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February 02, 2022 From the Chair

From the Chair Winter 2022: Something for Everyone

Candace B. Peeples

One of the best things I have learned over my twenty-plus years of involvement with the ABA Family Law Section is that we truly have something for everyone. There are so many amazing ways to get value from your membership. At no time was this more evident as when many of us traveled to Orlando for our “magical return” to in-person meetings for the first time in two years at our spectacular Fall Conference at Walt Disney World. Happiness and joy abounded, and we were able to spend an amazing time with so many friends, old and new. We can’t wait to be able to do it again in the spring! Mark your calendars now for our Spring Conference in New Orleans April 20–23, 2022.

Among the many things we celebrated at the Fall Conference were the many programs and achievements made possible due to the generous donations to our ABA Family Law Section Charitable Fund. This year, we launched our first-ever “Hourly Billing Fundraising Campaign.” We ask each of you to consider making a tax-deductible donation in the monetary equivalent of one billable hour to support the amazing work of our Charitable Fund. Each gift will advance our mission to enhance diversity and inclusion in the profession, promote access to justice, support public service projects and educational endeavors, and recognize outstanding family lawyers helping people when they need it the most. Your tax-deductible donation supports many critical Section programs and initiatives, including: (1) Our Fellowship Program. The Fellowships allow talented attorneys to become deeply involved in the Section by providing mentorship opportunities and travel funds to attend meetings and programs. It is open to all family law attorneys who demonstrate financial need and meet diversity criteria or who work in legal services or nonprofit legal organizations whose work centers around providing free or low-cost family legal services to individuals in traditionally underserved, diverse communities; (2) Law Student Scholarships. The annual Howard C. Schwab Essay Contest stimulates curiosity and investigation into the field of family law. All law students are encouraged to enter, and the charitable fund supports scholarships for these deserving student winners; (3) Service Projects. Section members implement local service projects during two CLE conferences each year. Each service project allows the Section to give back to the communities and worthy charities that provide services to families and children in the cities we visit during our conference. In addition, gifts to the Charitable Fund are used to donate to organizations in the cities where the Section hosts its Fall and Spring Conferences; (4) Pro Bono Service. Each year the Section honors an attorney with the Jean Crowe Pro Bono Award for demonstrating outstanding and sustained achievements by offering services on a pro bono basis, or who promotes organizations that provide legal services to low-income and/or underrepresented populations; and (5) Service and Commitment to the Section. The annual Allen Gary Palmer Excellence in Service and Commitment Award is conferred upon a second-year Fellow or former Fellow who has shown unwavering commitment to the Section and advancing its programs.

We are on our way of meeting our goal for this fundraising campaign this year, but we still have a way to go. If you haven’t had the chance to make your donation, I ask you please consider taking a moment to make your donation of “one billable hour” now.

While we are thrilled to be back to meeting in-person, there are some aspects of our virtual world that we hope to continue and refine so we can bring more great content to each of you throughout the year. With this in mind, the Family Law Section is proud to announce that on February 4, 2022, we will be having our first-ever Family Law Paralegal E-learning Symposium. This will be a full-day virtual seminar for family law paralegals, legal assistants, and support staff members focusing on elevating practical paralegal skills for your practice. This is a “one-of-a-kind” program offering top-tier, practical content specific to the family law practice. The faculty presenters include prominent family lawyers from our Section who utilize various types of support staff in their everyday law practices. The attendee materials will focus on forms, checklists, and other practical tools that your staff can bring back to your office immediately. Highlights include Discovery Strategies, Preparing Financial Affidavits, How to Prepare for a Hearing, Strategies for Finding Hidden Dissipated Assets, and Time Management Tips and Strategies. This one-day program will take place on Zoom, but all sessions will be recorded and available for purchase to re-watch or view at a later time.

I invite you to take full advantage of the programs and benefits of your Section membership. Feel free to reach out to me personally at [email protected], and I will be happy to help guide you in wherever your passion leads you.

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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.