April 2009

Section News

Spring Meeting Recap
The spring Section meeting in Baltimore this April provided attendees with cutting-edge CLE, social events, and the chance to participate in a roundtable discussion on Collaborative Law and the proposed Uniform Collaborative Act.

The lively discussion took place during the Section's Council Meeting, and allowed everyone to speak his/her piece, too, as Section Chair Anita Ventrelli channeled Oprah and solicited comments from the audience. Thanks again to Rebecca Henry, Carlton Stansbury, Harry Tindall, and Litigation Section Delegate, Lawrence J. Fox, for this informative roundtable.

Our Welcome Reception on Thursday let us see Charm City as we'd never seen it before...from the rooftop terrace at Host Committee Co-Chair Herb Belgrad's firm, Tydings and Rosenberg! Breathtaking views, delicious hors d'oeuvres, and cooperative weather capped off a perfect day. (The weather may have been a bit chilly for those who attended the Orioles game afterward, though.) Thanks again to our Welcome Reception sponsors Tydings & Rosenberg LLP, University of Baltimore School of Law, and Weyrich Cronin & Sorra, Chartered.

CLE sessions on Friday and Saturday covered a host of topics, and included our special Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) track. Thank you to all of our program speakers and producers. If you couldn't attend the conference, you'll soon be able to purchase the program materials on cd-rom or as printed compendiums. (We'll also have audio from the program sessions.) Materials from our plenary session "Down and Out in Beverly Hills: How Current Economic Issues Impact Divorce" are also available in this month's AICPA Column (see middle column) and will be presented as a teleconference on June 17th.

After the CLE on Friday, we enjoyed a special evening at the Sports Legends Museum celebrating the Section's 50th Anniversary. Cake, hors d'oeuvres, and sports memorabilia abounded.

We were also pleased to meet many first-timers at the conference, and hope to see them at future meetings. (Just think, you won't have to wear the 'first-timer' ribbon on your badge at the next conference!)

Thanks again to everyone who helped make the conference a success, including (but not limited to): CLE Committee Co-Chairs Bobbie Batley and Greg Ortiz; Host Committee Co-Chairs Herb Belgrad (Tydings and Rosenberg LLP) and Linda Ravdin (Pasternak & Fidis, P.C.), who sponsored a Council Dinner in honor of Section Chair Anita Ventrelli; and all of our other conference sponsors. Thanks also to our exhibitors Attorneys Online, Floridom, LexisNexis, The OurFamilyWizard Website, and West, a Thomson Reuters Business.

Speaking of exhibitors, Bobbie Batley--who is likely in need of a vacation--was the winner of our Exhibitor Bingo raffle! Bobbie won a 2-night stay at the Westin Diplomat Resort and Spa in Hollywood, Florida, plus a twosome of golf at the Diplomat Golf Resort and Spa, courtesy of Starwood Hotels and Resorts, an ABA Member Advantage Provider. Thank you to Starwood Hotels and Resorts for donating this great prize! (Unfortunately, ABA staff were not eligible for the raffle. Grumble grumble.)

What with committee meetings, Dine-Arounds, Chair's Suite Receptions, Section business, CLE and social events, the week of April 20th was a busy (but enjoyable) one! We will soon send out a survey to all attendees, but anyone may click the link below to see photos from the conference, courtesy of Section Shutterbug Peter Walzer. (Thank you, Peter!)

Photos from the Conference


The Special Needs Child and Divorce: A Practical Guide to Evaluating and Handling Cases
(includes cd-rom)

Margaret 'Pegi' S. Price

Product Code 5130163

Just published in April 2009, The Special Needs Child and Divorce takes a practical look at what special needs are, how they are relevant in the arena of divorce, and how lawyers can make the system work better for these children and their families.

The book features numerous practice tips, as well as time-saving checklists and sample forms that are also included on an accompanying cd-rom. More information

To order today, call the ABA Service Center at 800-285-2221 and request Product Code 5130163 or order online.

Also of Interest

Free Recession Teleconferences for ABA Members

This series of four teleconferences on recession-related topics is free to all ABA members.

The programs will feature practical tips and strategies for succeeding in today's career climate. Topics are:

  • Marketing Yourself
  • Succeeding as a Solo Practitioner
  • Adapting to the New Legal Environment
  • Stabilizing Your Outlook in an Unstable World

  • The first program will launch at 1:00 p.m. Eastern on Tuesday, May 19. Subsequent programs are scheduled at the same time on June 2, 16 and 30. Programs will be recorded and posted on the ABA website for those unable to participate in the live broadcast.

    Visit ABA Recession Recovery Teleconference Series for more information and links to register.

46th Annual Conference
Association of Family and Conciliation Courts (AFCC)

May 27-30, 2009
Sheraton New Orleans

The conference, "Children, Courts and Custody: Back to the Future or Full Steam Ahead?" will examine how family law research, practices and processes have evolved over the years, paradigms have shifted, controversies have arisen and myths have been debunked. How sure are we about what we think we know now?

The program features 70 workshops, including three-hour advanced sessions, three plenary sessions and your choice of six day-long pre-conference institutes. There will be nearly 200 world class presenters, including plenary presenters Paul Amato, Ph.D., Jennifer McIntosh, Hon. Peter Boshier, Daniel Goldberg, LL.B., Mindy Mitnick, M.Ed., Mary E. O’Connell, J.D., Arnold T. Shienvold, Ph.D., Hon. R. James Williams, and moderators Dianna Gould-Saltman, J.D., Jana B. Singer J.D., and Andrew Schepard, J.D.

Conference sessions will cover a range of topics examining challenges to conventional child custody wisdom including assertions about 50/50 parenting, the child’s role in the process, the resiliency of children after divorce, the changing role of the court systems in resolving family disputes and more.

For more information, visit AFCC's website.


Best of the List Serve

This month's Best of the FamLawEsq includes information about cases involving special needs children, jurisdiction, and reopening divorce after death for enforcement. 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

Get CLE Credit on Wednesday, May 27 (see below)

May 27, 2009
Til Death, Divorce, or Deportation Do Us Part: When Immigration and Family Law Issues Intersect

The intersection of matrimonial and family law with immigration law can have a tremendous impact on an individual's immigration status as well as create difficult jurisdictional issues for child custody and support actions. While an individual may obtain Lawful Permanent Residency status by virtue of marriage to a U.S. citizen or permanent resident, the individual also can lose this status under certain divorce scenarios or domestic violence convictions. Learn how these areas of law interact and how to handle the complexities of foreign divorces and marriages, including the rights, responsibilities and consequences to both the U.S. citizen and foreign national in immigration matters. Don't miss this important teleconference and live audio webcast!

Register today!

Keep an eye out for these teleconferences:

June 17, 2009
Down and Out in Beverly Hills: How Current Economic Issues Impact Divorce

July 1, 2009
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Assets -- Forensic Accounting Techniques & Methodologies

August 5, 2009
Ten Ways That Attorneys Kill Their Own Experts at Deposition

September 2, 2009
How to Develop an Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) Practice

Family Law Annual Meeting
July 31-August 2, 2009
Westin Michigan Avenue
Chicago, IL

Join us for our Annual Awards Luncheon and Section Dinner

Attending the ABA Section of Family Law Annual Meeting is a great way to keep up with Section business and catch up with old (and new) friends.

This year's Annual Dinner will take place at Greek Islands in Greektown on Friday, July 31st, and our Annual Awards Luncheon will take place on Saturday, August 1st at the Westin Michigan Avenue. Sign up for these events when you register for the ABA Annual Meeting. (Ticket prices: $60 lunch; $60 dinner)

Please note: Dinner tickets will not be available with online registration until May 4th. We apologize for the inconvenience. You can, however, purchase dinner tickets if you fax the registration form in to ABA/CDS at 1-508-759-4552. Details are on the form linked below.

Download brochure and registration form

Next month, we'll highlight some of the CLE programs the Section of Family Law will be sponsoring at Annual.

Visit the Conference website.

*Last Call* 23rd Annual ABA Family Law Trial Advocacy Institute
May 16-23, 2009
University of Denver Sturm College of Law
Denver, CO

Have 7 days? That's all you'll need to become an expert trial lawyer at our Trial Advocacy Institute! Work closely with our esteemed faculty for one week and we guarantee you'll gain confidence as a litigator. There are still a few slots available, so send in your registration today! For more information, visit the TAI website.

Fall CLE Conference
October 7-10, 2009
Hilton Montreal Bonaventure
Montreal, Canada

Make sure you have your passport ready! The ABA Section of Family Law Fall CLE Meeting will take place in Montreal, Canada, October 7-10, 2009. Our top-notch CLE programming will include a special plenary, "Handling the High-Profile Divorce," as well as courses on adoption, third-party custody, and immigration, to name just a few. With so much to learn, explore, and do in Montreal, you'll want to make this trip a priority. Visit the Fall 2009 CLE Conference website 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

AICPA Corner

A column by members of the AICPA's Forensic and Valuation Services Section
This month's column, "Down and Out in Beverly Hills: How Current Economic Issues Impact Divorce" is from the presentation at the ABA Section of Family Law 2009 Spring CLE Conference held in Baltimore, MD, April 22- 25, 2009.

   —This month's contribution is from Donald A. Glenn, CPA (Walnut Creek, CA) and Jennifer Meeker (Walnut Creek, CA),

Read this month's AICPA Corner: Down and Out in Beverly Hills: How Current Economic Issues Impact Divorce (You will need to log in to the ABA website.)

Tech Corner

Say What? Quick Mobile Voice-to-Text Transcription for Setting Reminders, Blogging, and Twittering

Introducing Jott and Dial2Do

What do you do when an idea pops into your head and you're not at your desk? Do you pull out a pen and write it down in a notebook, on a Post-it®, a napkin, or a receipt? Do you type it out on a smartphone, cell phone, or laptop? Maybe you dictate it into a digital recorder?

If you've tried all those, here's something else you might like--new services which allow you to call a certain number, dictate a message, and have the message transcribed and delivered as text with a quick turnaround time. Delivery may be to you or others in the form of an e-mail message or an SMS (short message service) text message-- or as a post to a blog, your Facebook status, or to your Twitter account, among other options.

Jott and Dial2Do are two companies which offer such voice-to-text transcription services. First of all, if you're interested, keep in mind that Jott and Dial2Do have important limitations. These services are by no means a replacement for full-fledged dictation services, through which you can dictate lengthy messages into your phone and have them transcribed by in-house support staff or by an off-site transcribing company. Jott has phone message limits of 15, 30, and 60 seconds each, depending on which paid membership plan you use. (Jott does have a new voicemail transcription service which could possibly be used to phone in messages with a longer time length than is available in other Jott services.) Dial2Do reportedly has a phone message time limit of 30 seconds each.

Transcription for both services is done by a combination of automated text recognition technology and human intervention. Jott's website claims that speech recognition technology is used for transcription but that "quality assurance professionals" are also used to clean up messages which "need a little extra care." Dial2Do uses "a combination of technology and human quality control to transcribe your message and check it for quality."

It will be important to examine the Jott and Dial2Do privacy policies in light of lawyers' duties to keep client information confidential. The Dial2Do privacy policy states, for example, that "Dial2Do cannot guarantee the security or privacy of information that you disclose or communicate in phone calls or messages and you do so at your own risk." Determine whether use of these services, based on their privacy policies, meets your ethical obligations of client confidentiality, and if not, only use the services for recording and transcribing messages and reminders which do not contain any confidential client information. Additionally, use common sense and be aware of your surroundings when dictating messages--are you in a place where others could overhear your dictation and defeat expectations of privacy? For more information on client confidentiality issues, read the ABA articles The Ethical Implications of Online Software and Keeping Secrets Secret, Safeguarding Client Confidentiality In Your Law Office, as well as consider contacting the ABA ETHICsearch service.

Currently Dial2Do is in free beta mode, whereas Jott is out of beta and its services are fee-based. The just-released Google Voice service, not yet available to the public at large, has a voice-mail automatic transcription feature which potentially could be used as a phone-based voice-to-text note taking service, and might be available free of charge.

So, if you find yourself on the go with important ideas you don't want to forget, and would like to be able to add quick posts to your blog, Facebook status, or Twitter account without having to stop what you're doing and writing down or typing your ideas, you may want to look into voice transcription services like Jott and Dial2Do.

   —Stephen Stine, ABA Legal Technology Resource Center

Ask Us! Have you found a great technology deal somewhere? Is there a technology question that's been on your mind? Tell us or ask us about it! We may feature your info or 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 glazerh@staff.abanet.org. Keep the Tech Corner working for you!



Online Resource Center

What is it?
An online collection of forms, articles, state-by-state guides, tips, and other information pertinent to today's family law attorney.

What's in it for me?
The ORC can be a real time-saver for you. Not sure about marital property division in West Virginia? There's a document for that. Need a sample fee agreement? That's there, too. The best part is, the ORC is a two-way street. You can contribute forms and articles and get your name out there too. (More on that in a bit.)

All this free info is a boon! How do I get it?
Better a boon than a boondoggle, we always say. To access the ORC, just make sure you're logged in to the ABA website with your ID and password (or your email address and password). Then just click on this handy link:

Online Resource Center

I want to contribute to the ORC! What do I have to do?
Great! This resource is for Section of Family Law members, by Section of Family Law members, etc. So to join in on the fun, just send materials to Hilary Glazer at glazerh@staff.abanet.org . Be sure to designate under which topic(s) your materials should be placed.


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

Contact Information
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Fax: 312-988-6800

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