IN THIS ISSUE : MONDAY, MAY 2, 2011
This Week at the City Bar        
Vote for 2011–2012 Nominating Committee
Around the Bar
Legislative Update
Recent Committee Activity
Committees Seeking Members
   
This Week at the City Bar
MONDAY, MAY 2
6 PM 9 PM, CLE
Current Developments in Commercial Division Practice


7 PM 9 PM, Event
Women in International Law: Transforming the Legal Landscape



TUESDAY, MAY 3

8:30 AM 10 AM, Event
Create Your Personalized Career and Business Development Plan: Critical Career Planning for Junior and Mid-Level Women Associates


9 AM 4:30 PM, CLE
Article 81: Certified Training for Guardians, Court, Evaluators & Attorneys for Alleged Incapacitated Persons


6 PM, Event
Series on Marketing - How You Present and Communicate as a Marketing Tool


6:30 PM, Event
Talent Night on the City Bar Stage



WEDNESDAY, MAY 4
9 AM 5 PM, CLE
6-Hour Bridge-the-Gap: Corporate & Litigation (Day 1 Only) (Both Days)



THURSDAY, MAY 5
9 AM 10:30 AM, Event
Job Search Networking and Interviewing

6 PM 8 PM, Event
Law Week Public Forum: Planning Ahead - Power of Attorney, Health Care Proxy, Living Will and Guardianship


6 PM 9 PM, CLE
Practice Before Immigration Court in Removal Cases: A Step by Step Guide


7 PM 9 PM, Event
Cinco de Mayo - Lawyers Connect: First Thursdays



FRIDAY, MAY 6

9 AM 1 PM, CLE
Hedge Funds in the Current Environment: The Impact of Dodd-Frank & More


6 PM, Event

Friday Evening Chamber Music

Vote for the 2011-2012 Nominating Committee
Ten candidates have been nominated for election to five positions on the Nominating Committee, which will serve in 2011–2012. Members are invited to vote for up to five candidates. Voting will remain open until noon on May 17, 2011. To vote, click here.

Around the Bar
The Egyptian Revolution and Its Implications for an Awakened Middle East

On April 25th, a panel of experts discussed the successful popular uprising in Egypt, its implications for the broader Middle East, and ways American lawyers can participate in this historic process. From left: Dr. Marina Ottaway, Director, Middle East Program, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace; Professor Rashid Khalidi, Edward Said Professor of Modern Arab Studies, Department of History, Columbia University; Larry Johnson, Chair, Council on International Affairs and moderator; Professor Yassin El-Ayouty, Adjunct Professor of Law, Cairo University School of Law; Fellow, Louis Stein Center for Law and Ethics, Fordham Law School; and Professor Sahar F. Aziz, Adjunct Professor of Law, Georgetown University School of Law; Legal Fellow, Institute for Social Policy and Understanding; Founder, Egyptian American Rule of Law Working Group.

Balancing LGBT Civil Rights with First Amendment Religious Protections

On April 26th, a panel explored historical and current fault lines between nondiscrimination laws protecting LGBT individuals and asserted rights to freedom of conscience and the free exercise of religion. Pictured from left: Susan Sommer, Senior Counsel and Director of Constitutional Litigation, Lambda Legal; Tobias Wolff, Professor of Law, University of Pennsylvania Law School; and Andrew Koppelman, John Paul Stevens Professor of Law, Northwestern Law School.

Legislative Update
Proposed Legislation by the City Bar

A unique aspect of being a member of a City Bar committee is the ability to propose legislation. Committee members are able to influence policy by drawing on their expertise to make recommendations to amend and improve the law. This session, our committees have been particularly active in drafting legislation, providing proposed amendments to the art and cultural affairs law, criminal procedure law, and human rights law, to name a few. The Legislative Affairs Department works with committees to find sponsors for their proposals, and once the legislation is introduced, we work with committees to advocate for the bill’s passage, finding support from other legislators, relevant organizations, and the public. For a sample of legislative proposals that the City Bar is advancing this session, click here.

Recent Committee Activity
Consolidation of Administrative Tribunals
In a letter to the Mayor’s Committee on Consolidation of Administrative Tribunals, the Committee on Administrative Law expressed support for the proposed consolidation of the administrative tribunals of the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene and the Taxi and Limousine Commission under the supervision of the Office of Administrative Tribunals and Hearing (OATH), as it will provide the greatest opportunity for fostering an independent judiciary. The letter did express concerns about the consolidation of such a large number of cases and urged that the Committee or independent group review the progress made by the consolidation within the next twelve months and issue a public report. The Committee also recommended that, in light of the substantial expansion of OATH in recent years, the Committee review the ALJ Rules of Conduct to see if any changes should be made.

Judicial Campaign Donations

The Council on Judicial Administration expressed support for the majority of the provisions of proposed Rule 151 of the Rules of the Chief Administrator, which seek to reform New York’s judicial disqualification practices by providing that no case should be assigned to a judge, unless in an emergency or by necessity, where an attorney or party has contributed $2500 (or the firm, $3500) to the judge’s campaign. The Council acknowledges the importance of this Rule to address the public perception that contributions can influence judicial decision-making. This approach places the responsibility on the administrative judges to avoid placing judges in situations where they would have to address recusal issues as a result of contributions. The Council made a number of recommendations designed to improve the Rule, to 1) curb “judge shopping” by those making contributions during a litigation; 2) clarify the limit re: firm contributions; 3) clarify how the Rule would be implemented in courts not on the Individual Assignment System; and 4) clarify that judges do not have an affirmative duty to learn of campaign contributions unless directly brought to their attention.

Increasing Assessed Value of Properties
The Committee on Condemnation and Tax Certiorari proposes amending Section 11-216 of the New York City Administrative Code to increase the actual assessed value of properties that is required to submit certified income and expense statements from “one million dollars or more” to “three million dollars or more.” This change would update the current law which was adopted in 1968 and would more accurately reflect the assessed value of income producing properties in 2011.

Patents for Tax Planning Methods
In a joint report, the Committees on Estate and Gift Taxation, Personal Income Taxation, Taxation of Business Entities, and State and Local Taxation expressed support for the Equal Access to Tax Planning Act of 2011 (S.139) and Section 14 of the Patent Reform Act of 2011 (S.23), both of which would prohibit the issuance of patents for tax planning methods. The report outlines the public policy reasons tax patents should be prohibited, and reviews the current state of the case law, the proposed Treasury Regulations, and the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s current stance as they relate to the issuance of tax patents.

Committees Seeking Members
The Asian Affairs Committee is a standing committee of the New York City Bar. It addresses a wide range of issues relating to Asia, such as technology transfer for climate change, rule of law, doing business with Asian countries, and significant legal and other developments in Asia. Membership is limited to 36 individuals with interest in Asia. Committee is seeking new members at this time for the 2011–12 term. Meetings are held every first Wednesday over drinks and dinner. To apply, please contact the Chair, Jaipat S. Jain, at jjain@lpgllp.com.

The Domestic Violence Committee addresses ongoing issues relating to domestic and gender-based violence in New York, through policy advocacy, amicus work, and attorney and public education. To apply, please contact the Chair, Sandra Park, at spark@aclu.org.

The Military Affairs and Justice Committee is accepting applications for membership for the 2011-12 year. The Committee addresses legal and policy issues affecting the United States armed services and the operation of the Court of Military Justice. The Committee also awards medals to the top graduate in the JAG programs of the service academies and the law program at West Point. The Committee’s activities in recent years have included co-authoring reports and letters on such subjects as human rights standards applicable to the United States’ interrogation of detainees, repeal of “Don't Ask Don't Tell,” and voting rights for service members; sending representatives to observe the military tribunal proceedings in Guantanamo; and hosting discussions with judges from the United States Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces and with fellows from the Council on Foreign Affairs. The Committee is currently participating in completing a report on detention in Afghanistan and is planning a program for the ten-year anniversary of Afghanistan and the War on Terror this fall. To apply, please contact the committee’s secretary, Julie Jetton, at jjetwilson@gmail.com.

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