In 1989, Karen Lane, a California attorney who specialized in adoption law, had the foresight to create a national organization for the adoption bar to address the unique concerns and problems of this narrow area of law. The original purposes of the organization were to improve the adoption bar through the sharing of knowledge and ethical guidelines, to form a referral network of experienced adoption attorneys across the country, and to better the adoption industry through regulatory, legislative, and judicial advocacy.
With these goals in mind, Ms. Lane contacted four other established adoption attorneys – Mark McDermott, Rita Meiser, Linda Nunez, and Lucille Rosenstock – to recruit adoption attorneys in different parts of the country. In May of 1990, 90 such attorneys were invited to attend an initial conference in Scottsdale, Arizona, wherein the American Academy of Adoption Attorneys (“AAAA”) was established and Karen Lane was voted its first president.
For the first 20 years, the organization focused solely on issues involving adoption law, setting the bar for ethical adoption practices and promoting reform of adoption laws. In 2009, recognizing that a growing number of its attorneys were also on the forefront of assisted reproductive technology (“ART”) law, AAAA added this area of law to its mission and the American Academy of Assisted Reproductive Technology Attorneys (“AAARTA”) was established as a specialty division of AAAA.
In 2017, Fellows of AAAA and AAARTA voted to merge the organizations and adopted a unified name: the Academy of Adoption and Assisted Reproduction Attorneys (still known as “AAAA”). The new name reflects AAAA’s international reach and unites the two areas of family formation – adoption and ART – into one academy.
AAAA remains a credentialed, non-profit organization of attorneys, judges, and law professionals dedicated to the competent and ethical practice of adoption and ART law. There are approximately 470 Fellows throughout the United States and the world, and the number continues to grow. Despite its tremendous growth, the mission of AAAA – to advocate for laws and policies to protect the best interests of children, the legal status of families formed through adoption and assisted reproduction, and the rights of all interested parties – continues to embrace Karen Lane’s initial vision for the organization.
AAAA would like to thank and honor its Founders and Charter Fellows. We are indebted to you for your foresight and initiative.
D. Durand Cook
Susan Garner Eisenman
J. Eric Gustafson
Did You Know?
The American Academy of Adoption Attorneys (“AAAA”) and its specialty division, the American Academy of Assisted Reproductive Technology Attorneys (“AAARTA”) were unified in 2017 under one name: The Academy of Adoption and Assisted Reproduction Attorneys. The new name represents the organization’s evolution as one Academy of attorneys guiding, advocating, and protecting all parties in adoption and assisted reproduction matters.