Family Law Section

by Peter W. Buchbauer, chair

The Family Law Section began the year with 1,564 members.  By May 2010, our section had grown by more than four hundred members to 1,985.  This is recognition of the continued development of the section and the trend of practitioners of family law to identify themselves as such.  The section continued its service to its members through continuing legal education, a newsletter, and a website.

In October 2009, our section partnered with Virginia CLE to present its Annual Family Law Seminar in four locations:  Fairfax, Richmond, Norfolk, and Roanoke.  In November 2009, the section sent Lynne Marie Kohm to Marbella, Spain to present “Everything You Ever Wanted to Know about Adoption and Assisted Reproduction – But were Afraid to Ask.”  This continued a tradition of bringing family law programming to the Virginia State Bar’s Midyear Legal Seminar.  In April 2010, our section cosponsored with Virginia CLE its Annual Advanced Family Law Seminar at the Jefferson Hotel in Richmond.  During this seminar, the section presented its Lifetime Achievement Award to Richmond attorney William C. Wood.  The award recognizes persons who have demonstrated excellence and integrity and made a substantial contribution to the practice of family law in Virginia.  Bill Wood at age 70 continues to demonstrate a passion and commitment to the legal profession and serves as a mentor and leader in the practice and improvement of family law.  The section also presented its Family Law Service Award to Christine E. Marra of Richmond.  Ms. Marra has spent nearly twenty years helping low-income women and children and has been a tireless advocate for persons without a voice, including children in the foster care system.  At the VSB Annual Meeting in June 2010, our section presented “Classifying and Valuing Closely Held Businesses in Divorce: Perspectives from a Judge, Trial Attorney, and Business Valuation Expert.”  All of the programs were well attended, and a tremendous amount of positive feedback was provided.

The section was well represented in VSB President Jon D. Huddleston’s media projects.  Section Chair Peter W. Buchbauer and Juvenile and Domestic Relations Judge Angela E. Roberts were among the attorneys showcased in The Big Picture videos and at least six current or former board members contributed “Reflections” essays.

This year the Family Law Section produced four quarterly issues of our newsletter, the Family Law News, edited by Richard Crouch. Each issue contained well-written articles on family law topics and summaries of noteworthy family law cases decided by the appellate courts during the quarter. Each section member received a copy of the Family Law News.  Editions of our newsletter are now available to section members on our website.

The section established a Five-Year Plan committee to implement the goals identified in the Section’s contribution to the VSB Five-Year Plan in 2009.

The section successfully completed its remake of Spare the Child an educational video.  Special thanks go to the Virginia Law Foundation for funding and VSB staff member Madonna G. Dersch for spearheading the project for the bar.  A committee of board members worked for more than one year to see this project through to completion.  The premiere of Spare the Child occurred prior to the section’s seminar at the VSB Annual Meeting in June.

With the support of the Virginia chapter of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, we continued our tradition of recognizing the outstanding family law graduates from each of the eight Virginia law schools. This award is presented annually to a student who has demonstrated outstanding potential and interest in family law. The winners are selected by their law school faculty and at graduation are presented with a framed certificate and special-edition book provided by Thomson West.

The work of the section could not have been completed without the assistance of our VSB staff liaison, Dolly C. Shaffner, who maintained communication between board members and facilitated our meetings — especially those outside of the bar office.  Thanks go to her for her assistance this year.

Section officers for 2010-11 are Mitchell D. Broudy, chair; Frank W. Rogers III, vice chair; and Cassandra Mann-Haye Chin, secretary.

Updated: Mar 08, 2011