Mid-Year Meeting – Session Schedule

Download a PDF of the Session Schedule

Tuesday, March 12 

9:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m.   
Families in Transition (FIT): A Preventive and Scalable High-Conflict Parent Education Program to be Used Early in the Separation/Divorce Process
Judge Bruce R. Cohen, Residing Family Law Judge, Maricopa County, AZ
Karey L. O’Hara, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Psychology, Arizona State University

This presentation will include an in-depth exploration of the Families in Transition (FIT) program, a novel and scalable parent education initiative designed for high-conflict families in the early stages of separation or divorce. It will cover the program’s background, the specific challenges it addresses in parent education, the development and pilot trial of FIT, and the key take-home messages for implementing such programs effectively.

10:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. 
What’s So Funny About Ethics?
David Horowitz, Partner, Warner Angle Hallam Jackson & Formanek PLC


In our business maintaining a sense of humor is essential to our well-being and longevity. This presentation is designed to highlight many of the ethical issues we face as family law attorneys in a comedic context. Please note there will be adult language and humor.

11:15 a.m. – 12:45 p.m. 
Winning with Laughter: Insights for Family Law Attorneys
Craig Shoemaker, Founder, Winning With Laughter

Laughter has the potential to be a transformative tool while navigating the complexities of divorce, child custody disputes, and parental alienation. Join award-winning comedian, actor, author, writer, and producer, Craig Shoemaker, as he draws on his personal experiences to emphasize the crucial role of increased attorney awareness and sensitivity when a client’s family, financial future, and relationship with their children are at stake. Discover how purposeful humor can not only provide temporary stress relief but also foster healing and transformation. You will gain actionable tools and solutions that will equip you to effectively navigate every challenge that arises in your practice and life.

Thursday, March 14

9:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m.   
Panic Moments in Perspective

Nancy Grace, Principal, Wake Family Law Group

Michelle D. Connell, Partner, Connell & Gelb PLLC

This presentation addresses the challenges of a family law practice from managing difficult clients, dealing with challenging opposing counsel, educating the judiciary, and supervising associates.  Maintaining perspective, mental health, and a sense of humor when the buck stops with you.

10:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. 
Woe is Me-Diator: When Your Empathy Tank is on Empty

Kevin McGrath, McGrath Dispute Resolution, LLC


Kevin McGrath, former Minnesota family court judicial officer and current ADR provider, presents “Woe Is Me-Diator: When Your Empathy Tank is on Empty.”  This presentation will explore the complex interplay of empathy, compassion fatigue, anxiety, and burnout for family law professionals through illustrative real-life scenarios from Kevin’s practice. Attendees will also gain practical knowledge on strategies to prevent or recover from empathy drain.

11:15 a.m. – 12:15 p.m. 
Equity Compensation: Determination of Income Available for Support; Complex Income Calculations; Vesting, Timing and Tax Considerations

Michèle Bissada, Partner, Flicker, Kerin, Kruger & Bissada, LLP

Marie Ebersbacher, Senior Managing Director, CBIZ Forensic Consulting Group

Alexandra Peais, Partner, Gursey Schneider, LLP


This presentation will cover Alternative Asset Management firms, such as hedge funds, private equity, venture capital and other forms of complex income sources which lead to complicated support issues. The audience will learn about how these different types of structures lead to different equity compensation, as well as the complicated ways to determine income available for support for each.  These differing types of compensation present attorneys and parties with alternatives to reach agreements for creative ways pay support. The panel will address the tax consequences and considerations to be made when these types of compensation are involved.

Friday, March 15

9:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m.   
Dealing with the Now-Untangled Start-Up and Complex Business|
Adam John Wolff, Partner, Alter Wolff Foley & Stutman LLP
Jay E. Fishman, FASA, FRICS, Managing Director, Financial Research Associates
Kenneth J. Pia, Jr., CPA, ABV, ASA, MCBA, Partner and Leader of the National Matrimonial and Business Valuation groups, Marcum LLP

This is a follow-up to the speakers’ November 2021 presentation, “Untangling the Web of Complex and Start-Up Businesses.” In the prior session, we discussed the different entities involved with private equity and hedge fund firms, and where an attorney should look to determine and characterize an owner’s income and cash flow from those entities. In this session, we will continue the discussion to review suitable valuation methods given the complexities of projecting the entity’s future cash flow (such as carried interest income). We will then review the related complexities in evaluating start-up companies, which may have multiple classes of debt and equity, and no reliable history of cash flow upon which to base a valuation. Attendees will leave with a better understanding of what information they need to seek in discovery to help their experts evaluate start-ups and complex businesses – and comfort that experts do in fact have tools in these situations.


10:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. 
Finding Resilience: Reclaiming Your Peace Amid Chaos
Alison York, Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor (LCMHC) and Nationally Certified Counselor (NCC)

Mental health issues in the United States are on the rise and family lawyers are not immune. The unrelenting stress of family law can have deleterious effect on physical, emotional and spiritual health. This presentation will explore factors that contribute to high stress, burnout and addiction in the family law community and strategies to identify personal values to live by and how to cultivate a more mindful, peaceful experience.

11:15 a.m. – 12:15 p.m. 
Strategic Case Analysis: Spotlight on the Ahmaud Arbery Trial

Linda Dunikowski, Senior Assistant District Attorney, Head of the Appellate Section, Cobb County District Attorney’s Office, Marietta, Georgia


On February 23, 2020, three white men chased down, shot and killed Ahmaud Arbery, an unarmed Black jogger. In November 2021, an almost all-white jury in Glynn County, Georgia, found the three white men guilty of murder. Linda Dunikoski, the lead prosecutor, will share with you how her team developed the powerful trial theme of “driveway decisions” and utilized strategic case analysis at trial to secure justice for Ahmaud’s family.

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