January 14, 2011
The following is a summary of actions taken at the Jan. 14, 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.
Judicial vacancies: With 44 judgeships sitting open, and another 26 judges eligible to retire this year, the persistent rate of judicial vacancies and delays in the nomination process is threatening to damage the judiciary and will erode public confidence in our justice system if no remedy is found. The Board of Trustees voted to develop a position statement on the topic.
Annual meeting location: The General Council Executive Committee has decided to move the 2011 General Council Meeting to Atlantic City. The meeting will likely be scheduled for Wednesday May 18 in the afternoon.
The trustees approved suggesting the council’s executive committee explore also holding another meeting in the fall at the Law Center.
The council is comprised of over 500 members of the state bar, as well as representatives of each county and specialty bar group in New Jersey. It serves as a forum to bring issues of concern to the State Bar’s leadership regarding the practice of law and the role of attorneys in society.
Resolution: In response to a resolution approved at the General Council Annual Meeting last fall, the trustees approved renewing discussion on including county bar associations in the judicial and prosecutorial review process with the Governor’s Office at the “earliest practicable opportunity.”
Last year, Gov. Chris Christie revised the so-called Hughes Compact with the State Bar. The revised Compact continued the 40-year confidential and nonpartisan role the association has played in finding the best possible candidates to serve the public, but said county bars could not receive confidential questionnaires or perform due diligence. Since then, the State Bar trustees voted to incorporate new policies for vetting that include consultations from county bars on candidates. The General Council resolution asked the State Bar to continue discussions with the Governor’s Office to allow county bar associations to resume its role in the direct evaluation of candidates.
Section name change: The Immigration, Naturalization and Americanism Section will now be known as the Immigration Law Section.
Homestead tax benefits: President Richard H. Steen will send a letter to the New Jersey treasurer outlining concerns the Real Property Trust and Estate Law Section raised on whether homestead property tax benefits should be issued as a credit, rather than a rebate.
Legislation: The trustees voted to oppose S2234/A3227, which would create a real property assessment demonstration project in Monmouth County and establish multiple deadline dates.
Annual Meeting and Convention: The first promotional mail piece about the State Bar’s premiere event will be arriving shortly, and online registration will soon be live at www.njsba.com. Attendees can earn up to 12 CLE credits toward New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania mandatory continuing legal education requirements at seminars sponsored by the New Jersey State Bar Association and its Sections, Committees and the Young Lawyers Division. The Annual Meeting and Convention will feature educational seminars on a range of topics from arbitration to workers' compensation. The meeting will be May 18 through 20 in Atlantic City.
Mid-Year Meeting: Pricing was approved for the meeting in Dublin. Registration fees for members, non-members and first-time attendees remained the same, while pricing for several other categories, including guests and children, have been reduced. It will be held Nov. 6 through 12 at The Shelbourne. Programming is underway.