IN THIS ISSUE : MONDAY, FEBRUARY 6, 2012
This Week at the City Bar
Around the Bar
Seeking Comments on Rules re: Mediation
and Arbitration of Disputes Among Lawyers

Recent Committee Activity
City Bar in the News
   
This Week at the City Bar
WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 8
8:30 AM – 10:30 AM,
Event
Firsthand Accounts of Re-entry

9 AM – 12:30 PM,
CLE
Blogging, Friending & Tweeting: What Attorneys Should & Should Not Do

6 PM – 9 PM,
CLE
Surviving the Residential Real Estate Closing Without a Hitch: Better Than Reality TV

6:30 PM – 8:30 PM,
Event
Networking for International LLMs


THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 9
6 PM – 9 PM,
CLE
Hot Topics in Bankruptcy Litigation 2012

7 PM – 9 PM, Event
Salsa & Merengue Dance Class – Lawyers Connect: First Thursdays



FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 10
9 AM – 5 PM,
CLE
16 Hour New Jersey Bridge-the-Gap (Day 2 Only)

Around the Bar
Texas Tech Takes Moot Court Competition

The Texas Tech University School of Law took first place in the 62nd Annual National Moot Court competition on February 2nd at the City Bar. The University of California, Berkeley, was runner-up.

Bottom Row (left to right): Texas Tech University School of Law Team of Brandon Beck, Allie Hallmark, and Elizabeth Hill; University of California Berkeley School of Law Team of Rachel Schwartz, Grace Yang, and Sean McTigue. Top Row (left to right): Hon. Paul G. Gardephe, Hon. Raymond J. Lohier, Jr., Hon. Jane R. Roth, Hon Rosalyn H. Richter, Hon William F. Kuntz, II, Thomas H. Tongue, and Samuel W. Seymour, President, New York City Bar Association

Public Comment Invited on Proposed Rules/Procedures for ADR Resolution of Disputes Among Lawyers
Disputes among lawyers with regard to the business or professional aspects of their practice inevitably occur, and these disputes often affect client and public interests. Among the many services offered by the Association is providing a forum for the prompt, efficient, and private resolution of these disputes. This service is offered to the Bar as a whole, not solely to members of the Association.

In addition to providing arbitration and mediation rules and procedures for resolution of these disputes, the Association maintains panels of mediators and arbitrators and it also provides help in the neutral selection process, conference facilities, and model dispute resolution clauses.

The Association first issued arbitration rules in 1987 and mediation procedures in 1991, and they have been amended over the years. The proposed amended rules and procedures are set forth here. All comments should be emailed to Alan Rothstein, the Association’s General Counsel, at arothstein@nycbar.org, by February 29, 2012, at which time the comment period closes.

Recent Committee Activity
Professional Fees in Bankruptcy Cases
The Committee on Bankruptcy and Corporate Reorganization sent a letter to the Executive Office for U.S. Trustees, commenting on the Office’s proposed Guidelines for Reviewing Applications for Compensation and Reimbursement of Expenses by Attorneys in Larger Chapter 11 Cases. The Committee expressed concerns with the Guidelines as they include several provisions regarding compliance that would be exceedingly burdensome or otherwise problematic. In addition, the letter states, the Guidelines would impose substantial additional direct and indirect costs and could end up inadvertently harming clients and impairing the ability of estate-retained professionals to adequately represent their clients, and could lead professionals to forego representation of debtors in favor of work that carries less administrative burden and risk.

Offers in Compromise
In a letter to the NYS Department of Taxation and Finance, the Committee on State and Local Taxation expressed general support for the Department’s proposed regulation for NYS Offers in Compromise and offered a few recommendations. Though the proposed regulations provide clearer guidance and broadly implement the public policy goals that allow the Commissioner to accept a payment of less than the full amount of the liability for tax, interest, and penalties, based on a demonstration that collection in full would cause undue economic hardship, the Committee suggests that the rules would benefit by more closely conforming the financial analysis necessary to determine reasonable collection potential to the current federal Offer in Compromise guidelines.

Limitations on Estate and Trust Administrative Costs

In a letter to the IRS, the Committee on Trusts, Estates, and Surrogate's Court provided comments on a Proposed Regulation which in part concerns methods for reasonably estimating the portion of a bundled fee that is attributable to “investment advice.” The Committee suggested the Proposed Regulation be amended to include a safe harbor so that unless the traditional fiduciary relationship evidenced has effectively been converted into an agency relationship, no portion of a bundled (or unbundled) commission of an executor or trustee is or should be attributable to “investment advice” within the meaning of the Proposed Regulations. The final regulations should specifically address issues associated with the absence of an agency relationship and related differing duties and standards of care, even if they reach a contrary conclusion.

Human Rights Violations in Syria

The Committee on International Human Rights drafted a letter, signed by President Sam Seymour, to the United Nations Security Council, urging the Council to promptly refer all reported gross violations of human rights and fundamental freedoms by the government of Syria against civilians to the International Criminal Court for investigation. Government-led violence against peaceful protesters in Syria has been well-documented and continues to escalate. Because Syria has not ratified the Rome Statute, any crimes committed by the Syrian government against its citizens threaten to go unpunished absent Security Council action.

City Bar in the News
The Daily Telegraph (London), February 3, 2012

Selling the Dead
With the ink barely dry on the contract transferring Monroe's licensing rights to ABG, it is too soon to estimate how much of a financial killing can be made from future merchandising deals. Much may depend on whether Senator Golden’s proposed bill is passed in New York this year: the new law would prohibit any unlicensed advertiser or manufacturer from using the image of a New York-based celebrity for 70 years following their death…What most alarms opponents is that the new law would be retroactive, providing post-mortem publicity rights to heirs of personalities who died as long ago as the 1940s. The bill prohibits the use of a celebrity’s name, portrait, voice, signature or picture for advertising or trade purposes.…The New York City Bar Association warns that such legislation would not only generate litigation over licensing contracts agreed many decades ago but also threaten creative freedom.

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