THIS WEEK AT THE CITY BAR
TUESDAY, JUNE 24

8:30 AM – 9:30 AM, Event
Committee on Women in the Profession: Women in IP Breakfast Series – Managing Your Intellectual Property Career

6 PM – 8 PM, Event

The Annual Reception Celebrating Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Pride Month 2014

6:30 PM – 8:30 PM, Event

Non-Citizen Voting in New York City

6:30 PM – 8:30 PM, Event

Diversity in the Global Marketplace: Careers in Antitrust Enforcement and Consumer Protection


WEDNESDAY, JUNE 25
8:30 AM – 10 AM, Event
Session 3: An Overview of the Marketing 'Ps' of Professional Business Development – Smart Marketing Series

9 AM – 1 PM, CLE
Lawyering in the Fashion Industry: A Practical Guide to Licensing, Trademark Protection & Other Industry Issues

12 PM – 3 PM, Event

Lighting the Path Toward Justice Talk Back & Panel Discussion

2 PM – 5 PM, Event
Lawyers' Foreclosure Intervention Network Training

6:30 PM – 8 PM, Event
The Great Dissent: How Oliver Wendell Holmes Changed His Mind – and Changed the History of Free Speech in America


THURSDAY, JUNE 26
8:30 AM – 9:30 AM, Event
What Works for Women at Work by Joan C. Williams and Rachel Dempsey – CAM/WIP Book Series Program

6 PM – 8:15 PM, CLE
Answers to Everyday Ethical Questions

     AROUND THE BAR

On June 18th, the City Bar held its Diversity & Inclusion Celebration. The 2014 Champion Award Winners are, second from left: Natalia Martin, Co-Founder, "Cafecitos Network"; Joseph M. Drayton, Partner, Cooley LLP; Michelle J. Anderson, Dean, CUNY School of Law; and Karla G. Sanchez, Co-Founder, "Cafecitos Network." They were joined by City Bar President Debra Raskin and Executive Director Bret Parker. Posthumously honored were Thomas E. Heftler and Michael W. Oshima. Morgan Stanley Legal & Compliance Division received the Diversity and Inclusion Pipeline Champion Award. View photos from the event here, and the video "Celebrating 30 Years of Diversity" here. Read the City Bar's 2013 Diversity Benchmarking Report here. (Photo by Rick Kopstein.)


On June 19th, the City Bar and the New York Law Journal hosted the annual welcoming reception for summer associates and interns, their mentors and colleagues.


Julie Menin, Commissioner of the New York City Department of Consumer Affairs, met on June 16th with members of the City Bar's Consumer Affairs and Civil Court Committees.

     CITY BAR ADVOCACY
Legislation Increasing Number of Family Court Judges
On Friday, the New York State Legislature passed a bill that will increase the number of family court judges, something that was a priority of the City Bar's advocacy efforts this session. Our Legislative Affairs Department worked closely with several of our committees and the statewide coalition in order to contribute to the overall effort. After the Legislature acted, we issued this statement from President Debra Raskin: "The New York City Bar Association applauds the Legislature for passing a bill that, with the Governor's signature, will increase the number of Family Court judges throughout New York State. This greatly needed legislation will immediately benefit children and families, helping to ease the strain on an overburdened Family Court. We commend the legislative leaders and members of the Senate and Assembly, the Office of Court Administration and the coalition of advocates who have worked tirelessly to achieve this victory for New York's justice system."
     MEMBER BENEFIT HIGHLIGHT

Unleashing the Power of Casemaker: A One-hour Live Session
City Bar members now have free remote access to Casemaker – a comprehensive legal research library. We've scheduled three free live one-hour sessions to give you an overview on how to use the Casemaker library to your best advantage. Topics covered include research techniques, resources, saving research results, and annotating and organizing research results for incorporation into memoranda or briefs. Register for a session today:

July 24: 9 a.m. – 10 a.m.
/ July 24: 6 p.m. – 7 p.m. / July 25: 9 a.m. – 10 a.m.

This demonstration of Casemaker's latest features will assist lawyers in using the library most effectively, whether they are new to Casemaker or have used it in the past. Registration required. This program provides 1 Skills credit of CLE.

     RECENT COMMITTEE ACTIVITY
Legality of Targeted Killings Under International Law
Anticipating that targeted killings by drones may increase in the future, both by the United States and by other countries, the International Law Committee issued a report analyzing the legality of targeted killings by drones launched by the United States, in the context of international law. The 181-page report presents an extensive analysis of current international law and draws a number of conclusions from that analysis. The report notes that the international legal issues are "complex," and the analysis "complicated" because, among other reasons, "although the analysis of the legality of a drone strike is highly fact-specific, the facts surrounding the strikes are unclear." The report does not address the legality of targeted killings under domestic U.S. law or the appropriate policy that should be followed by the U.S.

Modernizing Articles 1, 7 and 9 of the UCC
The Committee on Commercial Law and Uniform State Laws expressed support for A.9933/S.7816, which will bring about a much-needed modernization of Articles 1, 7 and 9 of the NY-UCC and bring New York up to date with comparable revisions enacted in other states. In recent years, the report notes, New York has fallen significantly behind other states in modernizing its commercial law, and increasingly today's significant commercial transactions may be domiciled in a U.S. jurisdiction that has modernized its law, or in a foreign locale that has a mature legal system. Keeping New York's commercial law as modern as any in the nation will help maintain its status as a preeminent commercial jurisdiction and will generate both jobs and income for New Yorkers, particularly those in the financial services sector.

Religious Hate Speech
In its report United Nations Resolutions on Religious Hate Speech: The Impact on Freedom of Expression, the United Nations Committee examines the role of the United Nations in helping to define the scope and limits of the right of freedom of expression under international law. The report discusses evolving international law and norms that seek to define and protect freedom of expression, as impacted by different national and cultural standards regarding the interrelationship between freedom of expression, defamation, hate speech, protection of religions and recognition of other core values such as human dignity and equality. The report also examines how the evolving international law and norms regarding the balancing of protection of freedom of expression and protection of other individual and group rights comport with the notion of the primacy of freedom of expression under the First Amendment.

Domestic Violence Victim Protections

The Committee on Domestic Violence issued a report supporting, with recommendations, A.9056/S.6924, which would amend New York's Civil Rights Law to protect victims of domestic violence and other crimes from eviction on the basis that they have requested police or emergency assistance a certain number of times or for certain specified crimes or conduct. The bill also provides other housing-related protections to victims of domestic violence. The report notes the bill would: 1) protect the recognized and established First Amendment right of such victims to access police and emergency services; 2) ensure that landlords are not put in the untenable position of choosing between evicting a victim-occupant or facing financial, licensing or other penalty that threatens their livelihood; and 3) enhance public safety by ensuring that victims of crime are not thwarted or discouraged from calling for emergency assistance when needed and help to ensure that crimes are reported to police and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. The Committee supports the purpose of the legislation and proposed drafting changes in an effort to ensure that the spirit of the bill is carried out.

Short Term Rentals

In a joint report, the Committees on Cooperative and Condominium Law and Real Property Law expressed opposition to A.7848/S.5039 and A.7495/S.5637. Known collectively as the Short-Term Rental Bills, this state legislation ostensibly permits New York shareholders, unit owners and leaseholders to rent their units on a short-term basis (less than thirty days) so long as they comply with certain New York City registration requirements. The report says that because nearly all New York proprietary leases and condominium by-laws – and many rental leases as well – prohibit such transient occupancy, the Short-Term Rental Bills affirmatively interfere with existing contractual obligations. An additional concern expressed in the report is that the legislation may create quality of life issues, as those who do not live full time in a building, and who have not been vetted prior to being permitted to stay there, may perceive they can treat the building as a hotel, and they cannot be expected to appreciate the responsibilities and obligations expected of permanent residents of these buildings.

Instant Run-off Voting

In a joint report, the Committees on Election Law and New York City Affairs expressed support for Int. 0150-2014, which would establish an instant run-off method of voting where more than two candidates are running in a primary for New York City-wide office, and any election for Mayor, Public Advocate, Comptroller, Borough President or councilmember for which all candidates are nominated by independent nominating petition, where at least two candidates appear on the ballot for the same office. The bill would allow voters to rank up to three candidates in order of preference on their ballot during the primary. If no candidate receives at least 50% plus one vote of first choice votes, the two candidates with the most votes proceed to a second round of ballot-counting, with all other candidates being eliminated. In this second round, ballots indicating a first choice vote for an eliminated candidate would be counted as votes for the highest ranked continuing candidate on that ballot. Establishing instant run-offs, the report notes, would save New York City considerable time, resources and money while at the same time ensuring that the candidate ultimately elected in a primary has significant support from her or his party.

Ivory Trafficking

The Committee on Animal Law expressed support for A.8824-A, S.7040 and S.7194, which would prohibit the sale, purchase, trade, barter and distribution of ivory articles, subject to certain exceptions. The proposed laws would complement existing federal and international efforts to deter and sanction the multi-billion dollar illegal wildlife trade in elephant ivory and rhinoceros horns, which is bringing this iconic species to the brink of extinction. In an effort to further enhance the proposed legislation, the report offers some recommendations.

Surrogate Decision-Making Improvements Acts

The Committees on Health Law and Bioethical Issues expressed support for a package of seven bills, Surrogate Decision-Making Improvement Acts, which would effect a series of modest changes to improve, coordinate and clarify New York's surrogate decision-making rules, including the Family Health Care Decisions Act (FHCDA). According to the report, the changes proposed in the Acts will achieve valuable improvements in the rules governing decision-making for incapable patients and reflect an understanding that experience is revealing the need for corrections and improvements in the FHCDA, as well as in New York's several other surrogate decision-making laws.

Treatment of Partner as Employee for Federal Tax Purposes

The Committee on Taxation of Business Entities issued a report proposing that a partnership be allowed to elect to treat individual partners whose share of partnership profits is 10% or less as employees with respect to fixed compensation paid to them if, but for such share of partnership profits, the relationship between the partner and the partnership would be that of an employee with an employer. Once made, the election would be effective for all qualified payments made to all such partners in the electing partnership. The Committee believes such treatment would greatly simplify tax reporting and compliance, without adversely affecting the fisc, and would eliminate the need for alternative structures to try to achieve the same results.
     CITY BAR IN THE NEWS
New York Law Journal, June 23, 2014
Legislature Approves 25 New Family Court Judgeships

"New York City will get nine new Family Court judges and upstate will get 16 under end-of-session legislation enacted overwhelmingly Thursday and Friday by state lawmakers....The New York City Bar Association also commended legisators for passing the bill. 'This greatly needed legislation will immediately benefit children and families, helping to ease the strain on an overburdened Family Court,' said the organization's president Debra L. Raskin."


Bloomberg BNA
, June 19, 2014

Shared Space of 'Virtual Law Office' Can Serve as Main Law Office Address

"New York lawyers may use the street address of a 'virtual law office' as their principal law office address even if they work primarily from another location, according to a June opinion from the New York City Bar's ethics committee (New York City Bar Ass'n Comm. on Professional Ethics, Op. 2014-2, 6/14). It's not inherently misleading for lawyers to display this street address on their law firm website, business cards and letterhead, the committee advised."


Law360
, June 19, 2014 (subscription required)

NYC Bar Says Bias Stymies Firms' Diversity Push

"Minority representation at New York City law firms was up again last year, according to a bar report released Thursday, but firms saw higher turnover among female and minority lawyers than among white men and declining diversity on management committees. The 2013 Benchmarking Report from the New York City Bar Association said firm representatives interviewed as part of the survey 'described manifestations of unconscious bias against minority and women attorneys, explaining how biases influence the advancement of diverse attorneys.'"

New York Law Journal
, June 18, 2014

Report Shows Uptick in Diversity but Progress Is Slow

"Over the past 10 years, firms have made progress diversifying the associate pipeline and increasing LGBT representation. But nearly 70 percent of about 60 firms surveyed did not have one attorney of color on their management committees last year. And minorities and women are leaving firms at higher rates than white male attorneys, according to the New York City Bar Association's law firm diversity report, which will be released Wednesday at its diversity dinner event. In 2003, the firms signed a statement of diversity principles, agreeing to promote diversity in hiring, retention and promotion and participate in regular city bar surveys."

New York Times
, June 16, 2014

Innocents at the Border (Editorial)

"The Dickensian absurdity often seen in immigration courts – little children propped up before judges and government lawyers with no idea of what is going on – must not be tolerated. Concerns about the cost of providing lawyers should by eased by a recent study from the New York City Bar Association showing that free legal representation for indigent migrants pays for itself, mainly by reducing the costs of unnecessary detention."

  

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