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Hybrid Conference

2023 Biennial Family Law Symposium

Total Credits: 7.6 MCLE, 1.0 Ethics, 6.5 Kansas Credit, 1.0 Kansas Ethics

Practice Area:
Ethics |  Family



Biennial Family Law Symposium 

Courtyard by Marriott by Briarcliff, Kansas City
April 21, 2023

The Missouri Bar 
Missouri Chapter of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers


7:45-8:15 a.m. | Registration      

8:15-8:30 a.m. | Welcome 
Speaker: Anita I. Rodarte,
president of the Missouri chapter of AAML

8:30-9:30 a.m. | Michael Albano memorial lecture
Speaker: Steven N. Peskind
, Peskind Law Firm, St. Charles, IL

9:30-9:45 a.m. | Break

9:45-10:35 a.m. | Advanced trial techniques
Speakers: Stephanie L. Jones
, Jones Family Law Group, LLC, St. Louis; Abraham D. KuhlLaw Offices of Young, Kuhl & Frick, LLC, Lee’s Summit; and Rebecca L. Leonard, The Gordon Law Firm, LLC, Lee’s Summit 

10:40-11:30 a.m. | Mediation
Speakers: Hon. Douglas R. Beach
, Retired, St. Louis; and Jonathan D. Marks, The Marks Law Firm, LLC, St. Louis 

11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. | Networking lunch (provided for in-person attendees)

12:30-1:30 p.m. | Judicial panel
Hon. Susan S. Jensen
, Greene County Circuit Court, Springfield; Hon. Julia P. Lasater, 21st Judicial Circuit Court, St. Louis County, Division 32, St. Louis; Hon. Sherrill L. Rosen, 16th Judicial Court, Independence; Hon. Sara J. Miller, 13th Judicial Circuit, Boone County Courthouse, Columbia; Michelle J. Spirn, Spirn Family Law, LLC, St. Louis; and F. Richard Van Pelt, Van Pelt & Van Pelt, PC, Springfield 

1:35-2:35 p.m. | Maintenance 
Speaker: Michelle J. Spirn

2:35-2:50 p.m. | Break

2:50-3:40 p.m. | It's Not You, It's Me . . . No Wait, It IS You! A field guide to managing the difficult client
Speakers: Cary J. Mogerman
, Carmody MacDonald, St. Louis; and Anita I. Rodarte
One of the greatest challenges to success in the practice of family law is the ability to manage clients who are challenged by their circumstances, emotions, anger and fears. Sometimes these challenges are complicated further by their own personality traits. This presentation will focus on identifying potential problems in advance and techniques for managing them successfully. 

You will learn:
•    How to identify and avoid potential problems in advance
•    Techniques for defusing and managing unrealistic expectations of the client
•    Techniques for defusing and managing unrealistic expectations of the lawyer
•    Communication methods to protect the relationship as well as the lawyer
•    Ethical obligations attendant to withdrawal

3:45-4:35 p.m. | Use of experts
Speaker: R. Scott Richart
, Albano, Richart, Welch & Bajackson, LLC, Independence


Hon. Douglas Beach's Profile

Hon. Douglas Beach Related seminars and products

21st Judicial Circuit, (Ret.)

Judge Douglas R. Beach was appointed Associate Circuit Court Judge for St. Louis County Missouri in 2005 and appointed to the Circuit Court by Governor Jay Nixon in 2010. Judge Beach was assigned to the Family Court since he was appointed to the bench in 2005. He was elected Presiding Judge 2017. He was an incorporator of the City of Chesterfield in 1988 and served as the City Attorney for 17½ years before his appointment to the bench. Judge Beach received his law degree from New England School of Law (Cum Laude) in 1973. He retired from the United States Marine Corps Reserve as a Lieutenant Colonel where he served as Judge Advocate. 

Commissioner Susan Jensen's Profile

Commissioner Susan Jensen Related seminars and products

Greene County Circuit Court

The Honorable Susan S. Jensen practiced family law in Springfield before being appointed as Family Court Commissioner, Division II, for Greene County in 2016. She is a Fellow in the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers. Commissioner Jensen graduated from William Jewell College and the University of Iowa College Of Law. 


Stephanie Jones's Profile

Stephanie Jones Related seminars and products

Jones Family Law Group, LLC

Abraham Kuhl's Profile

Abraham Kuhl Related seminars and products

Law Offices of Young, Kuhl & Frick, LLC

Mr. Kuhl is a frequent presenter on a variety of family law issues, and is an active member of the Family and the Law Section of the Kansas City Metropolitan Bar Association. Having served two terms as the chair of the Domestic Relations committee, Mr. Kuhl has been elected as the President of the Family and the Law Section and now serves on the Kansas City Metropolitan Bar Association Board of Directors.

Mr. Kuhl has dedicated his practice to Family Law and represents people in dissolution of marriage (divorce) actions, modification of custody and child support actions, establishment of child support actions, adoption matters, paternity actions, and guardianship proceedings.  Mr. Kuhl serves as a Guardian ad Litem in multiple counties, including Jackson, Cass and Clay. In addition, Mr. Kuhl serves as a mediator as well as a Special Master.

Hon. Julia P. Lasater's Profile

Hon. Julia P. Lasater Related seminars and products

21st Judicial Circuit Court, St. Louis County, Division 32

Judge Julia Pusateri Lasater was appointed associate circuit judge for the 21st Judicial Circuit in 2020. She worked as an assistant prosecuting attorney and also practiced in the areas of civil and family law. Judge Lasater is a graduate of St. Louis University School of Law and Maryville University.

Rebecca Leonard's Profile

Rebecca Leonard Related seminars and products

The Gordon Law Firm, LLC

Rebecca Leonard has dedicated her legal profession to representing clients in family law matters for more than 20 years. Rebecca is skilled in litigating division of assets, spousal support, custody matters, parenting plans, child support determination, paternity matters, retirement account division, and enforcement of child support and custody matters.

Rebecca is a trained mediator and skilled in negotiating and settling matters. Although Rebecca has extensive experience litigating matters, she is very successful assisting her clients in settling conflicts and preventing the emotional toll and costly expense of a litigated trial.

Rebecca is a member of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers (AAML),  Rebecca was the AAML Missouri State Chapter President from 2014 until 2016. She is a member of the Missouri Bar – Family Law Section; the Kansas City Metropolitan Bar Association; and Eastern Jackson County Bar Association. Rebecca served as a member of Division One Missouri Supreme Court Disciplinary Committee for Region IV for over ten years. Rebecca has been named as a Best Lawyers in America each year since 2011, Missouri Super Lawyers each year since 2008, and Super Lawyers Top 50 Women in Missouri. Rebecca received the Roger P. Krumm Family Law Award in 2021 in recognition of excellence, skill, integrity, commitment, and dedication to the improvement and advancement of family law practice and the children and families involved in family law matters.


Hon. Sara Miller's Profile

Hon. Sara Miller Related seminars and products

13th Judicial Circuit, Boone Co. Courthouse

Cary Mogerman's Profile

Cary Mogerman Related seminars and products

Carmody MacDonald

Cary J. Mogerman (JD 1985) is a shareholder of Carmody MacDonald, PC in St. Louis. He is a Fellow and Immediate Past-President of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, a Diplomate of the American College of Family Trial Lawyers, and a Fellow of the International Academy of Family Lawyers. 

Steven Peskind's Profile

Steven Peskind Related seminars and products

Peskind Law Firm

Steven Peskind is recognized as one of the top attorneys in the nation. Throughout his career, he has been trusted by politicians, judges, professionals, business owners, and business executives (as well as their spouses) to discretely and professionally represent them in family law matters.


Mr. Peskind brings a high level of expertise and experience to all cases he accepts. As a result, he has insights to divorce case management that few, if any, can approach. His courtroom advocacy skills are unmatched; so much so that he is trusted by the National Institute of Trial Advocacy to teach its students, who are also lawyers, how to effectively try divorce cases.


Mr. Peskind’s skills have been recognized nationally and internationally. In 2015 the prestigious  American College of Family Trial Lawyers elected him as a Diplomate. The American College is limited to the top 100 family law trial lawyers from across the United States. Mr. Peskind is one of only 5 Diplomates located in Illinois and the only Illinois Diplomate whose primary office is outside Chicago. The American College brings together top trial lawyers in America practicing sophisticated and complex family law matters both domestically and abroad. Diplomates, all members of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, are chosen based upon their recognized litigation skills and courtroom abilities. Mr. Peskind has also been invited to membership of the International Academy of Family Lawyers, which allows him contacts and resources in the international family law community.


He is also recognized on a statewide level. In 2015, Best Lawyers honored Mr. Peskind by naming him Best Lawyers Family Law “Lawyer of the Year” for the Chicago area. The Leading Lawyers Network has designated Mr. Peskind as a Leading Illinois Lawyer since 2003 and Super Lawyers has recognized him as a Super Lawyer since 2008. Peskind Law Firm is rated by US News and World Report as a Tier One Family Law Firm, the highest rating available.


Mr. Peskind’s innovative practice model has been emulated by many family law firms. Attorney Peskind is not shy about proclaiming, “we have some of the smartest and most dedicated people working at our firm. We are very proud of their commitment to serving our clients.”


R. Richart's Profile

R. Richart Related seminars and products

Albano, Richart, Welch & Bajackson, LLC

Anita Rodarte's Profile

Anita Rodarte Related seminars and products

Leonard Rodarte Siegel, LLC

Anita Rodarte is the current President of Missouri Chapter of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers (AAML) and Past President of the AAML Foundation (2016-2017). She has practiced Family Law in the Kansas City metropolitan area since 1984 and is a frequent lecturer on Missouri Family Law topics.

Michelle Spirn Related seminars and products

Spirn Family Law, LLC

Michelle J. Spirn has over twenty years of experience in all facets of family law litigation. She is proud to be a Fellow of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, a national organization whose members are committed to practicing family law at the highest levels of skill, honesty, integrity, and professionalism. Michelle is on the executive committee of the Missouri Chapter and chairs the national Professionalism Committee. She has been recognized by Best Lawyers In America since 2019 and was named Best Lawyers “Lawyer of the Year” for Family Law in 2021.  
Michelle has also been designated a St. Louis “Super Lawyer” since 2014 by Missouri/Kansas Super Lawyers, published by Thomson Reuters. Since 2015, the same publication listed her as one of the “Top 50 Women Lawyers” in Missouri and Kansas, and a “Top 50 St. Louis Super Lawyer” in 2021 . She holds the “AV” rating of the Martindale-Hubbell Legal Directory, the highest rating an attorney can achieve.  Between 2016 and 2021, Michelle served the Office of Chief Disciplinary Counsel on its Region X Disciplinary Committee, which investigates complaints against attorneys by the public.
Michelle graduated from Washington University School of Law in 1996 and George Washington University in 1992.


Fred Van Pelt's Profile

Fred Van Pelt Related seminars and products

Van Pelt & Van Pelt, PC

F. Richard Van Pelt is a shareholder of the Law Firm Van Pelt & Van Pelt, P.C. in Springfield, Missouri. He is a Fellow of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, a Diplomate of the American College of Trial Lawyers, and listed in the Best Lawyers in America since 2001. 


Courtyard by Marriott by Briarcliff
4000 North Mulberry Dr.
Kansas City, MO  64116 Kansas City
Phone: 816-841-3300

Cancellation Policy

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Please also be advised that, pursuant to RSMo. 537.1005, effective Aug. 28, 2021, “under Missouri law, any individual entering the premises or engaging the services of the business waives all civil liability against the individual or entity for any damages based on inherent risks associated with an exposure or potential exposure to COVID-19, except for recklessness or willful misconduct.”

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