Lori Michaud has practiced law for over thirty years, so it should probably come as no surprise that she has learned a thing or two in that time. She is somewhat unique to our firm in the sense that she has such a wide array of experience; she has worked for very, very large firms (doing corporate litigation, no less!) in New Jersey and New York before relocating to Virginia to run her own successful law firm as a solo practitioner, and, finally, joining our family to represent women exclusively in divorce, custody, and support cases.
As the chief author of the new edition of our military divorce book (which you can request a free copy of by clicking here), it’s no secret that Lori is very familiar with military divorce law.
The truly distinguished practitioners, the ones who are considered to be the elite, are the ones who are selected to speak at continuing education classes to help teach other lawyers about changes in the law, better ways to practice, and expertly curated tips and tricks.
In Virginia, there’s no such thing as an “expert” designation. You can’t say that you “specialize” in military divorce. The way our ethical rules read, you can’t say that you’re an expert or that you carry a certain specialization unless there’s a specifically designated specialization that you earn. There are no such designations in family law. It’s a common misconception that you can say that you’re an expert in or that you specialize in a particular area of law just because you have a lot of experience with it, but that’s not the case – at least, not in Virginia.
As far as the ethics of it are concerned, that’s mostly to ensure that the consumer isn’t confused by weird dueling sets of credentials that may not have any actual significance. So, although we can’t say that Lori is an expert or that she specializes in military divorce, it’s clear that she does have a formidable amount of expertise on the subject.
Lori was selected to speak at the Advanced Family Law CLE in Norfolk this October to speak to other Virginia attorneys on the topic of special issues in military divorce. Lori is no stranger to unique issues in military divorce, having given continuing education classes on this topic before. To speak on military divorce not just once but several times is a significant honor and it shows all the work that Lori has done, both in her cases and behind the scenes, to ensure that she’s familiar with the vagaries of a practice area that is particularly tricky.
Military divorce is a complicated and constantly changing area of law, so being able to speak on it is both complicated and – I’m sure – daunting. If anyone’s up to the challenge, though, Lori Michaud is!
What topics will Lori be covering at the Advanced Family Law Seminar? I want to know if she’s the right person to handle my case.
A great question! Even though it’s pretty clear that Lori has a considerable amount of knowledge, you probably want to know that her knowledge will apply specifically to the concerns you have about your case. Even amongst military divorce cases, they’re not all the same – though, of course, they do have some similar attributes.
Lori will be speaking on a number of issues in military divorce law, including but not limited to:
Statutory Changes and Current Case Law
Rules of Practice and Procedure for Family Court
Military Pension, Retirement and Benefits
Survivor Benefit Plan for Retired Military Personnel
Military Reservists’ Retirement Benefits
Survivorship and Military Disability Benefits
Continued Health Care
As you can probably imagine, these cases can get complicated quickly! We can run into all sorts of issues related to PCSing, deployments, and even support. A lot of military families are fed misinformation, whether deliberate or not, from various military groups, including but not limited to military JAG attorneys and Fleet and Family Support groups, among others, so it can be hard for military wives or active duty service women to get up to date, Virginia specific advice that relates to their cases. There’s a lot of contradictory information out there. Some of that is due to all the changes that have taken place in the law – specifically, switching from traditional to blended forms of retirement – but some of that is just because there’s a lot of mystique surrounding the military.
It’s no secret that DFAS and other groups work hard to protect the active duty service member, and that can often come at the expense of the spouse. It’s important to have a licensed, experienced, super savvy attorney with tons of military experience especially in these more complicated cases.
Concerned that your case will take a turn towards litigation? Lori is an excellent litigator, too.
Lori sounds great! Is she the right attorney for me, in my military divorce case?
Well, I don’t know you – but I can tell you that Lori is an excellent attorney with an impressive list of credentials. If you haven’t figured it out by now, speaking at a continuing education class for other attorneys is the height of professional distinction in our field, and it’s a distinction that Lori has received a number of times.
As far as military divorce law is concerned, she’s top notch.
But you probably want to know more than that, don’t you? Is she a person that you’ll like, that you’ll be able to talk to, to whom you’ll be comfortable discussing the more intimate details of your marriage?
I think so. Lori is tough and no nonsense, but she’s also a “bring you up by your boot straps” kind of person. As a woman who has been through divorce herself and raised her son as a single mom, she’s tough as nails – but also has a really endearing, relatable side. She’s pretty easy to talk to, though she won’t shy away from telling you what she thinks you need to hear, either. (And, hey, isn’t that what you want?)
What else can you tell me about Lori?
If you’d like to read Lori’s full bio, click here.
Lori also teaches our Second Saturday and Custody Bootcamp for Moms seminars on a rotating basis with our other attorneys, so if you’d like to see her in action (and maybe ask her some of those burning questions that are keeping you lying awake at night) give our office a call at 757-425-5200 to find out when she’ll be presenting next.
You can also catch her at our Girl’s Night Out events! These are social events (so, not the opportunity to ask those questions), but a great opportunity to get to meet her and get a sense of her as a person. We understand how important it is for you to find an attorney who you can really relate to, and this is a great way to do just that. Also, you can enjoy some food and drinks on behalf of the firm, as well as network and have a chance to meet other local area women going through some of the same things as you.
Like I mentioned before, she’s also the primary author of our updated military divorce book, and you can request your free copy here. It’s a great primer on all the things you’ll want to know about military divorce (especially what the JAG attorneys AREN’T telling you!), especially since you can’t really come see Lori at the CLE!
For more information, or to schedule an appointment with Lori, give our office a call at 757-425-5200.