THIS WEEK AT THE CITY BAR
MONDAY, MARCH 24
6 PM – 8 PM, Event
Fast Track Your Legal Career for 2014 By Building Your Game Plan for a Network of Powerful Relationships

6 PM – 9 PM, CLE

Ethics, Discipline & Real World Obligations


TUESDAY, MARCH 25
6 PM – 8:10 PM, CLE
Social Media in Employment Litigation

7 PM – 9 PM, Event

In-House Career Paths in the Financial Sector


WEDNESDAY, MARCH 26
6 PM – 9 PM, CLE
Risk Management Issues In Construction Projects & Contracts


THURSDAY, MARCH 27
12:30 PM – 2 PM, Event
Mind Your Own Business (Three Part Series): The Path to a Sustainable Practice
Part II - Tools To Connect With Your Target Market


5 PM – 7:30 PM, Event

Raising the Bar (Exam): Strategies for Increasing the Minority Law Student Bar Exam Pass Rate

6 PM – 9 PM, CLE

Copyright Basics


FRIDAY, MARCH 28
9 AM – 5 PM, CLE
Doing Business in India

7 PM – 8:30 PM, Event

Big Apple Razzle Dazzle: New York City Bar Chorus and Chicago Bar Association Chorus Joint Concert


     AROUND THE BAR


On March 19th, the City Bar held a program entitled "Firsthand Accounts of Re-entry into the Legal Profession." Speakers were, from left: Carol Fishman Cohen, Co-founder, iRelaunch; Co-author, Back on the Career Track; Alison Bird, Turinas & Bird LLC; Jeannette Rossoff, Deputy General Counsel, New York eHealth Collaborative; Rosemary Spano, Associate General Counsel, Macmillan; Cheryl B. Schacht, Litigation Counsel, RBS Legal, Americas.

 

     LEGISLATIVE AFFAIRS UPDATE

The NYS Senate passed two pieces of legislation supported by the City Bar last week. The first would allow public access to the proceedings and voting records of committee and session activities conducted by both houses of the State Legislature (S.3046-C). The bill was recently amended to require that committee meetings, hearings and sessions be webcast live to the extent practicable, a recommendation made in our support memo. The second bill is supported by the Trusts, Estates and Surrogate's Courts Committee and would change the law regarding the payment of interest on a delayed pecuniary legacy (S.4952). This bill has now passed both houses of the Legislature and awaits delivery to the Governor's office.

     RECENT COMMITTEE ACTIVITY

Mass Collection of Phone Metadata
The Task Force on National Security and the Rule of Law filed an amicus brief with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in American Civil Liberties Union v. Clapper. The Task Force argues that the National Security Agency (NSA)'s bulk telephone metadata collection program, which has involved wholesale collection of certain information for substantially every telephone call in the United States in May 2006, must be accorded Fourth Amendment protection. While the court below recognized that this case involves the natural tension between protecting the nation and preserving civil liberties, it inappropriately applied the third-party doctrine and found that the plaintiffs had no legitimate expectation that sensitive information relating to every telephone call they made or received would be private. The brief states that the court wrongly removed the Fourth Amendment from the analysis in balancing this natural, and by doing so compromised the fundamental right of privacy that is at the heart of both individual liberty and the rule of law.

Mute Swans
The Committee on Animal Law expressed support for A.8790/S.6589, which would impose a two-year moratorium on the implementation of the Proposed Management Plan for Mute Swans in New York State issued by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC). In addition, the proposed legislation would require the DEC to demonstrate the actual damage to the environment or other species that have been caused by the mute swan population. The report supports the proposed legislation because: 1) the underlying determination that mute swans meet the statutory definition of an invasive species requires further analysis and the Draft Swan Plan does not make the case for exterminating the entire free-ranging population of mute swans; and 2) the Draft Swan Plan was issued prematurely.

Commercial Bull-Running Events
In a letter to the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, the Committee on Animal Law called attention to a series of commercial bull-running events that are being held around the country, in which participants pay a fee to enter a race track where bulls are released to sprint alongside the participants, with no barrier between them and the bulls. The Committee wrote that the event appeared to violate the federal Animal Welfare Act, posing serious dangers to the bulls and humans involved, and recommended that the Secretary take all necessary steps to address the animal welfare and public safety concerns associated with these events as mandated by the Act.

New York City Land Use Issues
The Committee on Land Use Planning and Zoning sent a letter to Mayor de Blasio outlining a number of issues that his Administration is likely to encounter in the near future regarding land use. The letter identifies a number of recommendations including suggested improvements to the City's process for utilizing community benefit agreements and support for state legislation that would amend the Multiple Dwelling Law to grant the Department of Buildings broad authority to waive Building Code requirements where strict enforcement would give rise to practical difficulty or unnecessary hardship, so long as public health safety and welfare were preserved.

New York City Housing Authority

The Committee on Housing and Urban Development expressed support for A.6964/S.4641, which would require the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) to follow New York City's Uniform Land Use Review Procedure (ULURP), a statutory process designed to ensure public participation in city planning decisions, such as the infill development plan when conveying any city-owned land or buildings. The proposed legislation would provide a structured and consistent process for NYCHA to hear, discuss and meaningfully address public concerns, as well as take into account community needs such as the proposed impact on transportation, infrastructure and public services. Having a fair and meaningful review process, the report urges, is critical to maintaining transparency and responsiveness to New Yorkers' concerns.

 

Managed Long Term Care Plans
Part C of the New York State Assembly's Health and Mental Hygiene Budget (A.8558-C) would amend the social services law and the public health law in order to provide 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). The Committee on Legal Problems of the Aging supports the proposed legislation as it would: 1) eliminate the requirement to exhaust the administrative appeal process; 2) allow a recipient to request a fair hearing prior to the exhaustion of an internal review and appeal process with the MLTC; and 3) clarify the right of Medicaid recipients to receive, and the obligation of the MLTC to provide, aid continuing through the determination of an appeal.

 

Senate Rejection of Assistant Attorney General Nominee
City Bar President Carey Dunne wrote to U.S. Senate leaders to express concern over the Senate's recent vote in opposition to the confirmation of Debo Adegbile to head the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice. The letter, drafted by the Committee on Capital Punishment, said the rejection of Mr. Adegbile's nomination principally on the ground that he represented a death-row inmate is contrary to the fundamental American principle of access to justice and sends a chilling message to the legal profession that any lawyer who may at some point want to serve in a public office should refuse to represent a client, no matter how meritorious the case, if that client is unpopular. The letter urged that the Senate reconsider Mr. Adegbile's nomination.

    SEEKING LEGAL SERVICES AWARD NOMINATIONS

The New York City Bar Association is still accepting nominations for the 25th Annual Legal Services Awards. You can help recognize 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. Letters of nomination should fully identify the nominee and describe his or her outstanding legal services efforts. Nominees should have provided these legal services for at least five years. The Association will honor the winners in June.

Please address nomination letters to the Legal Services Awards Committee, Executive Director's Office, New York City Bar Association, 42 West 44th Street, New York, NY 10036; fax (212) 398-6634. Nomination forms are 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.

    CITY BAR IN THE NEWS

New York Law Journal, March 24, 2014
City Bar Guide Explores Mystery of Judicial Selection

"Prepared by the City Bar's Council on Judicial Administration, the guide provides a brief summary of the different methods for selecting judges for each state and federal court in New York, with a focus on New York City. It also discusses the variety of opportunities to participate in the process, including voicing an opinion to the appointing authority (the mayor or governor, for example), running for election as a delegate to a judicial convention, or becoming a member of a screening panel. 'New York deserves a judiciary of the highest quality and independence, as well as a judiciary that reflects the broad array of views and experiences of our city's and state's diverse population,' according to the guide."

[Read the guide here.]


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