April 15, 2011
The following is a summary of actions taken at the April 15, 2011 meeting of the New Jersey State Bar Association Board of Trustees at the New Jersey Law Center in New Brunswick. This summary does not constitute official minutes.
Supreme Court meeting: The Executive Committee and State Bar Association staff met with the Supreme Court on March 29. The meeting covered a range of topics, and Chief Justice Stuart Rabner and Judge Glenn Grant, acting director of the Administrative Office of the Courts welcomed the bar’s input on a variety of issues:
Direct solicitation: Court officials encouraged the bar to forward any proposals regarding changes to the Rules of Professional Conduct that would restrict direct mail solicitation in cases involving bodily injury or death, and impose certain requirements on attorneys who wish to do such solicitations.
Judiciary budget: The Judiciary is being flat-funded again this year, and a $25 million shortfall is expected. Officials indicated that despite the shortfall there would be a minimal amount of disruption to lawyers and the public.
Election update: In an ongoing effort to provide information about the candidates, the State Bar Association has put election information on its website.
To learn more about the candidates and election procedures members may visit the "Election News" site at www.njsba.com. The site contains general news articles, as well as biographical statements and question-and-answer columns from the candidates. It will be updated regularly.
In addition, a listserv is live at “Election Listserv.” It serves as a forum for members to discuss the election and candidates. The listserv is open to members, who must register and accept the State Bar Association’s rules of use before sending messages to the other participants.
Ballots are being mailed, and voting continues through May 9.
Trade names: The trustees opposed a proposal to allow law firms to use trade names. Saying the practice is undignified and diminishes the profession, the trustees said the Association should notify the Supreme Court Committee on Attorney Advertising that it objects to the recommended change to Rule of Professional Conduct 7.5. If adopted, the proposed change would allowed a limited use of trade names by law firms, so attorneys could name their practice after an area of specialty, so long as it is not misleading, comparative or unprofessional, and also includes the name of the managing attorney.
Mid-Year Meeting 2012: In order to avoid a conflict with the Muslim holiday Eid-ul Adha, the board said it approved seeking new dates to hold the Mid-Year Meeting, which had been scheduled in Las Vegas from Oct. 24 to 28.
New Jersey State Bar Foundation Trustees: The following people received approval from the board to serve as trustees of the association’s philanthropic arm for a one-year term:
Current trustees Steven Richman; Paulette Brown; Norberto A. Garcia; Margaret Leggett Tarver were all reappointed. Anna Pereira, Newark’s corporation counsel, was appointed for a new term.
Ad hoc Committee on E-Filing: Richard Badolato and John Keefe Jr. were appointed by President Richard H. Steen that will serve on a newly created working group that will study implementing e-filing in the New Jersey courts.
Hall of Fame: Gov. Chris Christie named Warren County Trustee Doug Steinhardt to the New Jersey Hall of Fame Advisory Commission.
Pro bono awards: In recognition of their efforts in providing pro bono legal services, the board approved the recipients for the annual Pro Bono awards, which will be given at the Fourth Annual Pro Bono Conference in June. An award recognizing the work of an organization will go to Lowenstein Sandler PC, and John W. Hargrave will receive individual recognition.
Alfred C. Clapp awards: Several people will be honored for their contributions to the educational efforts of the New Jersey Institute for Continuing Legal Education (ICLE), the board determined. The Alfred C. Clapp award will go to Richard Greenberg, who has participated in 88 ICLE seminars over the years. The board also approved Distinguished Service awards for: Judge Ronald E. Bookbinder, Judge Renee C. Ricciardelli, Bonnie C. Frost, Thaddeus J. Hubert III, and NJSBA Trustee James Ferrelli.
Speaker policy: The board adopted a policy to address non-lawyer speakers at State Bar Association events who have business or family relationships with a member. Under the new policy, the Meeting Arrangements and Programs Committee must review requests for speakers who have relationships with members. Final approval will be left to the Board of Trustees, the policy states.
Public Defender’s Office: After debate, the trustees voted to take no position on legislation (SCR-148, Buono/Scutari) about the Public Defender’s Office, which would provide for the appointment of the Public Defender by a new commission, rather than the Governor, and would make the agency independent entity “in but not of” the Judiciary.
Fastcase legal research: The board agreed to extend its contract with Fastcase to provide free online legal research as a benefit to members. The State Bar Association began offering the benefit in 2009. Members receive free unlimited usage, customer support and printing when searching everything from New Jersey statutes to the past 60 years worth of New Jersey court opinions to decisions from the U.S. Supreme Court.
New Jersey Institute for Continuing Legal Education: To further the State Bar Association’s effort to take over administrative responsibility for New Jersey Institute for Continuing Legal Education, the trustees approved several measures. That action included creating an ICLE Advisory Standing Committee, which will have 15 members, nine of whom will have three-year terms. The president will make the appointments. An operating budget was also approved and will be incorporated into the State Bar Association’s budget that will be published in May and presented at a public hearing at the Annual Meeting and Convention in Atlantic City. Final adoption of the budget for FY ’12 will be in June.