Lawyers Have Heart! 2020

Help Save a Life and Support Health Care Professionals During COVID – 19 with Lawyers Have Heart!

Attorney Karen J. Levitt is participating in a virtual 5k on June 12, 2020, with Lawyers Have Heart, for the American Heart Association (AHA).  The goal is to benefit hospitals and health care professionals during Covid-19, who provide necessary care to Covid-19 patients.  To donate, go to: https://www2.heart.org/site/TR/HeartWalk/FDA-FoundersAffiliate?px=3458309&pg=personal&fr_id=5487.  We appreciate any and all donations!  Here is some information provided by the American Heart Association:

“The need for the mission of the American Heart Association is greater than ever before. Your support helps the AHA fill urgent training gaps for hospitals who are immediately improvising in response to overwhelming patient volume and provides guidelines through registries that help identify and manage COVID-19 patients. The Association has recently launched a free oxygenation and ventilation course to help doctors treat COVID-19 patients. These resources are critical to saving lives and improving patient care especially for the over 120 million Americans who live with cardiovascular disease and are at a higher risk for complications if they contract coronavirus.

To minimize COVID-19’s impact on the public health of Greater Boston, the American Heart Association has activated its full organizational strength to combat the spread of the virus and address the vulnerability of heart and stroke patients, caregivers, healthcare professionals and underserved populations. Here are some areas they are focusing on:
– Access to Healthy Food
– CPR
– Access to Care
– Workplace Health
– Keeping Kids Healthy
– Research

The American Heart Association funds $35.5 million in research across 100 studies in Massachusetts alone.  In response to the coronavirus pandemic, we have established a $2.5 million rapid research fund to fast-track scientific research to better understand COVID-19 and its interaction with cardiovascular and cerebrovascular diseases. Specifically, the Association will be offering fast-tracked research grants for short-term projects that can turn around results within 9-12 months to better understand the diagnosis, prevention, treatment and clinical management of COVID-19 as it relates to heart and brain health.”

You can follow everything the AHA is doing at www.heart.org/coronavirus/ .

 

Racial Injustice and the Courts

Self-Reflection – Racial Injustice and the Courts: By Karen J. Levitt
As an attorney and the founder of The Levitt Law Group, LLC,  I speak for our entire firm in believing it is important to recognize the importance of the recent events surrounding the death of George Floyd.  The events leading up to his death, and the events after his death, raise many issues about law, bias, culture, racism, diversity, equality, and justice and the need for all lawyers and the judiciary to continue to be aware of the interplay of those issues in the legal system.   

The 14th Amendment to the Constitution states in part:  “…No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”  We also all have a right to free speech, as provided for in the First Amendment to the United States Constitution: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.”

 The judicial branch of government, which is one of our three branches of government, is where these two amendments, and justice and equality under the law, often play out for millions of people in America.  Meeting the needs of the public for access to justice, and ensuring that the courts are available to all, is not an easy task nor for the faint of heart – yet lawyers and the judiciary and their staff work hard to meet those needs and honor the values underlying the Constitution and our American legal system.   On June 3, 2020, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court issued a letter to all attorneys and members of the judiciary with a powerful message, which we at the Levitt Law Group, LLC want to share with you: https://www.mass.gov/news/letter-from-the-seven-justices-of-the-supreme-judicial-court-to-members-of-the-judiciary-and

 As United States Supreme Court justice Lewis Powell, Jr. once said: “Equal justice under law is not merely a caption on the facade of the Supreme Court building; it is perhaps the most inspiring ideal of our society. It is one of the ends for which our entire legal system exists.”

 I have always been, and continue to be,  proud to be a part of a profession where equality and justice matter, even when we don’t always get it right.  What matters is that we keep trying.  The letter from the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court, coming from the highest court in our state, was a reason to self-reflect, to think about how we can all do better, and be better.

Training Future Collaborative Law Professionals

Karen J. Levitt, Levitt Law Group, LLC, will once again be part of the faculty for training future Collaborative Law professionals, at the Massachusetts Collaborative Law Council annual basic interdisciplinary training. This year’s two-day training will take place at the Ocean Edge Resort, Brewster, MA, on September 24-25, 2020.  Karen and her fellow faculty members spend two days in an interactive training program that immerses participants in the theory and practice of Collaborative Law, both in divorce and family law and other areas of practice such as probate and business.  The program combines lecture with role plays and discussion for an interesting and lively two days of training.  To see who will be joining Karen as faculty and to register, go to https://massclc.org/civicrm/event/info%3Fid%3D720%26reset%3D1

Divorce Settlement Options when Parties have a Large Age Discrepancy

Karen J. Levitt, Levitt Law Group, LLC will be presenting with Susan Miller, Managing Director & Senior Wealth Advisor at The Colony Group, Wellesley, MA, at an MCLC Tri River Practice Group meeting in September 2020.  The topic will be  “Does Age Matter? – Settlement Options when Parties have a Large Age Discrepancy”.  In many of our divorce cases, there is a significant age difference between the parties. This presents challenges with regard to asset division and support, as one party is going to be in retirement much sooner than the other with a reduced ability to acquire future assets and income.  This creates concerns around all sorts of issues, such as asset division, child support and alimony, and health and life insurance.   Cases with significant age differences between the parties require a critical evaluation of all the issues, and a close review of the financial options available to the parties to ensure an equitable division of assets and liabilities and a division of income that provides for both parties and their children. The use of a financial professional can be helpful evaluating the types of financial projections that may be necessary to appreciate the complexities in these cases, and to help with resolution of the issues.  Attending the meeting to hear Karen and Susan speak will be lawyers, mental health professionals, and financial professionals who all work in divorce and family law.

Working with you Remotely – What does that mean?

We have told you that we are open for business despite the Coronavirus pandemic and that we can work with you using traditional means or remotely – allowing us to continue to provide services to our existing clients and also to take on new cases whether it be litigation, Mediation or Collaborative Law. Many people want to move forward with their existing or new cases as best they can even if they can’t meet in person,  and even though the family courts are handling matters very differently right now in these difficult times (see https://www.mass.gov/orgs/probate-and-family-court for updates regarding the Court).

How we work with you depends on you. Some existing or new clients are clear that they prefer in-person meetings, so we are working with them using phone and email, and scheduling in-person meetings for a later date. However, it is often helpful or even necessary to see each other when doing our work, or to collaborate or share or have meetings in a way that is not possible via telephone or email right now, which means using remote working tools such as Zoom or Go to Meeting. Continue reading “Working with you Remotely – What does that mean?”

Neutrals in Mediation, Litigation and Collaborative Law

Karen J. Levitt,  Levitt Law Group, LLC gave a presentation at the USA500 Family Law Roundtable on March 25, 2020, regarding the use of neutrals, not just in Mediation, but in litigation and Collaborative Law.   Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the meeting took place via Zoom, and the presentation was done via Zoom.  Karen focused on setting client expectations regarding neutrals, identifying and selecting neutrals, how to work with neutrals as an attorney or mediator and how to help the clients work with neutrals, and ways in which neutrals can be critical to process and outcome.  There was a rich discussion regarding the use of neutrals amongst the roundtable members, which included attorneys and financial professionals.  There are a wide variety of neutrals that can be used in litigation, Mediation, and Collaborative Law, including financial advisors, pension professionals, business valuators, transactional attorneys, estate planners, special education experts, CPAs to address tax considerations, real estate appraisers, child specialists, and the list goes on.  While not all cases require neutrals, the use of neutrals can actually save clients time and money by using a specific expertise to address a specific legal issue in a divorce or family law matter. The engagement of a neutral is usually a joint engagement, giving both parties participation and control.  Neutrals can help lawyers and mediators work with their clients in coming up with creative solutions to difficult problems.

Divorce and Family Law in Unchartered Waters – the Coronavirus

All of us are impacted by the Coronavirus, otherwise known as Covid-19. How does it impact your existing case if you are already one of our clients? If you are a prospective new client and want to proceed with your divorce or other family law issue, and get legal advice, or pursue mediation, can you still do that? The need for legal services continues despite Covid-19, and we are available to provide the legal services we have always been providing, including as litigators, settlement counsel, mediators, and Collaborative Law counsel. The Levitt Law Group, www.levittlawgroup.com remains open! What does that mean?

We are continuing to provide legal services regarding divorce and family-related issues to existing clients, taking on new cases, doing meditations, and working with other professionals that assist our clients. We are doing so remotely, to protect our staff and our clients. We are communicating telephonically, by email, and utilizing technology such as Zoom or Go to Meeting to do our work. We are able to “meet” and communicate with our clients, and do mediation, using all these tools. We are also keeping abreast of developments with the Courts. Continue reading “Divorce and Family Law in Unchartered Waters – the Coronavirus”

IACP Sustaining Links Member

Karen J. Levitt, Levitt Law Group, LLC was recognized by the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals (“IACP”), for “10 years of powerful giving to families around the world” as a Sustaining Links Member.  Karen, a member of IACP, and a former member of its Board of Directors, has donated to IACP for 10 years in support of Collaborative Law.  Donations to IACP such as those made by Karen, are used for programming, training, events, supporting emerging leaders through scholarships, and helping to introduce families to Collaborative Law.  Collaborative Law is an out of court dispute resolution process used in divorce and other family law conflicts, which focuses on settlement by intention and legal advocacy rather than an adversarial process.  Both parties have counsel, neutral experts are used where needed, and settlement negotiations take place outside of court and in a confidential setting.  Collaborative Law is a very effective and efficient process that provides families with control over not just process but outcome.  For more information about Collaborative Law, go to www.collaborativepractice.com and www.massclc.org.

Attorney Andrea M. Wells Appointed To Board of Directors of the Western New England University School of Law Alumni Association

Attorney Andrea M. Wells was recently appointed as a member of the Board of Directors of the Western New England University School of Law Alumni Association.

Her three year tenure will officially commence in October 2019 during the University’s Homecoming Weekend.  Service on the Board of Directors is a volunteer opportunity for Andrea to connect the University and its Law Alumni and to help establish and maintain that important relationship.

Western New England University Law School is currently celebrating its 100th year, and has maintained an important connection between the school, its graduates and the community for the past century.  Law Alumni Association members serve as mentors for current students, panelists for career services events, and guest judges for moot court competitions.  The Law School recently partnered with the Children and Family Law Division of the Committee for Public Counsel Services to address what Supreme Judicial Court Chief Justice Ralph Gants has described as a “constitutional emergency” due to the lack of attorneys available to represent children and parents in child welfare cases.  It is initiatives like these that drew Andrea to Board Membership. Continue reading “Attorney Andrea M. Wells Appointed To Board of Directors of the Western New England University School of Law Alumni Association”

Attorney Karen J. Levitt Faculty at September 2019 MCLC Introductory Interdisciplinary Collaborative Law Training

Attorney Karen J. Levitt will be one of the faculty at the Massachusetts Collaborative Law Council’s Introductory Interdisciplinary Collaborative Law Training, scheduled for September 19, 2019 and September 20, 2019 at MGM Springfield, MA.

The training will benefit a wide variety of professionals from different disciplines, including family and business law attorneys, financial professionals, psychologists, social workers and other mental health professionals, coaches and mediators, child development and co-parenting specialists and anyone working with family or business clients in divorce or other conflicts. Continue reading “Attorney Karen J. Levitt Faculty at September 2019 MCLC Introductory Interdisciplinary Collaborative Law Training”