What’s New, 20 VTBJ, Fall 2020-#27

AuthorChairs: Benjamin Battles and Bridget Asay, Esqs.
PositionVol. 46 3 Pg. 27


Vol. 46 No. 3 Pg. 27

Vermont Bar Journal

Fall, 2020

2019-2020 Sections and Divisions Annual Report


Chairs: Benjamin Battles and Bridget Asay, Esqs.

Amidst all of this year’s disruptions, appellate practice in Vermont has continued at a steady pace. Both the Vermont Supreme Court and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit have been holding oral arguments remotely since April and appear likely to continue doing so for the foreseeable future. Appellate practitioners should also be aware that although the Vermont Supreme Court will not be using electronic fling for some time, the Court has already begun to see appeals in cases from trial courts where there is electronic fling. Under recent amendments to the Vermont Rules of Appellate Procedure, parties in appeals taken from e-fling courts may not fle a printed case and instead must cite to the “appeal volume” created by the e-fling system. See V.R.A.P. 28(d)(3), 30(a), (b). In other news, Appellate Section co-chair Ben Battles presented this past July as part of a CLE program on the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent Bostock decision. The program, which was moderated by attorney Steve Ellis, also featured Vermont Supreme Court Justice Beth Robinson, and attorneys Emily Adams and Lisa Rae. At the VBA’s annual meeting, Ben’s co-chair Bridget Asay will be presenting on the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent decisions concerning the electoral college, along with attorneys Mike Donofrio, Jason Harrow, Peter Langrock, and Carl Lisman.


Chairs: Nancy Geise and Donald Hayes, Esqs.

The bankruptcy bar section held its annual Holiday CLE on December 6, 2019 at the Killington Grand Hotel. It was a snowy, stormy evening but despite the weather there was impressive attendance. Along with the annual Year in Review of bankruptcy case law, Judge Colleen Brown’s report on the State of the Court, and Mike Kennedy’s ethics seminar, topics included an overview of Chapter 12 bankruptcy and its ben-efts for family farmers; the intersection of Vermont’s burgeoning cannabis and hemp industries and the Bankruptcy Code; and another follow-up to the previously-offered CLE on student loan management in and outside of bankruptcy.

There have been important changes to Chapter 12 bankruptcy law this year and the bankruptcy bar section, along with Vermont Law School and the Vermont Bankruptcy Court, will be hosting a series of seminars aimed at informing the legal, f-nancial and extended farm and agricultural communities on the advantages of Chapter 12 as a tool in estate and succession planning, tax accounting and debt structuring. These seminars will be offered in two separate sessions – October 21, 2020, primarily for attorneys and accounting professionals; and November 6, 2020, focusing more on the broader farm community and agencies servicing those communities. Both will be offered remotely. Another session is planned for March 26, 2021 and will a follow-up to the previous sessions as well as a primer for bankruptcy attorneys who might want to learn more about a Chapter 12 practice.

Due to COVID-19, the bankruptcy bar will not be able to host its annual Holiday CLE in the usual fashion. Instead, there will be three separate days of seminars, offered over three weeks: December 3, December 10, and December 17. Along with the yearly reviews of case law, ethics seminar, and the Court’s report, the bar will offer a seminar on Small Business Subchapter V reorganization. This is a new section to the Bankruptcy Code and one that could greatly beneft business adversely effected by COVID.


Chair: Tom Moody, Esq.

It was an unusually quiet year for the Business Associations Section. After several years of active involvement with the Vermont Legislature, there were no business-law related bills that required the particular attention of the Business Associations Section, although some were related. Tom Moody and Jon Eggleston presented at the VBA virtual Mid-Year Meeting on “Business Law: Incentive Equity” which was well-received. We also plan on adding a half or full day webinar on business law basics to be recorded and added to the VBA digital library.


Chair: Nanci Smith, Esq.

The Collaborative Law Section invites members from the larger VBA membership who are interested in Collaborative Practice to reach out and create your own local practice group or join an existing practice group, such as CPVT (Collaborative Practice Vermont). This past year, CPVT has expanded to welcome 3 attorneys and a mental health professional, all of whom recently completed the IACP introductory Interdisciplinary training online. We are doing cases, continue to meet monthly, and formalized our free public service program called Divorce Options, on the third Thursday of every month, using zoom. This event informs the public about their divorce options-litigation, mediation and Collaborative Divorce. Like everyone else this year, we had to pivot away from our in person plans for an Introductory training, but the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals is now offering numerous opportunities for introductory trainings, on line. Please check them out and do the training so you can bring this innovative and healthy approach to divorce, separation, or probate issues. Any dispute where the relationships still matter, after the dispute is resolved.

We also held our 2nd Annual New England Collaborative Project Event on ine on September 25, 2020 on the topic: How to Grow Your Collaborative Practice. Attorney members who are interested in joining the CPVT practice group are encouraged to contact Nanci at nanci@nancismithlaw.com.


Chair: Katelyn Atwood, Esq.

There was a Criminal Law Year in Review presentation with presenters from both the prosecutorial and defense sides at the VBA Annual Meeting, which had positive reviews.


Chairs: Neil Groberg and Richard Hecht, Esqs.

Like the rest of the world, the Dispute Resolution Section confronted the world pandamic and strived to meet its challenges. Members of the DR section quickly seized the advantages of cyber...

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