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May 01, 2020 From the Chair

Section Update

Jonathan W. Wolfe

Along with the rest of the country and the world, the ABA Family Law Section is feeling the impact of COVID-19. We unfortunately had no choice but to cancel our Spring 2020 CLE Conference in San Diego. I know the conference would have been terrific and am so appreciative of all the hard work and preparation that had been done by our Section members, staff, and speakers.

I am excited that we will be able to offer several of the CLEs that had been scheduled for San Diego to members online free of charge and that we are also working on programming for the general public to highlight the work of our Section and our partners. We have also worked, and will continue to work, to regularly provide our members with information that can be useful to their practices and their clients during this period. I have personally marveled at the diligence and thoughtfulness of our volunteer leaders and our staff as we navigate these challenging times.

While I am disappointed by the cancellation of our meeting, there is so much that we have to be thankful for during this period. I am moved by the selfless acts of lawyers across the country, and family lawyers in particular, who have come to the aid of those in need during this crisis. I have seen lawyers helping other lawyers, lawyers helping clients, and lawyers volunteering their time to provide pro bono services to so many in need—from victims of domestic violence to doctors and first responders in need of wills because they are on the front lines of this pandemic. While this crisis has done so much to physically divide us from our colleagues and clients, it also has brought us closer together. I am proud to be a lawyer, and I am proud of the work of this Section.

The Family Law Section remains in excellent condition. We are financially strong. We are innovative. We will continue to be thought leaders. We will continue to provide meaningful benefits to our members. Along those lines, I am pleased to report that we have selected New York Law School (NYLS) as the new home for the Section’s journal, Family Law Quarterly (FLQ). Professor Lisa Grumet, the NYLS Director of the Diane Abbey Law Institute for Children and Families, will serve as the new FLQ Editor in Chief. This is the culmination of herculean efforts by our FLQ search committee, chaired by Michael Mosberg and Candi Peoples. Mike and Candi, together with Sam Schoonmaker and Professor Jessica Dixon Weaver from the FLQ Board of Editors, spent months identifying potential schools and then interviewing deans and professors. Ultimately the search committee recommended NYLS and Professor Grumet to the officers, who unanimously supported the committee’s recommendation. We thank Kendra Fershee for her years of dedicated service to FLQ. This is a wonderful development for our Section and the journal.

In terms of upcoming events, we are still scheduled to proceed with the 34th Annual Family Law Trial Advocacy Institute in partnership with NITA July 11–19, 2020, in Boulder Colorado. We have a team of the best and brightest family law trial lawyers, judges, advocacy teachers, and expert witnesses to give attendees personalized attention as they master the art and skills of family law trial advocacy in a hands-on format that puts them into the courtroom. It is a terrific opportunity for lawyers looking to take their practices to the next level, while networking with their fellow family lawyers from across the country. Our annual meeting will bring us to Chicago from July 29-August 1, 2020, where our Council will meet, cutting-edge CLE programs will be offered, and attendees will enjoy great events, good food, and entertainment. More than anything, it will be an opportunity to be together after this time apart.

Take care of yourselves and your loved ones. We look forward to being together again soon.

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Jonathan W. Wolfe

Chair of the ABA Family Law Section

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.