From the President: Carey R. Dunne
Upcoming Highlight: Lanny A. Breuer
This Week at the City Bar
Recent Committee Activity
City Bar in the News

President’s Letter
The City Bar’s Commitment to the Judiciary

Since its founding, the New York City Bar Association has fought to maintain the judiciary as a co-equal branch of government; indeed, as many of you know, the City Bar was founded in 1870 by a group of attorneys who came together specifically to challenge judicial corruption in the era of the Tammany Hall political machine. The power of the judiciary to rule independently on the constitutionality of actions by the executive and legislative branches, and generally to consider and decide the matters that come before it with integrity, are bedrock principles which must continually be defended, even in our modern age. Equally important for public confidence is that litigants know that their judicial matters will be handled fairly and capably, and that they will be given the respect that they are due. We therefore have always worked to achieve the high quality and independence of the judiciary to which the public is entitled.

At the City Bar, much of this responsibility lies with the Judiciary Committee, which reviews the qualifications of candidates for judicial office in New York City’s federal and state courts. We are now in the Committee’s busiest season, as it reviews candidates for elective office, both incumbents and challengers. Although the Association has long advocated that judges be selected through a system of merit appointment rather than election, as long as judges are elected we will devote substantial efforts toward determining whether those standing for election are qualified. As this effort is so central to our mission (and since I, as a former Chair of our Judiciary Committee, am so proud of our work in this area), I want to review with you the Committee’s structure and procedures.

Read more.

Upcoming Highlight
Address by Lanny A. Breuer – September 13th

Lanny A. Breuer, Assistant Attorney General for the Criminal Division of the U.S. Department of Justice, will address the New York City Bar Association on “Current Developments in Federal Criminal Law Enforcement” on September 13th at 6 PM. Register for this free event here.

This Week at the City Bar
9 AM – 12 PM,
The “How To” of Successful Motion Practice (Video Replay)

6 PM – 8:30 PM,
How will Recent Changes in Election Law Influence the 2012 Elections?

9 AM – 12:30 PM,
Lawyering in the Fashion Industry: A Practical Guide to Licensing, Trademark Protection & Other Industry Issues (Video Replay)

7 PM – 9 PM,
New York City Bar Association's Annual Law Student Welcome Reception

9 AM – 12 PM,
Securities Arbitration & Mediation Hot Topics 2012: “The” Program for Attorneys, Experts, Arbitrators & Mediators (Video Replay)

Recent Committee Activity
Health Care Flexible Spending Arrangements
The Employee Benefits and Executive Compensation Committee sent a letter to the IRS commenting on Notice 2012-40, which concerns whether the use-it-or-lose-it rule as applied to health care flexible spending arrangements should be modified in light of the $2,500 annual limit on employee pre-tax contributions (Annual Health FSA Limit). The letter offers a number of suggested modifications, including: 1) extending the grace period in which to incur eligible expenses to the end of the following plan year; 2) allowing full carryover of unused salary reduction contributions from the preceding plan year with reducing the Annual Health FSA Limit in effect for the following plan year; and 3) prohibiting the cashout of unused salary reductions to a Health FSA.

Race and Undergraduate Admissions
The Committee on Education and the Law submitted an amicus brief to the U.S. Supreme Court in Fisher v. University of Texas. The case involves the use of race in undergraduate admission decisions. The brief argues that The University of Texas admissions policy is fully consistent with constitutional requirements, as set forth in Supreme Court jurisprudence, because it gives holistic, individualized attention to each applicant and does not permit race to be a single or predominant factor in determining whether to review an applicant. The effort of the University of Texas to increase the diversity of its student body, the brief notes, is not only commendable but is essential to increase the number of students of color who go on to professional careers and thus take leadership roles in society. The brief also emphasizes the importance of an undergraduate institution’s promotion of diversity from the perspective of the legal community. The legal profession recognizes the importance of diversity and is dependent upon a racially-mixed pipeline of students with the qualities to be successful lawyers.

In a letter to the Federal Insurance Office (FIO), the Committee on Insurance Law offered comments on the FIO’s Report to Congress on the U.S. and Global Reinsurance Market. The letter sets forth the Committee’s observations concerning: 1) the overarching purposes of reinsurance; 2) the role of reinsurance in the broader economy; and 3) recent and ongoing reforms in the regulation of reinsurance, and urges continued efforts to reduce regulatory ambiguity and uncertainty and to regulate reinsurance from the standpoint of widely shared public policy priorities.

Modernizing New York's Uniform Commercial Law
The Committee on Commercial Law and Uniform State Laws proposed New York State legislation which would modernize the Uniform Commercial Code (the “UCC”) and bring New York up to date with comparable revisions enacted in other states. New York has fallen significantly behind other states in modernizing its commercial law. The proposed legislation would amend Articles 1, 3, 4, 7 and 9 of the UCC, keeping New York’s commercial law as modern as any in the nation, and would help maintain New York’s status as a preeminent commercial jurisdiction.

City Bar in the News
New York Law Journal, August 16, 2012
Attorneys Clear Their Calendars to Counsel Young Immigrants on Deferral Program
“Meanwhile, about 145 volunteer attorneys have so far signed up for clinics organized by the New York City Bar’s Justice Center. ‘The response from attorneys has been tremendous,’ said Barbara Camacho, a fellow of the Justice Center’s Immigration Outreach Project supported by Fragomen, Del Rey, Bernsen & Loewy. The city bar clinics are scheduled for Sept. 10, Oct. 2 and Nov. 1. A training session for volunteer lawyers, who will help applicants fill out the deferred action applications, is planned for Sept. 4.”

New York Law Journal, August 15, 2012
N.Y., Other States File Briefs in Race-Based Admissions Case
“Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, on behalf of 14 states, is urging the U.S. Supreme Court to uphold the use of college applicants’ race and ethnicity, among other factors, in making admissions decisions. The court is scheduled to hear arguments on Oct. 10 in a lawsuit by Abigail Fisher, a white student who was not admitted to the University of Texas in 2008. The court’s ruling will be its first on affirmative action in higher education since 2003…Also yesterday, the New York City Bar announced that its Education and Law Committee had submitted its own brief supporting the constitutionality of the policy.”

Bloomberg, August 12, 2012
Standard Chartered Nemesis Has History as Strict Enforcer
“Lawsky also shared his philosophy of enforcement in a speech to the New York City Bar Association on June 28. In that talk, he said that when violations go on year after year, bank regulators need to be willing to take action more publicly. Quiet settlements, Lawsky told the audience, don’t work.”

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