Ten Cordell & Cordell, PC attorneys presented at the 8th Annual event which was attended by 134 attorneys from both Missouri and Illinois. The attorneys who attended received Continuing Legal Education credits required to remain in good standing with both states’ bar associations.
Joseph Cordell Welcomes Members Of The Law Community
Mr. Cordell welcomed 134 members of the Missouri and Illinois legal community to his firm’s home town, St Louis, Missouri, for a day of specialized instruction and explanation of new trends and tactics arising in today’s family law environment.
Cordell and Cordell, PC Managing Partner, Scott Trout, and Senior Attorney, Kelly Burris, led off the daylong event with their examination into the Effective Use of Experts in Family Law especially as related to financial and custody matters.
Cordell and Cordell, PC Managing Attorney, Jill Rauk Daugherty, discussed the division of retirement assets in the context of divorce. As Ms. Daugherty explained, “Retirement accounts are often one of the largest assets our clients have on the table during a divorce. A client deserves an attorney who understands the various ways retirement assets can be divided to ensure and equitable resolution to his case.”
Cordell & Cordell, PC Managing Attorney, Frank Murphy, discussed the fine points of defining marital misconduct. “It is crucial to be able to determine who is at fault and what compensation, if any, is fair,” explained Mr. Murphy. “We owe it to our clients to be able to understand how to express the actual dynamic of their marriage in order to show what lines may have been crossed.”
Cordell & Cordell, PC Senior Attorney, Dan Cuneo, informed attorneys of the intricacies of taped conversations in the family law courtroom. “This evidence can be a powerful tool but only if it is acquired under very special circumstances,” explained Mr. Cuneo. “We regularly represent cases in which most of the evidence of the nature of the relationship occurs in private and so we always want to be cognizant of what is fair to disclose and what means of obtaining that disclosure are best suited for the courtroom.”
For those whose job it is to argue for the correct dispensation of justice for their clients, professional ethics must be at the forefront of their minds at all times. Cordell & Cordell, PC Partner, Allison Cunningham focused her discussion on the chief complaints against lawyers practicing family law. “Complaints concerning communication, diligence, dishonesty and excessive fees are the most prevalent complaints in our industry,” explained Ms. Cunningham. “And so we as attorneys must find better ways to focus on improving in all of these areas to meet the needs and expectations of our clients.”
Cordell & Cordell, PC Managing Attorney, Dorothy Ripka, focused her presentation on ways to deal with various forms of mental impairment as an attorney comes into contact with them in family law cases. Because law exists and is built upon the consistencies of logic, symptoms of mental impairment often threaten to disturb this balance of logic. The ethics of dealing with others (clients, opposing parties and even attorneys and judges) who are afflicted by mental illness requires understanding and a delicate approach.
Senior Attorney, Michele Hammond, brought a room full of Missouri and Illinois lawyers up to the minute with a refresher course in recent Missouri Informal Advisory Opinions that Impact Family Law. “The law evolves,” explained Ms. Hammond. “As new circumstances are brought before the court the system adjusts to match the guidance and points of reference that we need it to provide.” She engaged the participation of attorney audience in a question/answer session regarding recent Missouri Informal Advisory Opinions.
Senior Attorney at Cordell & Cordell PC’s new Belleville, Illinois office, Richard Coffee, presented on perhaps the most crucial topic touching upon the practice of family law as the day’s closing discussion: child custody and visitation. “From the perspective of those who retain us, the single most important concern is in ensuring an ongoing and active role in the lives of their children,” says Coffee. “It is important to review and be up to the minute in our understanding of the factors that go into these life-affecting decisions.”
Mr. Coffee’s presentation concluded with consideration of some of the new frontiers affecting child/parent contact including “virtual visitation” via computer. What will they think of next? Whatever it is, it will surely be covered at next year’s 9th Annual Cordell & Cordell, PC Domestic Litigation Forum.