ABA Conference Helps Keep Family Law Attorneys at Top of Game

We are just back from the Continuing Legal Education Conference of the American Bar Association, Family Law Section, held in Southampton, Bermuda. (Rough assignment, I know.) Although my spouse, Tommy, and I had a little time to enjoy the beach, it also was a busy conference for me as Chair of the ABA’s Assisted Reproductive Technology Committee and an important opportunity for my colleagues in the fields of family law and fertility law to learn about or get fresh angles on the latest legal decisions, new legislation and best practices impacting our practices and our clients.

Among the CLE sessions I attended was one entitled “Stating the Obvious: How Exciting Black Letter Law Intersects with ART Parentage Proceedings.” The panel discussion on how rapidly evolving technologies can sometimes outstrip legal precedent, with moderator Julie Tavoso Esq. of Chicago and speakers Hon. Terrence Lavin of Chicago, and attorney Steven Snyder of Maple Grove, MN, was exactly relevant to the issues that face ART attorneys nearly every day. When the law is not there yet, we sometimes have to innovate in order to provide our clients with the support they need; that innovation, in turn, can sometimes run up against a judiciary that doesn’t know what to do with it. In many cases my colleagues’ cutting-edge legal work leads the law. And the major take-away from this session is that we must all do more to help create more black-letter law (i.e., statutes which clarify the rights and responsibilities of the parties and the mechanisms of parental establishment).

Another great panel session was “Effecting Legislative Change in ART: Tips, Tricks, and Traps.” This session was designed to inform and inspire attorneys to participate in the legislative process in order to effect positive changes for ART families. I’m proud to have participated in one such effort that resulted in making things easier and less costly for Illinois intended parents. (See our post for more on this.) This session was skillfully led by moderator Noel Tucker, Esq., of Edmond, Oklahoma; and attorneys Casey Gillece of Chicago, Ronald Nelson of Shawnee Mission, Kansas; and Marshall Wolf of Cleveland, Ohio, all of whom shared their challenges in working around outdated, badly written or ill-informed—and sometimes ill-intentioned—laws.


ART Plenary Session Panel: Marshall Wolf, Noel Tucker, Casey Gillece, Ronald Nelson

We also took advantage of the conference to convene the group that is working on updates to the ABA’s Model Act of 2008, which when finalized will offer a template for legislators and attorneys to use in drafting new ART laws, incorporating best practices in the field.

We were sad to leave beautiful Bermuda behind, but our next stop, the Family Equality Council fundraiser in New York, for which Tommy and I were proud to serve on the host committee, was a great success. More to come on that topic.






Rich Vaughn
Richard Vaughn

Attorney Rich Vaughn is founder and principal of International Fertility Law Group, one of the world’s largest and best-known law firms focused exclusively on assisted reproductive technology, or ART, including in vitro fertilization (IVF), surrogacy, sperm donation or egg donation. Rich is co-author of the book “Developing A Successful Assisted Reproduction Technology Law Practice,” American Bar Association Publishing, 2017.

Peiya Wang
Paralegal (律师助理)

Peiya Wang joined IFLG as a paralegal in 2015, where she manages surrogacy, egg donation and parental establishment cases and provides translation services for many of IFLG’s international clients. Peiya received her bachelor’s degree from Beijing Technologies and Business University, where she majored in Marketing. She moved to the United States in 2012 to attend Northeast University in Boston, Massachusetts, receiving a Master of Science degree in Global Studies and International Affairs in 2014. Peiya moved to Los Angeles in 2015 and received her paralegal certification from UCLA Extension. When away from the office, Peiya is a dragon boat paddler and a ballroom dancer, where she favors Rumbas and Cha-chas. She is fluent in Mandarin and English.

Luis Sosa

Luis R. Sosa joined IFLG as a paralegal in 2016, where he enjoys pursuing his passion for family and reproductive law. While working toward his bachelor’s degree at Florida International University, Luis worked as a paralegal and legal assistant for family law litigation firms in Miami and Washington, D.C. As a paralegal and case manager for IFLG, Luis, who is bilingual in English and Spanish, manages surrogacy, egg donation and other reproductive law cases. In addition to spending time with husband Randy and dog Marty, Luis enjoys being outdoors and appreciating the arts.

Toni Hughes

After receiving her B.S. in Business Management, Toni joined IFLG to pursue her dream of working in the legal field. As a Paralegal with over 10 years of experience in the assisted reproduction technology field, Toni is our Managing Paralegal, responsible for training and managing our paralegal staff. From drafting legal documents to assisting our clients with post-birth matters, Toni embraces the challenge of learning something new in this field each day. Besides spending time with her son, Jordan, Toni enjoys exploring new things, cooking, spending time with family and friends, and serving as a Youth Advisor for “Next Generation.”

Miesha Cowart
Financial Coordinator

Miesha Cowart joined IFLG as a financial specialist in 2014 following a successful career in development and business finance. Miesha previously worked for 10 years in the construction industry as a controller and for 13 years as Development Coordinator for the non-profit U.S. Fund for UNICEF. In her free time, Miesha works with “Next Generation” at her church. “They are my heartbeats!” she says of the youth in her community.


Kim has over 25 years of experience in the legal field and has worked exclusively in surrogacy and assisted reproduction law since 1999. Kim is a senior case manager of surrogacy and egg donation cases, and is also responsible for managing parental establishment cases and interacting with IFLG’s Of Counsel attorneys across the country. With three children of her own, Kim understands the importance of family and finds working in this area of law a rewarding experience.

Rich Vaughn

Attorney Rich Vaughn combined his personal passion as a father of twin boys born via assisted reproductive technology (ART) with more than 20 years of experience in business and technology law to build International Fertility Law Group. Today IFLG is one of the most successful and best-known law firms in the world focused exclusively on fertility law, helping thousands of intended parents through empathetic listening, compassionate guidance, and unmatched legal expertise. As an advocate for reproductive freedom, Rich also contributes his knowledge and time to improving the understanding and practice of ART law, most recently as a founder of and speaker at the first Cambridge University International Surrogacy Symposium held in June 2019, as immediate past chair of the American Bar Association ART Committee, and as a popular presenter to law schools, faculty and advocacy organizations all over the world.

Elizabeth Tamayo

Elizabeth received her Bachelors of Science degree in Criminal Justice from California State University of Los Angeles. Shortly after graduating, she continued her education at the University of California, Los Angeles where she obtained her Paralegal certificate. Elizabeth is fluent in Spanish and has been in the legal field since 2009. She is excited to be a part of the IFLG Team helping families realize their dreams.

Sunny Chien

Sunny joined IFLG as a paralegal in 2017, where she manages surrogacy, egg donation and parental establishment cases for many of IFLG’s international clients. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Philosophy from California State University of Los Angeles, where she graduated cum laude. Sunny is bilingual in English and Mandarin and has extensive experience as a legal assistant and paralegal at Los Angeles-area law firms. She is excited to be part of the IFLG team. In her spare time, Sunny enjoys spending time with her family and their dog, going to the beach, cooking, and being outdoors.

Los Angeles

5757 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 645

Los Angeles, CA 90036

Phone:  +1 323 331 9343



New York

501 Fifth Avenue, Suite 1900

New York, NY 10017

Phone:  +1 844 400 2016



Molly O'Brien

Fertility law attorney Molly O’Brien began working in the field of assisted reproduction technology (ART) in 2005, at an egg donation agency and a surrogacy agency where she became familiar with all aspects of in-vitro fertilization, egg donation and the financial aspects of surrogacy. Since becoming an attorney in 2011, Molly has drafted and negotiated surrogacy, egg donation, sperm donation embryo donation agreements for hundreds of her clients all over the world.