Everybody has a special talent, a skill that gives them satisfaction and pleasure. Some are tap dancers, some are prize fighters. I am neither. I help people solve problems.
Over my 30 years of experience in resolving legal conflicts, I have learned and practiced problem-solving techniques that benefit and satisfy both parties without losing sight of my clients' needs and feelings.
My foundation for this approach comes from my 20 years in the Army. During my five years as an enlisted man, I served as an ombudsman for the residents of lower-enlisted housing areas. The next 15 years I served in the Judge Advocate General's Corps (JAG), negotiating claims against the Army. Over that time, I successfully resolved disputes both grand and small, from claims brought by US and foreign civilians and local governments (as well as other national governments) against the United States down to neighbor-to-neighbor arguments over parking spaces.
Since 1993, after I retired from the Army, I have restricted my practice to family law, predominantly in Montgomery County, Maryland. First as a solo practitioner and now in partnership with my daughter, Prudence Upton, at Avery & Upton, I have handled hundreds of divorce, child custody, child support, visitation and other family issues, most often bringing them to resolution without the need for a trial.
I am certified as a mediator in both general civil matters and family law, focusing on property and child-related issues. I serve as a facilitator for the Family Law Division of the Montgomery County Circuit Court.
All of these experiences orient me toward Collaborative Practice. In this process, my clients resolve their own problems with their "other parties." They do this with my help and that of experts in personal finances, child psychology and marriage counseling. Clients who have participated in this process are relieved to work together with their former partners rather than have a result imposed upon them by the judicial system.
I am admitted to practice before the Supreme Court (1984), Supreme Court of Kentucky (1976), Court of Appeals of Maryland (1992), and the DC Court of Appeals (1993), as well as the various US military appeals courts and the Court of Veterans Appeals.
Every year I take several courses, workshops and seminars to learn new skills and sharpen old ones.
I am an Adjunct Professor at the University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law where I co-teach Collaborative Practice to law students. I am a trainer for the Collaborative Practice Training Institute, training practicing professionals in Collaborative Practice. I am a member and Past President of the Collaborative Dispute Resolution Professionals, Inc. (CDRP) and a member of the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals. I am a member of the Maryland State Bar Association, the Kentucky Bar Association, the DC Bar, the American Bar Association, the American Association for Justice, and the Bar Association of Montgomery County.