I am humbled and honored to become the Chair of the Family Law Section for the upcoming ABA year. On behalf of myself and the Section, I want to express the deepest gratitude and appreciation to our outgoing Chair Jonathan W. Wolfe, for both his leadership and the significant contributions he has made to our Section, the practice of family law, and the larger ABA. He has ably steered us through unprecedented times and was the driving force behind establishing our Section’s charitable arm, the Family Law Section Program Support Fund. It was Jon who convinced me to attend my first Family Law Section meeting. The combination of learning, networking, and general camaraderie that I experienced sold me on the Section, as I expect it did for many of you. Nowhere was that more evident than in the tributes for Past Chairs Michael J. Albano (FLS Chair 1984–1985), Michael E. Barber (FLS Chair 1989–1990), and Hon. Howard I. Lipsey (FLS Chair 2005–2006) at our virtual Annual Meeting in August. All three were lions of the Bar and champions of the Section who mentored countless young lawyers and meaningfully gave back to their communities. They each were, in the truest sense of the word, leaders.
As I write this column, with COVID-19 continuing to wreak havoc across many parts of our country, and indeed the world, uncertainty looms—both in our practices and in our personal lives. The cancelations of our in-person Spring Conference and the Annual Meeting was tremendously disappointing. And while our Fall Meeting will be virtual this year, you have my promise that we are working as hard as we can to provide you with that same positive, welcoming experience that I had not only at my first meeting but at every Family Law Section meeting I have attended to this day.
In that vein, a primary focus for the upcoming year is on outreach and engagement. I encourage you to visit our COVID-19 & Family Law Resources webpage, for a collection of articles, videos, and webinars running the gamut from issues involving parenting, valuation, assisted reproductive technology, best practices, law firm practice management, and more. The webpage is regularly updated, and from there you can see the depth and breadth of all the other information we make available and regularly update for our members. Our e-newsletter, together with our topic-specific Brown Bag Zoom series, continues to provide details on current events in family law. And as we look for new and innovative ways to not only provide value, but engage with you, in the coming months, we will be launching our podcast initiative with topics that will assist practitioners both new to the area of family law as well as our more experienced members.
The Section’s contributions towards the intellectual discourse in family law continues through our two flagship publications, the Family Advocate and the Family Law Quarterly, as well as through the books shepherded from inception to printed product by our Publications Board. Under the extraordinary leadership of Kathleen Hogan, the Advocate, issue after issue, year after year explores current family law topics and provides management advice, hot tips, and, every summer, a manual for clients. This issue, dedicated to the intersection of family law and international law, is no different. As Professor Lisa Grumet of New York Law School takes the helm as Editor in Chief, a new, diverse board of student editors together with our Board of Editors, are hard at work on the upcoming issues of the Family Law Quarterly as well as planning for our first-ever symposium, which will buttress our Section meetings. Meanwhile, Joe Booth, Lynne Ustach, and the rest of the Publications Board remain hard at work overseeing the production of authoritative, cutting-edge books in the area of family law, which remain in high demand nationally and internationally.
Of course, these initiatives and offerings stand on the shoulders of our Section bulwarks, you, the members. I ask that each and every person reading this article consider our Section’s offerings not only as content to help you in your practice but as a means to engage and increase your participation within the Section. Whether your interest is writing, speaking, planning, promoting initiatives involving diversity, access to justice, and education in the family law profession, or just meeting and connecting with other family law attorneys nationally and internationally, become involved. The depth, breadth and diversity of your ideas only serves to strengthen our Section and its membership. Please do not hesitate to reach out to me personally at [email protected], and I will help get you involved at whatever level you are comfortable and in whatever area(s) you have interest.
These are turbulent times, and we are all struggling in different ways. Be kind to each other, support one another, stay well, and stay safe.