Jennifer's life has intersected with the areas of adoption and family building since she was a teen. Her adult goddaughter is an international adoptee from Korea and her adult nephew is a domestic adoptee. She, herself, underwent fertility treatments to become a parent and has found assisting others in buidling their families through adoption and/or ART rewarding. She has a compassion and vision for famlies unmatched by others in the area and limits her practice to these areas of the law to ensure she can provide the best service to her clients.
Jennifer is a Fellow of the Academy of Adoption and Assisted Reproduction Attorneys ("AAAA"), the lead organization in the United States on family building through Adoption and ART. Jennifer served on the Board for four years before serving as Vice President in 2017. She was awarded the Academy's President's Award for her Leadership, Dedication, Fairness and Vision for Adoption and ART in 2016. Jennifer is admitted to practice law in Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia. She is also admitted to practice before the United States Federal Courts in Maryland and the United States Supreme Court.
Jennifer handles domestic agency and independent adoptions as well as matters clients involving donor and surrogacy options including the use of egg, embryo or sperm donors. She represent all types of families including single parents, married or unmarried heterosexual couples, gay and lesbian (lgbt) parents and grandparents. She represents expectant parents, birth parents and adoptees in uncontested adoptive placements. Jennifer's extensive adoption experience includes second parent adoptions, stepparent adoptions, international re-adoptions, adoptions through foster care systems, agency adoptions, and private adoptions. Her client centered practice is unmatched by anyone else. She also assists clients through the legal process, including navigating the Interstate Compact on the Placement on Children (ICPC) process for domestic adoptions, the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) and the re-adoption and/or finalization process for international adoptions.
Jennifer also has extensive experience working with clients who are interested in growing their families through the use of assisted reproduction technology (ART), whether using a gestational carrier (surrogate) or a donor. Jennifer represents egg donors, sperm donors, embryo donors, surrogates (gestational carriers) and intended parents. She has obtained birth orders both pre-birth and post birth, handled birth certificate amendments in Virginia and assisted many clients in ensuring their parental rights are secure.
Jennifer is highly regarded in the adoption field having authored the "go to" book on adoption for Adoption Professionals, speaking before prospective clients, law students, attorneys and the Judiciary and appearing on television and radio. Jennifer is the 2013 recipient of the Maryland State Bar Foundation Legal Excellence Award and the author of the "The Adoption Law Handbook" published by the ABA in 2011 and the Second Edition published in 2018 which sets out best practices for adoption attorneys and other adoption professionals. Jennifer is Past President and served on the Board of the Center for Adoption Support and Education which provides adoption related counseling and support services for all members of the adoption triad. Jennifer has been featured on the Paul Samakow Radio Show talking about Adoption and ART in the United States and on the television show "Making It Last" talking about adoption. For more on her background, she was featured in Metro Weekly for her service to family building clients.
Jennifer has been a Maryland and Washington, D.C. Super Lawyer since 2015 and continues to hold that distinction through 2019. In 2019 she was elected to the Top 100 Attorneys in Maryland and the Top 50 Women Lawyers in Maryland and the District of Columbia. Super Lawyers is a rating service of outstanding lawyers from more than 70 practice areas who have attained a high-degree of peer recognition and professional achievement. A previous Court Appointed Special Advocate through the CASA program, Jennifer currently is often appointed as an attorney representing children and birth parents in adoption cases. She has been rated as a preeminent attorney by peers and clients receiving an AV* rating from Martindale-Hubbell since 2015. Jennifer was also rated a 10.0, the highest rating available by AVVO based on an attorneys reviews, experience and ethical standards. Each year since 2015, Jennifer was named a "Best Lawyer in Washington, D.C." and was the only attorney who exclusively practices adoption and surrogacy law named to the list.
Jennifer routinely works with stakeholders, legislators and council members on legislation related to both adoption and ART. She was an integral part of getting the Collaborative Reproductive Act passed in DC in 2017 and new laws in Maryland in 2018 that will expedite the Second Parent Adoption process. Jennifer's major written accomplishments include:Adoption Law Handbook, ABA (2011 and Second Edition in 2018)Maryland Judiciary Benchbook, Chapter on Adoption (2018)D.C. Bar Practitioners Guide, Chapter on Adoption (2018).
She teaches courses on Adoption and Assisted Reproduction Technology for other legal professionals through: American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA), International Adoption American Academy of Adoption and Assisted Reproduction Attorneys (AAAA) American Association of Tissue Banks (AATB), Parentage and Personhood DC Bar Association, CLE, Adoption Around the Beltway Frederick County Bar Association, Adoption and Surrogacy Maryland Judicial Institute, Parentage Maryland Judicial Institute, Adoption and ART Montgomery County Bar Association Montgomery County Inns of Court, Parentage Post Marriage Recognition Anne Arundel Bar Association CLE on Parentage Baltimore City Bar Association and Free State Legal American Bar Association Frederick County Bar Association Jennifer has presented seminars for potential parents through: Grubb Pharmacy, Fertility Options for LGBT Families George Washington University Lesbian Services Program (working with the Whiteman -Walker clinic) RESOLVE, Inc Rainbow Families D.C. Barker Adoption Foundation Cradle of Hope Adoption Agency Children's Home Society and Family Services (CHLSS) Jennifer has been a lecturer for law students at: Villanova Law School Universityf of Baltimore School of Law University of Maryland School of Law George Washington School of Law Georgetown School of Law