Fall Meeting Recap
Although our Fall Meeting in Montreal, Canada, is now over, there are memories and friendships that will last a lifetime. Thanks to the efforts of our Host Committee, chaired by Gerald Stotland and our Section staff, the meeting proved to be a great success.
We stayed at the Hilton Montreal Bonaventure, and although we were on the 17th floor, we were surrounded by beautiful streams, foliage and wildlife. Our CLE was stellar and included programs dealing with the Hague Convention; celebrity and high net-worth clients; assisted reproductive technology; recission of marital settlement agreements; and bankruptcy and marital debts, to name a few. All were well attended and highly praised. I would like to offer special thanks to our CLE Co-Chairs, Bobbie Batley and Greg Ortiz, for a job well done.
Not only was the meeting well attended, but we had approximately twenty-five (25) first-time attendees. Thanks to Judi Wolf and Gerald Stotland, the first-time attendees dinner was held at an elegant, private club and a great time was had by all.
We were welcomed by Stephen Schenke, the past president of the Montreal Bar Association, at our opening networking reception, where everyone had an opportunity to chat while enjoying hors d'oeuvres and cocktails. Thursday evening we had another networking reception, where we were entertained by the Brian Harbec Jazz Ensemble. The evenings were capped off with Chair's Suite Receptions, which were extremely popular and well attended.
On Thursday afternoon, we had a bus tour of Montreal. Originally, we hoped to fill one (1) bus. By the time the tour began, it was sold out and another 2 buses had been added. We had one hundred fifty (150) participants! Everyone enjoyed the tour, not to mention a taste of "Montreal bagels", which are the best ever.
Our Council Meeting included a lively discussion on the proposed Uniform Collaborative Law Act. I am so proud of our Council Members for their active participation and discussions. After this issue was thoroughly debated, our Council voted to co-sponsor this Act. Our Council Meeting concluded with an amazing discussion concerning the pros and cons of alimony guidelines. This issue was referred to the Alimony Committee for further action.
Our main social event was the black-tie optional "Dancing with the Lawyers". It was so well attended that we actually sold out and had to turn people away. Everyone looked amazing in their evening attire.
Thanks to everyone who helped to make this conference a success, including all of our conference sponsors as well as our exhibitors: Firefly Legal, The OurFamilyWizard® Website, Paternity Testing Corporation, and Divorce Marketing Group. I would also like to extend a special thanks to our Section staff, Paula Nessel, Alissa Norris, Carrie Asalon and Hilary Glazer. They worked so hard to ensure that everything went just right.
It took us approximately two (2) years to plan this meeting and, in the blink of an eye, it was over. To those of you who were unable to join us in Montreal, please attend the Spring Conference in New Orleans, which will take place April 14-17, 2010. I promise you that it will be even better than Montreal!
Mitch Karpf, Chair
Linda Elrod is a woman of many accomplishments: only woman in her graduating class from Washburn Law in 1971 and first in her class; teacher at Washburn Law School since 1973 and full-time faculty member since 1974; the Richard S. Righter Distinguished Professor of Law; Director of the Children and Family Law Center; past chair of the ABA Section of Family Law; Editor of the Family Law Quarterly since 1992; member of the Family Law Council since 1988; Reporter for the Uniform Child Abduction Prevention Act for the Uniform Law Commission; author of many articles and books on Family Law, including a national treatise, the first Kansas Family Law Handbook, a textbook for students, and numerous other publications. She was also recently appointed to the Secretary of State Legal Adviser's Advisory Committee on Private International Law.
Her passion is children's rights. In the fall of 2000, she organized an international, interdisciplinary conference, "Reforming the System for Children in High Conflict Custody Cases," at Wingspread, the Johnson Foundation in Wisconsin. The result was a white paper that has served as a catalyst for many critical and significant reforms in the area of family law. Linda has said, "Developing and convening the Wingspread Conference is my proudest professional accomplishment." She has also commented, "What makes me the maddest is the assumption that to give children rights takes away somebody else's rights."
On a personal note, Linda is a woman of many interests: she plays bridge; she seeks out exotic, beautiful fabrics and turns them into lovely garments (she sews); and when she travels, she visits family or friends, takes cooking classes, cruises to historic areas, or just visits new places to soak up other cultures. She was married for 24 years and has two grown children. Her children have successful acting careers; Carson (NYC) appeared in the movie "Wedding Crashers" and in two Broadway shows, and Bree (Boston) has appeared in an off-Broadway show and regional theatre. Bree's husband just finished a Fellowship at Brigham and Women's Hospital and is now on the staff at Massachusetts General Hospital.
You'll never meet a friendlier or more helpful person. Just look for the woman wearing the biggest smile and most exotic jacket at the next Family Law Section meeting!
-- Do you know any ABA Section of Family Law members who deserve to be recognized for their contributions to family law? E-mail Jean Crowe your nominations for a future "Spotlight On..." feature.
Last Call for 2010-2011 Leadership Nominations
The deadline to submit your leadership nominations is November 1, 2009.
Nominations are being sought 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) -- Region composed of Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware
Region VI Representative (three-year term) -- Region 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.
Good luck; we look forward to receiving your nominations.
The Indian Child Welfare Act Handbook, Second Ed.
B. J. Jones, Mark Tilden, Kelly Gaines-Stoner
Product Code 5130150
Now completely revised and updated, The Indian Child Welfare Act Handbook is a one-of-a-kind guide to the Indian Child Welfare Act of 1978 (ICWA). This book examines evolving case law from federal and state courts as well as new federal laws that have changed the legal landscape in the area of child welfare practices involving Indian children and the courts. This is an invaluable and much needed update of a topic that affects a surprisingly broad range of practitioners: ICWA is not an issue confined to reservations and their border towns.
Social workers, counselors, and others whose professions and interests involve them with Native American children will also gain much from this book.
To order today, call the ABA Service Center at 800-285-2221 and request Product Code 5130150 or order online.
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November 18, 2009
Getting Paid for the Work You Do: How to Increase Your Income from Domestic Relations Cases
This program will provide information about evergreen retainers, provisions to include in fee agreements, and the pros/cons of suing a client. You'll also learn how to bill effectively and debate value billing versus hourly billing, along with many other useful tips.
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.
ABA Family Law Spring CLE Conference
April 14-17, 2010
New Orleans, LA
Where y'at? Join us in the Big Easy this spring for CLE, social events, Creole and Cajun cookin', and much, much more!
Reserve your hotel room at the Hotel Monteleone now. We've got a special discount rate of $205. Rate expires March 16, 2010, at 5:00 p.m. Central, so don't delay. Call the hotel at 504-681-4480 or visit them online at www.hotelmonteleone.com. Remember to mention that you'll be attending the ABA Family Law Spring CLE Conference.
We'll have more information for you as the conference gets closer, so be on the lookout for it, and plan to spend part of your April with us in the Crescent City!
Visit the Spring Conference Website
2010 Trial Advocacy Institute
November 15, 2009.
For extensive (and intensive) trial advocacy training, you need to learn from the best. That's just what we have lined up for you this spring (May 22-29, 2010, at the University of Denver Sturm College of Law).
Our expert faculty will mentor you, train you, and help you become a better lawyer in just seven days. 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.
The Advanced Trial Advocacy Institute program is back! Past TAI participants are highly encouraged to attend this course May 26-29, 2010. The focus of the Advanced Institute is "Mental Health Experts & Psychological Testing."
For more information about the Institute visit the TAI 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
Attorney Network for Hague Convention Cases
Join the Network Today!
The Office of Children's Issues in the U. S. Department of State serves as the U.S. Central Authority for the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction ("Convention"), and administers the Attorney Network for Hague Convention Cases.
Lawyers that join the Attorney Network are asked to consider taking Hague Convention return and access cases on a pro bono or reduced fee basis. There is never an obligation to take a case, and lawyers with and without Hague experience are welcome to join the network.
For those new to litigating Convention cases, a wealth of information is available on the State Department website. Experienced attorney mentors are available upon request. A language line translation service is available through the Department at no cost to attorneys to facilitate telephone communications.
For more information about the Attorney Network, download the flyer.
When you're ready to join, download the sign-up sheet.
Montreal Conference Attendees: If you signed up to join the Attorney Network at the Section's Fall Conference, you'll need to confirm your interest by resubmitting the sign-up sheet linked above.
Best of the List Serve
This month's Best of the FamLawEsq looks at tax consequences of VA Disability payments; foreign travel with a child; children's clothing & shifting between households; and more. Read 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 Stacy Preston Collins, CPA/ABV, CFF. SCollins@finresearch.com
Read this month's AICPA Corner: What Is the CFF? (You will need to log in to the ABA website.)
Go Figure: Software for Family Law Practitioners
Family law practitioners must often solve and track a variety of calculations including child and spousal support payments, child custody dates, and the tax implications of property division. For lawyers who need help performing the math and keeping track of various calculations and case information, there may be "an app for that."
FinPlan by West is a suite of four different products designed to help family law attorneys in divorce proceedings. FinPlan Divorce Planner analyzes the financial and tax impacts of divorce settlements. FinPlan Assets Plus assists in gathering and organizing client asset information and producing financial affidavits. FinPlan Divorce Math solves calculations such as present value, pension value, alimony, retirement income, and parenting time, and creates reports. FinPlan Equal Shares creates charts and reports detailing the effects of distribution of marital assets and liabilities.
LegalMath, Floridom's Divorce Power Analyzer, and Family Law Software are other programs designed to perform various financial calculations such as child and spousal support, pension valuation, and even create amortization schedules—check each site for more information about specific features. TValue is financial software that can be used by lawyers to solve a wide variety of financial calculations and create amortization tables. Legal+Plus produces child support calculation software for a number of states.
For child support calculations on-the-go, lawyer Jimmy Verner, Jr., has created iPhone child support calculator applications for Texas and Illinois. He has also created several other legal iPhone apps such as a Texas Litigation Deadlines app and rules of evidence reference apps for several states.
There are many client-oriented child custody calendaring programs available, including:
Floridom's Parenting & Time-Sharing Schedule Generator
Finally, Abacus makes a family-law specific version of their Abacus case management software. This software features intake forms with specific fields for recording information about family law matters such as divorce, adoption, custody, and guardianship. Other standard features of Abacus case management software are included, such as document tracking, document assembly, calendaring, conflict checking, accounting, time capture, and billing.
If you're not already taking advantage of software programs that can help you—and ultimately, your clients—consider investigating them now.
(Please note that the above list is not exhaustive; if you know of any other programs, please feel free to share them with us.) —Stephen Stine, 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!