WHAT IS THE AMERICAN ACADEMY OF MATRIMONIAL LAWYERS – AND WHY SHOULD YOU CARE?
The following article appeared in the August issue of the “Mendham Neighbors” Magazine, which featured Carolyn Daly as their Expert Contributor in the area of Family Law.
When it comes to Family Law Attorneys, those who count themselves as Fellows of The American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers (AAML) are the elite of the elite. There are only around 1,650 Fellows in the 50 United States – an average of approximately 33 attorneys per State. The AAML is dedicated to providing leadership that promotes the highest degree of professionalism and excellence in the practice of family law.
Before one can apply for membership into the AAML, an applicant must have been practicing for at least ten years, and at least 75% of the applicant’s practice must be devoted to family law. Applicants must also participate in continuing legal education and demonstrate substantial involvement in the area of matrimonial and family law. This includes being a member in good standing of his or her local and state bar association; lecturing to others on continuing legal education; serving as a guardian ad litem, mediator, or attorney for a child; and authoring published articles on matrimonial and family law. All applicants must be able to competently handle complex matrimonial and family law litigation as lead counsel and have substantial trial experience, while also having the capacity to settle cases in the appropriate circumstances.
If you meet all these requirements, you must pass a National Exam to demonstrate your proficiency. As if that’s not enough, in New Jersey, these attorneys must also be Certified by the Supreme Court as a Matrimonial Law Attorney (a designation that only approximately 2.5% of New Jersey Attorneys possess). In New Jersey, there are just over 50 Fellows in the AAML.
Why is any of this important for you and your family law case? Put simply, those who successfully obtain membership in the AAML are the best in their field. It does not matter whether your case is complex or simple, and it doesn’t matter how much emotion is tied up in your case. Family law is a complex and high-stakes area of law that often becomes highly emotional given the issues that have to be dealt with, including the well-being of children, life-changing circumstances, financial protection, and the division of assets. Such major decision making requires sound advice, and it is important that you ensure you’re represented by a leading practitioner in the field of family law. If you have a Fellow on your side, you know you have a practitioner who can handle any range of complex issues, including but not limited to:
- Child Custody;
- Child Support;
- Pre-Nuptial Agreements;
- Division of Businesses;
- Stock Options;
- Executive Deferred Compensation;
- Equitable Distribution; and
If your case is complex or emotionally-charged (or both), having the right lawyer representing you makes it more likely you will arrive at a fair and equitable solution that allows you to move forward in life. Even if your case is less complex or emotional, if you have an Academy Fellow on your side, you can ensure you are obtaining the pre-eminent legal advice, which in turn allows you to feel comfortable in the life-changing decisions you will have to make.
Carolyn Daly is the President of the New Jersey Chapter of the AAML. She is the Founder and Managing Partner at Daly & Associates in Morristown, NJ, and has been practicing family law for more than 25 years. Carolyn’s practice includes complex matrimonial cases, mediation, arbitration, and much more.