2007 Trial Advocacy Institute
The ABA Section of Family Law's 21st Trial Advocacy Institute took place in Houston, TX, in May 2007. Attendees of this week-long program for family law practitioners received intensive trial training from experts in the field, including personal feedback and individual instruction. Training focused on direct and cross examination; use of psychological testing; examination of financial experts business valuation; and a complete trial. Methods of instruction included lectures, demonstrations, participatory experiences, and video reviews.
Those attending the Advanced Institute--a rigorous program spanning four days--learned about psychological testing in custody cases; advanced direct and cross examination techniques of mental health and financial experts; and special issues in business valuation.
So much instruction packed into such little time may seem a little intimidating, but according to past participants, the trepidation soon goes away and attending the Institute is one of the best things you can do for your career.
"...I cannot sufficiently express my gratitude for the faculty, who donate their time to teach," notes Algera Tucker, who participated in the 2006 Trial Advocacy Institute. "They were top-notch and great teachers!! The way in which I handle all of my cases has changed and improved as a result of the training.
"The intimidation factor was gone after the first exercise.... Everyone is there for the same reason, to improve their trial skills and you can learn from your classmates as well as from the instructors.
"I think that the financial and time donations are well worth it. I won all three of my trials after completing the course and in one case the judge complimented me on my trial skills in a hotly contested move-away case."
The connections made with classmates are as beneficial as the instruction. Past participant Jacqueline Valdespino reports, "I am still very friendly with colleagues all over the country that I met....These are people that I would have never met but for the seminar. Since then I have received many referrals. I cannot tell you how good it has been."
Her assessment of the training mirrors Tucker's. According to Valdespino, "The training is wonderful....like nothing you will ever do in your life for your career. You will be put in groups in accordance with your experience. You will have mentors. Everything you do will be evaluated in a constructive way."
Each year, the Trial Advocacy Institute and Advanced Institute accept a limited number of attorneys (48 and 10, respectively). For more information about the Institute, visit the TAI 2007 website.
Member Benefit Development
Think the Member Benefit Development Committee is new? In a way, it sort of is. This committee represents the consolidation of two other committees: Membership and Product Development.
It was decided at the Spring Meeting in Monterey that the missions of both committees were intertwined, and that it would behoove the Section to unite them.
Kathleen Hogan (Chair of the former Product Development Committee) will share co-chair responsibilities with Roberta Batley (former Co-chair of the Membership Committee). The Section is currently working behind the scenes to develop the new committee webpage and list serve, as well as transition the leadership and membership of both former committees.
If you're interested in learning more about what this new committee will do, or if you'd like to get involved, please visit the Committees website and click on the current "Membership" and "Product Development" committees.
101+ Practical Solutions for the Family Lawyer:
Sensible Answers to Common Problems, Second Edition
Product Code 5130120
A collection of proven tips from leading family lawyers, this book is full of straightforward information that you can apply immediately to your own practice. In addition to the practical advice in these tips, you'll find numerous tools that you can use: sample letters, forms, language and agreements, financial charts and hypotheses, questions to ask, and interview forms and checklists.
More information (including a table of contents)
To order today, call the ABA Service Center at 800-285-2221 and request Product Code 5130120 or order online.
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Best of the List Serve
This month's Best of the FamLawEsq list features two questions that focus on Social Security benefits in relation to remarriage, and computing child support for a member of the military.
Read more about this month's selected topic. (You will need to log in to the ABA website.)
Not on the list? All of our lawyer members are encouraged to join this popular discussion list. Read more about How to Join FamLawEsq in the Members Only section of our website.
ABA Family Law Annual Meeting
August 10-12, 2007
Summer in San Francisco the Family Law way! Our Annual Meeting CLE will include the popular Hot Tips from the Experts as well as Contemporary Issues in Assisted Reproduction, and Managing Business Valuation Engagements. There will also be networking and social events you won't want to miss! Visit our website for more information.
Want to gain CLE credit from the comfort of your own office? The teleconference series can help! To keep abreast of future topics, visit the Section Calendar online.
Our next teleconference will take place in September, so keep an eye on our website for more information. Submit a CLE Proposal
Unable to attend a teleconference? Not to worry, you can learn on your own time when you purchase the CLE materials.
See a listing of available CLE materials
Want to submit a CLE proposal for our 2008-2009 programming? Proposals for our Spring and Fall CLE Conferences are accepted on a rolling basis; proposals for the 2008 Annual Meeting must be in by September 15, 2007. We look forward to hearing your ideas!
Download the CLE Proposal form
Save the Dates for These Upcoming Conferences!
Fall CLE Conference
October 10-13, 2007
Peabody Memphis Hotel
Shimmy on down to Memphis for some blues, barbeque, and CLE! Program topics include same-sex couples and interstate recognition; hidden assets in military divorce cases; child custody and the UCCJEA; and much more. And when you're done snagging your CLE credits for the day, be sure to join us for special events at the National Civil Rights Museum and BB King's Restaurant.
We have more in store for you, so keep your calendar clear and be sure to bookmark the Fall CLE Conference website, which will contain the most up-to-date information about the conference as the date approaches.
Spring 2008 CLE Conference of the ABA Section of Family Law and American Psychological Association
April 30-May 3, 2008
Marriott Chicago Downtown
This special interdisciplinary conference, "Reconceptualizing Child Custody: Past, Present and Future--Lawyers and Psychologists Working Together" will provide CLE programming that is specially designed to appeal to both professions. Multiple plenaries and breakout sessions will span three full days and allow pyschologists and lawyers the opportunity to learn from judges, lawyers, psychologists, researchers, and academicians.
More information will be forthcoming; make sure you can join us for this enlightening conference!
Women in Law Leadership (WILL) Academy
November 8-9, 2007
Hyatt Regency McCormick Place
The ABA Commission on Women and Young Lawyers Division present this academy for early- to mid-career women lawyers to enhance their leadership skills, motivate them to stay in the profession, and instill in them the capacity to direct their own careers more effectively through mentors and networking. Visit the WILL website for more information.
Fire(fox) Up Your Browser!
Originally released in late 2004, Firefox is a relatively new web browser on the block compared to Microsoft's older and ubiquitous (to the point of being the focus of antitrust litigation) Internet Explorer (IE). You may have heard some of the hype about Firefox--there are compelling reasons for trying it out, not the least of which is its ability to keep you organized while online.
Firefox's most compelling feature may be its "tabbed browsing" system (for readers who are still using Internet Explorer 6, a similar tab system has also been built into Internet Explorer 7). Have you ever found yourself juggling a number of browser windows (and various office applications windows) on your desktop? The more windows you have open, the more cluttered your desktop becomes and the more confusing it becomes to find what you're looking for. Firefox solves this problem by allowing you the option of opening web pages in new tabs instead of in new windows. Multiple web pages can be open at once, and all are conveniently accessible through tabs lined up at the top of a single Firefox browser window.
If you're using tabs to view several pages, you can bookmark all of them at once by selecting the "Bookmark All Tabs" option. You can save these bookmarked tabs in a general bookmarks folder, or you can create a new folder with a specific name, such as "Legal Research-2007-06-18." When you're ready to work with your bookmarked tabs again, just navigate to the proper folder in the Bookmarks menu and either select the "Open All in Tabs" option or select individual bookmarks to open.
Another great feature is the ability to select multiple home pages/start pages, which will each open in a separate tab every time you launch Firefox. If there are several web pages you check every morning, you could set them all as home pages--one might be your law firm's webpage, another could be a customizable start page including all of your RSS feeds, and a third might be the webpage of an online research source you use frequently. When used with customizable start pages, the multiple home page function can go a long way towards keeping you informed and organized online.
Tips for using FireFox:
Additional free plug-ins are available for extending the features of Firefox. For tabs, the Tabs Mix Plus plug-in is very useful, as it includes options for: issuing a warning before closing multiple tabs; loading the current page on new tabs; viewing the close tabs button; and displaying tabs in multiple rows.
To cycle through your tabs quickly, hold down the CTRL key and press either the "Page Up" or "Page Down" key repeatedly.
For related information, see LTRC Site-tation posts on Customizable Home Pages and Personalized Google Homepage.
—Stephen Stine, ABA Legal Technology Resource Center
Tell Us! Is there a particular Firefox feature that you like or that your colleagues might find useful? Got a tip about how you use technology? Feel free to share it with us; we may use your quote in a future edition of the eNewsletter! Or is there some other technology you would like us to investigate? Just e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org