The IAALS Family Bar Summit was an honest dialogue about how the family justice system might be realigned to meet the needs of the families it serves. Interactive, engaging conversation highlighted a number of themes and recommendations for reshaping the divorce and separation process, some of which Summit attendees have undertaken personal responsibility for pursuing in their respective jurisdictions.

Among the most popular of ideas to emerge was the replication of the Summit in state jurisdictions around the country. In order to assist these and other family bar leaders in hosting similar dialogues nationwide, HFI compiled this toolkit, containing the following pieces:

  • Tool 1—An invitation letter to potential Summit attendees (PDF / Word)

  • Tool 2—An introductory letter to attendees, setting forth the nature, organization, and goals of the Summit (PDF / Word)

  • Tool 3—A template for the Summit agenda, based on the two-day IAALS program (PDF / Word)

  • Tool 4—Ground rules and operating assumptions, to facilitate an honest, open, and respectful dialogue among attendees (PDF / Word)

  • Tool 5—Working group discussion questions, to guide breakout group sessions (PDF / Word)

  • Tool 6—An attendee action item template, to collect attendee thoughts and individual plans for following up on Summit recommendations (PDF / Word)

Additionally, a number of IAALS publications can be presented alongside jurisdiction-specific materials that are circulated to Summit attendees in advance:

Finally, the HFI report that followed and synthesized the November 2015 Summit, The Family Law Bar: Stewards of the System, Leaders of Change, can serve as a foundational piece for beginning the dialogue in a jurisdiction or as a template for individual jurisdiction reports on local convening efforts.

It is our hope that these and similar dialogues will occur nationwide and harness the expertise of diverse, talented family law practitioners. Together, we can work toward meaningful change to ensure better outcomes for children, less-adversarial approaches for spouses/parents, and greater accessibility, efficiency, and fairness for everyone involved in the family court process.

Click here to download the full toolkit.