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New ABA book illustrates how lawyers can transform the lives of at-risk children


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New ABA book illustrates how lawyers can transform the lives of at-risk children

By John Glynn

CHICAGO, May 8, 2014 — Each year, millions of children in the United States are caught up in the juvenile justice or foster care systems, where they face enormous challenges and are often destined for failure. Attorneys can play a critical role in protecting the rights of these at-risk children and ensuring their access to opportunities so they have a greater chance to succeed. A group of dedicated advocates has produced a new book to raise awareness about the need for legal representation for children in need.


Changing Lives: Lawyers Fighting for Children,” a new book from the American Bar Association Section of Litigation, illustrates the difference a highly trained and skilled attorney can make in the life of a child in need. It is a must-read for any professional working with at-risk youth. Each chapter profiles children who have been removed from their homes and separated from their parents and siblings; locked up in poorly run residential and psychiatric facilities and group homes; kicked out of school; forced to live on the streets; or subjected to horrendous physical, sexual and emotional abuse. The chapters describe the skilled advocacy of attorneys who helped to change the life courses of these vulnerable children.

Changing Lives: Lawyers Fighting for Children” is also a resource to encourage and support attorneys who advocate for children, both those who do this as a full-time vocation and members of the private bar who undertake pro bono representation. The chapters include practice tips and checklists, as well as resources for developing the expertise needed to zealously represent children in crisis to achieve the best outcome and ultimately help them grow into happy and successful adults.

On the front cover of the book, Marian Wright Edelman, president of the Children’s Defense Fund, praised the publication, which “puts children first and actively describes the valuable role highly trained and skilled lawyers can play in changing the odds for our most vulnerable children.”

The book’s editor, Lourdes M. Rosado, is associate director of Juvenile Law Center in Philadelphia, where she advocates on behalf of youth in the dependency and delinquency systems, researches and writes appellate court and amicus briefs on legal issues affecting children, pursues civil litigation on behalf of institutionalized children, and trains lawyers who represent children. Rosado joined JLC in 1998 after completing the E. Barrett Prettyman Fellowship in Juvenile Justice at Georgetown University Law Center, where she represented juveniles in delinquency proceedings in the District of Columbia Superior Court and taught trial advocacy and criminal procedure to third-year law students. She is co-chair of the Children’s Rights Litigation Committee of the ABA Section of Litigation.

Title:                “Changing Lives: Lawyers Fighting for Children”
Publisher:        ABA Section of Litigation, First Chair Press
Product Code: 5310429
Pages:             120
ISBN:               978-1-62722-508-3
Size:                6x9
Price:               $49.95
Orders:            800-285-2221 or

Editor’s note: Review copies are available by sending an email to Dean Pappas at If you publish a review of this book, please send tear sheets or a copy for our files to Dean Pappas, American Bar Association, Book Publishing, 321 N. Clark St., Chicago, IL 60654.

The Children’s Rights Litigation Committee was created by the Section of Litigation to address the vast underrepresentation of children in all aspects of the legal system by improving access to justice, engaging pro bono lawyers and improving outcomes for all children who come into contact with the legal system.

The Section of Litigation, the largest specialty section of the American Bar Association, is dedicated to helping litigators become more effective advocates for their clients. The Section is a legal publisher, a provider of programming, a source of news and analysis, and a strong national voice in discussions concerning the profession. Simply put, the Section helps lawyers be better lawyers.

With nearly 400,000 members, the American Bar Association is one of the largest voluntary professional membership organizations in the world. As the national voice of the legal profession, the ABA works to improve the administration of justice, promotes programs that assist lawyers and judges in their work, accredits law schools, provides continuing legal education, and works to build public understanding around the world of the importance of the rule of law. View our privacy statement online. Follow the latest ABA news at and on Twitter @ABANews.