FROM THE PRESIDENT: CAREY R. DUNNE

The Mayor's Judicial Appointments


Mayor Michael Bloomberg is about to swear in the last group of judges that he will be appointing to New York City's courts. As many of you know, the Mayor makes all appointments to the City's Family Court and Criminal Court, and also appoints interim Civil Court Judges. Every judge now sitting in the Family and Criminal Court has been appointed or reappointed during Mayor Bloomberg's tenure. What has been largely unheralded during the course of Mayor Bloomberg's judicial appointments is that he has consistently followed the practice, originally adopted as an Executive Order by Mayor Koch, of having an independent committee on the judiciary select a limited number of candidates from which the Mayor must choose in making his appointments. Read more.

     THIS WEEK AT THE CITY BAR
MONDAY, DECEMBER 16
6 PM – 8 PM, Event
Criminal Trials in the 21st Century: Exploring the Legal and Ethical Issues Presented by the Electronic Age


TUESDAY, DECEMBER 17
9 AM – 12:15 PM, CLE
Video Replay: Nuts & Bolts of Commercial Collection Law

9 AM – 12:30 PM, CLE

Women in Negotiation: Practical Tips To Strengthen Your Negotiation Skills (For You & Your Clients)


WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 18
8:30 AM, Event
Mentoring Circles Meeting

9 AM – 1 PM, CLE
Video Replay: Sweepstakes, Promotions & Marketing Laws: Comprehension & Compliance

6 PM – 8 PM, Event
Mayor Bloomberg's Environmental Legacy


THURSDAY, DECEMBER 19
9 AM – 12 PM, CLE
Video Replay: Art Law 101: The Basics

12:30 PM – 2 PM, Event

Networking Tips to Maximize Holiday Partying - Small Law Firm Luncheon

7 PM – 9 PM, Event

Science, the Meditative Perspective and the Practice of Law - Contemplative Lawyers Group

     AROUND THE BAR

photo credit: Rick Kopstein/New York Law Journal
On December 12th, the City Bar presented its annual Thomas E. Dewey Medal, awarded to outstanding assistant district attorneys in each of the District Attorney’s offices within New York City and the Office of Special Narcotics Prosecutor for the City of New York. front row, from left: Nicole Keary, Assistant District Attorney, Bronx County; Joan B. Gabbidon, Senior Deputy District Attorney, Kings County; Nitin Savur, Deputy Chief, Trial Division, New York County; Jessica L. Melton, Senior Assistant District Attorney, Queens County; Joseph Tesoriero, Assistant District Attorney, Special Narcotics Prosecutor; Mark A. Palladino, Deputy Chief, Investigations Bureau, Richmond County. Back row, from left: Thomas E.L. Dewey, Chair, Dewey Medal Committee; Lanny A. Breuer, Vice Chair, Covington & Burling LLP; Former Assistant Attorney General, Criminal Division, U.S. Department of Justice; Carey R. Dunne, President, New York City Bar Association.


On December 10th, Fatou Bensouda, Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, spoke at the City Bar about her priorities as chief prosecutor and about some of the challenges currently facing the Court. She was introduced by Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr. From left: Carrie H. Cohen, Assistant U.S. Attorney in the SDNY, Chair of the City Bar's Executive Committee and member of the Vance Center for International Justice Committee; Alexander Papachristou, Executive Director of the Cyrus R. Vance Center for International Justice; Fatou Bensouda; Cyrus R. Vance, Jr.


The City Bar's Task Force on National Security and the Rule of Law sponsored an event on December 10th called "The First Amendment in an Age of Terror," at which a panel discussed issues relating to leaks and whistleblowers, surveillance and prosecution, and the role of the press within the context of the continuing struggle against terrorism. From left: Spencer Ackerman, US National Security Editor, The Guardian; Jameel Jaffer, Deputy Legal Director, American Civil Liberties Union;
Jonathan Hafetz, Associate Professor, Seton Hall University School of Law and Chair of the Task Force; Hon. Robert D. Sack, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit; and James Goodale, Debevoise & Plimpton.

     RECENT COMMITTEE ACTIVITY

Electronic Health Records
The Committee on Health Law issued a comprehensive report, Gap Analysis of New York Law and Recommendations Regarding Implementation of Electronic Health Records in Health Information Exchanges. As the importance of electronic medical records and the use of intermediate entities is growing, both in New York as well as nationally, consideration must be given to how best to protect the privacy and security of those records. Given that many of New York’s privacy statutes were written at a time when the sharing of electronic medical records was not contemplated, clarification is needed with respect to the application of New York’s privacy law as to uploading and downloading electronic medical records. In order to protect the security of electronic medical records, the report recommends that a new unifying statutory regime apply specifically to health information exchanges, and that health information exchanges go through a licensing process that would maintain a certain set of standards ensuring the privacy and security of a patient‘s information.


Audited Financial Statements

In a joint letter to the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board, the Committees on Financial Reporting and Securities Regulation expressed concerns regarding the proposed auditing standard entitled The Auditor’s Responsibilities Regarding Other Information in Certain Documents Containing Audited Financial Statements and the Related Auditor’s Report (PCAOB Release No. 2013-005). Though the committees support the proposal’s objective of improving the usefulness of financial reporting, the letter urges that management be given the opportunity to describe its business activity as management sees fit, constrained by the obligations to tell the truth and otherwise fulfill legal requirements, and maintains that the installation of an additional layer of evaluation and reporting would be counterproductive.

Pay Ratio Disclosures
In a letter to the SEC, the Committee on Securities Regulation offered comments on the Commission’s Pay Ratio Disclosure Proposal, which is meant to enhance comparability of disclosure across companies. In particular, the letter urged that: 1) companies should be permitted to exclude non-U.S. employees for the purposes of calculating the median; 2) companies should be permitted to exclude seasonal, temporary, part-time and short-term employees, provided that companies disclose the number of employees included and excluded; 3) companies should be permitted to omit employees of entities acquired during the year; and 4) that the Commission should clarify that companies can use reasonable methods of choosing a median employee if the chosen method yields multiple median employees.

False Confessions
The Committees on Criminal Law and Criminal Advocacy submitted an amicus brief to the New York State Court of Appeals in New York State v. Thomas. The brief argued that the coercive tactics used during the interrogation of the defendant violate due process and increase the risk of a false confession and urge the court to exclude the statements as involuntary. By ruling as such, the brief noted, the court will serve to increase the accuracy and integrity of evidence received by New York Courts and reduce the risk of wrongful convictions based on false confessions. The brief goes on to note that while electronic recording of interrogations will greatly enhance the reliability and fairness of interrogations, to ensure reliability courts must review recorded interrogations for tactics that run afoul of the constitutional due process requirements, and where recordings demonstrate promises, threats or tactics that offend notions of fundamental fairness, such confessions must be excluded.


  FREE CLE Webinar For New York City Bar Members
----------------------------
Negotiation Skills & Strategies
For Everyday Bargaining
----------------------------
Available Monday, December 16 - Saturday, December 21, 2013

Register Now

Enter Discount Code: memberbenefit

CLE Credit: 4.0 Skills
Free registrations will be monitored for members only
 

     NEW SERIES: BAR @ THE BAR

The City Bar is pleased to present Bar @ the Bar, a series of casual “happy hours” for members at the House of the Association. This new benefit of membership is designed to provide a comfortable environment for conversation and networking in a small group setting. Capacity will be limited to approximately 30 people and there will be a $20 charge for the event, which will feature full bar and light snacks. Currently scheduled events are set for January 16, February 25, March 12, April 23 and May 29, from 6:00 – 7:30 p.m. Fee is $20 and registration is on a first-come, first-served basis.

     BRONX CLARO PROGRAM SEEKING VOLUNTEERS

Training for Volunteers to Provide Basic Consumer Debt Collection Legal Advice
Volunteers are needed for the Bronx CLARO Program, an innovative pro bono program co-sponsored by the City Bar that provides limited legal advice to unrepresented debtor defendants with consumer debt cases. The program is designed to assist the very high numbers of individuals who must defend themselves pro se in consumer debt collection litigation. Bronx CLARO clinics take place in Bronx Supreme Court on Thursdays, from 3 – 6 p.m.

Volunteers are invited to attend a training program on January 14th from 6 – 9 p.m. at Wagner College. Three CLE credits will be offered for free to those who attend the training and volunteer 6 hours for CLARO in the Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens, or Staten Island by June 30, 2014. Volunteers can also volunteer with the Westchester CLARO Program. To register or for more information, please contact Dora Galacatos, Chair of the Civil Court Committee, at galacatos@fordham.edu.

     HOST AN EVENT AT THE HOUSE OF THE ASSOCIATION

As a benefit of membership, the City Bar would like to offer members, along with their friends and family, the opportunity to rent space at the House of the Association on weekends. From cocktail parties to weddings, this beautiful and historic building is the ideal location for any reception or event. Working with Abigail Kirsch Catering, we offer guests a unique and cost-effective experience right here in the heart of Manhattan.


If you are interested, please contact Abigail Kirsch Catering at 212-696-4076 or chedin@abigailkirsch.com, or Nick Marricco at 212-382-6637 or nmarricco@nycbar.org.

     CITY BAR IN THE NEWS

New York Law Journal, December 13, 2013
Q&A: Allen Charne

"Allen Charne, the longtime executive director of the New York City Bar Legal Referral Service (LRS) has been the leader and innovator of a program that annually fields more than 75,000 calls from consumers and makes more than 23,000 referrals in matters ranging from torts to bankruptcy to matrimonial issues and beyond....Charne, who had been in private practice in San Diego before taking on the challenges of the referral service, looks back with pride at his time with the program, which, in addition to its day-to-day work informing the public of the role of lawyers, under what circumstances legal advice is needed, answering basic legal questions and referring callers to qualified counsel, also stepped up to coordinate thousands of lawyer volunteers to help fellow New Yorkers affected by 9/11."

Crain's New York
, December 12, 2013

Justice Deferred at JPMorgan

"In a speech last month to the New York City Bar Association, U.S. District Judge Jed Rakoff sharply criticized prosecutors for so frequently consenting to DPAs and NPAs instead of actually indicting Wall Street wrong-doers. His speech was titled "Why Have No High Level Executives Been Prosecuted In Connection With The Financial Crisis?"


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