THIS WEEK AT THE CITY BAR
THURSDAY, JANUARY 9
8:30 AM – 10 AM, Event
New Year, New You? Setting and Achieving Your 2014 Career Goals


FRIDAY, JANUARY 10
7:30 PM – 9:30 PM, Event
"Stop The Practice - I Want To Get Off!"


MONDAY, JANUARY 13
6 PM – 8 PM, Event
Why Purchase Price Adjustment Clauses Fail and How to Fix Them

     RECENT COMMITTEE ACTIVITY

Accounting Standards for Insurers
The Committee on Insurance Law, in a letter to the Federal Reserve System, expressed support for efforts to preserve existing state law based risk-based capital (RBC) and accounting standards for insurers, including those covered by Section 171 (the “Collins Amendment”) of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (Dodd-Frank). The letter notes that consensus is emerging that state-based RBC and accounting standards should be preserved and not supplanted by Federal standards.


Maintenance in Divorce Cases

The question of whether to use a presumptive formula to calculate maintenance in divorce proceedings has been a controversial issue. After reviewing extensive information, the Executive Committee issued a Statement expressing support for a formula/guidelines approach to presumptively determine the amount of maintenance where the combined adjusted gross income of the parties is less than $300,000, with the understanding that either or both of the parties may seek a deviation from the guidelines. In addition, the Statement expresses support for a formula/guidelines approach to presumptively determine the duration of maintenance payments, but only in cases below the Income Cap, and with the understanding that the parties can seek a deviation from the durational formula when it yields an unjust or inappropriate result. In cases where the Income Cap is exceeded, the parties should be able to argue the facts and circumstances of their respective positions concerning the appropriate duration of the maintenance award. Finally, the Statement notes that the law should continue to provide that maintenance is terminated upon remarriage or retirement but that the law be amended to include a mechanism whereby the payee spouse may petition a court to seek continuation of maintenance based on facts and circumstances surrounding either retirement or remarriage.

Medical Marijuana
The Committees on Drugs and the Law and Health Law presented testimony before the Assembly Standing Committee on Health expressing support for pending medical marijuana legislation which would authorize and regulate the sale of medical marijuana in New York State. The testimony noted that the proposal would establish one of the strictest regimes in the country for distributing marijuana for medical purposes and accomplishes the dual goal of providing relief to suffering patients and protecting the public interest in regulating a controlled substance. The committees urged that patients who would benefit from and are approved to use medical marijuana should be easily able to gain access to it; specifically, they should be able to receive approved amounts of a quality of medical marijuana that meets standards for growth and sale under New York law.

Transparency in Government
A report was issued expressing support for A.2097-B/S.3046-B, which would allow public access to the proceedings and voting records of committee and session activities conducted by both houses of the State Legislature. This bill largely tracks rules reforms recommended by the Committee on State Affairs. The bill provides that: 1) all votes on legislation taken by legislators while in committee or in session be posted on the respective house’s website within 24 hours of the vote; 2) Senate and Assembly websites would post the bill number, date of the vote, summary of the legislation voted on, whether the vote occurred in committee or on the floor, and what each member’s vote was; and 3) all committee meetings and legislative sessions would be webcast through each house’s website.

Female Inmates
In a letter to Congress, the Committee on Corrections and Community Reentry praised the recent advocacy on behalf of women prisoners from the Northeast and their families to halt the move of women out of the Danbury Federal Correctional Institution (FCI Danbury). The letter also urged that Congress remain persistent in holding the Bureau of Prisons (BOP) accountable for its promise to continue housing women prisoners from the Northeast at Danbury and that BOP be encouraged to accommodate all women inmates from the Northeast at Danbury, including those women currently housed elsewhere and those who are not United States citizens.

Confidential Personal Data in Surrogate's Court
The Committee on Trusts, Estates and Surrogate’s Courts submitted comments on the Office of Court Administration’s proposal to adopt a new rule to the Uniform Rules for Surrogate’s Court, 22 NYCRR § 207.64, which would limit public access to certain documents containing confidential personal identifying and financial data. The comments, which represent the Association’s position, support the Proposed Rule as representing a reasonable and necessary balance, given the high volume of confidential information in Surrogate’s Court filings and the threat of identity theft, between two compelling state interests: the transparency of judicial proceedings, and the privacy rights of individuals. The comments include two recommendations: 1) clarifying certain language; 2) adding a requirement that practitioners must redact certain identifying information when filing papers with the court. The submission also included comments of the Committee on Communications and Media Law, which objected to the Rule as subverting the long-settled, constitutionally-protected presumption that court proceedings and court documents are open to the public. The Association’s submission also noted that the sealing of court records should be guided by the general principle that sealing should be no broader than necessary to protect the threatened interest.

     NEW NETWORKING SERIES: BAR @ THE BAR

The City Bar is pleased to present Bar @ the Bar, a series of casual “happy hours” for members at the House of the Association. This new benefit of membership is designed to provide a comfortable environment for conversation and networking in a small group setting. Capacity will be limited to approximately 30 people and there will be a $20 charge for the event, which will feature full bar and light snacks. Currently scheduled events are set for January 16, February 25, March 12, April 23 and May 29, from 6:00 – 7:30 p.m. Fee is $20 and registration is on a first-come, first-served basis.

     MEMBER MOVES AND MILESTONES

Switching firms or in-house positions? Made partner? Receiving an award? The City Bar wants to help members spread the word. Send your news to MemberNews@nycbar.org; select announcements will appear in the 44th Street eNews or on the website.

     HOST AN EVENT AT THE HOUSE OF THE ASSOCIATION

As a benefit of membership, the City Bar would like to offer members, along with their friends and family, the opportunity to rent space at the House of the Association on weekends. From cocktail parties to weddings, this beautiful and historic building is the ideal location for any reception or event. Working with Abigail Kirsch Catering, we offer guests a unique and cost-effective experience right here in the heart of Manhattan.


If you are interested, please contact Abigail Kirsch Catering at 212-696-4076 or chedin@abigailkirsch.com, or Nick Marricco at 212-382-6637 or nmarricco@nycbar.org.

     CITY BAR IN THE NEWS

New York Law Journal, January 6, 2014 (subscription required)
Protecting Client Information: Should Lawyers Be in 'The Cloud'?

"A recently issued report of the Committee on Small Law Firms of the New York City Bar, 'The Cloud and the Small Law Firm: Business, Ethics and Privilege Considerations' provides a helpful introduction to the subject of cloud computing, and considerable guidance to practitioners. But perhaps necessarily the report does not give definitive answers to the fundamental questions: When—if ever—should lawyers use cloud computing in the context of the practice of law?"

New Jersey Law Journal
, December 24, 2013

Ethics-Rule Repeal Could Aid Consumers, Jobless Law Grads

"One of the biggest scandals for the nation's legal profession is its inability to offer accessible, reasonably priced legal services to the middle class....Now an elite task force of law deans as well as government, law firm and company lawyers—gathered together by the New York City Bar Association—offers a potential solution to this problem: get rid of the profession's own 'ethics' rule that bans outside investment in law firms. In a report issued on Nov. 14, the task force backs the views of economists and academics who have long seen this ban as denying legal entrepreneurs the funds needed to create consumer-friendly legal service providers...To quote the task force's report: 'access to outside capital could be a game-changing development in providing legal advice to the moderate- and low-income individuals who currently have unmet legal needs.'"


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