Debra E. Guston is a partner in the law firm of Guston & Guston, L.L.P., Glen Rock, New Jersey. She graduated cum laude from Mount Holyoke College, holds a M.A. from Emerson College and received her J.D. from Cardozo School of Law. Deb represents a broad spectrum of clients in family court matters; adoptions; guardianships; estate planning, administration and estate litigation. She has represented over 600 lesbian and gay couples and individuals in primary and second parent adoptions over the last 24 years and represented the first couples in Morris, Ocean and Passaic Counties to be granted second parent adoptions, all before the Appellate Division’s landmark case approving such practice. She also represents adoption clients on private placement, foreign re-adopt and interstate placements as well as agency placements. Ms. Guston’s estate planning experience includes work with same-sex couples and parents of developmentally and physically disabled children. She is a Past President of the Lesbian and Gay Bar Association of Greater NY; a Fellow of the American Academy of Adoption Attorneys and the American Academy of Reproductive Technology Attorneys; and a Trustee and Executive Committee member of the ACLU-NJ. Deb is a member of the National LGBT Bar Association and an invited member of its GLBT Family Law Institute, a vetted group of family lawyers from around the country with significant experience in LGBT family law matters. Deb is a member of the New Jersey State Bar Association’s Family Law Executive Committee and former Chair of the NJSBA GLBT Rights Section.
Creating Surratt Law Practice has been a work in progress for me. It started with a desire to work in an environment free from chaos. Then it developed into a desire to give my staff the same quality of life that I strived for. In doing that, I learned that it had to do with who our Clients were and doing work for them that we were proud of. If we compromised on that then the entire system would go down. I’m proud of my office. I’m proud of my staff. I’m proud to say that our ethics are never compromised. The dream has come true and we know that the environment we have in our office carries over to the experience that our Client’s have with our office. It is pure and it is honest.
My legal career really hasn’t taken too many turns. I started as an insurance defense attorney and moved into family law. Insurance defense work was not for me although some days I do miss the complexity of learning about a new product for a product liability case or getting to interview numerous miners regarding their mining practices. I have a good relationship with family law that is here to stay.
In 2004, during my first couple of months in family law, I took on my first surrogacy matter. It was a thrill. My Clients are still friends of mine and I receive a Christmas card each year with a picture of the two siblings that I helped create. I knew at that point that I wanted a practice that concentrated in family formation. In the mean time, if I was going to continue contested family law matters I knew there had to be a better way for the clients. So, I formed the first meeting ever in Northern Nevada to develop Collaborative Law, an amicable no court divorce method. Within a few short months, we had a large group of professionals trained and we developed a non-profit called Collaborative Professionals of Nevada.
Today, I am a fellow with the American Academy of Assisted Reproductive Technology Attorneys and I am lobbying the passage of the Uniform Collaborative Law Act at the Nevada Legislature. My dream path for my career in family law has not faltered. I now work with two of the most amazing attorneys I could ever ask for and a staff that makes me smile when I arrive at work every day. My paralegal, Dawn Kaufman, has been by my side every step of the way, which is a sign that my Client’s adore her. I am proud of her.
Honored in 2010 as one of the 25 top women “Super Lawyers” in Virginia by Richmond magazine, in 2009 as a “Leader in the Law” by Virginia Lawyer’s Weekly, in 2008 with the Congressional “Angels in Adoption” award, in 2006 to 2010 as a “Super Lawyer” by Richmond magazine and in 2005 by Virginia Business magazine as one of Virginia’s “Legal Elite,” Colleen Marea Quinn has provided representation to hundreds of adopting parents, birth parents, adoptees, intended parents, surrogates, gestational carriers and egg donors since 1989. Ms. Quinn, after graduating from the College of William and Mary and the University of Virginia Law School in 1988, served as a clerk with the Chief Justice of the Virginia Supreme Court, The Hon. Harry L. Carrico. She is a Fellow, and has served on the Board of Trustees, of the American Academy of Adoption Attorneys (“AAAA”) and a Fellow and Founder of the American Academy of Assisted Reproductive Technology Attorneys (“AAARTA”), both select groups of attorneys with rigorous standards for membership. She speaks frequently at AAAA Annual Meetings, is the current AAARTA Membership Chair, was Chair of the AAAA 2007 Annual Convention, served on the AAAA ARTS Taskforce and Committee, and was Chair of the Birth Parent Representation Committee from 1999 to 2003. In 2003, she published the AAAA “Representing Birth Parents Handbook.” She is the co-author of the recent Fifth Edition of the Virginia CLE “Adoption Procedures and Forms” book and co-editor of the Fourth Edition. She served as program chair and moderator for the first Lorman Adoption Seminar in 1997, for the first Virginia CLE Adoption Law Seminar in 1999 and for all subsequent programs. Ms. Quinn has qualified and served as an expert witness in adoption law in the Virginia court system and has been hired and deposed as an expert witness in surrogacy law. She is certified as a court approved Guardian ad Litem.
Colleen Marea Quinn is a partner in the firm of Locke Partin DeBoer & Quinn, PLC and has achieved an “AV” rating, the highest given, by Martindale Hubbell. She is a Fellow of the LCA, a member of the ASRM, VTLA, RBA, VSB, and the AAJ. She is a Board member and President-Elect for the National Association of Women Business Owners in Richmond, Chairman-Elect of the Richmond Women’s Business Consortium and Officer (Secretary and former Treasurer) of the Metropolitan Richmond Women’s Bar Association.
A strong believer in community involvement, Ms. Quinn devotes time and energy to various civic activities such as the VSDV Action Alliance (Gala Committee) and the YWCA, having served on its Advisory Committee, its Board and as Board President. She also has worked with Leadership Metro Richmond, of which she is a 1996 graduate. She was named in 1999 by Inside Business Magazine as one of “Richmond’s Top 40 Under 40.” She has served as a volunteer coach for the Richmond Strikers Soccer League and for Destination Imagination, and she teaches aerobics.
For over 16 years, Attorney Mary Catherine Barrett has specialized exclusively in surrogacy and adoption law. Mary Catherine provides compassionate, confidential assistance to young women looking to place their child for adoption, as well as families seeking to adopt domestically. In addition, she has assisted in the complicated process of international adoption with countries including Russia, Brazil, Mexico, Thailand, Morocco, and India.
Her training in surrogacy law began in California in 1992 working with Noel Keane, the “father of surrogate parenting.” She then returned to Ohio to start private practice. She is an Adjunct Professor of Surrogacy and Adoption Law at Case Western Reserve School of Law.
She has successfully assisted in over 300 domestic adoption arrangements. In addition, she has established parental rights for intended parents through surrogacy arrangements in over 10 counties in Ohio where it was a case of first impression. Mary Catherine is a frequent presenter speaking on topics including private placement adoptions, international adoptions, ovum donor legislation, and legality and enforceability of surrogate parenting contracts. Other speaking engagements have included presentations to high schools throughout Ohio, hospitals, churches and support groups. She welcomes the opportunity to educate and inform the community about myths and realities associated with adoption and surrogacy. Mary Catherine has published articles utilized by the Ohio State Bar Association and local bar associations.
Her non-profit involvement has mirrored her law practice, focusing on providing aid and assistance to children in Russian and Brazilian orphanages, coordinating gifts to mothers and children in community shelters, and transporting foreign children for adoption. Mary Catherine Barrett’s professional associations and memberships include American Society of Reproductive Medicine, Ohio Bar Association, Cuyahoga County Bar Association, COSE and Playhouse Square.
Mary Catherine welcomes your questions and encourages you to contact her to discuss your surrogacy and adoption needs.
Attorney Pamela Roberts has been offering legal services and representation in the area of family law in El Dorado County since 1983. Her practice is oriented towards non-adversarial approaches to family law, including mediation and collaborative law, and she also represents individuals in the adversarial process. Pamela is a member of the Sacramento Collaborative Practice Group, the International Academy of Collaborative Practice and a member of Northern California Alternative Dispute Resolution and Collaborative Practice California. She is also a member of the Federation of Family Law Mediators, and is a past president of the El Dorado County Bar Association. Ms. Roberts graduated from Hastings College of the Law in San Francisco in 1980.