Monday, January 24, 2011
This Week at the City Bar
Legislative Update
Recent Committee Activity
City Bar in the News
This Week at the City Bar

6 PM – 8 PM, Event
Implementing Subsidized Kinship Guardianship in New York City

6 PM – 8:30 PM, CLE
Recruitment of Directors for Companies Emerging From Bankruptcy

8:30 AM – 10 AM, Event
Making Partner: A Step-By-Step Guide

9 AM – 12:30 PM, CLE
Dynamic Client Meetings

9 AM – 5 PM, Event
Developing the 21st Century: Land Use, Construction Law, and Project Finance in the Built Environment

6 PM, Event

Photo: Rick Kopstein, NYLJ
District Attorney Vance Speaks on White Collar Crime

8:30 AM 10:15 AM, Event/CLE
2011 Professional Development Workshop Series - Legal Project Management: Keys to Success

6 PM 9 PM, CLE
Litigation 101: Practices & Procedures Explained and Demystified

6:30 PM, Event
Serving on a Non-Profit Board

6:30 PM 8 PM,
The New Poor: New Debates About The Culture of Poverty and Their Implications For Poverty Policies

9 AM 12:30 PM, CLE
Hot Topics in Advertising and Marketing Law 2010 (Video Replay)

6:30 PM, Event
Report on Acid Violence in Bangladesh, Cambodia, and India

9 AM – 10 AM, CLE
Litigation Contingency Reporting: Where Are We With FASB and the SEC?

Legislative Update
The 2011 State legislative session is underway, with a new Governor, a $10 billion budget deficit, the Democrats retaining control of the Assembly, and the Republicans retaking control of the Senate. Session days – which primarily take place on the first two or three days of the week – are scheduled to end on June 20. The City Bar committees are in the process of writing transition letters to Governor Cuomo, outlining priorities and issues of concern; preparing or updating reports on pending legislation; and, in some cases, proposing new legislation. Here is a snapshot of what the City Bar committees will be advocating for this year:

  • Government and ethics reform, including measures that will increase transparency of operations and accountability of public officials;
  • The integrity of the judicial process, including increasing the availability of legal representation for low-income parties in civil cases, increasing the number of Family Court judges statewide, implementing greater fairness and accountability in consumer debt litigation, and facilitating the permanency needs of children in foster care;
  • The equal civil rights of all New Yorkers, including passage of the Marriage Equality Act, the Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act (‘GENDA’), the Reproductive Health Act and laws that protect victims of domestic violence and trafficking;
  • Legislation authorizing an attorney to attach a lien to awards and settlement proceeds received by his or her client through alternative dispute resolution or settlement;
  • Expanding jurisdiction in identity theft cases, clarifying the law with respect to ineffective assistance of counsel claims, establishing rational measures to decrease wrongful convictions, expanding judicial discretion to award youthful offender status, and continuing the reform of the juvenile justice system that was started under former Governor Paterson;
  • Enhancing the ability of individuals with criminal records to fairly reenter society;
  • Continuing the operation of The Office of the Taxpayer Rights Advocate within the NYS Department of Taxation and Finance; and
  • Election law reform measures, including support for an independent redistricting commission, no-excuse absentee ballot voting, and the implementation of filing fee alternatives for ballot access.
Further information about the Legislative Affairs Department can be found on our website. In order to receive up-to-date information about the policy work of City Bar committees and news on advocacy and politics in Albany, members can now follow us on Twitter at @NYCBarLegis.

Recent Committee Activity
Policies Impacting Children, Youth and Families

In a letter to Governor Cuomo, the Council on Children outlined some of the most important issues affecting the children of New York State, including: increasing permanency for children in foster care; continuing to reform the State's juvenile justice system; and providing sufficient resources to fund services necessary for the safety of children living independent of their families. The letter urged the Governor to work to assure that the State continue to maintain and strengthen the basic protections afforded New York's children, and offered to work with the Governor and his administration on these critical issues.

Reproductive Rights and Nursing Mothers
The Committee on Sex and Law, in a letter to Governor Cuomo, highlighted the issues of modernizing New York law to ensure that women's reproductive rights are secure under the law, and the implementation of legislation granting nursing mothers the right to express or pump breast milk in the workplace, and offered the Governor and his administration assistance on these issues.

The U.S.–EU Economic Relationship
The Committee on International Trade issued a report on the Lisbon Treaty's impact on U.S.- EU trade, investment, and finance. The report reviews the EU's legal framework under the Lisbon Treaty and selected legal issues on U.S.-EU economic relationships and concludes that eliminating all the non-tariff barriers would bring tremendous economic benefits not only to the U.S. and EU but all across the world. The removal of non-tariff barriers requires delicate and complex legal and regulatory coordination, and the report recommends that an officially sanctioned bilateral institute, U.S.-EU Legal Coordination Center for Trade, Investment and Finance, be formed in order to promote this goal.

Contact with Former Clients

Whether or not a lawyer may contact a former client to discuss matters concerning the prior representation without obtaining the prior consent of successor counsel was addressed in Formal Ethics Opinion 2011-1 by the Committee on Professional Ethics. The Opinion concludes that, specifically with respect to contacts with former clients represented by new counsel, Rule 4.2 prohibits such contacts when the intended communication falls within the scope of the representation unless the lawyer obtains the prior consent of the successor counsel. However, the Opinion notes, an inquiry from an attorney to a former client including, but not limited to, a request for unpaid fees and expenses, would not violate Rule 4.2 in the absence of any reason to believe that successor counsel is representing the client with respect to payment of those fees.

City Bar in the News
New York Law Journal, January 21, 2011
State Bar Set to Consider NYCLA's Proposal for Judicial Conduct Commission
The policy-setting body of the New York State Bar Association will be asked next week to endorse legislative proposals by the New York County Lawyers’ Association to change the way misconduct investigations are handled by the Commission on Judicial Conduct. After more than a year of lobbying by NYCLA, the state bar’s House of Delegates will consider eight resolutions embodying various recommendations during the state bar’s annual meeting next week….A spokesman for the New York City Bar Association said it has been in discussions with NYCLA and the state bar about the report but has not yet formally endorsed the still-evolving proposals.

ABA Journal, January 19, 2011
Ethics 20/20 Commission Seeks Feedback on Ethics-Related Choice of Law Issues
The ABA Commission on Ethics 20/20 is seeking comments on how – or whether – professional conduct rules should be revised to accommodate a growing number of ethics-related choice of law issues arising out of an environment in which more and more lawyers engage in cross-border practice….In its current form, Model Rule 8.5 provides that a lawyer is subject to the disciplinary authority of the jurisdiction where he or she is admitted to practice, regardless of where the conduct in question occurred….There have been efforts in some jurisdictions to consider variations to the model rule. In New York, for instance, the Committee on Professional Responsibility of the Association of the Bar of the City of New York in 2010 proposed revisions to Rule 8.5 (PDF) in the state’s Rules of Professional Conduct incorporating a stronger presumption that in cases other than those arising out of a matter pending before a tribunal, a lawyer licensed in New York would be subject to the New York ethics rules.

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