Juvenile Law Seminar: Reflective Practice and a Developmental Framework for Representation of Youth
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When: Friday, August 10, 2018
9:00 AM - 4:45 PM CT
Where: North Platte Community College – North
1101 Halligan Dr
North Platte, Nebraska 
United States

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MCLE Accreditation
NE MCLE Accreditation #161139 (Regular/live). 6.5 CLE hours, including 2 hours ethics
Approved for 3 hours of GAL credit.

Registration Fees
$210 - Regular registration
$165 - NSBA dues-paying member
Free - Law students

9:00 am     What is Reflective Practice and How Can It Make You a Better Lawyer
Jennie Cole-Mossman, LIMHP, Nebraska Resource Project for Vulnerable Young Children; Tana Fye, Fye Law Office

Guardians ad litem (GAL) and other lawyers working in Juvenile Court and with families are engaged in work that is both rewarding and intensely challenging. It is often difficult to separate professional from personal, which leads to high rates of vicarious trauma, stress and burnout, all of which affect the quality of services a professional is able to provide. Reflective practice assists in addressing the emotionally intrusive nature of the work by helping individuals examine their current and past actions, emotions and experiences and responses in order to evaluate their work performance, learn to improve in the future, and promote wellness in the legal profession.

11:00 am    Break

11:15 am    Interviewing and Counseling the Youth Client
Christine Henningsen, UNL Center on Children Families and the Law; Amanda M. Speichert, Lindemeier & Dawson

Attorneys for young adults will learn to effectively interview a youth client in order to pursue the client’s expressed interests and develop a strong attorney-client relationship, including:

  • Identify challenges associated with interviewing youth;
  • Become familiar with developmental features of adolescence that may impact the interview of a youth in a delinquency or child welfare case;
  • Learn strategies to accommodate, enhance or overcome developmental barriers to a successful interview;
  • Understand that the interview process is fluid over the life of a case and contingent on a number of environmental and interpersonal factors;
  • Be able to explain the attorney client relationship to the youth client in age-appropriate language;
  • Learn to interview youth clients in developmentally appropriate language, allocating adequate time for the interview and using visual aids; and
  • Be able to establish a trusting relationship with a youth client and learn to identify and address client’s primary concerns during the interview.

12:45 pm    Lunch (included with your registration)

1:30 pm    Utilizing Reflective Practice to Improve Communication when Interviewing and Counseling
Jennie Cole-Mossman Tana Fye

A GAL and other lawyers working in Juvenile Court and with families must effectively communicate with the juveniles or parents they represent. While counseling a client, children and parents involved in the juvenile system share a number of negative life experiences which may influence behavior, including the client being confrontational or having distrust in the system.


This training will build on the first two presentations and will help GALs and lawyers devise appropriate responses and communication based on developmental principles and personal reflection. Reflective practice helps to avoid inappropriate reactions, which may stem from misunderstanding of where the client is at developmentally or may be influenced by vicarious trauma the GAL or lawyer has experienced with previous cases. In all, it allows for more productive communication between the GAL/lawyer and the children and parents they advocate and/or represent. Improved communication results in a more trusting client relationship, allows for more productive meetings, and ultimately better outcomes to serve the best interests of the children and families involved in Juvenile Court.

2:30 pm     Break

2:45 pm     Setting Your Client Up for Success: Dispositional Advocacy and Motions to Revoke
Christine Henningsen, Amanda M. Speichert

Attorneys will understand the role and obligations of counsel at disposition and be able to advocate effectively for clients at the disposition hearing, consistent with the clients’ stated interest, including:

  • Understanding the ethical and professional obligations of counsel at the disposition hearing;
  • Remembering that continued client counseling and communication with the client is essential to ensure the dispositional plan is consistent with the client’s interests;
  • Understanding that disposition planning starts at the beginning of the case;
  • Understanding Nebraska statutory law, common law and constitutional law governing disposition and out of home placement;
  • Learning to communicate effectively with the probation officer and other stakeholders in advance of the youth’s disposition hearing; and
  • Identifying the need for individualized dispositional plans, which are based on the youth’s risks, needs and responsivity, rather than standard probation orders; and
  • Understand the statutory requirements to sustain a motion to revoke and support a commitment to Nebraska’s YRTC’s.

This session will also provide attorneys with an overview of the new graduated response matrix being used by juvenile probation.

4:15 pm    Juvenile Probation: Graduated Response Matrix
Amoreena Brady, Nebraska Office of Probation Administration

This session will provide attorneys with an overview of the new graduated response matrix being used by juvenile probation.

4:45 pm     Adjourn