FROM THE PRESIDENT: CAREY R. DUNNE

Supporting Solos and Small Firms


One of the fastest-growing segments of the New York City Bar Association's membership is solo and small-firm practitioners. This fact tracks one of the findings in our report on “New Lawyers in a Changing Profession,” which is that the number of new lawyers practicing in very small firms or as solo practitioners has doubled since 2007. For some, we know, this is not by choice but by economic necessity, as many of the larger firms are downsizing. This is where organizations like the City Bar can step in to provide the training for new lawyers that large firms have traditionally provided. The City Bar New Lawyer Institute is being set up to provide such training. Read more.

     THIS WEEK AT THE CITY BAR
MONDAY, MARCH 17
6 PM – 8 PM, Event
Name and Gender Changes for Transgender New Yorkers


TUESDAY, MARCH 18
8:15 AM – 9:30 AM, Event
Is it an Emergency? Effective Use of Emergency Applications

6 PM – 8:30 PM, Event

Getting Appointed to a Criminal Justice Act Panel for the Second Circuit and the Eastern and Southern Districts of New York

6 PM – 9 PM, Event

To GAL or not to GAL, Ethical Considerations in Housing Court


WEDNESDAY, MARCH 19
8:30 AM – 10:15 AM, Event/CLE
Developing Business through Networking: Live and Online

8:30 AM – 10:30 AM, Event
Firsthand Accounts of Re-entry into the Legal Profession

6 PM – 8:05 PM, CLE
Appeals: How to Take Them & Win Them


THURSDAY, MARCH 20
8:30 AM – 10 AM, Event
Using Your Law Degree for Something Other than Practicing Law: Exploring Non-Legal Roles Within Law Firms

6 PM – 9 PM, Event

Palliative Care and Ethics Committees: Diverse Approaches to Conflict

6 PM – 9 PM, CLE

Introductory Estate Planning for Every Lawyer - Case Studies

6:30 PM – 8:30 PM, Event

Animal Agriculture: What is Its Impact on the Environment?


FRIDAY, MARCH 21
9 AM – 5 PM, CLE
Hot Topics in SEC Enforcement: The SEC Gets Tougher


     AROUND THE BAR


On March 11th, the City Bar held its annual Milton Handler Lecture on the topic of "Antitrust in the 21st Century." Speakers were, from left: Eleanor M. Fox, Walter J. Derenberg Professor of Trade Regulation, New York University School of Law; Hon. Joshua D. Wright, Commissioner, Federal Trade Commission; Hon. Denise Cote, U.S. District Judge, Southern District of New York; C. Scott Hemphill, Professor of Law, Columbia Law School; and moderator Fiona A. Schaeffer.

 

     LEGISLATIVE AFFAIRS UPDATE

The Art Law Committee's proposal to enhance protections under the law for authenticators was introduced into both houses of the Legislature as A.9016 and S.6794. The bill is being sponsored by Assemblymember Linda Rosenthal and Senator Betty Little.


The Assembly passed legislation which would allow 16- and 17-year-olds to pre-register to vote. The City Bar supports this concept, as was most recently discussed in our report Policy Recommendations for New York City's Next Mayor.

     RECENT COMMITTEE ACTIVITY

Judicial Selection Methods in New York: A Guide to Getting Involved
The Council on Judicial Administration has issued a Guide to understanding and getting involved in the judicial selection process in New York. The Guide is designed to explain how the over 1,200 state court judges and over 150 federal court judges in New York State are selected, and encourage lawyers and members of the public to involve themselves in the selection processes. As the Guide explains, there are many opportunities to participate in the processes, including voicing an opinion to the appointing authority, e.g., the mayor or governor; running for election as a delegate to a judicial convention; or becoming a member of a screening panel. Diverse participation, the Guide notes, is good for the process of selecting judges and greater participation generally brings transparency to the process and promotes public confidence in our courts.

New York State's Executive Budget
In a joint report, the Committees on Trusts, Estates & Surrogates Courts and Estate & Gift Taxation provided comments on certain aspects of the 2014-2015 New York State Executive Budget dated January 20, 2014. The report offers comments on the following proposals: 1) to reform the New York estate tax (i) by raising the New York estate tax exemption from $1 million to $5.25 million, subject to further indexing, and (ii) by reducing the maximum New York estate tax rate from 16% to 10%; 2) to reform the New York estate tax by permitting a separate state qualified terminable interest property election to be made where no federal estate tax return is required to be filed; 3) to eliminate the New York generation-skipping transfer tax; 4) to provide for an "addback" of taxable gifts under IRC2 § 2503 that are made on or after April 1, 2014 if the decedent was a resident of New York at the time such gift was made; 5) to subject "incomplete gift nongrantor trusts" to New York income tax by treating such trusts as grantor trusts for New York income tax purposes; and 6) to subject to New York income tax on a "throwback tax" basis "accumulation distributions" to New York resident beneficiaries from nongrantor trusts (other than "ING Trusts") that are currently exempt from New York income tax under the "New York Resident Trust Exception," or as nonresident trusts that do not have any New York source income.

    SEEKING MCDONALD AWARD NOMINATIONS

The deadline for Kathryn A. McDonald Award nominations is fast approaching. This could be your chance to honor a great lawyer or non-lawyer who has dedicated his or her career to the Family Court and the vital services the Court provides for the community. The winners will be honored by the Association at a reception at the City Bar on Thursday, May 29.


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 or by contacting Weintana Abraha, at 212-382-6624 or wabraha@nycbar.org. Nominations are due by Tuesday, March 25.

    CITY BAR IN THE NEWS
New York Law Journal, March 17, 2014
Study Advocates Immediate Reform for Ethics Watchdog

"Albany's chief ethics watchdog commission has failed to fulfill its primary mission—to stem corruption by public officials and restore New Yorkers' trust in government, according to a study released Friday. The report, from the New York City Bar Association and Common Cause New York, said the state's Joint Commission on Public Ethics (JCOPE) should reform its operations immediately and not wait for the completion of a mandated review of its operations by a commission to be appointed by officials later this year. 'JCOPE has the burden of proof to persuade the public of its independence, vigor and commitment, and in its first two years it has not in our judgment carried that burden,' the report said."

New York Times, March 13, 2014
New York City Bar Association Urges Steps to Improve Ethics Panel

"The New York State commission charged with investigating the shenanigans of public officials is being urged to take major steps to shore up its image. The New York City Bar Association and Common Cause, a private watchdog group, are expected to release a report on Friday that criticizes New York's Joint Commission on Public Ethics and calls on the panel to adopt a series of measures that the two organizations feel will help restore public confidence in the commission. Evan A. Davis, a member of the bar association's committee on public ethics and counsel to Mario M. Cuomo when he was governor, said the commission had failed to persuade the public of its independence, often appeared reactive and had not made great use of its authority.

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