THIS WEEK AT THE CITY BAR

TUESDAY, MARCH 4
6:30 PM – 8:30 PM, Event
TTIP Negotiations, NAFTA and China: A Comparative Analysis of U.S. Trade Agreements and Relationships in Light of TTIP


WEDNESDAY, MARCH 5
9 AM – 1 PM, CLE
Hedge Funds in the Current Environment

6 PM – 9 PM, CLE
Legal & Ethical Issues in Financing a Commercial Lawsuit: Borrowing from Peter to Sue Paul

6:30 PM – 8 PM, Event

The Hidden White House: Harry Truman and the Reconstruction of America's Most Famous Residence – Books at the Bar


THURSDAY, MARCH 6
6 PM – 9 PM, Event
The Rising Cost of Cancer Drugs and Cancer Research: Legal, Bioethical and Medical Considerations


FRIDAY, MARCH 7
8:30 AM – 10:30 AM, Event
Review of Sponsored Health Plan Coverage for Members

6 PM – 8 PM, Event
Friday Evening Chamber Music

    AROUND THE BAR


On February 24th, a panel focused on "Human Rights and International Sporting Events: Russian Anti-Gay Legislation, the Sochi Winter Olympics, and Next Steps." From left: K. Scott Kohanowski, Staff Attorney, City Bar Justice Center and co-president of the International Gay and Lesbian Aquatics Association; Nikki Dryden, Immigration & Human Rights Attorney, Fragomen, Del Rey, Bernsen & Loewy and two-time Olympic swimmer; James N. Green, Professor of Brazilian History and Culture at Brown University and founding member of SOMOS, Brazil's first gay and lesbian rights organization; Gleb Vakrushev, activist and member of Rusa LGBT, a U.S.-based, Russian-speaking network that fights for social justice and human rights for LGBT people in the former Soviet Union; and Jordan Backman, Chair, LGBT Rights Committee. (Not pictured: Minky Worden, Director of Global Initiatives for Human Rights Watch.)


City Bar members networked with Executive Director Bret Parker and others at Bar @ the Bar on February 25th. Sign up for the next Bar @ the Bar event on March 12th here.


Members and attorneys from sponsoring firms received two free CLE credits on February 27th, at "Professional Presence: Communicating with Confidence," part of the City Bar's 2014 Professional Development Workshop Series. Check our CLE and Event calendars for more free CLEs for members, and thank you to our sponsors for making these events possible.

     RECENT COMMITTEE ACTIVITY

Public Assistance
The Committee on Social Welfare Law expressed support for A.2669/S.4830, which would clarify and re-focus the conciliation process for New Yorkers receiving public assistance by enabling local districts to promote re-engagement of welfare recipients in welfare-to-work activities to either avoid or end sanctions. To accomplish this, the bill, among other things, requires social service agencies to determine if there is an exemption, lack of child care or transportation, or an accommodation for disability before issuing a re-engagement notice; prohibits sanction during the re-engagement process; retains conciliation but only as a way to avoid a sanction; establishes a written reminder of a participant's ability to comply after 30 days of non-compliance; institutes a participant's right to cure; and ends durational sanctions.

Legal Services for Immigrants in Deportation Proceedings
The Committee on Immigration and Nationality Law provided testimony before the New York City Council in support of examining models that would provide legal services for immigrants in deportation hearings. As the testimony explained, the City Bar supports appointed counsel for any indigent noncitizen facing deportation, especially those jailed in detention during proceedings. New York State already provides lawyers to those at risk of losing children in civil proceedings and those detained pretrial in criminal proceedings, and deportation proceedings often put both loss of children and jail at risk. In addition, appointed counsel in immigration proceedings would likely reduce the costs of taxpayer-supported immigration detention; help the fair administration of justice in enormously backlogged immigration courts; and economically benefit society by reducing social costs such as foster care and increasing the economic contributions of those with a right to stay here.

Medical Marijuana
In a joint report, the Committees on Drugs & the Law and Health Law commented on Governor Cuomo's proposal to restart the Antonio G. Olivieri Controlled Substances Therapeutic Research Program, which would allow New Yorkers who enroll as subjects in the Research Program to obtain medical marijuana. The report states that while this is a start, the narrow scope of the Research Program does not provide all qualified patients with access to a safe and reliable supply of medical marijuana, and that the Compassionate Care Act (CCA) should be enacted as a modern and effective means of providing qualified patients access to medical marijuana. The report notes that appropriately licensed and regulated registered organizations/dispensaries in the community, as provided for by the CCA, are better suited for reaching the populations suffering from the serious conditions that may benefit from treatment with medical marijuana.

Construction Procurement Laws
In its report, 21st Century Construction, 20th Century Construction Law: An Update, the Committee on Construction Law continues to urge New York State to completely overhaul its statutory scheme for publicly and privately constructed and financed elements of the built environment across the State to match the needs of 21st Century construction projects. The goal of the proposed overhaul is for the State to provide all New York public owners with all procurement and delivery modes, as necessary and appropriate, to materially reduce costs, speed delivery and improve quality and safety. Specifically, the report makes the following recommendations: 1) expand the authorization of the design-build methodology to include its use for all types of structures, and additionally authorize the construction-management-at-risk methodology for all New York Public owners; 2) remove the regulatory chilling effect on the design-build methodology in current legislation and resolve regulatory inconsistencies; and 3) expand the New York City Educational Construction Fund model to all public school districts and for other building typologies such as public health care clinics and ambulatory care facilities to further leverage the benefits of private multi-use development projects when and where they occur.

Gender Related Laws and Policy
In a letter to Mayor Bill de Blasio, the Committee on Sex and Law urges the administration to focus on a number of key issues concerning gender-related law and policy including: 1) supporting the extension of accommodations for breastfeeding mothers to college and university students; 2) enhancing public education about a breastfeeding mother’s right to express milk in the workplace; 3) strengthening the City's commitment to teaching comprehensive, medically-accurate sexuality education in public schools; and 4) strengthening the City's commitment to punishing the perpetrators of human trafficking and providing supportive services to its victims.

Protecting Social Welfare

In a joint letter to the Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services, the Committees on Children & the Law; Civil Rights; Domestic Violence; Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Rights; New York City Affairs; Sex & Law; and Social Welfare, as well as the Council on Children, outlined a number of suggested priorities for the administration which would serve to protect the social welfare and equal protection of New Yorkers. The suggestions include: 1) support breastfeeding mothers; 2) ensure access to subsistence benefits for the neediest New Yorkers; 3) improve the relationship between social welfare agencies and vulnerable New Yorkers such as individuals with disabilities, survivors of domestic violence, sponsored immigrants and LGBTQ individuals; and 4) implement new tools to promote child wellness.


    SEEKING LEGAL SERVICES AWARD NOMINATIONS

The City Bar is now accepting nominations for 25th Annual Legal Services Awards. The award recognizes the efforts of lawyers and non-lawyers who have directly provided free legal services to indigent clients on a full-time basis for an extended period of time. Nominees should have provided these legal services for at least five years.

Letters of nomination should fully identify the nominee and describe his or her outstanding legal services efforts. Please address nominations to the Legal Services Awards Committee, Executive Director's Office, New York City Bar Association, 42 West 44th Street, New York, NY 10036, or fax 212-398-6634. Nomination forms are also available here. For more information, contact Weintana Abraha at 212-382-6624 or wabraha@nycbar.org. The deadline for nominations is Friday, April 4, 2014.

    HOST AN EVENT AT THE HOUSE OF THE ASSOCIATION

As a benefit of membership, the City Bar offers its 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. More information on the building and space rental are available here and here respectively.

    CITY BAR IN THE NEWS

New York Law Journal, February 24, 2014
City Bar Summarizes Legislative Priorities

"Promoting legislation to institute public financing of campaigns in New York state and to change primary election day from September to June are at the top of the New York City Bar Association’s 2014 legislative agenda. The group said it also favors legalizing marijuana for some medicinal uses and supports the Unified Court System’s proposed 2014-15 budget, including a provision to create 20 new Family Court judgeships. The group said it continues to favor longer-term legislative objectives as well, such as consolidation of the state’s trial courts and extension of the appointment system to more state judgeships. The city bar, which has 24,000 members, said the positions it has on dozens of bills and legislative issues for 2014 were developed by its various committees."


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