The 2017 Wells Lecture


The 13th Annual Wells Lecture on Adoption Law was held on February 8, 2017 at Capital University Law School and was a great success! Professor Joshua B. Kay, a clinical assistant professor of law and director of the Veterans Legal Clinic at the University of Michigan,  presented on the topic of “Applying the Americans with Disabilities Act in Child Protection Proceedings". He explained that frequently, disabled parents are confronted with attempts by the state to terminate their parental rights, despite the fact that by targeting support services government agencies could often improve the parenting prospects of the disabled.   He urged family law practitioners and jurists to use the Americans with Disabilities Act to impel agencies to provide much-needed support to parents whose mental and physical disabilities might otherwise render them unable to care for their children.  Adam Helbling, a motivational speaker, life coach, and the author of the autobiography, "Well... I Guess I'm Not Jesus," shared his story, which demonstrated that those who encounter serious disabilities are capable of living rich lives, including caring for and bonding with children.

Thank  you to Dorman Law, the Wells Family, Capital University Law School, especially Dean Janutis and The Law Review for their generous support.

Wells Lecture



Joshua B. Kay, J.D., Ph.D.
Clinical Assistant Professor
University of Michigan Law School
Child Advocacy Law Clinic
Director, Veterans Legal Clinic

Joshua B. Kay, J.D., Ph.D.

Adam Helbling
Motivational Speaker
Life Coach
Author of the book entitled:
"Well... I Guess I'm Not Jesus"


Adam Helbling

  TOPIC: “The Americans with Disabilities Act: legal and practical applications in child protection proceedings.”

Joshua B. Kay Bio: Professor Joshua B. Kay, is a clinical assistant professor of law and director of the Veterans Legal Clinic at the University of Michigan Law School. He also has taught extensively in the Child Advocacy Law Clinic and Child Welfare Appellate Clinic. Professor Kay has litigated numerous cases in trial courts, the Michigan Court of Appeals, and the Michigan Supreme Court. His primary interests focus on the intersection of disability and various civil legal issues, including family law and child protection. He earned his BA with high honors and Phi Beta Kappa from Oberlin College, where he received the R.H. Stetson Award in Psychology and Psychobiology. He then earned his MA and PhD in psychology from the University of Michigan, where he was a Regents' Fellow. Prior to earning his JD, cum laude, from Michigan Law, he served as an assistant professor of physical medicine and rehabilitation at the University of Michigan Medical School, where he studied the cognitive and developmental impacts of pediatric traumatic brain injury and was an attending psychologist and member of the ethics committee at C.S. Mott Children's Hospital. He also taught courses in clinical assessment and supervised the clinical work of graduate students in the Department of Psychology. After law school, Professor Kay joined Michigan Protection and Advocacy Service as a Skadden Fellow, receiving a certificate of appreciation for his representation of parents with disabilities in child welfare matters from the University of Michigan Council for Disability Concerns. READ MORE

Adam Helbling Bio: Adam Helbling is a Motivational Speaker, Life Coach, and the Author of "Well... I Guess I'm Not Jesus". His key focuses are on mental health, as he was diagnosed with bipolar disorder in 2008, drug use, and also physical disabilities as a severe manic episode lead to a horrific car crash in 2011 that left him a quadriplegic. After a long battle with depression, he took control of his life and returned to the Ohio State University to finish his degree in Civil Engineering. His life took an alternate route as he became an advocate for people with mental health disorders and disabilities through his speaking and his writing. His career path led him to become a "Forty Under 40" Honoree by Business First Magazine in 2016. He has been featured in The Dispatch, (614) Magazine, on CH 10 News and several other media outlets. READ MORE

ABOUT THE EVENT: The Douglas N. Wells Lecture was established in honor of N. Douglas Wells, a dedicated teacher and cherished faculty member of the Capital University Law School from 1989 through 2004. Professor Wells, whose research and teaching focused on family law, helped to establish the National Center for Adoption Law and Policy, now known as the Family and Youth Law Center. The 2017 Wells Lecture is the 13th annual event named in Professor Wells' honor.

Please contact FYLaw with any questions about the Wells Lecture at (614) 236-6730 or email us at