Family Law Section

Frank W. Rogers III, Chair


With 2,018 members, the Family Law Section is the third largest section of the Virginia State Bar.

CLE Programming

As in previous years, in partnership with Virginia CLE, the section held its Annual Family Law Seminar at four locations in October, 2011, and in April, 2012, its Annual Advanced Family Law Seminar in Richmond, with 250 attendees. At the VSB Annual meeting, the section sponsored a program titled “Computer Forensics and their Application in Family Law.”

The CLE committee was very ably co-chaired this year by Carl J. Witmeyer II and Charles E. Powers.

Richard E. Garriott Jr. has been selected to present a CLE program at the VSB’s mid-year meeting in Rome, Italy. His topic is “Dealing with the Difficult Client.”

The section is collaborating with the Virginia Bar Association’s Domestic Relations Council, the Joint Committee on Alternative Dispute Resolution and Virginia CLE to present a four-hour Alternative Dispute Resolution/Civility Seminar on September 6, 2012, in Fairfax. It is believed that this effort is the first such collaboration of its kind among these groups.

Section Governance Meetings    

The board of governors convened four times during fiscal year 2011-2012 to conduct business matters and to address issues of concern in the practice of family law. The fall meeting was held in September, 2011, at the Hotel Roanoke in Roanoke; the early winter meeting was held by telephone conference on December 5, 2011; the late winter meeting was held on February 16, 2012 in Richmond; and, the spring meeting was held in Richmond on April 25, 2012 in conjunction with the Annual Advanced Family Law Seminar.

Publications

Richard Crouch continues to quarterly edit and publish the section’s newsletter titled Family Law News. The newsletter is now disseminated electronically for section members, is posted on the section’s VSB website, and is still mailed to members in hard copy. Past issues of the newsletter are archived and indexed on the section’s website.

The section produced five articles for the February, 2012, edition of the Virginia Lawyer, which was devoted to family law practice issues. All articles were authored by current or past section board members - Lynne Marie Kohm, Mitchell D. Broudy, Charles E. Powers, Peter W. Buchbauer and Ronald R. Tweel.

The Publications Committee, co-chaired by Charles Powers and Judge Frederick G. Rockwell III, reviewed for publication a number of literature pieces, some already in VSB inventory and some new publications. A piece describing the section’s Spare the Child DVD was completed. And, with the committee’s leadership two brochures created by Mitch Broudy and the office of the executive secretary of the Supreme Court of Virginia, discussing mediation of child support cases, were approved by the Board for public dissemination.

Awards

On April 26, 2012, the section presented its Lifetime Achievement Award to Richmond, Virginia attorney, Terrence R. Batzli. The award recognizes persons who have demonstrated excellence and integrity and made a substantial contribution to the practice of family law in Virginia throughout their careers.

With the support of the Virginia chapter of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, the section continued its tradition of recognizing the outstanding family law graduates for each of the eight Virginia law schools. This award is presented annually to students who have demonstrated outstanding potential and interest in family law. Winners are selected by their law school faculty, and at graduation are presented with a framed certificate and a special edition book provided by Thomson West.

Miscellaneous

At its February 16, 2012, meeting, the board was delighted to have as its guest Jin Zhao, a law school professor from China visiting at Regent University Law School in Virginia Beach. A guest of professor Lynne Marie Kohm, Dr. Zhao engaged members of the board in a discussion involving a number of very interesting family law topics.

The reach of Spare the Child continues to grow. A project of the section through a generous grant from the Virginia Law Foundation, Spare the Child guides parents and families through the difficult task of restructuring a family. The documentary style conversational video uses everyday language and gives examples from experienced participants. Copies of Spare the Child have been requested from lawyers and judges not just in Virginia, but from other states as well. In October, 2011, Spare the Child was honored with the NABE Fastcase Living Award for Excellence in Public Relations. More than 600 copies of the DVD, available in Spanish and closed captioning for the hearing impaired, have been distributed since its completion in 2010. Spare the Child can viewed on the section’s website at .

The section will be submitting a social media plan for a Facebook presence to the VSB Communications Committee. If approved, the Facebook page will provide an interactive form for members of the section to discuss issues of interest and concern in the family law arena.

Officers and New Board Members for 2012-13

At its annual meeting, the section elected the following officers for 2012-13:

Cassandra Chin, chair
Carl Witmeyer Jr., vice-chair
Richard Garriott Jr., secretary

Frank Rogers III will serve as immediate past chair.

New members elected to the board are Judge Deborah Ryan from the 2nd Judicial District, Peter V. Chiusano, Daniel Gray and Lawrence P. Vance. These members succeed departing board members Judge Ramona Taylor, Laura Thornton and David Clarke, all of whom served the board ably and enthusiastically.

The considerable work of the board would not have been possible without the hard work of the section’s VSB liaison, Dolly Shaffner. Dolly juggles a lot of responsibilities, but she does so in a way that makes the section’s board meetings and numerous activities run smoothly and timely. I’d like to extend a personal note of thanks to Dolly for all of her assistance and support this past year.

Updated: Aug 16, 2012