IN THIS ISSUE: MONDAY, MAY 13, 2013
From the President: Carey R. Dunne
This Week at the City Bar
Around the Bar
Recent Committee Activity
Committee Seeking Members
City Bar in the News
   

From the President: Carey R. Dunne
Barbara Berger Opotowsky


“The Association is an extraordinarily complicated institution. Even a two-year term does not enable presidents to master its intricacies,” Michael Cooper said recently. Mike was president of the New York City Bar Association from 1998 to 2000, and I had reached out to him and some other former City Bar presidents for their thoughts on our outgoing Executive Director, Barbara Berger Opotowsky. As someone who we all agree has “mastered the intricacies” in her fifteen years here, Barbara belongs to everyone who has worked with her, or more aptly, we belong to her. “Barbara has been the soul of this great Association for the past fifteen years,” said Barry Kamins, who was City Bar president from 2006 to 2008. “As the City Bar’s true guardian, she has led with charm, poise and a staggering amount of energy.”

Read more.

This Week at the City Bar
MONDAY, MAY 13

6 PM – 8 PM,
Event
Harlem: The Four Hundred Year History from Dutch Village to the Capital of Black America – Books at the Bar


6:30 PM – 8:30 PM,
Event
Presentation by the Hon. Dr. Willy Mutunga, Chief Justice/President of the Supreme Court of Kenya


6:30 PM – 8:30 PM,
Event
The Annual Talent Night on the City Bar Stage



TUESDAY, MAY 14
12:30 PM – 2 PM,
Event
Luncheon with Judge Gerard E. Lynch


6 PM – 9 PM,
CLE
Current Legal and Ethical Issues for Counsel in Investment Management Regulation


6:30 PM – 8 PM,
Event
Challenges in Courtroom Interpretation: Effectively and Ethically Securing Language Access for Your Client



WEDNESDAY, MAY 15
2 PM – 3:30 PM,
Event
John Ramsay of the SEC Discusses the SEC’s Recent Cross-Border Release

5:30 PM – 8 PM,
Event
Leaning Into Leadership: Perspectives from Women General Counsels
[registration now closed]

6 PM – 9 PM,
CLE
Intellectual Property Considerations in China: Doing Deals & Enforcing Your Rights


6:30 PM – 8 PM,
Event
New York City Gangs: Current Issues and Alternatives for Youth


6:30 PM – 8 PM,
Event
Discovering In-House Careers



THURSDAY, MAY 16
8 AM – 9:30 AM,
Event
Today’s Legal Market: Strategies to Obtain & Retain Clients
Women Partners Workshop Series


8:30 AM – 10:15 AM,
Event/CLE
Translating the Business Deal into Contract Concepts
2013 Professional Development Workshop Series


12:30 PM – 2 PM,
Event
Sustainable Business Growth for the Attorney-Entrepreneur
Small Law Firm Luncheon


6 PM – 9 PM,
CLE
Current Ethical Issues for In-House Counsel & Those Who Advise Them


6:30 PM – 8:30 PM,
Event
Legacy Liabilities in Bankruptcy: Addressing Collective Bargaining Agreements and Pension Obligations


7 PM – 9 PM,
Event
Fearlessness in Contemplative Practice and Legal Practice
Contemplative Lawyers Group



FRIDAY, MAY 17
9 AM – 4 PM,
CLE
Negotiation Skills & Strategies for Everyday Bargaining

12 PM – 2 PM,
Event
Developing International Commercial Law: The Next Challenges and Opportunities



MONDAY, MAY 20
9 AM – 5 PM,
CLE
2nd Annual White Collar Crime Institute

Around the Bar
Vance Center Celebrates 10 Years

The Cyrus R. Vance Center for International Justice celebrated its 10-Year Anniversary on May 7th at the City Bar. From left: Edwin S. Maynard, chair of the City Bar’s Vance Center Committee and a partner at Paul Weiss Rifkind Wharton & Garrison LLP; Michael A. Cooper, former City Bar President and Of Counsel to Sullivan & Cromwell LLP; Barbara Berger Opotowsky, Executive Director of the City Bar; Evan A. Davis, former City Bar President and Senior Counsel at Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP; Alexander Papachristou, Executive Director of the Vance Center; Carey R. Dunne, City Bar President; Cyrus Vance, Jr., District Attorney of New York County; Joan Vermuelen, Founding Director of the Vance Center; S. Todd Crider, a partner at Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP, the founding firm of the Vance Center; and William R. Dougherty, chairman of Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP’s Executive Committee.


24th Annual Legal Services Awards


The 24th Annual Legal Services Awards, recognizing attorneys and non-attorneys who provide outstanding civil legal assistance to New York’s poor, were presented at the New York City Bar Association on May 7th. From left: Hon. George B. Daniels, U.S. District Court Judge for the S.D.N.Y.; Julie Brandfield, LegalHealth, New York Legal Assistance Group; Elise Brown, MFY Legal Services, Inc.; Robert Gruenwald, Legal Services NYC - Bronx; Michelle Kraus, New York Lawyers for the Public Interest; Dori Lewis, Prisoners’ Rights Project, The Legal Aid Society; Nicole Salk, South Brooklyn Legal Services; Carey R. Dunne, City Bar President.

2013 Kathryn A. McDonald Awards


The Kathryn A. McDonald Awards for excellence in service to the New York City Family Court were presented on May 6th at the New York City Bar Association. From left: Michael Williams, Clerk of Court, Bronx Family Court; Hon. Fern A. Fisher, Deputy Chief Administrative Judge for New York City Courts; Judith Waksberg, Director, Appeals Unit, Legal Aid Society Juvenile Rights Practice; Hon. Jonathan Lippman, Chief Judge, New York Court of Appeals; Hon. Edwina G. Richardson-Mendelson, Administrative Judge, New York City Family Court; Stephanie J. Gendell, Chair of the City Bar’s Council on Children; Carey R. Dunne, City Bar President.

Recent Committee Activity
Check Cashers Short-Term Loans
In a joint report, the Committees on Consumer Affairs and Civil Court expressed opposition to A.1113-A/S.3999-A (the Short-Term Financial Services Loan Act), which would allow check cashers to make small, short-term loans unchecked by New York’s usury laws. The report argues that the proposed bill is a departure from longstanding consumer protection policy in New York and would expose New York residents to high-cost loans with short repayment terms. Further concerns about the bill are: 1) these loans would be made without assessing the borrower’s ability to repay; and 2) payments would be tied to a borrower’s paydays.

Same-Sex Marriage
The Committees on Sex and Law, Civil Rights, and Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Rights joined together to issue a report on the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which reiterated the City Bar position that DOMA violates the Due Process and Equal Protection provisions of the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution because it denies fundamental rights to certain individuals based on sexual orientation. The report urges that DOMA either be repealed through passage of the Respect for Marriage Act or be overturned by judicial decision.

Measuring Sex Offenders' Recidivism Rates
In a joint report, the Committees on Criminal Courts, Criminal Justice Operations, and Corrections and Community Reentry expressed support for A.4591/S.3138, which would require the State Board of Examiners of Sex Offenders to consult a “validated risk instrument” when making its recommendation to courts regarding the appropriate risk level of a sex offender. The bill further requires the Board to validate the instrument through a periodic retroactive study at least every five years to determine the predictive value of the risk assessment instrument. The report states that the current Risk Assessment Instrument method employed by the Board is not a valid method to predict sex offenders’ likelihood to reoffend, as it has not been updated in 17 years and does not reflect the advances in the field of predicting sex offenders’ recidivism rates.

Medical Marijuana
The Committees on Drugs and the Law and Health Law issued a report expressing support for A.6357/S.4406, which would legalize the regulated production, possession, delivery, and use of marijuana for medical purposes in New York. The proposed legislation defines the population which may be granted permission for medical use and the circumstances governing such permission, and creates a system governing the production and distribution of medical marijuana and the certification and registration of patients and their caregivers, which would be substantially regulated by the Department of Health. The report praises the legislation as well-crafted, among the strictest in the country, and accomplishing the dual goal of providing relief to suffering patients and protecting the public interest in regulating a controlled substance. The report also offers several suggested revisions to the legislation.

Redaction in Guardianship Proceedings
The Committee on Legal Problems of the Aging issued a report commenting on the proposed adoption of 22 NYCRR § 202.5(e), which relates to redaction of confidential personal information in papers filed in civil matters. The comments call attention to the impact the proposed rule would have on guardianship matters under Article 81 of the Mental Hygiene Law and concludes that because there is need in these filings to provide extensive confidential personal information (CPI), special considerations for CPI and court file access are necessary in guardianship proceedings.

Disclosure of Offshore Accounts
In a letter to the IRS, the Committee on Personal Income Taxation expressed concern with the IRS’s recent disqualification of taxpayers who previously had been accepted into the IRS’s Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program (OVDP). By reversing its pre-clearance and preliminary acceptance of these taxpayers, the letter states, the IRS has undermined the ability of practitioners to advise clients with certainty as to how the program works, and has set up a situation which will lead to clients hesitating or declining to come forward with additional disclosures. The letter urges the IRS to: 1) readmit the disqualified taxpayers into the program; and 2) institute new safeguards to avoid such a situation from occurring again and post these safeguards on the IRS’s website. The Committee also requested that the IRS provide a description of the proposed safeguards on its website so practitioners can appropriately advise clients seeking to rectify past non-compliance.

Committee Seeking Members
The Asian Affairs Committee invites applications for new members. Founded by distinguished China hand Jerome Cohen, this committee will be working on a variety of issues related to the rule of law, human rights, security, and trade in China and East Asia as well as in South and Southwest Asia. Interested members should send a brief statement and resume/biographical sketch to Mark Shulman at MarkRShulman@gmail.com.

City Bar in the News
New York Law Journal, May 10, 2013

City Bar Recognizes Advocates for Diversity and Inclusion
“The New York City Bar has announced its 2013 Diversity & Inclusion Champion Award winners. The following recipients will be honored at a ceremony and luncheon on June 5: Larry Chanen, senior vice president and associate general counsel for JPMorgan Chase, is senior sponsor of the JPMorgan Chase Pride LGBT employee networking group and has been one of the leaders of the legal department’s Diversity Committee. Asim Rehman is corporate counsel at MetLife and president and cofounder of the Muslim Bar Association of New York. Alita Wingfield is an executive director in the Legal and Compliance Division of Morgan Stanley, and the chair of the division’s Supplier Diversity Initiative, aimed at increasing the use of minority- and women-owned law firms.”


New York Law Journal, May 7, 2013

City Bar Urges Obama to Close Guantanamo
“The New York City Bar is urging President Barack Obama to release the 86 detainees at Guantanamo Bay who have been cleared for release immediately, and to ‘take concrete steps’ toward shutting down the prison completely. In a letter dated May 3, the bar association said that the ‘indefinite detention of these individuals has become legally and morally indefensible’.... 'We submit that the steps urged here are necessary not only to cleanse the stain on our Nation's reputation as a staunch defender of the rule of law and international human rights but also to remove what has become a serious threat to our national security,' the bar association said."

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