January 30, 2009
Following is a summary of actions taken at the January 30, 2009 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.
Ad Hoc MCLE Committee Response to report of Supreme Court Committee.
The Board approved sending a letter to the Supreme Court in response to the Final Report and Recommendations of the Supreme Court's Ad Hoc Committee on Continuing Legal Education, as recommended by the NJSBA MCLE Committee. The letter highlights NJSBA recommendations on costs and staffing, expanded opportunities for credit, including required basic courses for new attorneys, and grandfathering credits and increasing carry-over credits. In addition, the Board approved sending a letter addressing recommendations for members of the District Ethics Committees regarding MCLE.
Fernandez v. Nationwide - The Board referred this matter back to the Amicus Committee for a fourteen day turnaround, so that within 35 days, a brief may be filed with the Supreme Court. The case questions whether a PIP carrier's right to reimbursement for paid PIP benefits takes priority over an injured person's right to be compensated for his/her injuries where the tortfeasor's insurance does not fully cover the insured's personal injury damages. The matter is referred back to the Amicus Committee for the purpose of expanding the arguments made by the NJSBA in its substantive brief in the matter to urge the Court to adopt the rationale of a similar trial level case, Hanover Insurance Co. v. Lewis. In that case, the trial judge held that PIP reimbursement should not be linked to the tortfeasor's policy limits.
Fawzy v. Fawzy - The NJSBA filed a substantive brief last week in this case which questions whether child custody disputes can be arbitrated, and, if so, what procedures and safeguards should be in place. The NJSBA argued that custody disputes should be permitted to be submitted to arbitration without violating the Court's parens patriae obligations provided that certain safeguards are put in place by the Court. The NJSBA brief was drafted by Bonnie Frost.
The Board voted to not participate in the cases of Paley v. Bank of America, Quinn v. Lorraine and Classen Immunotherapies v. Biogen.
Membership Benefit Programs
The Board approved designating March as Member Appreciation Month, and also approved member benefits with FedEx, UPS and Market Your Law Practice.
Judicial and Prosecutorial Appointment Committee
The Board approved revisions to the Judicial and Prosecutorial Appointments Committee manual regarding JPAC having 26 members, mandatory compliance of the manual by counties, no mini-investigations outside of JPAC, and compliance points if the manual is not followed by the counties.
Professional Responsibility and Unlawful Practice Committee - Advertising Rule Revision
The Board approved for the Professional Responsibility Committee to work up a proposal for a revision of RPC 7.1 (a) (2) and (3). This is in response to the Supreme Court's remanding the task of reviewing and modifying the rule to its Committee on Attorney Advertising, Advisory Committee on Professional Ethics and Professional Responsibility Rules Committee.
Military Law and Veterans' Affairs Section Proposed Bylaws
The Board approved the bylaws for the new Military Law and Veterans' Affairs Section.
The Board voted to support the proposed substitute for S-1982, relating to an ombudsman for workers' compensation matters.
ABA Proposals Permitting Screening to Avoid Conflicts of Interest
The Board voted to support ABA proposal 109 and authorized the Executive Committee to deal with any amendments that might be proposed in the House of Delegates at the ABA Mid-Year Meeting in Boston. REPORT 109 Amends Model Rule of Professional Conduct 1.10 ("Imputation of Conflicts of Interest: General Rule") to permit the screening of a lawyer who moves laterally from one private law firm to another, so that conflicts of interest that apply to the moving lawyer under Model Rule 1.9 ("Duties to Former Clients") are not imputed to all the other lawyers in the new law firm.