Labor and Employment Law
Legal Issues Affecting People with Disabilities
Letter to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission commenting on the Commission's Proposed Rulemaking to revise its Americans with Disabilities Act ("ADA") regulations and interpretive guidance - RIN 3046-AA85. The letter generally supports the proposed revisions which would comport with Congress's intent, when enacting the ADA Amendments Act of 2008, that 1) the primary object of attention in cases brought under the ADA should be whether entities covered under the ADA have complied with their obligations; and 2) the question of whether an individual's impairment is a disability under the ADA should not demand extensive analysis.
Drugs and the Law
Report supporting A.8396/S.5620 which would de-criminalize possession of a hypodermic syringe or needle that is lawfully possessed under New York's public health laws even though it contains a residual amount of a controlled substance. Under current law individuals possessing syringes in connection with New York's syringe exchange programs are at risk of prosecution for criminal possession of a controlled substance. This, the report argues, hampers the effectiveness of efforts to encourage use of clean legal syringes and safe disposal of used syringes. The propose legislation would eliminate this gap in legal protections for participation in syringe exchange programs.
Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Rights
Military Affairs and Justice
Letter to Congress urging the Senate Armed Services Committee to hold a public hearing regarding the immediate repeal of "Don't Ask Don't Tell" (DADT) and replace it with a policy of nondiscrimination. DADT, the letter argues, has resulted in the discharge of thousands of qualified individuals and denies the LGBT community the fundamental right to volunteer and serve their country.
Council on Children
Children and the Law
Family Court and Family Law
Letter to the New York State Office of Children and Family Services expressing concerns that some of the changes to the Standards for the Provision of Adolescent Services for Foster Care Youth proposed by the Office may make it more difficult for young people to transition out of foster care and to independence, avoiding homelessness.
Investment Management Regulation
Private Investment Funds
Letter to the SEC offering comments on File No. S7-18-09 - Political Contributions by Certain Investment Advisers, which would eliminate the ability of investment advisers to use political contributions and other items of value to influence government officials who are responsible for hiring investment advisers to manage governmental funds.
Report on the Outsourcing of Legal Services Overseas. Many law firms and corporate law departments outsource work to foreign law firms and legal support businesses, which has allowed firms and law departments to enjoy significant cost savings, reduce response time, and efficiently manage overflow work. This outsourcing has expanded as corporate legal departments and law firms faced growing pressure from clients to reduce costs and manage operations more efficiently. The report identifies the five specific ethics issues raised by the outsourcing of substantive legal work, suggests several common outsourcing scenarios and provides guidance for the practitioner in each scenario.
Report noting that A.9032/S.6064 and S.6157, proposals to amend New York's ethics laws, will not accomplish the ethics reform needed in New York. The report urges the Legislature not to vote on these bills but rather to encourage and accept more public comment and give further consideration to these and other proposals, including having a single entity provide ethics regulation.
Letter to the NYS Legislature urging the following reforms be made to the State Legislature committee process: 1) limit Senators to serving on a maximum of three committees at one time; 2) require committee members to be physically present to have their vote count; 3) require fiscal and issue analysis to accompany all bills and that a report accompany all bills voted out of committee; 4) mandate a mark-up process for bills before they are voted out of committee; and 5) provide each committee with control over its own budget and staff.
State Courts of Superior Jurisdiction
Letter to the Office of Court Administration providing comments on the new Request for Judicial Intervention Form including that: 1) the form should be posted on OCA's website in a format that allows attorneys to fill it in and download it to their computers; 2) OCA should clarify whether the Commercial Division Addendum replaces the current Statement in Support of Request for Assignment to the Commercial Division; and 3) the requirement that attorney registration numbers be provided for all counsel could be difficult and case confusion.
Town and Village Courts, Task Force on
Report in support of A.5899/S.4091 which would give defendants in criminal cases in Town and Village Courts the right to elect to appear in front of a judge who is a lawyer. The legislation would require that for the defendant elect to "opt out" of a proceeding before a non-attorney judge the defendant must do so in writing on a form to be prescribed by the Chief Judge after arraignment but before substantive motions. This, the report argues, would provide due process protections, prevent forum shopping and needless delay, and allow complex legal issues to be resolved by trained lawyer judges who are familiar with rules governing judicial ethics.