April 2008

Section News

Law Student Liaison Eggs Competition in Essay Contest
Congratulations to our Law Student Liaison, Callie Weed, for her first-place win in the EmbryoLaw.org 2008 Law Student Essay Competition. The contest, conducted by Nightlight Christian Adoptions and underwritten by a grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, called for students to write a scholarly position paper in response to a problem presented regarding embryo donation/adoption.

Callie's winning essay, "Interpreting Egg Donor Agreements as They Relate to Embryo Adoption," answered the question of what happens when an anonymous egg donor attempts to control her eggs after the point of fertilization, dictating what will happen to the resulting embryos. Is that contract enforceable? If so, how? What happens when that contract is breached?

Her essay also referred to the ABA Model Act Governing Assisted Reproduction (drafted by the Family Law Section's Committee on Reproductive and Genetic Technologies (RGT) and approved by the ABA House of Delegates in February 2008).

First-place honors included a cash award of $2,500 and all-expenses paid to attend the Emerging Issues in Embryo Donation and Adoption Conference in Washington, D.C., May 2008.

In a recent interview, Callie shared more about her paper, her interest in family law, and how she plans to spend her summer vacation!

Family Law Section (FLS): What is your main interest in family law?
Callie Weed (CW): My main interest in family law is adoption, so this topic tied in. I would like to someday practice exclusively in the area of adoptions, and Reproductive & Genetic Technology is a huge question mark right now in the area of adoptions. It is very cutting-edge, so I wanted to be sure that I am familiar with the process.

FLS: We understand that the judges were impressed by your inclusion of the ABA Model Act. Are you a member of the RGT Committee?
CW: I am not a member of the RGT Committee, but I was able to e-mail briefly with [one of the Act's authors] Charles Kindregan, and I attended a CLE he put on at the annual conference in San Francisco this past year.

FLS: What would you say is a benefit of your FLS membership that other law students may not immediately be aware of?
CW: The greatest benefit has probably been the networking opportunities (which law students may anticipate). However, I have also been very impressed with the educational aspect of the Section. I feel that my membership helps me stay on top of what is happening in the world of family law. (For instance, I would not have known about the Model Act if I weren't in FLS!)

FLS: You're graduating this year [from Stetson University College of Law]. What are your plans for 1) graduation night, and 2) the summer? Studying for the Bar maybe? Or something more fun?
CW: (Laughs) Nothing more fun. I'm going to Chicago for the FLS Conference, coming back and graduating, spending some time on the beach, and then studying for the Bar!

The Section extends its congratulations again to Callie, and wishes her good luck on the Bar!

* More about Callie
* Callie's winning essay
* EmbryoLaw.org
* ABA Model ART Act

And Now That You've Been Inspired, Enter Our Law Student Essay Contest

Time's Running Out to Enter the 2008 Schwab Essay Contest
If you want to make a name for yourself like Callie Weed has done above, just enter the 2008 Schwab Essay Contest! Pick a topic in the field of family law, get about 5,000 words down, and you're good to go.

If you win, we'll tell your Dean, you'll likely be published in Family Law Quarterly (and on the Family Law website), and you'll get a nifty certificate, too. We may also feature you in an edition of the eNewsletter. (That's kind of cool, right?)

This contest is open to all law students, not just those who are Section of Family Law members, so feel free to spread the word and mention it at your study group. The more entrants we have, the better you can feel about winning.

More information about the contest--rules, eligibility, etc.--is available at the Schwab website.

Deadline for entries: May 15, 2008


The Family Lawyer's Guide to Bankruptcy: Forms, Tips, and Strategies, Second Ed.
(includes cd-rom)

Shayna M. Steinfeld, Bruce R. Steinfeld

Product Code 5130153

This new edition of The Family Lawyer's Guide to Bankruptcy provides a valuable and concise resource for understanding the country's Bankruptcy Code as it affects divorce and divorcing parties. Now updated to reflect the sweeping changes to bankruptcy law enacted in 2005, this guide offers practical guidance to how the Bankruptcy Code pertains to the particular needs of a practicing family lawyer. The first part of the book focuses on the most common discharge exception provisions applicable in the divorce arena, while the second part presents a general overview of the bankruptcy system, from the types of bankruptcy cases and case commencement to the priority of alimony, maintenance, and support debts and revocation of discharge.

Appendices, which are also contained on an accompanying CD-ROM, provide essential information for the family lawyer.

More information

To order today, call the ABA Service Center at 800-285-2221 and request Product Code 5130153 or order online.

Buy Now!


Best of the List Serve

This month's Best of the FamLawEsq focuses on the best way to cross-examine adverse lay witnesses in child custody litigation.

Read more about this month's 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.

CLE Calendar

We have 2 courses coming up in May and June; one is part of our Family Law 101 CLE Series, and one satisfies your ethics credit. Read more below and register early!

May 21, 2008
Preparing for Trial: You’ve Tried to Settle, Now Prepare to Win
(Part of the Family Law 101 Series)

This program will teach you the basic steps necessary to be prepared for a final hearing, including: exhibit and witness preparation, effective use of marital balance sheets, trial organization, and how to get your evidence before the trier of fact.

Please note that this teleconference will take place from 12:00 p.m. - 1:30 p.m. Eastern time (i.e., 11:00 a.m. Central, 10:00 a.m. Mountain, 9:00 a.m. Pacific)

More details/register online

June 18, 2008
Communication Ethics in Child Custody Cases

The faculty will discuss ethical issues regarding appropriate limits of confidentiality and appropriate disclosures when representing adults or children in child custody cases.

Please note that this teleconference will take place from 12:00 p.m. - 1:30 p.m. Eastern time (i.e., 11:00 a.m. Central, 10:00 a.m. Mountain, 9:00 a.m. Pacific)

More details/register online

Spring 2008 CLE Conference of the ABA Section of Family Law and American Psychological Association
April 30-May 3, 2008
Marriott Chicago Downtown
Chicago, IL

If you'll be in the Chicago area, we invite you to stop by the conference. Register on-site and attend sessions to earn your CLE credit! If you'd like to attend a committee luncheon, you have until 5:00 p.m. Central time on Monday, April 28th, to purchase tickets from the Section. ( More information about the conference.)

Register for the Family Law Annual Meeting before the Early-Bird Deadline (May 30th)

Family Law Annual Meeting
August 8-10, 2008
Westin Times Square
New York, NY

Just because the meeting's in August doesn't mean you should wait to register. Lock in the discounted rate by registering before May 30, 2008.

Take part in our special luncheon as we celebrate the Section's 50th Anniversary. Gain CLE credit with presentations on electronic evidence and child abuse/neglect (dependency) law, plus the popular Hot Tips program. Remember to select your Family Law special events, when you register. Visit our Annual Meeting website for more information.

Trial Advocacy Institute

May 18-24, 2008
Denver, CO

Registration is full, but the waiting list remains open, so you may still get a chance to attend this year's Institute. To register, visit the TAI website. Someone else's cancellation is your gain!

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

Tech Corner

What's the Password?
Modern computing causes the proliferation of usernames and passwords like pollen in the springtime. In order to access everything from online banking accounts to online legal research to Amazon, a username and password must be created. Properly configured computers also demand passwords for startup, accessing the network, disabling the screen saver, and more. And that isn't even counting encryption keys! It is difficult and time-consuming to generate strong passwords and keep up with them, but for a responsible lawyer it is a necessity.

Lawyers should know what constitutes strong passwords and why they should be employed. ABA Model Rule 1.1 demands competence of attorneys, and in a modern law office, this means using technology competently. ABA Model Rule 1.6 requires attorneys to maintain the confidentiality of their clients, a broad rule that includes protecting client files on computers from anyone who should not have access to them, not just hackers and thieves. In addition to ethical responsibilities, 39 states have data breach laws which require notification, under certain circumstances, to clients if the law firm's computer systems have been compromised. As many family lawyers' computers hold clients' personally identifiable information, such as social security numbers, these laws are applicable and stringent. While using strong passwords will not mitigate the need to report a security breach in this circumstance, it is a great step in keeping a potential breach at bay.

A strong password is built on a few basic tenets:

* It should be a random combination of over 8 characters, combining upper and lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols.

*It should not be a dictionary word (such as "password"), something easily guessed (like a birthday or anniversary), or a quotation or song lyric.

* It should be changed regularly.

* It should never be written down or stored in a file on the computer called "passwords."

* It should never be given out, even to "trusted" individuals.

* Use more than one strong password.

The difficulty in generating, maintaining, and remembering strong passwords may seem daunting, but there are quite a few tips, tools and tricks to make the job a bit easier. In "Power Passwords," Dennis Kennedy suggests using passphrases - a long password built from an easily remembered phrase with characters substituted for certain letters. Check the strength of the new passphrase with the free online Password Strength Checker to make sure it is safe.

There are also tools which help to generate and remember passwords. Fred Langa describes several such tools in "How to Build A Better Password," including Roboform software. Users create a master password and Roboform saves all other passwords in an encrypted file, filling them in as necessary when online. Roboform2Go is the portable version of the application that installs on a thumb drive for password access on the road. Other similar applications such as KeePass and Password Safe are free, open source alternatives.

Remember that a strong password is a smart computer-user's first line of defense against things that go bump in the night, and an essential first step in ethical and legal compliance.

   —Catherine Sanders Reach, Director, ABA Legal Technology Resource Center

Tell Us! Do you have any tips regarding passwords or some other software? Or maybe you have a horror story about technology that you'd like to share. Tell us about it! We may use your feedback in a future edition of the eNewsletter. If there's some other technology you would like us to investigate, just e-mail glazerh@staff.abanet.org. Keep the Tech Corner working for you!

Other Events of Interest

Delivery of Legal Services Technology Hearings
May 9, 2008 (Equal Justice Conference)
August 8, 2008 (ABA Annual Meeting)
TBD (Virtual Hearing)

The ABA Standing Committee on the Delivery of Legal Services will hold a series of hearings on the use of technology to provide personal, civil legal services over the Internet and the policies that govern that use. Those who would like to testify should contact Janice Jones, by phone at 312/988-5787, or by e-mail. Anyone unable to appear at a hearing may submit written materials to the Committee, sending them to Janice Jones, ABA, 321 N. Clark Street, Chicago, IL 60610.

For more information about issues to be examined, and how the input from the hearings will be used, visit the Standing Committee on the Delivery of Legal Services website.



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Go to the ABA Member Advantage page and click on the Office Depot logo.

Once you're registered, start snazzing up your law office with supplies, furniture, or coffee (if that's what gets you through the day/night). We hope you enjoy this benefit of being an ABA member, and be sure to check out our other discount programs you may not be aware of. (They're all linked from the site above.)


Hilary Glazer
Please send proposals for future content submissions to the editor.

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