September 2008

Section News

Preview of Fall Meeting
If you didn't register for the Fall Meeting (October 2-5, 2008) at the Camelback Inn in Scottsdale, AZ, you're still welcome to join us. If you're in the area, just stop by the Hospitality Room and register on-site.

All of our CLE is packed into two days, Friday and Saturday, and our committees will be meeting on Saturday as well. Our Reproductive & Genetic Technologies Committee has devised a special track of programming that promises to be cutting-edge and very informative. We also have programs for Ethics credit. For more information, view the conference schedule.

Don't forget to stop by the Council meeting on Thursday, October 2, from 2:00 to 5:00 p.m., where Section business will be discussed and the Pro Bono Award will be presented. (See below for more information about this year's recipient.)

There are many other events and CLEs of note, and we promise to bring you a more detailed write-up of the conference in next month's issue.

We'd like to thank all of our sponsors for their generous contributions and helping make this conference possible, and we'd especially like to acknowledge the State Bar of Arizona (Family Law Section) for sponsoring the Saturday Cocktail Reception, and our Elite Conference Sponsor, Schiller, DuCanto & Fleck, LLP.

To see a list of other sponsors and products you may be interested in for your own family law practice, view our sponsorship page.

View the Council Agenda Book

View Conference Website

Pro Bono Award
The ABA Section of Family Law is proud to name Christopher Rike as the recipient of the Fall 2008 Pro Bono Award.

The Pro Bono Award Committee, in connection with the Section's CLE conferences, asks local legal aid societies to nominate someone in their local program who has made a significant pro bono contribution to family law clients in their state.

Since joining the Volunteer Lawyers Program in spring 2007, Chris has worked tirelessly as a member of the Family Lawyers Assistance Project, where he advises unrepresented family law litigants, as well as taking on other VLP cases for representation in both family law and real estate matters.

An advocate for equal access to justice, Chris was honored in April 2008 at the Volunteer Lawyers Program for Love of Justice Awards Program for his pro bono service during 2007. He also received the Joseph W. Mahowald Award as FLAP (Family Lawyers Assistance Project) Attorney of the Year.

The Section congratulates Chris on his win, and also thanks Jean Crowe for her work as chair of the Pro Bono Award Committee.

To read more about Chris and why he was nominated, please see Tab 12 in the Council Agenda Book.

Call for Nominations Ends November 3
The ABA Section of Family Law Wants You!

Forget the big-ticket candidates and go with someone closer to home: yourself! If you'd like to get more involved with the Section of Family Law, consider a leadership or Council position.

The Nominating Committee, chaired by chair-elect Mitchell Karpf, North Miami Beach, FL, is accepting nominations for the 2009-2010 section year. Committee members include: Steven Peskind, St. Charles, IL; Dianna Gould-Saltman, Los Angeles, CA; William Biviano, Warren, OH; and Don Schiller, Chicago, IL.

The committee seeks nominations for the following positions:

Chair-elect (one-year term)
Vice Chair (one-year term)
Secretary (one-year term)
Delegate to the ABA House of Delegates (three-year term)
Region II Representative (three-year term) composed of Maryland, District of Columbia, Virginia, West Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, and Mississippi
Region IV Representative (three-year term) composed of Minnesota, Iowa, Missouri, Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska, South Dakota, North Dakota

To be considered for nomination, submit a letter of interest by November 3, 2008. Send your letter (e-mail with Word attachment preferred) to Section Director Paula Nessel, e-mail and Chair-elect Mitchell Karpf, e-mail

Visit the Nominations page for more details and what to include with your letter of interest.

Now is the time for all good members to step up to the plate! We look forward to receiving your letters of interest.


Confronting Mental Health Evidence: A Practical Guide to Reliability and Experts in Family Law
John A. Zervopoulos, Ph.D., J.D.

Product Code 5130156

Confronting mental health issues and materials in family law cases is often confusing, and, at times, daunting. But this analytical and thoughtful book will provide lawyers a practical guide by which to address the key question to mental health professionals, "How do you know what you say you know?" and effectively challenge these experts' work and opinions.

More information

To order today, call the ABA Service Center at 800-285-2221 and request Product Code 5130156 or order online.

Buy Now!


Best of the List Serve

This month's Best of the FamLawEsq includes questions about emergency interstate child custody situations, military divorce (10/10 rule), parental alienation, and more.

Read more 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.

CLE Calendar

November 5, 2008
No Time Like the Present: Parenting Plans for Any and Every Age Child

Child-centered plans take into account the child's age, gender, developmental stage and family variations in ways that help parents stay focused on the child, relieving some of the pressures of decision-making faced by parents, attorneys and judges. Knowing more about what most children experience at different ages and maturity levels can give you an edge in developing a parenting plan that is likely to be supported by both parents and promote optimal adaptation for children.

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)

View more details and register online

(Remember, you get a discount just for being a Section of Family Law member!)

Ethics Credit
December 3, 2008
Billing Pitfalls: How to Avoid the Ethical Quagmires

Get the "must have" knowledge as well as the best-practice methods to prevent you from getting snagged in ethical billing dilemmas. Learn how to create a practice routine that will help you get paid and avoid forfeiting the fees you've worked hard for, while eliminating or reducing complaints and challenges to your bills. Faculty will discuss issues relating to retainer agreements, payments and billing issues, as well as your right to withdraw from "headache" cases. Learn about the new trend of billing based not on the "billable hour," but instead utilizing "value pricing" to provide clients better service while making more money yourself.

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)

View more details and register online

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

Featured Product
Did you miss the Double Dipping in Divorce teleconference in September? Buy this CLE program today!

Tech Corner

Hope for the Best, Prepare for the Worst: Protecting Your Firm from Disaster
It's difficult to turn on the evening news these days without hearing at least one disaster story. Between wildfires, flooding, and hurricanes--not to mention severe storms, fires, thefts and accidents--disasters strike every day with potentially severe personal and professional ramifications.

When disaster strikes a law firm, files and client materials may be destroyed, attorneys may be forced to abandon their offices, and communications may be slowed or stopped entirely. Thankfully, good preparation--aided by the latest technology--can help firms survive and even thrive even during the worst of times.

Protect Your Data
As law practices become more digitized, data backup has become the cornerstone of disaster preparedness. Attorneys who fail to backup their data risk losing client files, accounting data, contacts and more in the event of even a minor disaster.

A good backup plan should include multiple redundancies. That is, the data should be backed up on multiple devices and in multiple locations (one of which, ideally, should be 100 miles from your main office). This can be accomplished simply and inexpensively through the use of external USB hard drives and online backup providers. Read more on data backup:

> FYI: Data Backup
> FYI: Ethics of Online Backup

Business Continuity
Your disaster plan shouldn't stop with your firm's data; you must also consider the health of your practice and your obligations to your clients. Your plan should address business continuity: how will you operate if a disaster forces you from your office or otherwise interferes with your work?

In the wake of Hurricane Ike, the ABA Journal ran the story of Tom Kirkendall, a Houston attorney who kept his practice running by transferring client files to his laptop, using an air card to access the Internet, routing his office phone to his cell phone, and using his car to keep it all running when the power failed. While your plan may differ from Kirkendell's, it should address the same basic issues.

Attorneys should make sure that in the event of a disaster they'll have access to their vital files, contact information, and calendar, and they should be sure that clients and colleagues will have a way to reach them. Read more about disaster preparedness and business continuity:

Hurricane Season Again: Do You Have a Disaster Plan?

If you don't already have a disaster plan in place, start on one today. You (and your clients) will be glad you did.

   —Joshua Poje, ABA Legal Technology Resource Center

Ask Us! Is there a technology question that's been on your mind? Ask us about it! We may 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 Keep the Tech Corner working for you!

Election Protection Project

Legal Volunteers Needed
The Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under the Law in conjunction with the ABA Council on Racial & Ethnic Justice, the Section of Individual Rights and Responsibilities, the Election Law Committee, and the Section of State and Local Government are seeking volunteer lawyers, law students, and paralegals to ensure that our most fundamental right as citizens - the right to vote - is not infringed upon in the 2008 November election. Expected problems with voting include dissemination of misinformation by poll workers, problems associated with voting machines (including new electronic ones), and potential intimidation of voters in communities of color.

Although the program is designed to help protect all voters, it is targeting communities with large Asian, Hispanic, African American, and Native American populations. Volunteer lawyers and law students are needed to serve as on-call-response attorneys and poll monitors on Election Day. All volunteers will receive information regarding specific training in your area. Lawyers and law students will volunteer for half-day or full-day shifts at designated local command centers and will respond to any problems as they arise on Election Day in the targeted communities of color. Bilingual speakers are especially encouraged to volunteer.

Read more and consider volunteering!



This month's
featured benefit:

Section 411 (Backgrounders & Info)

What is it?
It's the main membership page of our website that contains the bylaws, financial information, links to the Council Agenda Books, and more.

What's in it for me?
You're a member of the Family Law Section, but do you really understand its inner workings and what the Section Council works on and discusses during Section meetings? Here's your chance to become more acquainted with your Section. (Knowledge is power, after all!)

Ok, Show Me the Bylaws
First, just visit the Family Law Section website and click on "Membership" in the left navigation bar.

Once there, you'll see descriptions of how great we are and what we can offer you as a member. It's a good reminder, but you're looking for the information in the green box to the right of the page. There you'll see links to the bylaws, financial policy, leadership and more. Just click on the link of interest and you're golden.

Be sure to check out the Council Agenda Books so you can learn more about what's going on in the Section and any committees you might belong to or are thinking of joining. (You'll need to be logged in to the ABA site in order to peruse the Council Books, so be sure to log in with your ABA ID and your password, which, if you haven't changed it, is your last name in lowercase letters.)

Here's a direct link to the Membership page, too.


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

Contact Information
Section of Family Law
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Tel: 312-988-5145
Fax: 312-988-6800

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