The Family Law Section is very proactive in its efforts to improve the practice and the profession of family law. Activities of the Section toward this end include:
An annual joint meeting of the Section executive committee with the Superior Court Judges’ Association Family & Juvenile Law Committee to discuss issues of common interest and the possible changes or solutions to improve the practice and administration of family law.
Review of proposed or pending legislation that may impact the practice of family law. The section regularly provides input and feedback to sponsors or other stakeholders during the development of legislation in an effort to ensure that any enacted legislation will be of benefit to family law practitioners and their clients. The section’s legislative liaison then often provides testimony on behalf of the section before the legislature to explain the section’s support of or opposition to a pending bill.
Representation on or monitoring of various state boards, workgroups and task forces that have been constituted to evaluate or implement some aspect of family law practice or administration. Section representatives have been participating on the Child Support Schedule Workgroup established by the legislature in 2007, the WSBA’s Local Rules Task Force, and the Administrative Office of the Courts’ Pattern Forms Committee; the section will be providing a representative to the Civil Legal Needs Workgroup chartered by the Board of Governors in spring 2011. The section also regularly sends a liaison-representative to meetings of the WSBA’s Board of Governors and to the state Supreme Court’s Access to Justice Board meetings.
Sponsorship of educational and practice-improvement opportunities. The section’s annual midyear meeting in June includes an extensive seminar featuring topics of benefit to intermediate and advanced family law professionals. A seminar in the fall, usually co-sponsored with another section, typically focuses on topics where the respective practice areas occasionally or often overlap. Then each spring, the section conducts a Skills Training Institute, an especially affordable seminar aimed at honing the basic skills of newer family law practitioners, and including a mock hearing exercise with feedback and critique by both other participants and more experienced coaches. The section has also on several occasions provided speakers for training of the court facilitators who assist pro se family law litigants.
Facilitation of discussion and exchange of information and ideas about all topics related to family law. As described in Member Benefits, the section maintains a members-only Yahoo! Group which includes a particularly lively email list serve as well as an extensive collection of shared files, forms, briefs and other resources for family law practitioners. The section also publishes a quarterly Newsletter featuring in-depth articles about featured topics, as well as a Hotsheet to periodically advise section members of new or upcoming developments affecting the practice of family law.