IN THIS ISSUE: MONDAY, JUNE 17, 2013
From the President: Carey R. Dunne
From the Executive Director: Bret I. Parker
This Week at the City Bar
Around the Bar
Recent Committee Activity
Committees Seeking Members
City Bar in the News
   

From the President: Carey R. Dunne
From Now to November


When we and our co-sponsors announced that we would host a forum for the New York City Mayoral candidates here at the City Bar on June 6th, the response was a great measure of our members’ engagement. The interest in the event was so overwhelming that it ‘sold out’ almost immediately. Similarly, when we released the City Bar’s 95-page “Policy Recommendations for New York City's Next Mayor,” the report was downloaded nearly 2,000 times on the first day. That level of involvement by our members in these substantive issues is not surprising, given that this is the first mayoral campaign without an incumbent since the days following the September 11th attacks.

You can watch a video of the forum here and read the New York Law Journal’s article on it here. But I hope you will also take the time to read our report. It was designed to be accessible to a wide audience, and written by lawyers who are dedicated citizens and, above all, New Yorkers.

Read more.

From the Executive Director: Bret I. Parker
The City Bar Moving Forward: A Message to the Legal Community


I am truly excited as I begin working on your behalf as Executive Director of the City Bar. As a member of the Association for 17 years, like many of you I have attended events at the City Bar that interested me, taken CLE courses to improve my knowledge and skills, participated in committee work to address important issues, performed pro bono service and met other City Bar members to develop my professional network while making close friends along the way. If you'd like to know more about me, please click here.

I have a profound respect for the deep roots of this organization and the excellent work of my predecessor, and we belong to an organization worthy of great pride. I do not intend to fix what is not broken. However, the profession and our world are changing faster than ever. Organizations must adapt in order to remain healthy and relevant to all of its current and future members.

Read more.

This Week at the City Bar
TUESDAY, JUNE 18
6 PM – 8 PM,
Event
Medical Advancements in Diagnosing the Origin of Injuries



WEDNESDAY, JUNE 19
9 AM – 12:15 PM,
CLE
Nuts & Bolts of Commercial Collection Law

1:15 PM – 4:30 PM,
CLE
Business Formations For Small & Emerging Companies


6 PM – 8 PM,
Event
“Meet and Greet” New Labor Arbitrator Panel Program



THURSDAY, JUNE 20
6 PM,
Event
A Reception With Lt. General (Ret.) Roméo Dallaire [At Fordham Law School]


6:30 PM – 8 PM,
Event
Forging A New Consensus On Immigration Reform


6:30 PM – 8:30 PM,
Event
Summer Associates Annual Reception


7 PM – 9 PM,
Event
Contemplative Lawyers Group: 80% of Success Is Showing Up



FRIDAY, JUNE 21
9 AM – 12 PM,
CLE
Video Replay: Bankruptcy 101

Around the Bar

On June 13th, a panel of judges, administrators and attorneys discussed the rules, procedures and best practices involved in appearing before the Office of Administrative Trials and Hearings (OATH), New York City's central administrative law tribunal and one of the largest municipal forums in the country. OATH's four tribunals preside over a wide range of administrative proceedings that directly impact the safety, health, property, human rights and quality of life of City residents.

Recent Committee Activity
Unfinished Business Doctrine
The Committees on Bankruptcy and Corporate Reorganization and Professional Responsibility filed an amicus brief in Geron v. Seyfarth Shaw LLP with the U.S. Court of Appeals, Second Circuit. The issue presented is whether the controversial “unfinished business” doctrine should apply to hourly fee matters under New York law. The brief argues that applying the doctrine to hourly fee matters improperly treats the clients of a dissolving law firm as property, devalues the attorney-client relationship, and subordinates the interests of a law firm’s clients to those of its creditors. By treating client engagements as “property,” the brief notes, the unfinished business doctrine conflicts with the cardinal principle of “client choice” – a client’s unilateral right to retain or change lawyers and law firms at any time – and encourages partners in a struggling law firm to jump ship before the firm reaches the point of dissolution, potentially hastening the demise of firms that might otherwise survive.

Affordable Housing
The Committee on Housing and Urban Development expressed support for A.5438/S.226, which would amend § 31 of the PHFL to expand the qualifying income range of eligible families for the Mitchell-Lama Program. The proposed amendment would remove the requirement that families whose incomes are between 100% and 125% of the Area Media Income (AMI) must have at least two dependents, thus expanding the pool of middle-income families who can benefit from the stock of affordable housing provided by the Mitchell-Lama Program by allowing otherwise eligible families with fewer than two dependents to qualify for admission.

Committees Seeking Members
The Criminal Justice Operations Committee studies the function and interrelationship of the various elements of the criminal justice system and the problems of managing the system. This focus leads the Committee to examine a broad variety of issues concerning the practice of criminal law in New York City – often, as it relates to proposed legislation. This year, for example, the Committee supported a legislative initiative to raise the age of eligibility for youthful offender treatment. The Committee also endorsed a bill that would provide for a more reliable risk assessment process connected to New York’s Sex Offender Registration Act, and the Committee reported favorably on the proposed Domestic Violence Survivors’ Justice Act, which would give greater discretion to judges when sentencing defendants who are survivors of domestic violence. To apply, please email the Chair, Abigail Everett here.

The Association last year established a special Task Force on Legal Issues of Climate Adaptation, to identify ways for nations to adapt to the global warming that now appears inevitable, from a legal perspective. Currently, the Task Force is focusing on three critical areas of climate adaptation, both in the U.S. and abroad: urban adaptation to floods and other threats to municipal infrastructure and residents; climate-driven migration, particularly in developing countries; and financing mechanisms and legal reforms necessary to help cities and nations undertake the investments needed to address these challenges. If you are interested in being considered for membership, please email the Committee Secretary, Madelyn White, here.

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

Report Urges Reforms to Curb Debt Collection ‘Abuses’
“The New Economy Project, a nonprofit focused on economic justice, on Monday called on state lawmakers and court administrators to adopt reforms aimed at curbing robo-signing – where employees of collection companies sign legal documents without having knowledge of the underlying cases – and other ‘abuses’ committed by debt buyers in consumer credit cases .…In addition to calling on OCA to take action, the report urged state lawmakers to pass a bill, dubbed the Consumer Credit Fairness Act, that would decrease the statute of limitations in consumer credit cases from six to three years.…The bill is also supported by the New York City Bar Association and other legal service groups.”

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