In 1984, a group of Board Certified family law attorneys created the Texas Academy of Family Law Specialists. The founders of TAFLS envisioned an organization providing opportunities for Board Certified family law specialists to interact, exchange ideas and experiences and grow professionally. The TAFLS founders limited membership exclusively to Board Certified family law attorneys, and later paralegals, thereby ensuring a distinguished membership. The Texas Board of Legal Specialization has certified fewer than 900 attorneys in family law. The majority of these attorneys are TAFLS members.
TAFLS generally hosts two events per year. The first event is the TAFLS Trial Institute, which is held in different destination cities each year. Unlike the common lecture format utilized in most continuing legal education events, the TAFLS Trial Institute generally consists of mock trial demonstrations. Open to both TAFLS members and non-TAFLS members, the Trial Institute provides a unique opportunity for attorneys to observe some of the best family law trial lawyers in the State of Texas present evidence, make objections, and present arguments. Each year, the Trial Institute generally focuses on a handful of cutting edge issues.
The second yearly TAFLS event is the Annual Dinner, which occurs on Wednesday evening during the annual State Bar of Texas Advanced Family Law course in August. The TAFLS Annual Dinner is open only to members and their invited guests. The dinner provides an opportunity for TAFLS members from all over the state to meet and socialize. In addition, the TAFLS Board presents the Sam Emison Award to one exceptionally distinguished family law practitioner or judge per year. The Sam Emison Award is one of the most coveted awards in Texas family law.
TAFLS publishes periodic newsletters. The Newsletter and its enclosures include discussions of recent developments in case law and are excellent educational tools for TAFLS members.
Many TAFLS members are active continuing legal education speakers. If one were to attend one of the many continuing legal education seminars sponsored by the State Bar of Texas, the University of Texas, the University of Houston, and other organizations across the state, the odds are substantial that the majority of the persons speaking are TAFLS members.
In short, TAFLS is a unique organization providing unique services to its members and providing a means for the public to obtain information about family law and about TAFLS members.