- Community Outreach
- Membership and Financials
- Court Reform
- Listserv E–mail List
The Steering Committee of the D.C. Bar Family Law Section is pleased to submit its Annual Report to the D.C. Bar Sections Council on the activities of our section, including our community outreach efforts, programming, and work with our local court. Most notably, the D.C. Bar Family Law Section was named ‘Best Section’ by the D.C. Bar in June 2012, a true honor for our section and its members.
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The Family Law Section continues to provide volunteer support to a variety of programs in the District of Columbia. Family Law Section members staff the Attorney Negotiator Program at D.C. Superior Court, through which experienced practitioners mediate domestic relations cases when parties appear at court for the first time. Section members also continue to help staff the Family Court Self-Help Center – which the D.C. Bar Family Law Section actually helped create many years ago. Our section also continues to provide volunteers every month to staff the D.C. Bar Pro Bono Program’s Advice and Referral Clinic. These section members provide legal assistance to individuals and mentor other volunteers at the Clinics. Section members also assist with the D.C. Bar Pro Bono Program’s Law Firm Pro Bono Clinic by serving as mentors to attorneys who take cases through that Clinic. Finally, the Family Law Section Steering Committee amended the criteria to determine who is eligible to be an Alternative Dispute Resolution (“ADR”) facilitator, solicited applications from section members, and updated the list of ADR facilitators used by the judges. The section continues to be responsible for maintaining this list.
As in previous years, the D.C. Bar Family Law Section has co-sponsored a number of D.C. Bar Pro Bono Trainings to prepare attorneys from all areas of practice to volunteer at the Family Court Self-Help Center, to assist pro se litigants at the Pro Se Divorce Plus Clinic, and to represent adults and children in child custody, divorce, and domestic violence cases. Section members continue to serve as faculty, help to write training materials, and provide assistance to attorneys who take pro bono family cases.
The D.C. Bar Family Law Section has made other contributions to the greater community-at-large. During the past year our section co-sponsored the Youth Law Fair. In addition, we made a contribution to the D.C. Bar Pro Bono Program. Finally, we updated the D.C. Practice Manual, a publication that assists lawyers and community members as they navigate family law cases in the District of Columbia. Back to Top
Membership and Financials
The D.C. Bar Family Law Section is financially sound. Our programs in FY12 led to revenue for the section, and the Bar’s financial statements show the section with a positive balance and significant reserves, well above the recommended reserves amount.
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Over the past year, the D.C. Bar Family Law Section has provided section members with a large variety of multi-disciplinary educational programs. Evening programs have addressed topics such as “Best Practices: Evidence”, “Establishing Paternity in D.C.”, “It’s Criminal! Identifying and Responding Appropriately to Criminal Issues in Family Law Cases”, “Domestic Relations 101: An Introduction to Divorce, Custody, and Child Support”, and “Navigating Family Law Cases Involving the World Bank, International Monetary Fund, or Inter-American Development Bank”. The Family Law Section has many exciting evening programs planned for the upcoming months, including: “Working with Difficult Clients” and “Retirement Issues in Family Law Cases”.
The Family Law Section has also hosted and will continue to host monthly courthouse ‘brown bag’ meetings, which have allowed section members to discuss issues such as “How to Litigate Your Case When Your Client is Incarcerated Outside of the Jurisdiction”, “Should I Stay or Should I Go? Using the UCCJEA to Help Victims of Domestic Violence”, “Addressing Child Trafficking”, and “Overview of VAWA Petitions and U Visas in Domestic Violence Cases”. Upcoming programs include: “How to Advise Clients about Communication with their Children in Family Law Cases”, “Electronic Evidence in Family Law”, and “Communicating with Pro Se Parties”.
In addition, the D.C. Bar Family Law Section continues to forge strong relationships with the judicial officers of the Family Court and Domestic Violence Unit of D.C. Superior Court. In October 2012, our section held its annual Judicial Reception. In November 2012, the section will host the third annual Abuse and Neglect Bench–Bar Dialogue. In December 2012, the bench and bar will have the opportunity to mingle socially at our section’s Annual Holiday Party. In April 2013, we will host our annual Bench-Bar Dialogue for the Family Court’s Domestic Relations Branch and in June 2013, a program for the Domestic Violence Unit. All of these events provide opportunities for judges to discuss programs of interest and give section members anopportunity to pose questions to judges.
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The Family Law Section has continued its role of working to make the Family Court and Domestic Violence Unit of the D.C. Superior Court as just, successful and accessible as possible. By having our section and steering committee members on countless court committees, meeting regularly with the presiding judges, and organizing opportunities for our section members to interact with the bench, we are able to maintain an on-going dialogue with the Court and to help shape its future. Furthermore, members of our section are involved in the Family Law Task Force, which has examined ways to improve the functioning of the Family Court. Steering committee members are also actively involved in the Attorney Negotiator Program, which has had a very positive effect on the lives of D.C. litigants and on the Family Court docket. Finally, our section has commented on several court initiatives and consulted on others.
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Listserv E–mail List
Finally, the D.C. Bar Family Law Section was selected to host a Listserv e–mail list for all its members. The list is now active, and steering committee members encourage colleagues to use the service as a way to disseminate information and promote dialogue on important issues related to family law.
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It was our pleasure to provide the Sections Council with this Annual Report. If any member of our steering committee can provide any additional information, please don’t hesitate to contact us.
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