January 2008

Section News

Trial Advocacy Institute Registration Opens
You've called, you've e-mailed, you've sent smoke signals. And now, the wait is over! Registration for the Trial Advocacy Institute opened on Tuesday, January 29th, and we're eager to receive your application. (Visit the link below for more information about applying.)

The Trial Advocacy Institute, sponsored by the ABA Section of Family Law, is considered the premier trial training institute for family law practitioners. That may not be news to some of you, but what if we told you the Institute was going back to its roots? That's right, this year the Institute is moving back to Denver, where it first began in 1986!

The 7-day Institute provides intensive training, and its instructional format includes lectures, demonstrations, exercises and video review. With only 48 attendees accepted each year, class sizes are limited and provide for a close working relationship between students and faculty.

Past attendees have found the experience to be highly beneficial to their careers and encourage their colleagues and associates to apply. But don't just take our word for it. Family Law Section Council Member Jacqueline Valdespino says, "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."

When: May 18-24, 2008
Where: Denver, CO

Applications are now being accepted, just visit the Trial Advocacy website for more information and to download an application form.

The website also includes information on tuition, accommodations, CLE credit, and more. We will continue posting updates (such as a course schedule and listing of faculty), so be sure to bookmark the site and keep checking back. We hope to see you in the Mile High City this May!

ABA Breast Cancer Task Force
The ABA's Breast Cancer Task Force is an initiative that educates attorneys so they can better counsel breast cancer patients on many of the legal issues they face as a result of their condition and treatment. Since its inception, the Task Force has sponsored programs in more than 20 states across the country. For example, a CLE was held in Portland, OR in Dec. 2007, and another will be held in San Diego, CA in Feb. 2008 in connection with the ABA Health Law Section conference on Emerging Issues. A program was held at last year's ABA Annual Meeting in San Francisco, and one will be held at the 2008 ABA annual meeting in New York.

The Task Force has published the "Breast Cancer Legal Advocacy Guide" in connection with its CLE programs. The Guide currently covers topics such as insurance benefits coverage, employment issues and discrimination. However, the Task Force would like to expand the Guide to cover family law issues as well. As a result, Gregg Herman (Chair of the Family Law Section) appointed Joy Feinberg as the Liaison to the Task Force, and she is working on developing family law materials for the Advocacy Guide.

We would like to invite other members of the Family Law Section to join the Task Force. We generally have calls once/month, and there are various ongoing projects. If you are interested, please contact Jill Pena at Jill.Pena@americanbar.org and she will add you to the Task Force d-list: If you would like to help develop materials for the Guide, please contact Joy Feinberg at joy@feinbergbarry.com.

Linda A. Baumann, Chair, Health Law Section Breast Cancer Task Force


Assisted Reproductive Technology: A Lawyer's Guide to Emerging Law and Science
Charles P. Kindregan, Maureen McBrien

Product Code 5130139

As more people turn to assisted reproduction, the legal issues surrounding it have become increasingly complex. This book draws from multiple legal sources to present complex information about ART and the law in a direct, balanced and fair manner. Includes glossary, sample forms and checklists, and bibliography.

More information (including a table of contents)

To order today, call the ABA Service Center at 800-285-2221 and request Product Code 5130139 or order online.

Buy Now!

Section-Sponsored Writing Contest

2008 Schwab Essay Contest
Know any law students who might be interested in writing an award-winning essay on a family law topic? Or are you one yourself? Whether it's been years since you were in school, or you've just started a new semester, spread the word about the Howard C. Schwab Memorial Essay Contest. Besides furthering interest in the field of family law, the contest also is a good venue for law students to get published. Winning essays are often published in the Section's scholarly journal, Family Law Quarterly, and it's not a bad way to continue honing your authoring skills.

We also notify each winner's Law School Dean, too. Get noticed the old-fashioned way--do an exemplary job and we'll do the rest!

More information about the contest is available at the Schwab website.

Deadline for entries: May 15, 2008

Meet Your Council Members
(and Officers, too)

Ever wonder who that person sharing wisdom on the FamLawEsq list serve is? Could the person checking into the Downtown Chicago Marriott this April be your Council representative?

If you're not quite sure who's who in the Section of Family Law leadership, then you haven't visited our Leadership Biographies page! Our Leader Bios page not only gives you a snapshot (figuratively, and in most cases, literally) of who your leaders are, but it can also help you get to know them before you actually meet them at a Section meeting or event. Meeting your leaders online is a great way to make you feel more comfortable around them, too. If you see Chair Gregg Herman this spring, feel free to approach him and let him know what you really think of the Badgers! (Okay, that may not be the best way to ingratiate yourself, but you get the idea.)

Our Section Officers and Council members are eager to meet you! After all, they're Section representatives and without you, there would be no Section.

Visit the Leadership Bios page.

We'll continue posting bios and pictures as we receive them, so be sure to keep checking back for updates.


Best of the List Serve

This month's Best of the FamLawEsq deals with waiving future child support and division of military retirement (in payment status and default judgment).

Read more about this month's selected 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.

CLE Calendar

Don't miss out on February's Family Law 101 CLE Series teleconference!

February 27, 2008
Building the Financial Aspects of a Divorce Case

Want an overview of the financial building blocks necessary to prepare a family law case? This program will focus on the type of financial information needed whether representing a W-2 employee, self-employed spouse, or business executive. You'll also learn about the tools and mechanisms available to obtain the required information, as well as how to present financial information to educate and successfully represent your clients.

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

Family Law 101 CLE Series
Want to sharpen your skills as a family law practitioner? Whether you're new to the field or a seasoned attorney looking to refresh your basic knowledge, Family Law 101 is for you. These 4 upcoming sessions include building financial cases, preparing child custody cases (intake through trial), discovery, witness preparation and trial performance. You can register for single sessions or save money and purchase our package plan to enroll in all 4 sessions. For more details and pricing, visit the Family Law 101 CLE Series website.

Register for the ABA-APA Meeting!

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

Registration is now open for the ABA-APA Spring Conference! You'll want to reserve your spot right away in order to beat the early-bird deadline. (Early-bird registration deadline: March 15, 2008)

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.

The Section's regular committee meetings (and luncheons) will be held, and the Council will also be convening. You'll soon receive a schedule of these meetings in the mail, and we'll also post the information on our meeting website. Please note that committee luncheon tickets must be purchased through the ABA Section of Family Law; these cannot be purchased when you register for the meeting.

Still need to book your hotel room? Our special discounted rate of $219 is only good until April 15, 2008, so please make your reservations as soon as you can. For more information about booking you room, visit the Conference website linked below.

Visit the Conference Website for more information.

Trial Advocacy Institute

May 18-24, 2008
Denver, CO

This year's Institute will be taking place at the Sturm College of Law at the University of Denver. See lead column at left for more information.

Co-sponsored Teleconference
The ABA Section of Family Law has agreed to co-sponsor the following teleconference. As a benefit of co-sponsoring this CLE teleconference, Family Law Section members will receive a discount on registration. Take advantage and sign up!

February 14, 2008
Employee Benefit Considerations in Domestic Relations Matters: QDROs and QMCSOs

This teleconference from the ABA Joint Committee on Employee Benefits will discuss the basics of drafting and reviewing qualified domestic relations orders (QDROs) and qualified medical child support orders (QMCSOs). We will provide practical examples and discuss thorny issues, both from the point of view of the drafter of the order and the response of counsel for the plan. More information

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

Free CLE at Midyear

Co-sponsored CLE Session
Stranger in a Strange Land: Cross-Cultural Issues in the Courts
February 8, 2008
Hyatt Regency Century Plaza
(Palisades Room, California Level)
Los Angeles, CA

This free CLE session sponsored by the National Conference of Federal Trial Judges will examine what "the rule of law" means in today's multi-cultural society. The interactive presentation will allow audience members to 'vote' (using hand-held technology) on the outcome of vignettes drawn from controversial real-life cases and presented by an interdisciplinary panel of some of the nation's leading cross-cultural experts. Download the flyer for more information.

Tech Corner

Online Collaboration with Basecamp
Looking for a convenient way to share information and collaborate with fellow attorneys, staff, and clients without relying on e-mail, phone calls, and snail mail? If you don't have an intranet or extranet, then Basecamp, an online collaboration software application produced by the company 37signals, may be the answer.

Activity focuses around "projects" in Basecamp. You can create projects for each of your client matters; once a project has been created, just add people who will need online access to it (e.g., attorneys, clients, and other staff members).

Basecamp organizes your project workflow into activities such as creating milestones (deadlines) and to-do-lists, leaving messages for collaborators, and uploading and sharing files. Pages for carrying out these activities are accessible by clicking on labeled tabs along the top of your work area. Activity among all of your projects is reflected in a dashboard view that greets you every time you log in to Basecamp.

Milestones are used to create and track project deadlines, while to-do lists are used to delegate and track tasks among collaborators. You can specify who is responsible for each milestone and to-do list item, and can choose to send out e-mail reminders.

Collaborators can use the Messages page to post, read, and reply to messages within Basecamp as an alternative to communicating through e-mail. You can specify who has access to different messages, and files can be attached to messages, just like with e-mail.

The Writeboard page is designed for creating collaborative text documents online. Writeboard keeps track of old versions and has version-compare functionality.

Other features include a Files page for uploading and tracking versions of important project files, a Time page for manually keeping track of time spent on various tasks, and private RSS feeds which can inform you of any changes made to your projects. Chat is available with a Campfire account.

As with any online information sharing software, attorneys must be aware of client confidentiality considerations. Organizing your projects matter by matter (or case by case) and granting access privileges for each individual project will help ensure that only the appropriate people know about and have access to each project. Three monthly subscription plans feature SSL encryption for greater security: Plus, Premium, and Max, which cost $49, $99, and $149 a month, respectively.

You can take a product tour and sign up for a free trial at the Basecamp website. Here are two blog posts on the use of Basecamp in law firms: Project Management Technology, a post on the "Greatest American Lawyer" blog, and Top Ten Mac Applications for Solo Attorneys, a post on the "Mac Lawyer" blog.

Visit the LTRC's website at www.lawtechnology.org and our legal technology blog Site-tation for more information on legal technology.

   —Stephen Stine, Research Specialist, ABA Legal Technology Resource Center

Tell Us! Use a different online collaboration tool? Had a good or bad experience with one? 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!



This month's
featured benefit:

Model Letters Online

What is it?
If you've received your Winter 2008 edition of Family Advocate, then you know that it contains sample letters, letters, and more letters! We've added the letters as Word documents to the Family Advocate website, so this is your chance to download them and begin tailoring them to meet your needs.

What's in it for me?
Did you see a letter you'd like to use as a guideline? Not sure how to begin drafting a letter to your client about how to work with parenting coordinators? Maybe you just need a good "closing the file" letter for your client. Rather than have someone retype a new letter from scratch, just download the Word documents as sample guidelines and make your changes.

Please note that the letters aren't to be used verbatim as is; feel free to use them as suggestions or guidelines and go from there.

Okay, How Do I Access These Model Letters?
Just visit the Family Advocate website to download the documents. They're in the member-protected area of our website, so make sure you're logged in to the ABA's site with your member ID and password before trying to download them.

Only Section members will enjoy this benefit, so remember, if you haven't paid your dues yet, please do so soon so you're not dropped for non-payment this February!


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

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Section of Family Law
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Fax: 312-988-6800

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