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

March 5, 2010

The following is a summary of actions taken at the March 5, 2010 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.

Supreme Court

The State Bar Association’s Executive Committee had a meeting with the New Jersey Supreme Court, Director Glenn Grant, and several members of the Administrative Office of the Court staff. They offered insight on a number of subjects:

Budget – The Judiciary anticipates it will be a grim picture, but the Court does not yet have a clear picture of the fiscal year 2011 figures.

Paralegal certification – The issue is expected to come to the Court’s attention soon.

Municipal Court Certification – The matter is also expected to be before the Court in late Spring. It is currently being reviewed by a Supreme Court committee.

Back-up court recording/CourtSmart – Installation of a new digital back-up recording system is nearly complete in the state’s family courtrooms, judiciary officials said. Now, work is underway to put the equipment into civil courts and grand jury facilities, with the goal of completing the project this fall. In the state’s criminal courtrooms, rollout of the system, called CourtSmart, will take roughly one year, said New Jersey Chief Justice Stuart Rabner. Mute switches and bi-lingual signage are in all courtrooms where the equipment is operating. Further, “the Court is discussing ways to ensure careful control over back-up recordings of court records that may have been lost,” he said.

Mid-Year Meeting

The governing body of the New Jersey State Bar Association recently reaffirmed its commitment to the Mid-Year Meeting, and set Dublin as its destination for the 2011 event.

This year’s event will be in Scottsdale, Ariz., from Nov. 2 through 7.

The vote to select Dublin came after a discussion on the merits of the meeting. Many said the meeting was a valuable place to meet judges and other attorneys outside of the regular course of business. They said they not only learned at the education courses offered at the meetings, but also picked up cases as a result of the relationships nurtured at the meeting. However, some urged efforts to make the meeting more accessible to young lawyers and those in small firms.

Honoring Pressler

The board also approved a resolution honoring former state Appellate Division Presiding Judge Sylvia Pressler, who wrote the rules for the court system and wrote hundreds of opinions, including one that opened the doors for girls to play Little League and allowed gay couples to adopt. Pressler died Feb. 15 in Sparta. She was 75. The resolution honors Pressler’s distinguished service as a lawyer and a judge.

“In her tenure as judge, Sylvia B. Pressler has enhanced the national reputation enjoyed by the New Jersey courts through her thoughtful leadership and unquestionable integrity… (She) not only excelled at judicial administration, but also in enriching the state’s jurisprudence with opinions in many areas,” the resolution states.

It will be presented to her family and sent to the New Jersey Law Journal.

Lewis v. Harris

The board continued its amicus participation in the landmark case on same-sex marriage to submit briefs to the Supreme Court in conjunction with Lambda Legal’s motion to enforce litigants’ right. The premise behind the motion is that the Civil Union law has been a failed experiment in providing equality.

Diversity Committee

An informational presentation was made comparing the past 10 years of data reflecting the race, gender and ethnicity of law school graduates and juris doctorate enrollment and the composition of the NJSBA’s Board of Trustees and Executive Committee. One conclusion offered was women and people of color have been under-represented on the board.

Upcoming events

Member reception 6:30 p.m. March 25

Shredding Party w/CLE program, “The Paperless Office,” April 24

State Bar Night in Hudson County, April 1