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

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NJSBA Takes Leadership Roles At ABA

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—The New Jersey State Bar Association made great strides within the American Bar Association (ABA) recently when six NJSBA members and leaders were appointed to serve important roles within the 400,000 member association during the ABA’s Annual Meeting held August 5 – 10 in Atlanta, Georgia.

Dennis J. Drasco of Lum, Danzis, Drasco & Positan, LLC in Roseland was named chair of the ABA’s largest entity, the Section of Litigation. With over 74,000 members, the Section of Litigation is the voice for litigators in the ABA and the profession. Through its council, 80 committees and task forces, its publications and many CLE programs, the section provides educational opportunities for its members, training and experience for young lawyers and scholarly information relevant to trial lawyers on cutting-edge issues facing the profession.

Among the issues to be addressed by the section during Drasco's term as chair are the image of the profession, the American jury, and ethical standards for mediators.

In its 32-year history, only one other New Jersey attorney, Adrian Foley, a former NJSBA president and attorney with Connell Foley LLP in Roseland, served as chair of the Section of Litigation.

For the first time, two NJSBA past presidents, Richard J. Badolato and Karol Corbin Walker were selected to serve concurrent terms on the executive council of the National Conference of Bar Presidents (NCBP), an organization comprised of state and local bar leaders from the 53 states and U.S. territories.

The NCBP was founded in 1950 to provide information and training to state and local bar association leaders. During the ABA annual and mid-year meetings, the NCBP provides programming to current bar leaders on membership expansion, continuing education, access to justice, provision for legal services, community outreach and education, diversity and finance. Recent presentations on current subjects include the death penalty moratorium movement, terrorism and civil liberties, and law school debt forgiveness.

Badolato is a partner with the Roseland law firm of Connell Foley LLP. He served as NJSBA president in 2002-2003. At the NCBP meeting, Badolato addressed participants on the subject of professionalism. He currently serves as chair of the New Jersey Commission on Professionalism in the Law.

NJSBA Immediate Past President Walker is a partner with St. John & Wayne LLP in Newark. She currently serves as chair of the Commercial Law Section of the National Bar Association.

In the history of the NCBP, only two prior NJSBA presidents were named to its executive council—Joseph M. Nolan of Mantoloking, the only New Jersey attorney to ever serve as president of the NCBP, and Thomas R. Curtin of Graham, Curtin & Sheridan in Morristown.

Christopher P. DePhillips of Porzio, Bromberg & Newman, PC in Morristown was named chair of the Products, General Liability and Consumer Law Committee of the ABA’s Tort, Trial and Insurance Practice Section (TIPS).

Products, General Liability and Consumer Law is a substantive law and networking committee consisting of 2,000 member-lawyers from around the country who practice in those areas. TIPS is the only national forum where plaintiffs' attorneys, defense attorneys and insurance and corporate counsel come together to address issues of common concern. TIPS members specialize in product and professional liability, medical malpractice, intellectual property and computer law, commercial transportation litigation, aviation law, environmental law and other mass, civil and commercial litigation practice areas.

At the ABA Meeting, DePhillips spoke on class actions and legislative developments in that area.

Richard A. DeMichele Jr. of DeMichele and DeMichele in Cherry Hill was named to serve as a Young Lawyers Division delegate to the ABA House of Delegates. The Young Lawyers Division (YLD) has three seats in the House where the delegates, selected from across the country, serve staggered three-year terms. In that capacity, DeMichele was appointed by the chair of the House of Delegates to serve on the House Committee on Technology and Communications.

The ABA House of Delegates is the policy-making body of the association. In his role as YLD delegate, DeMichele would take those resolutions endorsed by the YLD and present and advocate for them before the House.

In addition, DeMichele was appointed by ABA President Robert Grey to serve on the President’s Commission on Domestic Violence.

Stephen M. Orlofsky, a partner in Blank Rome LLP’s Cherry Hill office, was appointed by Section on Litigation Chair Drasco to serve as a member of the section’s Ethical Standards for Mediation Task Force. The task force was created to draft and recommend ethical standards for mediators throughout the United States to be adopted by the ABA.

The New Jersey State Bar Association, incorporated in 1899, is dedicated to the continuing education of lawyers and the public, to reforming and improving the legal system and to aiding in the administration of justice.