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President's Message

December 2018 President's Message

    First, I want to wish you all happy holidays!  It is a special time of year where we enjoy spending time with our families and friends.  I am even looking forward to the Walzer Melcher firm party, where we are required to wear “ugly” holiday sweaters and bring gifts for a white elephant game.   

    As this year winds to an end, I am looking at where the Academy has been and where we are going.  In 2018 we saved the Academy a lot of money by reducing our PR budget by approximately $12,000 per month.  On the revenue side, our webinars generated $74,571 and our sponsorship income for the year was over $200,000.  We drafted a new strategic plan and we are implementing it. We are staffing the Academy office to bring in-house at a lower cost some of the positions we have historically outsourced.  We invested in new membership software called "YourMembership" to make us more efficient, and used it to successfully register fellows and guests for the annual meeting and issue our annual dues notices.  For the most part this software does away with paper notices, so as part of this process we hired a person to check every Academy fellow email address to make sure our database is sound. We leased new computers to replace an old and ailing system, and moved critical operations into the cloud to do away with the costs associated with server acquisition and maintenance.  At this very moment, a committee is hard at work building a new Academy website on the YourMembership platform.

    In the new year we plan to tackle our budgeting process.  While we have a balanced budget we realize we need to advance the budget process so the Board of Governors has adequate time to review and comment on the budget.  We are establishing a timeline so the budget will be delivered to the Budget and Finance committee well in advance of the annual meeting and, in turn, to the Board of Governors so they can review it with sufficient time to comment and make changes prior to the annual meeting.  We are also determined to have our audit for 2018 completed early in the year so we can submit it to the Board of Governors with enough time for review and comment.

    We are looking for ways to save money.  Everything is on the table. We will be looking at every function, every program, and each benefit we offer to determine what is necessary.  In so doing the guiding principle will be maintaining the excellence of the Academy and offering value to all of us.

    How can you help the Academy (and at the same time help yourself)? Join and be active on a committee. Mentor a lawyer who has the potential to become a fellow.  Lecture for Academy programs. Come to our meetings at both the national and local level. And donate to the AAML Foundation! Several colleagues -- both fellows and non-fellows -- have donated to our Foundation in my name as a way of congratulating me as president.  Those donations are dear to my heart as I know that the lives of children will be made better by them.

Here is what we have coming up on our calendar:

The Mid-Year meeting at the Fairmont Mayakoba - March 11-16, 2019

            This resort is 39 miles south of Cancun and set in the middle of a forest lagoon beside a gorgeous white sand beach.  There are kids’ pools and adult pools, as well as boat rides, snorkeling, paddle boarding, windsurfing and catamaran sailing.  To get around the large resort, there are bicycles, boats and golf carts available for transportation.  We have a golf tournament planned at El Chameleon, a championship golf course.  And we will have an organized 4.3 K run on the grounds.  There is even a Cirque de Soleil which we hope you will have a chance to enjoy.  Not far from the hotel are phenomenal archeological sites you can visit on your own, and world class scuba diving in the ocean and cenotes nearby.  https://www.fairmont.com/mayakoba-riviera-maya/activities-services.  Registration will open in January.

The AAML/Harvard Negotiation Seminar -- May 3-4, The Sheraton Commander Hotel, Cambridge, MA

    This highly focused program is offered only every other year and rarely available to all family law lawyers. It is designed to help experienced and skilled family law lawyers develop strategies for improving both their negotiations and outcomes for their clients.

The AAML/Business Valuation Resources (BVR) National Divorce Conference, May 8-10th, Aria Hotel, Las Vegas.

    The National Divorce Conference brings together the leading matrimonial attorneys and financial experts for the only event of its kind. Gain critical insights from nationally recognized presenters to increase your practice proficiency. Earn up to 16 CLE credits.

The AAML Institute for Family Law Associates, June 20-23th, Loewe's Hotel, Chicago.

    This program is unique to the Academy. Many associates of our fellows have trained at the Institute.  The participants learn skills they will not learn anywhere else. They learn how to read tax returns and psychological evaluations, how to effectively second chair a trial, and how to use technology in their practice, among many other skills.  They learn from the best Academy fellows and they build a network of attorneys around the country.

The AAML/Association of Family and Conciliation Courts, September 19-21, 2019, Westin San Diego

    Academy fellows, judges, and mental health professionals join together to present an in-depth analysis of the issues that challenge our families when they go through dissolution of their families.  We will address dispute resolution and litigation, live testimony and mediation, evidentiary issues and parenting plans. This is an opportunity to meet the best lawyers and experts in the country who are handling complex custody issues in their practice.





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