicating with The Child Client In a Developmentally Appropriate Manner
    1. Age Appropriate schedules
  5. Interview Techniques

10:40 am – 10:50 am   10-minute Break

10:50 am         Issues Impacting the Child and The Family
Maureen Vernon, Ph.D.

  1. Child Abuse & Neglect
  2. Substance Abuse
  3. Impact of Domestic Violence

12:00 pm         ADJOURN

Day 2

8:30 am
Day 2 April 7, 2022

8:30 am           Case Preparation – Interviewing the Child, Investigation, Discovery Material
Rebecca Fleming, Esq.
Chris vanRoden, Esq.

  1. Interviewing the Child Client
    1. Interviewing
    2. Testimony
  2. Other evaluations
    1. Forensic Custody & Mental Health Evaluators
    2. Substance Abuse Evaluations
  3. Understanding & Addressing Educational Needs
  4. Identifying & Addressing Special Needs

9:50 am- 10:00 am  10-minute Break

10:00 am           Settlement, Trial and Post Trial
Lindsay Parvis, Esq.
Rob Erdman, Esq.

  1. Preparing and Presenting a Child’s Viewpoint
  2. Child Testimony & Alternatives To Direct Testimony 
  3. Evidentiary Concerns
  4. Ethical Issues
  5. Your Role With Self-Represented Litigants
  6. Dealing With High Conflict Families

11:15 am           A View from the Bench

The Honorable Donna Schaeffer (pre-recorded)

12:00 pm ADJOURN


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Best Interest Attorney Training