Denver Bar Association
July 2011
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A Seat at the Bar: Alec Baldwin Kicks Off Family Law Institute

by Sara Crocker

Alec Baldwin: A Promise to Ourselves

B


renda Storey has been working since October to create a catalyst to start a discussion on the current practices in family law. This year, there will be a Kickoff to the Family Law Institute and the special guest, who has some tough words for family law lawyers, will be actor Alec Baldwin.

Baldwin, who wrote the book "A Promise to Ourselves: A Journey Through Fatherhood and Divorce" following his public divorce from Kim Basinger and his custody fight for his daughter Ireland, describes today’s treatment of family issues in the courts as a cold and exploitative event: "To be pulled into the American family law system in most states is like being tied to the back of a pickup truck and dragged down a gravel road late at night. No one can hear your cries and complaints, and it is not over until they say it is over."

The kickoff will be held Aug. 11, the day before the Family Law Institute convenes in Breckenridge Aug. 12 to 14. The event also will serve as a fundraiser for the Legal Aid Foundation of Colorado, an idea Storey said Baldwin suggested. The theme of this year’s Institute is "Say You Want a Revolution," so the kickoff event at the Marriot City Center Hotel in Denver will start the conversations early.

If you go: Kickoff to the Institute with Alec Baldwin
5: 30 p.m. Aug. 11, Marriott City Center Hotel, 1701 California St.

Dinner and a conversation about the family law system with Baldwin. Pre-purchase of Baldwin’s book, “A Promise to Ourselves” will be available. Guests who pre-purchase the book with be entered into a lottery for an intimate book signing. The 25 selected will get to spend an hour with the actor following the event.

Cost to attend: $90 for students/young lawyers; $115 for Family Law Section members; $125 for Colorado Bar Association members; $150 for nonmembers. Register by Aug. 1 by calling (303) 860-1115 or email melissan@cobar.org. A registration form, available at cobar.org/family, must be completed to RSVP.

Though Storey knows not everyone will appreciate Baldwin’s take on family law, the Family Law Section Chair hopes the event will entertain, educate, and challenge people to change.

When Storey first started the process of inviting Baldwin, she was unsure of whether he would be interested. When she spoke with Baldwin from the set of the TV show "30 Rock," she was caught off-guard by the personal call and the fact that he went through his calendar with her to find a date that would work for them both.

Baldwin had never been approached by a bar association to discuss his book, which he wrote with Mark Tabb.

"I asked him to look them [the lawyers at the event] in the eyes and tell them, me, us what we’re doing wrong," Storey said of her approach in inviting Baldwin to speak.

Despite how people may feel about Baldwin personally, Storey said the same issues—personal attacks and being brought to one’s breaking point during a divorce or custody battle—are relatable to others. Throughout her planning process for the Institute, Storey has been surprised to find how few in the family law realm know that Baldwin wrote this book, which was published in 2008.

"What I appreciate about his book is that he doesn’t just complain; he actually makes some good suggestions," Storey said.

Although Baldwin hopes the system will change, Storey said his book is not meant to be disrespectful of those who work within the legal system.

"He really respects good lawyers," she said. "He respects the system; he just wants to change it." D


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