Section News and Information
May 6, 2010
Congratulations to 2010 Law Student Book Award winnersThe awards for the law students who demonstrated great promise and potential in the practice of Family Law, are as follows for 2009-2010:
Jeremy McGraw of Appalachian Law School
Elizabeth Soucek of George Mason Law School
Betty Bogese-Russo of Regent University Law School
Faith Abar Alejandro of University of Richmond Law School
Dawn Kelly Miller of University of Virginia Law School
Joseph Charles Mercer of Washington & Lee Law School
Rebecca Lynne Roman of William & Mary Law School
Tim Fisk of Liberty Law School
May 7, 2010
Congratulations to the 2010 Service Award winner Christie Marra
Advocate for Women and Children Receives Family Law Service Award
Christine E. “Christie” Marra of Richmond, a legal services attorney since 1991, has been named the 2010 recipient of the Family Law Service Award presented by the Virginia State Bar’s Family Law Section.
The award recognizes people and organizations that have improved family, domestic relations or juvenile law in Virginia. It was presented April 30 at the section’s Advanced Family Law Seminar in Richmond.
In almost 20 years of helping low-income women and children, Marra “has gained a reputation as a tireless advocate for children, especially those in Virginia’s foster care system,” according to the nomination letter from Voices for Virginia’s Children and the Virginia Poverty Law Center.
She recently developed a project, Voices for Change, to give teens in foster care a voice through participating in an art contest. The young artists’ work was published in a book that was distributed to policy makers and community leaders. “This creative project helped transform the youth into advocates and amplified their voices in the policy-making process,“ the letter stated.
In her own legislative advocacy, Marra has worked to make divorce more accessible to low-income persons; to legalize cooperative adoption through which youths in foster care can move in with permanent families while maintaining ties to their birth families; and to improve resources available to foster and adoptive parents.
A native of New York, she earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Virginia and a law degree from the University of Richmond. She practiced briefly with a legal aid program in Southwest Virginia, then worked as a staff attorney at Central Virginia Legal Aid in Richmond for 13 years. She has been a staff attorney at the Virginia Poverty Law Center since 2004.
May 7, 2010
Congratulations to the 2010 Lifetime Achievement Award winner William C. Wood
Richmond Family Law Practitioner Is Recognized for Lifetime Achievement
William C. Wood, a family law attorney whose passion for and commitment to the legal profession and community is still strong at age 70, has been named the 2010 recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award by the Virginia State Bar’s Family Law Section.
The award recognizes persons who have demonstrated excellence and integrity and have made a substantial contribution to the practice of family law in Virginia. The award was presented during the section’s annual Advanced Family Law Seminar on April 30 in Richmond.
“Bill has been in practice for 42 years. … He is generally thought of as the dean of the Henrico County bar,” according to the nomination letter by Michael S. Ewing, a shareholder with Wood in the firm Batzli Wood Stiles.
Wood is a commissioner in chancery, a judge pro tempore who hears primarily family law matters, and a mediator with the McCammon Group. He served on the Family Law Section Board of Governors and was a member of a VSB district committee that hears lawyer disciplinary cases in the Richmond area. He worked on committees that established uniform practices and procedures — including spousal support guidelines — for domestic relations and other civil matters in the Richmond, Henrico, and Chesterfield circuit courts.
Wood earned a bachelor’s degree from Randolph-Macon College in 1962 and a law degree from the University of Richmond in 1966.
“I believe that every judge and lawyer in Richmond would agree that Bill has raised the level of professionalism among the family law bar,” Ewing wrote. “For the 15 years that I have been with Bill, I have been most impressed with the straightforward honesty and integrity with which he addresses his clients and colleagues. He worked his entire career to create value in his word and his desire to protect and maintain that value continues to guide every decision he makes. … I am repeatedly told by other attorneys that it is ‘refreshing’ to have a case with Bill.”
October 27, 2010
Submitting Articles and News
Family Law News encourages Section members to submit articles, information of a newsworthy nature, etc. for this newsletter. Articles should be typed, double-spaced, and of a length comparable to what you have seen in this newsletter in the past. If you can, send a computer disc, which identifies the computer format and word processing program used. Even better, email it to firstname.lastname@example.org but tell us you are doing so, so that we don’t miss it. Send as a Word file if possible, otherwise as WordPerfect 5.1. Contents should be sent to the Editor, Richard E. Crouch, 2111 Wilson Boulevard, Suite 950, Arlington, VA 22201.
We print four newsletters per year. We have had to move up the deadlines for all issues so that the Summer issue can be distributed at the Annual Meeting. Until further notice, the deadlines for submission of copy are as follows:
Spring – February 10
Fall – August 10
Summer – April 20
Winter – November 10
Please remember that the contents should be submitted well before the deadline to allow time for our working with the author on any needed revisions. Articles which come in nearest the deadline are subject to more arbitrary editing, or run more chance of being overset to the next issue. The Editor also actively solicits comments from Section members on what they would like to see in the newsletter, and would rather see less of, etc. Do not expect to see these comments in print, however, as we do not have a letters column.
March 25, 2011
2011 Judicial Vacancy Survey ResultsJudicial Vacancy Survey Results (.pdf)
April 27, 2011
Harrisonburg Family Law Practitioner Is Recognized for Lifetime AchievementFranklin R. Blatt, a family law attorney who has mentored a generation of Virginia family law attorneys, has been named the 2011 recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award by the Virginia State Bar’s Family Law Section.
The award recognizes persons who have demonstrated excellence and integrity and have made a substantial contribution to the practice of family law in Virginia. The award will be presented during the section’s annual Advanced Family Law Seminar on April 28 in Richmond. See http://www.vsb.org/site/sections/family-calendar/seminar4282011/ for details.
Blatt has practiced for more than 30 years. In addition to earning a reputation as a skillful litigator, he was one of the first lawyers in his region to train in collaborative law, through which disputes are settled between parties outside the courtroom.
He is a former president of the Harrisonburg/Rockingham County Bar Association, and he founded its family law section. “His contributions to the arena of family law are unparalleled by anyone in our local area,” according to the nomination letter from 10 area lawyers.
“In his zealous and thorough representation of his client, he never overlooked a detail or statute or nuance in the law that would work to benefit his client. Frank Blatt has been one of our best teachers.”
As much as he enjoys his time in the courtroom, Blatt “has seen, for a long time, the benefits of settling a case after both sides have exchanged discovery. … He is respectful of all sides in settlement conferences, … and then can ‘sting like a bee’ in the courtroom, if settlement is not possible.”
While Blatt was on the Family Law Section’s board of governors, he developed an interest group that grew into the VSB’s Special Committee on Technology and the Practice of Law, which he served as chair.
He helps develop family law in Virginia through the Virginia Family Law Coalition, which advises the General Assembly. He is a member of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers; the Virginia Trial Lawyers Association, for which he served on the board of governors from 1994 until 2009; and the Virginia Bar Association. He has taught for the Virginia State Bar’s Professionalism Course required of all Virginia lawyers.
After doing most of his undergraduate work at Emory and Henry College, Blatt graduated from East Tennessee State University and then earned a law degree from the University of Memphis. He practices at the Law Offices of Franklin R. Blatt in Harrisonburg.
April 27, 2011
Supreme Court’s Lelia Hopper Will Receive 2011 Family Law Service AwardLelia Baum Hopper, director of the court improvement project of the Supreme Court of Virginia’s Office of the Executive Secretary, will be recognized with the Family Law Service Award, presented by the Virginia State Bar’s Family Law Section.
The award recognizes people and organizations that have improved family, domestic relations, or juvenile law in Virginia. It will be presented April 28 at the section’s Advanced Family Law Seminar in Richmond.
Hopper oversees development and implementation of best practices for managing and resolving cases of child abuse, child neglect, and foster care.
“[W]e have come to know Lelia Hopper as probably the most knowledgeable and influential person in the Commonwealth in the field of child dependency law,” Judge William W. Sharp wrote in a nomination letter on behalf of the Virginia Council of Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court Judges.
Hopper educates judges and attorneys about dependency law and other juvenile justice matters. Her educational outreach includes other professionals in social services, law enforcement, medicine, mental health, and education. She also works with the General Assembly on child-related legislation, and she oversees the court’s training and certification of guardians ad litem for children and incapacitated adults.
The Best Practice Court Program, through which thirty Virginia courts receive training and develop community teams to deal more effectively with child dependency issues, “has had an enormous impact in improving the process, for care and services, of dependent children,” Sharp wrote.
Before joining the Court staff in 1989, Hopper was a deputy secretary of human resources under Governor Charles S. Robb and an attorney for the Virginia Division of Legislative Services.
Hopper has an undergraduate degree from the University of Richmond and a law degree from the College of William and Mary, where she has served on the adjunct faculty for the juvenile law clinic.
May 27, 2011
Congratulations to 2010-11 Outstanding GraduatesThe awards for the law students who demonstrated great promise and potential in the practice of Family Law, are as follows for 2010-2011:
Lindsey A. Dennerlein of Appalachian Law School
TBA of George Mason Law School
Jonathan Growick of Regent University Law School
Elizabeth Fairchild Harding of University of Richmond Law School
Emily Groleau Rottier of University of Virginia Law School
Gail Marie Deady & Lethia C. Hammond of Washington & Lee Law School
TBA of William & Mary Law School
Keri Upchurch of Liberty Law School
more information Law Student Book Awards
August 22, 2011
Family Law Section 2011 Annual Report
The 2011 Family Law Section Annual Report is available.
April 16, 2012
Longtime Family Law Practitioner Honored for Lifetime Achievement
Terrence R. Batzli, president of the Batzli Wood and Stiles law firm and a lifelong family law lawyer, has been named the 2012 winner of the Lifetime Achievement Award by the Virginia State Bar’s Family Law Section.
The award recognizes people who have demonstrated excellence and integrity and have made a substantial contribution to the practice of family law in Virginia. The award will be presented during the section’s annual Advanced Family Law Seminar on April 26, 2012, in Richmond. See http://www.vsb.org/site/sections/family-calendar/seminar42012 for details.
Batzli has practiced law for nearly forty years. He not only has a reputation as one of the best family law practitioners in the state, but he is also known as a mentor to many young attorneys.
In her letter nominating Batzli for the award, Richmond attorney Tracy H. Spencer noted that Batzli was a founding member and the first president of the Metropolitan Richmond Family Law Bar Association. “Terry was instrumental in providing this valuable resource to Richmond family law attorneys.” Spencer also wrote that Batzli “believes in teaching young attorneys the procedures and tips on being a good family law attorney. He believes in giving attorneys the opportunities to grow.”
Batzli is a fellow of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, the International Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, and the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals. He frequently lectures on family law issues to bar association groups and other professionals. He has served as a Family Law Mediator with the McCammon Group and since 1980 as a Commissioner-in-Chancery and Judge Pro Tempore in the Hanover County Circuit Court.
He received his law degree from the University of Richmond T.C. Williams School of Law in 1975. He also was an honor graduate, Officer Candidate School, Army Transportation Corps, Fort Eustis, Virginia and was a captain on active duty from 1966 to 1970.
February 21, 2013
Social Media Guidelines
Virginia State Bar Family Law Section (“FLS”) members who create content (“FLS Content”) for or contribute postings to social media that identifies, expressly or by implication, itself as being sponsored by, administered by, or affiliated with the FLS (“FLS Social Media”) are expected to do so responsibly, professionally, ethically, and lawfully in accordance with these guidelines and the Virginia State Bar Policy Concerning the Use of Social Media on Behalf of Virginia State Bar and its Entities (the “VSB Policy”), available at www.vsb.org/docs/ch-policies.pdf and incorporated in its entirety by reference. Neither the VSB Policy nor these guidelines apply to a FSL member’s use of social media that is unrelated to the Virginia State Bar.
For purposes of these guidelines, “Social Media” means contributing, posting or uploading content or postings to all types of interactive electronic communications including but not limited to websites, weblogs, social networks, and discussion boards.
The FLS uses Social Media to provide members with an outlet to receive and exchange information about Section activities and events, as well as information relevant to family, domestic relations, and juvenile law in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Only FLS members may use FLS Social Media.
Subscription to FLS Social Media is subject to the approval of the FLS Social Media Subcommittee and/or the Chair of the FLS Board of Governors. These guidelines are subject to change depending upon the needs and requirements of the Virginia State Bar, the FLS and its members. No vested rights are granted to anyone by the VSB Policy or these guidelines.
1. No FLS member shall create a FLS Social Media presence without first securing the approval of the FLS Board of Governors the Virginia State Bar.
2. FLS Content should be relevant to the mission of the FLS and the Virginia State Bar, and should assist in advancing the availability and quality of legal services provided to the people of Virginia and/or to improving the legal profession and the judicial system. FLS Content must be of professional quality and must be carefully considered. All statements must be true to the best of the knowledge and belief of the FLS and not misleading.
3. The posting of private information about posters or others is prohibited. FLS Content and postings must adhere to all statutory prescriptions and Rules of Professional Conduct, including but not limited to laws and rules governing the privacy of individuals and confidential information of clients. FLS Content and postings shall not contain material that is obscene, defamatory, profane, libelous, threatening, harassing, abusive, hateful, or embarrassing to another person or entity or to the Virginia State Bar.
5. FLS Content and postings shall be of an informational nature and for informational purposes only. Commercial use or any other unauthorized use of FLS Social Media is prohibited. Do not use FLS Social Media to solicit or conduct business, including the direct or indirect marketing of users’ products or services, in any manner. FLS Social Media may not be used to provide information, materials, products, or services in exchange for compensation of any kind.
6. FLS Content and postings must conform to all applicable state and federal laws. Without limitation, this includes compliance with copyright and trademark laws. Do not use any words, logos, or other marks that infringe upon the trademark, service mark, certification mark, or other intellectual property right of the owners of such marks without their express permission to do so. Without limitation, this also includes antitrust laws. No content shall encourage or facilitate agreements between Virginia State Bar members of different firms concerning the following, as they pertain to legal services: prices, discounts, or terms or conditions of sale; salaries; profits, profit margins, or cost data; market shares, sales territories, or markets; allocation of customers or suppliers; or any other term or condition related to competition.
7. FLS Social Media shall not contain confidential, sensitive or non-public proprietary information of or about the Virginia State Bar, the FLS Board of Governors, section members, employees, business partners, suppliers or other third parties.
8. FLS Content must comply with all other applicable Virginia State Bar policies, including, without limitation, the Virginia State Bar’s Policies Concerning Legislative and Regulatory Activities. FLS Social Media may not be used for the purpose of interfering with or affecting the result of an election or a nomination for public office, or advocating for or against a partisan political party, candidate for partisan political office or partisan political group.
9. Do not allow unauthorized users access to FLS Social Media.
10. Social media postings may generate media coverage. If a member of the media contacts the FLS about FLS Social Media, that contact should be referred to the Virginia State Bar’s Deputy Executive Director.
11. Social Media content creates business records that may be retained for business, legal and regulatory purposes. By posting material, the posting party warrants and represents that he or she owns the copyright with respect to such material, has received permission from the copyright owner, or that the material is in the public domain. The posting party further warrants and represent that he or she has the full and unencumbered right to post such material and that such posting will not infringe upon any rights or interests of others. In addition, the posting party grants the FLS and its members/subscribers of FLS Social Media a non-exclusive, irrevocable license to display, copy, publish, distribute, transmit, print, and use such information or material in any manner without payment to the posting party.
12. The FLS accepts no responsibility for the opinions and information posted on FLS Social Media. The FLS disclaims all warranties with regard to information posted on FLS Social Media, whether posted by the FLS or FLS members; this disclaimer includes but is not limited to all implied warranties of merchantability and fitness. In no event shall the FLS be liable for any special, indirect, or consequential damages or damages of any kind whatsoever, resulting from loss of use, data, or profits, arising out of or in connection with access to, use, or performance of any information posted on FLS Social Media.
13. Do not impersonate any person or entity or otherwise misrepresent your affiliation with a person or entity or interfere with other uses of FLS Social Media. Do not disseminate harmful content including, without limitation, viruses, or any other computer programming routines that may damage, interfere with, surreptitiously intercept or expropriate any system, program, data, or personal information.
14. If the Virginia State Bar deems FLS Content or a posting to be inappropriate under the VSB Policy, appropriate enforcement action will be taken. In addition, failure to follow these guidelines may result in revocation of access to FLS Social Media at the sole discretion of the FLS. Nothing in these guidelines or the VSB Policy alters, derogates from, or otherwise affects FLS members’ (a) legal obligations under civil or criminal law or (b) ethical and professional obligations under the Rules of Professional Conduct.