An ongoing feature here is a roundup of the recent awards, recognitions, and other important accomplishments of Blank Rome’s Matrimonial & Family Law attorneys from around the country.
June 2021 – Stacy D. Phillips moderated a panel that she organized for the Los Angeles Business Journal (“LABJ”) Women’s Leadership Series & Awards 2021, which was held as a multi-part virtual event series. Stacy’s panel, “Organization Inclusion,” included the co-chair of Blank Rome’s Diversity & Inclusion Committee James D. Kelly and took place online via Zoom on Wednesday, June 16, 2021. In addition to creating and moderating her panel, Stacy was honored to serve as a judge and award presenter for the live awards event held online via Zoom on Wednesday, June 23, 2021.
June 2021 – Stacy D. Phillips was listed in the 2021 Los Angeles 500 Most Influential People by the Los Angeles Business Journal, marking her sixth consecutive year being honored in this prestigious listing of leaders and executives who are praised by the publication for having demonstrated “innovation and agility in the face of unprecedented challenges over the past year.” Stacy was recognized in the LA500’s Law category and was profiled on the significant accomplishments from her nationally recognized family law practice.
June 2021 – Michelle M. Gervais served as a panelist for the American Bar Association Young Lawyers Division’s webinar, “Representing Professional Athletes in Divorce and Paternity Suits,” which was held online on Wednesday, June 2, 2021. Michelle and her co-panelists discussed the challenges of representing professional athletes in divorce and paternity suits, including keeping a very public person’s life private, dealing with unique contract issues, and paternity/support which could involve different jurisdictions.
June 2021 – Stacy D. Phillips served as a panelist at the JPMorgan Private Bank’s Women & Wealth program, “A Discussion on Navigating Divorce,” which was held online via Zoom on Wednesday, June 2, 2021. Stacy and her co-panelists had a practical discussion around financial, legal and estate planning considerations while navigating divorce, including pearls of wisdom and key action items.
May 2021 – Lois J. Liberman was interviewed by Financial Times on how amicable splits are an increasingly familiar aim for separating couples. “It does not necessarily mean we are all going to work together in a ‘Kum Ba Yah’ moment,” Liberman cautioned. She said she believes that insight and understanding are key.
May 2021 – Stacy D. Phillips has been named to the Daily Journal’s 2021 list of “Top Women Lawyers in California,” which recognizes regional women attorneys who have made a difference to their clients, their firms, and their profession. Stacy has been recognized every year since this list’s inception in 2003. Profiles of the winners were included in the Daily Journal’s special “Top Women Lawyers” supplement on May 19, 2021.
Alan R. Feigenbaum • May 19, 2021 • New York Law Journal Reading up on decisions of interest, including those published in this Journal, is part and parcel of keeping current on the law. In the context of matrimonial law, specifically with respect to the drafting or prenuptial agreements, the Second Department’s recent decision in Rosen v. Rosen, 2021 Slip Op 01278 (2d Dep’t 2021) is worth far more than a passive read. In fact, the decision is arguably worth printing out, filing in your office (or virtual office), and re-reading each and every time the matrimonial practitioner is tasked with drafting a prenuptial agreement that will invariably define the various connotations of what constitutes each party’s “separate property.”
May 2021 – Lois J. Liberman was interviewed by SheKnows on recent media reports concerning Bill Gates’ personal life in the wake of the recent announcement that he and Melinda Gates are going their separate ways after 27 years of marriage. “I would presume that the parties’ Separation Agreement, which they most likely have been working on for quite some time, and which is now signed, sealed and delivered, contains a provision that requires Melinda not to speak with the media or to publish anything (whether via any social media, article, book, even fictional) that relates not only the terms and provisions of their agreement but also their personal lives,” Liberman said.
May 2021 – Alan R. Feigenbaum served on the panel, “The Digitized Matrimonial Practice: Considerations for Sustainability and Viability Post-Pandemic,” which was held on May 14, 2021 as part of The American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers New York Chapter CLE Seminar on “A New Divorce Is Coming.”
May 2021 – Morgan Fraser Mouchette (highlighted in Partner Spotlight: New York), co-hosted the live webinar, “Protecting Your Assets 101: The Benefits of Wealth Management Strategies,” along with Blank Rome Trusts & Estates Partner Sean R. Weissbart and Kristin O’Keeffe Merrick, Financial Advisor at O’Keeffe Financial Partners on Thursday, May 13, 2021. This helpful webinar is available to watch on demand.
May 2021 – Lois J. Liberman presented the Blank Rome-hosted live webinar, “Co-Parenting with a Narcissist,” along with parent coordinator Dr. Kathryn Smerling on Thursday, May 13, 2021. This informative and engaging webinar is available to watch on demand.
May 2021 – Marilyn B. Chinitz was interviewed by Insider on high-net-worth divorces. “For those who have money and know that their businesses are going to come back, they’ll take advantage of a bad economic downturn and start the divorce action because the value of the assets are going to be significantly lower,” Chinitz said.
May 2021 – Marilyn B. Chinitz was interviewed by USA Today on the divorce of Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates and his wife Melinda after 27 years of marriage. “Sometimes people fall out of love and it’s clear that they did. Despite their wealth, they are no different than anybody else. They looked at each other and say, ‘It’s time to move on.’ Money doesn’t change that,” Chinitz said.
April 2021 – Stacy D. Phillips has once again been selected to the Los Angeles Business Journal’s annual Women of Influence list honoring 75 of the region’s most influential women attorneys. This year’s honorees were selected for their “exceptional legal skill and achievement across the full spectrum of responsibility, exemplary leadership as evidenced by the highest professional and ethical standards, and for their contributions to the Los Angeles community at large.”
April 2021 – Michelle M. Gervais was interviewed by Tampa Bay Business Journal about what businesses have faced in the past year and how they can move forward. “The prime areas have been Covid-related — ‘What do we do? Can we force people to come into work, force people to get the vaccine? How do we ask them properly on a questionnaire without HIPAA violations?’,” Gervais said.
April 2021 – Dylan S. Mitchell acted as panel moderator and speaker for the New York State Bar Association webinar, “Matrimonial Law Update: Happy 40th Birthday Equitable Distribution—Part III,” which was held Monday, April 12, 2021. The program addressed changes over the last 10 years regarding the issues of asset classification (separate/marital property) as well as spousal support, including the possible/probable impact of COVID-19 on support.
April 2021 – Marilyn B. Chinitz presented at the Blank Rome-hosted live webinar “The State of Your Estate: Strategically Optimize and Protect Your Assets in a Changing Climate” on Thursday, April 8, 2021. This informative and engaging webinar is available to watch on demand.
April 2021 – Ernestine J. Mings, vice-chair of the Family Law Section of the Metropolitan Black Bar Association (“MBBA”), hosted the MBBA program, “Views from the Bench: Unconscious Bias in Matrimonial and Family Law,” which took place Wednesday, April 7, 2021. The program was co-sponsored by MBBA’s Family Law Section; Appellate Division, Second Department; and the Office of Attorneys for Children.
Alan R. Feigenbaum • April 7, 2021 • New York Law Journal A recent decision from the First Department, Palmer v. Spadone-Palmer, 2021 NY Slip Op 00122 (1st Dept. 2021) illustrates a unique intersection between mental health considerations and matrimonial law. A parent’s mental health may well come into play when custody is in dispute. Palmer is not a decision on custody. Rather, it addresses a matrimonial litigant’s mental health on a purely financial issue—specifically, when and under what circumstances it is appropriate to modify a party’s obligation to pay spousal support that was delineated in a settlement agreement.
April 2021 – Lois J. Liberman spoke at the New York State Bar Association Women in Law Section webinar, “A Day in the Life: Personal Perspectives from General Counsels and Partners.” Lois and her co-panelists provided their personal perspectives on what it takes to excel, the paths one can follow, and the challenges they have overcome.
Alan R. Feigenbaum • March 31, 2021 • Love Bytes In one of its hallmark songs, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame band AC/DC proclaimed, “money talks.” For better or for worse, those two words find a way of ringing true in many facets of life, and contested divorce litigation is no exception. Yet during the year-long, or perhaps longer now, pandemic, if you find yourself in the middle of a divorce proceeding you might be questioning whether or not money talks anymore or has instead been tucked away until a time when normal life resumes.
March 2021 – Stacy D. Phillips served as panel moderator for Women in Leadership: Navigating Through Power Structures, Personal Challenges, and a Pandemic, part of the Pepperdine Graduate School of Education and Psychology Margaret J. Weber Distinguished Lecture Series, which was held on Thursday, March 11, 2021. The panel shared insights from successes and setbacks in the workplace and in life, and also discussed how the COVID-19 pandemic has amplified obstacles and created opportunities that did not previously exist.
February 2021 – Katie Pandolfini has joined Blank Rome LLP’s nationally recognized Matrimonial & Family Law group as an associate in the Los Angeles office. Katie joins the firm from the New York firm, Garr Silpe P.C., a family law boutique. With a unique background in law and finance, Katie provides strategic representation to family law clients with a specialty working with high-net-worth individuals, particularly those with complicated fact patterns involving forensic asset and income tracing, business valuation, complex compensation, and high-end lifestyle issues. Katie is a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst®. She has also completed training in divorce and family law mediation and collaborative law.
On behalf of Blank Rome, I wish you good health and a safe summer reconnecting with friends and loved ones. As always, my colleagues and I stand ready to assist you with all of your legal concerns.