Trauma-Informed Advocacy: Practical Advice for Representing Victims of Trauma in the Legal System – A01


   The President’s Track

   Session A: 9:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.




About the Program
This seminar will provide legal professionals with an understanding of issues facing individuals who have experienced trauma and how the legal system can advocate for them in a way that helps ensure they are not victimized by the legal process and justice is served. Legal professionals will learn to approach advocacy from a multi-disciplinary perspective, develop skills to implement into their own legal practices, and identify trauma-informed resources in their communities. 

 You Will Learn

  • The effects of trauma on the mind and body and identify the legal systems in which lawyers may encounter individuals who have experienced trauma 
  • About issues related to ethics, competency, confidentiality, and zealous advocacy through a trauma-informed lens 
  • How to integrate trauma-focused client services into various courtroom settings 

Angela C. Schlingheyde, The Center for Family Justice, Inc., Bridgeport    

Angela Schlingheyde, J.D., Director of Civil Legal & Court Advocacy Services, oversees and coordinates all client requests for civil legal services, including, but not limited to, family law, immigration law, housing law, and ensuring that privacy and constitutional rights are protected. Additionally, she oversees the management of the Criminal and Civil Court programs, as well as all public policy and legislative advocacy efforts. In her efforts to address the significant justice gap in Connecticut, Angela spearheaded the Justice Legal Center, CT’s first legal incubator program to assist attorneys in building sustainable law practices dedicated to representing low to moderate income clients. The Justice Legal Center became operational on January 17, 2017. Currently, through her work at The Center for Family Justice, Angela is working on developing a Pro Bono Legal program to assist victims of abuse in family court. Angela began her career 21 years ago as an Assistant State Attorney in Miami-Dade County, Florida, specifically handling cases involving Domestic Violence, Sexual Violence, and Child Abuse.

Angela graduated from Hofstra University School of Law with a Juris Doctor in 1998. She completed her undergraduate work at Boston College with a B.A. in English and Women Studies in 1995.  

Hon. John A. Danaher III
, Connecticut Superior Court, Litchfield 

In March 2010, Governor M. Jodi Rell nominated John A. Danaher III to serve as a Judge of the Connecticut Superior Court.  His nomination was confirmed by the House of Representatives and thereafter by the Senate on May 5, 2010.  On May 10, 2010, he was sworn in as a Judge of the Superior Court.  He is currently assigned to the Litchfield seat of court.  Since his appointment, Judge Danaher has authored more than two hundred and fifty opinions. 

Judge Danaher has served as an instructor at the Connecticut Judges’ Institute in 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2017.  In 2013 he was appointed to serve as a member of the Judicial Department Education Committee.  In 2014, Chief Justice Chase Rogers appointed Judge Danaher to represent the Judicial Branch as co-chairman of the Advisory Council for Victims of Crime.  In August 2014, Chief Justice Rogers appointed  Judge Danaher to the position of Administrative Judge for the Judicial District of Litchfield.   In 2015, Judge Danaher was appointed to serve as a member of the Civil Jury Instruction Committee.

Judge Danaher is a contributing author in “Connecticut Criminal Procedure,” a treatise published in September 2015.  Judge Danaher is the author of Chapter 10, “Right to Counsel,” in that treatise.

Alice M. Forrester, Clifford Beers Clinic, New Haven 

Alice M. Forrester, PhD, is chief executive officer at Clifford Beers Clinic (New Haven, CT).  That agency is featured in the documentary Resilience: The Biology of Stress and the Science of Hope (2016) produced by KPJR Films and directed by Jamie Redford.  Under Dr. Forrester’s leadership, the agency provides integrated services to address mental health, physical health and social determinants of health.  

Forrester is widely viewed as a thought leader in her field.  She has served on multiple local, state and national councils including the National Child Traumatic Stress Network Steering Committee, the State of Connecticut Behavioral Health Partnership Oversight Council, the Tow Youth Justice Institute Advisory Council, the Sandy Hook (CT) Commission, and the City of New Haven Substance Abuse Council.  She is sought by government officials to inform policy and implement change, e.g., Forrester was appointed by Gov. Dannel Malloy to the Sandy Hook Commission following the 12/14/12 mass shooting tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School (Newtown, CT).  She was specifically asked to investigate and recommend changes to child mental health delivery systems via early intervention and prevention. 

Forrester has traveled the nation addressing vast and varied audiences – from New York City public school physicians to religious leaders in Lake Forest, California – on topics such as trauma, resiliency, the framework for school-based/trauma-informed change, quality management, and integrated care.  She has designed and is overseeing a team at the Clinic dedicated to helping schools implement a trauma-informed framework for change at the district-wide level.  

Dr. Forrester holds an MA from New York University (drama therapy) and a PhD from Fielding University (clinical psychology).  She resides in New Haven with her partner and their three adopted children, Elisabeth, Daniel and Camille. 

Miriam Gohara, Yale Law School, New Haven

Miriam Gohara is a Clinical Associate Professor of Law at Yale Law School. Before joining the Yale Law School faculty, Professor Gohara spent sixteen years representing death-sentenced clients in post-conviction litigation, first as assistant counsel at the NAACP Legal Defense Fund (LDF) and then as a specially designated federal public defender with the Federal Capital Habeas Project. Professor Gohara has litigated cases in state and federal courts around the United States, including the United States Supreme Court. At LDF, she also spearheaded the Mississippi Gideon Project, a policy and public education campaign which aimed to establish a quality statewide public defender system and became a model for indigent defense reform efforts nationally.

Professor Gohara teaches and writes about capital and non-capital sentencing, incarceration, and the historical and social forces implicated in culpability and punishment.

Professor Gohara is a member of the board of trustees of the Neighborhood Defender Service of Harlem. She is a graduate of Harvard Law School and Columbia University.

Maria Morelli-Wolfe, Greater Hartford Legal Aid Inc., Hartford

Maria Morelli-Wolfe has been a staff attorney at Greater Hartford Legal Aid (GHLA) since 1997.  GHLA’s mission is “to achieve equal justice for poor people, to work with clients to promote social justice, and to address the effects and root causes of poverty.”  During her early years at GHLA, Maria practiced disability, family, employment, housing, and child protection law.  For the past 14 years, Maria’s work has focused on education, representing families of children with disabilities to enforce their rights to a free appropriate public education and related services, compensatory educational services, and due process in school discipline. 

Maria has served at the CLE Liaison for the Education Section of the Connecticut Bar Association since late 2017.

Prior to GHLA, Maria worked as a research for the Connecticut Superior Court.   She obtained her J.D., cum laude, in 1996 from The Washington College of Law at American University, where she served as Editor in Chief of the Journal of International Law & Policy.  Prior to law school, Maria was a full-time volunteer for a year in East Harlem, New York in a small social service and home health care agency.  She obtained her B.A. from Yale University.

Stacey Forrest, Justice Resource InstituteThompson

Stacey Forrest, M.Ed., is currently the Assistant Executive Director of Justice Resource Institute’s Connecticut Division, and oversees the provision of services to children, adolescents, and families in that division, including at the Susan Wayne Center of Excellence residential center and River Run Academy Clinical Day School. Stacey has been with JRI for thirteen years, and as an experienced administrator in mental health and special education settings, Stacey maintains a special focus on organizational change initiatives, including transitioning programs and schools to more trauma-informed practices, as well as the implementation of the Attachment, Self-Regulation, and Competency (ARC) model. She has also played key roles in staff development initiatives, as well as the creation of an agency-wide, trauma-based intervention model, called “Building Communities of Care.” As a training faculty for The Trauma Center at JRI, Stacey provides training to organizations seeking to adopt trauma-informed treatment models, as well as presents on this topic nationwide.


CLE Credit: 2.0 Hours (CT: 2.0 Ethics; NY: 2.0 Ethics)