- by Stearns-Montgomery & Proctor
The theme for this year’s Institute was “Anatomy of a Divorce and Family Law Case from Start to Finish … Basic and Advanced.” Stearns, Montgomery & Proctor attorneys’, Partner Ryan Proctor, Lance Dutton, Shana Pennywell, and Melody Swilling, attended the three-day conference in Amelia Island, Florida.
The State Bar of Georgia Institute of Continuing Legal Education provides in-depth coverage of particular areas of law. The primary intent behind the theme and program content at this year’s Institute was for family law attorneys of all experience levels to learn and benefit from the program material.
According to Mary Montgomery, founder and managing partner, the opportunity for the firm to sponsor members of its team to participate in continued legal education ensures they are connected to the State legal leadership and informed of current legislation and procedures.
The agenda provided opportunities for attorneys of all levels of practice to participate in the sessions. For the newest member of the SMP team, Shana Pennywell, the opportunity for her to join her peers proved to be time well spent. “While I have attended other Institutes, this opportunity allowed me to mingle with attorneys from the firm, discuss the class topics, and provided some direct brain storming,” said the 9-year member of the Georgia Bar.
A cross section of Judges from across the state provided the attendees a “metro” and “non-metro” perspective on the presentation topics. According to Lance Dutton, these perspective options gave additional insight to processes currently in place. “It was a great opportunity to be among the best family law attorneys and litigators in the state,” he said.
It wasn’t all work and no play for this year’s attendees. Lance said, “I especially enjoyed the camaraderie and competitiveness from my peers outside of the courtroom.” Referring to a particular tennis match, Lance joked, “I am sure he will want a rematch,” but not willing to share his defeated opponent’s identify, citing confidentiality.