NJSBA Trustees Report
The following is a summary of actions taken at the Dec. 13, 2013, 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.
Lawyers in Transition Committee: The trustees created a new entity, the Lawyers in Transition Committee, that will reach out to and act as a resource for lawyers who are in flux, whether due to maternity, paternity or other family-related leave, retirement, or those seeking a change in practice. The committee expects to begin its work in the spring and offer a track of programming at the Annual Meeting and Convention in May.
Amicus: The trustees agreed to appear as an amicus party in State v. Julie Kuropchak, a driving while intoxicated (DWI) case, on issues related to whether certain police reports, including those related to Alcotest results, should be admitted into evidence. The board also said the state bar association should be a friend-of-the-court in State v. James Revie, involving whether a person was properly sentenced following a DWI conviction, in light of the fact that more than 10 years had passed since earlier offenses.
Nominating Committee: Lora Fong, a former trustee, was approved to fill a vacancy on the Association’s Nominating Committee.
Member benefits: The trustees renewed a membership program that will be launched at the Diversity Summit, to be held Feb. 20. It extends a 50 percent discount and other benefits to members of the state’s specialty bar groups who join the state bar association. The trustees also approved a benefit with Better World Brands, a New Jersey distributor, which will offer up to 30 percent off the purchase of some Keurig machines.
In addition, the trustees ended an affinity program with Capitol One, through which members could receive NJSBA-branded credit cards, since the company is ending its affinity programs.
Mid-Year Meetings: President Lamparello thanked the members of the Association and Board, as well as staff, who made the Mid-Year Meeting in Rome a success. In addition, New Orleans was approved as the location for the 2015 Mid-Year Meeting.
General Council: The trustees considered two resolutions the General Council passed at its meeting in October. One, supporting the creation of the Association’s Task Force on Judicial Independence to examine the crisis facing the Judiciary, required no action. A second, asking for a study of the costs and location of Mid-Year Meetings, was referred to the Meeting Arrangements and Program Committee for further study.
Congressional tax changes: The Board endorsed a resolution the American Bar Association’s Board of Governors passed that opposes a proposal being discussed in Congress which would require law firms and other personal service businesses to compute taxable income by the accrual method of accounting, rather than the traditional cash receipts and disbursements method.
Government affairs: President Lamparello, President-Elect Paris P. Eliades, Executive Director Angela C. Scheck, as well as others, have engaged in meetings with high-level legislators to discuss pending bills to standardize the statute of limitations on professional malpractice claims (A-2553/S-2215,) and those to reform alimony laws (A-4525, A-3909/S-2750), at which the leaders of the Family Law Section also participated. In addition, efforts have been made to present the Association’s positions on the measures in a high-profile manner on njsba.com, as well as in the media.
The trustees also took positions on several bills pending in Trenton, including opposing as too broad A-3219/S-2297, which would allow some witnesses and victims of domestic violence to testify via closed circuit television; supporting S-123, the New Homebuyers Bill of Rights Act, with amendments that let people know they can take the matter to court; opposing A-3648/S-2344, which would give immunity to private colleges and their police officers in certain cases; opposing A-4174, which revises ignition interlock device requirements for an initial drunk driving offense; and opposing A-4284/S-2939, which expands the implied consent statute to include blood and urine testing.
Daily Briefing/New Jersey Law Journal: The trustees agreed to continue a relationship with the New Jersey Law Journal that provides the Association’s membership the Daily Briefing via email, as well as dedicated pages in each week’s edition of the publication to promote news of the Association. This is a continuation of the relationship created when the Association sold certain assets of the New Jersey Lawyer newspaper to the NJLJ.
Administrative Office of the Courts: Lamparello, Eliades and Scheck met with senior officials at the Administrative Office of the Courts this fall to discuss issues of mutual concern, including ways to resolve delays for candidates pending before the Committee on Character and Fitness; and setting a policy for those seeking attorney certification who have been named in a malpractice complaint.
American Bar Association update: ABA State Delegate Wayne Positan updated the trustees on issues and developments pending before the national association, including that Paulette Brown, the NJSBA Labor and Employment Law Section’s first vice-chair, is expected to have no opposition when she is selected as president-elect of the ABA in August; that New Jersey is considering changes to the Rules of Professional Conduct proposed by the ABA’s Ethics 20/20 Commission; and that a report from the ABA is due soon related to the future of legal education.