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November 15, 2021 From the Chair

From the Chair: The Future Is Here

Candace B. Peeples
Ours is a time of unprecedented choice and opportunity, so let us explore and question and understand.

—Walter Cronkite on “Spaceship Earth”, EPCOT Center (1986–1994)

If you know anything about Disney’s EPCOT Center, you know that one of the central themes is the future. While the practice of family law has always been ever-changing, there is no greater example of the magnitude of this than how things have evolved throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. As we begin this new ABA year, I hope you will enjoy this Fall issue of Family Advocate, which focuses on one of the many lessons we have learned over the last year: how to practice law virtually.

Many of us recently gathered safely in person to attend to the governance of the Section at the hybrid ABA Annual Meeting, where I was sworn in as the Chair of the Section of Family Law (FLS). I am the first FLS Chair from the great state of Alabama.

By the time you receive this issue, we will have successfully planned and executed a return to in-person meetings with the Section’s Fall 2021 CLE Conference October 6–9, 2021, at Disney’s Yacht and Beach Club Resort. We worked hard to ensure that all proper safety protocols were in place for those who felt comfortable traveling. On a personal level, I have been a life-long Disney enthusiast, but, more importantly, the first meeting I attended as an FLS member was at the same location eighteen years ago. I feel my journey with FLS has come full circle, and gathering with many of you during the 50th Anniversary Celebration of Walt Disney World is an absolute thrill. The Fall CLE Conference boasts world-class CLE programing, fantastic networking opportunities, governance and leadership sessions, a whole lot of fellowship and fun, and a few magical surprises along the way.

FLS will continue to be nimble and adapt based on our experiences over the last year and will find new ways to bring each of you even greater value for your membership. As we look forward, I wanted to highlight a few of the other initiatives we hope to focus on this year:

  1. Our first-ever Virtual Paraprofessional Training Program on February 4, 2022, for which we have assembled a truly first-class team of attorneys who use support staff within their practice. The goal of this program is to provide each of your staff members with affordable and specific training in all areas of family law practice.
  2. Virtual training for our Council Members and Committee Leaders.
  3. Official launch of our FLS podcasts, which are available on the Section website and will soon be available on iTunes and Spotify.

I would be remiss if I did not acknowledge and extoll my predecessor and dear friend Michael Mosberg, who valiantly led our Section over the past year during unprecedented challenges. Our Section operated and thrived under a 100 percent virtual framework. There was not one in-person meeting, event, or activity, yet our Section thrived because of Michael’s leadership, drive, and foresight. While there would have been no way for any of us to fathom the tumultuous year we all survived both personally and professionally, I can say with complete confidence that there is not one person on this earth that could have steered our organization better that Michael.

I am enormously grateful and humbled to embark on this year as Section Chair. I begin this year with great hope that we all are able to find a place in our practices and here within FLS where we can grow and embrace change. There is a famous quote that says, “One of the great ironies of life is this: He or she who serves almost always benefits more than he or she who is served.” I can think of no better example than my own involvement with FLS and its members. I consider it to be one of the greatest honors of my professional career to have the opportunity to give of my own time and talents to this wonderful group of professionals. The reality, though, is that the Section has given me far more than I can ever repay. Everything FLS is able to accomplish is due to the tremendous efforts of volunteer leaders who steer this amazing ship. I hope each of you will take some time to think about how you might want to get more involved with the Section. I can promise you that you will not regret it. I hope each of you will not hesitate to reach out to me personally at [email protected], and I will be happy to help guide you and get you involved wherever your passion leads you.

I hope you join me in this time of unprecedented choice and opportunity. I know I can’t wait!

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Candace B. (Candi) Peeples is Chair of the ABA Family Law Section and partner with and owner of Peeples Law, a boutique-styled practice focused in family law in Birmingham, Alabama.