Michael Katz practices exclusively family/child welfare law and education law. Michael has dedicated his professional career to assisting families navigate the often complex and emotionally challenging child welfare and education law arenas. Michael strongly believes that his clients need to be knowledgeable about legal issues directly impacting their families so that they can be empowered to make decisions that best meet the needs of their families.
Michael has been involved with issues relating to child welfare for the past twenty years both as an educator and an attorney. Michael grew up in Baltimore County and attended Boys’ Latin School. After high school he attended Towson State University graduating with a degree in Elementary Education. Throughout college, Michael worked each summer with cognitively challenged youth and continues to this day to volunteer with various organizations that assist mentally and cognitively limited youth. He began his professional career as a teacher of special education students in Baltimore County and then as an elementary school teacher in Baltimore City before entering law school. While Michael thoroughly enjoyed his teaching experience, he felt that he could better serve children as a legal advocate.
Michael graduated Magna Cum Laude, in the top 10% of his class, from the University of Baltimore Law School. While in law school he completed various internships with private and public agencies that centered on child welfare issues including Legal Aid’s Child Advocacy Unit and Advocates for Children and Youth. Upon being admitted to the Maryland Bar, Michael accepted employment as an Assistant Public Defender with the Office of the Public Defender, Child in Need of Assistance Division. This position allowed Michael to fully develop his litigation skills, foster relationships with court personnel and provided the opportunity to observe the positive impact an experienced, knowledgeable, pro-active attorney can have on the life of a child.
After three years of employment with the Office of the Public Defender, Michael accepted a position as staff attorney with the Law Office of Darlene A. Wakefield, P.A. For the last nine years, Michael has served first as Supervising Attorney then as Managing Attorney. Over the past nineteen years, the Law Office of Darlene A. Wakefield, P.A., through contracts with the state of Maryland, has been the second largest provider of legal advocacy services for abused/neglected children, representing well over twenty-five thousand children. Michael has represented over a thousand children and continues to represent parents in child welfare cases as he believes he brings a unique perspective to parents regarding how their actions affect their children.
Michael has received certification to serve both as a Court Appointed Child’s Counsel in family law cases and as a mediator in Maryland Courts. Michael also represents parents in education matters as he has extensive experience advocating at Individual Education Plan Meetings and Due Process hearings. Education advocacy allows Michael to advocate for the services children need to be successful. Michael strongly believes that regardless of the socio-economic environment in which a child is raised, education truly is the key to a successful future for all children.
Michael and his extended family reside in Baltimore County. Michael is an avid sports fan who was fortunate to be able to attend the Raven’s victorious Super Bowl win. He also enjoys animals, traveling and volunteer work with children’s organizations.
Michael’s Practice Areas:
- Child Welfare Law (CINA/TPR)
- Education Law Committee
- Third Party Custody Cases
- Court-Appointed Counsel for Children
- Guardianship of Minors
Michael’s Professional Associations :
- Maryland State Bar Association
- Baltimore City Model Court Master/Family
- Baltimore City Model Court Mediation Committee
- National Association of Counsel for Children
- Maryland Foster Youth Resource Center
- Baltimore City Health Advisory Committee
Michael Supports the Following Organizations:
- Baltimore Montessori Public Charter School
- Advocates for Children and Youth
- Jemicy School
- Boys’ Latin School
- Alzheimer’s Association
- Maryland Legal Aid
- Defender of Animal Rights, Inc.
- American Cancer Society
- Special Olympics