Section members will elect Section of Family Law Officers and Council Members for the 2023–2024 bar year at the 2023 ABA Family Law Section’s Annual Business Meeting in Denver, Colorado. To be eligible to vote, an individual must be registered for the meeting and be a nonstudent member of the Section whose good standing can be certified by official Association records for thirty days prior to the day of the voting. Here are the Officer and Council nominees:
one position, one-year term
Lyne Ranson, Charleston, WV
Lyne has been an attorney for 40 years, now exclusively practicing and mediating complex family law matters. She is the founding member of one of the largest law firms in the state devoted solely to family law matters. For the last several years she has served as chair of the West Virginia State Bar family law committee. Lyne has been very active in the ABA Family Law Section with broad experience as CLE co-chair for several years, serving on Council, the Long Range Planning committee, chairing the alimony and marital property committees, as well as being appointed to the Nominating and Finance committees. Last year she served as vice-chair for the FLS. Lyne was selected as a fellow in the AAML and serves on their Board of Governors and is chair of Chapter Leaders. She has been a state, local, and national family law speaker, presenting topics on alimony, valuing marital property, client management, dividing family businesses, and prenuptial agreements. Lyne was previously a Trial Advocacy Skills instructor for many years at WVU College of Law and at the U.S. Department of Justice when she was a federal Asst. U.S. Attorney. She was elected as the second Circuit Court Judge in the state. She enjoys traveling, family, and spending time in Florida at her second home.
one position, one-year term
Jennifer A. Brandt, Philadelphia, PA
Jennifer A. Brandt is chair of the Cozen O’Connor Family Law group. She has significant experience representing parties in divorce, custody, and support/alimony matters throughout both Pennsylvania and New Jersey. She assists parties in adoptions, guardianship issues, and matters concerning assisted reproductive technology. Her involvement in family law litigation extends to both the trial court and appellate levels. She also negotiates prenuptial, postnuptial, and cohabitation agreements and mediates and arbitrates family law cases.
Jennifer is an active member of the ABA Family Law Section and currently serves as the Section Secretary, member of the Finance Committee, and the FLS liaison to the AICPA and the ABA Standing Committee on Professionalism. She was a former member of FLS Council and chair of the Program Support Fund, a member of the Strategic Planning Committee and CLE Committee, former co-vice-chair of the Bylaws Committee, former chair of the Sponsorship Committee, the Law Practice Management Committee and the Scope and Correlation Committee. She is a member of the Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Philadelphia, and Camden County Bar Associations. She is co-chair of the Pennsylvania Bar Association Children’s Rights Committee and member of the Camden County Family Law Committee.
Jennifer is a frequent legal commentator on national and local television and radio. She is the editor of the Family Law Focus Blog and is a monthly contributor to the Martindale-Avvo Blog. She has received numerous honors: The Philadelphia Business Journal named Ms. Brandt as one of its Women of Distinction; she was named a “Power Woman” by Main Line Today magazine; Suburban Life magazine named her a Top Family Law Attorney and “Five-Star Attorney” for consecutive years, and she has been named by Philadelphia magazine as a Pennsylvania “Super Lawyer” each year since 2015 and previously as a “Super Lawyer—Rising Star” for several consecutive years. She was one of American Lawyer Media’s “Lawyers on the Fast Track,” and subsequently was asked to be a judge for this competition. Jennifer is also a Fellow of the American Bar Foundation, an organization of select lawyers dedicated to expanding knowledge and advancing justice.
one position, one-year term
Richard B. Vaughn, Los Angeles, CA
After a successful law career providing litigation, contract, technology, marketing, and corporate legal services to individual clients, companies and municipalities in Chicago and Los Angeles, Richard Vaughn became a parent through surrogacy and egg donation and shifted his practice to assisted reproductive technology (ART) law, becoming the founding principal of International Fertility Law Group, one of the most successful and best-known law firms in the world focusing exclusively on ART law.
Richard has served the ABA Section of Family Law as Chair of the ART Committee from 2013–2018, developing education for ART attorneys, model legislation for governance of U.S. ART law and model legislation for ART providers, and guidelines for international surrogacy, parentage and citizenship rights. Richard has also chaired, co-chaired, or served as an active member of the FLS’s Membership, CLE, Finance, Bylaws, and Communications Committee and has served on Section Council. In addition to co-authoring an ABA book Developing a Successful ART Law Practice, he has been published in numerous ABA publications, including the ABA’s The SciTech Lawyer, for which he also served as issue editor, the Family Advocate, and the Family Law Quarterly, in addition to being published in other professional journals, including the International Family Law Journal, the American Journal of Family Law, the Australian Family Law Journal, and the California Bar Association Family Law News.
Richard has presented at numerous legal, governmental, and family-building conferences around the U.S. and the world, including law reform commissions in the UK and Ireland, the International Academy of Family Law Surrogacy Symposium, the Cambridge University International Surrogacy Forum, Yale University School of Law, and California Western School of Law, and he has been cited and/or interviewed as a fertility law expert in numerous television and radio shows and printed news reports, including CNN, the New York Times, The Washington Post, and NPR, among many others.
Richard has also served on boards and committees of the American Fertility Association, the Academy of California Adoption-ART Lawyers, the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, the Society for Ethics in Egg Donation and Surrogacy, Men Having Babies, and Growing Families, and is an active member of the American Academy of Adoption and ART Attorneys, California Bar Association, and the National LGBT Bar Association.
Away from the office, Vaughn and his husband are proud advocates for LGBT equality and parenting as members of Family Equality.
House of Delegates
one position, three-year term
Scott N. Friedman, Columbus, OH
Scott Friedman is an Ohio State Bar Association Board Certified Specialist in Family Relations Law. He is also licensed to practice law in the State of Florida.
Scott served as chair of the American Bar Association Family Law Section in 2013–2014 and is currently a Section Delegate to the ABA House of Delegates. Throughout his career Scott has held many other positions within the ABA Family Law Section.
He is a fellow of the American Academy of Matrimonial lawyers, a member of the Columbus Bar Association’s Family Law Committee, the Ohio State Bar Association Family Law Committee, and the American Bar Association Family Section. Scott has been listed in Best Lawyers in America for Family Law 2014–2023. Scott was named Family Law, Lawyer of the Year, 2020 for Columbus, Ohio in Best Lawyers in America. Scott consistently has been named a Super Lawyer by Super Lawyer Magazine as well one of the top 100 lawyers in Ohio. Scott is AV Preeminent by Martindale Hubbell.
Scott has been an instructor at the American Bar Association Family Law Section’s Trial Advocacy Institute.
He has also written many articles and publications and has spoken nationally regarding all areas of family law. Scott is also a family law certified mediator and has been trained in the Family Law Collaborative Law Process. Scott also serves as an arbitrator.
For over twenty-three years, Scott has handled family law matters. His practice includes handling complex financial matters, child custody, dissolutions, post-decree support and custody modifications, and premarital agreements. Scott has extensive family law trial experience, and while it is his goal to resolve matters out of court, he is extremely comfortable taking a case to trial, if necessary.
Scott is married and has three children and two stepchildren. Scott enjoys his family time very much. He loves to ski, exercise, play pickleball, read, and strives to have a positive work-life balance.
two positions, three-year terms
Samuel E. Thomas, Athens, GA
Samuel E. Thomas is a Georgia-based attorney who has practiced in the Athens area since 2013. He earned a B.A. in Political Science from the University of Georgia in 2010 and graduated from the University of Alabama School of Law in 2012. After graduation, he was admitted to the practice of law in June of 2013 and has been licensed to practice law in all state courts throughout Georgia since then. He was also licensed in all state courts in Tennessee in 2020. Samuel has practiced almost exclusively family law for the past ten years and has litigated over 500 family law trials.
In addition to his legal practice, Thomas is an extremely active member of the American Bar Association Family Law Section, where he serves as Chair of its Law Practice Management and the Adoption Committees among others in the past. In 2020, he co-authored the ABA Family Law Section publication “Cost Effective Child Custody Litigation.” Samuel Thomas has attended every ABA Family Law Section conference since 2015 and regularly attends the Annual meeting for the ABA. Samuel also was on the Georgia State Bar’s Lawyer Assistance Program board for 2020–2022.
He has been nominated and won Athens Georgia’s Best of the Best Award-Family Law multiple years including 2022 as well as Flagpole Magazine Athens’ Favorite Lawyer to Sort Out Your Affairs for multiple years. He was also named as a Rising Star by SuperLawyers in 2021.
In his spare time, he enjoys spending time with his wife Tonya, and their two sons Richard & Sean, and watching/playing sports.
Laura W. Morgan, Amherst, MA
Laura W. Morgan owns and operates Family Law Consulting in Amherst, Massachusetts, providing legal research and writing to family law attorneys nationwide, in the form of memoranda, trial briefs, and appellate advocacy. At last estimate, she has ghost written over 120 appellate briefs.
Laura has been involved with the ABA Family Law Section since 1995. She has served on the Child Support Committee (Chair), Nominating Committee, By-Laws and Policy Committee, Long Range Planning Committee, Board of Editors of the Family Advocate, and most recently she served as the FLS Representative to Uniform Law Commission on the Uniform Cohabitants’ Economic Remedies Act. Most Section members probably know her as the Editor of the monthly Family Law Case Update. Laura is also a member of the Board of Editors of the Journal of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers.
She is the author of Child Support Guidelines: Interpretation and Application (Aspen Law & Business, 2d ed. 2012), the leading treatise on child support guidelines in the United States, the co-author with Brett R. Turner of Attacking and Defending Marital Agreements (2d ed. 2011), and a contributing author to numerous manuals and compilations. She has lectured extensively and has acted as a consultant to state governments and the federal government of Canada on the issue of child support guidelines, and she has given over 100 CLE presentations on various topics related to family law.
Laura is a member in good standing of the bars of Massachusetts and Virginia.
Council, Region III
one position, three-year term
Nancy Chausow Shafer, Highland Park, IL
Nancy Chausow Shafer is a principal in the Highland Park matrimonial law firm of Sage Counsel, LLC. She has concentrated her practice in family law, utilizing the appropriate resolution process for each case, whether litigation, mediation or collaboration. She has made numerous presentations at Continuing Legal Education seminars on the topics of mediation, the use of technology in the practice of law, as well as substantive presentations on business organization and taxation, discovery tools and tactics and complex financial issues in divorce.
She is a fellow of the prestigious American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers and selected by her peers as an Illinois Super Lawyer. She participates in the Family Law Sections of the Illinois State Bar Association, Lake County Bar Association, and American Bar Association, and the Matrimonial Law Committee of the Chicago Bar Association. She also maintains membership in The Mediation Council of Illinois and the Association for Conflict Resolution. She is a past president of the Association of Women Attorneys of Lake County. She has been selected to be a member of the child representative list of Lake County and Cook County, and the approved mediator list in Lake County.
Nancy has been an instructor at the ABA FLS Family Law Trial Advocacy Institute, and continues to speak at family law meetings and conventions. She has authored a chapter in the II CLE Contested Child Custody Litigation Handbook and has been on the faculty for mediation training offered by the AAML and Zena Zumeta’s Mediation Training and Consultation Institute. She is a graduate of the Northern Illinois University College of Law.
Council, Region V
one position, three-year term
Ryan R. Bauerle, Plano, TX
Ryan is a partner at Goranson Bain Ausley, PLLC in Plano, Texas, where his practice includes divorces, custody, adoptions, complex property divisions, pre-and post-marital agreements, as well as high-conflict and collaborative cases. Ryan is Board Certification in Family Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization, and a Fellow in the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers.
Ryan serves in various capacities in national, state, and local bar associations.
Ryan has served in multiple leadership roles with the ABA, including the Family Law Section Podcast and CLE Committees, the ABA Young Lawyers Division Family Law Committee Chair, Liaison to Family Law Section, and Chair of the Family Law Young Lawyers Section.
Ryan serves as Director for the Texas Young Lawyer’s Association, and was recently elected to his 2nd term. Ryan is a graduate of the LeadershipSBOT Class of 2019, serves on the State Bar Public Affairs Committee, and is a Fellow with the Texas Bar Foundation.
Ryan currently serves on the Board of Directors for Collin County, Texas. Last year, Ryan founded and served as the initial Chair of the Collin County Attorney Dad’s Section. Previously, Ryan served as the Section co-chair of the Collin County Bar Association Family Law Section.
Ryan was named a “Rising Star” by SuperLawyers Magazine and to the Best Lawyers: Ones to Watch list in multiple years.
Ryan received a BBA in Finance and a BA in Political Science from Southern Methodist University, and his JD from Regent University.
Ryan lives in McKinney, Texas, with his wife Laura, and 4-year-old twins Blake and Kate (with baby #3 arriving this summer). In his free time, Ryan enjoys time with his family, travel, college football, his law school fantasy football league, and scuba diving.