At the national annual meeting of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers held in Chicago this week, Ken Raggio co produced and moderated the Second Annual Technology Symposium, presented to several hundred other Fellows of the Academy. Academy membership is by invitation only, and is regarded nationally as the most prestigious family law organization.
As part of the program, Ken demonstrated the use of TranscriptPad, a high end iPad app that helps organize depositions and other transcripts in a family law case. The demo was very similar to the use of the tool in either Court or other proceeding: by having the iPad display on a big screen TV.
Ken Raggio and Melissa Brown made a presentation to the Family Law Section of the New Mexico Bar Association on Pleasures and Problems of Social Media and other Issues of ESI (Electronically Stored Information) as it relates to Family Law. More than one party in a divorce or custody case has been "done in" by their OWN postings to social media sites. Their two hour presentation opened the eys of the Judges and lawyers present at the live presentation in Albuquerque as well as those watching on the simulcast elsewhere in the state.
Ken Raggio spoke and presented TemporaryOrders -The First and Lasting (Perhaps Last) Impression? to the 1850+ registrants at the Texas Bar's 39th Advanced Family Law Course held this year in San Antonio. The paper is here.
Raggio also was a teacher in the Ipad workshops held throughout the day on August 6th. Ken served as faculty with other certifed family law specialist attorneys from around the state who are also renown techies.
Ken Raggio co authored the materials, and Ken, along with co-author Melissa Brown of Charleston, SC presented The Pleasures and Pitfalls of Producing and Presenting Electronically Stored Information to the Spring conference of the American Academy of Mtrimonial Lawyers in Fajardo, Puerto Rico.
Raggio and Brown were joined for the presentation by Judge Sherry Heitler from New York City and by Frank Rudowitz, a financial and fraud investigator from Boston,MA.
Among other substantive areas during the ninety minute program were: spoliation of evidence; authenticity and admissibility of ESI, such as texts, emails, Facebook posts, and other issues raised by the mountain of ESI potentially available and relevant in a family law case.
Deion Sanders won custody of his kids in a jury trial this week; actually the sole right to determine where his three children live. He willl make all educational, health and extracurricular decisions for his two sons, ages 11 and 13, and share that responsibility for his 9-year-old daughter with his estranged wife, Pilar Sanders. He was obviously elated. His Wife commented: “If that’s not one-sided, you have to be blind, dumb, crazy and stupid.” I wonder whether she was describing her husband, the lawyers, the jurors, the judge, the legal system, or all the above but expressly excusing herself.
The contentious divorce slogs on. Pilar tried to contest a premarital agreement she signed after not only having an experienced family law attorney advise her about the agreement, but after she executed she went to Court and told a Judge she knew what she was doing and understood it. But the enforceability of the agreement has been upheld.
But the end is coming. Oh, yea, until the appeal...
This picture is taken with two of my law school classmates - Mark Bentley and Jim Phillips - who work in the General Counsel’s office of the University of Texas system in Austin. I met them for a visit this week, and also with the knowledge that the picture below would end up on the appropriate Facebook walls. Indeed, Mark had it up while we were just beginning our visit in Jim’s office downtown after taking the picture at the Capitol.
There may be bills about Facebook pending before the legislature now; I do not know. But I do know a whole lot about the bills that have been filed that affect Family Law.
I spent the week in Austin as a volunteer lobbyist for the Texas Family Law Foundation to help good legislation to be promulgated by the legislature. Experienced family law attorneys volunteer to spend a week in Austin to aid with that effort. Sometimes bills will be heard before the Judiciary & Civil Jurisprudence Committee of the House or before the Jurisprudence Committee of the Senate. During the 2011 session, I testified before both the House and the Senate committees. I refer to the week that I, along with Heather King and Charla Bradshaw, testified as the “Superbowl” week of the 2011 session for Family Law, as the Fraud on the Community bill, the Alimony bill, and the Paternity Fraud bill all had hearings that week. Those three bills, all of which became law, were a main part of the Family Law Section’s - and Foundation’s - 2011 legislative package.
This week in February 2013 found the committees of the Senate and House just getting organized and not yet conducting hearings on bills. So my job this week was to assist the Foundation’s lobbyists, Steve Bresnan and Glenn DeShields, in reviewing bills and explaining some bills to either the staff of the committees, to the legislative aides of senators or representatives, or, in fact, to legislators themselves.
Steve would talk to the appropriate party, and would arrange a meeting . We would explain our request for refinement, clarification or express our concerns about a bill. I believe that the Texas Family Law Foundation and its lobbyists are well respected in Austin, due in part to the fact that the Family Law Bar speaks with one voice. Not to mention skilled and knowledgeable lobbyists.
An example is that a certain legislator’s bill would have caused an impermissible retroactive modification of a family law judgment. Steve notified the legislator’s staff of our concerns and arranged a meeting with the legislator and we were accompanied by a member of the Attorney General’s staff to the meeting. After our visit and by the end of the day, we were able to suggest insertions and deletions into the bill with which the legislator, the AG’s represenative and the Foundation were all very comfortable.
So not only did I get to see how “sausage is made” but I got to participate just a little bit in that process. And hopefully made for a little bit better sausage.
Mark Bentley, Jim Phillips, Ken Raggio, UT School of Law class of 1974
Is someone--like your teenager--using Facebook too much? You want to have them quit Facebook? You could try reaching into your wallet.
A research consultant in Boston paid his 14-year-old daughter a $200 fee to quit the social network until summer, according to a post on his blog that has been further reported on tech websites. The consultant, Paul Baier, posted an inage of the "Facebook Deactivation Agreement" he made with his daughter on this Tuesday.
Per the agreement (signed by both parties) the teen promised to deactivate her account on the social network from this past Monday until June 26, 2013. In return, Baier will pay his daughter $50 in April and the remaining $150 in June, at the end of the five months.
The teaching point for parents of teenagers is clear. But for those in a divorce or family law case, deactivating or de-publicizing Facebook or other social media accounts may be a very wise move. Then the "other side" can't get easy access to potentially damaging materials.
This does not mean deleting or terminating the account. The general rule is to deactivate, not terminate. TERMINATION of an account could be viewed as SPOLIATION, or the destroying of evidence. A lawyer in Virginia was ordered to pay $520,000 for his role in his client's DELETIONS from the client's Facebook account. A link to the Virginia Supreme Court case is here.
Today, February 4, 2013 marks the 100th anniversity of the birth of Grier Raggio, Sr. and Rosa Parks. They shared more than just their birthday.
For those who don't remember, Rosa Parks was the courageous black woman who refused to ride in the back of the bus in Montgomery, Alabama in 1955. This act led to the Montgomery bus strike, an important event in the sequence leading up to the Civil Rights Act of 1964. We are grateful for her courage.
Grier Raggio, Sr. founded Raggio & Rraggio with his wife Louise Raggio in 1956, and the two had a thriving practice in November, 1963. Both Grier and Louise were active in helping develop civil rights; Louise is legend for her work leading to the passage of the Family Code, leading to important rights for married women. Grier believed strongly that everyone had fundamental legal rights, including those accused of grave crimes.
Grier Raggio Sr. was one of a handful of lawyers of the Dallas Bar Association who went down to the Dallas County jail the night of November 22, 1963 to insure that the rights of Lee Harvey Oswald were protected. This contigent of lawyers were assured by the various powers-that-be that night that indeed Oswald was being afforded his fundamental rights.
Then a 9th grader, I remember how I thrashed about, cried, and tried to stop my father from going down there that Friday night. I didn't care about Lee Harvey's rights; I cared about the possible stigma to "us" by my Dad having anything to do with the assasinaion of President John F. Kennedy. But my father was a strong believer that everyone had certain constitutional rights. Even if such belief was unpopular at the time.
I am grateful for the courage my father showed that infamous night.
Grier Raggio, Sr. and Rosa Parks shared more than just a birthday.