New Jersey State Bar Association - The voluntary Bar Association of New Jersey, serving members since 1899.

March 27, 2009

Following is a summary of actions taken at the March 27, 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.

CourtSmart Digital Recording System

President Peggy Sheahan Knee announced that the Executive Committee met with Chief Justice Rabner on March 17. Among the agenda items for discussion was the Bar's negative response to the installation of the CourtSmart recording system in Family Division courtrooms. As a result of concerns expressed by the Bar, the Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC) is installing mute, or "kill" switches at counsel tables and the bench that will enable the judge and counsel to turn off the nearest microphone so that lawyers can talk with clients and adversaries without being recorded.

The Chief Justice also appointed a Working Group on Implementation Issues Regarding Digital Recording/CourtSmart to identify and address issues raised by the installation of CourtSmart. The Court requested two NJSBA representatives to serve on the Working Group. President Peggy Sheahan Knee named Monmouth County Trustee John DeBartolo to the Working Group. One other non-family law practitioner will also represent the NJSBA. The Working Group will make recommendations to the Court and AOC.

The Board voted to support the following recommendations of the Family Law Section in reference to CourtSmart and authorized the NJSBA representatives to communicate these issues to the Supreme Court's Working Group: (1) Establish clear administrative directives setting standards to be applied by the Assignment Judge prior to consideration of a request for the release of any portion of a secondary recording; (2) standards that are instituted must be more detailed and specific than "good cause;" (3) all parties must be provided with notice of a request for release of any portion of a secondary recording; (4) access may only be provided for the purpose of recreating the primary record in the event such record has been destroyed, lost or cannot be produced due to technical malfunctions in the primary record recording system; (5) any communications on the back-up secondary recording beyond the scope of the primary record shall not be disclosed; (6) the Bar should inform lawyers on a county level of the new system and how it operates; (7) clear and prominent signage must be posted at courtroom entrances to advise everyone they are being recorded at all times; (8) the Rule governing attorney-client privilege should be modified to specifically state that the privilege is not affected in any way by virtue of the fact that parties and counsel are aware that they are being recorded by the secondary back-up systems.

Request to File Motion for Order to Show Cause in State v. Chun

The Board approved authorizing the filing of a Motion for an Order to Show Cause in the State v. Chun case, requiring the Attorney General's Office to show why it has not yet complied with the Court's March 2008 order detailing certain actions to be taken in DWI cases and certain revisions to be made by the State to the firmware utilized to operate the Alcotest. NJSBA counsel has advised that the State has not taken any steps to make the revisions to the firmware required by the March 2008 Order.

Task Force on Real Property Law Curricula

The Board voted to endorse the investigation, conclusions and recommendations of the American Bar Association's Real Property, Trust and Estate Law Section's Task Force on Real Property Law Curricula, a study that is critical of law school real property curricula. Briefly summarized, the task force recommends: (1) that property coverage not be reduced below its traditional six units, given the significant inclusion and growth of new fields affecting real estate practice; (2) that coverage of the rules of estates in land and future interests be reduced in light of their relevance to contemporary real estate practice; (3) because of its significance and centrality, the area of real estate transactions not be eliminated from the first-year property course, even if the credit value of that course is reduced; (4) that credit reduction for property courses not lead to de-emphasizing scholarship in the field; (5) that Bar Examiners no longer omit land-use issues from their exams and instead declare an intent to cover that topic in the future.

Government Relations

S1926/A3073 Ricci's Law: revises vehicle ignition interlock device requirements for certain drunken driving offenders. The Board voted to oppose as a high priority.

Electronic Filing in the Special Civil Part

The Board voted to support the expansion of electronic filing in the Special Civil Part on a temporary basis, and to request that two NJSBA representatives serve on the Court Committee that will evaluate the program.

YLD Mentoring Program

The Board approved a Young Lawyers Division Mentoring Program to guide and promote young lawyers in their legal careers. The Young Lawyers Division, in coordination with the Senior Lawyers Committee, developed and proposed a program that would pair up mentors and protégés based upon specialty areas of interest, NJSBA Section experience, and geographic location. A young lawyer applicant must specifically state the reason for a mentor, and a mentor should be a lawyer who has 15 or more years of experience in practice and has been an active NJSBA member for 10 or more years.

Member Shredding Party

The Board approved a Membership Committee proposal to hold a Shredding Party, where NJSBA members can bring up to 10 boxes of materials needing shredding for a nominal charge. The event will be held at the New Jersey Law Center on June 27, from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m., the same day as a well-attended NJICLE event.

NJ State Bar Foundation Trustees

The Board approved naming Steven Richman, Margaret Leggett Tarver, Donna duBeth Gardiner, Norberto Garcia and Miles Winder III as NJSBA representatives to the NJ State Bar Foundation Board of Trustees.

Proposed NJSBA Budget FY 09-10

The Board approved the proposed FY 09-10 budget. The budget will be published in an upcoming issue of the New Jersey Law Journal, and a public hearing will be held on Thursday, May 14, at the Annual Meeting and Convention in Atlantic City.

Meeting with the Supreme Court

At the March 17 meeting with members of the Supreme Court, the Executive Committee discussed issues of mutual concern, including: back-up Family Division courtroom recording systems; the status of the mandatory continuing legal education proposal; courthouse access for attorneys; Madden exemptions for 25 hours of pro bono service in the Foreclosure Mediation Program; Intimidation of Witnesses and the Safe Surrender Program; as well as the status of a municipal court practice certification program.

Special Civil Part Committee Reception

The Board approved allocating up to $1,000 from the NJSBA budget to support a Special Civil Part Committee Reception, and to establish a minimum charge of $35 per attendee for the event.

2009 Mid-Year Meeting Registration Fees

The Board approved fees for the 2009 Mid-Year Meeting in San Francisco. The member rate will be $575, member guest $475, and non-member attorney/guest $675. A reduced rate of $475 was approved for first-time attendees.

2011 Mid-Year Meeting

The Board approved a site visit to Dublin, Ireland, for consideration as the location for Mid-Year Meeting 2011.

Annual Meetings at Borgata 2010, 2011, 2012

The Board approved the recommendation of the Meeting Arrangements and Program Committee to hold Annual Meetings 2010, 2011 and 2012 at the Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa in Atlantic City, and to book additional rooms in The Water Club for Annual Meeting 2009, as well as for the meetings in 2010, 2011 and 2012.

Pro Bono Committee Brochure

The Board voted to support the development and distribution of a pro bono brochure proposed by the Pro Bono Committee.

Military Law Symposium

The Board approved an additional $500 in funding in support of the Military Law Symposium scheduled for April 25.