Chair’s Message

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Message From the Chair
– Kristal C. Thomson

“The Best Laid Plans”

When I was a little girl and things didn’t quite go as planned, it was my grand-mother who, with a twinkle in her eye, would say “the best laid plans of mice and men.” I had no idea what she meant until Mrs. Brown’s 8th grade English class when we studied the popular Robert Burns poem. He wrote “To a Mouse, on Turning Her Up in Her Nest with a Plough” in 1785 while he plowed a corn field and destroyed the home of a little mouse. Seeing her run away, Mr. Burns wrote:

“The best laid schemes of mice and men
Go often askew,
And leave us nothing but grief and pain,
For promised joy!”*


With proper respect to Mrs. Brown, I don’t think I truly understood what this poem meant until March 13, 2020.

My last day in an actual court room was March 16, 2020. Shortly thereafter, all of my hearings were dropped, and I was told to try back in May for new settings. As I write this message, opinions vary on whether any of us will see the inside of a courtroom for the rest of the year.
And while work obligations accrued, I dove head-first into 2nd grade math, 1st grade Mandarin, and pre-school class work. I cancelled family vacations, birthday parties, and summer camps.

All of that was going on when the Marriage Dissolution CLE was cancelled, as well as the Family Law Section’s Annual Meeting and final Council meeting of the 2019-2020 bar year. Typically, during this meeting, the Family Law Council meets and conducts important end-of-the-year business. That business typically includes: budget approval, approval of the legislative package, and the election of new officers and directors. It is usually a time of reflection and celebration for our section leaders.

Best. Laid. Plans.

I was first elected to the Family Law Council in 2009. Prior to that, I volunteered to speak at the pro bono clinics, sold t-shirts at the Section Booth, and spoke at various CLEs. It is not an understatement to say that l was looking forward to the opportunity to serve as the section’s Chair for over a decade. I know many of you have missed out on events like this, and so much more.

But soon after learning of our cancelled fates, we did what people do – adapted and adjusted. I watched your drive-by birthday celebrations, socially distanced graduations, live-streamed weddings, and many, many Zoom hearings. I was inspired. Our plans definitely went askew, but we did not run away.

Our leadership will adapt and adjust, just like you did. We will find new and innovative ways to serve you and your clients by aligning our mission with the current issues. We will rebuild our #TexasFamilyLaw community – just as assuredly as that little mouse did.

Kristal Thomson
Chair, 2020-2021

*Translated from the original Scots language.

The Council extends its thanks and gratitude to our Immediate Past Chair, Chris Nickelson.  You can view his tribute video HERE.