THIS WEEK AT THE CITY BAR
TUESDAY, MAY 6
8:30 AM – 12:45 PM, CLE
Counseling the Board of Directors During the New Age of Activist Shareholders

12 PM – 2 PM, Event

Legacies of the Second World War: Legal Defense and History

6 PM – 9 PM, Event

Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) - Opportunities and Challenges


WEDNESDAY, MAY 7
9 AM – 12 PM, CLE
Selected Ethics Issues in Mediation & Settlement Negotiations

6 PM – 7:30 PM, Event
When War Is Over: A Discussion Exploring the Legal and Policy Implications of Ending America's Longest Wars

6:30 PM – 8 PM, Event
New York City Crews and Gangs: Consequences and Alternatives

6:30 PM – 8:30 PM, Event
Roles for Lawyers at Law Schools and Universities


THURSDAY, MAY 8
8:30 AM – 9:30 AM, Event
Finding Happiness and Passion in the Law: The Keys to Career Success

8:30 AM – 10 AM, Event
Rising Women Rainmakers: The Time to Start is Now!

6 PM – 8 PM, Event

Perspectives on 20 Years of Mediation in New York and Implications for the Future

6 PM – 8 PM, Event

You Are Not Alone: Free Information & Services Provided by Government Agencies

FRIDAY, MAY 9
8:15 AM – 4:45 PM, CLE
2014 Litigation Summit for In-House Counsel, Outside Counsel and Judges: What Comes Next In Federal And State Court Litigation?

6 PM – 8 PM, Event
Friday Evening Chamber Music

     AROUND THE BAR


General Counsels who are leaders in diversity spoke on a panel at the City Bar on April 30th about their efforts and best practices to create a more diverse and inclusive legal profession. From left: Don H. Liu, Xerox; Sheila K. Davidson, New York Life Insurance Company; Gwen Marcus, Showtime; Joseph K. West, President and CEO, Minority Corporate Counsel Association (MCCA); Teresa M. Sebastian, Darden Restaurants; James T. Breedlove, Praxair, Inc.; Jane C. Sherburne, Bank of New York Mellon; Kim Harris, NBCUniversal; Bret Parker, New York City Bar Association.

On April 28th, the City Bar hosted the Diversity Fellowship Luncheon. Sponsored by the Committee on Recruitment and Retention of Lawyers, the Fellowship places more than 30 diverse first-year law students in summer jobs. The Committee recognized Prudential Financial as the Employer of Choice, and Susan L. Blount, Senior Vice President and General Counsel, was on hand to accept the award. She is pictured here with, from left, Andre Warner, incoming Chair of the Committee, Ray Ramirez, a former Fellow and associate at Sutherland Asbill & Brennan LLP; and Steven P. Seltzer, Chair of the Committee.

 


On April 28th, Veterans Affairs General Counsel Will Gunn and Deputy Chief of Staff Hughes Turner spoke at the City Bar. The discussion, moderated by Phil Carter, Senior Fellow, Counsel and Director of the Military, Veterans, and Society Program, Center for a New American Security, focused on the challenges facing the department in serving the needs of America's veterans. From left: Maia Goodell, Chair, Military and Justice Affairs Committee; Michael Richter, Secretary and incoming Chair, Military and Justice Affairs Committee; Hughes Turner; Phil Carter; Will Gunn; Carey R. Dunne, President, New York City Bar Association.


At the City Bar Small Law Firm Center's "Hands-On Blogging Workshop" on April 28th, Vikram Rajan walked participants through starting up their own blog on Wordpress, and most left with published blogs. The next program in the "Hands-on Tech Marketing Workshop" is about LinkedIn on May 12th. Register here.

     RECENT COMMITTEE ACTIVITY

Civil Rights and Civil Liberties for New Yorkers
The Civil Rights Committee sent a letter to Mayor de Blasio suggesting the administration address a number of key issues that affect the civil rights of New Yorkers, including: 1) continuing to reform law enforcement practices that have unfairly burdened minority communities, including stop-and-frisk, the surveillance of Muslim communities, and the criminalization of school discipline; 2) addressing problems in the recent legislation regarding discrimination on the basis of unemployment status; 3) supporting and protecting immigrant communities by working with the City Council to protect New Yorkers from deportation; and 4) improving language access services in New York City.

Equal Rights and Protections for LGBTQ New Yorkers
In a letter to Mayor de Blasio, the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Rights Committee made recommendations to the administration on a number of policy issues affecting LGBTQ New Yorkers including: 1) modernizing the policy regarding proof required to change gender designation on birth certificates; 2) improving the relationship between City agencies and LGBTQ New Yorkers; 3) continuing to build a positive relationship between the New York Police Department and LGBTQ individuals; 4) improving the quality of the school environment for LGBTQ students who are more likely to be the subject of bullying and harassment by their peers; and 5) preventing sexual abuse of LGBTQ inmates.

Municipal ID Program

The Committee on Immigration and Nationality Law provided testimony before the New York City Council in favor of Int. No. 253, which would allow New York City to join municipalities nationwide in instituting ID cards for residents regardless of immigration status. Currently, about half a million New Yorkers are undocumented non-U.S. citizens, and thus cannot get a driver's license or a photo ID under state law. Enacting a municipal ID program, the testimony argued, will help make New York City safer, foster civic participation and benefit the City economically. In addition to undocumented immigrants, the ID program would also benefit other New Yorkers, including those who often have difficulty obtaining proper identification, such as transgender New Yorkers, the homeless,  the formerly incarcerated and the elderly who do not drive but could benefit from a municipal ID.


Affordable Housing Issues for the de Blasio Administration

In the latest of the “transition” letters the City Bar has sent to the new mayoral administration, the Housing and Urban Development Committee provided a number of recommendations designed to preserve the existing affordable housing stock, expand and improve the Inclusionary Housing Program, and develop approaches to increase the resources available to, and staffing of, the City’s housing agencies.  

 

Sale of Employer Data Reports
The Committee on Consumer Affairs issued a memo in support of state legislation that would prohibit consumer reporting agencies from selling employment data reports to third parties, except when the consumer has consented in a stand-alone document. This legislation is designed to curb the widespread sale of employee-related information, including detailed health insurance and payroll information, to such entities as debt collectors and other financial services corporations. This information often is inaccurate and is subject to abusive and discriminatory use. While the Committee supports the legislation, it urged removal of the consent exception, or to bar retaliation for refusal to sign a consent, as individuals often are pressured to consent.

Microchipping of Dogs and Cats

The Committee on Animal Law issued a memo in support of City legislation that would bar pet stores from releasing a dog or cat to a consumer unless (1) the dog or cat has been microchipped by a licensed veterinarian; (2) the pet store has registered such animal’s microchip with the consumer’s contact information; and (3) the pet store has provided the consumer with written usage instructions for the microchip acknowledged by signature by the consumer. The proposed legislation also contains record-keeping requirements for pet stores. The Committee provided recommendations to make the microchipping procedure more effective.


Sales of Pets Bred in Puppy and Kitten Mills

It is well documented that many of the puppies and kittens sold at retail pet stores, including those in New York City, come from puppy and kitten mills where they are subjected to cruel and inhumane practices. The Committee on Animal Law issued a memo in support of City legislation that would bar the sale of animals bred in such mills. While supporting the legislation, the Committee noted that there are loopholes in the legislation and made specific recommendations as to how they should be tightened. The Committee also made recommendations with regard to enhanced standards of care for dogs and cats both in pet stores and at breeders.

Spaying and Neutering of Animals Sold in Pet Shops

In a memo to the City Council, the Committee on Animal Law supported legislation to expand the types of animals sold in pet stores that must be spayed or neutered by a licensed veterinarian before released to a consumer, unless a letter and certification is received by the pet shop from a licensed veterinarian rendering a professional opinion that the animal should not be sterilized until a later date. Currently, cats and dogs are covered by City law; this bill would encompass rabbits, guinea pigs and any other animal designated by rule that are eight weeks of age or older. The Committee recommended changes to the legislation to take into account the danger of performing these procedures on animals that are too small and too young, and also recommended tightening or deletion of the certification exception, as it is not clearly tailored to the health and welfare of the animal in question. 

    NEW MEMBER BENEFIT

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    CITY BAR IN THE NEWS

New York Law Journal, May 5, 2014
General Counsels Make the Case for Diversity

"'If you run a law firm, if you run a company, you have to assume that we all come from different backgrounds,' said [Don] Liu, who is now senior vice president and general counsel and secretary at Xerox Corp. 'Your policies have to recognize the differences. If we treat everybody the same, you're going to wind up making the wrong assumptions.' Liu joined several other general counsels at a New York City Bar Association forum last week to discuss diversity efforts, corporate challenges and pressuring law firms to increase diversity at their own firms."


New York Law Journal, May 1, 2014
Ethics, Cynicism and the Voting Booth (Law Day column)

By Carey R. Dunne
"As voters, we've become a nation of cynics. Fewer than 60 percent of eligible voters turned out in the last presidential election; in New York state it was less than half. We watch with concern as people risk their lives to vote in struggling democracies around the world, yet here at home we shrug our shoulders when passing up this most democratic of opportunities. To be sure, a number of practical steps are being pursued to make it easier to 'get out the vote.' Early voting, same-day registration, and no-excuse absentee ballots are all well-intentioned and increasingly successful attempts to remove obstacles in the path to the voting booth. But we shouldn't lose sight of the most important cause of voter apathy in the 21st century: disdain for the institution of politics."

Law360, April 30, 2014 (subscription required)
Turning Up Pressure Will Improve Firm Diversity, GCs Say

"Pushing up the number of women, minority and LGBT lawyers in law firms may take more arm-twisting by corporate clients, panelists at a New York bar forum told a Wednesday gathering of general counsels and attorneys. Speaking at the Midtown New York City Bar Association building, forum moderator Joseph West, president of the Minority Corporate Counsel Association, evoked the lifetime ban handed down this week by the National Basketball League against Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling for making racist remarks. “First, the players started saying, ‘If I’m a free agent, I’m not going to play for the Clippers,’” West said. “Then, the sponsors started pulling out. I think the lesson for a firm is…that if clients start saying, ‘I’m not going to send my work to that firm,’ you’ll start to see more parallels.” Panelist H. Gwen Marcus, executive president and general counsel at Showtime Networks Inc., agreed that in-house counsels must use their leverage to push firms to take a more aggressive approach to promoting diversity."


Forbes, April 30, 2014
Conducting Online Research Of Jurors Just Got Less Perilous -- Or Did It?

"In a 2012 ethics opinion, the Association of the Bar of the City of New York Committee on Professional Ethics (“NYC Bar”) warned that a 'communication is the process of bringing an idea, information or knowledge to another's perception – including the fact that they have been researched.'  The NYC Bar, therefore, concluded that an automated notification to a juror that a lawyer has reviewed the juror's social media is a 'communication' and that 'research using services that may, even unbeknownst to the attorney, generate a message or allow a person to determine that their website has been visited may pose an ethical risk even if the attorney did not intend or know that such a "communication" would be generated by the website.'"


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