Articles

Quinn Law Centers Articles

Daycare Injuries

Day Care Providers – What You Need to Know to Protect Your Children

Working parents throughout Virginia depend on day care providers to look after their children. Unfortunately, children at day care facilities who are injured often are too young to speak up for themselves. These injuries are varied and numerous and can range from milk bottle burns to playground accidents to being left behind abandoned on a field trip. If

Read More

When Victims Prefer Female Personal Injury Lawyers – Are They Available?

A woman with horrific scaring after a botched breast reduction; a rape survivor suing her landlord for hiring the convicted criminal who attacked her; a class action lawsuit against a trans-vaginal medical product – all scenarios where plaintiffs might feel more comfortable working with a female personal injury attorney.

However, they may struggle to find one. An ABA study titled “First Chairs at Trial: More Women Need Seats at the Table”,

Read More

New Laws Regarding Domestic Violence and Stalking in Virginia

As of July 1, 2016, new laws took effect in Virginia in the following areas relevant to domestic violence, stalking and human trafficking:

1. Protective Orders ("POs") Emergency POs to prohibit respondents from being in the physical presence of their victims can be obtained. These include prohibiting a respondent from intentionally maintaining direct visual contact with the victim or unreasonably Read More

November is National Adoption Month

As President, of the American Academy of Adoption Attorneys and owner of the Adoption & Surrogacy Law Center, I wish you a very happy, meaningful and fruitful National Adoption Month. As the events unfold this month in our city and region, we all can be inspired by each other and by the one out of three families touched by adoption. History of National Adoption Month For over two decades, National Adoption Month Read More

2016 New Overtime Rules – What Businesses Need to Know

On December 1, 2016, new rules will go into effect regarding overtime under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Under the FLSA, most hourly and salaried blue-collar workers are entitled to time-and-a-half pay when they work more than 40 hours in a week. However, the FLSA also contains several exceptions to this rule. The most common is the “white collar exemption” – an exception for higher-paid workers who generally have Read More

Equal Pay Act (EPA) v Title VII

The Equal Pay Act (EPA) and Title VII both were created in an effort to stem discrimination in the workplace. When thinking of the EPA and Title VII, a lot of people think of salary and gender discrimination, but it may be easiest to think of them as swimming pools. The EPA is like a kiddie pool that can only fit a small number of people whereas Title VII is Read More

VSU at center of lawsuit

"Four female members of Virginia State University's faculty and staff are suing the university and its governing board over alleged gender-based pay disparities, sexual harassment and favoritism, and retaliation when they complained.

The separate lawsuits were filed in Richmond Circuit Court by Deborah Goodwyn, associate professor of languages and literature; Zoe Spencer, associate professor of sociology and social work; Sandra Evans, director of the first-year experience program; and Bridget Wilson,

Read More

Colleen Quinn Wins the Entrepreneur of the Year Award

2016 Women of Excellence Awards Colleen M. Quinn, an attorney and owner of the Quinn Law Centers (including the Adoption & Surrogacy Law Center and the Women's Injury Law Center), as well as Locke & Quinn, was named Entrepreneur of the Year at the 2016 Women of Excellence Awards, hosted by the Richmond chapter of the National Association of Women Business Owners. Colleen was among three other award winners that evening, recognized in Read More

How do I become an Adoption Attorney?

Given the twenty-seven plus years that I have practiced adoption law, I frequently get asked by other attorneys how they can become an adoption attorney. Of course it helps if once already is practicing family law because custody and adoption matters often overlap. However, I am not a traditional family law attorney since I practice adoption and surrogacy – and actually first learned adoption law and then custody law. Here Read More

Changing Your Name and Gender on Your Virginia Birth Certificate

Virginia Code § 32.1-269(E) says that:

Upon receipt of a certified copy of an order of a court of competent jurisdiction indicating that the sex of an individual has been changed by medical procedure and upon request of such person, the State Registrar shall amend such person's certificate of birth to show the change of sex and, if a certified copy of a court order changing the person's name

Read More

RICHMOND: 804-285-6253
CONTACT US

Daycare Injuries


Day Care Providers – What You Need to Know to Protect Your Children

Working parents throughout Virginia depend on day care providers to look after their children. Unfortunately, children at day care facilities who are injured often are too young to speak up for themselves. These injuries are varied and numerous and can range from milk bottle burns to playground accidents to being left behind abandoned on a field trip. If you are a parent of a child in day care, what do you need to know about the daycare to ensure the safest environment for your child? What should you know to be able to obtain adequate remedies in the event of injury?

Licensing. To ensure your child is in the safest environment possible, make sure that your child’s day care facility is licensed and regularly inspected by the Virginia Department of Social Services. Not all childcare providers are subject to the same background check, training, qualifications, health, safety, and inspection requirements as licensed providers. In fact, some programs, including religious exempt daycares, can be unlicensed but regulated, or unlicensed and unregistered. Ask for a copy of the license. More information about the types of day care programs in Virginia can be found on the Department of Social Services website at: https://www.dss.virginia.gov/family/cc/index.cgi. For the programs that are regulated by DSS, parents can check for inspection reports and violations at: https://www.dss.virginia.gov/facility/search/cc.cgi.

Insurance. In selecting a day care provider for your child, make certain that the provider is properly insured. There must be adequate insurance to cover any injuries that your child might suffer. If a day care provider is licensed, it should also be insured; however, we have handled cases where the provider let the insurance lapse. Insurance is critical, because even if you have a valid claim, a lack of insurance will prevent a full and just recovery. Ask them for proof of current insurance coverage. Also ask them if they have medical payments coverage under their insurance to cover any medical bills regardless of fault.

Training. Finally, find out what qualifications the employees hold and what training is provided. Ask how injuries will be handled, reported and documented. While you are at work, you want to have peace of mind that your child is going to be cared for very well.

At Quinn Law Centers, we have handled many matters involving injury to children including daycare injuries. To explore a civil recovery for a daycare or similar injury, contact info@lockequinn.com. This article was written by Colleen M. Quinn, Esq., and Kati Kitts Dean, Esq., and provides general information only. For more details, please be sure to contact an attorney.

When Victims Prefer Female Personal Injury Lawyers – Are They Available?


A woman with horrific scaring after a botched breast reduction; a rape survivor suing her landlord for hiring the convicted criminal who attacked her; a class action lawsuit against a trans-vaginal medical product – all scenarios where plaintiffs might feel more comfortable working with a female personal injury attorney.

However, they may struggle to find one. An ABA study titled “First Chairs at Trial: More Women Need Seats at the Table”, discovered (using 2013 data) that women represented just 32% of lawyers on civil cases, 27% at trial, and 24% as lead counsel. This is in comparison to 68% of men taking on civil cases, 73% showing up to trial, and 76% being appointed as lead counsel.

The report notes that the disparity is even higher in tort (personal injury) cases, with 79% of lead counsel being male, and only 21% being female.

“What these numbers show is that the steps to the role of lead counsel and trial attorney are much steeper for women than men,” the report states. “ …While women lawyers have been entering the profession in large numbers for three decades, they have not advanced at nearly the same rate as men.”

The reports cites the impact of children and other family responsibilities on women’s careers; bias in the law field; male-centered social norms; outdated law firm cultures, policies and the short-term business focus of many firms among other factors in this disparity.

Where are the female tort lawyers?

Despite the fact that women have been getting law degrees for decades, there has not been a proportional growth of women in leadership positions at plaintiff-focused law firms.

“Since 1980, women have earned at least a third of all law degrees; currently the figure is 47%. So we are not talking about a sudden influx of women in law,” said Rayona Sharpnack, founder and CEO of the Institute for Gender Partnership™ and the Institute for Women’s Leadership. “They have been joining Big Law firms for decades.”

“But they don’t get much of anywhere. Today they make up 45% of associates—but only 25% of nonequity partners and 15% of equity partners,” Rayona said. “Traditionally biased attitudes, lack of challenging opportunities, inequality in compensation, and lack of professional recognition methods all contribute to keeping women from making a full contribution to their profession of choice.”

As a result Rayona says, there are fewer women lawyers – especially fewer high-powered ones – available to fight the good fight for women clients.

Jennifer Kain Kilgore, attorney editor at Enjuris.com, recalls that her law school class had far more women than men enrolled, and that this year her school’s daytime class actually has 68% female enrollment.

“We definitely outnumbered the boys,” she said. “Most of us went on to do great things. We’ve only been out for the better part of four years, though, so none of us would be partners yet unless we started our own firms — which some of us did! I have a fair number of friends who started practices because they were dissatisfied with the opportunities in the legal market.”

Some law firms stepping up

While the disparities remain high at the class-action level, there are some individual attorneys and smaller firms that are seeking to address the gap in personal injury law.

Colleen M. Quinn runs the Women’s Injury Law Center out of the firm Locke & Quinn in Richmond, VA, where she is a partner. The Center provides legal services for women who want to be represented by women.

She launched the Center because “it was clear to me that there were injury issues unique to women, especially in the areas of civil recovery for rape and sexual assault, head injuries that affect women differently and plastic surgery and cosmetology injuries,” Colleen said. “In many of these areas women prefer to work with a female attorney.”

Civil case options for assault victims

Colleen also wanted to raise awareness for victims of rape and sexual assault who may not realize that there are potential civil recoveries that they can receive, in addition to a criminal case.

While there can be compensation in a criminal trial, it is often minimal as compared to a potential civil case outcome, Colleen said. For example, one of her clients was raped, stabbed and left to die by a maintenance worker at her apartment complex.

Colleen and her client launched a civil case against the temp agency that employed the worker, which failed to do a thorough criminal background check on him, and the apartment complex that did not allow tenants to install deadbolts in their apartments.

Both companies were found liable and the woman received $3 million in settlement, which helped cover her therapy and other recovery needs, including her move to a house in safer part of town with a security system.

Colleen, herself a domestic violence and stalking survivor, worked during law school with battered women’s programs and realized that nobody was creating awareness for women on their potential civil rights in these cases.

“A civil lawyer can make sure that every stone has been turned over and that all remedies are looked into,” Colleen said.

Victims in scenarios like this find empathy and comfort from having a female attorney, Colleen said. “I have a good appreciation of what they are going through and it makes it easier for them to open up. I also make sure that therapists are still involved with the victims during the civil case.”

Head injuries and women

The Center also takes a different approach to traumatic brain injuries, arguing that women are impacted differently than men.

“Women have unique multi-tasking abilities,” Colleen said. “I describe it as women having 10 dresser drawers open and working on them all at once. Head injuries can impact that focus and attention in a different way for women.”

Botched medical procedures

There are also medical issues where women may feel more comfortable dealing with a female attorney, such as a botched breast reduction surgery or cases involving scars or disfigurement. But Colleen doesn’t see many firms reaching out to women in the way that hers does. She feels that it gives her firm an advantage when talking with clients.

“I saw all of these areas and just wanted to make sure that women knew there were empathetic female attorneys to help them,” Colleen said.

Women getting a seat at the table in class-action cases

Since the 2013 ABA report there has been some progress for female representation in class action lawsuits. As a Law360 article notes, female lawyers are gaining influence in multidistrict litigation (MDL).

The first female-dominated plaintiffs’ steering committee was formed after U.S. District Senior Judge Kathryn H. Vratil gave a speech at a 2014 MDL conference at Duke University, where she called for greater diversity among plaintiffs’ leadership.

The following November, in a product-liability MDL involving power morcellators, the judge worked with attorneys to appoint the first female-majority plaintiffs’ steering committee. (Power morcellators were found to potentially spread cancer and decrease the long-term survival of patients when used to remove uterine fibroids.)

Finding female attorneys

While their numbers may be less, there are ways of finding female attorneys to represent you in a personal injury or other civil case.

The National Women Trial Lawyers Association offers a directory listing female attorneys and their geographic location and practice areas.

The National Association of Minority & Women Owned Law Firms offers a directory that allows searches by practice area.

The American Bar Association provides links to national and local women lawyers’ associations, some of which provide listing of local attorneys.

Many state bar associations have a women’s network and local contact information. For example the, Women’s Bar Association of Massachusetts offers a directory for female attorneys broken down by practice area.

Benefits to having a female lawyer

In addition to adding personal comfort for some plaintiffs, having a female lawyer can also offer practical benefits, according to the ABA report:

“Women lawyers have many advantages in the courtroom—they connect well with jurors, particularly with women jurors, who often comprise half or more of the jury pool; are viewed as more credible and trustworthy; and are in many instances overprepared rather than underprepared. Women litigators have ample reason to be confident in their effectiveness as trial counsel.”

 

This article was originally posted on Enjuris.com.

New Laws Regarding Domestic Violence and Stalking in Virginia


As of July 1, 2016, new laws took effect in Virginia in the following areas relevant to domestic violence, stalking and human trafficking:

1. Protective Orders (“POs”)

  • Emergency POs to prohibit respondents from being in the physical presence of their victims can be obtained. These include prohibiting a respondent from intentionally maintaining direct visual contact with the victim or unreasonably being within 100 feet from the victim’s residence or job.
  • Where a victim is not a tenant of a residence but obtains possession of the premises through a PO; the law outlines the process by which the victim may become a tenant, and alternatively grants the victim 30 days to vacate.
  • Amendments to the laws make it a Class 6 felony if a respondent violates a PO to stalk or cause bodily injury to a victim.
  • Respondents under Family Abuse POs may not “knowingly possess any firearm while the [PO] is in effect.” The law allows them 24 hours after being served with the PO to transport a firearm in order to sell or transfer it. The Virginia Department of Criminal Justice Services provides a list on their website of agencies willing to accept firearms from respondents under Family Abuse POs.

2. Stalking

  • It now is easier for prosecutors to obtain convictions for stalking; and there is a higher penalty for certain repeat stalking offenders as well as lower requirements to obtain a Class 6 felony charge.

3. Trafficking

  • Virginia law now provides a civil cause of action for any person injured by certain human trafficking violations, which allows victims to pursue financial recovery.

Seeking Help

If you need help or know someone who does, the following resources are available:

  • YWCA Domestic Violence Hotline – 804-643-0888
  • Virginia Family Violence and Sexual Assault Hotline – 1-800-838-8238
  • The victim advocate program at your local Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court

To explore a civil recovery for domestic violence or sexual assault, contact the Women’s Injury Law Center at Locke & Quinn at http://www.lockequinn.com/womens-injury-issues/ and quinn@lockequinn.com. This article was written by Colleen M. Quinn, Esq., and Kati Kitts Dean, Esq., and provides general information only. For more details, please be sure to contact an attorney.

November is National Adoption Month


As President, of the American Academy of Adoption Attorneys and owner of the Adoption & Surrogacy Law Center, I wish you a very happy, meaningful and fruitful National Adoption Month. As the events unfold this month in our city and region, we all can be inspired by each other and by the one out of three families touched by adoption.

History of National Adoption Month

For over two decades, National Adoption Month has been celebrated across the country. Many national; state; local agencies; and foster, kinship care, and adoptive family groups will arrange programs, events, and activities during the month of November to raise awareness for the hundreds of thousands of children and youth in foster care who are waiting for permanent families.

  • 1976 Massachusetts Governor Michael Dukakis announced an Adoption Week in his state to promote awareness of the need for adoptive families for children in foster care.
  • 1984 President Ronald Reagan proclaimed the first National Adoption Week.
  • 1995 President Bill Clinton expanded Adoption Awareness Week to the entire month of November.
  • 1998 President Bill Clinton directed the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to develop a plan to expand the use of the Internet as a tool to find homes for children waiting to be adopted from foster care.
  • 2008 President George W. Bush provided an explanation of National Adoption Month in Spanish.

For small ways to celebrate, drop a kind note to prospective adoptive parents going through the adoption process, provide a thoughtful gift to a child in foster care, say “thank you” to a foster or adoptive parent, or give a book about adoption to someone special just to raise awareness – there are hundreds of adoption books for children and adults!

For bigger ideas about how to celebrate National Adoption Month, the Children’s Bureau of U.S. Health and Human Services has a terrific social media toolkit found here: https://www.childwelfare.gov/topics/ adoption/nam/about/

And the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute has a list of events and well-vetted ideas about impactful ways to celebrate the month or National Adoption Day (November 19, 2016) events in your community at http://www.ccainstitute.org/ programs/view/national-adoption-day-engage.

To learn more about adoption, visit the Adoption & Surrogacy Law Center at http://www.virginia-adoption-attorney.com .

This article provides general information only. Article provided by Colleen M. Quinn, Esq. at https://plus.google.com/+LockeQuinnColleen MQuinnRichmond/about and http://www.quinn lawcenters.com/law-centers/adoption-and- surrogacy/team/attorneys .

2016 New Overtime Rules – What Businesses Need to Know


On December 1, 2016, new rules will go into effect regarding overtime under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Under the FLSA, most hourly and salaried blue-collar workers are entitled to time-and-a-half pay when they work more than 40 hours in a week. However, the FLSA also contains several exceptions to this rule. The most common is the “white collar exemption” – an exception for higher-paid workers who generally have better benefits, job security, and opportunities for advancement, who generally meet three criteria:

  1. First, they must be paid on a salary basis (rather than hourly, for example).
  2. Second, they must pass the “job duties” test, meaning that they perform the type of work associated with exempt executive, administrative, or professional employees.
  3. Third, their salary must meet the “minimum salary threshold” established by the Department of Labor. The biggest change that will occur on December 1 is this amount will be raised to $913 per week, or $47,476 per year, almost double the current threshold amount. Most employees earning less than $913 per week will be entitled to overtime once the new law goes into effect, regardless of whether they are salaried or pass the “job duties” test.

Bonuses and Commissions – The new law will permit up to ten percent of the white collar exemption salary threshold to be met by non-discretionary bonuses, incentive pay, or commissions, provided these amounts are paid on at least a quarterly basis.

Exceptions – Some types of employees may fall into another exemption under the FLSA, which does not require them to pass the white collar salary threshold test; therefore, these employees will not be affected by the new regulations. These types of employees include among others:

  • Outside Sales Employees
  • Drivers who fall under the motor carrier exemption.
  • Doctors, Lawyers, Teachers

“Highly Compensated Employee” (HCE) Threshold – Another change is to the salary threshold for the “highly compensated employee” exemption which is currently $100,000 per year, with at least $455 per week on a salary or fee basis. That amount will be raised to $134,000 per year, with at least $913 per week on a salary or fee basis.

 Future Planned Increases – Employers should prepare for the minimum threshold amounts for both the white collar and the HCE exemptions to change regularly every three years, beginning January 1, 2020.

 Options for Businesses after December 1, 2016 – For employees who do not currently receive overtime, but may be eligible after December 1, employers may opt to:

  • Raise Salaries
  • Pay Overtime, and/or
  • Cap Hours and Hire Part Time Employees

This article provides general information only. A more detailed summary is available by email to quinn@lockequinn.com or dean@lockequinn.com Locke & Quinn provides employment law services. Article provided by Kati Kitts Dean, Esq. and Colleen M. Quinn, Esq. at https://plus.google.com/+LockeQuinnColleenMQuinnRichmond/about

Equal Pay Act (EPA) v Title VII


The Equal Pay Act (EPA) and Title VII both were created in an effort to stem discrimination in the workplace. When thinking of the EPA and Title VII, a lot of people think of salary and gender discrimination, but it may be easiest to think of them as swimming pools. The EPA is like a kiddie pool that can only fit a small number of people whereas Title VII is an Olympic-sized pool that can fit a large number of people.

Who is protected?

Under the EPA, individuals can only sue if their employer is paying them differently than another employee based on their sex. Furthermore, you have to compare yourself to an employee whose position is substantially equal to yours. This tends to be the most difficult part of filing an EPA claim because many people choose to compare their wages to people who aren’t in similar positions. Lastly, as if all of those hoops were not enough, the law gives employers exemptions in certain situations for paying their employees less based on sex.

On the other hand, Title VII is a lot broader than the EPA. Under Title VII, individuals can sue if their employer is discriminating against them based on their race, color, national origin, sex or religion. Title VII can encompass discrimination other than visit in pay differential such as sexual harassment, unlawful termination or other discrimination in the provision of job benefits.

So, why would anyone file an EPA claim?

You’re probably wondering “If an EPA claim is so hard to file under, why would anyone use it?” There are two main reasons someone might file an EPA claim over a Title VII claim for wage discrimination on the basis of sex. First, in order for someone to file a claim under Title VII, your employer must employ at least 15 people. If your employer has less than 15 people working for them, no Title VII claim can be filed. However, under the EPA, there is no minimum number of employees needed to file your claim. Second, in order for someone to file a claim under Title VII, they have to file a charge with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) before filing suit and the EEOC has a mandatory 180 days to consider the claim. Under the EPA, you don’t have to go through the EEOC, which means that a lawsuit can be filed much sooner.

VSU at center of lawsuit


“Four female members of Virginia State University’s faculty and staff are suing the university and its governing board over alleged gender-based pay disparities, sexual harassment and favoritism, and retaliation when they complained.

The separate lawsuits were filed in Richmond Circuit Court by Deborah Goodwyn, associate professor of languages and literature; Zoe Spencer, associate professor of sociology and social work; Sandra Evans, director of the first-year experience program; and Bridget Wilson, associate director of student health services.”

Read more on this story by clicking the links below:

http://m.progress-index.com/news/20160602/vsu-at-center-of-lawsuit?platform=hootsuite

http://www.richmond.com/news/local/chesterfield/article_cf93e057-cf8e-56d1-901c-3ff9c3099951.html

http://wtvr.com/2016/05/18/4-female-employees-sue-vsu/

http://wric.com/2016/06/02/4-female-vsu-employees-sue-over-pay-inequity-sexual-harassment/

Colleen Quinn Wins the Entrepreneur of the Year Award


2016 Women of Excellence Awards

Colleen M. Quinn, an attorney and owner of the Quinn Law Centers (including the Adoption & Surrogacy Law Center and the Women’s Injury Law Center), as well as Locke & Quinn, was named Entrepreneur of the Year at the 2016 Women of Excellence Awards, hosted by the Richmond chapter of the National Association of Women Business Owners.

Colleen was among three other award winners that evening, recognized in categories such as Community Leader, Rising Star, and Student Entrepreneur. The post below is from the March 17, 2016 Richmond Times-Dispatch article about this year’s event.

‘Creative and Courageous’ Entrepreneurs Honored by Women Business Owners

Four Richmond-area women were honored Thursday evening with 2016 Women of Excellence Awards by the Richmond chapter of the National Association of Women Business Owners.

“The women who are honored at the dinner represent some of the most creative and courageous entrepreneurs in our region,” Myra Howard, president of the NAWBO Richmond Foundation, said before the event. “They exhibit passion, courage and perseverance and all have exceptional stories of relevance.”

Danielle Gildbert

Danielle Gilbert, administrative director in human resources with Bon Secours Richmond Health System, won in the Community Leader category. Gilbert is a high-performing person who is committed to the evolving mission of Catholic health care and volunteerism, according to the association’s write-up about the award winners.

Katherine Wintsch

Katherine Wintsch, founder and CEO of The Mom Complex, a consultancy firm, was honored as the Rising Star. Wintsch is a leading expert on modern motherhood and, as the founder of a consulting firm, companies rely on her and her team to reveal the good and the bad behind motherhood and turn those insights into new products and services for mothers. She also served as the 2015 Richmond Christmas Mother, which provided Christmas gifts for children in need and supported Christmas-related projects throughout the area. The Richmond Times-Dispatch has sponsored the annual fund drive since 1935.

Erica Amatori

Erica Amatori, a student at the College of William and Mary, was named Student Entrepreneur of the Year. Amatori is an entrepreneur, student-athlete and scholar in business and psychology. She founded a software company and created a nonprofit.

Colleen M. Quinn

Colleen M. Quinn, an attorney and owner of Locke & Quinn, won Entrepreneur of the Year. Quinn practices in the areas of adoption and surrogacy, personal injury, employment law and estate planning. She is the president-elect of the American Academy of Adoption Attorneys and the American Academy of Assisted Reproductive Technology Attorneys.

Event Speakers and Attendees

About 300 people attended the event at the Hilton Richmond Hotel & Spa Short Pump. Virginia first lady Dorothy McAuliffe opened the program. Lisa Schaffner, director of public relations and marketing for United Network for Organ Sharing, commonly known as UNOS, was the emcee.

The keynote speaker, business owner and author Christie Garton, imparted advice on motivating millennials — who she identified as people born from 1977 to 2000 — as employees and consumers. “Millennials are influential not only for their size (a quarter of the U.S. population) but also as consumers (purchase power of $1.3 trillion annually),” Garton, 36, said before the event. Garton is founder and CEO of 1,000 Dreams Fund, a nonprofit whose purpose is to support the dreams of young women with $1,000 scholarships, and creator of UChic, a lifestyle brand for teenage girls and young women.

All proceeds from the event benefit the Richmond National Association of Women Business Owners Foundation, which supports the educational programs of the Richmond Chapter of NAWBO.

Read the full story in the Richmond Times-Dispatch article ‘Creative and courageous’ Entrepreneurs Honored by Women Business Owners by Carol Hazard.

How do I become an Adoption Attorney?


Given the twenty-seven plus years that I have practiced adoption law, I frequently get asked by other attorneys how they can become an adoption attorney. Of course it helps if once already is practicing family law because custody and adoption matters often overlap. However, I am not a traditional family law attorney since I practice adoption and surrogacy – and actually first learned adoption law and then custody law. Here are my standard suggestions:

1. Adoption Law Courses

Take as many adoption law courses as you can – especially ones that are state specific. I have given quite a number of such courses that are available for purchase as webinars with Lawline that can be taken right at your desk and last only 90 minutes.

2. Virginia CLE Book

Purchase the Virginia CLE book on Adoption Procedures and Forms.

3. Guardian Ad Litem Certification

Get certified as a guardian ad litem. Then advise every adoption attorney that you know (see the ones listed on the American Academy of Adoption Attorneys (“AAAA”) website at http://www.adoptionattorneys.org) that you are available to be appointed for the child in adoption cases. While some courts will not let attorneys select their guardians ad litem, some do – and adoption attorneys like having guardians ad litem who are familiar with adoption law.

4. Adoption Attorney Shadowing

Ask to shadow adoption attorneys – look at the http://www.adoption attorneys.org website for the AAAA Fellows in your area

5. Birth Mother Representation Experience

Make sure adoption attorneys know you are available to represent birth moms. If you can first shadow an adoption attorney representing a birth mother that will help.

6. Local Adoption Agency Involvement

Attend local adoption agency programs and presentations. Get to know local agencies and social workers who might refer business to you.

7. Adoption Attorneys Conferences

Attend the American Academy of Adoption Attorneys conferences regarding adoption that are open to non-members. These are the Mid-Year Conferences and they are held in the Fall and posted on the AAAA website. There is one coming up on September 22-24, 2016 in New Orleans that is being held in conjunction with the National Council for Adoption.

8. Capital Law School Summer Program

Consider attending the Capital Law School week long summer program on adoption.
Join the ABA Family Law section – and more specifically the Adoption Sub-Committee.

 

Hope that helps you to get started!

Changing Your Name and Gender on Your Virginia Birth Certificate


Virginia Code § 32.1-269(E) says that:

Upon receipt of a certified copy of an order of a court of competent jurisdiction indicating that the sex of an individual has been changed by medical procedure and upon request of such person, the State Registrar shall amend such person’s certificate of birth to show the change of sex and, if a certified copy of a court order changing the person’s name is submitted, to show a new name.       

What does this mean? First, if you are a transgender individual born in Virginia and you want to amend your birth certificate in order to correct your name and gender, you will need a court order to do so. While Virginia courts provide forms to allow individuals to petition for a name change, there is not yet a form to petition the court for an order recognizing a change of gender. Consequently, most people who want to amend their Virginia birth certificate to correct their name and gender will need to hire an experienced attorney to draft a petition for them and help them through the process.

In addition, as you can see from the statute section above, Virginia law also requires court orders to indicate that the sex of an individual has been changed “by medical procedure.” In other words, if you want to petition the court for an order to correct your gender on your birth certificate, you will need an affidavit from a medical professional.

Finally, any petition to change a person’s name on their birth certificate must also satisfy the requirements of Virginia Code § 8.01-217, which says in part that

Every application shall be under oath and shall include the place of residence of the applicant, the names of both parents, including the maiden name of his mother, the date and place of birth of the applicant, the applicant’s felony conviction record, if any, whether the applicant is a person for whom registration with the Sex Offender and Crimes Against Minors Registry is required…whether the applicant is presently incarcerated or a probationer with any court, and if the applicant has previously changed his name, his former name or names.

In most cases, as long as your petition is well-drafted and includes all of the necessary documentation, a court will not require a hearing before entering an order to correct your name and gender on your birth certificate. Our firm is experienced in assisting transgender individuals to amend their birth certificates to reflect their correct name and gender. Please contact our office with any further inquiries about our birth certificate amendment services.

SEND US A MESSAGE
4928 W BROAD ST
PO BOX 11708
RICHMOND, VA 23230

PHONE: (804) 285-6253
FAX: (804) 545-9400

SEND US A MESSAGE

captcha
BACK TO TOP