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October 24, 2022 From the Chair

The Preeminent Voice in Family Law

Thad F. Woody

Growing up in the Smoky Mountains, fall was always my favorite time of year, not just for the beautiful scenery that surrounded us but for the opportunity to reset and begin a new routine. The routine of starting a new school year and sharing time with friends and family as the air grew crisp made for a perfect daily rhythm. Since March 2020, COVID forced a lot of newfound stress on both our personal and professional lives and made it difficult for people to find a routine. Measured by any standard, the past few years have been extremely difficult for everyone, and the practice of family law was not spared. Our normal routines of appearing in court or having personal interactions with counsel, clients, and staff were all met with new challenges. Our routines as a Section were also strained. To many in our Section, the ability to network with colleagues became less of a priority, and the ability to travel and gather was stressed and more difficult to plan and execute.

Kudos to the Chairs before me that helped our Section navigate through these challenges of the past few years. Chairs Jonathan Wolfe, Michael Mosberg, and Candi Peeples did extraordinary jobs during difficult times to keep our Section afloat and connected. Each Chair contributed in different ways to help our Section survive one of our bleakest periods. I also would like to acknowledge and thank our ABA staff, Cindy Swan, Danielle Pruger, and Ann Mullen, who also played an instrumental role in holding our Section together and helping to build it stronger along the way.

Although we have still not completely washed ourselves of the pandemic, today’s officers all continue to work to build our Section better. We owe a debt of gratitude to all our Section members who have made efforts to attend conferences, connect with and check on colleagues, write articles or books, attend, or present at a monthly brown bag teleconference, or teach at our Trial Advocacy Institute while their daily routines and priorities clearly changed. Without any of you, our Section would not be what it is today.

As someone who has been involved in the Section for over 10 years, it was an honor to be sworn-in recently as Section Chair. As I mentioned in my remarks in Chicago, family law continues to take center stage in our highly divisive and emotional political dialogues. Cutting-edge issues in family law are what we have done best as a Section and will continue to do in the years ahead. I hope that you will join me in San Diego for our Fall Conference (October 12–15, 2022) and Las Vegas (April 19–22, 2023) for our spring conference and together again, as our Section has done since 1958, continue the routine of being the preeminent voice in family law.

Stay well.

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Thad F. Woody is Chair of the ABA Family Law Section and the executive partner with the law firm of Kessler & Solomiany, LLC in Atlanta. He also serves as an adjunct professor at Georgia State College of Law.