IN THIS ISSUE: MONDAY, APRIL 15, 2013
From the President: Carey R. Dunne
This Week at the City Bar
2013–2014 New York State Budget
Around the Bar
Recent Committee Activity
Securities & Finance Law Seminar Series Reception
Member Benefit: NexFirm
City Bar in the News
   

From the President: Carey R. Dunne
Helping Our Fellow Lawyers


On May 5th, the Lawyer Assistance Program (LAP) will mark fourteen years of service to the legal community in New York City. LAP is a free, confidential counseling service for attorneys (including those who have been suspended and disbarred), judges, law students, and their family members struggling with alcohol or drug abuse as well as other addictions and mental health issues. The program is run by Eileen Travis, a Licensed Clinical Social Worker.

As you might expect, given the economy and the uncertainties within the legal profession, LAP has been busy over the past few years. Last year, LAP received 331 referrals, 26% more than the year before. This year to date, LAP has gotten 99 referrals, up 120% from this time last year. While most calls involve alcoholism and/or drug addiction, there has been a substantial increase in mental health issues as well.

Read more.

This Week at the City Bar
MONDAY, APRIL 15
6 PM – 9 PM,
CLE
Borrowing From Peter to Sue Paul: Legal & Ethical Issues in Financing a Commercial Lawsuit


6:30 PM – 8:30 PM,
Event
The Justice Department in Times of War: Lessons from the World War II Cases
Judge George Bundy Smith Lecture by Neal K. K
atyal


TUESDAY, APRIL 16
8:15 AM – 9:30 AM,
Event
Treatment of Assets Purchased with Marital and Non-Marital Property: Principles and Application since Fields v. Fields


8:30 AM – 10:15 AM,
Event/CLE
How Best to Convey Your Message in Meetings, Conference Calls or any Conversation
2013 Professional Development Workshop Series


6 PM – 9 PM,
CLE
Recent Trends in Mortgage Backed Securities Litigation: Investor Claims & Defenses



WEDNESDAY, APRIL 17
12 PM – 1:30 PM,
Event
Teleconference: What is the Future of Defined Benefit Pension Plans? Strengthening Retirement Security with Less Risk

6 PM – 9 PM,
CLE
Hot Topics Affecting Cooperatives & Condominiums 2013


6:30 PM – 8 PM,
Event
Best Practices in Representing Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Clients



THURSDAY, APRIL 18
9 AM – 5 PM,
CLE
1st Annual Institute on Not-for-Profit Law


12:30 PM – 2 PM,
Event
Business and Commercial Mediation: Expand your Practice by Adding a Role as Consulting Attorney while Helping Clients Save Money
Small Law Firm Luncheon


7 PM – 9 PM,
Event
The Value of “a Little Time Alone in your Room”
Contemplative Lawyers Group



FRIDAY, APRIL 19
8:30 AM – 1 PM,
CLE
Current Issues in Insurance Regulation 2013

2013–2014 New York State Budget
On March 29th, Governor Cuomo signed the 2013-2014 New York State budget. Since the State’s annual budget goes beyond making appropriations and effectuates substantive changes in the law, the City Bar committees will sometimes comment on budget provisions that are relevant to their work.

First, the Council on Judicial Administration supported the adoption of the 2013-2014 Judiciary’s Budget Request. The Judiciary Budget provided the minimum funds the Judiciary needs; any further reduction would have seriously jeopardized the ability of the courts to fulfill their core missions. As explained in a report released in February, this “do more with less budget” request increased the total Judiciary Budget but decreased the state funded operational budget and included cost efficiencies including expanded e-filing, continued constraints on hiring and overtime, increased use of online materials and consolidation of administrative functions. Commendably, the Judiciary Budget increased funding for Civil Legal Services by $15 million for litigants who appear without lawyers in eviction, foreclosure, domestic violence, consumer debt and other cases involving the essentials of life.

Read more.

Around the Bar
City Bar Justice Center Hosts Annual Gala


The City Bar Justice Center honored Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP and Viacom Inc. at its annual gala on April 10th. From left: Lynn M. Kelly, Executive Director, City Bar Justice Center; Don H. Liu, Gala Co-Chair and Senior Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary, Xerox Corporation; C. Allen Parker, Presiding Partner, Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP; Carey R. Dunne, President, New York City Bar Association and City Bar Fund; Creighton Condon, Gala Co-Chair and Senior Partner, Shearman & Sterling LLP; Michael Fricklas, Executive Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary, Viacom Inc.; Jay Holtmeier, City Bar Fund Chair and Partner, WilmerHale; and Barbara Berger Opotowsky, Executive Director, New York City Bar Association.
Photos: Jill Lotenberg


Recent Committee Activity
Seizure of Condoms as Evidence
The Committee on AIDS expressed support for A.2736/S.1379, which would prohibit police and prosecutors from introducing condoms as evidence of prostitution-related offenses in criminal proceedings. Mounting evidence suggests that the practice of police seizure of condoms as evidence of prostitution-related offenses, and introduction of condoms as evidence of prostitution-related offenses in criminal proceedings, undermine New York’s efforts to fight HIV and AIDS by deterring people, particularly members of groups at high risk for sexually transmitted disease, from using these condoms. Amending the existing law as proposed by this legislation, the report notes, is essential to the promotion of public health and human rights.

Affordable Housing

The Committee on Housing and Urban Development issued a report which outlines a series of suggestions for how best to preserve the existing Mitchell-Lama (ML) housing companies, which provide affordable rental housing in New York City. Possible solutions highlighted in the report include: 1) creating a new definition of area median income; 2) requiring owners of ML housing companies to notify NYS Homes and Community Renewal (HCR) of their intention to exit the ML program, thereby giving HCR an opportunity to find a purchaser who would keep the projects as regulated affordable housing; 3) allowing for alternative forms of ownership; and 4) identifying broader sources of financing for existing ML owners.

Gun Control
In response to the recent mass shootings, the New York State Legislature has an opportunity to be in the forefront in the fight against gun violence by strengthening New York’s gun control laws. In a joint report entitled Continuing to Strengthen New York’s Gun Laws, the Committees on Criminal Advocacy and Criminal Law discuss the various gun control measures being proposed both in New York and nationally. The report notes that the passage of the New York Secure Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement Act of 2013 (“SAFE Act”), though a laudable first step to curb gun violence, should be further amended to strengthen its reach and impact. The report goes on to comment on an array of proposed legislation which would among other things: 1) establish a longer waiting period for the purchase of any firearm; 2) prohibit the purchase of more than one firearm during any thirty-day period; 3) require mircrostamping on new semiautomatic firearms; and 4) redefine the terms “armor piercing ammunition” and “disguised gun.” At the federal level, the report expresses opposition to H.R. 578, which would force each state to accept concealed handgun carry permits from every other state, even if the permit holder would not be allowed to carry or even possess a handgun in the state in which he or she is traveling.

Youthful Offender Status

The Committee on Criminal Justice Operations expressed support for A.1794, which would amend the Criminal Procedure Law to increase the age of eligibility for youthful offender status from age 18 to 21. Granting youthful offender status means that an eligible youth who is adjudicated a youthful offender does not have a criminal conviction and can avoid the collateral consequences and stigma of a criminal record, and allows the court, for a felony offense, to impose either a probationary sentence or a period of incarceration substantially lower than would otherwise be required. Recent neurological research, the report notes, has shown that brain development continues through an individual’s early twenties and that the abilities to control impulses and make mature judgments are among the last to develop. Because of this, young people should be held to a different standard when they commit a crime.

The Prudent Investor Act (PIA)

The Committee on Trusts, Estates and Surrogate’s Court issued a report in support of amendments to the EPTL Section 11-2.3(b)(5) proposed by the New York State Bar Association, which would change current law to clarify the calculation of trustee’s commissions in situations where such commissions are based on the amount of the trust’s income or the trust’s principal. This change, the report notes, is consistent with the precepts of the PIA and would result in a consistency of practice and eliminate the uncertainty which exists under current law.

Securities & Finance Law Seminar Series Reception
The Office for Diversity Pipeline Initiatives invites you to join the ASAFE Board of Directors, seminar series faculty, and advisor-volunteers in celebrating the law students who completed the inaugural Securities and Finance Law Seminar Series with a reception on Friday, April 19th. The reception will follow Linda Thomsen’s Enforcement Seminar, and attorneys with securities and finance backgrounds are invited to meet the students and learn more about the program. To attend, please RSVP here. Interested attorneys can also email Gabrielle Brown.

Member Benefit: NexFirm
NexFirm empowers attorneys to successfully launch their own law practice. NexFirm helps you create a robust launch plan and financial strategy, and continues as all operational responsibilities, from finance and accounting to IT, telecommunications, website and marketing are seamlessly handled so that you can focus on building a successful practice. New York City Bar Association members receive special discounts on services. Visit nexfirm.com/nycbar or call 646-666-8989 for more information.

City Bar in the News
Thomson Reuters, April 10, 2013

‘Friending’ Witnesses and Researching Jurors – Ethical Parameters Governing
Social Media Use

“The Association of the Bar of the City of New York Committee on Professional Ethics addressed this exact question with a different approach. In Formal Opinion 2010-002, the Committee considered whether a lawyer may, either directly or through an agent, ‘resort to trickery via the internet to gain access to an otherwise secure social networking page and the potentially helpful information it holds.’ The Committee concluded that ‘an attorney or her agent may use her real name and profile to send a “friend request” to obtain information from an unrepresented person’s social networking website without also disclosing the reasons for making the request.’ (emphasis added). The Committee cautioned, however, that an attorney must use only truthful information to obtain access to a website.”

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