2018 Family Law Spring Symposium scheduled for May 18

Thursday, May 10, 2018

2018 Family Law SymposiumThe Massachusetts Bar Association’s Family Law Section Council invites you to its 2018 Spring Symposium at the Cranwell Spa & Golf Resort in Lenox on Friday, May 18.

We are honored to have Probate and Family Court Chief Justice Angela M. Ordoñez deliver opening remarks on some important Probate and Family Court updates. Also joining the prestigious list of faculty is Supreme Judicial Court Justice Margot Botsford (ret).

Symposium Agenda

  • 9-9:30 a.m.: Chief Justice Ordoñez delivers opening remarks with some highlights about the Probate and Family Court. 
    •  Introduction by Hon. David G. Sacks, Hampden Probate and Family Court

  • 9:30-10:45 a.m.: Panel 1 – Evidentiary Issues Related to Privilege and Other Protections Against Disclosure
    Highly experienced panelists will discuss the legal background of the most commonly exercised protections against disclosure of otherwise discoverable information, including therapeutic privilege, the work product doctrine, and marital disqualification, and share valuable tips and strategies to ensure that the critical and relevant evidence you need can be admitted at trial. The judicial faculty will provide useful insight through examination and evaluation of various hypothetical situations which present these important issues in context.
    • Jennifer R. Clapp, Esq., Grindle Robinson LLP, president-elect, Massachusetts Chapter of Association of Family and Conciliation Courts (moderator)
    • Hon. Barbara Hyland, Hampden Probate and Family Court
    • Ann E. Dargie, Esq., Law Offices of Jennifer A. Thorn PC
    • Mary A. Samberg, Esq., Law Office of Mary A. Samberg
    • Michael A. Frazee, Esq., Law Office of Michael A. Frazee

  • 10:45-11 a.m.: NETWORKING BREAK

  • 11 a.m.-12:15 p.m.: Panel 2 – Lawyering in the Age of ADR and Innovation:  Practical Tips for Advancing Your Practice inside (and outside) of the Family Drug Court and Family Resolutions Specialty Court
    Savvy family lawyers recognize that the trend in resolving cases is through a mixture of therapeutic and advocacy approaches. Hampshire’s Family Resolutions Court (FRSC) and Franklin's Family Drug Court (FDC) are cutting edge examples of how lawyers, courts, and mental health professionals can collaborate to provide better outcomes for clients and children. Even if you don't practice in these courts, your practice will benefit by learning from court staff and lawyers from these courts.
    • Hon. Linda S. Fidnick, Hampshire Probate and Family Court
    • Alexandra Flanders, assistant judicial case manager, Franklin and Hampshire County Probate and Family Courts
    • Devlin T. Farmer, Esq., Farmer Family Law, Northampton
    • Mary Ellen Niles Howard, Esq., Law Office of Mary Ellen Niles Howard, Northampton
    • Beth A. Lux, Esq., Zurn, Sharp & Heyman, Northampton
  • 12:15-1:15 p.m.: NETWORKING LUNCH

  • 1:15-1:45 p.m.: Keynote — Hon. Margot Botsford (ret.)
    Retired SJC Justice Margot Botsford shares some of what she has learned during her special assignment looking into why the Probate and Family Court has a high rate of early judicial retirements, along with some suggestions for improvements.
    • Introduction by Hon. David G. Sacks, Hampden Probate and Family Court

  • 1:45-2:45 p.m.: Panel 3 – Addressing Domestic Violence On Two Fronts: Culture, Custody and Courts
    In this workshop, participants will hear from presenters working with families and different cultures, their commonality being custody rights according to American Rule of Law. Each presenter will share how the clash of culture and court intervention has shaped the work they do with families. Discussion will center on Muslim families, immigrant families assimilating in the U.S., and how they navigate judicial systems, from seeking help for a family crisis to custody battles.
    • Donald G. Tye, JD/MSW, Prince Lobel Tye LLP, Boston, (MAGAL, board member) (moderator)
    • Tannaz N. Saponaro Esq., Verrill Dana LLP, Boston
    • Hon. George F. Phelan, Norfolk Probate and Family Court
    • Suaad Allami, Women for Progress NGO, Baghdad, Iraq
    • Eva A. Millona, executive director of the Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition (MIRA Coalition, Boston)
    • Alicia Doherty, Esq., asst. judicial case manager, Worcester
  • 2:45-3 p.m.: NETWORKING BREAK
  • 3-4:30 p.m.: Panel 4 – Tax Reform Implications
    Join us for an engaging discussion on how the recently passed tax reform legislation could impact domestic relations cases in Massachusetts. Panelists -- including members of the bar, and an accountant -- will lead a discussion on the most relevant tax code changes which impact domestic relations cases. Together you will work through case scenarios, consider negotiation strategies and gain insight into what the new law means for alimony, capital gains, real estate, estate tax provisions and more.
    • Brigid E. Mitchell, Esq., Law Office of Denise Squillante, Fall River 
    • Heidi Rachel-Webb, Esq., Consilium Divorce Consultations, Lincoln
    • Hon. Katherine A. Field, Bristol Probate and Family Court
    • Hon. Claudine T. Wyner, Hampden Probate and Family Court
    • Jason R. Pierce, CPA, CMA, CFM, CVA, MAFF, Edelstein & Company LLP, Boston

  • 4:30 p.m.: Cocktail Reception

Symposium Co-sponsors: Association of Family and Conciliation Courts (AFCC), Massachusetts Association of Guardians ad Litem (MAGAL), Berkshire, Franklin, Hampden, and Hampshire county bar associations.

A special rate of $159 is available to AFCC, MAGAL, Berkshire, Franklin, Hampden and Hampshire county bar association members. Please contact MBA Member Services at (617) 338-0530 or enter the promo code provided to your association.

Guest Rooms: If you require a guest room, please contact the Cranwell Reservations Department directly at (800) 272-6935. Please mention the Massachusetts Bar Association when you call to reserve at a discounted rate of $159 per room, per night.

Click here to register, and for more conference details and faculty information.