Tuesday, February 22, 2011
From the President: Samuel W. Seymour
This Week at the City Bar
Around the Bar
Recent Committee Activity
Committee Seeking Members
City Bar in the News

President's Letter
Looking Forward: Young Lawyer Outreach

When I was installed as president of the New York City Bar Association last May, one of the issues I highlighted was the importance of keeping pace with the rapid changes in the legal profession in areas including technology and globalization, and with the next generation of lawyers. I raised the alarm that our future as an Association may be in peril if we fail to involve new lawyers in the work of the City Bar. New members are our future, and thus it is critical that we as an Association reach out to young lawyers and engage them in our work.

Read full letter here.

This Week at the City Bar
12 PM – 2 PM, Event

Rethinking the Role of Judges in Civil Justice – Public Affairs Luncheon

6 PM – 9 PM, CLE

Sway The Judge and Jury: Persuasive Opening and Closing Arguments (Video Replay)

6 PM, Event
Books at the Bar: Scoundrels in Law

6 PM – 7:30 PM, Event
Building a Brand by Branding a Building: A Discussion at the Intersection of Marketing, Design, Urban Planning and Law

6 PM 9 PM, CLE
Padilla v. Kentucky: Immigration Consequences of Criminal Convictions (Video Replay)

6:30 PM 8:30 PM, Event
Federal Habeas Litigation: The Fundamental Rules and Principles That All Defense Attorneys Should Know

9 AM – 12 PM,
A “How To” Guide To Fiduciary Accountings (Video Replay)

6:30 PM – 8:30 PM,
Identifying and Cultivating Advisors, Mentors, and Sponsors – Women of Color Workshop Series

7 PM,
Address by Defense Department General Counsel Jeh Johnson


9 AM 12 PM, CLE
Impact of the Dodd-Frank Act on the Securities Industry: What Broker/Dealers and Investment Advisors Need to Know (Video Replay)

Around the Bar
LGBT Youth in Crisis: Causes, Impact, and Prevention of Bullying

On February 9th, a panel of experts, advocates, and educators discussed the political, legal, and cultural factors that are contributing to the current crisis and made recommendations to prevent bullying of LGBT youth. From left to right: Jeffrey Fishberger, Board of Directors, The Trevor Project; Susan Sommer, Senior Counsel and Director, Constitutional Litigation, Lambda Legal; Joseph Kosciw, Senior Director of Research & Strategic Initiatives, Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN); Lisa A. Linsky, McDermott Will & Emery; Hon. Bill De Blasio, Public Advocate for the City of New York; Randi Weingarten, President, American Federation of Teachers, AFL-CIO; and Elayna Konstan, CEO, Office of School and Youth Development, New York City Department of Education.

Recent Committee Activity
Prisoners’ Legal Services

In a letter to Governor Cuomo, the Committee on Corrections urged that funds be provided in the New York State budget to enable the continued existence of Prisoners’ Legal Services (“PLS”). PLS serves an essential function by providing an important, nonviolent way to resolve disputes, saving the State money and assuring that at least a portion of the inmate population has access to the justice system by providing them with a peaceful means of resolving disputes. Unless it is included in the State budget and receives State funds, the letter notes, PLS cannot continue to exist.

Pro Bono Representation
The Committee on Immigration and Nationality Law submitted comments to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services of the Department of Homeland Security on the Department’s Proposed Rule 8 CFR Section 1003.102(t). The proposed rule, the letter argues, would raise numerous concerns for attorneys committed to pro bono services about the ability to provide discrete unbundled services without being obliged to assume undefined responsibility or face disciplinary action.

Preservation of Evidence
Many litigants are not aware of their obligation to preserve evidence relevant to litigation. As a result, evidence is sometimes destroyed prior to litigants seeking legal advice. In a letter to the Chief Administrative Judge of the State of New York, the Committee on State Courts of Superior Jurisdiction proposes a new rule that would require that a notice of the obligation to preserve evidence be attached to, and served with, the summons in civil actions and proceedings in the Supreme and County Courts.

Combating Acid Violence
Combating Acid Violence in Bangladesh, India, and Cambodia is the first comprehensive, comparative study of acid violence that examines the underlying causes, its consequences, and the multiple barriers to justice for its victims. The Committee on International Human Rights collaborated with Avon Global Center for Women and Justice, the International Human Rights Clinic at Cornell Law School, and the Virtue Foundation to draft the report which, utilizing an international human rights framework, demonstrates that acid violence is a form of gender-based violence and discrimination prohibited under international law. The report argues that the due diligence standard can be a powerful tool for state and non-state actors to prevent and adequately respond to acid violence with the aim of combating it, and identifies key ways in which acid violence can be addressed by governments and corporations including limiting the availability of acid, appropriately punishing perpetrators, providing adequate redress to victims, and supporting women’s empowerment to enhance their self-confidence and ability to sustain independent livelihoods.

Disclosures Concerning “Conflict Minerals”
In a letter to the SEC, the Committee on International Human Rights offered comments on the SEC’s proposed rules under Section 1502 of the Dodd-Frank Act. Section 1502 addresses an emergency humanitarian situation in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) by requiring disclosures concerning “conflict minerals” in order to deter the use of those minerals to finance armed conflict in the region. The letter examines Section 13(p), which aims to curtail human rights abuses resulting from the mining of “conflicts minerals” in the DRC and adjoining countries, and recommends that the SEC look further at the following issues: 1) the companies covered by Section 1502; 2) the standards for determining the amounts and identity of minerals necessary to the functionality or production of merchandise; 3) the standard for country of origin inquiries; and 4) requirements for exercise of due diligence with respect to supply chains of conflict minerals.

"Mediation: Through the Eyes of New York Litigators"
The Alternative Dispute Resolution Committee and the Mediation Committee of the Dispute Resolution Section of the State Bar presented the results of a mediation survey probing lawyers' views from several perspectives: what they like and dislike about mediation; whether they personally prefer to mediate or litigate; what they tell their clients about mediation; how they raise the possibility of mediation with opposing counsel; what factors they consider in deciding whether to mediate a case; what they think of court-mandated mediation; what factors most affect the success of mediation; and, finally, whether and how more mediation should be encouraged.

Committee Seeking Members
The Asian Affairs Committee addresses a wide range of issues relating to Asia, such as technology transfer for climate change, rule of law, doing business with Asian countries, and significant legal and other developments in Asia. The Committee is seeking members who have an interest in Asia. To apply please contact the Chair, Jaipat S. Jain, at jjain@lpgllp.com or 212.784.2418.

City Bar in the News
New York Law Journal, February 16, 2011
N.Y. Courts Grapple With Discovery of Social Media Posts
The issue was addressed last year in a pair of New York ethics opinion….The New York City Bar, in Formal Opinion 2010-2, addressed the question head on. First, it discussed the benefit to the legal system of “informal discovery” and the wealth of information that could reasonably be assumed to be available on social media websites. The city bar concluded therefore that an advocate could access public postings and even request access to “private” portions of a website – i.e., request to “friend” the claimant – so long as it was done without trickery and with full and accurate disclosure of who the person was. However, neither the advocate nor an investigator could misrepresent who they were or the purpose of their request.

New York Law Journal, February 15, 2011
Recusal Is Step in Right Direction, Bar Leaders Say
Court administrators yesterday issued proposed rule changes that Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman says will improve public confidence in judicial impartiality and independence by prohibiting judges from presiding over cases involving large donors to their campaigns….Stephen P. Younger, president of the New York State Bar Association, did not immediately embrace the proposed rule yesterday….Mr. Younger’s counterpart at the New York City Bar, Samuel W. Seymour of Sullivan & Cromwell, was more welcoming of the new recusal rule. He pointed out that his group also has long warned about the “unhealthy influence of political contributions on judicial campaigns.” “The issue remains an important one, and we applaud Chief Judge Lippman and the administrative board for focusing on this concern,” said Mr. Seymour. “Unfortunately, as long as judges are subject to elections, they are vulnerable to questions being raised regarding the effect of campaign contributions on judicial actions.”

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