Bruce E. Avery, Esquire

Everybody has a special talent, a skill that gives them satisfaction and pleasure. Some are tap dancers, some are prize fighters. I am neither. I help people solve problems.

Over my 30 years of experience in resolving legal conflicts, I have learned and practiced problem-solving techniques that benefit and satisfy both parties without losing sight of my clients’ needs and feelings.

My foundation for this approach comes from my 20 years in the Army. During my five years as an enlisted man, I served as an ombudsman for the residents of lower-enlisted housing areas. The next 15 years I served in the Judge Advocate General’s Corps (JAG), negotiating claims against the Army. Over that time, I successfully resolved disputes both grand and small, from claims brought by US and foreign civilians and local governments (as well as other national governments) against the United States down to neighbor-to-neighbor arguments over parking spaces.

Since 1993, after I retired from the Army, I have restricted my practice to family law, predominantly in Montgomery County, Maryland. First as a solo practitioner and now in partnership with my daughter, Prudence Upton, at Avery & Upton, I have handled hundreds of divorce, child custody, child support, visitation and other family issues, most often bringing them to resolution without the need for a trial.

I am certified as a mediator in both general civil matters and family law, focusing on property and child-related issues. I serve as a facilitator for the Family Law Division of the Montgomery County Circuit Court.

All of these experiences orient me toward Collaborative Practice. In this process, my clients resolve their own problems with their “other parties.” They do this with my help and that of experts in personal finances, child psychology and marriage counseling. Clients who have participated in this process are relieved to work together with their former partners rather than have a result imposed upon them by the judicial system.

I am admitted to practice before the Supreme Court (1984), Supreme Court of Kentucky (1976), Court of Appeals of Maryland (1992), and the DC Court of Appeals (1993), as well as the various US military appeals courts and the Court of Veterans Appeals.

Every year I take several courses, workshops and seminars to learn new skills and sharpen old ones.

I am an Adjunct Professor at the University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law where I co-teach Collaborative Practice to law students. I am a trainer for the Collaborative Practice Training Institute, training practicing professionals in Collaborative Practice. I am a member and Past President of the Collaborative Dispute Resolution Professionals, Inc. (CDRP) and a member of the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals. I am a member of the Maryland State Bar Association, the Kentucky Bar Association, the DC Bar, the American Bar Association, the American Association for Justice, and the Bar Association of Montgomery County.

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Classes & Seminars Taught


  • Basic Collaborative Training, Bridgewater, VA - 2008
  • Interdisciplinary Collaborative Team Training, Columbia, MD, 2009 - Present
  • Law for Non-lawyers, Rockville, MD, 2009 - Present
  • Jumpstarting Your Collaborative Practice (3 times), 2009 - 2010
  • Interdisciplinary Collaborative Team Training, Rockville, MD - 2010
  • Issues in Military Divorce, Rockville, MD, 2010 - Present
  • 30-hour Interest-Based Negotiations for Collaborative Professionals, Natural Bridge, VA - 2011
  • Doctors do it – Why Not Lawyers; Informed Consent, San Francisco, CA - 2011
  • Interdisciplinary Collaborative Team Training, Annapolis, MD, 2011 - 2015
  • Collaborative Law and Practice (law school class), Baltimore, MD 2013 - 2015, 2017, 2019
  • MSBA Fundamentals of Retirement and Pension Orders - Military portion, Columbia, MD, 2013 - Present
  • BAMC Divorce 101 - Process Choices, Rockville, MD, 2015 - 2019
  • Multidisciplinary Collaborative Training, Collaborative Practice Training Institute/MICPEL - 2009
  • Multidisciplinary Collaborative Training, Maryland Administrative Office of Courts/CPTI - 2011
  • Limited Scope Representation, Rockville, MD 2015 and 2017, Frederick, MD - 2016
  • QDROs, What are they..., Military Retirement section, Rockville, MD - 2016
  • Military Retirement and Pensions, Rockville, MD - 2017
  • Military Issues in Family Law, Annapolis, MD - 2018
  • BAMC Litigation Symposium - The Art of Settling Family Law Cases, Rockville, MD - 2018
  • Family Law for Paralegals, Columbia, MD - 2019

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Past Employment


  • Adjunct Professor – Carey School of Law, University of Maryland (2013 - present)
  • Expert Witness – military pension matters, Prince George’s County and Montgomery County Circuit Courts (2010 - present)
  • Trainer – Collaborative Practice Training Institute (2008 - present)
  • Family Law Attorney and Mediator – Rockville, Maryland (1992 - present)
  • Hearing Examiner – District of Columbia Department of Employment Services (1992-1994)
  • Military Service - US Army, Major, July 29, 1971 - September 1, 1991
  • Chief, Claims – V Corps, Frankfurt, Germany (1989-1991)
  • Chief – US Armed Forces Claims Service Korea (1987-1989)
  • Tort Team Chief – US Army Claims Service, Ft. Meade, MD (1984-1987)
  • Region Judge Advocate – US Army Northeast Region Recruiting, Ft. Meade, MD (1980-1983)
  • Assistant Staff Judge Advocate – US Army Japan (1977-1980)
  • Claims Judge Advocate – Ft. Knox, KY (1976-1977) Operated the Affirmative Claims Program for Kentucky, Indiana, and Ohio.

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Professional Associations & Memberships


  • Collaborative Dispute Resolution Professionals, Founding Member and Past President
  • International Academy of Collaborative Professionals
  • Maryland Collaborative Practice Council, Founding Member
  • Kentucky Bar Association
  • Maryland State Bar Association
  • DC Bar
  • American Bar Association
  • American Association for Justice
  • Bar Association of Montgomery County
  • International Legal Society (Tokyo and Seoul)
  • Collaborative Practice Training Institute, Founding Member
  • Collaborative Practice Training Institute, Treasurer
  • Association of Family and Conciliation Courts

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Training Taken


  • Collaborative Practice initial 13-hour training, Rockville MD – 2004
  • MICPEL 40-hour Mediation training, Baltimore, MD – 2005
  • MICPEL 20-hour Custody Mediation training, Baltimore, MD – 2005
  • MICPEL 20-hour Property Mediation training, Baltimore, MD – 2005
  • Taking the War from Our Words, Atlanta, GA – 2007
  • Educating Adults, Fairfax, VA – 2008
  • Harvard Negotiation Project Training, Cambridge, MA – 2008
  • Interdisciplinary Collaborative Team Training, Gaithersburg, MD – 2008
  • Interdisciplinary Collaborative Team Training, Washington, DC – 2009
  • Selecting the Best Collaborative Process – Rockville, MD – 2009
  • IACP Train the Trainer – New Orleans, LA – 2010
  • Collaborative End Game, Himmelstein & Miller – Columbia, MD – 2010
  • Beyond Yes, Fox – Annapolis, MD – 2010
  • Understanding and Managing High Conflict People – Columbia, MD – 2010
  • Delving into Conflict, San Francisco, CA – 2012
  • Unique Approaches in Collaborative Practice, Rockville, MD – 2012
  • Military Family Law, San Antonio, TX – 2012
  • Working with Interests in Collaborative Negotiations, Chicago, IL – 2012
  • Collaborative Conversations on Support, Chicago, IL – 2012
  • Advanced Family Collaborative Law – Strauss Institute, Baltimore, MD – 2013
  • Family Law Mediation – Strauss Institute, Baltimore, MD – 2014
  • STAR Mediation – Strauss Institute, Baltimore, MD – 2015
  • Mandatory Four-Hour Mediation Re-Certification Course, Rockville, MD – 2016
  • Parent Coordination, Rockville, MD – 2016
  • Estates and Trusts Collaborative Training, Annapolis, MD - 2017
  • 56th AFCC Conference, Toronto, ON – 2019
  • Mandatory Four-Hour Mediation Re-Certification Course, Rockville, MD – 2018
  • Mandatory Four-Hour Parent Coordinator Re-Certification Course, Rockville, MD – 2018
  • Mandatory Four-Hour Mediation Re-Certification Course, Rockville, MD – 2019
  • Mandatory Four-Hour Parent Coordinator Re-Certification Course, Rockville, MD – 2019

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Areas of Practice


  • 100% Family Law
  • Collaborative Practice
  • Child Support
  • Visitation Rights
  • Military Divorce
  • Alimony
  • Marital Agreements
  • Marital Property Law
  • Marital Property Settlements
  • Name Changes
  • Post Divorce Modification
  • Spousal Support
  • Mediation
  • Parent Coordination
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Bar Admissions


  • U.S. Supreme Court, 1984
  • Kentucky Supreme Court, 1976
  • Maryland Court of Appeals, 1992
  • District of Columbia Court of Appeals, 1993
  • South Korea, 1989
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces, 1984
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Education


  • University of Louisville School of Law, Louisville, Kentucky
    J.D. - 1976
  • Hobart College, Geneva, New York
    B.A. - 1971
    Major: Sociology
    Major: Political Science
  • U.S. Army Command and General Staff College - 1987
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Honors & Awards


  • Listed in Maryland Super Lawyers, 2008 - 2020
  • Listed in Washington, DC, Super Lawyers, 2008 - 2020
  • Listed in Who's Who in American Law
  • Listed in Who's Who in America
  • Listed in Best Lawyers in America, 2014 - 2020
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Leadership Positions


  • Past President, Collaborative Disputes Resolution Professionals, Inc. (CDRP), 2008 – 2009
  • Board member, CDRP, 2004 – 2008, 2012 – 2013
  • Board member, Maryland Collaborative Practice Council, 2012 – 2013
  • Chairman, Board of Trustees, Pilgrim Church UCC, 1994 – 1997
  • Treasurer, Pilgrim Church UCC, 1997 – 1999
  • Member, Board of Trustees, Pilgrim UCC, 2000 – 2005
  • Treasurer, Collaborative Practice Training Institute, 2013 – present
  • Treasurer, Wheaton Woods Swimming Pool, 2017 – present
  • Role Player, MSBA ADR Section “ADR in a Box,” 2018
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Publications


  • “Specific Child Custody and Support Considerations in Military Family Law Cases,” in Strategies for Military Family Law (Aspartore, 2012)

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