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In-Person Program

Sophisticated Issues in Western Massachusetts Family Law Practice

Zealous representation in the context of contemporary family law and MORE

Wednesday, 3/2/2011, 9:00 am - 5:00 pm
Sheraton Springfield, 1 Monarch Place, Springfield
8 substantive credits, 4 ethics credits
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Product Description

The morning session of this year's Sophisticated Issues program focuses on the complicated issue of meeting the ethical requirement of zealous representation in the context of the trend toward non-adversarial resolutions of family law disputes. How do lawyers stay within ethical boundaries when employing problem-solving approaches to their domestic cases? What does "zealous representation" really mean? Is it safe to take into consideration the client's child's interests?

The day will begin with Chief Paula Carey updating attendees on the impact of the state budget on the Probate and Family Court, new initiatives around the state, and future projects in the works.

"Zealous Representation in the Context of Contemporary Family Law" will feature presentations by James DeGiacomo, Esq. and Constance Vecchione, Esq., Bar Counsel, on the history and definition of zealous representation. Dr. David Medoff, a clinical psychologist, will discuss the psychology of a person facing divorce or separation, and how lawyers can be effective with even the angriest client without mirroring the client's behavior. First Justice Gail Perlman will reflect on her observations of results of the Standing Order of Hampshire County at the 10 month mark. Alexander Jones, Esq. and a former divorce client will have a frank conversation about the client's experience with lawyers in his journey from a highly litigious divorce proceeding to a mediated settlement. Lunch time round table discussions will follow the morning program.

The afternoon will be comprised of two segments: the first will be a lively discussion between Judges Geoffrion and Simons on what they expect and what information and factors they consider to be most important in awarding attorneys fees. Pendente lite orders, "reasonableness," and sanctions will be part of the conversation.

The final segment of the day, created in the wake of Ansin, will be a conversation between Judge Wilson and Attorney Michael Frazee about how lawyers and the Court handle cases in which there is a premarital or a marital agreement. To bifurcate or not, admissibility, and pre-trial procedures will be discussed. Also, what special considerations must be taken into account when drafting or reviewing an agreement that is being drafted during the course of the marriage?

Agenda and written materials

  • The History and Definition of Zealous Representation
  • Psychological Perspective on Effectively Representing the Angry Client
  • Standing Order of Hampshire County-Ten Months In
  • From Highly Litigious Divorce to Mediated Settlement-A Client's Perspective
  • Pendente Lite Orders, "Reasonableness," and Sanctions in Awarding Attorney's Fees
  • In the Wake of Ansin; Handling Cases Where There is a Premarital or Marital Agreement
  • "Ask the Experts" Q&A Session

Table of Contents



  • $225
  • $195 MCLE Sponsor Members
  • $145 New lawyers admitted to law practice after 2006, pending admittees and law students
In-Person Program
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