Barbara A. Babb Author of Evaluating Organization Development
FEATURED AUTHOR

Barbara A. Babb

Associate Professor, University of Baltimore School of Law and Director
Sayra and Neil Meyerhoff Center for Families, Children and Courts

An expert in family justice and court reform, Professor Babb advocates for the creation of unified family courts and a holistic approach to family law through the application of therapeutic jurisprudence and the ecology of human development. A family law professor for 30 years, she has created the only Post-J.D. Certificate in Family Law in the U.S. and directs the program. She is editor-in-chief of the Family Court Review, the leading academic and research journal for family law professionals.

Biography

Professor Barbara A. Babb is Associate Professor, University of Baltimore School of Law, and the founder/director of the Sayra and Neil Meyerhoff Center for Families, Children and the Courts (CFCC).

Babb joined the UB faculty after several years as an attorney in private practice and as managing attorney for the Legal Aid Bureau in Baltimore. She teaches several courses in the family law area, including Family Law, Child and the Family, and the CFCC Student Fellows Program. Babb has led the design and development of the nation's only Post-J.D. Certificate in Family Law, and she directs the program.

Professor Babb's scholarship focuses on an interdisciplinary, holistic approach to family law through the application of therapeutic jurisprudence, the ecology of human development, and the creation of unified family courts.

In addition to co-authoring (with Judith Moran) Caring for Families in Court: An Essential Approach to Family Justice, Babb has written extensively on family law issues, including in the Southern California Law Review, Indiana Law Journal, Family Law Quarterly, Family Court Review, Journal of Health Care Law and Policy and the Maryland Bar Journal, among others. Babb is a frequent presenter at the national and international levels on unified family courts, family justice system reform, and family law decision-making.

In 2016, the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts (AFCC) appointed Professor Babb editor-in-chief of the Family Court Review , the leading interdisciplinary academic and research journal for family law professionals. Babb has served on the Review’s editorial board since 1999, has written numerous articles, and has guest-edited three special issues.

Babb is an Advisory Board member of the Institute for the Advancement of the American Legal System’s (IAALS) Family Justice Program. She also serves on the Curriculum Committee of the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges (NCJFCJ). She is a past Chair and current Executive Committee Member of the Family and Juvenile Law Section of the Association of American Law Schools (AALS), and she has co-chaired the In House Clinics Committee of the AALS Section on Clinical Legal Education.

Babb has served as a member of the Family and Juvenile Law Section Council of the Maryland State Bar Association and has co-chaired the Family Courts Committee of the American Bar Association's (ABA) Section of Family Law. She has served as an Advisory Council member and member of the ABA's Standing Committee on Substance Abuse and has participated in that committee's model national unified family court project.

Leading CFCC’s consulting and technical assistance work, Babb has participated in court and law reform projects in Maryland, nationally, and internationally. She is a co-founder of the court based program to assist self-represented family law litigants that currently operates in all of Maryland's Circuit Courts. Babb has served as a consultant to Chief Judge Robert C. Murphy's Family Division Review Committee and to the Court of Appeals of Maryland's Standing Committee on Rules of Practice and Procedure to draft the Family Division Rule.  She also has served on Chief Judge Robert M. Bell's Ad Hoc Committee on the Implementation of the Family Divisions. CFCC recently has completed a comprehensive feasibility study for the Nebraska Judicial Branch to determine whether and how to implement a Unified Family Court pilot project in Douglas County, the state’s largest jurisdiction.

The recipient of numerous awards throughout her career, Babb most recently was awarded the 2015 Stanley Cohen Distinguished Research Award by the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts (AFCC).  She was designated a Human Rights and Justice Champion by Maryland Legal Aid in 2011.

Areas of Research / Professional Expertise

    Clinical Legal Education/Experiential Learning
    Child Advocacy
    Family Law
    Family Justice System Reform
    Interdisciplinary Scholarship and Teaching
    Therapeutic Jurisprudence
    Unified Family Courts

Books

Featured Title
 Featured Title - Caring for Families in Court, Babb & Moran - 1st Edition book cover

Articles

Indiana Law Journal, Vol. 72, p. 775, 1997

An Interdisciplinary Approach to Family Law Jurisprudence: Application of an Ecological and Therapeutic Perspective


Published: May 07, 2019 by Indiana Law Journal, Vol. 72, p. 775, 1997
Authors: Barbara A. Babb
Subjects: Education, Criminology and Criminal Justice, Health and Social Care, Law

This article proposes an interdisciplinary approach based on an ecological and therapeutic jurisprudential paradigm to resolve family legal proceedings. An ecological approach considers factors beyond conceptions of the family. This approach urges decision-makers to account for the "family ecology," the institutions within which family members participate, such as neighborhoods and religious organizations.

Family Court Review

Another Look at the Need for Family Law Education Reform: One Law School's Innovations


Published: Jan 24, 2017 by Family Court Review
Authors: Barbara A. Babb
Subjects: Education, Health and Social Care, Law

The pressing need to change family law education stems from increased numbers and types of family law matters before the courts, changing legal standards, and the evolution of family law practice. This article describes a Post-JD certificate program implemented by the University of Baltimore School of Law that reflects a holistic blend of theory and practice.

Trends in State Courts: Special Focus on Family Law and Court Communications

Maryland's Family Divisions are a Model for Change


Published: Jun 22, 2016 by Trends in State Courts: Special Focus on Family Law and Court Communications
Authors: Barbara A. Babb, Gloria Danziger, Michele Hong-Polansky
Subjects: Education, Criminology and Criminal Justice, Health and Social Care, Law

Through the leadership and dedication of former Chief Judge Robert M. Bell, in 1998 the judges of the Maryland Court of Appeals signed Maryland Rule 16-204 which created family divisions in the circuit courts of Maryland’s five largest jurisdictions and transformed how Maryland courts handle family law cases. This article reviews how the Family Divisions have transformed family law cases in Maryland courts.

Family Court Review

Family Courts are Here to Stay, So Let's Improve Them


Published: Oct 24, 2014 by Family Court Review
Authors: Barbara A. Babb
Subjects: Education, Criminology and Criminal Justice, Health and Social Care, Law

This article is an invited response to a White Paper of the Institute for the Advancement of the American Legal System's Honoring Families Initiative which explores many topics, including family court functions, the limitations of the adversary process, the effects of divorce and separation on children and parents, and court and community collaborations, among others. This article focuses on the family court itself - its mission, its function, and its structure.

University of Baltimore School of Law Sayra and Neil Meyerhoff Center for Families, Children and the Courts

Families Matter: Recommendations to Improve Outcomes for Children and Families in Court


Published: Jun 06, 2014 by University of Baltimore School of Law Sayra and Neil Meyerhoff Center for Families, Children and the Courts
Authors: Barbara A. Babb, Gloria Danziger
Subjects: Education, Criminology and Criminal Justice, Health and Social Care, Law

The Families Matter Initiative was designed as a major, multi-year undertaking to develop legal practice methods and approaches to reduce the destructive consequences of the family legal process. The initiative began with a two-day symposium to consider, “How do we radically transform a family court system from one that disrupts and tears apart families to one that helps heal them?” This monograph provides a summary of recommendations.

Encyclopedia of Criminology and Criminal Justice

Therapeutic Jurisprudence


Published: Nov 21, 2013 by Encyclopedia of Criminology and Criminal Justice
Authors: Barbara A. Babb, David B. Wexler
Subjects: Education, Criminology and Criminal Justice, Health and Social Care, Law

Therapeutic jurisprudence is a lens through which to examine the effects of substantive laws, legal rules, Iegal procedures, and the behavior of legal actors, including judges, lawyers, court personnel, and service providers, on the psychological and emotional well being of justice system participants, including the Iegal actors themselves. This chapter discusses therapeutic jurisprudence and its practice.

Southern California Law Review, Vol. 71, March 1998, Number 3

Fashioning an Interdisciplinary Framework for Court Reform in Family Law: A Blueprint to Construct a Unified Family Court


Published: Mar 01, 1998 by Southern California Law Review, Vol. 71, March 1998, Number 3
Authors: Barbara A. Babb
Subjects: Criminology and Criminal Justice, Sociology & Social Policy, Law

This article evaluates how America's courts adjudicate family law matters and advocates systemic change by offering an interdisciplinary ecological and therapeutic approach to the creation of unified family courts.

Photos