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Family Law Section

News from the Section

Message from the Chair - Vanessa Kirker Wright

The State Bar staff calls us the "volunteers".  We refer to ourselves, variously, as FLEXCOMers or Committee members.  We serve to enhance the level of practice in the state.  And the best part is that we have a blast working together on the most cutting edge issues in Family Law.

One of my favorite sayings is "all law is family law."   When I utter those words amongst my non-family law colleagues, I get one of two reactions: 1) pregnant pause and sudden subject change, or 2) odd look, small chuckle and sudden subject change. READ MORE

Family Law Essentials 2016: Going Through the Motions–Family Law RFO and Motion Practice

Family Law Essentials 2016: Going Through the MotionsThis one day class will cover the essentials of a Family Law Request For Order and other types of Motion Practice. An esteemed panel of bench officers and attorneys will provide exclusive practice pointers for your Request For Order and Motion practice.

We're pleased to announce that we've added Redding to the schedule, as well as a 25% discount for members of the California Young Lawyers Association!

CLICK HERE to check out the outline of the program! Over 250 pages of program materials and special forms provided!

The remaining dates for the 2016 are:


  • Honorable Mark Albert Juhas
  • Honorable Sue Alexander
  • Honorable Maureen Francis Hallahan
  • Honorable Dale Wells
  • John Daniel Hodson, CFLS, AAML
  • Barbara K. Hammers, CFLS

Earn 6 hours participatory MCLE credit, including 1 hour in Legal Ethics, and 6 hours legal specialization credit in Family Law

Four Locations | Program Schedule | Essential Information |
Printable Brochure | Mail / Fax Registration Form

For more information, see Essentials 2016: Going Through the Motions.


Appellate Review: Disqualification of Family Law Attorneys (Costello & Murchison)

Thursday, May 12, 2016, 12 noon - 1 p.m.

This program offers 1 hour participatory MCLE credit and 1 hour legal specialization credit in Family Law. You must register in advance in order to participate.

The panel will discuss issues such as the standing requirements for disaffected parties as well as whether courts have independent authority to override a client’s right to chosen counsel.

Kennedy v. Aldridge affirmed a disqualification order in a family law case in 2011.  Two other appellate districts filed opinions within 24 hours of one another in March 2016 affirming and reversing disqualification orders. 

 In Costello v. Buckley, plaintiff in a collection action against her former boyfriend sought to disqualify his brother from representing him. The attorney had acquired confidential information about the romantic relationship between his client and brother while defending her in an easement case. Though the prior and successive representations were factually and legally unrelated, the successor client asserted a defense that the funds he received was a gift rather than a loan. He contended that their romantic relationship evidenced such donative intent.

[Rule 3-310(E) of the Rules of Professional Conduct precluding an attorney from accepting employment adverse to a former client without informed written consent.]

Moderators: Abbas Hadjian and Melinda Sammis


  • Robert A. Curtis
  • John A. Messina, Jr.

Honorable D. Zeke Zeidler: Dependency Practice For Family Law Attorneys

Thursday, June 2, 2016, 12 noon - 1 p.m.

This program offers one hour participatory MCLE credit in Legal Ethics and 1 hour legal specialization credit in the area of Family Law. You must register in advance in order to participate.

How to begin or expand your child custody practice in the dependency court. Similarities and differences between the family law practice and dependency litigation.

Moderator: Melinda Sammis and Abbas Hadjian

Speaker: Hon. D. Zeke Zeidler

Comprehensive Family Law Practice Series: A Skills Course for Family Law

Co-sponsored by the Family Law Section of the State Bar of California and the Family Law Section of the Sonoma County Bar Association.

Friday, July 15, 8 a.m. - 5:30 p.m.
Saturday, July 16, 8 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.

Hyatt Vineyard Creek
170 Railroad Street
Santa Rosa, CA 95401

Click here for more info!

Member Benefits

Are you a Section member who wants to be reminded of all the benefits? Do you have a colleague on the fence about joining the Section? Being a Family Law Section member offers a number of great benefits.READ MORE

Other News

Thank You for Being a Section Member in 2016 - Here's 6 Hours MCLE in Legal Ethics!

We're very grateful for your membership in the Section. As a token of that, we're offering six hours of self-study MCLE credit in the area of Legal Ethics. The programs are posted in our Member's Only Area.

Simply watch the programs and read the accompanying materials, and keep track of having done so. You can report this to the State Bar when it's time to demonstrate your compliance with the MCLE requirements.

Know Your Legal Rights – Podcasts Now Available

The Family Law Section is a sponsor of the radio program “Know Your Legal Rights” hosted in the Bay Area by San Mateo Deputy District Attorney Chuck Finney. Mr. Finney welcomes attorneys and other professionals to talk about hot legal topics on a weekly basis. He routinely hosts members of FlexCom and other family law attorneys to educate the public on burgeoning issues important to our practice. FlexCom thanks Mr. Finney for providing our Section with this forum over the years.

If you are interested in listening to prior broadcasts focused on family law issues, the State Bar website now has a list that dates all the way back to when the Section first started sponsoring the program. Visit the Family Law Section page for additional details. For an entire list of podcasts hosted by Mr. Finney, please see HERE.

Save Money with CEB

CEB Discount Program for Section MembersContinuing Education of the Bar, California (CEB) is extending some special discount offers to our section. As a member of the Family Law Section, you're eligible for:

  • 10% off selected CEB print or online books
  • A rebate on your section dues that can be applied to the cost of a CEB Gold CLE Passport or a CLE program ticket

A complete list of the products eligible for a discount is available on a CEB web page accessible through our Members Only Area. Information about the section dues rebate program can be found on the CEB Web site.

Consumer Education PamphletsConsumer Education Pamphlets Available for Purchase

The State Bar of California's "Get the Legal Facts of Life" Pamphlets are available for purchase from the State Bar. These pamphlets are both educational and informative for your clients.

For more information, see Consumer Education Pamphlets or call the Education Pamphlet Hotline: 888-875-LAWS (888-875-5297).

Online and Self-Study CLE from the Family Law Section

Online AudioView Family Law Section programs over the internet for participatory MCLE credit . Choose from hundreds of hours of official State Bar of California MCLE programs. For more information, see streaming audio and video, and select Family Law Be sure to check out CLEtoGo , downloadable podcasts you can listen to on the BART, or on the drive in or from the office.

Making the Connection: The Family Law Section is on Social Media

https://www.facebook.com/calbarfamily http://www.twitter.com/calbarfamily

Who said family law lawyers weren’t social? A reminder, our Family Law Section is on Facebook and Twitter - join us! The Section sees social media as another way to connect our members with information as it develops. Stay in touch with us to learn about the great work being done by Section members across the state. You can Like us on Facebook and Follow us on Twitter at the links below.

Contact Us

Family Law Section
The State Bar of California
180 Howard Street
San Francisco, CA 94105-1639
FAX 415-538-2368