Pat Dragga attended the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers mid-year meeting in Phoenix, Arizona. The meeting provided an opportunity for Fellows from across the nation to meet and to hear a variety of presentations. The programs focused on practical knowledge for attorneys in and out of the courtroom. Speakers included well-respected psychologist, Dr. Sol Rappaport, who, with Fellows Sherri Evans and David Steerman, put on a presentation regarding the neuroscience and heuristics of how people make decisions. Sean Carter, a self-described Humorist at Law, spoke about ethical guidelines, pitfalls and concerns involving social media and legal marketing.
Congratulations to Vince Wills on being named the Family Law Practitioner of the Year by the Family Law Section of the Bar Association of Montgomery County! This honor is given in recognition of his contributions and commitment to continuing legal education for lawyers. The Section is hosting a celebratory event on June 19, 2017 honoring Vince.
Vince has been a partner in the firm since 2001, after joining Dragga & Callahan in 1996. Since 1996, his practice has concentrated primarily on family law, and particularly on complex litigation and appellate matters.
Most recently, Vince co-chaired the 21st Annual Symposium on Family Law. He was the Moderator for the Electronically Stored Information (ESI) seminar for the Maryland Bar Association, and co-presenter with Kathleen Dumais on the topic of discussing relocation in custody disputes for the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers of Maryland, Virginia, and DC Joint Chapter Spring Retreat.
On Friday, November 11, 2016, the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers – Maryland Chapter, will present the 21st Annual Symposium on Family Law. The Co-Chairs of the Event are James D. Milko, Esquire and Vincent M Wills, Esquire. Mr. Milko and Mr. Wills will welcome the attendees and introduce the speakers for the Morning Program, including, Dr. Robert Simon, Alvin Frederick, Esquire, and Gregory B. Cerbone, Esquire.
The Maryland State Bar Association (MSBA) is presenting a seminar on Electronically Stored Information (ESI) and what attorneys need to know about this developing and ever-changing area of evidence and discovery. The program, being offered on September 9th in Columbia, will provide the basics of electronic devices (such as bits/bytes, hardware, software, iPads, etc.) and how that information is used in e-discovery. The course will go further to help attorneys determine their duties at the initial client consultation, tips, tricks and traps in capturing ESI, when to hire a forensic expert, the legal responsibilities of both the requesting and responding party, how to review and analyze ESI and the admissibility of ESI evidence in court.
American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers Maryland, Virginia & District of Columbia Joint Chapter Spring Retreat 2016
On May 14, 2016, Patrick W. Dragga, Kevin Hessler, and Vincent M. Wills attended the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers Maryland, Virginia & District of Columbia Joint Chapter Spring Retreat in Cambridge, Maryland. The topic of the retreat was Relocation Issues in Custody Disputes. Vincent M. Wills and Kathleen Dumais presented part of the program, specifically addressing relocation discussions with Clients. The other presenters were the Hon. Cynthia Callahan, who offered a Judicial Perspective on application of the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA), and Shannon Hines, Esquire, who discussed the Role of the State Department and Available Resources.
Vincent Wills, a partner in the law firm, will be speaking at a workshop titled “Protecting Children’s Mental Health and Well-Being in Separation and Divorce”, presented by The Divorce Roundtable of Montgomery
County. Mr. Wills, along with other co-presenters, will discuss “the voice of the child” as it pertains to children and the parents’ divorce proceeding. The workshop will take place on Friday, May 13, 2016.
Vincent M. Wills, a partner at DHHW, was recently interviewed by the Maryland Daily Record about Electronically Stored Information (ESI) and the impact ESI may have on family law cases. Although ESI
has been around for many years, the practices and standard of care surrounding ESI discovery are still developing in the state of Maryland. Mr. Wills is quoted in the Maryland Daily Record as saying “We’re trying to define what the best practices are [regarding ESI]. Right now, when we get a request for production of documents, they might ask for emails, Facebook pages, other forms of social media, and what most people are doing now is they’re going to the emails and they’re printing them out. With ESI, the trend – the way it’s being done in other states and how I imagine it’s going to be done in the future – is that people want the native data, the native format, the metadata.”
The Maryland State Bar Association’s February Bar Bulletin featured an article by Vince Wills titled,
“Hot Tips in Family Law”. Vince’s article appears below and can also be viewed on the MSBA’s website (http://www.msba.org/Bar_Bulletin/2016/01_-_January/Hot_Tips_in_Family_Law.aspx):
Hot off the press, here are some 'hot tips' in light of recent Rule changes and caselaw:
1. Effective January 1, 2016, section (b)(b)(A)(iv) is added to Maryland Rule 5-803 pertaining to hearsay exceptions where the unavailability of the declarant is not required. The change adds a new exception under paragraph (b) (8) - Public Records and Reports. The change permits the court, at a final protective order hearing, to accept the factual findings reported to a court pursuant to Family Law 4-505 (report of local department pertaining to abuse of a child or vulnerable adult), provided that the parties have had a fair opportunity to review the report. The committee note states that the court may be required to continue the final protective order hearing to provide the parties a fair opportunity to review the report
and to prepare for the hearing.
2. Effective January 1, 2016, Maryland Rule 9-205.3 goes into effect. This Rule pertains to the appointment or approval of a person to perform an assessment in a case that involves child custody or visitation.
Assessment includes a custody evaluation, home study, mental health evaluation, and a specific issue evaluation. The Rule sets requirements for custody evaluators, establishes mandatory elements that a custody evaluation must have, and contains requirements for the court order appointing or approving a person to perform a custody evaluation. The Rule further requires the custody evaluator to prepare a report, which may be oral, made on the record at a pretrial or settlement conference, or written. The Rule further sets parameters for copying and/or dissemination of the report. The Rule provides that the
court may receive access to a report only if the report has been admitted into evidence. (There are exceptions for access to the report upon stipulation of the parties or to a settlement judge or magistrate.) Finally, there are provisions pertaining to discovery, subpoena, and admission of the report without the presence of the assessor. The Rule also dictates that the Court is required to establish a maximum fee schedule for custody evaluations.
Vincent M. Wills, a parter at the law firm, will speak at the MSBA’s 2016 Hot Tips in Family Law CLE scheduled for February 4, 2016 from 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the Sheraton Hotel in Columbia, MD. Vince’s presentation concerns “Electronically Stored Information (ESI) – What family law practitioners should know”. For more information about this continuing legal education program, please visit the MSBA’s website.