New Jersey State Bar Association - The voluntary Bar Association of New Jersey, serving members since 1899.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 11/30/08
CONTACT:Kate Coscarelli
Director, Media Relations Communications
732-937-7548

News and Updates From Around the Bar

NOMINEES SOUGHT FOR MEDAL

The New Jersey State Bar Foundation is seeking nominations for its 2009 Medal of Honor Award.

One or two of the awards are given annually to lawyers and law-related professionals, as well as lay people.

“The New Jersey State Bar Foundation’s Medal of Honor is a high honor indeed. It represents what is noblest about the practice and application of law in New Jersey,” said Mary Ellen Tully, foundation president.

Candidates must have made a significant contribution to the advancement or improvement of the justice system or the betterment of the legal profession in New Jersey or attained professional excellence as demonstrated by accomplishments in the law or service to the profession and the community.

Nominations should include the candidate’s biographical information and summaries of their achievements. Send nominations to the Medal of Honor Committee, New Jersey State Bar Foundation, One Constitution Square, New Brunswick, NJ 08901. All nominations must be received by Friday, January 9, 2009.

For additional information about the nomination process or related programs contact Florence Nathan at (732) 937-7518 or 1-800-FREE LAW.

NEW INSURANCE SITE FOR MEMBERS

Members of the state’s largest lawyers group now have access to a new tool to navigate the world of insurance and professional liability.

The Lawyers Professional Liability website is now live and can help members find affordable and comprehensive coverage through USI Affinity, the exclusive provider of association member insurance programs.

At the site, members can get customized quotes, download forms and get the answers professional liability questions.

Visit the site at: www.mybarinsurance.com/NJSBAliability or www.njsba.com.

DIVERSITY TAKES CENTER STAGE TONIGHT

The New Jersey courts are marking a series of special milestones this year. It is the 60th anniversary of the judiciary under the 1947 constitution. It is the 25th anniversary of the creation state Supreme Court Committee on Minority Concerns. And for the first time, women, blacks and Hispanics fill more than half of the leadership spots in the state courts.

Tonight, at the seventh annual Reception Honoring Minority Judges, members of the bench and bar from across the state’s legal world will gather at the Law Center in New Brunswick to recognize the contributions of minorities on the bench and celebrate the leadership of the New Jersey Judiciary’s commitment to promoting diversity.

“We are entering an exciting time in our country’s history,” said George Rios, co-chair of the New Jersey State Bar Association’s Diversity Standing Committee. “As we approach this new year we are invigorated by change and we embrace the past to guide our vision for the future.”

The event is sponsored by the New Jersey State Bar Association’s Standing Committee on Diversity, Young Lawyers Division, Minorities in the Profession Section, Government and Public Sector Lawyers Committee and Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Transgender Rights Section, and cosponsored by the Asian Pacific American Lawyers Association, Association of Black Women Lawyers, Garden State Bar Association and Hispanic Bar Association.

BAR PRESIDENT TESTIFIES ON MALPRACTICE QUESTION

New Jersey State Bar President Peggy Sheahan Knee testified recently in support of legislation to change malpractice insurance for professionals before the General Assembly’s Regulated Professions Committee. At issue is a pair of bills that would reduce the statute of limitations - from six years to two - for actions against licensed professionals, including lawyers, accountants and veterinarians. The legislation has sparked controversy, with some claiming the change would be harmful to consumers.

New Jersey’s legal malpractice insurance premiums are so high many lawyers can no longer afford to practice here, Knee said. A two-year statute of limitations would bring the Garden State closer to the policies of nearby states and bring it in-line with the way medical malpractice claims are treated.

“In my discussions with attorneys … and in New Jersey’s courthouses, I’ve heard a recurring message – legal malpractice insurance premiums have become so expensive that many solo and small firms, nearly 65 percent of all New Jersey lawyers, are being forced out of the market,” Knee testified. “As an association of lawyers, we are ever-watchful of the interest of litigants. This legislation fairly safeguards litigants’ rights.”

The bills are pending.

ADVISOR TO IRAQI JUSTICE MINISTRY TO SPEAK

A former senior advisor to the Ministry of Justice in Iraq is slated to speak this week at the first meeting of the association’s Military Law and Veterans’ Affairs Section.

Donald Campbell, a retired major general in the Army reserve and a retired state Superior Court Judge, will discuss his experiences in Iraq. In addition to being senior advisor to the justice ministry, he also was the point person for eight of 24 various other ministries.

Campbell was a Superior Court judge for many years and also served throughout the world in the armed forces, including Haiti, Turkey and Vietnam. He is now in private practice.

The meeting is tomorrow at 6 p.m. Cost is $23. To register contact the meetings department at (732) 249-5000.