Everybody has a special talent, a skill that gives them satisfaction and pleasure. Some are tap dancers, some are prize fighters. I am neither. I help people solve problems.
Over my 40 years of experience in resolving legal conflicts, I have learned and practiced problem-solving techniques that benefit and satisfy both parties without losing sight of my clients' needs and feelings.
My foundation for this approach comes from my 20 years in the Army. During my five years as an enlisted man, I served as an ombudsman for the residents of lower-enlisted housing areas. The next 15 years I served in the Judge Advocate General's Corps (JAG), negotiating claims against the Army. Over that time, I successfully resolved disputes both grand and small, from claims brought by US and foreign civilians and local governments (as well as other national governments) against the United States down to neighbor-to-neighbor arguments over parking spaces.
Since 1993, after I retired from the Army, I have restricted my practice to family law, predominantly in Montgomery County, Maryland. First as a solo practitioner and now in partnership with my daughter, Prudence Upton, at Avery & Upton, I have handled hundreds of divorce, child custody, child support, visitation, and other family issues, most often bringing them to resolution without the need for a trial.
I am qualified as a mediator in both general civil matters and family law, focusing on property and child-related issues. I serve as a facilitator for the Family Law Division of the Montgomery County Circuit Court.
All of these experiences orient me toward Collaborative Practice. In this process, my clients resolve their own problems with their 'other parties.' They do this with my help and that of experts in personal finances, child psychology, and marriage counseling. Clients who have participated in this process are relieved to work together with their former partners rather than have a result imposed upon them by the judicial system.
Professional ActivitiesFounding Member, Past President, and former Board Member, Collaborative Dispute Resolution Professionals, Inc., Montgomery County, Maryland ~Founding Member and Trainer, Collaborative Practice Training Institute ~Founding and former Board Member, Maryland Collaborative Practice Council ~Family Law Section, Bar Association of Montgomery County, Maryland ~Maryland State Bar Association ~Kentucky Bar Association ~DC Bar ~American Bar Association ~American Association for Justice ~Adjunct Professor, Carey School of Law, University of Maryland
Hobart College, Geneva, NY BA 1971
University of Louisville, KY JD 1976
CommentsCollaborative Practice has changed my life and how I practice law.
I am a trainer with the Collaborative Practice
Training Insitute, a faculty based in Maryland, Virginia, and DC, offering all forms of collaborative training and specialty training for each of the main collaborative professions.
We offer two-day basic Collaborative Trainings, three day Multi-Disciplinary Trainings focused on working as a Team, and we are developing intermediate and advanced workshops on specific topic areas such as The Role of The Collaborative Coach and Child Specialist; Developing a Deep and Durable Parenting Plan; and Working with High Conflict Clients. In addition, we are working on an intermediate level training on Civil Collaborative case work.
We offer two-day Introductory Collaborative Training, three-day Multidisciplinary Team Collaborative Training, and a variety of shorter intermediate courses for the various collaborative disciplines. We also offer 30-hour mediation programs oriented toward the collaborative practitioner.
Two-day Basic Training, October 2008, Chief Instuctor Frank Morrison. Three-day Multidisciplinary Training (intern), January 2009, Chief Instuctor, Dr. Susan Gamache. Program chair, Three-day Multidisciplinary Training, May 2009, Chief Instructor, Barbara Burr. Three-day Interdisciplinary Training, March 2010, Chief Instructor, Karen Robbins; Law for Non-lawyers, November 2009. Jumpstarting Your Collaborative Practice, September 2009, November 2009, February 2010; Three-day Interdisciplinary Training, March 2011, Chief Instructor, Karen Robbins; 30-Hour Interest-Based Negotiation & Skills Training for the Collaborative Professional, September 2011 Chief Instructor, Frank Morrison; 1.5 hour Informed Consent, October 2011; Three-day Interdisciplinary Training, March 2012, I was Chief Instructor; Three-day Interdisciplinary Training, August 2012, Chief Instructor, Dillina Stickley; Collaborative Law and Practice, spring semester 2013, U MD Law School, Adjunct Professor; Three-day Interdisciplinary Training, June 2013, Chief Instructor, Dillina Stickley; Collaborative Law and Practice, spring semester 2014, U MD Law School, Adjunct Professor
Collaborative Practice Training Institute, Karen Robbins, Olney, Maryland; Maryland State Bar Association, Andrea Terry, Baltimore, Maryland; Margie Hofberg, Collaborative Dispute Resolution Professionals, Rockville, Maryland. Maryland Administrative Office of Courts, Connie Kratovil-Lavelle, Annapolis, Maryland; Professor Jana Singer, U MD Law School