Family Law

Family Law News 2016, Issue 1, Volume 38, No. 1

Message from the Chair

Vanessa Kirker Wright

Two years ago, the then-section chair (and current Advisor to Flexcom, Andrew Cain) used this column to discuss the woeful financial state of the courts. Since March, 2014, the financial picture for the courts has thankfully improved. We are not out of the woods, but there is a well-laid path toward restoring financial health to the courts. And much of that progress is due to the efforts of the attorneys of this state, and members of this section who made their voices heard.

Over the past three years, as practitioners we have suffered through slashed court budgets, long lines waiting for courtrooms and fewer and fewer courtroom staff. We have agonized over the effects on our public image as we moved through controversy within the state bar itself, and now the sections have come under pressure. Beginning in 2016, the section volunteers are subject to the constraints of the Bagley-Keene Act requiring draconian measures regarding the section meetings. For example, if one of our committee members (a volunteer) wants to join a meeting by phone, we will be required to publicize their phone number and their location 10 days in advance of the meeting – and the location from which they take the call will have to be ADA compliant.

Consider that if a volunteer member wants to call into our meeting, that member will have to agree to publicize their address. We are family law attorneys. Publicizing our home addresses and phone numbers is sometimes dangerous. Every day we appear in courtrooms by phone, advocate for our clients and hang up – safe and sound. But we will have to think twice about contributing our volunteer efforts to elevating the practice of family law if we have to expose ourselves to such inimical requirements.

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