March 2008

Section News

Leadership Positions Available: Committees
Want to get more involved with the Section but aren't sure where to start? We are currently accepting applications for the 2008-2009 membership year for committee chairs, vice chairs, and executive members. Besides helping you make inroads in the Section and meet other members who share your interests, committee leadership is also a great way for you to contribute to the field of family law. (Remember, committees devise resources, suggest CLE programming, etc.)

Chair-Elect Anita Ventrelli will be appointing Family Law Section members to these posts, and encourages all interested parties to apply. (You must be a lawyer or associate member in good standing in order to hold a committee leadership position.)

Overviews of each position can be found on our Committees page.

We have over 25 substantive committees to choose from, so please be sure to choose at least two (2) that interest you. Visit our Committees page to see a list of the committees.

We look forward to your getting more involved in the Section, and good luck!

Committee Leadership Application

Deadline: April 11, 2008

Spring Meeting Update
There's still time to register for the ABA-APA Joint Conference taking place in Chicago this April 30-May 3, 2008. The abundant CLE programming includes plenaries and breakouts on topics such as: "Families, Parents, Children, and Separation/Divorce in the United States Today"; "Considering Allegations of Domestic Violence in Cases of Disputed Custody"; and "Legal Ethics in Child Custody Proceedings." There is also a special mock trial custody hearing, so you're sure to find something of interest in the 34 sessions offered.

The conference also promises networking opportunities, committee lunches, and receptions. We'd like to thank the following sponsors for their generous financial contributions: Schiller, DuCanto, and Fleck, LLP; Berger Schatz; Grund & Leavitt, P.C.; and U.S. Trust, Bank of America Private Wealth Management. A full listing of all conference sponsors can be found on our website.

Hotel Deadline: April 15, 2008--You can still receive the discounted reservation rate of $219; just call 1-800-228-9290 and mention that you're with the ABA-APA 2008 Meeting. View more information.

Don't miss this opportunity to gain a boatload of CLE credits and enjoy the springtime weather of the Windy City! Visit the Conference website for more details.


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!

Law Student Writing Contest

Enter the 2008 Schwab Essay Contest
If you're tired of your law school assignments, take a break (of sorts) by crafting your submission for the 2008 Schwab Essay Contest! Just 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.

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


Best of the List Serve

This month's Best of the FamLawEsq, "Supreme Court Cert granted on ERISA marital interest waiver requirements," is an informational posting with follow-up comments and questions.

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 scheduled for April, one of which is part of our Family Law 101 CLE Series. Read more below.

April 16, 2008
Ethical Issues in Trusts and Estates

This program will review and analyze common ethical issues facing trusts and estates attorneys who represent couples (married or otherwise). It is anticipated this program will qualify for ethics credits. The Family Law Section is a co-sponsor, so as a Family Law member, you'll receive discounted registration for this program.

Please note that this teleconference will take place from 1:00 p.m. - 2:30 p.m. Eastern time (i.e., 12:00 p.m. Central, 11:00 a.m. Mountain, 10:00 a.m. Pacific)

More details/register online

April 23, 2008
Family Law Discovery: The Basics and Beyond
(Part of the Family Law 101 Series)

The panel will explore topics ranging from basic request for production of documents and interrogatories to tips on taking depositions of experts, and more. Utilizing subpoenas and records depositions will be discussed as well as other advanced discovery techniques.

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. The 2 remaining sessions include discovery and trial preparation and performance. You can register for single sessions or get a discount by registering for both of the sessions. For special discount pricing, contact Kate Tresley (ABA Center for CLE) at

For more details about each of the programs in the series, 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

Haven't registered yet? There's still time. See column at left for more information. And don't forget to buy your committee luncheon tickets from the Section, too. ( More information is available online.)

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!

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

Take a bite out of the Big Apple this August when the ABA has its Annual Meeting. The Section of Family Law will be celebrating its 50th year, and we're planning a special luncheon you won't want to miss. CLE will cover electronic evidence and child abuse/neglect (dependency) law, plus the popular Hot Tips program. Early-bird registration ends on May 30, 2008, so sign up now and select your Family Law special events, too. Visit our Annual Meeting website for 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

Tech Corner

PowerPoint for Lawyers: Tips for Better Presentations
The practice of law is regarded as a writing profession, but many attorneys find that their key professional moments come not in front of a keyboard, but in front of a live audience. Whether presenting an opening argument at an important trial, leading parties through a mediation session, or teaching a continuing legal education course, lawyers are frequently called upon to take a complex subject and compress it into a concise and coherent narrative. To accomplish this, many attorneys turn to Microsoft PowerPoint, the ubiquitous presentation software.

While a well-crafted set of PowerPoint slides can help build and strengthen a presentation, a poorly crafted PowerPoint can leave your audience confused and frustrated. Here are a few tips to make PowerPoint a more effective communication tool in your practice:

Ditch the bullet points. Slide after slide of bullet points will lead to an audience that's either ignoring the slides or reading the slides and ignoring you. If you need to use text, stick to short words and phrases in large, clear print.

Avoid overly complex graphics, charts, and screen shots. Even on a large screen, it's unlikely that your audience will be able to decipher and digest the image in the brief time it is shown. If the image is vital, supply a printout.

Do use relevant photographs or simple graphics. Good, memorable images will help your audience retain what you're saying after they leave the presentation.

Know your audience. Avoid legal jargon if you're speaking to a lay audience, and avoid over-simplification with an audience of attorneys.

Know when not to use PowerPoint. PowerPoint creates very linear presentations which can quickly become confusing if the presentation elicits discussion or questions. Also, PowerPoint can seem a bit too polished for some situations; avoid it when you want your presentation to feel unscripted.

Consider upgrading your software. PowerPoint 2007 (2008 on OS X) is a significant improvement over previous versions of the software, and it will allow you to produce more visually appealing presentations. If you're a Mac user, also consider Apple's Keynote software.

Most importantly: have something meaningful to say. If a slide isn't meaningful, don't use it.

   —Joshua Poje, Research Specialist, ABA Legal Technology Resource Center

Tell Us! Do you have any tips to try or pitfalls to avoid when using PowerPoint or some other software? 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 Keep the Tech Corner working for you!



This month's
featured benefit:

CLE Compendiums &

What is it?
You know those course books (or cd-roms) you get when you attend one of our CLE conferences? You know, the ones that have the program material for each of the CLE sessions presented at a particular conference? That's what these are.

What's in it for me?
If you couldn't attend the conference and missed out on some good family law topical information, this is for you. Just buy the compendium or the cd-rom and it's almost as if you were able to join us in person! (Except without all the networking, gaining of CLE credit, etc.) Just because you couldn't make it to a past CLE conference doesn't mean you have to miss out on the program materials. Learn from the best and reap the benefits of the conferences with a compendium or cd-rom.

Okay, How Can I Buy a Compendium or CD-ROM?
The best way to see what's still available is by checking out our website.

Visit our Recent CLE Conferences page (use the direct link above or go to Calendar and then click on Recent CLE Conferences).

The page you land on will have links to products (course materials) that are still available, and may also feature links to audio recordings of the sessions. (Just click on the Convention Media link if provided.) You can also visit the meeting website (if provided) to get a feel for the topics and presenters, too.

Don't forget that you can also purchase teleconference materials, too. But we'll talk more about that another time.


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

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