On March 22, 2017, Pam Gray and Ted Eittreim hosted the 24th annual Family Law Convocation on Professionalism, which was permanently renamed the “John C. Mayoue Family Law Convocation on Professionalism” in tribute to their late law partner, John Mayoue. John hosted the Convocation for all but one of the prior 23 years, and Pam and Ted were, and are, honored to be able to carry on the tradition of speaking about how attorneys can all strive to be more professional to each other and to the judges before whom they appear, a topic that was very close to John’s heart over his decades of family law practice.
This year, the Convocation utilized two panels of judges and attorneys, all of whom are preeminent practitioners in the field of family law. Pam and Ted were honored to have Judge Melvin Westmoreland and Judge Jane Barwick participate this year to give attendees some perspectives on professionalism from the viewpoint of the Court. In addition to the judges, Shiel Edlin, Bob Boyd, Nancy Lawyer, Ned Bates, and Jeff Bogart, all among the most distinguished family lawyers in Georgia, offered their thoughts by participating in the two panels over the course of the morning.
As in prior years, the Convocation is less formal than other continuing legal education seminars, with the goal to spark real conversations between the audience and the panelists so that as many different viewpoints can be heard as possible. As Ted explained in his opening remarks, the more informal and less scripted the discussion, the better.
This year the Convocation explored several main topics including how to be more professional in depositions as well as how lawyers can better handle situations when the opposing party is unrepresented. One of the highlights of the morning arose organically, as is hoped for, when a lively discussion transpired on the differences in how “millennial” attorneys approach professionalism issues when compared to more “seasoned” counselors.
As this was the first Convocation since his passing, a panel of John Mayoue’s peers offered, in what was a poignant tribute to their departed colleague, their thoughts on professionalism based on some of their experiences and interactions with John over the years.
As John would have wanted, the Convocation carries on the tradition of offering thoughts through discussion with some of the preeminent lawyers in the field of family law, guided by the ideal that professionalism is not simply a concept to which only occasional lip service is given. Rather, professionalism is, and should be, a guiding principle for all lawyers to keep in the forefront of their minds every day.