November 15, 2019 From the Chair

How to Make the Most of Membership

Jonathan W. Wolfe

I must start by congratulating Melissa Avery on her outstanding year as Chair of our Section. On behalf of everyone, thank you, Melissa, for your many years of hard work and dedication to our members and Section. You navigated through challenging times, and we are stronger because of your service.

I joined the Section twenty-one years ago, and it would be difficult to adequately describe the impact Section membership has had on my career over all these years. As I start my year as Chair, what strikes me most is the opportunities that abound for all of our members, whether you are a long-time member or you have just signed up as part of the new membership model. Come to one of our CLE conferences, join a committee, write an article, write a book, or participate on our listserv. Find a way to participate that works for you. Build your business, build your referral network, learn from your colleagues across the country. If you are interested but not certain how to get involved, contact me. Seriously—call or email, and I will help you find your way.

We have two fantastic CLE conferences every year: our fall conference recently took place September 25–28 in Austin, Texas, at the newly opened Fairmont, and our spring conference will happen in San Diego, California, from April 29–May 2 at the newly opened Intercontinental. Our conferences offer cutting-edge CLE from leading practitioners, experts, and judges from across the country. We have practical programs that will make you a better lawyer inside and outside the courtroom, from big cases to small. We will also continue to provide specialized programming specifically designed for ART attorneys. If you didn’t know that ART stands for assisted reproductive technology, come and learn from the lawyers that are at the forefront of an area of law that is quickly changing and expanding across the country.

Our conferences are terrific ways to get involved in the Section and network with lawyers from across the country. All Section members are welcome to attend, and we always have programs specifically designed for first-time attendees. Thanks to our CLE Committee and its Chairs Lyne Ranson and Brian Karpf for putting together what I believe continues to be the best CLE for family lawyers in the nation. A special thanks also to our dedicated staff, Director Cynthia Swan and Program Specialist Danielle Pruger, and welcome to Program Associate Casey Purcell. And thanks and good luck to our former staff member Samantha Schooley, who did so much to help me plan for this year.

Finally, I want to extend my appreciation to our former Section Chair, Texas Supreme Court Justice Deborah Lehrmann, and her husband Greg Lehrmann. Deborah and Greg, thanks for hosting me not once, but twice, in Austin and for all that you did for the conference. It is greatly appreciated and no doubt played a huge role in making the meeting a success!

I am excited as we embark on this year. There is so much that we can accomplish working together. Join our Section. Get involved. It was great to see so many of you in Austin, and I hope to see you in San Diego!

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Jonathan W. Wolfe is Chair of the ABA Family Law Section. He is Co-Managing Partner of the New Jersey law firm of Skoloff & Wolfe and Chair of the firm’s Matrimonial and Litigation Departments.