President's Report -- Southern California Chapter of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers (Winter 2015)

Our Chapter has been very active over the past 6 months.   Here are some of the highlights:


  1. During our June, 2014 general meeting, new Officers and Board members were elected for a 12 month term:



President: Hildy L. Fentin

President Elect: Emily S. Edelman

Past President: Gregory W. Herring

Membership: Michael A. Fisher

Programs: Robert C. Brandt

Treasurer: Sharon A. Bryan

Secretary: Nancy A. Taylor

Legal Advisor/Counsel: Janis K. Stocks


Board of Directors:

Nicholas A. Leto, Jr.

Saul M. Gelbart

Marjorie H. Huntington

Stephen James Wagner

Patrick DeCarolis, Jr.



  1. During the weekend of January 16th through the 19th, our Chapter hosted the 22nd Annual Institute of Trial Advocacy, which is our premier educational event. The theme of the Institute was Taking Care of Business and the deans, Fellows Karen Heffron, Marjorie Huntington and Warren Haviland, planned and organized an exceptional Continuing Legal Education program, and coordinated the evening entertainment and events which made for a truly memorable weekend.


There were over 200 attendees which included 10 judicial officers.  The key note speaker was Roger Dodd who educated us on Constructive Cross Examination: The next generation. Their Expert Becomes Yours.  Other topics included Non- Compete Orders presented by Fellow Christopher Melcher, Community Opportunity Doctrine  presented by Fellow Angelique Bonanno, Complex Issues with Business Income presented by Fellow Marjorie Huntington and Brian Brinig JD.CPA, The Ins and Outs for the In/Out Business Spouse presented by Justice Sheila Sonenshine (ret), Commissioner Jeannie Lowe (ret) Fellow Daniel Jaffe, James Schaeffer, CPA, and attorneys Marjorie Fuller and David Parker, Duty to Disclose v. Duty Not to Disclose  presented by Fellow Michael Guerrero, Digital Data, the Future of Evidence is Here presented by Fellows James Hennenhoefer and Gordon Cruse and Business Issues- Judicial Considerations and Perspectives presented by Fellow Stephen Wagner, Judge Thomas Trent Lewis, Judge Mark S. Millard, Judge Christine K. Goldsmith and Commissioner Patti C. Ratekin.


On Saturday evening we presented our Family Law Person of the Year Award to Stephen A. Kolodny. This award is called the Normie to honor the memory of our friend Norman M. Dolin.  We also honored Judicial Officers who have distinguished themselves by making significant contributions to the field of family law.  This year the Distinguished Jurist Awards were presented to San Diego Superior Court Family Law Commissioner Patti C. Ratekin, Orange County Superior Court Family Law Commissioner David S. Weinberg and the Honorable William Q. Liebmann, the Supervising Family Law Judge in Ventura County.


  1.  In addition to providing quality educational programs, our Chapter continues to make substantial contributions to the California Family Law community.  In April, 2015, we will be launching our newest educational project, the Family Law Basic Training Seminar.  This seminar will be held annually and will be offered to attorneys with limited trial experience to advance their skills and trial techniques.  Fellow Greg Herring of our chapter and Fellow Garrett Dailey of the Northern California Chapter are spearheading this educational opportunity.