“Ask not what your section can do for you…but what you can do for your section”
Initially, I thought my first message as Chair of the Family Law Section should point out all the wonderful benefits that come with being a member. You know —benefits like 6 hours of free MCLE credit, low cost, yet highly informative, webinars and self-study articles, and periodicals which keep you abreast of important happenings in the world of California family law. Yes, there are benefits a plenty with being a member of the Family Law Section, so if you’re reading this and you’re not already a member, please stop what you’re doing and visit https://calawyers.org/join-us/ to become a member today!
For those of you who are already a member, I need not convince you of all the great benefits. Instead, I would like to use my first message as Chair, coming to you hat in hand, requesting a little more “quid pro quo.” You see, I seek additional remuneration, aside from your annual membership dues, which you graciously provide, and we humbly accept. Yes, I am changing the terms of this agreement, requesting a modification, altering this bargain for exchange. I’m a lawyer. I can’t help it. What do I seek you ask? Something that is near and dear to every family law practitioner’s heart – time and effort.
You see, there are many opportunities to make an impact in family law, aside from the day-to-day tasks that arise within our chosen career paths. These opportunities come in many shapes, sizes, and forms and in this case, within our own section.
For instance, this year marks the return of FLEXCOM’s “Standing Committees.” What is a Standing Committee you ask? Why, it is a group of family law section members, who meet on a regular basis and assist the Executive Committee Members, by providing crucial input on pending family law legislation. In addition, the Standing Committee groups discuss recent case law, the impact on family law practice, and provide recommendations on affirmative legislation, all of which supports the work done by FLEXCOM. By becoming a member of a Standing Committee, not only are you helping to provide important information and analysis which helps shape the future of family law, but it is also a great way to meet other section members as well as obtain fantastic networking opportunities.
We currently have standing committees in Los Angeles, Orange County, Sacramento, and the Bay Area (San Francisco and surrounding counties). If you are interested in participating as a member of the standing committee, please contact us at FamilyLaw@calawyers.org.
Recognizing others within our legal community is another great opportunity to get involved. Every year FLEXCOM strives to identify and bestow recognition on attorneys, judicial officers, and court staff members who have made a lasting impact in the area of family law through their work and individual contributions. A list of the awards, criteria and application process are set forth on our website. If you know of someone who fits the criteria and is deserving of recognition, please fill out an application. The deadline for submissions is March 1, 2020.
In our line of work, we are constantly writing, be it briefs, pleadings, letters, and emails. Frankly, the list is exhaustive but certainly rewarding depending on the content and clarity of the message we are delivering. If you are looking for another avenue to put these fine-tuned writing skills to work, look no further. FLEXCOM is in constant need of articles to include in our quarterly publication, Family Law News or “FLN.” This publication contains a variety of articles of practical use for attorneys at all levels of experience and relies on submissions from a variety of sources to provide interesting and relevant material related to the practice of family law. Join the ranks of your esteemed colleagues who can proudly state that “they have been published” and write an article on your favorite family law topic or subject matter.
Minor’s Counsel Training
I challenge you to find a more noble or rewarding cause within our family law profession, than that of representing children in protracted custody disputes. In speaking with colleagues and judicial officers up and down the state, there is a significant need for Minor’s Counsel training and for qualified individuals who are willing to be appointed. In order for you to take up this noble cause, you need education and training. If you are interested in representing minors in family court or simply looking to obtain great legal education on issues related to minors counsel, mark your calendars for February 8 and 9, 2020, as these are the dates for the Fourth Annual San Luis Obispo County Minor’s Counsel Training Symposium, hosted by FLEXCOM. Click here to register. To continue with the tradition of getting excellent speakers for this training, this year’s presenters will be Hon. Mark Juhas of Los Angeles County Superior Court, Hon. Erin Childs of San Luis Obispo County Superior Court, Dr. Robert Simon, Ph.D., Gregory F. Gillet, Esq., and former FLEXCOM Chair and AAML Fellow, Stephen D. Hamilton.
In closing, I’d like thank all of who have made significant contributions in the past, those contributing the present, and those who will contribute in the future.
Stephen A. Montagna
Chair, Family Law Executive Committee of the
California Lawyers Association