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Message From the Chair

Are you ready for cooler weather, football, and changing colors? I know I am! Let me catch you up on what your Section has been doing.

Advanced Family Law

I hope most of you made it to the incredible Advanced Family Law CLE this year. Course directors Jonathan Bates and Kimberly Naylor, the planning committee, and the State Bar staff deserve kudos for an excellent program.

Honors and Awards

The Section’s awards were presented during the Advanced Family Law seminar. The deserving recipients this year were:

  • Larry H. Schwartz was inducted into the Hall of Legends. This honor is bestowed upon an attorney who has practiced in family law for at least 40 years and who has had a significant impact on the practice.
  • Heather King won the Dan Price Award. This award is for a person who has had a significant impact/betterment of the Family Law Section for the past year.
  • B.F. “Biff” Pennypacker was honored posthumously for his dedication to pro bono by being awarded the Ken Fuller Pro Bono Award. Since this award includes a scholarship to the Advanced Family Law course, Jami Kayla Nance was awarded the scholarship for her pro bono work.
  • Jessica Janicek, Heather King, and Paul Leopold won the Best Family Law CLE Article for their “New Evidence Handbook” published and presented at the Advanced Family Law seminar in August 2016.
  • Kevin Fuller won the Gay G. Cox Collaborative Law award.

Congratulations to all the recipients this year, and thank you for all your work to make the practice of family law better for everyone.


We rolled out some new publications at Advanced this year. The Client Notebook is now on a flash drive that enables attorneys to print information that is helpful to your client. You can print the applicable portions of the Notebook, place it in a binder, and give to your clients. The Family Law at Your Fingertips was rolled out with a new chapter, and the Fast Guide to Family Law—Checklists for Everyday Practice was also updated. The Texas Family Code Annotated is a great resource for the family law practitioner with annotations to cases and articles. The Family Lawyer’s Essential Toolkit is the “must-have” item to take to court. The DVDs are a great source of information for clients regarding depositions, trials, mediation and social media presence. And last, but certainly not least, you receive this Section Report. Thank you to everyone for the countless hours in creating and updating these publications. If you are interested in purchasing one of these publications, please visit the Publications page.


The legislative committee is already gearing up for the next legislative session. There is no rest for the weary! Along with the hard-working legislative committee, the members of the Family Law Foundation always have an eye on the next session. If you are not already a member of the Texas Family Law Foundation, I encourage you to join. The Foundation and numerous volunteers dedicate countless hours to review bills, testify before committees, and generally be the first line of defense for bills that affect family law.

Pro Bono

I am proud to announce that the Family Law Section won the Pro Bono Service Award this year from the Texas Access to Justice Commission. Lisa Hoppes and Leigh de la Reza, along with their committee members and numerous volunteers, coordinated outstanding live and webcast CLE programs last year to win this award. The Family Law Section’s commitment to providing indigent Texans with an attorney for their family law case drives the Pro Bono Committee. This year, the committee is planning seminars in Conroe, Sherman, Amarillo, Corpus Christi, Midland, and one other possible location. If you are interested in volunteering to help with a seminar in one of these loca-tions, please contact Lisa Hoppes.

The seminar is free with the commitment that the attendee will take two pro bono cases in a 12-month period. The volunteers who speak at these seminars travel on their own time and their own dime with no reimbursement. Thank you to the Pro Bono Committee for their hard work and the Section Members who volunteered.

Upcoming CLE

Mastering Your Practice: Family Law and Estate Planning
September 14-15, 2017 (Horseshoe Bay, Marble Falls, TX)
Course Directors: Gary L. Nickelson and Tina R. Green

New Frontiers in Marital Property Law

October 19-20, 2017 (Westin Las Vegas Hotel, Las Vegas, NV)
Course Directors: Kathy Kinser and Hon. Emily Miskel

Advanced Family Law Drafting

December 7-8, 2017 (Omni Hotel, Fort Worth, TX)
Course Director: Charles Hardy

Innovations in Child Custody Litigation
January 11-12, 2018 (New Orleans, LA)
Course Directors: Angela Pence England and Charlotte Rainwater

Texas Academy of Family Law Specialist’s Annual Trial Institute
February 15-16, 2018 (New York New York Hotel, Las Vegas)
Course Directors: Leigh de la Reza and Chris Nickelson

Collaborative Law Seminar

March 22, 2018 (ATT Conference Center, Austin, TX)

Marriage Dissolution
April 12-13, 2018 (Westin Galleria Hotel, Dallas, TX)
Course Director: Chris Wramplemeier
101 Course Director: Jacqueline Smith

Advanced Family Law
August 13-16, 2018 (Marriott Rivercenter, San Antonio, TX)
Course Directors: Anna McKim and Rick Robertson
101 Course Director: Lisa Hoppes

I look forward to seeing everyone in Vegas!

Cindy Tisdale
Chair, Family Law Section