Message From the Chair
– Christopher K. Wrampelmeier
What an honor it is to be the Chair of your Family Law Section! I am standing on the shoulders of giants, which is a handy way to appear tall. Thank you, Joe Indelicato, our Immediate Past Chair, for passing on to me a section that is in such fine shape. Thank you also, Jonathan Bates, our outgoing Immediate Past Chair, for your years of dedicated service and wise counsel.
These are challenging times to practice family law. In a piece entitled “Do We Need Family Lawyers Anymore?” in the Section’s May Section Update emailed to members on May 26, 2023, I wrote about the Texas Supreme Court directing the Texas Access to Justice Commission to examine existing rules and to propose modifications by this September. These modifications could include allowing non-attorney paraprofessionals to provide limited legal services, possibly without attorney supervision, and could include allowing non-attorneys to have economic interests in entities that provide legal services. I strongly encourage you to read the article, not because I wrote it, but because these or similar changes could radically change the practice of law, particularly family law. You have a voice, and you should express your opinions after investigating the issues, but the time for you to make a difference is running out.
These are also exciting times to practice family law in our great state. In late June, Cindy Tisdale, former Chair of the Family Law Section and my former mentor, will take over as President of the State Bar of Texas. We know she will do an outstanding job, but she needs our support. We always need family law practitioners to run as directors of the Bar. Please consider doing so.
Exciting changes are coming to the Family Law Section as well. With a goal of expanding benefits Section members enjoy, plans for this year include:
- Exploring more ways to increase pro bono service by Section members.
- Further improving the Section’s stellar publications program and the Texas Bar Books’s exceptional Family Law Practice Manual (a/k/a the Formbook).
- Developing new ideas for State Bar family law CLE programs, including programs that highlight interaction between family law and other areas of the law.
- Establishing resources for persons wanting to speak at State Bar family law seminars.
- Developing a mentorship program for future family law leaders.
- Identifying the important appellate opinions as they are issued and reporting them to section members in the Section’s monthly emails.
- Monitoring and reporting legislative and judicial trends and developments to the membership.
- Surveying Section membership to learn members’ opinions on issues that affect the practice of family law and then reporting those survey results.
- Drafting changes to court rules, such as discovery rules, to present to the Supreme Court Advisory Committee for adoption by the Supreme Court.
- Drafting legislation related to the legal profession or the improvement of legal services that is consistent with the opinion in McDonald v. Longley, 4 F.4th 229 (5th Cir. 2021), cert. denied sub nom. McDonald v. Firth, 142 S. Ct. 1442 (2022).
- Spotlighting Texas family law legends and heroes in the Section Report, the monthly Section emails, and a Section YouTube channel.
- Working with law schools to encourage student enrollment in family law classes and participation in family law clinics and organizations. Promoting law school clerkships with family law practitioners and courts.
- Encouraging graduating law students to practice family law and join the Family Law Section.
If you have suggestions or opinions affecting the Section, please share them with a Family Law Council member. Council members’ names and email addresses appear on in the “About” tab of this web site. Included among those officers and council members are our incoming Secretary, Lon Loveless, and new council members Adam Dietrich (returning for a second term), Christina Hollwarth, Lauren Melhart, Justin Morley, Rocky Pilgrim, Aaron Reimer, and Kimberly Pack Wilson. These new Council Members bring great energy and intelligence to the Council, as well representing diverse parts of Texas.
Together with the rest of the Family Law Council, non-Council members serving on committees, liaisons to Council, and past chairs, you and I have a team of hardworking family law leaders and experts supporting us. I hope we will see each other at the upcoming CLE seminars and meetings:
State Bar of Texas Annual Meeting (Austin) June 22-23, 2023
Advanced Family Law 101 (San Antonio) August 6, 2023
Advanced Family Law (San Antonio) August 7-10, 2023
Family Law Sections Awards (San Antonio) August 7, 2023
Family Law Section Member Meeting (San Antonio) August 9, 2023
New Frontiers in Marital Property (Charleston, South Carolina) October 5-6, 2023
Advanced Family Law Drafting (Ft. Worth) December 14-15, 2023
Christopher K. Wrampelmeier
Chair, Family Law Section