Family Law Section

News from the Section

Send us your Nominations for the 2015 Family Law Awards

The Executive Committee for the Family Law Section of the State Bar of California (FLEXCOM) is seeking nominations for outstanding contributions to the practice of family law for 2014. The award categories are Family Law Judicial Officer of the Year, Family Law Lifetime Achievement Award, Excellence in Family Law, Court Staff Award, and Barrister of the Year. For more information, see the 2015 Family Law Awards Nomination Form.

Message from the Editor

The holiday season is in full swing. Most of the state has finally received some long overdue rain. Californians have spent weeks scurrying from store to store in search of the best deal on holiday gifts. And, attorneys across the state are winding down their business affairs for the year in preparation of spending time with family and other loved ones. On behalf of the entire Executive Committee of the Family Law Section, I would like to wish all of our readers a very joyous holiday season. We look forward to ending the year on a high note and beginning 2015 with great expectations.

One special group that we'd like to recognize is our newest members. As you'll read below, several members of our Executive Committee personally greeted a large number of those individuals that passed the July Bar exam. All of us remember anxiously sitting by our computers or mailboxes, awaiting the news of our professional fate. Congratulations to all of those that have joined the hallowed ranks of the State Bar. You have much to be thankful for this holiday season!

---Andrew Cain

Message from the Chair

I'm told that Eskimos have anywhere from 50 to 100 different words to describe snow and ice conditions. Me, I have about 4 - slushy, hard pack, powder and icy; maybe you've got few more. So what? Well, it's more than just a difference in vocabulary; it demonstrates the depth of distinctions - at least as to snow. With these greater distinctions, or nuanced understandings of a particular subject matter (in this case, cold stuff), one can be much more facile and effective in that environment. For example, there's no doubt that the construction of, and conversation about, my Igloo, built with simple snow, would be very different than that of an Eskimo who understands and uses illusaq (snow that is rigid and maneuverable enough for erecting a semi-spherical house made of snow blocks.) Wrong Snow = Bad Igloo.

The building of igloos in our family law community - not so important. But, the mentoring of young attorneys, attorneys who would like to contribute to California families and the practice of family law, that's essential. As you read this E-News, you'll see that about 4,000 new bar admittees have joined our ranks, some of whom will chose family law. Those, together with other young attorneys new to family law, need our help - they need your help.

In this, my first E-news piece as Chair, there is much I could have discussed. However, as we find ourselves in the season of giving, approaching a new year with a new beginning, I ask that we each commit a few hours a month to mentoring our less experienced family law attorneys. I believe that there are few ways in which your time can be better spent, and therefore mine for asking, than contributing to someone's knowledge and distinctions concerning the practice of family law: Through your practice, you impact the lives of your clientele; through mentoring, you impact not only the mentee, but all of his or her clientele to come. How many circles of clientele will you impact?

Please email me,, and briefly share about the mentoring programs in which you've participated - what worked, what didn't and your suggestions. Also, please let me know, are you willing to consider participating in something new?

Happy Holidays & best wishes for a healthy, joyous, prosperous and educational, New Year!

--Raymond Goldstein

4 Hours of Self-Study CLE in Legal Ethics -- Complimentary for Members of the Family Law Section!

As a 2014 benefit of Section membership, we are pleased to offer four hours of MCLE credit in the field of Legal Ethics. That's enough to fulfill the Ethics requirement.

The Section thanks you for your membership!If you were purchasing these courses individually in our Online Catalog, they would cost $140 -- so that's your Section membership more than paid for, and then some!

Just watch these programs, and keep a record of having done so in the event you're audited for MCLE compliance.

You can access these programs and the accompanying written materials any time this year in the Members Only Area.

The programs are:

  • Avoiding the State Bar Disciplinary System
  • Client Trust Accounting Fundamentals
  • Ethical Implications for Lawyers in Cyberspace and Social Media
  • Ethics and Civility: Want an Extension? Forget about It!

Webinar: Identifying and Managing Family Law Clients with Chemical Dependency

Thursday, January 8, 2015, 12 noon. - 1 p.m.

This program offers1 hour participatory MCLE Credit in the area of Competency Issues; 1 hour Legal Specialization in the area of Family Law. You must register in advance in order to participate.

Successfully advising or opposing Family Law clients suffering from chemical dependency requires specific knowledge in a wide range of specialties. This seminar will identify those specialties and related issues practitioners need to be aware of from intake until judgment and beyond. With speakers Robert Owen Boyd, Ph. D. and Jason Elter.

Webinar Replay: Ethical Risk Management for Attorneys Serving Families through Change: Dissolution & Death

Thursday, January 15, 2015, 12 noon. - 1:30 p.m.

This program offers 1.5 Participatory MCLE Credits in Legal Ethics and 1.5 Legal Specialization credit in Family Law. You must register in advance in order to participate.

Explores common risk management issues faced by attorneys serving the needs of families through their significant life changes. Learn how awareness of the Rules of Professional Conduct and other statutes regulating the practice of law help attorneys avoid risk management pitfalls that can lead to claims. With speakers Jennifer Becker, Partner; John A. Hartog, and John Manoogian.

Webinar Replay: Bias - The Enemy of Persuasion

Thursday, January 29, 2015, 12 noon- 1 p.m.

This program offers 1 hour Participatory MCLE Credit in Legal Ethics and 1 hour Legal Specialization credit in Family Law. You must register in advance in order to participate.

Snap judgments, preconceived notions, and stereotypes sometimes have a greater effect on the decision-making process than thee evidence of the law. This trial advocacy course will identify the sources of bias which may influence family law judicial officers or child custody evaluators, and how to overcome bias in the courtroom. With speaker Christopher C. Melcher.

The Family Law Section welcomes new members to the State Bar

Shortly before Thanksgiving, approximately 4000 people received news they had waited for since July. They are the newest group of Californians to successfully sit for the State Bar exam. Earlier this month, most of the members of this group attended one of many ceremonies across the state to swear in new admittees to the Bar. Members of the Executive Committee were present at a number of these ceremonies to greet the attendees and spread the word about the benefits of Section membership. A big thanks to all the Section executive committee members that attended ceremonies in venues such as Anaheim, Ventura, Riverside, San Diego, Pasadena and Sacramento.

It is never too early for new attorneys to become involved with a Section. We encourage all of our readers who know a newly licensed attorney to remind them of the great deal being offered by the State Bar. New admittees are allowed to register in the Section of their choice free of charge for one year! Details about this great offer can be found HERE.

December 2, 2014 Swearing In Ceremony in Annahiem

Four for 2015! The Family Law Section confirms the final date and location for its live education Essentials programming.

Last issue we were pleased to announce the confirmation of three dates and locations for 2015 live education programming sponsored by the Family Law Section. As promised, we can now announce the fourth location. We are pleased to confirm that our geographic reach is expanding this year, as Fresno will join San Diego, Los Angeles and Oakland in hosting Family Law Essentials: Discovering the Theory of Your Case and Proving it at Trial.

Much more information is coming at the turn of the year, including a formal Save the Date flyer, registration details and program specifics. Our panel of esteemed bench officers and attorneys is working hard to put the finishing touches on the material to be presented. For now, we ask that you make a note of the location that works best for you and mark the date in your calendar.

San Diego: March 2, 2015
Los Angeles: March 23, 2015
Oakland: April 17, 2015

Fresno: May 8, 2015

The 2015 AFCC-California conference is right around the corner. Register Now!

The Westin South Coast Plaza Hotel February 6-8, 2015 will be the site and dates of the annual conference of the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts, California chapter. This year's conference, titled "Inventing the Future: Getting Ahead of the Curve for California's Families", will offer informative and cutting edge programs designed to provide you with enhanced insight and skills for your work with families and children. For those needing a domestic violence update, you may select from a four-hour DV institute or two workshops to meet your continuing education requirements.

The conference will feature four plenary sessions headlined by current and retired judicial officers, retired appellate court justices, Certified Family Law Specialists, attorneys and psychologists from all regions throughout the country.

Registration is now open. Please go to for details and an overview of each workshop offered. Early registration ends January 10, 2015.

Application period for Executive Committee service now open

The State Bar has posted the applications for 2015 commission and committee appointments. While we support any interest our members have in being involved with the Bar, FlexCom specifically is looking for the cream of the attorney crop to join its ranks for a three-year term. Service on FlexCom allows you to be a part of shaping the direction of the Section's efforts in legislation, education, policy, member benefits and so much more.

The application deadline is February 2, 2015. The application can be found in Word and PDF format HERE. If you have any questions about FlexCom service, please contact Chair Raymond Goldstein at or Vice Chair Vanessa Kirker-Wright at

Other News

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.

Free Access to Attorney's BriefCase OnCall™

As a membership benefit, State Bar Family Law Section members have free access to BriefCase OnCall™, an online updating service from Attorney’s BriefCase® Legal Research Software. OnCall™ provides the following features:

  • Indexed summaries of all cases going back approximately six months relating to California Family Law, Juvenile Law, Evidence and PreTrial Adjudication.
  • Full text of all summarized opinions.
  • Week in Brief: An at-a-glance summary of all new cases by case name and holding in the four practice areas. (Week in Brief is also available by email as described below.)

For the details of the offer, see Attorney's BriefCase in the Family Law Section's Members Only Area.

Member Benefits for the State Bar Family Law Section

In addition to the discounts from CEB and access to Briefcase OnCall, the Family Law Section encourages you to take advantage of the benefits listed below.If you have any questions concerning the Family Law Section or the benefits available to you with your membership, please feel free to contact the Chair of our Member Services Subcommittee, S. Roger Rombro at or 310-545-1900.. These benefits include:

  • Receipt of the quarterly Family Law Newsletter with articles by leading attorneys and experts throughout California;
  • Timely and cost effective family law substantive education provided by state-wide experts;
  • Receipt of timely family law notifications through E-Blasts and E-News;
  • Free online downloads that you your ethics, elimination of bias, and substance abuse credits at your convenience;
  • Participation in your local regional standing committee commenting on and developing pending family law legislation;
  • CEB discounts: $85.00 discount on either CEB's Gold CLE Passport or on any single full priced MCLE ticket, as well as 10% discount on selected printed and online materials.
  • Attorney's Briefcase discounts: Week in Brief at no charge, as well as unlimited free access to BriefCase OnCall, and 20% discount on the initial purchase price of Attorney's BriefCase software, regularly $1,200.00;
  • The Rutter Group (TRG) and California Family Law Report (CFLR) discounts: $75.00 discounts on all Rutter and CLFR seminars, as well as a 30% discount on all Rutter and CFLR products and publications.

Your Legal Rights"Your Legal Rights"

The Family Law Section is a sponsor of the radio program 'Your Legal Rights' which is hosted by Chuck Finney in the San Francisco Bay Area.

FLEXCOM assists in funding this public service radio program. FLEXCOM members are regular contributors. To listen to some past programs, see Your Legal Rights.Family Law Section members can access back issues of the Family Law News, special discounts for Section members and legislative tracking through My State Bar Profile. You can access this information at any time by signing into your State Bar Profile and clocking on Family Law Section - Members Only Area. Or go directly to the Members Only Home Page.

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.

Contact Us

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