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44th Street Notes


President's Column


Jan 1997

As the year winds down, the holiday season seems an appropriate occasion both to reflect upon what has been accomplished here during the last six months, and to thank those whose recent efforts have had a special impact on the Association.

With apologies to those who, because of space limitations, cannot be singled out, thank you, and special holiday greetings to:

* The response team to the TWA Flight 800 disaster who, at the request of Mayor Giuliani, met with the victims' families to explain the considerations involved in hiring an attorney and reaching a quick settlement with insurers.

* The Committee on Government Ethics, Joel Berger, Chair, whose report (prepared with the assistance from the Committee on Municipal Affairs, Rosina K. Abramson, Chair) on the proposed amendment to the New York City Term Limits legislation was cited in numerous public forums, newspaper articles and editorials (including both The New York Times and the Daily News) in the weeks preceding the November referendum on the issue.

* The Committee on the Judiciary, Daniel F. Kolb, Chair, which in the last six months, with the assistance of the various court committees, evaluated approximately 75 candidates for elective and appointive judgeships, and whose findings of non-approval have been followed by the Mayor, the Office of Court Administration and the electorate in every instance.

* The Council on Judicial Administration, Robert L. Haig, Chair, the Council on Criminal Justice, Barbara D. Underwood, Chair, and the Committee on Criminal Advocacy, Philip R. Edelbaum, Chair, which have written, spoken and sponsored public forums on the role of the courts, the meaning and importance of an independent judiciary and the threats to our freedoms posed by unprincipled attacks on individual judges.

* The Task Force on International Legal Services, James R. Silkenat, Chair, and Donald Rivkin, former Chair, which successfully negotiated a Memorandum of Understanding with the Ordre des Avocats of Paris, providing for the carrying out of joint programs, and the commitment by both the Paris Bar and this Association to use their best efforts to have qualified members admitted to practice in the other jurisdiction.

* The Committees on Professional Responsibility, John B. Harris, Chair, and Professional and Judicial Ethics, Mary C. Daly, Chair, which provided extensive comments on the proposed revisions to the New York State Code of Professional Responsibility, with many of the suggestions being adopted by the State Bar Association.

* The Committee on Professional Discipline, Anthony E. Davis, Chair, whose extensive report on Alternative Disciplinary Sanctions and Remedies is now being actively considered by the Chief Judge's Task Force studying this precise issue.

* The Steering Committee on Legal Assistance, Allan L. Gropper, Chair, which, together with numerous other Association committees, put together a comprehensive six-point program for dealing with the Crisis in Civil Legal Assistance.

* The hundreds of lawyers who have volunteered to participate in our pro bono programs, including the nearly 300 persons who recently attended an all-day Saturday training session, and who have agreed to represent indigent persons in areas of domestic violence, matrimonial law, immigration and housing matters.

* The Advisory Committee on Continuing Legal Education , Beatrice S. Frank, Chair, and Karen Greve Milton, Director, which, usually with the support of another Association committee, sponsors at least four continuing legal education programs a month, and which put together a particularly successful program for newly admitted attorneys _"Practical Lessons Law School Never Taught You"_which will be repeated on January 16 (see p.7 for details). Thanks also to the more than 100 lawyers and judges who have served as faculty on these programs.

* The Young Lawyers Committee, Matthew D. Healey, Chair, which created the appellate record for, and is now attending to all the thousands of details of, the National Moot Court Competition (see p. 8 for details), and which (under the direction of Peter N. Fleischman) runs Monday Night LAW, where volunteer lawyers provide free legal advice to persons seeking assistance through our Legal Referral Service.

* The Talent Outreach Project, Kathryn E. Schneider and Steven M. Levy, Co-Chairs, which performs throughout New York City, and whose "Barristers on Broadway" at the 100th birthday party of the House was a smash hit.

* The Committee on Symposia, Hon. Betty Weinberg Ellerin, Chair, which, along with more than 50 other committees, has put together the virtually daily schedule of programs held at the House, including (to single out but a few): "Media Coverage of Celebrated Trials," "Forensic DNA: What's Next?," "Regulation of Tobacco Advertising," "Bank Mergers: The United States and International Perspectives," "First Impressions: A View from the Matrimonial Bench," "How to Become a Judge," "Revitalization of Times Square," and "Takeover Wars: Past and Future."

* The Lawyers in Transition Committee, Jennie L. Pettit, Chair, and Mindy Bass, Coordinator, which sponsors numerous programs to assist attorneys in career planning and in finding new employment.

* The Committees on Antitrust and Trade Regulation, Richard M. Steuer, Chair; Administrative Law, David M. Ross, Chair; and AIDS, Susan L. Hendricks, Chair, each of which has prepared an amicus curiae brief on behalf of the Association.

* The Committee on International Trade, Bhalinder Rikhye, Chair, and Yee Wah Chin, former Chair, which completed a comprehensive study on the Antidumping Law, and the Committee on Taxation of Corporations, Sydney E. Unger, Chair, and Seth Rosen, former Chair, which issued a thorough report on "The Effect of Post-Reorganization Transactions on Continuity of Shareholder Interest."

The "thank you's" could continue but there is no more space! However, I cannot close without recognizing the extraordinarily dedicated men and women who comprise the staff of the Association: Fern Schair, Alan Rothstein, Diana Davenport, Kim Mom, Johnathan Burman, Nathan Rosen, Mark Lutin, Allen Charne, Susan Love, Laurie Milder, John Macaulay and the numerous others who toil day in and day out to make this organization hum. Finally, thanks to all of you for your support. Happy holidays!

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