Children's Legal Rights Journal Conference

Loyola University Chicago School of Law 
and Loyola’s Children’s Legal Rights Journal

Children’s Legal Advocacy, Past, Present, and Future: The 40th Anniversary of the National Association of Counsel for Children and the Work Ahead to Achieve Justice for Children and Families

Friday, September 9, 2018
1:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m

Loyola University Chicago School of Law 
Philip H. Corboy Law Center
Power Rogers & Smith Ceremonial Courtroom, 10th Floor
25 E. Pearson Street, Chicago

Symposium Editors: Gabrielle Long & Kristina Lasker


This year, the Children’s Legal Rights Journal has partnered with the National Association of Counsel for Children (NACC) for our annual symposium.  The symposium will commemorate the 40th Anniversary of the NACC, a nonprofit children’s legal advocacy organization founded in 1977 to improve the lives of children and families through high-quality legal representation and policy advocacy.  The distinguished speakers will discuss a variety of topics about how to successfully advocate for children.


The symposium will be held in the Philip H. Corboy Law Center, Power Rogers & Smith Ceremonial Courtroom, on the 10th floor of 25 E. Pearson St. located at Loyola University Chicago’s Water Tower Campus.


The Illinois MCLE Board has approved this program for 2.5 hours of general credit. Loyola University Chicago School of Law is pleased to present this conference at no charge for Loyola students, faculty, and individuals not seeking MCLE credit. For those who wish to obtain MCLE credit, registration fees will apply:

  • $30 for attendees seeking MCLE credit
  • $20 for Loyola alumni seeking MCLE credit
  • As part of our wider financial hardship consideration, there is an immediate discount of 50% for attorneys working in the areas of government or public interest.

Fees are payable at the door by check made payable to Loyola University Chicago.


Diane Geraghty

Diane Geraghty is Loyola’s A. Kathleen Beazley Chair in Children’s Law and director of the internationally renowned Civitas ChildLaw Center.  Her teaching, scholarship, and service focus primarily on all aspects of the law as it affects children and families. Professor Geraghty is also co-director of Loyola’s new interdisciplinary Center on Criminal Justice Research, Policy and Practice. She has served as a consultant on legal education and children’s rights in Africa and Asia and is the recipient of many awards for her contributions to children’s law.

Don Duquette

Donald Duquette is a clinical professor of law and founder of the Child Advocacy Law Clinic at the University of Michigan Law School, the oldest and one of the most influential clinical law programs in the country specializing in child abuse, neglect, and foster care cases. His research and teaching interests focus on interdisciplinary approaches to child welfare law and policy. He manages the law school’s Bergstrom Child Welfare Law Summer Fellowship Program and in 2004 created the school’s first mediation clinic. Professor Duquette is also the co-editor of the NACC Red Book, Child Welfare Law and Practice: Representing Children, Parents and State Agencies in Abuse, Neglect and Dependency Cases.

Erik Pitchal

Erik Pitchal is a judge in Brooklyn Family Court, having been appointed to the New York City bench by Mayor Michael Bloomberg in January 2013.  Judge Pitchal hears dependency, delinquency, and custody cases.  Previously, he was a law professor, specializing in juvenile and family law; an independent child welfare consultant; and a lawyer representing children in dependency, delinquency, and civil rights cases.  He has written and presented extensively on issues relating to the representation of children and the child welfare system. Judge Pitchal has been on the NACC board since 2009 and previously served on the board's executive committee.  He was a former law clerk to U.S. District Court Judge Robert P. Patterson, Jr. and a graduate of Brown University and Yale Law School.

Leslie Starr Heimov

Leslie Starr Heimov is the executive director of the Children's Law Center of California (CLC), where she began her career as a staff attorney, moving on to supervising attorney, representing parents and children in the dependency system. Ms. Heimov also served as CLC’s policy director where she was responsible for its legislative and policy agenda. She is a member of the California Judicial Council Family and Juvenile Law Committee, the Los Angeles County Education Coordinating Council, the California Child Welfare Council and is the co-chair of the Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children Action Team.  She sits on the R.I.S.E. High Leadership Council, the Board of Regents of the DaVinci Schools, and is a founding member of the Family Justice Initiative. She has served on the board of directors of the National Association of Counsel for Children since 2006 and is currently serving as the vice president of the NACC Board.

Marty Guggenheim

Marty Guggenheim is one of the nation’s foremost experts on children’s rights and family law and has taught at New York University (NYU) School of Law since 1973.  He is the founder of the Family Defense Clinic, which represents parents and other adult relatives of children in foster care in New York City. Mr. Guggenheim has been an active litigator in the area of children and the law and has argued leading cases on juvenile delinquency and termination of parental rights in the Supreme Court of the United States. He is also a well-known scholar, having published more than 50 book chapters and articles in leading United States’ law reviews, including Columbia, Harvard, Michigan, and NYU. His research has focused on adolescent abortion, First Amendment rights in schools, the role of counsel for children in court proceedings, empirical research in child welfare practice, juvenile justice, and family law. He is the author of seven books on children and parents including What’s Wrong with Children’s Rights. Mr. Guggenheim earned his JD from NYU School of Law where he was an Arthur Garfield Hays Civil Liberties Scholar.


1:00 p.m. Welcome
Diane Geraghty, Loyola University Chicago School of Law
1:05 p.m.

Don Duquette, University of Michigan Law School
“In Child Advocacy, Both Good Laws and Clinical Skills Are Essential: A Review of the Six Core Lawyer Skills” 

1:30 p.m.

Judge Erik Pitchal, New York City Civil Court
"From Paternalism to Due Process: Reflections from the Bench on 40 Years of American Child Advocacy"

2:00 p.m.  Break
2:10 p.m.

Marty Guggenheim, New York University Law School
"The History and Influence of the National Association of Counsel for Children--An Alternate Perspective"

2:40 p.m.

Leslie Starr Heimov, Children’s Law Center of California
"When Child Advocates Fight for Justice - The Role of the Children's Lawyers in System Reform, the Family Justice Initiative and Redefining Child Protection"

3:10 p.m.   Audience Q&A and Panel Discussion
3:45 p.m. Closing Remarks
Kim Dvorchak, National Association of Counsel for Children
Carrie Seleman, Loyola University Chicago School of Law
4:00 p.m. Reception


The Loyola University Chicago School of Law Children’s Legal Rights Journal is a national legal journal that releases three issues annually, edited by Loyola students with the cooperation of the National Association of Counsel for Children. The Children’s Legal Rights Journal focuses on the broad range of legal issues confronting children, including child welfare, juvenile justice, adoption, mental health, and education. Generally, the readership consists of lawyers, social workers, physicians, researchers, mental health professionals, law enforcement personnel, and educators. The Children’s Legal Rights Journal encourages interdisciplinary submissions as well as more traditional law-related articles.