This Week at the City Bar
Around the Bar
Recent Committee Activity
City Bar in the News
This Week at the City Bar
6 PM – 8:30 PM,
Internet Rights & Technology: Practical Legal Guide to Doing Business on the Internet

6:30 PM – 8 PM,
Careers in Technology Law

9 AM – 11 AM,
Ethical & Other Considerations in Handling Insurance Claims & Disputes

12 PM – 1 PM,
Cloud Computing for Legal Professionals – A Webinar

6 PM – 9 PM,
Practicing in NYS Supreme Court

6:30 PM – 8:30 PM,
Program and Reception for International LL.M. Candidates

9 AM – 5 PM,
16 Hour New Jersey Bridge-the Gap (Register for Both Days) (Day 1 Only)

6 PM – 8 PM,
Friday Evening Chamber Music

Around the Bar
Boot Camp 2012

On October 2nd and October 4th, nearly 200 law students, recent law grads, and young attorneys turned out for Boot Camp 2012, a two-day basic-training program covering skills needed to succeed in a legal career.

Recent Committee Activity
Deceased Spousal Unused Exclusion Amount
In a joint letter to the IRS, the Committees on Trusts, Estates and Surrogate's Courts and Estate and Gift Taxation provided comments on the proposed and temporary regulations on the portability of the deceased spousal unused exclusion amount. The letter specifically suggests that the proposed regulations be modified to prevent a surviving spouse from sustaining an unfair hardship where an executor who has been appointed for the deceased spouse’s estate has not filed an estate tax return to make (or to affirmatively opt out of) a portability election as of the due date for filing the decedent’s estate tax return, and the surviving spouse has an application pending as of such filing deadline with a U.S. probate court to obtain limited letters authorizing him/her to file an estate tax return for the decedent’s estate in order to make the portability election.

The “Manifest Disregard of Law” Doctrine
The Committee on International Commercial Disputes issued a report entitled, The “Manifest Disregard of Law” Doctrine and International Arbitration in New York. The report considers whether, if the Second Circuit continues to apply the doctrine, the manifest disregard doctrine will set New York apart as a less favorable arbitration seat than other well-known venues such as London, Paris, Geneva, or Hong Kong. After reviewing the extent to which the manifest disregard doctrine has actually been applied in the Second Circuit to set aside international arbitration awards rendered in the U.S., and how other Circuits and key international arbitration seats approach the manifest disregard of the law doctrine, the report concludes that: 1) the manifest disregard doctrine has been applied sparingly, especially so in the context of international awards challenged in New York state and federal courts; 2) to date, no international arbitral award rendered in New York has ever been set aside in the Second Circuit on the ground of manifest disregard; 3) courts in other Circuits and leading international arbitral seats have shown a comparable willingness to provide relief from awards that represent a clear departure from basic notions of fairness; and 4) neither the existence of the manifest disregard doctrine nor the other grounds for vacatur under Chapter 1 of the Federal Arbitration Act make New York unique in this respect.

Supreme Court Ethics
The Committee on Government Ethics issued a report entitled, Supreme Court Ethics: The Need for Greater Transparency in a Justice’s Decision to Hear a Case. The report seeks to distinguish the recent attacks on Supreme Court Justices which appear to be examples of how the Supreme Court has reflected national political divisions throughout its history, from examples of Justices whose impartiality or ethics were objectively questionable. The report examines the laws and ethical codes that currently regulate a Justice’s conduct regarding recusals, and analyzes whether they are sufficient or what potential reforms are necessary and constitutional. The report concludes that Justices should as a matter of practice provide or, if necessary, be required by law to provide, a written explanation of their decision to recuse or their refusal to disqualify on a motion for recusal. Opening the Court’s “black box” in this limited respect, the report notes, will help the parties and the public have confidence that the judicial oath to hear cases “faithfully and impartially” is honored in practice by the highest court in the land.

City Bar in the News
Thomson Reuters, October 4, 2012

Cuomo Approves Amendment to NY Attorney Lien Law
“New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has approved legislation that will allow attorneys to place liens on out-of-court settlements and arbitration awards…Supporters of the measure, including the New York State Bar Association and New York City Bar Association, say it will fix an inequity in the 60-year-old Lien Law, which was written before arbitration and mediation became commonplace. ‘There is no reason to distinguish (alternative dispute resolution) from court-initiated litigation when it comes to allowing attorneys to secure payment for services rendered,’ the City Bar wrote in an April report.”

New York Law Journal, October 4, 2012

Gray Areas Surface in New Program as Lawyers Counsel Immigrant Youth
“The program, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, grants ‘deferred action’ to eligible immigrants.…Since the program was announced in June by the Obama administration, hundreds of New York lawyers have signed on with Legal Aid Society, City Bar Justice Center and other groups to advise young immigrants…lawyers say they have confronted uncertainties in how the government will handle requests from those who have had a youthful offender charge or criminal charges against them dismissed…‘You may have somebody who realized that’s not what they want their life to be and they have moved on and led a productive life,’ but that person might face a hurdle, said Barbara Camacho, a City Bar Justice Center fellow supported by Fragomen, Del Rey, Bernsen & Loewy.”

New York Times, October 4, 2012

U.S. Justice in Collision with Foreign Fraud
“Ross Mandell was sent to prison for securities fraud, wire fraud and mail fraud, but he could have his convictions overturned…The prestigious Association of the Bar of the City of New York has filed a brief with the appeals court in his support.…The government argues that Section 10(b) of the securities act may apply in criminal cases ‘even if the transactions at issue were executed overseas.’ It is that argument that drew the opposition from the city bar association’s white-collar crime committee. The government’s position ‘that Section 10(b) can simultaneously have two authoritative constructions — an extraterritorial reading that applies in criminal cases, and a purely domestic one that applies in civil cases — is mistaken,’ argues the brief filed by the committee’s chairman, John F. Savarese.”

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