From the President: Samuel W. Seymour
This Week at the City Bar
Around the Bar
FAQ's on Lawyer Advertising
Seeking Nominations for Kathryn A. McDonald Award
Employers Needed: Thurgood Marshall Internship Program
Recent Committee Activity
City Bar in the News

President's Letter
Human Trafficking and Modern Slavery

One of the darkest aspects of globalization has to be the proliferation of human trafficking. The U.S. State Department estimates that twenty-seven million people are victims of human trafficking worldwide, with one hundred thousand of them in the United States.

Trafficking, of course, is just prelude to what often awaits the trafficked at their destination: a form of modern slavery. “Modern slavery – be it bonded labor, involuntary servitude, or sexual slavery – is a crime and cannot be tolerated in any culture, community, or country,” writes Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton in the U.S. State Department’s 2011 Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report. To our government’s credit, the latest TIP report for the first time includes an analysis of the state of trafficking in the United States as well as in other countries around the world.

Read more.

This Week at the City Bar
6 PM – 8:30 PM,
Family Law: A Program for Law Students

9 AM – 12 PM,
Marriage Equality in New York: The New Legal Landscape for Same-Sex Couples (Video Replay)

6:30 PM – 8:30 PM,
The Art of Schmoozing: Networking Made Easy For Law School Students and Practicing Professionals

6:30 PM – 8:30 PM,
Show Up, Speak Up, and Step Up: 3 Leadership Strategies for Emerging Women Leaders™

9 AM – 12 PM,
Copyright & Trademark Licensing: From the Basic To The Not So Basic (Video Replay)

6:30 PM – 8 PM,
The 2012 Milton Handler Lecture

9 AM – 12 AM,
Trial Skills: Protecting the Record (Video Replay)

6 PM – 8 PM,
Friday Evening Chamber Music

Around the Bar
New York Environmental Year in Review

On February 15th, experts in New York environmental law reviewed the year’s most significant judicial, regulatory, and administrative developments, including the regulation of high volume hydraulic fracturing. From left: Kate Sinding, Senior Attorney, Natural Resources Defense Council; Jeffrey Gracer, Sive, Paget & Riesel, P.C., Chair, New York City Bar Committee on Environmental Law; Michael Gerrard, Andrew Sabin Professor of Professional Practice; Director, Center for Climate Change Law, Columbia Law School; Scott Fein, Whiteman, Osterman & Hanna LLP; Steven Russo, Deputy Commissioner and General Counsel, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation; Philip Weinberg, Professor Emeritus, St. John’s University School of Law

FAQ’s on Lawyer Advertising
The Committee on Professional Ethics has prepared a series of common questions and answers regarding New York’s lawyer advertising rules that were adopted within the past few years and included in the Rules of Professional Conduct that became effective in April 2009. The FAQ’s can be found here, on the Ethics page of the Association’s website, where you also can find the Rules and the Committee’s ethics opinions dating back to 1986.

Seeking Nominations for Kathryn A. McDonald Award
The New York City Bar is now soliciting nominations for the Kathryn A. McDonald Award for Excellence in Service to Family Court. This award recognizes the vital services of lawyers and non-lawyers who work in the Family Court in New York City. The winners will be honored by the Association at a reception at the City Bar on Monday, May 7, 2012.

Nominations can be submitted to the Office of the Executive Director. Details on the nominating process and a copy of the nomination form can be found on the Association’s website here, or by contacting Weintana Abraha at 212-382-6624 or by e-mail.

Nominations are due by March 21, 2012.

2012 Thurgood Marshall Internship Program Seeking Employers
Employers are needed for the New York City Bar Association’s 2012 Thurgood Marshall Summer Internship Program, which places high achieving inner-city high school students in legal internships for the summer. Any employer interested in joining the program should contact Gabrielle Brown at 212-382-6713 or by e-mail. More information about the program, along with the 2012 Employer Registration Form, is available here.

Recent Committee Activity
Attorney-Client Privilege and Military Commissions
In a letter to Department of Defense General Counsel Jeh Johnson, the Task Force on National Security and the Rule of Law expressed its concern with the Order Governing Written Communications Management for Detainees Involved with Military Commissions. The Order creates a mechanism for screening all mail of Guantanamo detainees to be tried before a military commission, even mail to and from lawyers representing the detainees. If the Order is implemented, the letter states, “the attorney-client privilege will be gravely undermined and the legitimacy of Military Commissions will be threatened.” The letter sets forth the deficiencies in the procedures, notably in comparison with the Special Administrative Measures and other federal Bureau of Prisons regulations that apply to inmates, including those involved in terrorism cases.

Treatment of Lost or Homeless Animals
The Committee on Legal Issues Pertaining to Animals issued a report supporting legislation that would establish procedures in New York to (1) increase opportunities for owners to find lost pets, (2) improve shelter care standards for all seized and impounded animals, including requiring vaccinations, and (3) establish a framework of cooperation between shelters and private animal rescue organizations. The legislation, according to the report, would improve the treatment of lost, stray, or homeless animals and improve their chances of being adopted.

City Bar in the News
Brooklyn Daily Eagle, February 16, 2012

For 2012, Courts Aim at Curtailing Societal Ills
New York's chief judge urged lawmakers this week to require DNA testing for every felony and criminal misdemeanor conviction and to give defendants who plead guilty to serious felonies greater access to genetic evidence from crime scenes…“We…applaud Chief Judge [Jonathan] Lippman’s inclusion of enhanced access to DNA for defendants in [Tuesday’s] State of the Judiciary message. The Senate and Assembly should seize this moment to come to agreement on a DNA bill which effectively serves the needs of both prosecutors and defendants,” stated New York City Bar Association President Samuel Seymour. Seymour made special note of the provisions set forth in Brooklyn Assemblyman Joe Lentol’s bill, A.5886, which provisions are designed to clarify and expand a defendant’s ability to ask a judge to order DNA comparisons from existing evidence and existing databases, both pre- and post-conviction. “While this would be an important step toward decreasing the incidence of wrongful convictions in New York, we note that expanded access to DNA is only one of a number of ways to decrease the incidence of wrongful convictions in New York,” Seymour said. “We also support increasing the use of recorded interrogations, codifying ‘actual innocence’ claims, clarifying ineffective assistance of counsel claims, and ensuring complete disclosure of exculpatory material.”

Wall Street Journal, February 16, 2012

Justice’s Bribery Racket
The 1977 FCPA was intended to prevent American companies from joining the Third World’s payoff habits. Over the last five years, however, Justice has begun to stretch the law into a far more blunt instrument. Instead of going after clear violations, the vague statute has become a tool to prosecute or threaten legions of companies…According to a report last month by the New York City Bar Association, by April 2011 the five biggest FCPA fines were more than $300 million each, up from a single largest fine of $28.5 million in January 2007. In many cases, companies settle for fines even if they dispute the charge to avoid the reputational risk of an indictment.

New York Law Journal, February 15, 2012

Youth Court, DNA Top Lippman’s Agenda
Also in the State of the Judiciary address, Judge Lippman.…announced an initiative in conjunction with the New York City Bar and banks to afford distressed homeowners more opportunity to work out loan modifications. Under the initiative, a special court part will be established, with settlement conferences calendared on a specific monthly schedule with each week dedicated to a particular bank’s cases and legal service providers available to assist unrepresented homeowner. “When the case is called…there will be no more excuses, no more delays,” Judge Lippman said. “Real negotiations will take place, and homeowners will leave the table with the best available offer.”

Associated Press, February 14, 2012

NY Chief Judge Backs Broader DNA Testing
Facing an ongoing home foreclosure crisis, Lippman said the New York City Bar Association is fostering a partnership between mortgage banks and legal services organizations representing homeowners to work out loan modifications to keep people in their homes. Courts in the city are establishing regular settlement conferences dedicated to a specific bank’s cases, starting in a few months. So far, Bank of America, Chase, Wells Fargo and Citibank have agreed to participate, officials said.

Forbes, February 14, 2012

Supreme Court Cert Petition Spotlights Speech Limits on Securities Market
Distinguished First Amendment scholar Frederick Schaeur once wrote in the Harvard Law Review, “It might be hyperbole to describe the Securities and Exchange Commission as the Content Regulation Commission, but such a description would not be wholly inaccurate.” SEC has yet to heed a suggestion from one of its own advisory committees to relax prohibitions on general solicitations and advertising, and has ignored a letter from the New York City Bar noting that New York and 30 other states take a more respectful approach to securities speech regulation.

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