December 10, 2010
The following is a summary of actions taken at the Dec. 10 2010 meeting of the New Jersey State Bar Association Board of Trustees. The meeting was held at the New Jersey Law Center in New Brunswick. This summary does not constitute official minutes.
Nominating Committee: Open seats on the Nominating Committee were filled. The seats were created following an election earlier this fall. In that election, state bar members voted to add five seats to the board of trustees – three for members from under-represented groups and two for members of sections and committee, and increase the size of the Nominating Committee from seven to 15 members.
Two members were selected from the Board of Trustees, Charles J. X. Kahwaty and James Ferrelli will represent North and South Jersey, respectively. In addition, the board voted to fill an interim At-Large seat designated for a member of an under-represented group. That seat went to Evelyn Padin, who is also a trustee.
JPAC manual: The board approved revisions to the JPAC manual, which reflect changes necessary to comply with the revised compact between Gov. Chris Christie and the New Jersey State Bar Association signed earlier this year. The new agreement continues the 40-year confidential and nonpartisan role the association has played in finding the best possible candidates to serve the public as judges and county prosecutors.
Municipal Court Certification: The trustees approved comments on the Judiciary’s proposal to add municipal court law to the list of specialties for which lawyers can be certified. The state bar brought the concept to the attention of the courts last year, saying municipal court law is a unique and meaningful area of law similar to the other categories the Judiciary already certifies, including matrimonial, civil, criminal and workers’ compensation. In those comments, the state bar will urge court officials to adopt certification standards that include that all those seeking certification must earn 12 credits of legal education in municipal court matters, including six hours related to DUI matters; a requirement that a practitioner’s caseload is substantially engaged in municipal court matters, and that the lawyer has participated in a significant number of municipal court trials.
Anti-Bullying: The Executive Committee acted on recommendations from the Individual Rights and the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender Rights sections to send a letter to the Governor supporting legislation establishing an Anti-Bullying Bill of Rights in its present form. This legislation strengthens New Jersey’s present law by mandating training for school personnel from school administrators to cafeteria workers on bullying; provides more detailed guidelines to protect victims, and continues to provide due process for alleged violators. Since 2001, the State Bar Foundation has been addressing this issue by providing training to thousands of New Jersey administrators and educators, and this legislation will help to focus these efforts further. The bill passed both houses of the Legislature and awaits the Governor’s signature.
Regulations: The trustees also voted to support A-1792, which expands domestic violence protection for adoptive parents, and suggest revisions to proposed Regulation NJAC 18:26-11.21 involving how title companies report escrow money and other issues.
Swearing-in: On Nov. 30, Steen helped swear in nearly 500 newly admitted attorneys to the ranks of the profession at a ceremony in Trenton’s War Memorial. The NJSBA, Federal Bar Association and all three of the state’s law schools hosted a reception after the event.
Awards: The New Jersey State Bar Association honored attorneys from around the state for their volunteer efforts in bolstering the bar group’s political agenda, assisting with cases before the Supreme Court and aiding in the field of judicial administration. The annual legislative, amicus, judicial administration awards will be given at the end of the meeting. David Dugan, of Medford, and Raymond Londa, of Elizabeth, received special recognition for their work with the ethics diversionary program.
American Bar Association: State Delegate Thomas Curtin, a former president of the state bar, discussed the advances New Jersey has made in recent years positioning itself as a leader in the country’s largest lawyers group, with a number of state bar association representatives on the governing body and in positions of influence. He is concluding his term as the state delegate. In August, former state bar president Wayne Positan will take over as state delegate.