Monday, September 13, 2010
This Week at the City Bar
Around the Bar: "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit"
Recent Committee Activity
Legislative Update
Member Benefits: A Message from the City Bar's Insurance Broker
This Week at the City Bar

Monday, 6 PM – 9 PM, CLE
Video Replay
Estate Planning Primer

Monday, 6:30 PM, Event
Annual Welcoming Program and Reception for Law Students and Recent Law School Graduates

Tuesday, 9 AM – 10:30 AM, CLE
Every Contract is a Litigation Waiting to Happen: Drafting Advice from a Litigator

Tuesday, 12:45 PM – 5:30 PM, Event
Thursday, 1 PM – 5:45 PM
Boot Camp: Basic Training for Lawyers (Two-Day Program)

Wednesday, 8:15 AM - 9:30 AM, Event
Collateral Benefits? How Alternative Billing Models May Impact the Success of Women Partners

Wednesday, 6 PM – 9 PM, CLE
Ethical Considerations for Corporate Investigations: Updates 2010

Thursday, 12 PM – 1:30 PM, CLE
The Impact of the Dodd-Frank Act of the SEC's Enforcement Program

Thursday, 12:30 PM – 2 PM, CLE
Avoiding the Newest Technology Pitfalls That Can Destroy Your Practice or Your Clients' Business - Small Law Firm Luncheon

Thursday, 6 PM – 9 PM, CLE
Federal Sentencing: Updates 2010

Thursday, 6:30 PM – 8:30 PM, Event
2010-2011 First Thursdays Kickoff Reception: Young Lawyers Connect

Thursday, 7 PM, Event
City Bar Contemplative Lawyers Group: "How to Work with Emotions in Law Practice"

Around the Bar
"Law & Order: Special Victims Unit" Films Episode at the City Bar

Christopher Meloni was in character on location at the City Bar as "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit" filmed last Friday for an episode scheduled to air October 13th at 10:00 p.m. on NBC. In the episode, the City Bar stands in for a foundation, with the Davis Room serving as an office.

Recent Committee Activity
Supporting Judges' Discretion on Youthful Offender Status
The Juvenile Justice Committee issued a report expressing opposition to pending legislation A.8191, A.3975 and S.4675, which would limit the discretion of judges to confer youthful offender status on teenagers who commit criminal acts, and proposing new legislation that would grant judges more discretion in awarding youthful offender status to juvenile offenders.

Increasing the Number of Judges in New York Civil Court
The Civil Court Committee sent a letter urging that the New York State Assembly support A.11398, which would provide the mechanism to identify how many judges will come from each county to allow for eleven additional judges in New York City Civil Court. New York Civil Court filings have tripled since 2001, the recent surge being due in large part to the increased number of consumer debt cases. Additional judges would provide that all litigants have the opportunity to be heard.

Opposing the Weakening of Process Service
The Civil Court and Consumer Affairs Committees issued a report expressing opposition to A.6640/S.6649, which would permit a finding of valid service if a process server successfully completes only one of the two forms of service under the CPLR. The proposed legislation would allow service of process to be completed by simply mailing the summons without attempting to undertake a more reliable form of service. This weakened requirement, the report argues, will lead to increased inaccuracies and shoddy practices, increasing the likelihood that defendants will not receive timely notice or understand the critical importance of responding to a summons and complaint because they only receive court papers in the mail. In addition, the proposed legislation undermines longstanding efforts to combat the practice of failing to serve court papers and filing false affidavits of service with the courts.

Supporting No-Excuse Absentee Voting in New York
The Election Law Committee issued a report reviewing no-excuse absentee voting, which allows registered voters unable to appear at their local poll site on Election Day to vote in advance of the election by absentee ballot without having to provide an excuse before being issued an absentee ballot. Current law provides that voters may cast an absentee ballot only if they have one of the specified justifications. Voters with another justification, such as child care, unavoidable duties within the county or New York City, or extreme inconvenience, are not entitled to an absentee ballot. The report recommends that the legislature pass an amendment to the New York State Constitution to allow for no-excuse absentee voting and upon successful constitutional amendment, enact legislation implementing no-excuse voting.

Filling United States Senate Vacancies in New York
The Election Law Committee issued a report analyzing New York's laws governing Senate vacancies and comparing them with the laws of other states. Based on this review the report recommends that, instead of electing a replacement Senator at the next practicable Congressional election, New York should hold that election at the next practicable general election. The report notes that the Governor would retain the power to appoint an interim Senator pending the results of the election, but the Senator chosen at the election would assume office upon the issuance of a certificate of election. This modification would significantly shorten the maximum amount of time any appointed Senator could serve but would still provide for an election conducted under the full electoral process under almost all circumstances.

Legislative Update
Dignity for All Students Act Signed Into Law
New York has become the latest state to take a hard line against bullying in schools by enacting the Dignity for All Students Act (DASA), a comprehensive piece of anti-bullying legislation that will require public schools to establish policies and procedures for dealing with instances of harassment and discrimination. The City Bar's Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Rights Committee, Council on Children, and Sex and Law Committee have been strong advocates for the legislation, arguing that DASA would accomplish the important goal of instituting prevention mechanisms necessary to deter and combat bullying in our schools. The new law defines "harassment" as behavior creating a hostile environment that unreasonably and substantially interferes with a student's educational performance, opportunities, or benefits, or mental, emotional, or physical well-being; or conduct, verbal threats, intimidation, or abuse that reasonably causes or would reasonably be expected to cause a student to fear for his or her physical safety. The bill explicitly prohibits harassment of, and discrimination against, students with respect to certain non-exclusive protected classes, including, but not limited to, the student's actual or perceived "race, color, weight, national origin, ethnic group, religion, religious practice, disability, sexual orientation, gender, or sex."

"We are so pleased to see DASA finally become law. All students deserve a school environment where they feel safe to learn, thrive, and be themselves,” said LGBT Rights Committee Chair Carmelyn P. Malalis. "DASA will empower educators around the state to create that kind of environment and will help protect our students from the bullying and harassment that hinders their education."

DASA will become effective in 2012 to give school districts time to establish and implement the new rules and regulations.

Primary Election Reminder
New York will be holding primary elections for all federal and state races on Tuesday, September 14, and the election will be conducted using new voting machines. You can find information on your local races and the new machines at the New York State Board of Elections website.
Member Benefits
A Message from Marsh, the City Bar’s Insurance Broker, on How to Save on Healthcare Costs
Find out how a High Deductible Health Plan with a Health Savings Account, or switching to an Exclusive Provider Option or HMO, can save you money. Read more here.

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