December 7, 2007
Following is a summary of actions taken at the December 7, 2007 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.
New Executive Director
The board approved the recommendation of the Search Committee that Angela C. Scheck be named executive director of the NJSBA. Scheck currently serves as executive director of the Bar Foundation, and began her career with the NJSBA 20 years ago.
New Attorneys Swearing in Ceremony
NJSBA President Lynn Fontaine Newsome spoke at the swearing in ceremony for new attorneys held at the War Memorial in Trenton. Approximately 350 lawyers were sworn in by Chief Justice Stuart Rabner and Chief Judge Garrett Brown. The entire Supreme Court was in attendance, as well as representatives of the U.S. District Court.
Last year, the NJSBA joined as a cosponsor to the ABA Disaster Planning Committee's recommendation calling for the adoption of a model rule on the provision of legal services in the event of a major disaster. In the past, the association advised the court of this, but had not formally submitted any comments in order to include any of the Mid-Atlantic Bar Conference member states requested revisions to the rule. No revisions have been requested, so the NJSBA has submitted its recommendation for adoption to the Supreme Court for action, copying the Supreme Court's Professional Responsibility Rules Committee.
Mandatory Continuing Legal Education
The NJSBA MCLE Committee, chaired by John Paone, will be reporting to the board early next year. The association is soliciting comments from State Bar sections, committees and divisions. President Newsome also encouraged board members to voice their opinions through her or the committee. Former Justice Peter Verniero, who chairs the state's Ad Hoc Committee on Continuing Legal Education, has indicated that the committee will publish a draft report in June 2008, and that he would welcome NJSBA comments both before and after publication.
Judge Michael King's report was issued in State v. Chun, and essentially included everything the NJSBA asked for in terms of conditioning reliability of the Alcotest machine on certain requirements that must be met by the state in each case. Judge King also recommended that the NJSBA and, in particular, one of the association's counsel in the case, Jeff Gold, receive notice of any future changes to the machine. Receipt of notice carries no obligation to do anything further.
The first set of comments on Judge King's findings are due today from all of the parties, including the NJSBA, and responses to those comments are due in about two weeks. The NJSBA also filed a motion this week seeking permission to participate in oral argument, which is scheduled for Jan. 7, 2007.
The board approved a new member benefit with Easysoft, offering NJSBA members a 10 percent discount on the company's products. The board also approved a special benefit program with Len and Cindy Rossine of Countrywide Home Loans, offering existing NJSBA members a $450 application fee waiver at the close of all new loans obtained through the Rossine's service. For new members, the Rossines will pay the first year's membership (at $250) for the NJSBA candidate-borrower, plus provide an additional $200 credit toward the loan closing fees upon closing.
Mediator Mentoring Program
The board approved the establishment of a three-tiered mentoring program to promote and increase diversity in the field of professional mediators to further the NJSBA's mission "to promote access to the justice system and fairness in its administration." The three-tiered approach includes: 1) dissemination to the general public of information about the process of mediation and how to become a professional mediator, 2) email capability for NJSBA members to consult with experienced professional mediators, and 3) outreach to a diverse group of candidates for one-on-one mentoring to become professional mediators.
Pro Bono Committee
The board approved amending the NJSBA mission statement to encourage voluntary pro bono service. The revised mission statement will include the amended third stanza as follows: To promote access to the justice system, [and] fairness in its administration and encourage participation in voluntary pro bono activities.
NJSBA Day in Trenton
The board approved the concept of NJSBA Day, and authorized the Legislative Committee to proceed with scheduling and planning the event.
Meeting Arrangement and Program Committee
The board approved the Annual Meeting fees recommended by the MAP Committee, with an amendment by Ralph Lamparello that registration fees will not be charged to judges who are speaking at the event.
The board moved to apply for certification to participate as an amicus curiae party in Brundage v. Estate of Carambio, with the argument that the Appellate Division was incorrect in holding that plaintiff's counsel had an ethical duty under RPC 3.3(a)(5) to disclose to the Appellate Division at the time of the interlocutory appeal that there was another case pending appeal on the same issue. That argument would require a full analysis of the critical elements of RPC 3.3(a)(5), including "material fact," "knowing," and "reasonably certain to mislead."
NJSBA 2007-003 (Real Property, Trust and Estate Law) Amends the Uniform Principal and Income Act of 2001. The board voted to support.
S-171/A-3716 (Lenik/Caraballo) Repeals the death penalty and replaces it with life imprisonment without eligibility for parole in certain circumstances. The board voted to support.
S-2664/A-4149 (Weinberg/Conaway) Provides additional enforcement provisions under the Health Care Quality Act; allows certain private causes of action for violations; expands administrative remedies; establishes enforcement fund. The board voted to take no position.
Foundation Capital Campaign
The Bar Foundation is proceeding with its capital campaign for the New Jersey Law Center. On April 10, a program will be held to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the facility. A public announcement of the capital campaign will be made at that time.