February 24, 2012
The following is a summary of actions taken at the Feb. 24, 2012, 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.
Rutgers University Law School – Camden: The trustees adopted a resolution opposing a proposal to merge Rutgers-Camden’s School of Law with Rowan University, and in support of maintaining the law school as part of the statewide university. The trustees expressed concern that the proposed merger would devastate the law school, undo achievements that were earned in the Rutgers’ name, and harm its accreditation status, enrollment and alumni support.
Anti-bullying legislation: The New Jersey State Bar Association will seek to work with legislators to find a viable funding source or another means to enact anti-bullying legislation, now that the state Council on Local Mandates has ruled it an unfunded mandate, and therefore invalid. The Legislature has 60 days from the time a written decision is issued to change the law, or it becomes invalid.
Schoenefeld v. State of New York: The state’s largest lawyers group will seek to join a suit pending in the U.S. Second Circuit Court of Appeals that involves a New Jersey resident who is challenging a New York rule requiring non-resident attorneys to maintain an office in the state if they want to be eligible to practice law.
Recognizing that technology has fundamentally changed the way lawyers conduct business, the New Jersey State Bar Association has already suggested the New Jersey Judiciary amend the parameters lawyers must adhere to for establishing a law office. Some of the rule changes suggested by the Bar Association are already pending adoption by the New Jersey Judiciary. Consistent with the position that lawyers should have more flexibility, while ensuring they are still accessible and accountable to the courts and their clients, the Association will voice a similar position in the New York matter.
Government affairs: The NJSBA is closely monitoring developments related to potential legislation that would increase a variety of court filing fees to raise funding for enhancements to the Judiciary information technology systems and to support legal services for the poor, both of which have traditionally been funded through the state treasury. A similar bill was introduced last year.
State Bar Association officers and members have testified on a number of measures, including the Marriage Equality and Religious Exemption Act; the Revised Uniform Limited Liability Company Act; legislation related to changes in alimony and child support laws, which has raised concerns of many in the family law field; and the municipal court Conditional Discharge Legislation.
The Association also met with representatives of Gov. Christie related to the Spendthrift Trust Legislation, which had been pocket vetoed. It is expected to be reintroduced.
Member benefits: The trustees approved Staples Office Products as a member benefit. The new benefit allows members to receive discounts through Staples Advantage if their firm spends less than $6,000 each year, and those spending in excess of $6,000 will receive an assigned business development associate to customize additional discounts.
Mid-Year Meeting 2012: The trustees approved a budget and pricing for the 2012 Mid-Year Meeting, which will be held in Las Vegas from Oct. 10 through 14. This year, young lawyers and guests of State Bar Association members will pay lower registration fees.
Bylaw changes: The board approved bylaw changes concerning election procedures. In elections where there are more than two people running for a position a majority is required to win the seat. If no candidate wins the majority in the first round of voting, a second round will be held between the top two vote getters, under the proposed bylaw change. The change, as well as several others, will go to a vote of the membership at a future date.
Upcoming events: The trustees also agreed to co-sponsor an upcoming event with the Diversity Committee and Supreme Court Committee on Women in the Courts. The seminar, “From Implicit Bias to Broader Inclusion in the Legal Practice,” will be held Feb. 29 at the Law Center.
The Association is also a co-sponsor “A Journey Through the Pipeline: Identifying Challenges and Improving Diversity and Inclusion in the Legal Profession,” which will be held March 15 at Seton Hall University School of Law. President Susan A. Feeney will make remarks.