Category Archives: News

Strategies for an Efficient Law Practice in 2014

1. Strategic Scheduling:
Structure your calendar so you have focused time for everything you need to do each day, week and month. For instance, use one day to schedule in office meetings and another for out-of-office meetings. Block off prep and drafting time on your calendar. If you travel outside your home county, try to schedule multiple hearings on the same day to consolidate travel time.
Don’t forget to schedule time for yourself and your family. This could include making a goal to leave the office by a certain time each night or refusing to check work email in the evenings or on weekends.
***If you’re delegating scheduling to staff (see #2) inform them of your strategic scheduling plan so that everything will be done consistently (see #3).
2. Delegate! 
There are likely many tasks that can be delegated to your staff.  You may need to provide final approval, but others in your firm can help with drafting correspondence and pleadings, etc., following up on the status of matters, and scheduling, among other tasks.
3. Do everything consistently!
Too often the tasks that support the growth of your law practice slip to the bottom of the to do list as “urgent” client tasks rise to the top.  Find a way to create consistency in everything you do, including communicating with clients, intake of information and documents, etc. Creating checklists for yourself and staff in response to various events can build consistency and will encourage delegation of tasks so that nothing slips through the cracks.
Source:  LawMarketing

Click here to view the January 2014 Family Times Newsletter

WV Supreme Court justice challenges name change laws in dissent

By: Kate White, via West Virginia Gazette

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — West Virginia law governing name changes is outdated and reflects sexist attitudes, according to a state Supreme Court justice.

In a dissenting opinion filed May 21, Justice Margaret Workman outlined her views and took her colleagues to task for relying on outdated traditional values and Anglo-American customs.

The court’s majority opinion reversed a ruling by Monongalia Circuit Judge Phillip Gaujot, granting a petition allowing a woman to hyphenate her daughter’s surname.

Relying on cases dating back to 1977, the court overturned the case saying the woman failed to provide clear and convincing evidence the change would benefit her daughter.

“… the name of a minor child cannot be changed from that of the father unless … by clear, cogent and convincing evidence it is shown that such change will significantly advance the best interests of the child,” the court wrote reaffirming the 1977 decision.

Workman challenges that rule, pointing out that the requirement of clear and convincing evidence is rarely applied to cases where constitutional or property rights aren’t involved.

Citing cases from other states, Workman wrote, “our precedents are outmoded and completely unmoored from what should be the focus in these cases: the best interests of the child, taking into account the realities of the child’s living circumstances.”

Read the rest of the article here

WVSC Opinion: Brittany S. v. Amos F. (Filed May 24, 2012)

Per curiam opinion. Reversed and Remanded Appeal from Circuit Court of Hardy County.

Issue: Notice and pleading requirements in modification of custody proceeding.

Read the opinion here:

WVU Recognized as “Top Tier” Law School by U.S. News and World Report

West Virginia University’s College of Law has been recognized as a “Top Tier” law school by U.S. News and World Report’s 2013 edition of “America’s Best Graduate Schools” for the third consecutive year, according to a news release from WVU.

The College was also named a “Go-To” law school by the National Law Journal last week. Officials said the College was also ranked 15th nationally in Best Law Schools in Public Interest in the Winter 2011 edition of preLaw Magazine.

Officials said the College of Law was named one of the “Top 40 Best Value” law schools as well.

“Clearly, the momentum at the WVU College of Law continues to build,” said Joyce McConnell, College of Law dean. “Being recognized as a Top Tier law school by U.S. News and World Report and as a “Go-To” law school by the National Law Journal puts us among the top institutions in the country and reflects the hard work of our students and faculty. Our recent initiatives and future plans will help us build on this trajectory.”

WVU recently initiated three new educational opportunities that help state citizens and enhance the education of future lawyers. Officials said the College of Law also launched its Center for Energy and Sustainable Development under the leadership of Professor James Van Nostrand.

WVU became the first law school in the country to partner with a Veteran’s Administration hospital, the Louis A. Johnson VA Healthcare System of Clarksburg, which serves 23,000 veterans in late 2011, according to the news release.

Officials said law students who work in the College of Law’s Clinical Law Program will provide veterans with free legal representation through the Veterans Assistance Program.

Read Full Article:–top-tier–law-school-by-u-s–news-and-world-report

Original article:


West Virginia Legislature – 2012 Completed Legislation

Click here to see list of 2012 completed legislation related to family law.

WV Legislature 2012 – Bill Tracking

Bills by Category:

Abuse & Neglect
Child Support

Domestic Violence
 Spousal Support


*Note: Post updated frequently.

WV Supreme Court creating committee to study Spousal Support Guidelines

Tuesday October 25, 2011
Article courtesy of the Charleston Daily Mail
West Virginia Supreme Court Chief Justice Margaret Workman will create a committee to study spousal support guidelines.
The committee will consist of judges, lawyers and others who will study whether West Virginia should adopt guidelines for the award of spousal support similar to the guidelines for child support.
“Through this study, we hope to ascertain if such guidelines are needed, and whether they would reduce the costs, both financial and emotional, of the divorce process,” she told family court judges at the Fall Family Court Judicial Education Conference in Charleston this week.
Workman said awards of spousal support, when made, are inconsistent and unpredictable, and that current law does not provide guidance on when an award should be made or its amount and duration.
She said she would announce the members of the commission in the near future.
If the commission determines such guidelines are appropriate, its recommendations would go to the Supreme Court and possibly to the Legislature.
Read article here

New Mass. Law Caps Alimony Based on Length of the Marriage

By Debra Cassens Weiss, ABA Journal, 9/27/11
A new law in Massachusetts curbs lifetime alimony payments by creating caps on alimony based on the length of the marriage.
Gov. Deval Patrick signed the law on Monday, report the Boston Globe (reg. req.), the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal (sub. req.).
According to the Times, alimony to a spouse in a marriage that lasted five years or less would be capped at half the length of the marriage. Alimony for marriages lasting 15 to 20 years would be capped at 80 percent of the marriage length.
The new law also allows judges to end alimony payments to spouses who live with a new partner, the Globe says. The aim is to encourage marriage and discourage cohabitation arrangements designed to allow a former spouse to continue collecting alimony.
The law also generally ends alimony payments when the one-time spouse paying the money reaches retirement age, the Wall Street Journal says.
Opponents say the law will encourage spouses to spend more time in abusive marriages to be eligible for more alimony.