The Year in Review, by 2017 Chapter President Ellen W. Stross


The Year in Review – 2017

The Northern California Chapter enjoyed an eventful and productive year in 2017.

We welcomed four new Fellows in 2017: David Youngsmith from Hersh Family Law Practice; Brandon Blevans from Blevans & Blevans; Romy Taubman from Greene Taubman & Dias; and Jill Barr from Hemmer and Barr LLP. We look forward to the contributions these new fellows will make to our chapter in the coming years.

Our chapter’s pioneering mentoring program continued to thrive under the leadership of Andrea Palash and Gretchen Wallacker. Five mentoring groups were active in the following Bay Area counties in 2017: Alameda/Contra Costa County; Marin County; two in San Francisco; and one in the South Bay/Peninsula. The mentoring program offers a place to build community and collegiality among newer lawyers, and to introduce AAML Fellows to the next generation of lawyers.

In February, our annual Associates’ Night took place at the Claremont Hotel in Berkeley. Program chair Kelly Shindell DeLacey presented an enjoyable program that engaged new lawyers and Fellows in a series of conversations about current family law topics.

In March, Geniveve Ruskus chaired our annual Judges Night. Over two dozen judges from Northern California attended and participated in lively discussions about the state of the Court in their counties.

Also in March, a healthy contingent of Northern California Fellows attended the AAML Spring Meeting in Arizona.

Our 41st Annual Symposium took place in May. Co-chairs Rita Patterson and Renee Ross put together a wonderful Pre-Symposium program entitled, “The Future of Family Law: Technology, Tools and Ethics Rules,” and an engaging Symposium program entitled “Raising the Stakes: Exploring Complex Family Law.” Almost 200 attendees participated in the Symposium and enjoyed a fun and relaxing Casino Night on Saturday evening. I could go on and on about Casino Night, but “What happens at Casino Night stays at Casino Night.”

Our chapter raised over $20,000 in profits from our 2017 Symposium, which we donated to the following charitable organizations throughout Northern California: Family Violence Appellate Project in Alameda County; Harmony At Home in Monterey County; Kids’ Turn – San Francisco Prevention Center in San Francisco, overcoming Barriers in Santa Clara County; Next Door in Santa Clara County, Legal Aid Society of San Mateo in San Mateo County, Family and Children’s Law Center in Marin County, Stand! In Contra Costa County, Child Haven in Solano County, Caminar For Mental Health in San Mateo County, Lifeworks in Sonoma County, and the AAML Foundation. Sarah Killingsworth chaired our wonderful Charitable Contributions Committee in 2017.

In November, many of our chapter Fellows attended the AAML National Meeting in Chicago. We enjoyed our annual “North/South Dinner” with the Southern California Chapter. We are especially proud of our former Chapter President, Lawrence A. Moskowitz, who will become President of the AAML Foundation next year.

At our annual Holiday party, we honored Anthony S. Dick as our 2017 Fellow of the Year and Lawrence S. Moskowitz as the C. Rick Chamberlin Award winner.

In 2017, we reluctantly bid adieu to our much beloved Executive Director, Paula Jackson, and welcomed our new Executive Director, Nancy Seley.

Please look out for our upcoming programs in 2018, including our annual Symposium on May 4-6, 2018; and our Trial Practicum on October 24-27, 2018.