Bulletin BIRMINGHAM BAR ASSOCIATION
Fellows Dinner 2022 Birmingham Bar Foundation celebrates Fellows and Life Fellows at 10th annual event. 12
Vol. 43, Issue 2 | Summer 2022
Members Who Motivate Us Meet Warren Lightfoot, a BBA member whose artwork lives in the U.S. Supreme Court. 16
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Birmingham Bar Association staff, from left: Alexis, Jennifer and Dana.
Published for the Birmingham Bar Association by Starnes Media
2022 Officers of the BBA Allison O. Skinner, President Marcus M. Maples, President-Elect J. Price Evans IV, Secretary/Treasurer H. Lanier Brown II, Immediate Past President Jennifer B. Bates, Executive Director
Message from the
Executive Director Thank you, Birmingham Bar Association members, for all that you do to make our organization great. We are hosting lots of fabulous and fun in-person events for you to enjoy with your colleagues and friends. Don’t miss out — I look forward to seeing you soon! Jennifer B. Buettner Executive Director
2022 BBA Executive Committee Robert E. Battle Rebecca A. Beers Pooja Chawla Starr Turner Drum Susan N. Han
Tina Lam Hope S. Marshall D.G. Pantazis Jr. Ryan P. Robichaux Tripp Watson
Virginia E. Miller, ADR Section Hanna Lahr, Bankruptcy/Commercial Law Section J. Jack Kubiszyn, Business Law Section Brock Brett, Criminal Justice Section Robin Robertson, Federal Practice Section Christopher S. Hamer, Probate Section April H. Deluca, Solo Practice/Small Firm Section Laura S. Winston, Women Lawyers Section Jud C. Stanford, Workers Compensation Section Anna M. Carroll, Young Lawyers Section Ruby B. Jackson, Magic City Bar Association Freddy Rubio, ASB Commissioner
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Above: Local Bar leaders. Right: Jennifer with ASB President Terri Lovell.
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BIRMINGHAM BAR BULLETIN
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As a young judicial law clerk in the early 1970s, George McMillan often wondered why so many disputes ended up in the marble courtrooms of the U.S. Federal District Court, when a skilled mediator could produce an equitable settlement more efficiently. It’s a lesson he took with him when he founded the law firm of McMillan & Spratling the next year. Soon, McMillan was using his natural skills at bringing people together in the Alabama House of Representatives, the Alabama Senate, and as Lt. Governor of the state. As the decades passed, George McMillan helped assemble the coalition that elected Birmingham’s first African American mayor and created non-profit organizations that transformed the cultural life of his city.
For his efforts, Birmingham named George McMillan Citizen of the Year in 1990. In 2002, McMillan helped bring together two dynamic groups of citizens to form The Black Belt Community Foundation, later serving it as a director and chairperson for more than a decade. Today, working with his associate, William Hall, George McMillan is putting to work his fifty years of legal experience and his natural talent for bringing disparate parties together with a broadly-based mediation practice. The firm’s mission is to deliver to clients the many benefits mediation can provide:
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In This Issue 08 President’s Message
With COVID hopefully waning, more of our members have been eager to return to in-person events and to reconnect with colleagues and friends.
16 Members Who Motivate Us
Meet Warren Lightfoot, a BBA member whose artwork lives in the United States Supreme Court.
18 Together in Person Again!
12 Fellows Dinner 2022
24 Legal Aid’s Achievements
Julie Marks answered her calling as a guardian ad litem, and her heart has kept her there.
28 Child Support Changes An analysis of the recent revisions to Rule 32 of the Alabama Rules of Judicial Administration.
31 Leadership Honor Lenora Walker Pate posthumously honored with Susan Bevill Livingston Leadership Award.
32 Making a Difference
After two long years, we gathered for the 10th Annual Fellows Dinner to celebrate the professionalism and generosity of the Birmingham Bar Foundation Fellows and Life Fellows.
15 Workers Compensation in the Metaverse The realm of legal claims in the virtual workspace has evolved in recent years.
We invite all BBA members to take advantage of the many social and networking events we are offering in 2022.
22 A Productive Start The Magic City Bar Association is making progress in 2022.
VLB volunteers Conrad Anderson and Tonya Mines discuss rewards of pro bono service.
35 Upcoming CLEs 36 Attorneys in the News
On the cover: A mural celebrating The World Games 2022 is seen on the side of The Waites building on Seventh Avenue. Photo by Erin Nelson.
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From the President This year is off to a great start, thanks to all of you, our members! With COVID hopefully waning, more of our members have been eager to return to in-person events and to reconnect with colleagues and friends. We have been hosting lots of fun gatherings around town where all of you can build your networks, expand your business relationships and become acquainted with some of the wonderful spots Birmingham has to offer. Also, for the third year in a row, the Birmingham Bar Association is providing high quality, informative virtual CLE programs ... free for our members. I want to highlight a few of our events and activities from the first part of 2022 and preview some of the don’t-miss events coming up this fall.
FUN EVENTS I HOPE YOU ATTENDED ► “Get to Know Birmingham” series: I am thrilled that our series of 1-hour events at Birmingham businesses have been so well-attended and well-loved. In February, we visited Urban Impact; in March we visited the Birmingham Museum of Art; in April we visited the Freshwater Land Trust; and we have more planned throughout the year. Birmingham Bar leaders Ruby Jackson, Breauna Johnson and Emily McClendon have made these events such a success! I encourage you to attend all of our future “Get to Know Birmingham” events. ► Happy Hour Socials: In January, February and April, we hosted happy hours at local bars, and these fun events allowed our members to have a drink or two on the Birmingham Bar and enjoy one of Birmingham’s many fantastic gathering spots. In March, we opted for coffee or tea at a local coffee shop near Railroad Park. ► Law Day Celebration: This year’s signature event was our day-long observance of Law Day, when organizations around the country engage in discussions
Above: Allison, Connie Ray Stockham and Keith Andress. Below: BBA members have the opportunity to volunteer for The World Games 2022 or attend the Opening Ceremony. about the importance of the law and government in our society. Our day of recognition featured an in-person luncheon at The Florentine, followed by a CLE program about the state, national and global economy with speakers Michael Davis and Harrison Proctor and moderator Alabama Supreme Court Justice Sarah Stewart. Later that evening, we danced the night away at a band party at The Fennec featuring the fabulous eight-piece band, Nationwide Coverage. Thank you so much to Law Day Chair Beth McElroy for a tremendously successful day of fun! ► The World Games 2022: I am so proud to have been able to offer our members the chance to volunteer with
TWG2022. This will be a historic moment for our city, and Birmingham Bar members will be a part of it. We are also offering our members the
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opportunity to purchase a ticket to sit together as a group at the Opening Ceremony on July 7. This unique experience will rival a Super Bowl halftime show, and you will want to be there for it. Joi Travis is our coordinator for all things TWG2022, and I am thankful for her engagement and leadership with the Birmingham Bar and with our community. ► In-House/Corporate Members Event: As we have done in the past three years, the Birmingham Bar is continuing to offer our members who work in a corporate setting — rather than for a law firm or government entity — the opportunity to connect with one another at a breakfast social and CLE program. Huge thanks to Ruby Jackson, Justin Kelly, Erica Sheffield and Al Vance for leading this committee and to Bill Athanas who presented an informative CLE and whose firm, Waller, served as the breakfast sponsor. ► Project to Track the Participation of Women in the Courtroom: In the Fall 2020 and Winter 2021 issues of the Bulletin, I hope you read the eye-opening data about the paucity of women and minorities who have speaking roles in state and federal courts in Birmingham. The information shared in those articles was so revealing that we wanted to be sure to present it to our membership in a CLE program. Thank you to Presiding Judge Elisabeth French, Judge Madeline Haikala, Judge Jim Hughey, Tina Lam, Maridi Huggins, Laura Winston and President-Elect Marcus Maples for their participation in this excellent program. ► Metro Bar CLE: I am pleased that we were recently able to implement one of my major objectives, namely to partner with the other Metro bar associations in the state on a project. Together with the Baldwin County Bar Association, the Bessemer Bar Association, the Huntsville Bar Association, the Magic City Bar Association, the Montgomery Bar Association, the Mobile Bar Association and the Tuscaloosa Bar Association, we hosted a 1-hour ethics Zoom CLE featuring Jeremy Rakes of the Alabama Lawyer Assistance Program. The program was a huge success with over 200 attendees, and everyone reported that it was an informative and helpful session. I am so thankful to the leadership of our fellow bar associations for this partnership.
Left: Allison, second from left, enjoying a courtyard social with BBA colleagues. Below: Hope Marshall, Kitty Brown, Emily McClendon and Allison Skinner.
► Section Activities: Several of the Birmingham Bar’s Sections have kicked off the year with lots of activities and events, especially the Solo/Small Firm Section, led by April DeLuca; the Women Lawyers Section, led by Laura Winston; and the Young Lawyers Section, led by Anna Carroll.
UPCOMING NOT-TO-MISS EVENTS ► Evidence Essentials: I am so thrilled that the Court Liaison Committee, led by Rebecca Beers and David Fawal, is putting on a four-part Evidence Essentials CLE series to give our members the chance to brush up on their evidence skills. This series will feature an array of experts in the area of evidence and will be hosted by various state and federal court judges. To kick us off, Judge Tamara Harris-Johnson will be involved in the first session, and Judge David Proctor will be part of the second session. Be on the lookout for all four parts of this CLE series and do not miss out. ► “Get to Know Birmingham” series: Be sure to monitor your email and the website calendar for opportunities to register for more events around town as we learn about the great things going on in our community. ► Annual Picnic: On Friday, June 10, just as this issue is landing in your mailbox, we will see the return of the Annual Picnic after a two-year hiatus. As in years past, Entertainment Committee Chair and Birmingham Bar member extraordinaire Nick Callahan will lead the entire Entertainment Committee in presenting a fun event, complete with your favorite foods
and drinks. ► Annual Skeet Shoot: Before the Picnic each year for the past 25-plus years, several Bar members have organized and hosted a Skeet Shoot. Stewart Cox and Ted Stuckenschneider have each been leaders of this popular event over the years, and now Price Evans is leading it.
OTHER INITIATIVES TO KNOW ABOUT ► Future Leaders Forum Program: Each year for the past 12 years, the Birmingham Bar has provided a leadership program for attorneys in their third to eighth year of practice who are interested in becoming leaders in our community. This year, our amazing Future Leaders Forum Committee, chaired by Meredith Maitrejean, will host Class 13 to prepare leaders of the Birmingham Bar to guide us into the future. ► Fee Dispute Arbitration Process: For several decades, we have provided a fee dispute resolution process as a service to our members and to the public, to assist clients and attorneys in resolving fee disputes. The Chair of this year’s Fee Dispute
BIRMINGHAM BAR BULLETIN
Above: Allison with attendees of the March “Get to Know BHM” event at the Birmingham Museum of Art. Left: Judge Sherri Friday and Allison. Arbitration Committee is David Nomberg, and our Co-Chairs are Cinda York and John Bahakel. ► New Lawyer Mentoring Program: This popular program, chaired by Pooja Chawla, Tom Walker and Richard Whitaker this year, assists new lawyers as they become experienced legal practitioners. New lawyers (mentees) are paired with experienced lawyers (mentors) for a quality, one-on-one mentoring experience,
and both mentees and mentors report finding tremendous value in working together. ► Nominating Committee: Each year, this Birmingham Bar committee is responsible for identifying candidates to run for election as officers and Executive Committee members for the following year. The committee follows a rigorous process, and its outcome is always outstanding. I am amazed at how many fantastic leaders we have in our membership and so many
of them stand for election to leadership positions in our organization. We are always eager to hear from members who would like to be leaders for the Birmingham Bar. If you would like for the Nominating Committee to consider you as a possible candidate, please email Jennifer at firstname.lastname@example.org and she will share your name with the Nominating Committee. This year, Conrad Anderson is leading the Nominating Committee, and I am sure that the slate his committee develops will be as impressive as the slates in past years.
Thank you to all of the Birmingham Bar leaders who I’ve talked about above and to all of the other members who are so involved! There are too many to name in my message, but please know that I am aware of all that you are doing. I want to close with a tremendous thank you to all of our members for your involvement in the Birmingham Bar! I hope to see you all very soon.
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Fellows Dinner 2022 Birmingham Bar Foundation celebrates Fellows and Life Fellows After two long years, we were pleased to be able to gather for the 10th Annual Fellows Dinner to celebrate the professionalism and generosity of the Birmingham Bar Foundation Fellows and Life Fellows. The Fellows Endowment Program recognizes the notable accomplishments of distinguished members of the Birmingham Bar Association. Each member of this prestigious group demonstrates a spirit of excellence in his or her field of practice through uncompromising adherence to ethical standards and mores, application of exceptional skills to achieve optimal results for those they serve, and commitment to enhance and enrich the general prestige of our profession.
tcher and Pete Above: Judge Marshell Ha Andrew Salser Hatcher. Right: President ory evening. presided over the celebrat
Gerry Durward and Leslie Barineau.
Fu Debrosse Zimmermann and colleagues from DiCello, Levitt, Gutzler.
Above: Marcus Maples, Courtney Fren ch, Presiding Judge Elisabeth French and Judge Charles Price. Right: Jimmy and Georgia Haggerty.
alter Shipp. Marlena and W
BIRMINGHAM BAR BULLETIN
d Pooja ia Jett, Ashley Peinhardt an Above: BBF Secretary Alic 2022. d Life Fellows of 2021 and Chawla. Right: Fellows an
Above: Incoming BBF President Christi Graham with her husband Will. Below: Andrew Salser and Marlena Shipp teamed up to present the Fellows and Life Fellows.
Above: Marcus Maples, Kwoya Maples, Judge Houston Brown, Betty Brown, Gaile Gratton Greene and Reginald Greene. Below: Fellows Dinner 2022 attendees.
Above: Immediate Past Pre sident John Lentine with his wife Andrea. Left: Judge Elisab eth French and Judge Javan Patton.
Cook Above: Leon Ashford, Kimberly Cook and Greg
. Below: Hand Arendall guests.
Above: Judge Elisabeth French and Courtney French. Below: President Andrew Salser and Leslie Barineau.
BIRMINGHAM BAR BULLETIN
Workers compensation claims in the metaverse By Bernard D. Nomberg of The Nomberg Law Firm The working world is an ever-evolving landscape. While brick and mortar offices will likely never go away completely, working remotely or virtually are here now and coming on strong. During the pandemic, the remote workplace became much more the norm for many reasons. Just about any business you can think of except maybe health care and food services have some version of remote working. What has also evolved during the last several years is the virtual workspace — also known as the metaverse.
WHAT IS THE METAVERSE? Remember the 1960s animated HannaBarbera show “The Jetsons”? Such a cool concept was decades ahead of today. The Jetsons’ world was a precursor to the birth of the metaverse. People and dogs flying around in a virtual world, communicating on screens and meeting up in all types of novel places. Alternatively, remember the SimCity video series where you build your virtual world? Something like that. The metaverse is a persistent virtual world where people can work, play and shop from anywhere using a virtual reality headset, augmented reality glasses, a phone or any other compatible device.1 These virtual spaces allow you to create and explore with other people who are not in the same physical space as you. You will be able to hang out with friends, work, play, learn, shop, create and more.2
EARLY LEGAL CLAIMS More segments of society and the working world are headed to the metaverse. Banking giants, Visa, Facebook and many other leading companies are doing business in the metaverse. There is one New Jersey law firm that has a metaverse personal injury law office. By doing business in the metaverse, it
will naturally lead to employees conducting business there, and as a result, legal claims will surely arise. There are many employment-related laws yet to be decided or even addressed in this field. It seems that so far no one has decided what legal framework should apply to a decentralized digital workspace in which workers may be physically or geographically disconnected from each other and the company they work for. Claims have already been reported dealing with sexual harassment, sexual abuse and racist abuse.3 These claims are just beginning. Unfortunately, the metaverse is the wild west right now as everything is new to those jumping into the space. How can there be a workers compensation claim in a virtual workplace? Excellent question. One my colleagues and I have been pondering as well. Typically, there are two types of work comp injury claims: physical and mental. While this article will not be able to address all questions concerning this topic, I will do my best to point out what we believe will be those types of claims.
PHYSICAL INJURIES When a person is working virtually in metaverse, they are likely wearing virtual headsets or glasses. We cannot foresee virtual “physical” injuries being compensable, but if this does become reality, we will be the first to report back here! For now, we will concentrate on actual physical injuries to the injured employee. If a person working from home or a remote location has an accident or trauma while wearing the headset or glasses and this causes a physical injury, they might have a work comp claim to pursue. Vision or hearing loss, or other physical injuries could be actionable claims. Additionally, there could be a third-party claim against the manufacturer of the headset or glasses if the device malfunctioned causing injury. Of course, the injured party would still need to prove legal and medical causation
The Nomberg Law Firm. for a successful claim. Another consideration for these claims are venue and jurisdiction. Those issues might be determined by the physical location of the employment at the time of the accident. However, there are also virtual world or internet jurisdiction considerations yet to be addressed. While more employees are working remotely than ever before, proving an on the job accident will still require the injured worker to prove that the accident occurred in the course of and arose out of the employment, regardless of the location of the work accident.
MENTAL INJURIES Many states, such as our home state of Alabama, do not recognize mental injury claims without a physical injury claim. Several more progressive states do allow for mental only work comp claims. Just like in the physical world, witnessing certain traumas while on the job could be actionable. Post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, anxiety and other related mental claims might be actionable in those states for a metaverse workplace claim. If a person is hurt on the job, in the real or virtual world, due to unsafe working conditions, that person should seek legal counsel, as they may be entitled to workers’ compensation or other benefits.
What Is The Metaverse, When Is It Coming And Who Is Building It? - https://bit.ly/3KeCh9Z Read further: The Metaverse Explained: What It Is And How It Works - https://bit.ly/3pzzH6n) 2
3 https://bit.ly/35FKTHx. California trial attorney Mitch Jackson wrote more on this subject: Sexual Harassment in the Metaverse Workplace - https://bit.ly/3IBiocH.
Members Who Motivate Us Meet Warren Lightfoot, a Birmingham Bar Association member whose artwork lives in the United States Supreme Court. Warren Lightfoot
Members Who Motivate Us
Q: Tell us about all of your artistic talents. What are your favorite forms to work in as an artist? A: Growing up in Luverne, Alabama, I
Warren Lightfoot poses with U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor. Lightfoot created a portrait bust of O’Connor that is now displayed in the U.S. Supreme Court.
could draw long before I could write, and my parents sent me to art classes in Montgomery beginning at age 9. In those classes I learned that I could draw and sculpt but not paint, being somewhat mystified by the use of colors. Additionally, I learned I had the God-given ability to draw and sculpt uncanny likenesses of people. I used that gift during the summer of 1960 while waiting to go into the Army, and I made a living for myself and a buddy across the state of Florida as an itinerant beach artist drawing caricatures. I used it very little in the army or in law school, but later would draw or sculpt for our children’s amusement or put an occasional sketch of a lawyer or judge in the Birmingham Bar’s Bulletin.
Q: How do you think being an artist helped you in your law practice or in other areas of your life? A: I am woefully deficient in patience, and the little bit I have now or had as a lawyer came to some extent as a result of my art, which does require time and reworking on occasion in order to get a piece right. Also I learned from art that absolute perfection is unattainable, and one has to just trot out the sculpture piece (or the cross examination) even though it isn’t flawless but is effective. As the late sculptor Glenna Goodacre told me years ago: “Warren, sometimes you just have to let it go.” In addition, I learned the value of hard work and being open to different approaches, and I found that those disciplines applied to the courtroom as much as
to the studio. Finally, in art, as in law and life, the sweetest successes come at the highest cost every time, all the time.
Q: Tell us about being commissioned to sculpt the bust of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, which may be displayed in the U.S. Supreme Court. How were you chosen for this honor and what was your creative process? A: The portrait bust of Ruth Bader Ginsburg (which I delivered to the bronze foundry in January) was commissioned by the Chairman of the Supreme Court Historical Society. I know he has seen my portrait bust of Sandra Day O’Connor
that is now displayed in the U.S. Supreme Court, and he probably saw the one I did of the chief justice of Canada, now displayed in the Supreme Court of British Columbia. Before I started on RBG, I printed out about a hundred photographs of her from many angles off the internet, and over the course of about 18 hours sculpted her in clay. When I finally decided it was good enough, I sent photos of it to the chairman of the society so he could approve it, thereafter taking it to the foundry where it will be cast in bronze, using the lost wax process — a method dating back over 500 years.
Q: If you were not a lawyer or an artist, what career would you pursue? BIRMINGHAM BAR BULLETIN
Left: Warren with his portrait bust of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Middle: Warren’s portrait bust of the chief justice of the Supreme Court of British Columbia, Beverley McLachlin. Right: Warren with his bust of O’Connor.
A: If I hadn’t been a lawyer or an artist, I
think I would have liked to be a teacher. I’ve taught a number of classes and given PowerPoints over the years, usually on artistic or religious topics, and always found it especially satisfying. In my view, teaching is maybe the best of all the professions, always challenging, always gratifying and always leaving the world in a better place.
Q: What books are you reading? A: I am currently reading “Daughters of
Yalta” by Catherine Grace Katz, which tells how three remarkable young women — Anna Roosevelt, Sarah Churchill and Kathy Harriman — played pivotal roles in the February 1945 summit meeting of Stalin, Churchill and Roosevelt. Before that I last read “The Soul of America, the Battle for Our Better Angels,” by Jon Meacham, who recently spoke eloquently at Samford. I’m a bit of a nerd about World War II, so I try to vary my intake with current non-fiction.
Q: Outside of the legal profession, who do you most admire? A: Outside our noble profession I most admire my friend and neighbor Miller Gorrie. My wife, Robbie, and I go to the same church (Independent Presbyterian
Warren and Robbie Lightfoot, who have been married 59 years. Church) as Miller and his wife, Frances. I did some legal work for Miller years ago, and I’ve known him for over 50 years. Quite apart from his extraordinarily successful construction business, Miller gives enormous amounts of time and money to a variety of charities and never seeks credit for doing so. In fact, I’ve had to do a lot of digging to find out just how much good Miller does, because much of it is done anonymously. His is one of the names I’ll be dropping when I see St. Peter, and at 83 years old, I’m accumulating as many of those names as possible.
Q: What is your favorite vacation destination to enjoy the art scene?
A: Robbie and I have been married 59
years — her friends all say she should get a medal of some kind — and have been fortunate enough to visit some beautiful cities with great art museums: London, Paris, New York, to name a few. But my favorite museum of all is a small one in Barcelona devoted entirely to the works of Pablo Picasso. It shows his evolution from realistic art when he was a teenager (like Rembrandt, but better), to somewhat abstract in his early 20s (like Cezanne, but better) to cubism beginning in 1908. I visited that exquisite museum with a friend who observed as we exited the building: “If Picasso had just kept painting the way he started out, he could have been a great artist.”
Together in person again! We invite all BBA members to take advantage of the many social and networking events we are offering in 2022. Join us and we’ll see you soon! Right: Dr. Kate Crawford, curator of American Art at the Birmingham Museum of Art, speaks to BBA members. Far right: D.A. Danny Carr and Jennifer Tombrello Vizzina at the Solo-Small Firm Section St. Patrick’s Day party.
Volunteering at the Community Food Ban
k with the Women Lawyers Section.
Above: Tracy Thompson and Georgia Haggerty at “Get to Know BHM” at the Birmingham Museum of Art. Right: Socializing at a recent happy hour event are Lanier Brown, Danny Feldman and Jon Lewis.
Watson attorneys A contingency of Cory joins us for happy hour.
BIRMINGHAM BAR BULLETIN
Above: Urban Impact Get to Know BHM. Left: The Women Lawyers Section is in the community. Right: Susan Han, Leslie Rubio, Susan Silvenail celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with the Solo-Small Firm Section.
Above: Celebrating St. Patrick’s Day with the Solo-Small Firm Section are Megan Gremmels and Mar issa Jamieson. Left: Women Lawyers Section members enjo y a Birmingham Squadron basketball game at the Lega cy Arena.
Above: Katrina Brown, Lauren Shine, Honza Prchal and Derek Chen. Left: Trivia Night for Charity with the Young Lawyers Section. Right: Anne Marovich, Lynn Hogewood and Sherles Durham.
March “Get to Know Bir
mingham” event at the
ur on the BBA.
mbers enjoy happy ho
me Young Lawyers Section
Above: Adrienne Powell and Joi Travis at happy hour. Below: Emily McClendon and Rusha Smith at the “Get to Know Birmingham” event at Freshwater Land Trust.
Cain at happy hour. Above right: Birmingham Above left: Abby van Alstyne, Kathy Collier and Tanita ct “Get to Know Birmingham” event. Bar Association members attending our Urban Impa
Above: Andre Toffel, Beth McElroy, Lesli e Barineau and Colleen Carr. Left: Charles and Rachel Fry, Leila Watson, Greg and Paige Ritchey.
BIRMINGHAM BAR BULLETIN
MORE. I F YO U ’ R E R E A D Y
MCBA continuing to make progress in 2022 By President Richard Rice Greetings! The Magic City Bar Association is off to a fast and productive start in the 2022 calendar year. As President of the Executive Committee, I am thankful for the opportunity to lead our organization under the steadfast leadership of our newly installed Board President Justice Ralph Cook. Justice Cook was duly elected as the Board Chairman during the MCBA annual board meeting held on April 14, replacing Past-Board Chairman Judge Eugene Verin. Our organization has a rich history, rooted in service to our community, engagement with our membership and cultivating the future generation of lawyers. I am excited about the opportunities this year will bring, and I am committed to expounding upon the legacy of the Magic City Bar. To that end, we are continuing to implement our theme for 2022: Purpose. Vision. Community. Our purpose, as members of the MCBA and as members of the Executive Committee, is firm on the historical foundation that necessitated the formation of our organization. Our vision is focused on purposeful progress, and we will reconnect and expand our ties to the community in innovative ways. To date, we have made progress in many of our programs, events, and objectives. One of which is the implementation of the Scholarship Endowment Fund. The Scholarship Endowment Fund represents an historic opportunity to create a program in perpetuity that will offer scholarships to encourage the continued increase in the number of African-American lawyers. Additionally, on March 25 the MCBA co-sponsored an Estate Planning Law Clinic with Legal Services of Alabama, Inc., and it was hosted at the Zion Star Missionary Baptist Church. During the
one-day clinic, we assisted over 50 attendees with Wills, Deeds, Power of Attorneys, and other related matters. On Martin Luther King Jr. Day, the MCBA partnered with Step 1-2-3 Mentoring in an MLK Day Project to feed the homeless in which we provided over 200 sack lunches and care packages to our neighbors. We are excited about our events and activities for the 2022 year. We have several upcoming CLEs and additional law clinics planned over the course of the summer. We also have a law clerk reception, which is a long-standing tradition started by Past President Robert A. Jones Jr. Additionally, we have begun the planning phases for our annual Scholarship Banquet which will occur in October. Lastly, we are continuing our efforts to increase membership. If you are interested in joining the MCBA please visit magiccitybarassociation.org. In closing, we are excited about the numerous partnerships that have been
forged to continue the work of increasing diverse representation in our field, but we are actively seeking to form additional partnerships that will facilitate our mission. If you are interested in learning more about the MCBA Partnership Program, please feel free to contact me. Sincerely, President Richard Rice Executive Committee Magic City Bar Association
Richard Rice is the 2022 President of the Magic City Bar Association
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Congratulations Birmingham School of Law February 2022 Bar Passers! JUSTIN BEARDEN* KAWANES BELLAMY TAYLOR BENSON* CHRISTINE BUSSEY MATTHEW BUTTS SHAUN CAPPS ERIC FANCHER* CAROL ANN JOHNSON DORA LAJOSBANYAI MATTHEW LINVILLE* GLEN MCCORD BRITTANY MICHAEL* BRITTANY MILLER* VICTORIA MYERS*
COURTNEY NEWTON BRETT OSTRONIC* LAUREN OVERSTREET DEANDRA RAGLAND* REAGAN REEVES* THOMAS RUSSELL EMILY SCHAEFER* JOHN SEGAL* MARTINA SLAUGHTER JENA STEWART VICTORIA STIGILE* KRISTIN TURNER* MICHAEL WILKINS EMILY YEAGER*
*Denotes first time passers
Legal Aid’s director spotlights its most senior attorney Julie Marks answered her calling, but her heart kept her there By Jequette Noland, LAS Executive Director The Legal Aid Society of Birmingham was founded in 1952 to secure justice for and to protect the rights of the needy. As we celebrate our 70th anniversary this year, it is only fitting that we also celebrate the accomplishments of one of our dedicated senior attorneys who has been a part of Legal Aid’s history for 35 of those years. Julie Marks is a guardian ad litem (GAL) for Legal Aid in the Jefferson County Family Court Birmingham Division. She has served as a staff attorney, managing attorney and so much more including representing thousands of dependent children. Here is my conversation with her about her calling and what motivates her to continue.
Q: When you got the call to join Legal Aid, did you realize that this would be your true calling? A: When I got the call to come work at Legal
Aid, I thought it would be a good place to start and never envisioned myself staying here 35 years. I initially stayed because there was a young vibrant group that I worked with and socialized with. We ended up making lifelong friendships, but they left for other jobs. I stayed because of my kids. Over the years, I felt more and more that the children who I represented were ‘my kids.’ I try to make sure that I do not only do what is in their best interests in the court system, but also try to make sure that some special and normal life experiences are available to them.
Left: Julie Marks, a guardian ad litem (GAL) for Legal Aid in the Jefferson County Family Court Birmingham Division. Right: The Legal Aid Society family court team.
Q: What is your most memorable case? A: My most memorable case includes the infamous case of the twins left in an abandoned home in Roebuck in 1993. Those children were just shy of 5 and were found locked in a room wearing only diapers. They weighed less than a normal 1 year old. Their parents had moved to a new home with their older children, leaving the twins with no food or water in a bedroom locked from the outside. The door to the home was locked. Luckily, the landlord came to mow the yard and saw one of the girls looking out the window. He broke into the home and found the malnourished children in the bedroom. The children gorged on food rushed over by well-intentioned neighbors. The children were then taken to Children’s Hospital where they were found to be malnourished and now sick from suddenly being fed the food by the neighbors.
The Department of Human Resources (DHR) became involved in this case, and all four of the children were removed from their parents. While there were relatives of these children, they had shown no interest and had not previously been involved in the children’s lives. When they did see these two children, they overlooked their appearance and did not investigate their welfare. I was appointed as a GAL to one of the four children. The GALs worked together to build our cases, even though the needs of each of the children differed and we each advocated for our individual child. I learned so much in preparing and trying that case. I learned the investigative skills necessary to prepare a large case. I learned a lot about DHR’s policies and procedures and hopefully, some of these changed based on our work on that case. Up to that time, if you called in a complaint or reported to DHR after hours, you would have to leave a message on a recorder. There was not a 24-hour response
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children for adoption. I also attended some of the adoption fairs and attended some of the meetings where children were introduced to their prospective adoptive parents. After seeing some of the children at the adoption fairs and watching as they were introduced to the families looking to adopt, I always thought we could come up with a more child-friendly way to find and recruit adoptive homes.
Q: What do you consider to be your greatest accomplishment? A: In 2005, I read an article in Parade
Marks with Legal Aid Society Executive Director Jequette Noland. or on-call team and reporting abuse was not anonymous. That changed after the completion of our case. The twins in that case are now 33 years old, and I am still in touch
with their adoptive mother. I was invited to see them prepare and go off to their prom. This case taught me a lot, including some things about DHR’s process for placing
Magazine about a Heart Gallery. It talked about the genesis of the program in New Mexico and the opening of a gallery in New Jersey, telling the stories of the families brought together by the Gallery. The premise behind a Heart Gallery is simple: arrange for professional photographers to photograph the children in their best light and share these photos with potential adoptive parents. Realizing that this was an opportunity to change the way that children are placed
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for adoption when they do not have an identified adoptive resource, I reached out to DHR. I partnered with Michelle Bearman Wolnek, Karen Nomberg, Suzy Harris, Diane Dunning, Connie Rogers, Elizabeth Curtwright and Marie Youngpeter. Together we founded Heart Gallery Alabama. Within months, we achieved nonprofit status and had our first Gallery in the Birmingham Museum of Art. We desired to go further and added audio interviews and video interviews with the children so that their individuality was able to shine through. I was on the Board of Directors for over five years. Today, Heart Gallery is still my proudest achievement. It has added mentoring programs for the children who are not adopted, as well as birthday clubs to remember the birthdays of the children in foster care who are still waiting to be adopted. In 2010, I had the opportunity to witness one of many miracles of the Heart Gallery when I met the adoptive mother of two boys who had been my GAL clients. I had visited the children in their previous foster homes, and they had looked like little lost waifs, not the happy healthy boys running around that day. I knew that they had been adopted through Heart Gallery and cried happy tears seeing that my work for Legal Aid and Heart Gallery had been successful in producing two happy young men.
Q: Any recent victories you would like to share? A: Every case where a child achieves
permanency is a victory. Whether it is by returning to a family member now equipped to provide the care that the child needs or if we must terminate parental rights so that a child can be adopted, seeing a child in a healthy, safe and permanent loving home is a victory. I also have children who have been in foster care and not been adopted. Making sure that those children know that someone cares about them and is here for them is important to me. Two of those young men had Duchenne’s Muscular Dystrophy and required care that their families could not provide. One of the young men was a huge Alabama fan, and his room in his foster home was decorated in crimson and white with pictures of Nick Saban and the team all over the walls. He dreamed of being a sports commentator and taking over for Eli Gold. I made a few calls and was able
Julie’s winning T-shirt design for a contest held by the Alabama Criminal Defense Lawyers Association during its sixth annual Juvenile Justice Conference in 2021. to secure a trip to an Alabama football practice. His foster mom took him to Tuscaloosa where he and his foster family got a tour of the Alabama studio and they got to stand on the practice field watching the team exercise, warm up and perform scrimmages. Nick Saban and the team members came over, throwing him ‘swag’ and signing autographs. When I spoke to him later, he said he had the time of his life. Another client lived in a skilled nursing facility, as there was not a foster home able to meet his special needs. He was a huge Auburn fan, so a friend connected me with Bruce Pearl. Within a week, I had secured two tickets to the next home football game as well as field passes for the pre-game warm up. Heart Gallery donated the funds to rent a handicapped van. Another agency provided a volunteer who had been an Auburn ambassador to accompany the young man to the game. Bama Fever-Tiger Pride donated T-shirts, pom-poms and hats so he would be dressed appropriately. He had the time of his life, and the pictures that I have of him at the game with cheerleaders and others reflect his joy. Sadly, when COVID hit and his condition worsened, he was hospitalized with no hope for recovery. I worked to arrange that he was not alone in the hospital. I contacted his former foster parents and social workers to come to sit with him. His nurses from his skilled facility, his social worker, as well as
Heart Gallery arranges for professional photographers to photograph children to share with potential adoptive parents. the volunteer who took him to the Auburn game and I all took shifts, so he was not alone in his final journey. I contacted his high school and was able to get his diploma a month before graduation so that he could know he had achieved this goal. Sadly, he passed away, but he died knowing that he had a family in his social workers, GAL and the other lives that he had touched during his lifetime.
Julie continues to fight the good fight daily, in court and out of court. Many of her former clients keep in touch with her long after court involvement.
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Child support changes An analysis of the recent revisions to Rule 32 of the Alabama Rules of Judicial Administration prior to May 1, 2022 will still be governed by the “old” version of Rule 32 (hereinafter referred to as the “prior” version), which became effective July 1, 2019.4 This article provides a thorough review of the substantive changes to Rule 32 as amended, effective May 1, 2022, and distinguishes each change from its prior version. Rule 32(A)(1)(e), in both the amended and prior versions, lists, as a possible reason for deviating from the guidelines, the scenario in which the assumption is not followed regarding claiming a child as a dependency exemption for income tax purposes.5 The assumption states that the custodial parent claims such dependency exemption.6 The prior version states that this assumption is “under the Schedule of Basic Child-Support Obligations,” while the amended version states that this assumption is “under the Internal Revenue Code.”7 Other than that minor substitution, the two versions of Rule 32(A)(1)(e) are identical. Rule 32(B)(8)(a) in the amended version is identical to Rule 32(B)(8) in the prior version. Rule 32(B)(8)(b) was added in the amended version, which provides that the parent who pays the costs of work-related childcare is given a dollar-for-dollar credit for such payment, which is subtracted from his or her child-support obligation.8 Rule 32(C)(1) in the amended version grants the court discretion in determining
the amount of child support to be paid only in instances where the parties’ “combined adjusted gross income exceeds the uppermost levels of the schedule,” while the prior version granted the court the same discretion when not only when the parties’ “combined adjusted gross income exceeds the uppermost levels of the schedule,” but also when the parties’ “combined adjusted gross income is below the lowermost levels . . . of the schedule.”9 Rule 32(C)(5) in the amended version of Rule 32 is altogether new, and describes the SSR calculation in regard to child support, which stands for “Self-support reserve.”10 While the SSR is not a new concept to the Alabama Child Support Guidelines, the amended Rule 32 handles SSR much differently.11 The SSR, which is in the amount of $981.00 per the amended Rule 32, allows an obligor to retain funding for basic living expenses before the imposition of a child support obligation and “is based on the 2021 federal poverty levels, adjusted for Alabama incomes.”12 Under the amended Rule 32, SSR will be taken into account in the amended CS-42 form.13 To do so: [F]irst determine the “Income Available After SSR” by subtracting the SSR amount from the “Monthly
Ala. R. Jud. Admin. 32(A).
14, 2022 Order of the Alabama Supreme Court.
14, 2022 Order of the Alabama Supreme Court.
Ala. R. Jud. Admin. 32.
Ala. R. Jud. Admin. 32(A)(1)(e); Appendix B, January 14, 2022 Order of the Alabama Supreme Court.
By Caleb A. Faulkner Boyd, Fernambucq & Dunn, P.C. There are few Rules that an Alabama domestic practitioner uses more than Rule 32 of the Alabama Rules of Judicial Administration. Rule 32 provides the Alabama Child Support Guidelines, which is pertinent in every case in Alabama in which child support is involved. Rule 32 states, in pertinent part: Guidelines for child support are hereby established for use in any action to establish or modify child support, whether temporary or permanent. There shall be a rebuttable presumption, in any judicial or administrative proceeding for the establishment or modification of child support, that the amount of the award that would result from the application of these guidelines is the correct amount of child support to be awarded.1 Until now, the most recent amendments to Rule 32 became effective on July 1, 2019, amending guidelines that had become effective January 1, 2009.2 However, Rule 32 has received a recent overhaul, which became effective May 1, 2022, per a January 14, 2022 Order of the Alabama Supreme Court.3 The amended rule applies to cases that are initiated “on or after May 1, 2022;” cases that are filed prior to May 1, 2022 but are not finalized 1 2
January 14, 2022 Order of the Alabama Supreme Court.
Ala. R. Jud. Admin. 32(B)(8); Appendix C, January 14, 2022 Order of the Alabama Supreme Court.
Appendix A, January 14, 2022 Order of the Alabama Supreme Court.
Ala. R. Jud. Admin. 32(A)(1)(e); Appendix B, January 14, 2022 Order of the Alabama Supreme Court.
Ala. R. Jud. Admin. 32(A)(1)(e); Appendix B, January
Ala. R. Jud. Admin. 32(C)(1); Appendix D, January 14, 2022 Order of the Alabama Supreme Court. Ala. R. Jud. Admin. 32(C)(5); Appendix E, January
Caleb A. Faulkner is with Boyd, Fernambucq & Dunn, P.C.
Appendix G, January 14, 2022 Order of the Alabama Supreme Court.
Ala. R. Jud. Admin. 32(C)(5)(a)-(b); Appendix E, January 14, 2022 Order of the Alabama Supreme Court. 12
13 Ala. R. Jud. Admin. 32(C)(5)(c); Appendix E, January 14, 2022 Order of the Alabama Supreme Court; Appendix H, January 14, 2022 Order of the Alabama Supreme Court.
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Adjusted Gross Income” entered on Line 2 of the Child-Support Guidelines form (Form CS-42); the difference should be entered on Line 11 of the Child-Support Guidelines form. Next, calculate the “Income Available for Support” by entering 85% of the amount entered on Line 11 of the Child-Support Guidelines form onto Line 12 of the Child-Support Guidelines form.14 Under the amended version of Rule 32, the recommended child support order will be the lesser amount of Line 10 of the CS-42 (the Obligor’s “Adjusted Child Support Obligation”) and Line 12 of the CS-42 (“Income Available for Support,” which takes into account the SSR).15 However,
“[i]f the amount entered on Line 12 is less than $50, there is a rebuttable presumption that a $50 minimum amount [of child support] should be entered.”16 Rule 32(C)(6) in the amended version of Rule 32 is altogether new as well, and describes the “Zero-dollar order” in regard to child support, which provides for a rebuttable presumption that the obligor should not be ordered to pay child support in cases in which he or she “has no gross income and receives only means-tested assistance.”17 Such presumption also applies in cases where an obligor is “incarcerated or institutionalized” for at least one hundred and eighty-one (181) consecutive days.18 As with all cases involving support for a minor child, forms CS-41, CS-42, and
CS-43 must still be completed and filed in such cases.19 Appendix G to the Alabama Supreme Court’s January 14, 2022 Order provides the Committee Comments to the amended version of Rule 32.20 The Comments provide excellent context for, and explanation of, the revisions. They also explain several assumptions contained within the amended rule. While this Article will not discuss in depth the four (4) pages of Committee Comments, which the domestic practitioner should certainly read and be familiar with, a few highlights of the Comments are as follows: ► The amended “Schedule of Basic Child-Support Guidelines” provides guideline child support amounts for
Ala. R. Jud. Admin. 32(C)(5)(c); Appendix E, January 14, 2022 Order of the Alabama Supreme Court; Appendix H, January 14, 2022 Order of the Alabama Supreme Court.
18 Ala. R. Jud. Admin. 32(C)(6); Appendix F, January 14, 2022 Order of the Alabama Supreme Court.
15 Ala. R. Jud. Admin. 32(C)(5)(c); Appendix E, January 14, 2022 Order of the Alabama Supreme Court; Appendix H, January 14, 2022 Order of the Alabama
16 Ala. R. Jud. Admin. 32(C)(5)(c); Appendix E, January 14, 2022 Order of the Alabama Supreme Court; Appendix H, January 14, 2022 Order of the Alabama Supreme Court.
Ala. R. Jud. Admin. 32(C)(6); Appendix F, January 14, 2022 Order of the Alabama Supreme Court. 17
Ala. R. Jud. Admin. 32(C)(6); Appendix F, January 14, 2022 Order of the Alabama Supreme Court. 19
Committee Comments to Ala. R. Jud. Admin. 32; Appendix G, January 14, 2022 Order of the Alabama Supreme Court. 20
combined gross monthly incomes of $0 to $30,000.00, while the prior schedule only went up to $20,000.00. ► Rule 32(B)(8)(b) of the amended Rule 32 provides for a reduction in the child support amount for payment of work-related childcare, as reflected in the amended CS-42. ► While the SSR in the prior version of Rule 32 was simply accounted for in the Child Support Guideline Schedule, SSR is now included in Rule 32 itself, which “will aid in transparency and will allow the amount of the SSR to be updated in the future without having to update the entire schedule.” ► The SSR amount in the prior version of Rule 32 was based on 2007 poverty guidelines, and the new amount, $981.00, is based on 2021 poverty levels. ► Rule 32(C)(5)(c) includes an “economic incentive” of 85%, which is included in Line 12 of the amended CS-42 and is applied to the “Income Available after SSR.” The “85%” allows for a 15% retention of earnings, rounded up from 13%, which is the federal and state income tax percentage for a fulltime employee earning minimum wage. The economic incentive prevents “all of the obligor’s earnings exceeding the SSR amount [from being] considered in determining his or her child-support obligation” and “takes into consideration the payroll taxes on the obligor’s earnings exceeding the SSR amount and also allows the obligor to keep a small portion of those earnings.” ► The “Zero-dollar order” does not abrogate the court’s ability to exercise discretion in imputing income in cases in which the court finds that an obligor is voluntarily underemployed or unemployed.21 Appendix I of the Alabama Supreme Court’s January 14, 2022 Order is the “Schedule of Basic Child-Support Guidelines.”22 A comparison of the prior schedule and the amended schedule at several points (combined adjusted gross monthly income of $800; $5,000; $10,000; $15,000; and $20,000, all with one child) yields the same result at each point: the Committee Comments to Ala. R. Jud. Admin. 32; Appendix G, January 14, 2022 Order of the Alabama Supreme Court; Appendix H, January 14, 2022 Order of the Alabama Supreme Court. Supreme Court. 21
guideline child support amount is higher according to the amended schedule.23 However, one must recall that, as applicable to the lower combined adjusted gross monthly income amounts, the SSR is now calculated in the CS-42 and is not embedded within the child support amounts on the schedule, as was the case with the prior schedule. Further, it must be remembered that an obligor under the amended Rule 32 receives a credit against his or her child support obligation for work-related childcare paid by him or her. A question that has been prevalent since the unveiling of these revisions is whether recommended child support orders pursuant to the amended Rule 32 will be higher or lower than such recommended orders under the prior version of Rule 32. Obviously, a number of variables are applicable in determining whether a recommended amount will be higher or lower under the amended Guidelines. Please see below a comparison of the recommended child support orders between the prior version and the amended version of Rule 32 in three separate hypothetical situations:
SCENARIO 1 ► Combined Adjusted Gross Monthly Income: $800 ► Obligor Adjusted Gross Monthly Income: $800 ► Obligee Adjusted Gross Monthly Income: $0 ► Work-related child care costs: $100 (paid by Obligor) ► Health care coverage paid by either parent: $0 ► Number of Children: 1 ► Recommended Child Support Order per prior Rule 32: $150 ► Recommended Child Support Order per amended Rule 32: $50 In this case, the Recommended Child Support Order under the amended Rule 32 is $100 less.
SCENARIO 2 ► Combined Adjusted Gross Monthly Appendix to Ala. R. Jud. Admin. 32; Appendix I, January 14, 2022 Order of the Alabama Supreme Court. 22
23 Appendix I, January 14, 2022 Order of the Alabama Supreme Court.
Income: $10,000 ► Obligor Adjusted Gross Monthly Income: $7,500 ► Obligee Adjusted Gross Monthly Income: $2,500 ► Work-related child care costs: $700 (paid by Obligor) ► Health care coverage: $400 (paid by Obligor) ► Number of children: 1 ► Recommended Child Support Order per prior Rule 32: $1,231 ► Recommended Child Support Order per amended Rule 32: $591 In this case, the Recommended Child Support Order under the amended Rule 32 is $640 less.
SCENARIO 3 ► Combined Adjusted Gross Monthly Income: $20,000 ► Obligor Adjusted Gross Monthly Income: $15,000 ► Obligee Adjusted Gross Monthly Income: $5,000 ► Work-related child care costs: $800 (paid by Obligee) ► Health care coverage: $500 (paid by Obligor) ► Number of children: 1 ► Recommended Child Support Order per old Rule 32: $1615 ► Recommended Child Support Order per amended Rule 32: $1851 In this case, the Recommended Child Support Order under the amended Rule 32 is $236 more. The revisions to Rule 32 have provided much-needed updates to the Alabama Child Support Guidelines. While some of the revisions appear confusing at first glance, they provide clarity and transparency to the child support process. However, as seen above, the effect of the revisions in terms of recommended child support orders all depends on the specific financial facts of a particular case. Starting with cases filed May 1, 2022 and after, we will see in practice the true impact of the revisions to Rule 32.24 Disclaimer: In regard to all citations and other information contained within this Article, this Article was written and submitted to the Birmingham Bar Bulletin prior to the amended rule’s effective date of May 1, 2022. 24
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The Women's Section of the Alabama State Bar proudly announces the 2021 recipient of the
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Making a difference, one case at a time 2 VLB volunteers discuss rewards of pro bono service By Graham Hewitt, Executive Director, and Rosalind Fournier, Communications Coordinator Tonya Mines (Mines & Drew) is a veteran of nonprofit work, having worked for years with the Girl Scouts and United Way, so she never thought twice about looking for volunteer opportunities once she earned her law degree. She has been volunteering at the Volunteer Lawyers Birmingham Help Desk almost since the day she opened her own practice about a year ago. “Having come from that background, I’m happy to continue doing what I love,” she says. Mines works primarily with the Domestic Relations Help Desk, helping low-income clients file for divorce, enforce child-support and visitation orders, and resolve other domestic relations issues. “It can be emotional and sometimes heartbreaking,” she says. “But knowing that you’re able to guide that person in what they need to do and how to close that chapter in their life and move on is rewarding.” She describes a recent case in which a woman had decided to file for divorce from a spouse who was incarcerated. “To her it seemed like it should be simple paperwork,” Mines says. “She just wanted a divorce. There were no assets, they had two children, but she wanted to move on. He was in a different state, and she didn’t know how to proceed. So I was glad I was able to give her the information to move on and help her through that situation.”
Left: Conrad Anderson of Balch. Right: Tonya Mines of Mines & Drew. Mines adds that one perk of volunteering with VLB is that, unlike her previous roles in nonprofit administration, this opportunity allows her to help clients in a single capacity as a lawyer, letting someone else do the background work. “VLB is a built-in volunteer network,” she says. “I don’t have to go out seeking pro bono opportunities. I’m able just to sign up, and VLB sends me the clients.” She also considers it a valuable learning experience because domestic relations is part of her private practice. “I may come across a client and not know the answer to some of the questions they’re asking, but that gives me an opportunity to sharpen my skills by studying the case law or the rules or even asking somebody. It’s a chance to be constantly learning, making sure I’m on top of the latest court decisions and laws so I can show clients how to proceed.” Conrad Anderson (Balch), also a VLB
volunteer, agrees that even a case that seems relatively simple can make an important difference for a client. He recalls a woman who called VLB for help after she had exhausted her options of trying to resolve a problem with a store where she purchased a living room set. “They had delivered the wrong furniture, and when she called the store to tell them, they came to pick it up and damaged it in the process,” Anderson says. “They told her they would deliver replacement furniture, but she waited months, and it never came. All the while, she continued to make payments on furniture she never received.” Anderson says at first he seemed to be running up against the same brick walls, until eventually a district manager called him. “I explained to him the situation, he looked into it, and a couple of days later he called me back and said everything I had relayed to him was absolutely correct,” he says. “He apologized and said there was
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“ “ ” ” [W]ithout an attorney calling, I don’t know if [this client] ever would have gotten the attention she needed.
30 minutes or an hour out of your day to share your talent with others is very important, because you never know whose life you’re changing.
no excuse for it. He said to tell the client she could come and pick out whatever she wanted, and they would make it right.” Anderson says the rewarding part was calling the client to deliver the news. “She was so appreciative and attempted to apologize. She said, ‘I don’t usually complain like this, but I just felt like they needed to do the right thing.’ I told her she had paid for something she didn’t even have — she wasn’t being unreasonable. “I think this is a prime example of where VLB can make a difference, because all it
really took was a couple of phone calls, but without an attorney calling, I don’t know if she ever would have gotten the attention she needed. And to her it made a big difference.” Anderson says he tries to dispel any concerns other lawyers might have that the work VLB does is outside their areas of expertise. “It doesn’t matter what skill set you have,” he says. “I tell people in my firm who aren’t litigators and may do transactional work or environmental work,
you don’t have to be a litigator to make a couple of phone calls. And as a lawyer, you’re there to help other people and make a difference, whether it’s for those who pay the bills or others who can’t afford to. They need help as well. I think we have a duty to the community to do that.” Mines agrees. “If you’ve been blessed with the opportunities, knowledge and talent to be able to help those who need help, I would say, make the time,” she says. “Everybody’s busy. But 30 minutes or an hour out of your day to share your talent with others is very important, because you never know whose life you’re changing.” To volunteer for Volunteer Lawyers Birmingham or inquire about volunteer training opportunities, email Michelle Horn Brown at email@example.com or call 205-250-5198.
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Enjoy these Benefits of Membership Enjoy these Benefits of Membership in the Birmingham Bar Association in the Birmingham Bar Association As a member of the Birmingham Bar Association, you have access to discounts and benefits from the following companies. theBirmingham "BBA Member Discounts" page of our website for details: https://birminghambar.site-ym. As a memberVisit of the Bar Association, you have access to discounts and benefits from the following com/page/Bar_member_discounts companies. Visit the "BBA Member Discounts" page of our website for details: https://birminghambar.site-ym. com/page/Bar_member_discounts
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Upcoming CLE Opportunities Mark your calendar to attend these great CLE programs and be on the lookout for more from the Birmingham Bar Association! June 16: Cybersecurity 12 p.m. 1 MCLE credit hour.
Aug. 12: Mental Health Court* 10 a.m. 1 MCLE credit hour.
July 7: Lawyers’ Liens/ Bankruptcy* 12 p.m. 1 MCLE credit hour.
Aug. 26: Probate Administration and HOAs* 12 p.m. 1 MCLE credit hour.
July 29: Social Security Disability Part 2 12 p.m. 1 MCLE credit hour.
Birmingham Bar Association
On-Demand CLEs Need to catch up on your CLE hours? Now you can take on-demand versions of live BBA CLEs at this link: https://bhba.vocalmeet.com/home/ BBA members can use the coupon code BHBAMEM during checkout for a 20% discount!
*Event information tentative
Visit https://birminghambar.org/events/event_list.asp for information on all programs including available webinars.
Check out all of our on-demand programs at https://bhba.vocalmeet.com/home/ Struggling to align your Struggling to Struggling to align align your your people strategy people strategy Struggling to align your with your people strategy people strategy with your with your business with your strategy? business business strategy? strategy? business strategy?
THERE’S A SOLUTION FOR THAT THERE’S A SOLUTION FOR THAT THERE’S A THAT Members of a high-performing team go above andFOR beyond because their THERE’S A SOLUTION SOLUTION FOR THAT THERE’S A SOLUTION THAT role, team,of manager and engages and inspires them.because Members of a high-performing high-performing team go above above andFOR beyond because their THERE’S A culture SOLUTION FOR THAT Members a team go and beyond their Members a go and beyond role, team, manager and culture engages and inspires them. role, team, manager and cultureteam engages andonly inspires them. Members of a high-performing high-performing team go above above and beyond because their In order toof have a high performing team, not must you because have the their right role, team, manager and culture engages and inspires them. Members of aright high-performing team go above and beyond because their role, team, manager and culture engages and inspires them. people in the roles, but you must also know how to manage them in Members of a high-performing team go above and beyond because their In order to have a high performing team, not only must you right In order to have a high performing team, not only must you have have the the right role, team, manager and culture engages and inspires them. the way which will respond. role, team, manager and culture and inspires them. In order tothe have athey high performing team, not only mustto you have the the right people inin the right roles, but you engages must also know how to manage them in people in right roles, but you must also know how manage them in In order to have a high performing team, not only must you have right people inin the right roles, but you must must also know how toyou manage them in the way in which they will respond. In to have a high performing team, not only must the right the way which will respond. people in right roles, but you also how to manage them in Weorder unleash the power of behavioral analytics to allow tohave achieve both In order tothe have athey high performing team, notknow only mustyou you have the right the way in which they will respond. people in the right roles, but must also know how to manage them in the way which they will respond. of these objectives. Then, weyou transfer the knowledge allow you people inin the right roles, you must also know howtoyou toyou manage them in We unleash the power ofbut behavioral analytics to allow allow you toand achieve both We unleash the power of behavioral analytics to to achieve both the way in which they will respond. to build a winning-culture with ongoing support. the way in which they will respond. We unleash the power of behavioral analytics to allow you to achieve both of these objectives. Then, we transfer the knowledge to you and allow you of objectives. Then, we transferanalytics the knowledge youtoand allowboth you Wethese unleash the power of behavioral to allowtoyou achieve of these Then, we the knowledge you allow you to a winning-culture with ongoing support. Webuild unleash the power power of behavioral behavioral analytics to allow allowto you toand achieve both to build aobjectives. winning-culture with ongoing support. of these objectives. Then, we transfer transfer the knowledge toyou youto and allowboth you We unleash the of analytics to achieve to build build aobjectives. winning-culture with ongoingthe support. of these Then, we transfer knowledge to you and allow to a winning-culture with ongoing support. of these objectives. Then, we transfer the knowledge to you and allow you you CONTACT US TODAY to to build build a a winning-culture winning-culture with with ongoing ongoing support. support. for a free six-minute demo and learn how to make CONTACT US TODAY CONTACT US TODAY your a high performing CONTACT US for a free and how for a organization free six-minute six-minute demo and learn learnculture. how to to make make CONTACT US TODAY TODAYdemo for free demo and how youra organization a high high performing culture. CONTACT US TODAY TODAY your a performing for a organization free six-minute six-minute demo and learn learnculture. how to to make make CONTACT US Cvstrategy.com youra organization organization a high high performing culture. for demo and how your a performing for a free free six-minute six-minute demo and learn learnculture. how to to make make Cvstrategy.com Cvstrategy.com your organization your organization a a high high performing performing culture. culture. Cvstrategy.com Cvstrategy.com Cvstrategy.com Cvstrategy.com
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Attorneys in the News Al Vance, a former engineer who joined the Bar in 2000, has launched a mediation and arbitration practice at Vance Dispute Resolution, PC, primarily focused on Vance employment/labor, personal injury, product liability, and professional liability. The Honorable Anne Lamkin Durward and the Honorable Martha Reeves Cook were recently recognized by Cumberland School of Law for their Cook volunteer efforts and commitment to Cumberland and its students over many years. Judge Durward, a 1995 graduate of Cumberland, was named the 2021 Durward Volunteer of the Year. Judge Cook, a 1996 graduate of Cumberland, was named the 2022 Volunteer of the Year. Both were recognized on April 2, 2022, at Cumberland’s 175th Anniversary and Reunion event.
Anniversary and Reunion event, Stephanie Houston Mays was honored with the law school’s 2022 Young Alumna of the Year award. Mays
Lindsay C. Ronilo announces the formation of Ronilo Law, a firm dedicated to serving clients in family law cases and more, with a focus in divorce, custody, appeals, juvenile Ronilo dependency, adoptions, and wills. The firm’s office is located at 800 Corporate Parkway, Suite 100, Birmingham, Alabama 35242. Kyle Smith has been selected as Dentons Sirote’s Chief Operating Officer; Smith is a shareholder and chair of Dentons Sirote’s Employment and Labor practice Smith and will continue to lead that team as he maintains his practice.
Bradley Arant Boult Cummings LLP is pleased to announce that the following attorneys have joined the firm’s Birmingham office as associates: Stephanie A. Johnson, Mason Rollins, Carmen Weite and Britney M. Williams. At Cumberland School of Law’s 175th
Commission on Dispute Resolution. Goozeé has been mediating personal injury and workers’ compensation claims as part of his practice since 2007.
Stevan Goozeé of the law firm of Law Office of Stevan Goozeé, PC has recently accepted an appointment by the Alabama Association of Justice to the Alabama Supreme Court
Christian & Small LLP is pleased to welcome the attorneys of Moore, Young, Foster, & Hazelton LLP, which recently joined with the firm: Neal Moore, Jack Young, and Jeremy Hazelton join as partners and Kendall Fann joins as an associate.
Bradley Arant Boult Cummings LLP is proud to announce that Birmingham associates Stanley E. Blackmon and T. Brooks Proctor have been selected
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to the Alabama State Bar’s (ASB) 2022 Leadership Forum.
Marsh Rickard & Bryan attorney Ty Brown has been selected to serve as the President of the Board of Directors for the Alabama Head Injury Foundation. AHiF’s misBrown sion is to improve the quality of life for survivors of traumatic brain injury and for their families.
Dentons Sirote is honored to announce that J. Winston Busby and Crystal H. Walls have recently re-joined the Firm as shareholders. Additionally, Trey Bolling and Ryan R. Moore have been elected as shareholders of the firm. The new shareholders represent a broad range of practice areas, including Corporate, Real Estate, Tax and Trusts, Estates and Wealth Preservation. Cumberland School of Law recently introduced a new award: the Outstanding Instructor Award for the school’s online master’s program. Noelle Fleming Collins Collins, a 1998 Cumberland School of Law graduate, has been named the first award recipient. The award was established to recognize an instructor in the online master’s program, which delivers the Master of Studies in Law (M.S.L.) degree and the Master of Laws (LL.M.) degree for professionals. Hall Booth Smith PC has added an of
counsel and three partners to its Birmingham office: Peter Bolvig, Phillip Luke and Jud Stanford have joined the firm as partners. William A. Mudd joined as of counsel.
B ra d l ey A ra n t Boult Cummings LLP partner Christopher L. Hawkins has been appointed by the Eleventh Circuit Court to serve as a U.S. Bankruptcy Judge for the Middle
delighted to reveal that Ashley Reitz Peinhardt, Christopher Randolph and Tempe Smith have recently become partners in the firm.
Swift Currie McGhee & Hiers LLP has added Elizabeth Pittman as an associate in its Birmingham office. Pittman
District of Alabama. Dentons Sirote is pleased to announce that its beloved late partner, colleague and friend, Lenora Walker Pate, was posthumously awarded the 2021 Susan Bevill Livingston Leadership Award by the Women’s Section of the Alabama State Bar.
Ashley Reitz Peinhardt, Christopher Randolph and Tempe Smith.
Hare Wynn Newell & Newton, LLP is
Stockham, Cooper & Potts, P.C. is pleased to announce that Justin I. Hale has become a named partner in the firm. The firm name is now Stockham, Cooper, Potts & Hale, P.C.
David Nomberg of The Nomberg Law Firm was recently honored with the Karen E. Nomberg Volunteer Inspiration Award by Heart Gallery Alabama. White Arnold & Dowd P.C. shareholders J. Mark White and Hope S. Marshall were recently recognized by Alabama Appleseed for their pro bono work in helping secure the release of Michael Schumacher, an inmate of 35 years who had received a life sentence for robbery. B ra d l ey A ra n t Boult Cummings LLP is pleased to announce the launch of the firm’s
Attorneys in the News second pro bono initiative dedicated to supporting Black small businesses and nonprofit organizations. The Black Small Business and Nonprofit Community Clinic, a joint project of Bradley and Legal Services Alabama (LSA), will provide accessible and affordable business-oriented legal services to local Black small businesses and nonprofits throughout Birmingham.
Moncus, formerly partners at Hare Wynn Newell & Newton, announce the formation of Minner Vines Moncus PLLC with offices in Birmingham, Alabama and Lexington, Kentucky.
Baker Donelson is honored to announce that Allen Blow and Sharonda Childs Fancher have been elected as shareholders of the firm.
Jim Vann was recently named the president of the Birmingham office of Dentons Sirote. Vann will continue practicing during his tenure as president of the firm.
Matt Minner, Brian Vines and Jamie
Crew Law Group, P.C. is proud to announce that Christina V. Vineyard has graduated from the Birmingham Bar Association’s Future Leaders Forum 2021 class.
and to lawyers who are regarded as the best in their state. Bradley Partner Nancy Ball currently serves as President of the Children’s Arts Guild, a nonprofit Ball organization that provides social emotional learning programs for educators, caregivers and children. Prior to becoming President, Nancy served as Vice President.
Lightfoot, Franklin & White LLC is pleased to welcome Mary Parrish McCracken to its Birmingham office. Wendy Brooks McCracken Crew of Crew Law Group, P.C. was recently named a Diplomat of the American College of Family Trial Lawyers. Fellowship is extended only by invitation to a select group of 100 Crew of the top family trial lawyers across the United States
Dentons is pleased to share that three of the Firm’s lawyers — Lenora Walker Pate (posthumously), Gaile Pugh Gratton Greene and James (“Jim”) S. WilWilliams liams — have been inducted into the Birmingham Bar Foundation Fellows Class of 2022.
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Your Result Ma�ers.
Seated from le� to right: Partner Carter Clay, Managing Partner Josh Wright, and Partner Bobby Bell. The partners are surrounded by the HWC a�orneys and support team.
Partner with us: Welcoming referrals for personal injury, product liability, wrongful death, and workers’ compensa�on.
Join us as a guest a�orney on The Attorneys. Promote your prac�ce while helping us educate the public on various legal topics. Pictured: HWC Managing Partner Josh Wright and Show Host David Lamb on set. hollis-wright.com • 205.324.3600 • 844.LAW.TALK • 2201 Morris Ave., Birmingham, AL 35203 No representa�on is made that the quality of legal services to be performed is greater than the quality of legal services performed by other lawyers.
TIME AFTER TIME, BIRMINGHAM LAW FIRMS CHOOSE SOUTHPACE TO HANDLE THEIR COMMERCIAL REAL ESTATE NEEDS.
SHOULDN’T WE REPRESENT YOUR FIRM AS WELL? Principals John Lauriello, CCIM, SIOR, CPM William McDavid, CCIM Bryan Holt, CCIM, CRX, CLS 300 Richard Arrington Jr Blvd N Title Building | Suite 900 Birmingham, AL 35203 205.326.2222