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LIVE WEB - Guardian ad Litem Training – 2021

Presented by the ISBA Bench & Bar Section, ISBA Child Law Section, and ISBA Family Law Section


Live Webcast
This online program will be held the first three Wednesdays in February
Wednesday, February 3, 2021 – 12:55 – 4:45 p.m.
Wednesday, February 10, 2021 – 12:45 – 4:45 p.m.
Wednesday, February 17, 2021 – 12:45 – 4:15 p.m.


10.0 hours MCLE credit, including 4.0* hours Professional Responsibility MCLE credit  in the following category: Professionalism, Civility, or Legal Ethics credit


This three-part program is designed to help those attorneys who represent children. Under Illinois Supreme Court Rule 906(c), an attorney should receive ten hours of education every two years in child developments; roles of guardians ad litem and child representatives; ethics in child custody cases; relevant substantive state, federal, and case law in custody and visitation matters; and family dynamics, including substance abuse, domestic abuse, and mental health issues. Topics for this seminar include:
  • How to become a guardian ad litem and what the work entails;
  • What is expected from the guardian ad litem;
  • The challenges facing the next generation of advocates;
  • How to handle your client’s issues;
  • How implicit bias impacts the way legal matters are handled;
  • How (and what) the Juvenile Court Act of 1987 protects children;
  • The recent case law updates that may impact your next case;
  • Guardian ad litem appointments;
  • Removing children from, to, and within Illinois;
  • Structuring parent and grandparent time;
  • The hot topic issues facing the judiciary, attorneys, and litigates;
  • How to prepare your child client for litigation;
  • Understanding the differences between a guardian ad litem, child representative, and attorney for the child;
  • The ethical dilemmas facing guardian ad litems and child representatives; and
  • Much more.
The training may qualify the attendee to be placed on their local Circuit’s guardian ad litem list and/or qualify as continuing guardian ad litem education required by the attendee’s local rules, but attendees should verify with their Circuit to ensure this training will meet the Circuit’s rules.


Program Coordinator:
Hon. Michael J. Chmiel, Twenty-Second Judicial Circuit, Woodstock

Program Moderator:
Sandra M. Blake, Kane County Public Defender's Office, Oak Park



Wednesday, February 3, 2021

12:55 – 1:00 p.m. Welcome and Introductions
Sandra M. Blake, Kane County Public Defender's Office, Oak Park

1:00 – 1:30 p.m. Child Advocacy
Discover what requirements exist for those representing children in litigation, which requirements are mandated, and why this training is so important.
Anna P. Krolikowska, Anna P. Krolikowska, P.C., Northbrook

1:30 – 2:00 p.m. The Important Role of an Attorney in the Life of a Child*
This segment discusses the Illinois Supreme Court’s expectations for those representing children in Illinois’ court system.
Hon. Anne M. Burke, Illinois Supreme Court, Chicago

2:00 – 2:30 p.m. Emerging Issues for Attorneys*
Gain a better understanding of the challenges facing the next generation of advocates, as well as what law schools are doing to help.
Prof. Camille M. Davidson, Southern Illinois University School of Law, Carbondale

2:30 – 2:45 p.m. Break

2:45 – 3:45 p.m. Dealing with Challenges
This presentation examines the challenges you may face while handling your client’s issues.
Dr. Diana Uchiyama, Lawyers Assistance Program, Chicago

3:45 – 4:15 p.m. Implicit Bias*
This comprehensive overview explores the various forms of implicit bias and how it affects how we handle legal matters.
Trina Smith, Cook County Public Defender’s Office, Chicago

4:15 – 4:45 p.m. Juvenile Acts
The first session of this three-part program closes with an in-depth look at what the Juvenile Court Act of 1987 covers, how children are protected, how juveniles are prosecuted, and how attorneys can help.
Hon. Christopher M. Harmon, Twenty-Second Judicial Circuit, Woodstock


Wednesday, February 10, 2021

12:55 – 1:00 p.m. Welcome and Introductions
Sandra M. Blake, Kane County Public Defender's Office, Oak Park

1:00 – 2:00 p.m. Case Law Update
Don’t miss this case law update that explores what’s new in the family law and child law arena – and how these changes may affect your next case.
Prof. Jeff Atkinson, Illinois Judicial Conference, Wilmette

2:00 – 2:30 p.m. Guardian ad Litem Exposure
To what extent are guardians ad litem (and perhaps others appointed by the Court) immune from tort liability? This session discusses this issue by examining the recent decision of the Illinois Supreme Court in the case of Nichols v Fahrenkamp, 219 IL 123990 .
Hon. Donald D. Bernardi (ret.), Bloomington

2:30 – 2:45 p.m. Break

2:45 – 3:30 p.m. The Removal of Children
Learn the ins-and-outs of child removal with this informative presentation, including who can be moved from, to, and within Illinois and what the requirements of the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act.
Gunnar J. Gitlin, The Gitlin Law Firm, P.C., Woodstock

3:30 – 4:00 p.m. Structuring and Scheduling Parenting Time
This segment discusses who should have parenting time, what that parenting time consists of, and exactly how grandparents fit in to the structure.
L. Steven Rakowski
, LSR Family Law Group, Northbrook

4:00 – 4:45 p.m. View from the Bench
This presentation discusses the hot topics and issues facing the judiciary, attorneys, and litigants in domestic relations courtrooms.
Hon. Robert J. Anderson (ret.), Wheaton
Hon. Anna M. Benjamin, Sixth Judicial Circuit, Urbana
Hon. Debra B. Walker, Cook County Circuit Court, Chicago


Wednesday, February 17, 2021

12:55 – 1:00 p.m. Welcome and Introductions
Sandra M. Blake, Kane County Public Defender's Office, Oak Park

1:00 – 2:00 p.m. Interviewing Children of High Conflict Parents*
The final session of this three-part program begins with a look at how to prepare for interviewing children of high-conflict parents, what to watch for in parents and in children, and what to do in response.
Joseph Canevello
, Connections Counseling & Consulting Services, Inc., Crystal Lake

2:00 – 2:30 p.m. The Compete Roles of the GAL, Child Representative, and Attorney
This segment explores the duty of the guardian ad litem or child representative to investigate what is in a child’s best interest. The discussion includes what should (and should not) be included in pleadings and court files, as well as what rights exist for the protection of mental health during custodial proceedings.
Allison R. Pawlicki, Steponate & Wasko, Ltd., Park Ridge

2:30 – 2:45 p.m. Break

2:45 – 3:15 p.m. Ethics in Child Custody and Allocations of Parental Responsibilities Cases*
This presentation examines the ethical issues you need to consider when representing children.
Umberto S. Davi, Davi & Associates P.C., Western Springs

3:15 – 4:15 p.m. Other Professionals: Non-Lawyers Who Deal with Children*
The program closes with a comprehensive look at the non-legal professionals who work with children. Topics include: who is available to do what; when they should be involved; and what evaluations can (or should) be conducted.
Dr. Robert B. Shapiro, Robert B. Shapiro & Associates, Bloomingdale


*Professional Responsibility MCLE credit subject to approval


For best practices, before attending the program using ISBA's Zoom platform, please visit our Technical Support page.

Pricing Information

  • Fees:
    • ISBA Member - $195
    • Non-Member - $395
    • New Attorney Member (within the first five years of practice) - $25
    • Law Students - Free