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

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NJSBA Board of Trustees Address Wide-Range of Topics at Mid-Year Meeting

The governing body of the state’s largest lawyers group took action this month on a host of issues from the economic crisis to the selection of judges.

The New Jersey State Bar Association’s Board of Trustees met Nov. 6 at the Mid-Year Meeting in Florida.

The trustees’ meeting was one part of the five-day gathering, which brought 400 people to the Boardwalk Inn at Walt Disney World and is one of the association’s two primary annual conferences. The conference featured a suite of continuing legal education sessions, a golf tournament and other events.

Attendees took part in a host of seminars, which featured expert panels of lawyers and judges. “Disney Dads (and Moms and Step-Dads and Grandparents and Siblings and Guardians and Kinship Guardians and … )” focused on the issues confronting non-traditional families. New Jersey’s U.S. District Court Chief Judge Garrett Brown offered insights on the inner workings of the federal courts. Other sessions included discussions of the trends in estate litigation, how to cross-examine law enforcement officers and tips on professionalism from New Jersey Supreme Court Justice Helen Hoens.

The trustees gathered to discuss a wide-range of topics.

Gov. Jon Corzine signed and agreed to honor a revised version of the Hughes Compact, President Peggy Sheahan Knee noted in a report.

The compact is an agreement between the state bar and the state’s chief executive that enables the lawyers group to confidentially vet candidates for the bench. The compact was revised recently to require that county bar Judicial and Prosecutorial Appointments Standing Committee members comply with the same procedural rules as those of state bar committee members, according to Knee’s report.

The ongoing economic crisis also earned the attention of the trustees who discussed the state Judiciary’s new foreclosure mediation program and Corzine’s four-part plan to address issues in New Jersey, including a proposal to give a $9 million appropriate to Legal Services of New Jersey.

In a related development, the trustees voted to approve a dues assistance program, allowing people to cut their dues because of economic hardship.

The program is confidential, and members can only seek a cut in their association dues for two years. Applicants must submit a letter explaining their financial hardship and complete a form. The executive committee will review the applications.

It is especially important in times like this to keep connections open, be able to get advice from peers and learn new skills – all the things the bar tries to provide, said Red Bank lawyer Angela White Dalton, chair of the membership and public relations standing committee.

“The concern is if we lose a member because of a financial hardship in one year, we may not get her back next year,” she said.

The New Jersey State Bar Association is the state’s premiere voluntary lawyers group. It is dedicated to the continuing education of lawyers and the public and to reforming and improving the legal system. It encourages involvement in voluntary pro bono activities and supports the fair administration of justice. Incorporated in 1899, it is the state’s largest lawyers group. Visit the Association at