MCLE courses


Advanced Family Law Course 2023 — Faculty Bios



Judge Thomas Trent Lewis (Ret.)is a neutral with Signature Resolution providing mediation, arbitration, and privately compensated judge pro tem services in family law. From 2016 until 2019, he was the Supervising Judge of the Los Angeles Superior Court Family Law Division. Judge Lewis became a CFLS in 1985 and was inducted into AAML in 1987. He was inducted as a Fellow of the International Academy of Family Law in 2016. He served on the Family Law and Juvenile Advisory Commission until 2014, and he is a past faculty member for the judicial training committee for family law. He is a past president of the California Chapter of the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts. He is also a contributing author of The Rutter Groupp's California Practice Guide: Family Law and serves as Program Director for CFLR. In 2018, he was named Family Law Judge of the Year by the Family Law Section of the California Lawyers Association, and ACFLS awarded him their Hall of Fame Award, the highest award bestowed by them. In 2010, he was awarded the Outstanding Jurist Award by AAML's Southern California Chapter, and in 2014, he became the first emeritus member of the Association of Certified Family Law Specialists. Among his many awards are the 2015 Los Angeles County Bar Association Family Law Section Spencer Brandeis Award, the 2016 Southern California Inn of Courts Outstanding Jurist Award, and the 2017 San Fernando Valley Bar Association Stanley Mosk Legacy of Justice Award. In 2018, he received the California Lawyers Association Family Law Judge of the Year Award. In 2018, he was awarded the Association of Family Law Specialists (ACFLS) Hall of Fame Award, the highest honor bestowed by ACFLS. Judge Lewis was also awarded the Southern California American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers Person of the Year Award. In 2022, Pepperdine University, Caruso School of Law Strauss Institute conferred upon Judge Lewis an LLM in Dispute Resolution.

Michael Asimow is a Dean’s Executive Professor of Law at Santa Clara Law School, and Professor of Law Emeritus at UCLA School of Law. He teaches contracts, administrative law, income tax, and law and popular culture.

Michael is the author of the tax chapter in The Rutter Group’s California Practice Guide: Family Law. He is a co-author of California Practice Guide: Administrative Law, also published by The Rutter Group. He has published numerous books and articles in the fields of taxation and administrative law. Michael also specializes in those areas of law, and popular culture.  He is co-author of Real to Reel: Truth and Trickery in Courtroom Movies (2021), Law and Popular Culture – A Coursebook (2021), and Lawyers in Your Living Room: Law on Television (2009).

Justice Dennis A. Cornell (Ret.) was a trial lawyer for 20 years, a Superior Court judge for nine years, and he recently retired from the 5th District Court of Appeal after fifteen years. He became a CFLS in 1980 and a fellow of the AAML in 1982. He tried approximately 50 jury trials to verdict as a lawyer, and over 120 jury trials and several hundred court trials as a trial court judge. He was the lead appellate attorney on over 20 family law appeals resulting in 12 published decisions. He has argued family law cases in the California Supreme Court, California Courts of Appeal, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, and the United States Supreme Court. Justice Cornell currently provides private judging services through Resolution Remedies.  

Judge Scott Gordon (Ret.) serves as a neutral with Signature Resolution in Los Angeles.  He was a Judge on the Los Angeles County Superior Court and served on that bench for seventeen years.  In his latest assignment, he was in the Family Law Division in a Long Cause Court handling complex family law trials and settlement conferences. He was the Supervising Judge of the Criminal Division.  He served as the Assistant Supervising Judge of the Criminal Division and in the Family Law Division as the Assistant Supervising Judge and Supervising Judge. In 2016, Judge Gordon was selected by the Chief Justice of California to serve as a member of the Judicial Council of California.  In 2017, the Chief Justice of California appointed him as a member of the Chief Justice’s special working group on Bail and Pretrial Detention Reform. In January 2019, the State Department of the United States invited him to serve as a member of the International Network of Hague Convention Judges.

Ronald S. Granberg, CFLS, is a Past President of the Association of Certified Family Law Specialists, a Past President of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers Northern California Chapter, and a Past President of the Monterey County Bar Association.  He has received the ACFLS Hall of Fame Award, the AAML NorCal Chapter Fellow of the Year Award, the AAML SoCal Chapter Family Law Person of the Year Award, and the Monterey County Bar Association Lewis L. Fenton Excellence in Advocacy Award.  Ron is a Fellow of the International Academy of Family Lawyers.  He taught Legal Research and Writing at the Monterey College of Law for 37 years, also teaching Trial Advocacy there for 24 years, and receiving its Professor of the Year Award six times.  He has taught at the eight-day Family Law Trial Advocacy Institute co-sponsored by the National Institute of Trial Advocacy and the American Bar Association.  Ron has published 23 family law articles, is the author of California Legal Research, and is a co-author of the Continuing Education of the Bar publication Crossover Issues in Estate Planning and Family Law.  He has made over 200 professional presentations.

Judge Margo Lewis Hoy (Ret.) joined Signature Resolution after 18 years of private practice and 11 years on the San Diego Superior Court. Known for her approachable demeanor, Judge Hoy serves as a private judge and mediates disputes concerning all areas of family law. 

Judge Hoy served as a Superior Court Judge from 2010 to 2021.  Judge Hoy was assigned to the family law division of the court for 8 of her 11 years on the bench and served as the supervising judge of the family law division and oversaw 26 family law departments.  She also served on the court’s Alternative Dispute Resolution Committee and chaired its Family Law Policy Committee. 

Before being appointed to the bench, Judge Hoy founded a premier family law practice in San Diego County and handled thousands of complex cases involving child custody and visitation, child and spousal support, and more. She was certified as a Family Law Specialist in 2000. 

Judge Hoy has been honored by legal organizations throughout California, including Distinguished Jurist Award 2021 from the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers Southern California Chapter, Judicial Officer of the Year in 2019 from the San Diego Family Law Bar Association and Crystal Gavel Award in 2021 from the San Diego Family Law Bar Association.  As a lawyer, she was named in the Top 25 Women Lawyers in San Diego.

Marc Peter Kaplan, CFLS, is a Certified Family Law Specialist with over 40 years of CPA and forensic experience. He has a unique practice, serving exclusively as a dedicated neutral as a Special Master/Referee, Mediator, Arbitrator or Privately Compensated Temporary Judge. As a Special Master, he provides analysis of income, business valuation and most other financial issues.  His mission statement is to resolve cases, educate the bench and bar on family law financial issues, and promote civility among attorneys.  

Anne C. Kiley, CFLS, has been practicing family law since 1990 and has been a Certified Family Law Specialist since 2000. She graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Economics, with honors, from the University of Michigan in 1986, and received her J.D. cum laude from the University of Michigan in 1989. She is a partner at Elkins Kalt in Century City, where she heads their family law department and is a Fellow of the International Academy of Family Lawyers and the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers. Ms. Kiley has been an adjunct professor of law at the University of Southern California Gould Law School, where she has taught Family Law and Community Property. Ms. Kiley is a frequent teacher for California Family Law Report (CFLR)/The Rutter Group, including co-teaching the annual Family Law Updates, teaching property for the Advanced Family Law Course and co-teaching trial advocacy programs. Ms. Kiley has also made several presentations on family law issues for multiple bar organizations and other groups. Her Martindale-Hubbell rating is “AV,” she has been recognized as one of the top attorneys in Southern California by the Los Angeles Times Magazine, is a Lawyer of the Year Honoree in Family Law for 2022 and has been included in Best Lawyers in America since 2007.

Staci M. Lambright, CFLS, is a partner at Sound Law Group LLP in San Francisco. She has been recognized as a Northern California Super Lawyer by San Francisco Magazine since 2020. Ms. Lambright provides technical assistance and training to professionals—including law enforcement, health care professionals, attorneys, and advocates—whose work directly impacts domestic violence survivors. She has been honored by the California Legislature, Chinese Consulate in San Francisco, San Francisco Bar Association, and San Francisco Domestic Violence Consortium for her work on cases involving domestic violence, custody jurisdiction, and high-conflict custody issues.

Christopher C. Melcher, CFLS, is a Fellow of the AAML, specializing in complex family law litigation with a focus on premarital agreements. He also handles appeals of family law judgments and writ proceedings. Mr. Melcher has substantial experience in the financial aspects of divorce and as a celebrity divorce lawyer. He served as Chair of the State Bar of California Family Law Section for the 2011-2012 term. He has presented over 200 continuing legal education programs and published books and articles on family law.

Judge Charles Novack has served as a United States Bankruptcy Judge since May 2010, and recently completed a four-year term as the Chief Bankruptcy Judge for the Northern District of California. He regularly lectures on a variety of bankruptcy topics to local, state, and national audiences. He chaired the National Conference of Bankruptcy Judges ethics committee from 2016 - 2017, and presently is the editor of the Ninth Circuits Bankruptcy Judges Education Committees newsletter. Judge Novack maintained his own bankruptcy practice in Oakland, California during the five years preceding his appointment, representing Chapter 7 trustees and debtors, creditors, and other interested parties in Chapter 7, 11 and 13 cases. From 1994 until 2005 he was an associate and then a shareholder at the Oakland bankruptcy boutique firm of Kornfield, Paul & Nyberg. Judge Novack served as an associate professor at California State University, East Bay from 2006 - 2009 and as an adjunct professor at Hastings College of the Law during the 2017/18 school year.

Judge Novack graduated from Rutgers College in 1980 (With Honors) and Hastings College of the Law in 1983 (cum laude).

Ellen R. Peck is a former State Bar Court judge and sole practitioner, now retired and living in Georgia. Her practice was limited to legal and expert services concerning the professional responsibilities of lawyers. She is a co-author of The Rutter Group's California Practice Guide: Professional Responsibility. She has served as ethics counsel to the State Bar and the ABA. She is past Chair of the State Bar Committee on Professional Conduct.

Judge Amy M. Pellman is a Judge for the family law division of the Los Angeles Superior Court. She recently completed a term as Supervising Judge in 2022. She was elected Commissioner in 2005 and appointed Judge in 2008. 

Judge Pellman dedicated both her legal career and judicial career to working with children and families. She has spent the last 18 years in the Family Law division with a five-year hiatus at the Edelman’s Children’s Court. 

Judge Pellman received a number of awards for her work on behalf of children and families including Judge of the Year from the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, Judge of the Year from Southwestern Law School, Outstanding Community Service Award from Levitt and Quinn Family Law Center, Family Law Judge of the year by the American Inns of Court, and more recently, Judge of the year from the Armenian Bar Associations.

Judge Pellman has numerous publications and has taught at USC Gould School of Law and Southwestern Law School for over 20 years. In 2005, Judge Pellman was awarded the Southwestern Law School, Adjunct Excellence in Teaching Award.

Prior to joining the bench, Judge Pellman served as the Legal Director at The Alliance for Children’s Rights, a non-profit legal organization which provided free legal services to children living in poverty.    

Judge Pellman practiced law in New York before moving to California. Judge Pellman holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Mount Holyoke College and a Juris Doctorate from City University of New York Law School. 

Judge Elizabeth Scully sits in a family law assignment on the Los Angeles Superior Court. Prior to taking the bench in December 2020, she was a Certified Family Law Specialist in private practice, providing mediation, collaborative, and minor’s counsel services in addition to traditional litigation representation. She is an adjunct professor at UCLA School of Law, teaching experiential courses in mediation and in negotiation theory and practice. She has co-authored numerous books and articles on topics relating to consensual dispute resolution in the family law context.    

Justice Mark B. Simons received his J.D. from the University of Chicago, where he served on the Law Review. He served on the trial court in Contra Costa County from 1980 to 2001, when he was appointed to the First District Court of Appeal in San Francisco. Justice Simons was an adjunct professor of law and taught evidence at Hastings College of the Law from 2002 through 2004. He has lectured on evidence topics to numerous lawyer and judicial groups, including the B. E. Witkin Judicial College, and served as Dean of the Judicial College in 1995 and 1996. Justice Simons is the author of California Evidence Manual (The Expert Series), published by Thomson Reuters. He has twice received the Bernard Jefferson Award for Distinguished Service in Judicial Education. 

CFLR programs are produced by
© 2024 CFLR / The Rutter Group • A Division of Thomson Reuters • All rights reserved.
Conditions of Use | About | Contact Us | Shop for Thomson Reuters Legal Products
Privacy Statement | Cookie Policy | For Calif. Residents: Do not sell my info.



Our Privacy Statement & Cookie Policy

Our Thomson Reuters Privacy Statement has changed to make our Privacy Statement clearer and more concise.
In addition, it has been updated to address new laws in California. Please review our updated Privacy Statement at the link below.

Privacy Statement          Cookie Policy