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News and Announcements

New Mentorship Groups for AAML NorCal

Bianca Garcia | Published on 7/27/2021

Dear Potential AAML Mentees,

We are thrilled to announce that this September, we will be initiating three new Mentorship Groups for the Northern California Chapter of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers (“AAML”). We look forward to the opportunity to work with you in promoting AAML’s mission “to provide leadership that promotes the highest degree of professionalism and excellence in the practice of family law.”

Many of the AAML members have been a part of a Mentorship Group and found that joining a Mentorship Group was not only an excellent opportunity to benefit from family law training and mentorship from some of Northern California’s most respected family lawyers, but it is also an opportunity for you to build strong community and collegiality with your family law peers.

The mentorship program is a three-year program with a curriculum of approximately nine meetings per year. It will include guest speakers on substantive family law topics, demonstrations, case consults, and group building meetings. It is intended for practitioners who have had enough experience or exposure to understand how complex family law practice can be, but not so much experience that this training will not be of use to them. Interested Mentees should be willing to commit to the three-year program.

Below are the descriptions of the three new groups that will be commencing this September. We are committed to including a diverse group of lawyers in each mentoring group. If you are interested in joining one of these groups, please email Executive Director, Jennifer Cass at, and we will put you in contact with the Mentor Leaders of the group in which you have expressed interest.

Peninsula GroupMichèle Bissada and Rita Patterson will be leading a group that will meet on the 1st Wednesday of each month from noon until 1:30 PM. They will be meeting virtually at the outset but plan to move to in-person meetings in the Menlo Park/Palo Alto area in the future when possible. Currently, they plan to start on September 1, 2021.

Diversity Equity and Inclusion GroupGretchen Wallacker and Nancy Encarnacion Mass will be leading a group focusing on promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion in the family law field and encourage Mentees from all Bay Area Counties who are in less represented groups in the family law community and/or have had less opportunity for exposure to AAML activities and training to join them. This group will be held on Zoom due to the logistical goals of including all Bay Area Counties and plans to start September 1, 2021.

Alameda and Contra Costa County GroupDeborah Marx and Donna Gibbs will be leading this East Bay group. This group will hold in-person evening dinner meetings from 6–8 PM commencing in September 2021. The day of the week is still to be determined.

Thank you for your interest, and we look forward to welcoming you!

Gretchen Rubel and Victoria Lewis

Co-Chairs of the AAML NorCal Mentorship Committee