Meet Our Team

Pamela E. Pierson, JD

For forty years Pamela E. Pierson practiced law in San Francisco specializing in family law with an emphasis in complex child custody work. She received numerous honors and awards including being named a Northern California Super Lawyer in 2005, a Best Lawyer in America from 1987 until her retirement in 2015 and the 2014 Northern California American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers Fellow of the year. Pam served on the Kids’ Turn board of directors, was a founder of Rally Family Visitation Services, and for ten years sat on the Board of the Charlotte Maxwell Clinic, an integrative cancer care clinic for low-income women.  Since retiring from the practice of law, Pam has engaged in a variety of volunteer activities, served on the Alameda County 2019-2020 Civil Grant Jury and pursued her career as an artist.  cb20

Hon. Marjorie Slabach (ret.)

Marjorie Slabach, JD, is a Certified Family Law Specialist and retired San Francisco Superior Court Commissioner in the Unified Family Court.  She is now a Private Judge focusing on case management and settlement conferences, although she has also heard trials where necessary.  Prior to her tenure on the bench she worked with teenagers as an English teacher for many years.  She then chose to become a lawyer to represent parents and children.

Marge is a frequent lecturer and panel member educating attorneys and judges in the area of family law.  She is a former board member of the California Chapter of the Association of Family Court Conciliation where she headed a task force to explore alternative models for serving families in the court system.  She is a past President of the Board of Directors of the non-profit agency Overcoming Barriers, an education and service program that intervenes with high conflict families where a child is at risk of losing a relationship with a parent.  She was named the 2010 Judicial Officer of the Year by the Family Law Section of the State Bar of California, the 2008 Judicial Officer of the Year by the Northern California Chapter of the AAML, the 2013 recipient of the Association of Certified Family Law Specialists Outstanding Service to Family Law Award, the AFCC-CA 2018 Drown Award, and the 2018 C. Rick Chamberlin Award from the AAML NorCal. cb20

Jeff Abadie CFP

Jeff Abadie learned the discipline, work ethic, and organization that serve as the foundation for his work at Sand Hill during his time in the U.S. Navy. By combining these skills with his passion for serving others, he helps clients build structure around their financial lives and make the most of their wealth.

As a Senior Wealth Manager, Jeff helps high net worth individuals and families navigate the complexities of life. Never one to shy away from a challenge, Jeff specializes in working with clients who are facing some of the most difficult challenges life can throw at them. He understands the impact major life events like divorce or the death of a loved one can have emotionally, as well as financially. Jeff has worked with many of the Bay Area’s top family law attorneys, helping individuals navigate the financial complexities of the marital dissolution process. An empathetic listener, Jeff has a gift for putting things in perspective, guiding people through these challenges, and empowering them to plan for long-term happiness and success. He got into this business to help people and that’s exactly what he does for Sand Hill clients every day.

When he’s not in the office, Jeff loves to spend time with his wife and son, traveling, cooking, dining out, or hiking in and around the Bay Area, from Point Lobos to Point Reyes. Through his work with those in the legal community, Jeff became involved with Overcoming Barriers, a non-profit that helps families navigate divorce when a child is at risk of losing their relationship with a parent. After all, making a positive impact in people’s lives is what he does best. cb20

Leslie Drozd, PhD

Dr. Drozd is a licensed psychologist and marriage, family, and child therapist and works clinically with families in the various stages of divorce including coparenting therapy, family therapy, reintegration therapy, and parent coordination.

She has been a child custody evaluator for over 25 years, trains other evaluators, serves as a consultant to attorneys, and as a testifying expert in family law matters. She helped write the Association of Family Conciliation Courts Model Standards for conducting child custody evaluations (2006) and guidelines for parenting plan evaluations involving allegations of domestic violence (2016). She has written a myriad of peer-reviewed articles including Is It Abuse, Alienation, and/or Estrangement (2004) and one due to be released next month in Family Court Review, Adaptive and Maladaptive Gatekeeping Behaviors and Attitudes: Implications for Child Outcomes After Separation and Divorce (2017).

Dr. Drozd was the founding editor of the peer-reviewed international Journal of Child Custody (2004-2013), is currently on the editorial board of FCR, has co-edited books on relocation, psychological testing, and child sexual abuse, and has written chapters on domestic violence, treatment of trauma, alienation, step-up parenting plans, and family therapy with families in which a child resists or refuses contact including a Professional Resource Press Book, Parenting Plan & Child Custody Evaluations: Using Decision Trees to Increase Evaluator Competence & Avoid Preventable Errors (2013) and Oxford University Press books, Parenting Evaluations: Applied Research for Family Court (2012 & 2016). She received the Association of Family and Conciliation Court’s John E. Van Duzer distinguished service award in 2013.

Jennifer Joseph, JD

Jennifer E. Joseph is an attorney; however, her practice focuses solely on providing neutral services in family law matters.  Ms. Joseph specializes in helping parents resolve custody, parenting, and co-parenting disputes through her work as a mediator, parenting coordinator, parenting coach, custody evaluator, and SENE (social early neutral evaluation) provider.

Ms. Joseph is a graduate of the University of Minnesota Law School.  In addition to her private ADR practice, she serves as an adjunct professor of family law at Mitchell Hamline School of Law, and provides training through the Mediation Center.  Ms. Joseph presents regularly on family law and ADR issues to professional associations and organizations across the country.  Ms. Joseph is a long-time member of the international Association of Family and Conciliation Courts (AFCC), and begins her term as President of the Minnesota AFCC Chapter in July 2020.  She is honored to serve as Secretary while on the Board of Directors for Overcoming Barriers. cb20

John A. Moran, PhD

John A. Moran, Ph.D. (Jack) is a licensed forensic/clinical psychologist with 35 years of experience serving as a court-appointed expert. He is on the Board of Directors of Overcoming Barriers, Inc., (OCB) and served as clinical director of three OCB residential family camps. He organizes multi-day intensive interventions for families responding to parent child contact problems. He is the author of two books - Overcoming the Coparenting Trap: Essential Skills When a Child Resists a Parent,  and Overcoming the Alienation Crisis: 33 Coparenting Solutions.  He has authored articles and chapters for professional publications and provides training to behavioral health professionals, attorneys and judges at local, regional, and national conferences. He is past president of the Arizona Chapter of the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts.  cb20

 

Marcy Pasternak, PhD

Dr. Marcy Pasternak is a Clinical and Forensic psychologist who practices in Watchung, NJ.  She obtained her doctoral degree in Clinical Psychology at Duke University and is licensed in NJ, NY and VT.  She has an APA Certificate in the Treatment of Alcohol and Other Pscyhoactive Substance Use Disorders. Her practice serves individuals of all ages in both the clinical and forensic arenas, with special interests and areas of expertise in marital/family therapy, divorce therapy, parent coaching, reunification therapy, intensive family interventions for children who resist contact with a parent, and forensic evaluations for custody and parenting time, removal and grandparent visitation , risk assessment, focused evaluations, settlement-based evaluations, and personal injury.  She often serves as a parenting coordinator and is also an accredited divorce mediator. She conducts Intensive Family Interventions through "Building Family Resilience", an outgrowth of her practice.

Dr. Pasternak has trained in collaborative law, and has also trained and led groups at the OCB Family Camp.  Dr. Pasternak has served as a psychological expert in numerous counties in NJ, and as a Clinical Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at Rutgers Medical School.  She is a member of a number or professional organizations, and has given numerous workshops and presentations to the mental health and legal communities. She is the President of the NJ chapter of Association of Family and Conciliation Courts. cb20

Larry Swall, JD

Larry V. Swall is a family law attorney in Liberty, Missouri, with Swall Hutchings & Associates LLC. He also serves as Executive Director of M.A.R.C.H., Inc., (Mediation Achieving Results for Children). His private practice is concentrated in areas of family law and domestic relations, including domestic mediation.  In 2009, Mr. Swall was twice honored by the Missouri Bar Association, first as the Roger Krumm Family Law Practitioner of the Year Award; and , second with the distinguished President's Award for extraordinary service to the Bar.

He is a member of the Missouri Bar Family Law Section, serving as Chair, as well as serving on the Family Law Legislative Review Committee and the CLE Committee. He was Planning Chair for the Missouri Bar Annual Family Law Conference for seven years beginning in 1999; and a member of the Missouri Supreme Court Child Support Guideline Review Committee in 2008 and 2009. He is a member of the Kansas City Metropolitan Bar Association, in both the Family Law Section and Juvenile Law Committee, and the Clay County Bar Association.

Mr. Swall is a past President and founding member of the Missouri Chapter of the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts, serving as Chair of the Parenting Coordination Task Force. He is a member of the American Bar Association Family Law Section, and a General Member of Association of Conflict Resolution.

He is a graduate of the University of Kansas School of Law, 1990, and San Diego State University, BA-Philosophy, 1987. Mr. Swall was formerly a Professor with Drury College (Springfield, Missouri) where he taught in areas of law, including family law, and philosophy, and at Maple Woods Community College (Kansas City, Missouri) in the Department of Social Science, Philosophy.

 

Louise Truax, JD

Attorney Truax has practiced family law throughout her career. She began practicing at Berkowitz & Balbirer in Westport, before founding Lax & Truax, LLC in Fairfield, Connecticut in 1998. She is now a founding partner in the firm of Reich & Truax, PLLC in Southport.

Louise is a member of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers (AAML), a national organization with the top family lawyers from across the country. As a member of AAML, she is active on numerous committees regarding child custody issues, served as Treasurer and CLE chair for the national organization in 2014, ciulminating in the receipt of the Fellow of the Year Award.

Attorney Truax frequently lectures both in Connecticut and across the country regarding family law and child custody issues. She is the General Editor and author of three chapters of Connecticut Family Law, a publication of LexisNexis, which is updated annually. cb20

Overcoming Barriers Advisory Council

Claire N. Barnes, MA

Claire N. Barnes, MA is a recognized national and international non-profit & educational consultant who has devoted her career to helping families improve their circumstances in an ever-changing, complex world. She was the Executive Director of Kids’ Turn (San Francisco, CA) for thirteen years. During her tenure at Kids’ Turn, she was the lead author of The Kids’ Turn Way curriculum and the author of The Kids’ Turn Way, Online. She facilitated replication of Kids’Turn services in Great Britain. She served on the Board of the Euro-Centric International Commission for Couples and Family Relations (ICCFR) for seven years and has recently rejoined the organization; she was also on the Board of Governors of the San Francisco Symphony for seven years.

After four years in Northern Nevada, she and her husband returned to the Bay Area where she volunteers and teaches for  the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (San Francisco State) and has developed curriculum and taught for the Diablo Valley College Community Program. She is on the Board of the Suzie S. Thorn Family Foundation.  In 2016 she published a handbook for grandparents who are navigating the divorce or separation of their adult children.  Her book, I'm Still Your Grandma, I'm Still Your Grandpa, offers practical help to Boomers who struggle with the upheaval of family reorganization.  cb20

 

Robin Deutsch, PhD

Dr. Robin Deutsch, a founding member of Overcoming Barriers.  In 2012 she founded the Center of Excellence for Children, Families and the Law at the William James College (www.williamjames.edu/cffc). For over 20 years she was the Director of Forensic Services and Training at the Children and the Law Program in the Department of Psychiatry at Massachusetts General Hospital and from 1990 until 2012 she was on the faculty of Harvard Medical School, most recently as an Associate Clinical Professor of Psychology.  Dr. Deutsch is Board Certified in Couples and Families (ABPP-CF) and a Fellow of the American Psychological Association.

Dr. Deutsch practices as a Parenting Coordinator, mediator, reunification specialist, and consultant. She teaches extensively to judges, lawyers, mediators, and mental health groups in the US, Canada, Asia and Europe. Continuing to pursue her interest in interdisciplinary approaches to difficult family situations, she has consulted to the Family courts of Massachusetts, Connecticut and Indiana and has published extensively on issues related to attachment, co-parenting after divorce, high conflict divorce, parent-child contact problems, parenting plans, and Parenting Coordination. She is the co-author of 7 Things Your Teenager Won’t Tell You: and How to Talk about Them Anyway (Ballantine, 2005, 2011and co-editor with Abigail Judge, Ph.D. of Overcoming Parent-Child Contact ProblemsFamily-Based Interventions for Children’s Resistance, Rejection, Alienation (Oxford, 2016).

Dr. Deutsch has been involved in leadership roles in multiple organizations and task forces. She was the former President of the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts (AFCC, 2008-2009), of the Massachusetts Chapter of AFCC (2002) and the former Chair of the APA Ethics Committee (2007). She was on the American Psychological Association (APA) task force that developed Guidelines for Parenting Coordinators (2011), the AFCC Task force that developed Guidelines for Court Involved Therapists (2010), and the AFCC-NCJFCJ Task force that developed supplemental Guidelines for Evaluators Examining the Effects of Intimate Partner Violence on Families: A Supplement to the Model Standards of Practice for Child Custody Evaluation (2016). She is currently the Chair, American Psychological Association (APA) Working Group to Review Scientific Literature for High Conflict Family Relationships with Child Involvement.

 She is a 2006 recipient of the American Psychological Association Karl F. Heiser Presidential Award for Advocacy, Association of Family and Conciliation Court’s John E. Van Duzer distinguished service award in 2017, and the Massachusetts Psychological Association Kenneth D. Herman Career Contribution Award in 2018. cb20

For more information visit the website: www.comprehensiveforensicassoc.com

Barbara Jo Fidler, PhD

Barbara Jo Fidler, Ph.D., C.Psych., Acc.FM., FDRP PC. is a clinical developmental psychologist in psrivate practice and founding member of Families Moving Forward. She has worked separating and divorcing families for over 35 years providing mediation, arbitration, parenting coordination, clinical consultations, legal-litigation expert services  and therapy with adults, children, couples and families. Dr. Fidler is guest co-editor of two special issues of the Family Court Review(FCR) on alienation (January 2010 and April 2020). She was on the College of Psychologists of Ontario task force that developed guidance for those engaged in custody/access and child protection work and on the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts (AFCC) task force that developed Guideline for Parenting Coordinators (2019). Dr. Fidler is Past President of AFCC Ontario (2011-2012). She received the AFCC Ontario Distinguished Service President’s Award in October 2015, the FDRIO, Crowe Soberman Award of Excellence in 2017, the AFCC-O 10 in 10 Award of Excellence in Family Justice in 2018), the AFCC John E. VanDuzer Distinguished Service Award in 2019 and the  AFCC Tim Salius President’s Award in 2020. cb20

Matthew Sullivan, PhD

Matthew J. Sullivan, Ph.D. has been in private practice in Palo Alto, California, specializing in forensic and clinical work in the Family Courts for 30 years. He is the author of numerous peer-reviewed articles, book chapters and books on topics related to work in high conflict shared custody situations. He is a pioneer in the development of Parenting Coordination role internationally.

He is the immediate Past President of the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts (AFCC) international organization. He served on the American Psychological Association Ethics Committee from 2016-2018.  He is the co-founder of Overcoming Barriers, Inc., which is a non-profit organization that has developed a variety of innovative programs for high conflict shared custody arrangements.

Dr. Sullivan received the 2012 Joseph Drown award for outstanding service to children by the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts, California chapter.  cb20

For more information his website is sullydoc.com

 

Peggie Ward, PhD

Peggie Ward, PhD is a clinical-forensic psychologist who has specialized in the areas of child sexual abuse, alcohol abuse, and parent alienation for 30 years. Her work is primarily with very high conflict families pre and post separation and divorce where communication between parents has broken down and the children are struggling. She is co-founder of the Co-Parenting Assessment Center, with branches in Natick MA and Bradenton, FL.

Her independent practice focuses on mediation, parenting coordination and reunification therapy, where a child resists contact with a parent. She applies her work in child development research and parental communication and conflict to her mediation and parenting coordination practice. Dr. Ward has held appointments at Tufts Medical School and Harvard Medical School. Prior to establishing the Co-Parenting Assessment Center she was a Senior Clinician in the Children and the Law Program at Massachusetts General Hospital where she supervised post-doctoral fellows, taught in the training program and evaluated a variety of cases dealing with trauma from sexual and physical abuse. Dr. Ward’s primary practice is now located in Bradenton, Florida, where she is a Certified Supreme Court Family Mediator and a Certified Parenting Coordinator.   Dr. Ward was appointed to several interdisciplinary committees in the state of Massachusetts, prior to her move to Florida including the Committee to write the Guardian ad Litem Standards, the Committee to write the Parenting Plan Guidelines and the Committee to create the Model Parenting Plan Guidelines.

She also served on the Interdisciplinary Settle Conference committee, which paired an attorney and a psychologist to volunteer in the Courts to attempt to resolve high conflict cases prior to trial. She is an active member of AFCC in MA and in FL and has served on the AFCC MA Board of Directors for 8 years as well as Chaired the AFCC MA Conference committee for many years. She has published articles in the NH Bar Journal and in Family Court Review on the topic of parental alienation. She is a frequent presenter at AFCC International Conferences as well as an invited presenter at Judicial Conferences in MA. Dr. Ward is a founding member of Overcoming Barriers.

Jane Williams

Jane is a financial professional in California.  As Chair and co-founder, Jane Williams advances the business development goals and advises on the strategic direction of Sand Hill Global Advisors. Jane participates in industry panels and organizations dealing with topics of best business practices; she is a member of the Fidelity Investment Advisors’ Council, and is Vice Chair of the Board of Governors of the Investment Adviser Association (IAA) and a Chair of the Government Affairs Committee.

With over 40 years of experience in the investment field, Jane is recognized as an expert for the work she has done with individuals – particularly women – and couples in financial transition. Serving the family court as a qualified expert in several San Francisco Bay Area counties, she testifies on topics ranging from prudent investment strategies, rate of return, and related financial topics.
 Jane has been active in a variety of non-profit efforts during her career. Currently, Jane serves on the Advisory Board for Ravenswood Family Health Center in East Palo Alto, and is a member of the Palo Alto Medical Foundation Philanthropy Advisors Council.

Jane holds a BS in Economics from Boston University where she was a member of the Economics Honor Society.

Read more at Sand Hill Global Advisors website: http://www.sandhillglobaladvisors.com/content/our-team

Hon. Charlotte Woolard (ret.)

Hon. Charlotte Walter Woolard is a California based mediator, arbitrator and private judge with 22 years of judicial experience in multiple civil and family law departments. She held several positions in court leadership as Supervising Judge of the Unified Family Court and Presiding Judge of the Appellate Division. Prior to her appointment on the bench, Judge Woolard was a civil litigator at a major national law firm. The cumulative experience from her diverse judicial and civil litigation background has made Judge Woolard one of the most successful judges in resolving disputes across many areas of law.

More on Judge Woolard here: http://www.adrservices.org/neutrals/charlotte-woolard.php