Last Chance to Pre-Register for Annual Meeting
If you haven't registered for the Family Law Annual Meeting (August 6-7, San Francisco, CA), there's just a little time left.
Pre-registration closes on July 12th; after that date, you must register on-site.
Remember to sign up for the Section Dinner and Annual Awards Luncheon; these events are great for socializing, networking, and finding out what's going on in the Section of Family Law! The Section Dinner takes place on Friday, August 6th (6:00-8:00 p.m.) and we'll break bread at the Luncheon on Saturday, August 7th (noon-2:00 p.m.). We gratefully acknowledge our Luncheon sponsor, Seiler LLP, Certified Public Accountants.
Our CLE programs include "Top Strategies for Taking Your Family Law Practice to the Next Level" and "Representing the Lawyer in a Divorce." We're also co-sponsoring "The Best Program for Real Lawyers" with the General Practice, Solo and Small Firm Division. For more information about these programs, visit the Family Law Annual Meeting website.
Need to know what's happening when? Check out the Schedule of Events. This page also features other programs the Section of Family Law is co-sponsoring, as well as quick links to the ABA Annual Meeting website and online registration.
Register online now.
40-Hour Family Mediation Training
November 8-12, 2010
Last year, this program garnered rave reviews from all of its participants; now's your chance to see what they were talking about!
The Section of Family Law has partnered once again with Boston Law Collaborative, LLC, to bring you this outstanding training that provides you with an overview of the mediation process. The program not only covers the various types of mediation and mediators, but also provides you with strategies and skills you can use. You'll 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.
Space is limited to 30 participants; register today to secure your spot! Section of Family Law members receive a discount on registration.
The early-bird registration deadline for Section members is July 30, 2010.
Visit the 40-Hour Family Mediation Training website for more information or to register.
Benjamin Franklin's Admonition
"By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail."
Family Law practitioners have concerns about themselves, their clients, and their courts, in times of trouble. I serve as the Family Law Section's Liaison to the ABA Special Committee on Disaster Response and Preparedness (DRP), and Chair of the ABA Emergency Management in Family Law Task Force.
I am pleased to report that the Family Law Section has co-sponsored the DRP's request to the ABA Enterprise Fund for a grant called "Assisting Lawyers and Law Firms Develop Disaster Preparedness and Recovery Plans." A decision is expected soon.
The DRP has recently agreed to co-sponsor an ABA Resolution to, in effect, be a signatory to a white paper called "Recommendations for an Effective National Mitigation Effort." FEMA defines mitigation as "the effort to reduce loss of life and property by lessening the impact of disasters." This white paper can be found online and its supporters include: Institute for Building Technology and Safety, National Emergency Management Association, Reinsurance Association of America, and US Chamber of Commerce.
Although there is merit in this white paper, in my view, it lacks vision on what is invaluable. For example, because of hurricanes and oil spills, we are growing more sensitive to the meaning of culture and the importance of biodiversity and would benefit by including these types of concerns in ABA policy.
In closing, I remind all Family Law practitioners to learn more about cyber security and to plan for the unexpected. Together we can reduce the risks for all.
--Barbara J. Gislason
If you'd like to serve on the Emergency Management in Family Law Task Force, contact Barbara at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Whenever there is an ethical issue, who does the ABA Family Law Section call? Lewis Becker!
Professor Becker has focused his professional career on the intersection of Family Law and Ethics. After earning an LL.B. at the University of Pennsylvania in 1961, he clerked for a year then worked at law offices in Philadelphia and New York until he joined the faculty of Villanova University Law School in 1972. He became a full professor in 1976, and is still on the teaching faculty. During his career, Lew has contributed to numerous books and journals and he has written a book for the ABA on premarital and marital contracts. Lew has been a very active member of the Family Law Section: he has been a Section member since the late '80s, he served on the Council from 2001 to 2006, he has chaired numerous committees, he has served as liaison to other entities, and he has produced and participated in almost 50 ABA Section programs.
To top it all off, Lew is a genuinely charming and nice person. He has been married for 45 years to Marilyn. They have two children and four grandchildren. Although Lew and Marilyn have lived virtually their entire lives in Philadelphia, their children live in Chicago and California, and unfortunately so do their grandchildren. Lew says, "If I had known having grandchildren was so much fun, I would have had them first." When he has spare time, Lew collects books and folk music. An exhibit of his Irish folk music was displayed at Villanova and is still available online.
About the Section, Lew says he enjoys the camaraderie and friendship, which is constantly manifested at meetings, on the listserv and elsewhere. In particular, he enjoys the opportunity to discuss and debate interesting issues with people who are or who quickly become friends, and then to have a great social time with those new friends.
A favorite quote he attributes to Albert Einstein: "Keep things as simple as possible, but not simpler."
Want to sing a colleague's praises? E-mail Jean Crowe your nominations for a future "Spotlight On..." feature.
Divorce in the
Spousal Support, and
for Clients at
Midlife and Beyond
Leslie Ann Shaner
Product Code 5130171
Divorcing clients who are 45 years of age and older have special concerns, although it is not enough just to know the law and its application. Often clients are ending a long-term marriage after having achieved some level of personal and financial security. In these cases, the attorney must be sensitive to both the financial and psychological concerns presented by clients in this age bracket.
Divorce in the Golden Years is an invaluable resource for family lawyers, detailing how to handle the financial affairs that a couple has accumulated over time. Topics include: Intestacy and the complicated issues raised when a divorcing client or spouse dies without a will; How to review existing estate plans to avoid complications, and the process of revising or initiating an estate plan after separation but before divorce in order to disinherit a current spouse; and powers of attorney and medical directives.
To see a full listing of topics or table of contents, click the "More information" link below.
To order today, call the ABA Service Center at 800-285-2221 and request Product Code 5130171 or order online.
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July 21, 2010
Family Law Goes Global
Part of the ABA Connection TeleConference Series, this program will provide an overview of actions brought pursuant to the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction from start to finish. It will center on the process--from application and requirements of the Convention, the burden, Article 13b defenses, obtaining an order, and undertakings--as well as highlight the resources available to practitioners that will help facilitate the process and allow for an expedited process as contemplated by the Convention. There will also be a discussion of the U.S. Supreme Court's recent decision in Abbott v. Abbott and what this decision will mean for actions brought in the future.
This program is just $9.75 for ABA members.
August 6-7, 2010
San Francisco Marriott Marquis
San Francisco, CA
As you may have just read in the left column, the ABA Section of Family Law will meet August 6-7, 2010, in conjunction with the ABA Annual Meeting.
As a reminder, if you'll only be attending a few CLE sessions, you may want to register at the Governance Only rate ($295) and purchase individual CLE tickets at $75 each ($35 for judges and government lawyers).
Visit the Family Law Annual Meeting website, or register online now.
****Save the Date****
Fall CLE Conference
October 20-23, 2010
Omni Fort Worth
Fort Worth, TX
Come to Fort Worth this October for CLE, networking, and great social events!
CLE programs will include presenting and challenging mental health testimony; the use of stock options and other forms of executive compensation to calculate support; how to terminate a client without getting into trouble; and parenting plans for children under age three, to name just a few.
Because many of our CLE programs contain an ethics component, seven hours of ethics credit have been applied for.
Registration will open soon, but in the meantime, be sure to book your room.
Reserve your room now! Our special discounted rate is $199.
Make your reservations before Tuesday, September 28, 2010, 5:00 p.m. CT in order to get this rate; don't forget to mention you'll be attending the ABA Section of Family Law Fall Conference.
Omni Fort Worth
1300 Houston Street
Fort Worth, TX 76102
Visit the hotel website
Visit the Fall Conference webpage for more information.
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 includes information on filing fees in domestic cases from around the country and an announcement about web resources for veterans. Question topics cover electronic surveillance by parents on children and obtaining disability/medical records from the Veterans Administration. Read about this month's topics. (You will need to log in to the ABA website.)
ESQ is cited as one of the top member benefits of the Section of Family Law--get referrals, ask questions, sign up now! Read more about How to Join FamLawEsq in the Members Only section of our website. (List is only for lawyer members.)
Good News for Solos
We've lowered ABA dues…and increased the value of ABA membership for Solos!
The American Bar Association recognizes the extraordinary achievements of solo attorneys, as well as the unique challenges they face each day. We want to be sure that every solo has access to the tools, resources, and benefits needed to succeed in challenging times. That's why the ABA has established new, lower dues rates for solo practitioners in private practice.
To renew your membership at the Special Dues Rate, you must certify your eligibility when you receive your ABA dues invoice in the mail or by calling 1.800.285.2221. Under these special rates, a lawyer admitted to the bar from one to four years will pay $100, from four to six years $125, from six to ten years $145, and more than ten years $225.
The ABA has recently created a series of Smart Soloing products included with your membership at no additional cost!
A downloadable e-book. Smart Soloing: How to Build Your Practice covers all the basics of running a solo practice-finances, ethics, acquiring and retaining clients, and technology. To get your copy, log in to myABA and check under Complimentary Downloads.
An e-newsletter. The Smart Soloing e-newsletter, written by solos, for solos, is sent eight times a year and includes articles focusing on issues of critical importance to running your own practice.*
A web-based CLE event. Smart Soloing School, to be presented live September 28-30, 2010, will be worth 18 credit hours and could fulfill your mandatory CLE requirements. The program will address the core practice areas for solos as well as legal ethics. It will be available online throughout the year for you to access at your convenience at no additional cost-a $2,000 value! Visit www.abacle.org/smartsoloing to sign up now and learn more about the event.
If you know of any solo practitioners who aren't yet members of the ABA, be sure to tell them about the benefits of joining!
*GP Solo Division members receive the content of this e-newsletter in the mail through GP Solo magazine.
And good news for judges and lawyers in government or legal/public service!
Solos aren't the only ones getting a good deal! If you're a judge or lawyer in government, or legal/public service (legal services, legal-aid, or indigent defense agency), you're also eligible for a special dues rate. (Your membership dues invoice should already have incorporated the lower amount for the 2010-2011 membership year.)
Visit the ABA Member Rate Dues page for more information about rates.
If you know of a colleague who would like to join the ABA, please have them visit www.abanet.org/join or call 1-800-285-2221.
A column by members of the AICPA's Forensic and Valuation Services Section
This month's column is by William B. Stewart, Jr., CPA/ABV/CFF, CFE, CVA and Bryan Stewart, MBA/CFE.
Read this month's AICPA Corner: Social Security--Questions and Answers Regarding Divorced Spouse Benefits (You will need to log in to the ABA website.)
A Cautionary Tale from
North of the Border
In recent years, lawyers have become popular targets of online fraudsters. In one of the most common scams, a lawyer agrees to help a foreign company recover settlement money from an American company. As the scam develops, the lawyer receives a check from the American company for the full settlement amount, deducts his or her fee, and remits the remainder to the foreign client.
At that point the scam unravels: the bank discovers that the check from the American company is fraudulent, the client vanishes with the very real funds drawn from the lawyer's trust account, and the lawyer is left in financial and possibly professional ruin.
The newest variation of this scam, which recently surfaced in Ontario, Canada, involves a collaborative agreement arising from a divorce. As with the classic example, the supposed client is usually located abroad and seeking to recover a substantial--but not ludicrous--sum from the other party.
While in the past many victims of online fraud scams could rightly be accused of gullibility, the sophistication of recent fraudsters is alarming and the threat therefore harder to dismiss. Family law practitioners are now targeted with plausible family law matters, and the fraudsters are often willing and able to supply significant information and documents to lend a sense of authenticity to their request.
Nevertheless, a cautious attorney can reduce his or her risk of falling victim to such a fraud attempt by following some simple rules:
* Don't let your excitement get the better of you. In a difficult economy, it can be tempting to take new business without asking too many questions. If you find yourself thinking "this is too good to be true," you should probably trust your instincts.
* Don't rely on Google searches to determine the legitimacy of the parties, banks, businesses, and attorneys involved in the e-mail. Scammers often use the names of real businesses and people to make their scams seem more believable.
* Contact the attorney or attorneys involved in the creation of the original settlement agreement or collaborative law agreement. If the client is unwilling to supply the attorney names, or if you're unable to verify their credentials and past involvement in the case, you're likely facing a scam.
* Try to verify the authenticity of the check with the drawee bank upon receiving it.
* After depositing a settlement check, allow an appropriate amount of time for the check to fully clear before sending any portion of the funds on to the client. Warn clients of this practice before agreeing to representation to help weed out scammers.
—Joshua Poje, ABA Legal Technology Resource Center
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