Andrew Schepard

Professor of Law

Director, Center for Children, Families and the Law

 

 

I am the Director of the Hofstra University’s Center for Children, Families and the Law, an integrated, interdisciplinary program of research, education and public service to improve the treatment of children and families by the legal system.

 

The Center consists of several programs:

 

  • Child and Family Advocacy Fellowship Program, in which students who are committed to public service child and family advocacy for three years after graduation can emerge with all law school loans forgiven, in addition to perusing a unique course of study and paid summer externships.

 

  • The interdisciplinary Child Advocacy Clinic, in which law students represent abused and neglected children with the help of mental health professionals.

 

 

  • The P.E.A.C.E. Program (Parent Education and Custody Effectiveness), a court-affiliated education program that seeks to help parents manage conflict about their children responsibly. I was one of the founders of P.E.A.C.E.

 

  • Several unique interdisciplinary courses in which law and mental health students are educated jointly, Introduction to Child Advocacy and Negotiation, Mediation and the Family Lawyer.

 

  • A simulation based training program created by the National Institute for Trial Advocacy (NITA) Training The Lawyer To Represent the Whole Child, to be offered by the Center in March, 2004 in cooperation with NITA.

 

  • Consultation with family court systems around the Country on various projects and programs relating to family court improvement. 

 

The Center’s activities reflect my long standing interests in alternatives to litigation, and family law. Some highlights of my work over the years are:

 

  • My book Children, Courts and Custody: Interdisciplinary Models for Divorcing Families will be published by Cambridge University Press in late Fall 2003.

 

  • In March, 2002 I received a special commendation from AFCC for “outstanding contributions to professionals who work with families in conflict.”

 

  • In both 1995 and 2001, I was awarded the Chair’s Cup of the Family Law Section of the American Bar Association for Meritorious service exceeding what is expected of our leadership.

 

  • I was the Reporter for the Standards of Practice for Family and Divorce Mediation approved by the American Bar Association, the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts and the Association for Conflict Resolution.

 

  • I was the Reporter for the American Bar Association’s Leadership Summit on Unified Family Courts in 1998.

 

  • I founded the bi-monthly Children and Law column of the New York Law Journal, the leading publication for lawyers in New York.

 

  • I am an elected member of the American Law Institute and a Fellow of the American Bar Foundation. 

 

Quotations from two of the greatest lawyers who ever lived sum up my overall philosophy well:

 

“Discourage litigation. Persuade your neighbors to compromise whenever you can. Point out to them how the nominal winner is often a real loser--in fees, expenses and waste of time. As a peacemaker, the lawyer has a superior opportunity of being a good man. There will still be business enough.”-- Abraham Lincoln (1846) in Notes for a Law Lecture, in Life and Writings of Abraham Lincoln 328 (Random House, New York, N.Y., Philip V. D. Stern ed. 1940).

 

  “My joy was boundless. I had learnt the true practice of law. I had learnt to find out the better side of human nature and to enter men’s hearts. I realized the true function of a lawyer was to unite parties driven asunder. The lesson was so indelibly burnt into me that a large part of my time during the twenty years of my practice as a lawyer was occupied in bringing about private compromises of hundreds of cases.  I lost nothing thereby - not even money, certainly not my soul.” -- Mohandas Gandhi (1954) in GANDHI’S Autobiography: The Story of My Experiments With Truth 168 (Public Affairs Press, Washington, D.C. 1954).

 

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