IN THIS ISSUE : MONDAY, NOVEMBER 7, 2011
This Week at the City Bar
Around the Bar
Recent Committee Activity
Committee Seeking Members
City Bar in the News
New Member Benefit
   

This Week at the City Bar
MONDAY, NOVEMBER 7
9 AM – 12 PM, CLE
Developments In Professional Responsibility Under The Dodd Frank Act And New Rules Of Professional Conduct

6 PM – 9 PM, CLE

Practicing in New York State Supreme Court


TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 8
9 AM – 12:30 PM, CLE
What Attorneys Need to Know About Private Equity & Hedge Funds: Fundamentals, Distinctions, Investor Demands & Recent Developments

6:30 PM – 8 PM, Event

Religious and Ethnic Minorities in the Middle East


WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 9
8:30 AM – 9:30 AM, CLE
Managing the IP Problem

6 PM – 9 PM, CLE

Marriage Equality in New York: The New Legal Landscape for Same-Sex Couples


THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 10
8:30 AM 5 PM, Event
8th Annual Law Practice Management Symposium

7 PM 9 PM, Event

Bringing Mindfulness to Lawyering: Practicing on the Job

Around the Bar
The Business of Beauty


In-house counsel at leading companies in the beauty business discussed their jobs, shared tips, and reviewed their career paths in an event in the Meeting Hall on November 1st sponsored by the City Bar’s Fashion Law Committee. From left, Erica J. Swartz, Trademark Counsel, Revlon; Bret Parker, Vice President & Associate General Counsel, Elizabeth Arden, Inc.; Monica Richman, Chair, Fashion Law Committee; Charles Colman, Charles Colman Law, PLLC; Anca Cornis-Pop, Global Marketing Counsel, Avon Products, Inc.; Eric Breitman, Vice President, Assistant General Counsel, Coty Inc.

Recent Committee Activity
Divorce and Maintenance Laws
Under a recent New York law, the Law Revision Commission reviews and assesses the economic consequences of divorce on the parties; reviews the maintenance laws of the state, including their impact and effectiveness; and makes recommendations to the legislature. The Committees on Sex and Law, Matrimonial Law, Family Court and Family Law, and Domestic Violence issued a report outlining the areas they believe merit examination by the Commission, including temporary maintenance guidelines and the concept of enhanced earning capacity in equitable distribution as it relates to final maintenance awards.

HIV Related Law and Policy Issues
In a letter to the UN Global Commission on HIV and the Law, the Committee on AIDS noted that laws criminalizing HIV transmission are unnecessary, abusive, and counterproductive, and also urged the Commission to consider needle exchange and needle access programs as a crucial component in the fight against HIV transmission and the HIV epidemic.

Deceased Spousal Unused Exclusion Amount (DSUEA)
The Committees on Trusts, Estates and Surrogate’s Courts and Estate and Gift Taxation issued a joint letter to the IRS offering comments on Notice 2011-82, with the objective of enhancing the attractiveness of the portability election relative to more complicated estate planning techniques, such as those that involve the creation of trusts upon the death of the first spouse to die. The comments propose solutions to eliminate the significant degree of uncertainty that a surviving spouse would otherwise face concerning the use of the DSUEA, if he or she were to remarry after the executor of the deceased spouse’s estate has made a portability election.

Sex Offender Management and Treatment Act of 2007
The Committees on Criminal Law and Sex and Law filed an amicus brief in the U.S. Court of Appeals, Second Circuit, in Mental Hygiene Legal Services v. Schneiderman, in which the Sex Offender Management and Treatment Act of 2007 is being challenged. The Act requires a judge to confine a respondent to a secure treatment facility upon a finding that there is probable cause to believe that the respondent is a sex offender requiring civil management; however, a judge may not release the respondent prior to that proceeding. The brief supports the district court’s holding that this mandated detention without a “judicial proceeding to determine dangerousness” is unconstitutional. Requiring automatic detention for what could be over a year until the proceeding is held, without a showing of need or the opportunity for the defendant to show detention is not necessary, undermines the accuracy and integrity of the trial process and creates a significant likelihood of erroneous sex offender designations.

Family Care Leave
Over the past several decades, family and work patterns have shifted dramatically, creating an urgent need for more robust family leave policies. As of 2008, both parents work in 70% of U.S. families. The Sex and Law Committee drafted a report urging that New York’s workers’ compensation law and insurance law be amended to provide partial wage replacement to workers who need time off to care for a seriously ill family member or to bond with a new child. With a Temporary Disability Insurance program already in place, New York is in a position to expand the program to provide limited wage replacement for individuals who need to take a family leave from the workplace. Such legislation, the report notes, would promote economic security and family well-being for New York’s working families, without causing an undue burden on businesses.

Committee Seeking Members
The Capital Punishment Committee is seeking to enlist new members. The committee largely focuses its work on educating the general public and the legal community about issues related to capital punishment through reports, amicus briefs, events, and panel discussions, as well as training lawyers and law students on how to effectively represent death row inmates. If you are interested in joining the committee, please send your resume to Muhammad Faridi (chair) at mfaridi@pbwt.com.

City Bar in the News
New York Times, November 4, 2011
A District Attorney Talks About a ‘Not Approved’ Rating
Robert T. Johnson of the Bronx is currently the longest tenured district attorney in New York City. So it might come as a surprise to some that when the New York City Bar Association released its ratings for judicial candidates a couple of weeks ago, it deemed Mr. Johnson “not approved by reason of the candidate’s failure to affirmatively demonstrate that he possesses the requisite qualifications for the office for which he is a candidate.” It turns out that this is just the latest in a long-running tit for tat between Mr. Johnson and the bar association. Mr. Johnson did not show up for the bar association’s interview of candidates who will be on Tuesday’s ballot, and so was given the unfavorable rating. The bar association approved Mr. Johnson during his first two elections, in 1988 and 1991, and again in 1999. But the bar association did not approve him in 1995, 2003, 2007 and this year. In a statement, Mr. Johnson, who does not have a challenger in Tuesday’s race, brushed off the bar association’s rating. “As we have told the New York City Bar Association in past years, it makes no sense for them to screen in uncontested races,” Mr. Johnson said. “If they think that I have not demonstrated the qualifications to hold this office, they must have been stuck in a cave for the past two decades.”

New York Law Journal, November 4, 2011
City Bar Suggests Changes in Maintenance Rules
The New York City Bar issued a report yesterday containing three recommendations for consideration by the state Law Revision Commission on ways to improve the state’s divorce maintenance laws. The recommendations were devised by the city bar’s Domestic Violence, Family Court and Family Law, Matrimonial Law, and Sex and Law committees. One recommendation is to make temporary maintenance guidelines adopted last year in the Domestic Relations Law also applicable to spousal support cases in Family Court. The city bar said inconsistencies have developed through the application of the temporary award rules in Supreme Court under DRL, but not Family Court. The bar group also suggested removing from the law a calculation of the equitable distribution of assets as a factor in devising temporary awards.

Thomson Reuters, November 3, 2011
NYC Bar Association Recommends Changes to Spousal Support
The New York City Bar Association on Thursday recommended that a recently-enacted formula to calculate temporary spousal maintenance – the amount of money one spouse pays another during a divorce proceeding – be applied more broadly in the New York state courts, a move the association said would benefit low-income residents. Under a year-old law, state Supreme Court judges use a mathematical formula based on the spouses’ income to calculate temporary maintenance, which is granted to financially-strapped spouses pending the outcome of court proceedings. In the past, the statute based temporary maintenance on the needs of the spouse with the lower income. The bar association’s report recommends that the new maintenance formula, which currently only applies in Supreme Court, also be used in Family Court, which is authorized to award “spousal support” to estranged spouses who have not divorced.

Corporate Counsel/New York Law Journal, November 3, 2011
Cosmetics Counsel on the Business of Beauty
It may be only skin deep, but at least in New York City, beauty is a major force driving the economy. On Tuesday night, a group of cosmetics-industry lawyers took the stage at the New York City Bar Association to discuss the “Business of Beauty.” In-house counsel from Coty Inc.; Avon Products, Inc.; Elizabeth Arden, Inc.; and Revlon, Inc.; gathered for a panel discussion, presented by the Committee on Fashion Law. The lawyers discussed their own line of legal issues – unique to the beauty world – and dispelled any myths that their jobs are all about glamour…The City Bar created its fashion law committee last year, alongside Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s announcement of initiatives aimed at boosting the city’s $55 billion fashion industry.


Thomson Reuters, October 28, 2011

City Bar Association Gives Thumbs-Down to Veteran Bronx DA
The New York City Bar Association has refused to give its blessing to longtime Bronx District Attorney Robert Johnson, who is running unopposed in the Nov. 8 general election. In a press release, the association said the veteran prosecutor, who has served six terms as district attorney, was “not approved by reason of the candidate’s failure to affirmatively demonstrate that he possesses the requisite qualifications for the office for which he is a candidate.” Johnson apparently earned the negative rating for refusing to be interviewed by the association’s committee on the judiciary, which evaluates candidates for district attorney, and for Supreme Court and Civil Court seats in New York City.

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