The International Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers By Stephen Kolodny

A professional organization designed to meet the needs of matrimonial attorneys across the globe, the International Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers (IAML) currently represents legal professionals from more than 44 countries. Founded in 1986 in the wake of the successes experienced by the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, IAML consists of some of the most accomplished legal professionals in their respective countries. Today, IAML divides its operations among three regional groups: the United States chapter, the European chapter, and the Canadian chapter. In addition to the numerous fellows participating in the 3 primary chapters, more than 80 fellows carry out IAML’s mission in Mexico, New Zealand, Singapore, South Africa, India, Hong Kong, Brazil, Argentina, and the Dominican Republic.


IAML sets out to improve the standards of the family law profession throughout the world by promoting legal reform, providing valuable advice and assistance to members of the public, and establishing international networks to support developments in family law. IAML members enjoy access to a number of benefits, including top-quality legal resources and scholarly publications. In recent years, IAML has emerged as a leading reference for individual seeking prominent matrimony lawyers. Similarly, many government officials use IAML membership listings to locate family law specialists in their countries.


One of the most valuable resources offered by the IAML, the Journal of the International Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers includes timely articles and keeps family law practitioners abreast of the latest advances in the field. The Journal’s articles discuss a wide range of family law topics. For example, financial dispute resolution in England, the California mediation privilege, alternative dispute resolution in the Dominican Republic, and the state of family law in India are some of the subjects recently included. IAML members also benefit from annual meetings of individual chapters and the organization as a whole, which include diverse educational programming and noteworthy guest speakers. During the meetings, members have opportunities to meet fellow family law attorneys and augment their professional networks.


To become members of IAML, candidates must satisfy the membership criteria and submit information for review by the Board of Admissions. The admissions process is a decidedly rigorous one, designed to maintain strong expertise among the group’s members. To learn more about the International Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, visit the website at


About the Author


A longtime member of the International Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, Stephen Kolodny currently works as a Founding Partner of Kolodny & Anteau, a family law firm in Beverly Hills, California. Mr. Kolodny possesses a wealth of experience with a variety of family law topics, primarily focusing on custody litigation issues and complex property characterization.


South Texas College of Law By Stephen Kolodny

By Stephen Kolodny

One of the most rewarding experiences of my professional career remains the time I spent in the great state of Texas working with the dedicated faculty and promising students at Houston Family Law Trial Institute at the South Texas College of Law. This fine association of legal professionals and students remains committed to providing the best representation in the important field of family law. The institute’s location at the South Texas College of Law seems especially fitting because the school itself was founded as part of the educational mission of another stalwart supporter of families, the YMCA.

Considered one of the top trial advocacy law schools in the United States, the South Texas College of Law traces its roots back to 1915. That year, taking on the mission of providing working men with the opportunity to study law while maintaining their day jobs, the Houston YMCA began offering evening law classes taught by H.D. “Guy” Burnett. Although the classes enjoyed some popularity, America’s decision to join World War I put a stop to proposals to establish a formal law school. After World War I, members of the Houston YMCA continued to serve returning soldiers, and by 1923, the YMCA Educational Committee endorsed the formation of the South Texas School of Law. Falling under the umbrella of the United YMCA Schools, the new law school opened its doors to students with classrooms in the YMCA building located at the corner of McKinney and Fannin in downtown Houston. The law school’s Advisory Council modeled its curriculum after that offered by the well-funded University of Texas School of Law, which in 1923 celebrated its 40th anniversary. In fact, classes and programs at the new South Texas School of Law were identical to those at UT Law, with the exception that the South Texas classes were held at night. Thirty-four students, including five women, enrolled for the school’s inaugural semester. Ultimately, only 11 of those students graduated from the four-year program, which cost $85 per semester.

In 1927, the Texas Supreme Court recognized the excellence of the program offered by the South Texas School of Law, as well as the positive addition that its graduates made to the fast-growing Houston legal profession. After rapid growth and a remarkable success rate among its graduates, the South Texas School of Law moved to a new building at 1600 Louisiana Street. Natives and visitors alike view that building, which still stands at the eastern edge of downtown Houston, as a prominent city landmark. Although the school’s graduating classes averaged about 33 students, the administration and alumni expected continued growth; in an effort to more solidly describe the academic rigors of the institution, the school changed its name to the South Texas College of Law in 1945. That same year, the school proved its adherence to its initial mission by creating a unique refresher course to assist men who had interrupted their legal studies to fight during World War II. That fall, the South Texas College of Law experienced an unprecedented enrollment of 99 students, which at the time exceeded the number of students at the state’s largest law school, UT Law. Although much has changed since the inception of the South Texas College of Law, the school continues to serve the needs of students who wish to study law. I feel incredibly fortunate to be associated with the South Texas College of Law.