June 22, 2012
NJSBA TRUSTEES REPORT
The following is a summary of actions taken at the June 22, 20011 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.
Budget: The Board of Trustees granted final approval to the association’s budget for the coming fiscal year. The $12 million budget reflects a focus on member retention and benefits. The proposed budget includes investing in infrastructure upgrades and producing conventions and educational seminars that keep its members up-to-date on developments in the law, while maintaining a sharp eye on expenses.
Under-represented group designation: The trustees determined that an at-large seat on the board should be designated for a member from each the following under-represented groups: Hispanic; Asian-Pacific; African-American; gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender; lawyers over the age of 70; and women. In addition, two seats will be open for a member from any of those groups.
Judicial vacancies: The trustees approved the formation of a committee to examine the issue of judicial vacancies and look for ways the Association can inform the public about the impact of the crisis through op-eds in trade and mainstream publications, hold alternative dispute resolution events to aid the public in resolving cases, and hold a symposium that will seek ways to urge lawmakers in Trenton to find a solution.
2013 Mid-Year Meeting: Rome, Italy, was approved as the site location for the Mid-Year Meeting in 2013. The event will be held at the Westin Excelsior from November 9 through 13.
Policy change: The trustees approved a policy change that will provide state bar association staff oversight for all special events conducted by sections and committees, and include staff oversight on location at these events.
Non-lawyer firm ownership: The Board of Trustees agreed to co-sponsor a resolution from the Illinois State Bar Association that the American Bar Association’s House of Delegates will consider this summer. The resolution opposes the concept of non-lawyers sharing in fees or ownership of law firms. This winter the Association was one of the first bar groups in the country to take a public stand against the idea, saying there is great value in maintaining a system where law firm owners are personally accountable to the public, the bar and Judiciary.
Government Affairs: The trustees opposed legislation (A2712) upgrading homicide committed in the heat of passion to a first-degree crime, a position that the Criminal Law Section advocated.
Amicus: The governing body said the Association should submit a request to appear as amicus before the Supreme Court in an upcoming case. The Association expects to advocate in favor of the Disciplinary Review Board having jurisdiction to order diversion in attorney disciplinary proceedings and make recommendations about rule changes to avoid confusion and ambiguity in future cases. The case involved is In re Sean A. Smith, and the association will not make arguments about the attorney’s specific case.