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American Bar Association
ABA Section of Family Law

ABA Family Law Annual Meeting July 31-Aug 2 2009 Chicago IL - Wrigley Bldg Mag Mile

2009 Annual Meeting
July 31-August 2, 2009
Westin Michigan Avenue—Chicago, IL

Attending the ABA Section of Family Law's Annual Meeting is a great way to earn CLE credit and network with fellow professionals, but you also have the added benefit of attending events and meetings at the ABA Annual Meeting, too! Read below to learn more and register today!

Download the Hot Tips program materials. (6 mb)

Family Law CLE Programs and Events | Registration/Hotel/Air Travel
Schedule | Sponsors & Sponsorship Info
ABA Annual Meeting Benefits & ABA CLE Information | Brochure**

**Please note that brochure does not include all of Family Law's co-sponsored programs. Please see Schedule page for the most up-to-date information.

View the Council Meeting Agenda Book.

CLE Programs and Events

Ferris Wheel at Navy Pier Our Family Law Meeting provides you with the opportunity to learn more about issues the family lawyer is faced with. You also have the chance to learn about a variety of topics with the ever-popular Hot Tips program! Special dinners, luncheons and receptions offer chances to unwind and learn more about Section activities. Noted speakers from across the country will be presenting at these CLE sessions.

Family Law CLE Sessions
All Family Law CLE takes place at the Hyatt Regency Hotel. For specific dates and times, please see the Schedule page.

  • Hot Tips from the Experts
    This is the 24th year of the extremely popular, fast-moving program comprised of five-minute hot tips, strategies and techniques shared by nationally known experts.



    Download the Hot Tips program materials. (6 mb)

  • How Solo, Small Firm & Family Law Practice Owners Can Build a More Effective Dream Law Business...That Clients Love...While Working Half the Time
    Joint Program produced by General Practice, Solo and Small Firm Division and the Section of Family Law

    In this fast-paced presentation, Alexis Martin Neely will guide you through her experience of leaving the big law firm life and starting her own firm with limited financial resources, while she was the breadwinner in her family, had a baby at home and another on the way. She'll share the trials, tribulations and rewards of growing her practice from scratch into a million dollar a year law business in just three years and how every solo and small firm practitioner can follow the proven blueprint for success she developed and has now successfully taught to over 150 other lawyers. Attend this presentation and be ready to transform your business and become the lawyer you've always wanted to be!


    Download program flyer.

Co-Sponsored Programs:

  • The Best Program for Real Lawyers
    Produced by General Practice, Solo and Small Firm Division and Co-Sponsored by the Section of Family Law.

    Can this program really be that good? Past attendees have said it was, but you can see for yourself. Larry Rice is acknowledged as one of the most entertaining and informative CLE speakers. He will present a systematic approach to law practice management with an emphasis on practical applications. The materials are drawn from The Complete Guide to Divorce Practice, 3rd Edition. The program moves from basic practice tips to advanced skills. There will be forms, checklists, guides, and prizes that the attendees can use in their real world practice. This program is recommended for lawyers with a sense of humor. Increase your satisfaction with your practice by attending this program.


    Download program flyer.

  • Bankruptcy for Non-Bankruptcy Attorneys: What Every Family Law, Criminal Law, Real Estate and Litigation Attorney Should Know If a Party Files Bankruptcy
    Produced by General Practice, Solo and Small Firm Division and Co-Sponsored by the Section of Family Law.

    What happens when one spouse files bankruptcy in the midst of a divorce? What about a filing right in the middle of the closing of a purchase/sale of property? How about if the defendant files in the middle of a trial or lawsuit, or the defendant files bankruptcy before the judge/jury rules…..or even after a ruling but before a judgment is signed by the court? This seminar will give the non-bankruptcy attorney the "basics" when they are faced with a bankruptcy, including a discussion of the automatic stay, relief from the stay options, how bankruptcy may impact or completely undo weeks or months of negotiations, trials, and transactions. And the do's and don'ts to prevent contempt for violating the stay in bankruptcy.


  • Representing Clients with Diminished Capacity: Ethical Challenges and Strategies in an Age of Elder Abuse
    Produced by the Section of Individual Rights & Responsibilities and Co-Sponsored by the Section of Family Law.

    As the American population ages, attorneys can expect to find themselves increasingly challenged to represent clients with diminished or questionable mental capacity. This session will identify key challenges and pitfalls that attorneys face when working with such clients. Specific attention will be paid to the role of the attorney in addressing elder abuse, neglect, and exploitation. This is an ethics-focused CLE, specific attention will be on the model rule provisions that impact the duties of attorneys working with clients with diminished capacity.


Family Law Special Events

  • Section of Family Law Dinner (Ticketed)
    Greek Islands
    200 S. Halsted
    Chicago, IL
    Sponsored by Schiller DuCanto and Fleck LLP

    The Section of Family Law Dinner is a perfect way to unwind with your colleagues after the first full day of the Annual Meeting. Come enjoy an authentic Greek family-style dinner and drinks. The restaurant is only a short ride from our Section hotel. We'll see you there...Opa!

    Tickets: $60
    Event Code: SFL02 (Remember to select this event by entering this code when you register for Annual.)

  • Annual Awards Luncheon 51st Celebration of the Section of Family Law (Ticketed)
    Westin Michigan Avenue, Mayfair, Third Floor

    Join your colleagues as we look back at the association year and look ahead to next year. The annual luncheon is an excellent opportunity to learn about the Section's accomplishments and plans for the upcoming year while enjoying lunch with family law practitioners from across the nation.

    Tickets: $60
    Event Code: FL01 (Remember to select this event by entering this code when you register for Annual.)

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Registration/Housing/Air Travel

Chicago Skyline at Night


Online registration is open!

You can also register by fax or download and use the form from our conference brochure.

Early RegistrationDeadline: May 29, 2009
To take advantage of the Early Bird Registration discount price of $450** (governance and All-access CLE Badge, plus access to non-CLE programs) or $175** (governance and non-CLE), registration forms must be received by CDS by Friday, May 29, 2009. (You can also register online using the link provided above.)

Remember to purchase your tickets for the Family Law Dinner (SFL02) and Family Law Luncheon (FL01) when you register.

Any registration forms received after May 29, 2009 will be processed at the regular registration fee of $595 or $320.

** increases by $145 after May 29, 2009.

Terms and Conditions
The ABA has appointed CS (Convention Data Services), a professional convention management company, as registrar for the 2009 ABA Annual Meeting in Chicago. CDS/Travel Planners will be the only source for ABA Meeting Registration and Official ABA Housing. Register online from the link above (or www.abanet.org/annual/2009) or submit the ABA registration form and payments to:

    ABA/CDS/Travel Planners
    Chicago 2009 107 Waterhouse Road
    Bourne, MA 02532 Fax: 508-759-4552
Checks and money orders must be drawn on a U.S. bank and in U.S. dollars, made payable to ABA/CDS.

For registration and event ticket information, call CDS at 800-915-9801, hours M-F 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. ET.

For housing information, call Travel Planners at 800-221-3531, hourse M-F 9:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. ET.

Please note: Registration, hotel reservations, and requests for event tickets cannot be accepted by phone. Please visit the ABA Annual Meeting website or send an e-mail message to abanet@xpressreg.net to make changes or to add additional items to an existing registration. Please include your CDS Badge I.D. number on all correspondence.


You must register for the ABA Annual Meeting to receive housing.

A list of official ABA hotels, rates, amenities, and locations can be found at the ABA Annual Meeting website.

The ABA has appointed Travel Planners as the housing company for the 2009 Annual Meeting in Chicago. Reservation requests will be directed to Travel Planners, by registering online or using the form in the ABA Family Law brochure or the brochure on the ABA's Annual Meeting website. (Family Law's brochure will be available online soon.)

Please indicate your first, second and third choice of hotel. If your preferred hotel choices are unavailable, Travel Planners will be happy to place you on a wait-list for one of your choices. Please call Travel Planners at 800-221-3531 or send an e-mail message to abanet@xpressreg.netstating your wish to be wait-listed. Wait-list reservations will be confirmed on a first-come, first-served basis and as cancellations are received. Please include your CDS Badge I.D. number in all correspondence.

CDS/Travel Planners will acknowledge your reservation request in writing within 72 hours (3 business days) of receipt of your ABA registration.

Hotels will be confirmed on a first-come, first-served basis. Choice of accommodations will become more limited as the deadline for registration approaches. For housing and hotel specific questions, please call Travel Planners at 800-221-3531 or send an email to abanet@xpressreg.net.

A credit card with a valid expiration date (August 31, 2009 or later) is required to guarantee your hotel reservation. If an invalid card is provided, we will not be able to reserve a hotel room for you. A customary one night's deposit may be charged to your credit card days before your arrival (depending on hotel policies). Please consult your housing confirmation, which you will receive from CDS/Travel Planners, the official ABA Housing and Registration Bureau, for your hotel’s specific policy.

-->The ABA Section of Family Law's hotel headquarters is the Westin Michigan Avenue Hotel.<--


The deadline for advance registration and housing is Tuesday, July 7, 2009, at 5:00 p.m. Central Daylight Saving Time. This is the deadline that you can register for the Annual Meeting and appear in the Advance Registration List. Your registration must be accompanied by a form of payment for the registration fee and any ticketed events, in the form of a credit card, check, or money order. Annual Meeting Registration and Housing will continue to be accepted online at www.abanet.org/annual/2009 or by fax after July 7, however, registrations after July 7 will not appear in the Advance Registration List.

Hotel requests received at CDS/Travel Planners after July 7 will continue to be processed up until Friday, July 17, based on availability. Starting on Monday, July 20, you must make your reservation directly with the official ABA hotels. To make any changes to an existing reservation made by CDS/Travel Planners, you must also contact the hotel(s) directly.


Housing Cancellations
To cancel/change your reservation, prior to July 17, contact Travel Planners by phone at 800-221-3531, or by email at abanet@xpressreg.net. Hotel cancellations after July 17 must be directed to the hotel beginning on July 20. If you are cancelling your reservation directly with the hotel, all cancellations must be made 72 hours prior to your scheduled arrival date. Failure to cancel prior to 72 hours or failure to check-in on the scheduled arrival date will result in a one night's room and tax charge to your credit card.

Registration Cancellation and Refund Policy
All requests for registration cancellations must be submitted in writing according to the procedures outlined below. Registration fees will be refunded, minus a $50 processing fee for cancellations, substitutions or transfers.

Cancellations must be sent in writing by email to abanet@xpressreg.net; by fax to 508-759-4552; or by mail to:

ABA/CDS Travel Planners
Chicago 2009
107 Waterhouse Road
Bourne, MA 02532.

Please include your Badge I.D. number on all correspondence.

All cancellations must be accompanied by an explanation for cancellation. All requests for registration cancellations must be received by August 31, 2009, to receive a refund. There is no fee for cancelled guest registration(s). President's Reception tickets are refundable up to 72 hours in advance of the event. Unused CLE tickets are fully refundable until October 16, 2009.

Unused CLE tickets, along with a request for refund, must be sent to the ABA Meetings and Travel Department, 16th Floor, 321 N. Clark Street, Chicago, IL 60654.

No cash refunds will be made on-site in Chicago. Credit card refunds will be processed immediately and may take up to two billing cycles to appear on your statement. Requests for cash or check refunds on-site at the Annual Meeting will be processed after the conclusion of the meeting.


Special car rental rates are available for the ABA Annual Meeting in Chicago. The special daily, weekly and weekend rates are available in Chicago from one week before through one week after the meeting. Advance reservations are suggested and can be easily made by calling the Hertz toll-free Convention Desk at 800-654-2240. Tell the reservationist you will be attending the ABA Annual Meeting in Chicago. The identification number for this meeting is CV# 03M40009. With Hertz you not only get a low rate, you also get the great services that make Hertz #1, including Computerized Driving Directions, Emergency Road Service, Express Return, the Hertz #1 Club and an opportunity to join Hertz #1 Club Gold Service.



With ABA Orbitz for Business, you can automatically obtain ABA negotiated airfare discounts for travel to the Annual Meeting. ABA Orbitz for Business enables you to purchase the best airfare at the time of your reservation by providing you with the ability to search for and compare fares from virtually every airline servicing the destination.

For assistance with ABA Orbitz for Business online or offline reservations, call 877-222-4185,

ABA Orbitz for Business is available online ABA Online Travel, Self-Paid Travel.

ABA discounts can also be obtained directly from the carrier

    American, call 1-800-433-1790; code 20348
    United, call 1-800-521-4041; code 578IG
    Continental, call 1-800-468-7022; BWRKNY ZCode: ZFD2
Continental discounts are also available at www.continental.com, enter ZFD2BWRKNY in the "offer code box."

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ABA Annual Meeting Benefits

the Bean at Millennium Park in Chicago

Why Should You Attend the ABA Annual Meeting?

Here are just a few of the benefits:
  • The ABA Annual Meeting is the premier gathering of legal professionals in the United States.

  • You can earn an entire year's worth of CLE requirements!

  • Network with leading professionals who share your interests and concerns.

  • Stay abreast of recent developments in the law.

  • Visit the ABA EXPO, with more than 100 exhibitors providing a diverse assortment of legal products and services.

  • The Annual Meeting's flexible format allows you to customize the meeting to fit your needs!

Annual Meeting Registration begins at $175 for ABA Members and includes:

  • Admission to the business meetings
  • Admission to the ABA EXPO and the ABA Source
  • Shuttle bus transportation
  • Participation in non-CLE Accredited meeting programs
  • Admission to the Opening Assembly

Purchasing CLE at the 2009 Annual Meeting

Purchasing CLE at Annual is easy! Just register for the meeting and purchase an All-Access Badge for a fee of $450**. This badge can be used for admittance to governance meetings, non-CLE programs, and ALL CLE programs at the Annual Meeting, including those in the Presidential CLE Centre and at the satellite hotels.

Members whose primary focus at the Annual Meeting is governance, and who may only be able to attend a few CLE programs, can register for the Meeting for a fee of $175**, which includes admittance to all governance and non-CLE programs, and purchase individual program tickets for $75 each.

Discounted program tickets will be available to government lawyers and judges for $35. Law Student registrants will be admitted to all CLE programs at no additional charge.

Admittance to each CLE program will require one individual program ticket OR the All-Access CLE Badge.

Registration for non-ABA members is $875.

**increases by $145 after May 29, 2009.

Presidential CLE Centre

The Presidential CLE Centre will be located at the Hyatt Regency Hotel. The Centre will offer accredited CLE programs covering all areas of practice, giving attendees an opportunity to conveniently earn a year's worth of CLE credits in one central location.


During the 2009 Annual Meeting, the ABA EXPO will be located at the Hyatt Regency Chicago, from Thursday, July 30 through Saturday, August 1. The ABA EXPO features more than 100 providers of dynamic legal products and services. Visit exhibiting companies showcasing the latest in communications, legal publishing, computer hardware and software and financial services, all in one convenient place and with today's law practice in mind.

While at the ABA EXPO, be sure to stop by the ABA SOURCE, the ABA Member Advantge Aisle and the Travel Aisle. Helpful ABA staff will be on hand to guide you through the programs, products, and services available to ABA members.

The times for the ABA EXPO are as follows:

  • Thursday, July 30
    10:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.

  • Friday, July 31
    10:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.

  • Saturday, August 1
    10:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m.

Special Events at the Annual Meeting

Please remember to indicate your special event selections when you register.

  • Section of Family Law Dinner—Friday, July 31 (Greek Islands Restaurant in Greek Town)

  • Section of Family Law Annual Awards Luncheon—Saturday, August 1, at the Westin Michigan Avenue

  • ABA President's Reception—Saturday, August 1, at the Art Institute of Chicago

The Section of Family Law Council will meet from 9:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on Saturday, August 1. All Section members are invited to attend. (For more information on Family Law programming, see the Schedule.)


Registrants will be able to purchase tickets to ABA Tours directly through our official destination management company, In the Loop-Chicago, online. Purchase ABA Tour Tickets.

For a complete list of optional tours for Annual Meeting attendees and registered guests, visit the ABA Annual Meeting website. The registration deadline to purchase tickets to ABA Tours is Friday, July 10, 2009. After this date, tour registration will be taken on a space available basis only at the ABA Tour Desk, Hyatt Regency Chicago beginning Thursday, July 30, 2009, at 8:00 a.m.

Tour Departures
All tours will depart promptly from the West Lobby of the Hyatt Regency Chicago. Please arrive 15 minutes prior to the tour departure time.

Tour Cancellations
Cancellation or exchange requests must be received via e-mail to ABAtours@intheloopchicago.com no later than Friday, July 10, 2009. All cancellations are subject to a $10.00 per tour cancellation fee.
PLEASE NOTE: Baseball tickets are non-refundable.

There will be no refunds or exchanges after Friday, July 10, 2009, unless a tour is cancelled due to failure to meet minimum participation requirement. You will be notified by Monday, July 13, 2009, via e-mail in the event a tour you have booked has been cancelled due to lack of participation. You will receive a full refund for the cost of the tour. We retain the right to cancel any tour where requirements are not met.

We reserve the right to make comparable substitutions if circumstances beyond our control necessitate a change in any element of the stated program. All tours will operate rain or shine.

Photos courtesy of the Chicago CVB.

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