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When it comes to litigating international child abduction cases, Kilpatrick Stockton wrote the book. More than two dozen of the Atlanta firm’s lawyers authored a training manual that provides the legal tools attorneys need to effectively represent a parent whose child has been taken to a foreigncountry without his or her permission. Released last fall, the guide was written for the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, a regular recipient of the firm’s pro bono services. It was the brainchild of associate ChadV. Theriot, who wished he’d had such a reference book when he was assisting managing partner William E. Dorris with a child abduction case. A team of Kilpatrick associates, summer staff and partners worked with Susan Rohol, the center’s general counsel, over the course of two years in researching and writing the manual. Its topicsinclude how to establish a prima facie case for a child’s return, affirmative defenses and procedural issues. The manual, Litigating International Child Abduction Cases Under the Hague Convention, is available at no charge at www.missingkids.com. Thousands of people have already downloaded the manual. Kilpatrick Stockton footed the bill to print several hundred copies in book form and burn 500 CDs to aid lawyers who litigate cases for thecenter. About 50 Kilpatrick attorneys have donated their time since 2002 to assist the National Center. They have taken on 26 abduction cases, resulting so far in the return of 15 minors to parents fromwhom they’d been involuntarily separated. The firm has donated more than 5,500 hours valued at $1.5 million, said Debbie Segal, Kilpatrick’s pro bono partner. The firm volunteers for international child abduction cases at the behest of the National Center, which has been designated by the U.S. Department of State to handle them. These cases are oftencomplicated by difficulties in communicating, distance, impoverished clients and intense feelings, said Segal, a former legal aid attorney who is the connection between the center and the firm. “You’re talking about a parent in another country who probably has a language barrier and a $2,000 or $10,000 annual income,” she said. “You’ve got a person isolated in a foreign country,and their child or children are here. It’s just wildly compelling. It’s not about money. You really feel like you’re making a difference.” Dorris, who specializes in construction litigation, volunteers each year to represent a parent desperate to be reunited with his or her child. Last year, he helped a distraught Mexican father whoseteenage daughter was living in Atlanta. The teen’s mother refused to return to Mexico with the girl following a monthlong vacation in Georgia. Dorris’ client, a self-employed jewelry maker, spoke noEnglish and could not afford an attorney. When a federal judge ruled in the father’s favor, the man wept in relief. “It was as emotionally charged a situation as one could imagine,” Dorris said. “These cases stay with you. You’re dealingwith such raw emotions.” In addition to effectively managing the legal aspects of child abduction cases, Kilpatrick Stockton arranges logistics � including hotel rooms, international airfare, transportation andtranslators � and covers their cost. “Kilpatrick Stockton always goes 110%,” says Rohol of the National Center. “They make it possible for the cases to move forward on the merits without the logistics throwing things off.” Segal estimates that the firm has spent as much as $150,000 on support, which includes paying for clients’ groceries, open-ended airline tickets and cellphones that parents can use while inthe United States. Rohol also praised pro bono work done by Stephen J. Cullen, a partner in Baltimore-based Miles & Stockbridge’s Towson, Md., office. Cullen has handled more than 60 cases for the center, Roholsaid.

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