Continuing Legal Education

Child Custody Litigation: Techniques for Trying a Custody Case from Rehearsal to Closing

January 31, 2013
8:20 a.m. to 5:15 p.m.
7.50 MCLE hours, including 7.50 approved Professional Responsibility MCLE credit hours
Presented by Family Law

Chicago
ISBA Chicago Regional Office
20 S. Clark St., Suite 900
(map and directions)

This program has reached maximum capacity and is now closed for registration.
Walk-in registrations will not be available.
Please email Jacquie if you would like to be put on a waiting list.

 

Get the trial practice tools you need to reach a favorable ruling
 during your next child custody litigation case!

Discover effective ways for organizing and presenting strong persuasive facts at your next family law trial with this full day seminar. Topics include: preparing for trial, setting the stage, selecting witnesses, direct and cross examination, closing arguments, and more. Family law attorneys, general practitioners, and child law lawyers – with basic to intermediate practice experience – who attend this seminar will gain a better understanding of:

  • How to identify persuasive evidence;
  • The importance of creating a first good impression at the family trial;
  • How to investigate facts that support the client’s position under the best interest standards;
  • The impact witness selection and testimony can have on a custody trial;
  • Relevant practice techniques for working with the guardian ad litem;
  • Direct and cross examination of mental health professionals;
  • How to draft persuasive oral/written closing arguments; and
  • The court’s expectations from family practitioners during a custody trial.
Please Note: Prior to the program, you will receive a weblink via email allowing you to access the course materials prior to the program. You will also receive a copy of the course materials (for no additional charge) when you arrive at the program, but will need to check the appropriate box on the registration page letting us know if you prefer a flash drive or printed course book.

 

Program Coordinators/Moderators:
Pamela J. Kuzniar, Attorney at Law, Chicago
Rory T. Weiler, Weiler & Lengle, P.C., St. Charles

 

 

 

Program registrants will be provided a hypothetical fact pattern, custody evaluation, and GAL report – and  will be asked to read them prior to the program – which will be referenced throughout the seminar.

Agenda

8:20 – 8:30 a.m.  Welcome and Introduction

8:30 – 10:15 a.m.  Investigation and Preparation of the Story Line*
Learn how to evaluate a custody case and then prepare that case for trial with this informative presentation. Topics include: identifying persuasive evidence; consulting mental health professionals; discovery; investigating facts that support the client’s position under the best interest standard; and relevant exhibits. The presenters also discuss how to address (and assess) substance abuse, arrests, mental health history, health risks, employment, fidelity, and changes in circumstances.
Kelli E. Gordon, Feldman Wasser Draper & Cox, Springfield
William J. Scott, Jr., Momkus McCluskey, LLC, Lisle
Rory T. Weiler, Weiler & Lengle, P.C., St. Charles

10:15 – 10:30 a.m.  Break (beverages provided)

10:30 – 11:15 a.m.  Setting the Stage*
Unlike other cases where a jury decides the outcome, the family trial simply involves the judge – an audience of one. Whether it’s the opening statement, the pretrial memorandum, or your position statement, making a good impression is very important to the outcome of your case. Join us as two experienced practitioners offer practice tips and advice on the art of positive first impressions!
Jennifer A. Shaw, Jennifer A. Shaw, P.C., Edwardsville
Morris L. Harvey, Law Offices of Morris Lane Harvey, Mt. Vernon

11:15 – 11:45 a.m.  The Cast: Witness Selection*
Gain a better understanding of how witness selection and the structure of testimony can significantly impact the outcome of a custody trial. This segment addresses witness preparation, including trial strategy and using custody evaluators, and also discusses whether or not it is beneficial to share your trial strategy with the children’s representative.
Kelli E. Gordon, Feldman Wasser Draper & Cox, Springfield
Rory T. Weiler, Weiler & Lengle, P.C., St. Charles

11:45 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.  Direct and Cross Exam of Parents and Relevant Collateral Witnesses*
In this segment, the speakers use a sample fact pattern to discuss and demonstrate the direct and cross examination of interested parties and relevant collateral witnesses. An analysis of practice techniques and the introduction/admission of documentary evidence is also included.
William J. Scott, Jr., Momkus McCluskey, LLC, Lisle
Jennifer A. Shaw, Jennifer A. Shaw, P.C., Edwardsville

12:30 – 1:15 p.m.  Lunch (provided)

1:15 – 2:15 p.m.  The Guardian Ad Litem: Antagonist or Protagonist?*
Whether friend or foe, the guardian ad litem plays an important role to your child custody case. This comprehensive overview explores relevant practice and trial techniques for working with the guardian ad litem.
Morris L. Harvey, Law Offices of Morris Lane Harvey, Mt. Vernon

2:15 – 3:15 p.m.  Examination of Mental Health Professionals*
This presentation offers a look at the unique differences between the direct and cross examination of mental health professionals – both as custody evaluators and as mental health providers of parents or children, as well as the limitations of each. Additional topics include psychological testing and the interface of the Mental Health and Disabilities Confidentiality Act in Custody Matters.
Rory T. Weiler, Weiler & Lengle, P.C., St. Charles

3:15 – 3:30 p.m.  Break (refreshments provided)

3:30 – 4:15 p.m.  Finale: The Closing Argument*
This session discusses the key elements of persuasive oral and written closing argument, while offering practice tips on organizing and presenting evidence at closing.
Morris L. Harvey, Law Offices of Morris Lane Harvey, Mt. Vernon
Jennifer A. Shaw, Jennifer A. Shaw, P.C., Edwardsville

4:15 – 5:15 p.m.  The Opening Night Review: A Judicial Panel Discussion*
Join us as esteemed members of the bench come together for this informative panel discussion on what they expect from family practitioners during a custody trial, including essential evidence, weighted testimony, and local practices regarding children as witnesses in court or on camera.
Hon. Pamela E. Loza, Cook Judicial Circuit, Chicago
Hon. Mark J. Lopez, Cook Judicial Circuit, Chicago
Hon. Jeanne M. Reynolds, Cook Judicial Circuit, Chicago
Hon. Timothy J. McJoynt, Eighteenth Judicial Circuit, Wheaton
Hon. Patrick Leston, Eighteenth Judicial Circuit, Wheaton