This Week at the City Bar        
Around the Bar
Recent Committee Activity
Marriage Equality in New York
City Bar in the News
This Week at the City Bar
9 AM 1 PM, CLE
Negotiation Skills & Strategies

6 PM, Event
Domestic Violence Legal Update: Fair Access, Sexual Assault, and Victims’ Rights


9 AM 5 PM, CLE
16-Hour Bridge-the-Gap: Ethics, Skills & More (Day 1 Only) (Both Days)

6:30 PM,
Green Careers in the Law – City Bar Summer Series

9 AM 11 AM, CLE
Latest Trends & Insights Impacting Law Firm Practice in a Turnaround Economy

Next Week at the City Bar
6 PM 9 PM, CLE
The 2010 “Temporary” Estate, Gift & GST Tax Law

6 PM 9 PM, CLE
Supreme Court – A Year in Review

9 AM 5 PM, CLE
16-Hour Bridge-the-Gap: Ethics, Skills & More (Day 2 Only)

6 PM 9 PM, Event

What It's Really Like to Practice Law as a Woman

9 AM 11:45 AM, CLE
Ethical Issues in the Practice of Real Estate: What Every Attorney Must Know When Handling a Transaction (Video Replay)

Around the Bar
Sam Seymour Addresses Simpson Thatcher Summer Associates

On July 8, City Bar President Samuel W. Seymour and City Bar Justice Center Managing Attorney Alice Morey spoke to summer associates from Simpson Thatcher & Bartlett LLP at the City Bar.

Recent Committee Activity
Rule of Law in Bahrain
In a letter to the Commander-in-Chief of the Bahrain Defense Force, the Committee on International Human Rights expressed concern over the unrest in Bahrain, including the killing of peaceful protestors and the arbitrary detention of hundreds of individuals. Particularly troubling, the letter notes, was the reported detainment of defense lawyer Mohammed al-Tajer without charge, and the denial of access to legal counsel and his family. The letter urges the Bahrain Defense Forces to: (i) investigate the foregoing incidents, (ii) reaffirm the rights afforded Bahraini lawyers to practice their profession without governmental interference under domestic and international law, and (iii) effect the immediate release of al-Tajer if he is not charged with a cognizable crime in a competent court.

New Swaps Regime

In a letter to the Commodities Futures Trading Commission commenting on the Commission’s Notice of Proposed Order regarding Effective Dates for Swap Regulation, the Committee on Futures and Derivatives Regulation urged the Commission to: 1) provide clarity with respect to eligible contract participant status and provision relating to swap position limits; 2) provide temporary exemptive relief for transactions currently covered by certain Commodity Exchange Act sections; and 3) address potential regulatory gap periods created by the proposed Order.

Marriage Equality in New York
The Senate chamber erupted with cheers and applause the evening of June 24th as the New York Legislature passed marriage equality legislation, which will bring an end to legal discrimination against same-sex couples who wish to marry in New York. Passage came after the Governor’s office and a group of legislators ironed out statutory protections for religious institutions opposed to same-sex marriage. During debate on the bill, two previously undecided Republicans – Stephen Saland and Mark Grisanti, both practicing attorneys – rose to explain that their support for marriage equality was rooted in the concept of equal rights under the law, ensuring that the bill would have sufficient votes to pass. Referring in particular to his legal background, Senator Grisanti stated plainly, “I cannot legally come up with an argument against same-sex marriage. Who am I to say that someone does not have the same rights that I have with my wife, who I love, or have the 1,300 plus rights that I share with her.” After passing the Assembly earlier in the month by a vote of 80-63, the Senate approved the measure 33-29 and Governor Cuomo signed the bill that night.

The City Bar was pleased and privileged to be part of the enormous advocacy effort to pass the marriage equality bill. In over a decade’s worth of reports and amicus briefs, the City Bar has demonstrated that the right to a civil marriage – regardless of a spouse’s sex – is essential for full equality for all New Yorkers. Our most recent report, “Why Should New York Support Marriage Equality for Same-Sex Couples?” was endorsed by 20 City Bar committees covering a wide variety of areas such as trusts and estates, labor and employment and health law, displaying the breadth of legal issues faced by unmarried same-sex couples. We repeatedly argued that civil unions were not a legally sufficient substitute for marriage. And, we were proud to join with over 20 bar associations in May for a joint press conference to present the legal case for same-sex marriage. Although the federal Defense of Marriage Act will continue to create hardships for same-sex couples even after they marry, New York has taken a huge step toward protecting the rights of all couples who are ready to take on the obligations and enjoy the benefits of marriage.

City Bar in the News
Boston Globe, July 4, 2011

Lawyers Who Are Legislators Face Conflicts
In New York, Governor Andrew Cuomo, responding to a series of ethical scandals, recently pushed through legislation that requires legislators with law practices to disclose the names of clients they represent in matters before the state. California and Washington have similar laws. “You want to know that your legislators are independent, and knowing who their clients are outside of government, and their sources of income outside of government, is part of that story,” said Gregory G. Ballard, a lawyer who helped write a report on disclosure requirements for the New York City Bar Association. “The public should be entitled to know those kinds of facts.”

ABA Journal, July 1, 2011

Seeking The ‘New Perfect’: Survey of Female Lawyers Highlights Their Struggles and Skill
Perfectionism doesn’t have to be a hindrance for women or men, says Robert Chender, 58, a counsel at Seward & Kissel and director of the New York City Bar Association’s Contemplative Lawyers Group, which focuses on applying meditation practice to the law. “The anxiety that is really endemic in law practice, it’s anxiety about ‘How am I doing at work?’ It’s anxiety about difficult colleagues. It’s anxiety about going into court, anxiety about the kinds of cases we’re working on,” says Chender, a meditation teacher who has taught continuing legal education sessions on managing stress. “So you become a perfectionist because you want everything to be perfect so your anxiety can reduce.” The trick for lawyers, he says, is becoming aware of their emotions. It comes down to the difference between letting anxiety be your master or mastering the anxiety so your efforts are being channeled in an effective way.

Wall Street Journal (AP), June 28, 2011

NY Judges Won't Handle Big Campaign Donors’ Cases
Citing growing concern over the escalating influence of money in judicial elections, New York’s Administrative Board of the Courts is prohibiting case assignments to elected judges involving their big campaign contributors. Judicial officials said Tuesday that New York is the first state to systematically address the issue of money in judicial elections through administrative actions. Many of the donors to candidates running for judgeships are lawyers who practice in those courts.…“This rule takes important steps toward protecting the integrity of the judicial process while avoiding judges being forced to address recusal motions regarding contributions to their campaigns,” said Roger Maldonado, who chairs the New York City Bar Association’s Council on Judicial Administration.

To forward this newsletter, click here.

To view this newsletter on the Web, click here.

To change your contact information: email

Click here to unsubscribe from 44th Street Notes e-mails

New York City Bar
42 West 44th Street, New York, NY 10036
(212) 382-6600