Monday, March 21, 2011
From the President: Samuel W. Seymour
This Week at the City Bar
Around the Bar
Recent Committee Activity
City Bar in the News

President's Letter
Legislative Action at the City Bar

One of the most significant benefits of City Bar membership is the ability to participate in the development of public policy through serving on one of our 150 committees. Committee members have the unique opportunity to develop a position on existing legislation as well as work on proposals for new legislation involving a broad range of important issues. As stated in the City Bar’s constitution, “the Association was established for the purposes of cultivating the science of jurisprudence, promoting reforms in the law, facilitating and improving the administration of justice.” I believe that through the policy and legislative work undertaken by our committees and our Legislative Affairs department, which acts as a conduit between the City Bar’s committees and policymakers, the City Bar remains true to the goals of our founders.

Read full letter here.

This Week at the City Bar
6 PM – 8 PM, Event

Our New Judicial Order: Family Court and Housing Court Linked by Law

6 PM 9 PM, CLE
Ethics, Discipline and Real World Obligations (Video Replay)

6:30 PM, Event
My First Court Appearance: A Program for Law Students

8:30 AM 9:30 AM, Event
Women in IP Breakfast Series: Hot Topics in Licensing

12:30 PM – 2:30 PM, Event
Developing Offshore Wind Projects

6 PM,

Federal, State & Local Laws Affecting the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in Housing

6 PM 9 PM, CLE

Taking Your Firm to the Next Level: Growth & Expansion

8 AM 9:15 AM, Event
Breakfast Series Program II: Practicing Before the Appellate Division

12:30 PM 1:30 PM, Event
Career Search Group

6 PM 9 PM, CLE
You Don't Practice Criminal Law & You Get That Midnight Phone Call…New York Criminal Practice 101

8:30 AM – 10 AM, Event
Smart Marketing Means Ready, Aim, Fire: Ready for Effective Marketing?

6:30 PM, Event
Three Dogfights & A Funeral: The Roberts Court and the First Amendment

7 PM, Event
City Bar Contemplative Lawyers Group: The Foundations of Mindfulness


9 AM 12:30 PM, CLE
Blogging, Friending and Tweeting: What Attorneys Should and Should Not Do

Around the Bar
City Bar Hosts Panel on Representation of Undocumented Children

On March 16th, a symposium was held at the City Bar that provided training for lawyers who wish to represent children in asylum and special immigrant juvenile proceedings. Panelists included Fredda Monn, NYC Administration for Children’s Services; Diana Castaneda, Kids in Need of Defense (KIND); Cheryl Renee David, Sole Practitioner; Member, American Immigration Lawyers Association; Theodore A.B. McCombs, Sullivan & Cromwell LLP; and Anne Marie Mulcahy, Kids in Need of Defense (KIND).

Recent Committee Activity
Claims of Actual Innocence

New York provides no clear remedy for a self-standing claim of actual innocence and there is no binding New York law requiring courts to vacate a conviction if a defendant demonstrates his actual innocence. The Committees on Criminal Justice Operations and Criminal Courts issued a report recommending that New York Criminal Procedure Law Section 440.10 be amended to provide that a court shall vacate the judgment of conviction when it is established by clear and convincing evidence that the defendant is actually innocent.

Modernization of Public Construction Procurement Law
The Construction Law Committee issued an Update to its 2008 report 21st Century Construction/20th Century Construction Law. The Update is intended to: 1) highlight the continuing need to modernize public construction procurement law for all public owners in the State; 2) provide an example of modern public construction procurement legislation for illustrative purposes; and 3) articulate a conceptual road map to estimate the fiscal impact of modern public construction procurement legislation. The report contends that the time is right for the State to complete the initial reform of public construction procurement commenced four years ago.

Private Placement Market
The Committee on Securities Regulation offered comments to the Financial Regulatory Authority, Inc (FINRA) on proposed amendments to FINRA Rule 5122, which concerns the private placement of securities. While supporting the FINRA’s efforts to combat abuses in the private placement market, the report argues that the proposed amendments represent an unwarranted expansion of FINRA’s regulatory authority, could adversely affect capital formation by small issuers while failing to provide meaningful protection to investors, and would present practical problems of implementation.

Rule of Law in China
In a letter to the Ministry of Justice of the People’s Republic of China, the Council on International Affairs expressed concern with reports over the past several weeks that lawyers in various parts of China have been harassed, beaten, and detained at the hands of agents of the government. Chinese lawyers, the letter notes, are entitled to the rights and protections articulated in Article 35 of the Constitution of the People’s Republic of China, including the rights to free speech, assembly, association, and demonstration, and Article 37 of the Lawyers Law of the Peopleˇ¦s Republic of China specifically protects lawyers in carrying out their professional duties. In addition, such intimidation and harassment of lawyers violates international standards set forth in the United Nations Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers.

Kinship Guardianship Assistance Program
The Council on Children sent a letter to Governor Cuomo expressing concern about State Budget provisions related to the Kinship Guardianship Assistance Program. The letter notes that the Executive Budget and the Assembly One-House Budget Bill do not address the local/state share for the non-federal portion of the kinship guardianship subsidy, which means that the localities would need to pay the full non-federal share, amounting to an unfunded mandate. The Senate’s One-House Budget Bill proposal, which addresses the failure to provide a state share by attempting to make subsidized kinship guardianship optional – changing the word “shall” to “may” in the statute – would also demonstrate the State’s failure to maintain its commitment to achieving permanency with their relatives.

City Bar in the News
New York Times, March 18, 2011
Tantalizing Reporters, Bar Association Again Backs Cameras in Courts
“The New York City Bar Association released its annual legislative agenda this week, calling for changes across a range of legal areas, from equal access to the courts, election law and court operations. But here in the 100 Centre Street press room – home base for reporters and photographers from all corners of the city who cover the Manhattan courts – the item that created a buzz was the association’s longstanding request for legislation allowing cameras in the courtroom….The bar association’s legislative goals were about more than addressing journalistic desires….[S]purred by the controversy over the Salander-Oˇ¦Reilly art gallery fraud, the bar association is proposing legislation to increase the penalties for galleries that mishandle works they take on consignment.”

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