Message from the Chair
As summer nears to an end, a new season begins (at least everywhere but here in south Florida). The same holds true for our Section.
Once again, I want to take this opportunity to thank our Past Chair, Anita Ventrelli, for her leadership and commitment to the Section of Family Law. Anita made everything look so easy. Now, I realize it's not.
I am honored that so many of you were able to attend our ceremonial luncheon in Chicago [during Annual Meeting]. For those that could not, it was a most moving experience. My law partner, Burton Young, received a Lifetime Achievement award. The Honorable Howard Lipsey, who recently retired, received an award for his outstanding contributions to family law.
In my speech, I spoke about passion being contagious and breeding enthusiasm. It is amazing how this passion is spreading. So many of our members have unselfishly volunteered their services and made unbelievable commitments to the Section of Family Law. For that, I thank you.
I also spoke about how family law attorneys do not receive the recognition that they so much deserve, for the good things that they do. Beginning in the next issue of the eNews, they will. Please be sure to read our new column, "Spotlight on...", where each month, a member of our Section will be recognized for their great contributions to family law. Jean Crowe has agreed to chair this special committee. The first recipient is Mark Sullivan, who has worked tirelessly with our Section and our military. Mark, we "salute" you. [Ed. Note: Be sure to read next month's "Spotlight on..." feature about Mark.]
Please send your nominations for future recipients to Jean Crowe at firstname.lastname@example.org. The criteria is simple. The person must be a member of the Section of Family Law of the American Bar Association and someone who has made us proud to be family law attorneys.
I look forward to seeing you in Montreal!
Mitch Karpf, Chair
Call for Nominations:
The ABA Section of Family Law Wants You!
Want to get more involved in the Section of Family Law? Consider running for a leadership or Council position!
The Nominating Committee, chaired by Chair-Elect Debra Lehrmann, Ft. Worth, TX, is accepting nominations for the 2010-2011 section year. Committee members include: Gregg Herman, Vice Chair, Milwaukee, WI; Lori Nelson, Salt Lake City, UT; Anne Marie Jackson, Washington, D.C., and Jonathan Wolfe, Livingston, NJ.
The committee seeks nominations for the following positions:
Chair-elect (one-year term)
Vice Chair (one-year term)
Secretary (one-year term)
At-Large Council Representatives (three positions; three-year term)
Region I Representative (three-year term) composed of Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware
Region VI Representative (three-year term) composed of Alaska, Washington, Nevada, California, Hawaii, Oregon
To be considered for nomination, submit a letter of interest by November 1, 2009. Send your letter (e-mail with Word attachment preferred) to Section Director Paula Nessel, e-mail Paula.Nessel@americanbar.org and Chair-elect Debra Lehrmann, e-mail email@example.com..
You'll also need to submit a Nomination Data Form. You can download this form, and find more details about what to include with your letter of interest, on the Nominations page.
Be sure to read the description of responsibilities and duties, too, so you know what's expected of you.
We look forward to receiving your letters of interest.
Annual Meeting Recap
The section's Annual Meeting (July 31-August 2, 2009, in Chicago, IL) concluded our 50th Anniversary celebratory year. Attendees enjoyed dinner in Greektown and the Annual Awards Luncheon, and took advantage of our Hot Tips program. If you weren't able to join us, you can download the Hot Tips. (You'll need to be logged in to the ABA website with your member ID and password.)
Congratulations to Section Delegates Tim Walker and Marshall Wolf for spearheading the opposition to the ABA Section of Litigation's Resolution 103 (a proposed ABA Model Act Governing the Representation of Children in Abuse, Neglect, and Dependency Procedures). The resolution was withdrawn. Read more.
40-Hour Family Mediation Training
November 9-13, 2009
Early-bird registration ends August 31, 2009.
You've litigated, collaborated, now it's time to mediate!
Learn how mediation is used to address a variety of family law issues, including divorce, post-divorce modification, asset division, and custody and parenting arrangements.
The program is open not only to lawyers, but also our Associate members. If you're a member of the Section of Family Law, and have an interest in mediation, take advantage of this opportunity. You won't want to miss being trained by experienced practitioners and mediators! (Lead trainer: David Hoffman, Esq.)
For more information, or to register for the program, please visit the Mediation Training website.
2010 Trial Advocacy Institute
Registration opens November 15, 2009.
Have you ever wanted someone to mentor you, train you, and make you a better lawyer? It won't happen overnight, but it can happen in just 7 days when you attend the 24th Annual ABA Family Law Trial Advocacy Institute (May 22-29, 2010, at the University of Denver Sturm College of Law).
The Institute accepts a limited number of family lawyers each year so that faculty members can work closely with each student. Small group sessions also enhance your learning experience.
We will also be offering an Advanced Trial Advocacy Institute (May 26-29). Past TAI participants are highly encouraged to attend. The focus of the Advanced Institute is "Mental Health Experts & Psychological Testing."
For more information about the Institute visit the TAI website.
Free Ground Shipping Through August 31!
Achieving Effective Resolution in Divorce without Litigation, 2nd Ed.
Pauline H. Tesler
Product Code 5130160
Since the first edition of this groundbreaking book, there has been an explosion of interest in this dispute resolution method. Now substantially revised and significantly expanded, Collaborative Law serves as the most comprehensive introduction to collaborative legal practice as well as a state-of-the-art reference. This new edition covers the theoretical and practical advances that have been made in the field since publication of the first edition and features significant additional information on topics such as ethics, marketing, and public education, as well as new forms for use in a collaborative law practice.
To order today, call the ABA Service Center at 800-285-2221 and request Product Code 5130160 or order online.
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Get Ethics CLE Credit on Wednesday, September 2
September 2, 2009
How to Develop an Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) Practice
Starting any kind of solo practice can be daunting, especially when starting a niche practice in a cutting-edge area of the law like Assisted Reproductive Technologies. Combining a rapidly growing client base with ethical issues about whom and when you can represent a client creates complex issues to address on top of the day-to-day concerns about how to run your own fledgling practice. In this teleconference, two successful attorneys who transitioned from large firm environments into this specialized area of the law share tips on how any practitioner can start a practice in this unique and exciting field.
September 16, 2009
Ten Ways That Attorneys Kill Their Own Experts
(Rescheduled from an earlier date.)
Expert testimony is often a key component of evidence at trial. Most seasoned trial attorneys have had at least one experience in which an expert "crashed and burned" at trial. This program will identify common events that neutralize otherwise professionally competent experts and explore how to prevent them.
December 9, 2009
The Love Bug and Other Ethical Issues Arising from the Use of Technological Tools
If you missed this program at the Spring CLE Conference in Baltimore, now's your chance to attend! Faculty will address ethical issues that arise from the increasing use of technological tools by family law attorneys and litigants, including issues that arise from the use of spyware on computers, metadata, electronic surveillance, recording devices, and website advertising.
Fall CLE Conference
October 7-10, 2009
Hilton Montreal Bonaventure
Early-bird registration deadline is September 4.
Don't wait to register--sign up now and save some money!
Don't forget to purchase tickets for the city tour of Montreal, our Dancing with the Lawyers social event, and committee luncheons.
City Tour Update: Due to popular demand, we are adding another bus for the City Tour of Montreal! Purchase tickets by September 15; we will not sell tickets on-site.
The deadline for the discounted hotel rate is September 8; please call the hotel directly to make reservations. Visit the Fall 2009 CLE Conference website for more information or download the brochure.
40-Hour Family Mediation Training
November 9-13, 2009
Early-bird deadline is August 31.
See column at left for more information, and register now by visiting the Mediation Training website.
Stay up-to-date on CLE offerings with our CLE Calendar.
Unable to attend a teleconference or a Section CLE conference? Not to worry, you can learn on your own time when you purchase the CLE materials.
See a listing of available CLE materials
Best of the List Serve
This month's Best of the FamLawEsq covers a variety of questions related to UCCJEA and UIFSA, and an informational item regarding military retirement benefits and survivor's benefit plan. Read more about this month's topics. (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.
A column by members of the AICPA's Forensic and Valuation Services Section
This month's column is by Sandra R. Klevan, CPA/ABV/CFF SKlevan@finresearch.com
Read this month's AICPA Corner: Two Recent Tax Law Changes that Could Affect Your Divorce Case (You will need to log in to the ABA website.)
The Recession & Your Family Law Practice
Take our quick--there are fewer than 10 questions, and they are multiple choice--informal survey and let us know how you think the recession is affecting your practice! Do you think the number of divorcing couples has increased? Decreased? Feel free to explain why in the Comments area provided, too. (Or not. We did say 'quick.')
Take the Survey!
Survey will remain open through September 18th; results will appear in a future eNewsletter.
If you have ideas for future eNews polls and surveys, please let us know.
Delivering Family Law Services Online
Results of the 2 009 ABA Legal Technology Survey Report: Web and Communication Technology, which addresses the availability and use of law firm websites, e-mail, blogs, social networking and even Twitter, reveal some interesting statistics about family lawyers.
In "Family Lawyers on the Go," the 2006 ABA Legal Technology Survey Report findings indicated an increased use of mobile devices among family lawyers. In the 2009 ABA Legal Technology Survey Report, the results show family lawyers increasingly using various web-based technologies.
The 2009 Web and Communication Technology survey volume reveals that more than four-fifths (85%) of respondents report that their firms have websites, compared with 83% in the 2008 survey and 73% in the 2007 survey.
When asked how many domain names their firms have, overall, more than half of respondents (57%) report that their firms have only one domain name, and 15% report two. However, of the leading primary practice areas, respondents who report family law as a primary practice area are the most likely to report that their firm has two domain names (25%).
Gabriel Cheong, Esq., of Infinity Law Group LLC provides an example of how a family lawyer uses multiple domains. Cheong's firm utilizes www.infinlaw.com,
prenuptial-agreements.com , and www.gabrielcheonglaw.com for blogging.
The members of the elawyering Task Force of the ABA Law Practice Management Section define eLawyering as doing legal work--not just marketing--over the Web. In the 2009 Web and Communication Technology Survey volume, respondents are asked whether certain types of online legal services are offered on their firms' websites. As in the 2008 survey, only two types of the listed online legal services are provided on 10% or more of respondents' firms' websites: client intake questionnaires (10%) and self-help legal guides (13%). Family lawyers were among the leading primary practice areas most likely to report embracing the following online legal services:
An April 2009 ABA Journal article, "Virtuality," featured divorce and family law firm Cowell Taradash as an example of a law firm offering limited legal services online. Their site Illinoisdivorce.com allows visitors to complete an online questionnaire and hire the firm for an uncontested divorce for a flat fee. If users want to represent themselves in an uncontested divorce, legal forms can be created and completed online and the transaction paid for with a credit card. In addition to the domain name www.cowelltaradash.com, the firm also maintains www.LawyerSchmoyer.com to provide similar services as illinoisdivorce.com.
- Client intake questionnaires on their websites: family law (20%)
- Self-help legal guides on their websites: family law (20%)
Bernardo Granwehr launched Iowa's first virtual law firm focusing on family law matters and wills at www.iowalawyeronline.com. The law firm offers legal forms bundled with legal advice for a fixed price. Clients complete on-line questionnaires which generate completed forms and documents ready for attorney review.
The McCartney Law Firm at www.texlawondemand.com offers legal forms bundled with legal advice for a fixed price. Clients complete on-line questionnaires for documents to be prepared by a licensed Texas attorney. Documents are prepared and available on demand and each service purchased includes consultation with a licensed attorney.
Visit the 2009 ABA Legal Technology Survey website for more information.
—Tonya Johnson, ABA Legal Technology Resource Center
Ask Us! Have you found a great technology deal somewhere? Is there a technology question that's been on your mind? Tell us or ask us about it! We may feature your info or answer your question in a future edition of the eNewsletter. If there's some other technology you would like us to investigate, just e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Keep the Tech Corner working for you!