Like all New Years’ resolutions, they are usually broken. Of course, I am no exception. Again, I have broken my New Years’ resolution of getting this message to Brian Hirsch, the editor of this publication, on time. I have again broken my New Years’ resolution of writing an article for this publication (which is turning into an annual tradition). Despite raving to others about the excellence of the articles that the Quarterly publishes and the cogent analysis of the relevant appellate decisions from the preceding quarter, I have really done nothing to help out. In looking at the past issues to figure out how much to chastise myself for my inaction, I realized that almost every other member of the Board of Governors has written an article for this publication over the last several years.
Last Spring, in his Editor’s Note, Brian commented on how much family law has changed over his 30+ years in practice and that it showed no sign of slowing. “We all need to do what we can to keep up,” he reminded us. Brian’s comments point out two things. First, the practice of family law is varied and is constantly changing. Second, the Virginia Family Law Quarterly, and its predecessor, Family Law News, have been around a long time (in fact, this is the first issue of its 36th year). Such longevity could only be accomplished with the dedication of a guiding hand and volunteers providing well written articles and comments. We have the guiding hand of our editor but need the contributions of our membership to continue its important work.
Thus, when you are finalizing a brief where you have outlined your exhaustive research on a particular legal topic, think how easily that could be converted to an article for publication. Sharing that research beyond the confines of that one case could be beneficial to our fellow members and help with the continuing evolution of this area of practice. Indeed, an article would allow you to expand on the topic and address how it could apply in similar or even different situations. An article for this publication could also be based upon a discussion you are having with other lawyers while hanging around the courthouse, over lunch or around the office or an inspiration you may have when reading the Court of Appeals cases which come out every Tuesday morning. In all likelihood, you have relied on some of the points raised in prior articles and continuing that tradition can only help us keep up with the ever-changing landscape.
On a completely unrelated note, I want to thank our members who have taken the time to respond to surveys that the Board of Governors has conducted over the last couple of years, notably the surveys related to spousal support guidelines and the use of guardians ad litem. While they continue to be works in progress, we have received a lot of invaluable feedback from our members which will help the Board immensely in the future.
We plan to rely on our members in the future with more surveys – as well as to help continue the work of this fine publication by soliciting contributions (intellectual, not money).
Charles E. Powers, Chair
Family Law Section