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Founded in 2001, the Texas Family Law Foundation's mission is to improve the family law practice and jurisprudence of the state of Texas.

Lynn Kamin: Legislative Report

It began with the idea that we, as family law attorneys, should take a more active approach regarding the legislation that affects our practices.  That’s how a small group of members of the Family Law Foundation ended up in Austin, Texas, learning how to lobby the legislators in order to be directly involved in the legislative process.  And although no one would have been likely to confuse us with seasoned lobbyists, by the end of the session most of us remembered not to call the legislators “Your honor,” and all of us were able to convey to the legislators the genuine interest that family law attorneys have in how the proposed bills would affect the families of this state.

I have been involved with the legislative committee in the past, but with the participation of the Family Law Foundation members this year we were able to broaden our influence to achieve a greater impact on the proposed legislation.  Jack Marr took the lead role in organizing our interaction with the legislators.  Other than Jack, who was in Austin at least three times each week during much of the legislative session, two Foundation members at a time took one or two week shifts in Austin.  We identified and testified against potentially “bad” legislation, such as a proposal to eliminate “no fault” divorce.  We worked with Senators to fine-tune pending legislation, and we worked with legislators in support of bills.  We took the proposed bills around by hand to the different legislators and remained on stand-by to testify as needed.

At first, the legislators did not know who we were and seemed a little hesitant about our involvement.  Senator Chris Harris and Representative Harold Dutton helped sponsor bills and guided us through the process.  By the end of the legislative session, several legislators were asking whether the Family Law Foundation had an opinion on a presented issue.  Our opinions clearly influenced the bills which were passed into law this session.

I would highly recommend this experience.  While the process was demanding and challenging, it was also extremely rewarding.  To realize that we, as family law attorneys, could and did have a positive influence on the legislation that directly affects families in Texas was empowering.

Lynn Kamin
Jenkins & Kamin, L.L.P.
Houston, Texas