In preparing for the great and humbling honor of leading the New York City Bar Association for the next 24 months, I have been asked variations of one question repeatedly: What are my priorities going to be? What two or three topics do I want to identify as things to focus on during my tenure? The prevailing view is that unless you limit yourself to a handful of issues, you will have nothing against which to measure your success two years down the road.
|This Week at the City Bar
MONDAY, MAY 21
9 AM – 5 PM, CLE
Advanced Commercial Mediation Training
TUESDAY, MAY 22
8:30 AM – 9:30 AM, Event
Managing Your Intellectual Property Career
9 AM – 5 PM, CLE
Advanced Commercial Mediation Training
6 PM – 8 PM, Event
The Remarkable Powers of Appointment Device: Planning and Drafting Considerations – The 2012 Mortimer H. Hess Memorial Lecture
WEDNESDAY, MAY 23
8 AM – 11 AM, Event
Getting a Seat at the International Boardroom Table: A Primer for Women Attorneys
9 AM – 5 PM, CLE
16 Hour Bridge the Gap: Corporate & Litigation (Day 2 Only)
6 PM – 9 PM, Event
India Trade and Business Forum
THURSDAY, MAY 24
8:30 AM – 10 AM, Event
Client-Centric Firm Practices
6 PM – 7:30 PM, Event
Changing Players 2: Distressed Investors, Trading Restrictions and WaMu
6 PM – 9 PM, CLE
The Child Soldier Crisis: Prevention, Protection, and Rehabilitation
Concert to Benefit the City Bar Justice Center and the Chorus
On Friday, June 1st, at 7 pm, the City Bar Chorus returns to perform at the Association for the first time in three years. Since 1993, this award-winning, volunteer chorus has staged over 200 concerts at senior residences, homeless shelters, and medical facilities. The 80-voice ensemble, made up entirely of legal professionals, features an eclectic song list running the gamut from pop to jazz, gospel, and Broadway. Proceeds of the concert will benefit the City Bar Justice Center and the Chorus.
For more information, email email@example.com or visit the City Bar website.
2012 Diversity & Inclusion Champion Awards
The New York City Bar Association will present its 2012 Diversity & Inclusion Champion Awards at a ceremony and luncheon on Tuesday, June 5th, at 12:15 pm. The award recognizes the critical role individual attorneys have played in initiating and sustaining change within their organizations and the overall New York legal community. The 2012 award winners are Steven Banks, Attorney-in-Chief, The Legal Aid Society; Eric J. Friedman, Executive Partner, Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP; Don H. Liu, Senior Vice President, General Counsel & Secretary, Xerox Corporation; and Lorraine S. McGowen, Partner, Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP. Tickets and additional information available here.
Recent Committee Activity
Proposed Local Rule on E-Discovery
The Committee on Litigation drafted a proposed local rule to govern e-discovery for the Southern and Eastern Districts of New York. The draft rule is designed to assist the discovery process and: prevent e-discovery from delaying the substantive litigation and from being unnecessarily costly; ensure that e-discovery efforts are in step with discovery obligations, deadlines, and timing envisioned by the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure; limit e-discovery in the first instance to data that are readily accessible; establish search methodology for e-discovery information at the outset of litigation; and establish preservation obligations that are not overly burdensome.
Qualified Domestic Trusts
In a joint report, the Committees on Trusts, Estates and Surrogate’s Courts and Estate and Gift Taxation expressed support for A.9481/S.6649, which would simplify the procedure for obtaining a marital deduction for a disposition to a non-US citizen surviving spouse, by providing that where a federal estate tax return is not required to be filed, it is not necessary to create a Qualified Domestic Trust in order to obtain the New York State estate tax marital deduction for transfers to a non-citizen spouse, if the disposition would otherwise qualify for the federal estate tax marital deduction.
The Debt Settlement Industry
The Committees on Civil Court and Consumer Affairs issued a white paper entitled Profiteering from Financial Distress: An Examination of the Debt Settlement Industry, which, after an extensive analysis of the law and the public records of industry practices and governmental actions taken, found that widespread and systematic deceptive and abusive practices exist in the debt settlement industry. The report concludes that debt settlement for a fee that is more than nominal is inherently flawed and does not yield a net benefit to consumers, and recommends that debt settlement for a fee that is more than nominal should be prohibited in New York State. The Committees also made additional recommendations with regard to how New York should address the industry and its practices.
Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2012
The Committee on Domestic Violence issued a report expressing opposition to H.R.4970, the House version of the Violence Against Women Act Reauthorization Bill, which eliminates protections for vulnerable populations such as immigrants, LGBTQ, and Native American women that had been in the reauthorization legislation passed by the Senate. The Committee is specifically concerned about the bill’s impact on immigrant survivors, and notes that the House bill would remove vital protections that are in the current VAWA legislation.
Providing Free Spay and Neutering Services
The Animal Law Committee issued a report expressing support for A.1663-A/S.6886, which would give veterinarians the option to fulfill part of their continuing education requirements by performing free spay and neutering services. The report notes that allowing veterinarians to fulfill continuing education requirements by performing spay/neuter surgeries is likely to increase the number of veterinarians willing to provide such services and reduce the number of unwanted births, overpopulation, and the burden on shelters.
The International Drug Control Treaties
The Committee on Drugs and the Law issued a report entitled, The International Drug Control Treaties: Just How Important Are They to U.S. Drug Reform?, which examines the implications of international law on domestic drug policy reform. The report notes that the drug control treaties may have a counterproductive effect on drug policy worldwide, and reports on how nations who are signatories to these treaties have been addressing the treaties’ limitations in their domestic policies.
Committees Seeking Members
Getting from Point A to Point B in New York City and environs is always a challenge, and the process raises a myriad of legal and regulatory issues, from transit strikes to congestion pricing to hybrid taxis to runway auctions to procurement policies. The Transportation Committee tackles these issues one and all, with a lively and thought-provoking series of speakers and initiatives designed to move the debate into a more environmentally friendly, cost-effective, and policy-sound direction. If you are interested in applying to the Transportation Committee please contact the chair, John Dellaportas, at Dellajo@duanemorris.com.
The Corporation Law Committee is interested in receiving applications for new members. The mission of the Corporation Law Committee is to promote the development of New York laws and jurisprudence governing business entities, in order to make New York a more attractive jurisdiction for the formation of new business entities and for the conduct of business. The Committee also follows the development of the corporation laws of other jurisdictions, principally Delaware, and engages in an annual project relating to corporate practice. At present, the Committee is seeking both student members and practicing attorneys. If you are interested, please apply via the City Bar website.
City Bar in the News
New York Law Journal, May 14, 2012
To New Leader, City Bar Is ‘Conscience’ of Profession
“To Carey Dunne, the key to understanding the mission of the New York City Bar is to remember why the organization was formed in 1870. That year, 200 prominent lawyers came together to sign a document condemning the influence William “Boss” Tweed’s Tammany Hall political machine had acquired over judges in the city. They vowed to fight corrupt judges and political influence on the courts. ‘The thing that distinguishes the city bar is that it has a fairly unique and compelling history,’ said Dunne, 54, who will become the bar group’s 65th president at its annual meeting tomorrow, May 15. ‘I do think that the spirit of standing up, of using the bully pulpit, of standing up and saying, “We believe in something and will be a force for change in the legal system” continues to this day.’ Early city bar leaders played pivotal roles in efforts to reform government and the legal profession…Dunne said the city bar today remains ‘the conscience of the legal profession’ in the city.”
Bloomberg, May 14, 2012
Hacking Focus to Grow as U.S. Prosecutor Urges Disclosure
“Companies need to be quicker to disclose they have been victims of cyber-crimes, Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said, telling defense lawyers the government will focus ‘more and more’ on prosecuting such offenses. Speaking today at a conference at the Association of the Bar of the City of New York, Bharara said law enforcement is hampered when companies delay revealing they are victims of computer crimes, as many ‘routinely’ do. ‘They wait and wait, and such delays can be disastrous,’ Bharara said. Prosecutors will be more active in fighting cyber- crime, Bharara said.”
Thomson Reuters, May 14, 2012
White Collar Defense Bar Has Role to Play in Cyber Fight: Prosecutor
“Manhattan’s top federal prosecutor said defense attorneys have a vital part to play in the fight against cyber crime: to convince clients who have been hacked to promptly notify law enforcement. On Monday, Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara took a version of his cyber crime stump speech to the New York City Bar Association, tailoring his message about the threat of hacking to white collar defense attorneys. The ‘white collar bar can facilitate better than most’ a dialogue between law enforcement authorities and companies that have been breached, but are reluctant to immediately tell law enforcement. ‘Delays in disclosure make it harder, much harder to catch the bad guys,’ Bharara said.”
Corporate Counsel, May 16, 2012
A.G., U.S. Attorney Headline White Collar Crime Institute
“The crucial role private attorneys can play in preventing white-collar crime and ensuring corporate integrity was emphasized yesterday in speeches by Southern District U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara and New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman. Delivering the keynote addresses for the New York City Bar’s inaugural White Collar Crime Institute, Bharara and Schneiderman argued that lawyers can make a difference at a time of faltering public confidence in the financial industry by upholding the finest traditions of the legal profession. Bharara called for attorneys who serve as chief legal officers or outside counsel to increase their roles as ‘gatekeepers’ and to foster an ethical corporate culture. ‘I believe it’s up to people’ like those at the city bar ‘to ask harder questions,’ Bharara said, adding that ‘lawyers should operate on a higher plane.’ Schneiderman urged lawyers to come forward when they suspect wrongdoing. ‘You operate in a world where you may learn of facts that are appropriate for investigation, from scams directed at the public or the government, to wrongful conduct in the financial sector,’ Schneiderman said. ‘We value any information or cooperation that you may provide to us.’ The first-ever conference was the result of almost two years of work by the city bar’s White Collar Criminal Law Committee.”
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