Lawrence W. Kaplan (ret.)
Judge Lawrence W. Kaplan joined Rothman Gordon in 2009 after serving 30 years on the bench in the Family Division of the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County. In October 2008, he was named Family Division Judge Emeritus by the Allegheny County Family Division for his 30 years of dedicated service. A trail blazer in the use of mediation as an alternative to custody litigation, the Judge now mediates and arbitrates family law, estates & trusts, and complex commercial disputes as a member of Rothman Gordon’s ADR Practice Group.
Judge Kaplan served on the Board of Directors of the Academy of Family Mediators (l982-1987) and is the founder and president emeritus of the Mediation Council of Western Pennsylvania. He also served on the editorial board of The Mediation Quarterly for over five years. To honor his contributions to the field of mediation, in 2004 the annual Lawrence W. Kaplan Lecture in Conflict Resolution was initiated through the combined sponsorship of the Allegheny County Bar Association’s Alternative Dispute Resolution Committee, the Pittsburgh Mediation Center and the Mediation Council of Western Pennsylvania.
Before being appointed to the bench in 1978, Judge Kaplan served as a trust officer of the former Western Pennsylvania National Bank and later joined Kaufman & Harris where he practiced in tax, estate and business matters.
Judge Kaplan has been a featured lecturer for The American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law, the American Orthopsychiatric Association, the ABA, the ACBA, and the PA Bar Institute on a variety of aspects of domestic relations law, especially child custody and mediation as an alternative to custody litigation in the courtroom. He was a recipient of the Parent and Child Guidance Center’s 1987 “Kids Need Heroes Award” for his efforts in this regard. In 1987 he was presented with the Domestic Relations Association of Pennsylvania’s Robert Stewart Award for his outstanding contributions in the domestic relations field, in 1998, its Lifetime Achievement Award and in 2005, its President’s Award, for outstanding service in the field of child support. In 1993 the National Children’s Rights Council presented him with its Chief Justice Warren E. Burger “Healer” Award for his national leadership in recognizing the rights of children to both parents. He has authored the following articles: “The Child Advocate in Custody Litigation,” (PBI Publication #1990-601); “Report on Divorce Mediation in Pennsylvania,” The Pennsylvania Lawyer, June 1987; and co-edited the 1990 summer issue of The Family Advocate, the ABA’s Family Law Section Journal. His article, “Stay Out of Court” appeared in this issue, Divorce: A Handbook for Clients. Another article, dealing with gender bias, “When the Court Compounds the Problem,” was published in The Family Advocate‘s 1994 summer edition.
Judge Kaplan is a past chairman of the Family Court Section of the PA Conference of State Trial Judges. A Fellow of the American, Pennsylvania, and Allegheny County Bar Foundations and the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, Judge Kaplan is a member of the Allegheny County Bar Association (ACBA) (Past Chairman, Law Day Committee), Family Law Section, Council on Professionalism, Pro Bono Implementation, Alternative Dispute Resolution; American Bar Association (ABA) (Executive Member, Courts and the Community Committee of the Judicial Administration Section; Family Law Section) and Pennsylvania Bar Association (PBA) (past member, House of Delegates, past chairman, Alternative Dispute Resolution Committee, Family Law Section, Review and Certifying Board). He currently serves as a member of Changing the Culture of Custody Committee of the Commission for Justice Initiatives in Pennsylvania. In 2003, the PBA Family Law Section presented him with the Eric Turner Memorial Award for his service to the Commonwealth’s Family Law Practitioners as Mentor and Friend. In 1999, the ACBA awarded him its prestigious Philip Werner Amram Award for his active participation in the affairs of the ACBA and its Bench-Bar Conference and for his having successfully combined the practice of law with outstanding service to the community. In 2003 he received the University of Pittsburgh School of Law’s Distinguished Alumni Award. In 2004, the ACBA and the Family Law Section recognized his twenty-five years of service on the bench and a lifetime of service to the community by the installation of his portrait in the Family Law Center.
In addition, Judge Kaplan currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Pennsylvania Bar Institute (President 1996-97) and formerly, the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts (President, 1988-89). He also served on the Judicial Advisory Committee of the Office of Child Support Enforcement of the U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services and the Pennsylvania Futures Commission and currently is on the Pennsylvania General Assembly’s Joint State Government Commission’s Advisory Committee on Domestic Relations Law.
Active in the community, Judge Kaplan serves on the boards of Alpha House, Carriage House Children’s Center, and Pittsburgh Parental Stress Center. He also serves on the advisory boards of Contact Pittsburgh, Bethlehem Haven, Pittsburgh Area Jewish Committee and WQED Multimedia. He received his B.A. from the University of Pennsylvania and his J.D. from the University of Pittsburgh School of Law.
Pennsylvania, Washington D.C.
Alternative Dispute Resolution
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