IN THIS ISSUE: MONDAY, MARCH 18, 2013
From the President: Carey R. Dunne
This Week at the City Bar
Around the Bar
Recent Committee Activity
Join a Committee
Seeking McDonald Award Nominations
Free Professional Liability Insurance Reviews
City Bar in the News
   

From the President: Carey R. Dunne
Serving the Public and the Profession with the Legal Referral Service


You have probably had the experience of a colleague, friend or family member asking whether you can recommend a lawyer to handle an issue. I have just the place to send them. The Legal Referral Service (LRS), which is co-sponsored by the New York City Bar Association and the New York County Lawyers’ Association, was set up in 1946 to help find work for lawyers returning from the war. Since then, the LRS has been a trusted resource for individuals and businesses searching for the right lawyer for their needs.

Read more.

This Week at the City Bar
MONDAY, MARCH 18
6 PM – 9 PM,
Event
Investing with a Higher Purpose – Renewable Energy and Environmental Protection: A New Era in U.S.-China Trade/Investment Relations


6 PM – 9 PM,
CLE
Ethical Considerations for Corporate Investigations (Video Replay)


6:30 PM – 8:30 PM,
Event
Women in the Legal Profession: Leadership from Law School to Practice



TUESDAY, MARCH 19
6 PM – 9 PM,
CLE
Patent Law For Non-Patent Lawyers



WEDNESDAY, MARCH 20
9 AM – 5 PM,
CLE
Privacy & Cybersecurity Law: Advising the C-Suite on Critical Issues in Our Information Society

6:30 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



THURSDAY, MARCH 21
8:30 AM – 10:15 AM,
Event/CLE
Ten Steps for Running a High Impact Pitch Meeting: Business Development for Lawyers
2013 Professional Development Workshop Series


9 AM – 11 AM,
Event
Resolving Your Co-op/Condo Residential Disputes Quickly, Efficiently and Privately


12:30 PM – 2 PM,
Event
Key Law Firm Planning: Firm Partnership Agreements and Preventing Partner Separation from Destroying Your Practice
Small Law Firm Luncheon


6 PM – 9 PM,
Event
Implementation of the Affordable Care Act: Implications for 2014


6 PM – 9 PM,
CLE
Powerful Oral Advocacy: Techniques for Trial Lawyers


7 PM – 9 PM,
Event
Science and Ritual in Contemplative Practice: What Works for Lawyers?
Contemplative Lawyers Group



FRIDAY, MARCH 22
8:15 AM – 9:30 AM,
Event
Part II of Defending Against (or Prosecuting) a Foreclosure Action


9 AM – 12 PM,
CLE
Persuasion Skills for Women Attorneys


6 PM – 8 PM,
Event
Friday Evening Chamber Music

Around the Bar
Best Practices Forum at the City Bar


Dean Michelle Anderson of CUNY Law School delivered the keynote address at Friday’s event entitled “Empowering Tomorrow’s Leaders: Best Practices for Supporting Diverse Students During Law School and Into Employment.” More than 100 attorneys participated in roundtable discussions to address academic success and employment opportunities for law students and recent law graduates. The forum was sponsored by the Committee on Diversity Pipeline Initiatives, and co-sponsored by the Committees on Minorities in the Profession, Law Student Perspectives and Recruitment and Retention of Lawyers; and Practicing Attorneys for Law Students, Inc. (PALS).

Recent Committee Activity
Forensic Evaluation in Child Custody and Visitation Cases
The Association submitted comments on a proposed Office of Court Administration Rule addressing making forensic evaluation reports available in child custody and visitation cases. After extensive discussion among several City Bar committees, it was concluded that, given the harm that can be done by providing parents with a copy of the report, the rule should not allow parents to receive a copy of the forensic report. Instead, the court rule should allow represented litigants to review the report in their attorneys’ offices, and should allow unrepresented parties to review the report in the courthouse and to have access to the report in the courtroom during trial. The comments acknowledged real concerns that limiting unrepresented parties to reviewing the reports in the courthouse creates a non-level playing field with regard to represented parties, and that the logistics of providing courthouse review may present challenges, but these were outweighed by the substantial risk to the child if these reports are released to the parties, even if parties were required to sign affidavits of non-disclosure.

Unemployment Discrimination

The Committee on Civil Rights expressed opposition to New York City Council bill Int. No. 0814-2012 (as amended), which would amend the administrative code of the city of New York in relation to prohibiting discrimination based on an individual’s unemployment. The Committee urged the City Council to let Mayor Bloomberg’s veto of the bill stand. Though the Committee shares concerns for job seekers who are unemployed, and supports a key component of the bill, the report expresses concerns that other provisions of the bill might worsen, rather than alleviate, the difficulties experienced by the unemployed. In particular, the report notes, the bill does not provide sufficient guidance to those who would be required to comply with, rely on, enforce, and adjudicate the law.

State Aid for New York City Schools
In a letter to Governor Cuomo, the Committee on Education and the Law urged restoration of the state aid to New York City schools that was lost as a result of the failure of the New York City Department of Education and the United Federation of Teachers to reach an agreement on a new teacher evaluation system. The reportedly $260 million in cuts to New York City schools, the letter argues, violates the State’s obligation under the Constitution to ensure that all children receive a sound basic education, and punishes the City’s children for the actions of others.

Medicaid Reviews and Appeals

The Committee on Legal Problems of the Aging expressed support for A.4996, which would secure certain due process rights in fair hearings for Medicaid applicants and recipients in regard to the decisions made about their care by private Managed Long Term Care plans (MLTCs). Currently, MLTC consumers must exhaust an internal appeal process with their plans before requesting State administrative hearings to challenge decisions about their care. The bill would eliminate this requirement and would allow a recipient to request a fair hearing prior to the exhaustion of an internal review and appeal process with the MLTC plan. The bill also would clarify the right of Medicaid recipients to receive continued services pending a determination of an appeal.

Child Soldiers

In a joint letter to the President of the Republic of Rwanda, the Committees on African Affairs, Children and the Law, and International Human Rights expressed concern over reports the Rwandan Government is recruiting children under the age of 18 to support troops of the M23 rebel forces in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The letter notes that such conscription of child soldiers would contravene international and regional human rights laws, humanitarian law, and the national laws of Rwanda, and urges the Government of Rwanda to immediately cease any recruitment of children for military purposes whether as part of its armed forces or to serve in non-state forces.

Uniform Guardianship and Protection Proceedings Jurisdiction Act
The Committee on Legal Problems of the Aging expressed support for A.857/S.2534, which would establish uniform procedure for guardianship and protective proceedings among the states. This would ease the coordination with other states’ courts and provide simpler procedures for those in need of guardianship who may also need to relocate to other jurisdictions. The report notes that the proposed bill will not change NY State’s substantive rules regarding guardianship and will accomplish the following beneficial goals: 1) to identify one singular state court to adjudicate first time guardianship petitions; 2) to establish a system of transferring existing guardianship appointments from one state to another; and 3) to establish a system of recognizing and enforcing guardianship orders of one state in another.

Criminal Libel Laws

The Committee on Communications and Media Law, in coordination with the Association’s Cyrus R. Vance Center for International Justice, filed an amicus brief in Emilio Palacio Urrutia et al v. The Republic of Ecuador with the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights. The case raises important issues about the legal rules that apply when a public official sues over press coverage of, and commentary about, his or her activities. The brief urges the Commission to adopt standards, similar to those in the United States, which safeguard the press and commentators against libel suits brought by public officials over coverage of official action. The safeguards include: 1) the requirement that a public official who sues for libel show that a false statement was made with knowledge of its falsity or with reckless disregard for whether it was false; 2) limits on punitive or presumed damages in libel lawsuits under the principle that damages awards be subject to a searching review to guard against excessive damage awards in libel lawsuits; and 3) the imposition of high evidentiary and procedural burdens on the use of the criminal law to address libel matters.

Court Rule on Electronic Discovery

The Council on Judicial Administration, Committee on State Courts of Superior Jurisdiction and E-Discovery Working Group collaborated on comments to the Office of Court Administration on proposed rules to require counsel to confer on e-discovery issues prior to the preliminary conference whenever a case is reasonably likely to involve electronic discovery. The comments are generally supportive of the proposal, noting the importance of counsel addressing issues relating to discovery of electronically stored information (ESI) at the outset of the litigation. The comments include several recommended amendments to the Rules that would (i) include reference to the burden as well as the cost of e-discovery; (ii) include as a consideration whether ESI is reasonably accessible; (iii) include a provision that parties should confer as appropriate should ESI issues arise after the conference; and (iv) clarify some of the phrasing in the Rules. The comments also acknowledge that OCA has undertaken efforts to train judges and court personnel regarding ESI issues and stress the importance of extensive training with periodic updates, to keep pace with changes in this rapidly developing area.

Join a Committee
Want to Serve on a Committee? Now is the Time to Apply
If you’re interested in serving on a City Bar committee, now is the time to apply, as committee members are generally appointed in the spring to begin serving a three-year term in September. If you haven’t thought about committee work, you should; committees are how the City Bar’s work gets done, and joining one can give you great experience while opening up a number of career doors, including some you might not anticipate. A list of City Bar committees, along with a brief description of their activities, where available, and committee applications can be found on the City Bar website.

Seeking Nominations for Kathryn A. McDonald Award
The 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 6, 2013.

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 here or by contacting Weintana Abraha, at 212-382-6624 or wabraha@nycbar.org. Nominations are due by March 22, 2013.

Free Professional Liability Insurance Reviews Available Now
Marsh is now offering City Bar members free one-on-one sessions to review their lawyers professional liability insurance. To schedule an appointment, contact Christopher J. Vedral, Assistant Vice President, by email at chris.vedral@marsh.com or call 212-345-2423.

City Bar in the News
National Review Online, March 14, 2013

The Persecution of Chen Guangcheng
How has the legal community acted to defend Chen Kegui? [Martin] Flaherty: The response of the legal community has been mixed. Some lawyers, legal academics, and organizations have been extremely active not just on behalf of Chen and his family, but with regard to persecuted and harassed Chinese lawyers generally.…Perhaps the most prominent group has been the New York City Bar Association. The City Bar did a mission and published a related report on the rule of law in China, has taken up the cause of specific lawyers, and recently honored Chen Guangcheng with an honorary membership, an award usually reserved for U.S. Presidents and Supreme Court Justices.”

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