Monday, October 4, 2010
From the President: Samuel W. Seymour
This Week at the City Bar
Around the Bar: Justice Center Hosts Visiting Russian Lawyers
Recent Committee Activity
Committees Seeking Members
Legislative Update
City Bar in the News

From the President: Samuel W. Seymour

In the Spotlight: Access to Justice
Last Monday, the City Bar・s Cyrus R. Vance Center for International Justice presented its Access to Justice Awards to former City Bar President Michael A. Cooper and Fundacion Pro Bono of Chile. I had the pleasure of presenting the award to Mike, who has been a mentor and friend from the time I was a junior associate at Sullivan & Cromwell. The day after that, I was proud to represent the City Bar and the City Bar Justice Center by testifying at Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman・s Hearing on Civil Legal Services at the First Department.

Cyrus R. Vance Jr., Pablo V. Guerrero, Michael A. Cooper, and Samuel W. Seymour
at the Vance Center's Access to Justice Awards on September 27th.
Photo: Jun Lee

Mike was very much the driving force behind the creation of the Vance Center in 2003, named in honor of another former City Bar president, who was, as Mike so aptly described him, :one of the great lawyers and public servants of our time.; The genesis of the Vance Center can be traced to a 2000 conference on access to justice around the world, hosted by the City Bar when Mike was president and attended by representatives of 14 nations. The following year, Mike, along with the new City Bar President, Evan Davis, traveled to Buenos Aires to continue the work; and the year after that, Mike traveled to Santiago, Chile, where critical mass was reached on this initiative among a group of lawyers who would form Fundacion Pro Bono.

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This Week at the City Bar

Monday, 6 PM – 9 PM, CLE
Padilla v Kentucky: Immigration Consequences of Criminal Convictions

Monday, 6:30 PM – 8 PM, Event
The Response: In Search of Truth and Justice at Guantanamo

Tuesday, 8:30 AM, Event
Re-entry 101: Resuming Your Legal Career

Tuesday, 6 PM – 8 PM, CLE
Supreme Court Developments in Employment Law 2010: What You Need to Know in This Changing Landscape

Tuesday, 6:30 PM – 8:30 PM, Event
Minimize Growing Pains: Expand Your Small Firm Practice with the Help of Contract Lawyers - Small Law Firm Series

Wednesday, 9 AM – 12 PM, CLE
Impact of the Dodd-Frank Act on the Securities Industry: What Broker/Dealers and Investment Advisors Need to Know

Thursday, 8 AM – 6 PM, CLE
Seventh Annual Institute on Corporate, Securities, and Related Aspects Mergers & Acquisitions (Day 2)

Thursday, 6:30 PM – 8:30 PM, Event
New York's New Chocolate - Young Lawyers Connect

Friday, 8 AM – 6 PM, CLE
Seventh Annual Institute on Corporate, Securities, and Related Aspects of Mergers & Acquisitions (Day 2)

Around the Bar
City Bar Justice Center Hosts Visiting Russian Lawyers

The Justice Center discussed its pro bono initiatives with a
Russian study tour on delivering free legal aid.

Recent Committee Activity
Proposed Accounting Standards - Disclosure of Certain Loss Contingencies
The Committees on Financial Reporting and Securities Regulation sent a joint letter to the Financial Accounting Standards Board commenting on the Board's updated proposed accounting standards relating to disclosure of certain loss contingencies (File Reference No. 1840-100). The letter suggests that although the proposal strikes a better balance among competing considerations than FASB・s June 2008 proposal, it would still require disclosures that are likely to be prejudicial to a public company in the context of a particular litigation. The potential benefits of the new proposal・s additional disclosures do not justify or outweigh the adverse consequences, and the letter urges that FASB make several important changes to the standards outlined in the new proposal.

Letter in Support of the Designation of Pakistan for Temporary Protected Status Under the Immigration and Nationality Act
The Committee on Immigration and Nationality Law has issued a letter to President Obama calling upon the Obama Administration to designate Pakistan for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) under Section 244 of the Immigration and Nationality Act. The floods which began in July have produced an unprecedented human calamity in Pakistan. This, coupled with the significant loss to Pakistan's economy and infrastructure and the overwhelming threat of disease, clearly qualifies Pakistan for TPS, the letter argues. The letter also notes that a number of public policy objectives would be addressed if Pakistani nationals in the United States could benefit from TPS, including the continued flow of relief funds, much of which is generated by Pakistani nationals in the United States.

Committee Seeking Members
The Transportation Law Committee is back. Getting from point A to point B in NYC raises a host of legal and regulatory issues, from transit strikes to congestion pricing, hybrid taxi requirements, and airline runway auctions. Our Committee intends to tackle them all, with a lively and thought-provoking series of guest speakers and initiatives. Email John Dellaportas at, to learn more.

Legislative Update
Introduction to the Legislative Affairs Department and FAQs
Members often ask how committee ideas eventually become policy positions of the City Bar. Whether you・re currently on a committee or thinking about joining a committee, you may have questions about how City Bar positions are developed and communicated to local, state and federal lawmakers. To help explain the process, we have created an Introduction to NYC Bar Legislative Affairs Department V Top 20 FAQs, a user-friendly document intended to answer the most common questions we receive about the Legislative Affairs Department and what we do. Some of the questions we answer include:

How are legislative issues identified and policy issues developed?

How will I know if a bill is progressing?

How do you advocate for our position?

Click here to read the full Top 20 FAQs.

City Bar in the News
New York Law Journal, September 29, 2010
First Department Kicks Off Hearings on Civil Legal Services for Poor
“Samuel W. Seymour, president of the New York City Bar, said one project by his group involves giving legal aid to immigrants seeking asylum. Applicants represented by counsel won asylum 39 percent of the time while petitioners who did not have counsel were granted asylum 14 percent of the time. ‘It is demonstrable that the assistance of counsel makes a difference,’ Mr. Seymour said.”

New York Law Journal, September 28, 2010
Goal Is to Keep Services as Workers Retire
“‘The New York City Bar is monitoring the situation [regarding court employees taking early retirement], as a substantial loss of talented people would obviously put a further burden on our already strained court system,’ said Samuel Seymour, the organization’s president.”

New York Daily News, September 28, 2010
State's Chief Judge on Mission to Help Poor New Yorkers with Free Legal Aid
“‘The recession has had a major impact on our work, particularly for clients dealing with debt,’ said New York City Bar President Samuel Seymour. ‘Our bankruptcy program is busier than ever. The number of consumer debt calls to our hotline has increased 40% in the past few years.’”

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