IN THIS ISSUE: MONDAY, MARCH 25, 2013
This Week at the City Bar
Around the Bar
Recent Committee Activity
Committees Seeking Members
Seeking Legal Services Awards Nominations
City Bar in the News
   
This Week at the City Bar
TUESDAY, MARCH 26
9 AM – 12 PM, CLE
The Ins & Outs of Recovering Assets Via Whistleblowers & Other Tipsters
(Video Replay)


6 PM – 7:30 PM, Event
LGBT Asylum Training 101: Preparing the Case & Effective Representation in Immigration Court


THURSDAY, MARCH 28
5 PM– 7 PM, Event
Botein Awards

Around the Bar
Veterans Assistance Project Clinic


The City Bar Justice Center held its latest Veterans Assistance Project clinic Thursday. The Project, now in its sixth year, has handled over 600 cases for veterans from all five New York City boroughs, and has recovered over $1.2 million in retroactive benefits.

Recent Committee Activity
Use of the Term Notional Amount
In a letter to the Commodity Futures Trading Commission and the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Committee on Futures and Derivatives offered comments on the term "notional amount" as used in recent rulemaking promulgated by the Commissions. The letter highlights two issues: that the term which appears in rules is not defined and that calculating the notional amount is not easy or intuitive. Because the standards for calculating notional amounts vary with the type of transaction being analyzed, the letter urges that the Commissions consider providing a safe harbor for calculations of notional amounts made reasonably and in good faith or alternatively define the term.

Judicial Assistance to Unrepresented Litigants

The Association submitted comments to the NYS Office of Court Administration regarding a proposed amendment to the Code of Judicial Conduct that would provide it is not a violation of the applicable rule for judges to facilitate the ability of unrepresented litigants to have their matters fairly heard. The comments, developed with contributions from the Committees on Civil Courts and Pro Bono and Legal Services and the Council on Judicial Administration, applauded this initiative, stressing that judges should be encouraged to be as helpful as possible to unrepresented litigants, consistent with the other provisions in the Code of Judicial Conduct. The comments also addressed the rule's drafting and urged that guidelines be developed to aid judges in implementing the rule, and that, through the guidelines or other appropriate mechanism, non-judicial personnel should be permitted and encouraged to assist unrepresented litigants.

Committees Seeking Members
The following committees are seeking new members for the upcoming committee year beginning on September 1. Joining a committee is a great experience and can open up a number of career doors. If you are interested in applying to any of these committees, please complete a committee application. A full list of City Bar committees, along with a brief description of their activities, can be found on the City Bar website.

The Committee on Legal Issues Affecting People with Disabilities invites monthly presenters to discuss topics of interest to disability rights, labor and management, education, guardian/conservatorship and government benefits attorneys. This spring we are presenting a  CLE, Representing Deaf and Hearing Impaired Clients, and are considering additional CLEs for next year. Speakers have presented before the committee on the following topics: wages of home care workers and their effect on home care delivery, “drive-by” lawsuits filed by unscrupulous attorneys about architectural access issues, the jurisdiction of the City Commission on Human Rights, the work of the U.S. Department of Justice Office of Human Rights in the Southern District, and the rights of mentally and developmentally disabled citizens to reside in the community.

The Aeronautics Committee is composed of attorneys who have special expertise and interest in aviation law. Committee membership is represented by attorneys who practice in the insurance defense, litigation, regulatory, aeronautical support services, and general and commercial aviation industries. A substantial number of the members also have private pilot’s licenses and are owners or operators of general aircraft. The committee presents speakers at regularly scheduled meetings and aims to conduct at least one special speaker’s program or CLE course open to members and non-members of the Association at least once a year. This year, the topic for the speaker’s program will be drones. Finally, the committee also participates in various public service ventures and has a particularly close relationship with Aviation High School in Long Island City.


Seeking Nominations for Legal Services Awards
The City Bar is now accepting nominations for the 24th Annual Legal Services Awards. The award is designed to recognize the efforts of lawyers and non-lawyers who have, for an extended period during their career, devoted themselves to the provision of free civil legal services on a full-time basis to indigent persons. Nomination forms are available here. For more information, contact Weintana Abraha at (212) 382-6624 or wabraha@nycbar.org. The deadline for nominations is April 1, 2013. The Association will honor the winners in May.

City Bar in the News
The Hill's Congress Blog, March 19, 2013

Immigration Reform Should Fix Harsh, Inflexible Court System
“Having legal representation can be the difference between staying with one’s family in the U.S. or facing banishment and separation. A study initiated by Judge Robert A. Katzmann of the U.S. Court of Appeals determined that individuals with representation have a 500 percent greater chance of receiving favorable outcomes in their cases than those without. Similarly, a project by the City Bar Justice Center, which interviewed unrepresented individuals in a New York immigration detention facility, found that 39.2 percent of those detained might have meritorious claims for relief from deportation.”

The New York Times, March 21, 2013
Obama's Nixonian Precedent
"On Page 4 of the unclassified 16-page 'white paper,' Justice Department lawyers tried to refute the argument that international law does not support extending armed conflict outside a battlefield. They cited as historical authority a speech given May 28, 1970, by John R. Stevenson, then the top lawyer for the State Department, following the United States' invasion of Cambodia. Since 1965, 'the territory of Cambodia has been used by North Vietnam as a base of military operations,' he told the New York City Bar Association. 'It long ago reached a level that would have justified us in taking appropriate measures of self-defense on the territory of Cambodia.'"

New York Law Journal, March 22, 2013
Most Bar Groups Ever Size Up Seven Candidates to Fill Vacancy
With more bar groups than ever before weighing in on Court of Appeals candidates, one judge has emerged as the consensus favorite of the upstate, downstate and specialty bar associations: Justice Sheila Abdus-Salaam of the Appellate Division, First Department (See Profile). Abdus-Salaam was the only candidate to receive the highest possible rating from the 10 bar groups that evaluated the seven judges and attorneys in contention for a seat on the state's highest court.... Leventhal, from Brooklyn, got the highest ranking from the New York City Bar and Fahey was rated slightly lower.


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