May 18, 2011
The following is a summary of actions taken at the May 18, 2011 meeting of the New Jersey State Bar Association Board of Trustees at the Borgata Hotel, Casino and Spa in Atlantic City. This summary does not constitute official minutes.
Annual meeting: Advance registration at the Annual Meeting and Convention exceeded 1,900 and the final accounting is expected to be record-breaking. The three-day conference featured over 65 continuing legal education seminars and dozens of social events, including marking the end of Richard H. Steen’s term as president and the installation of Susan A. Feeney as president.
Government affairs: The New Jersey State Bar Association governing body supported a number of bills, including:
· Legislation that would allow administrative law and workers’ compensation judges to solemnize marriages and civil unions.
· A bill that would require the review of arbitration agreements for unconscionability.
· A proposal allowing people to use a physician orders for life-sustaining treatment form, a complementary measure to an advance healthcare directive.
Bylaws change: The board of trustees approved a request from the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Section to change its bylaws. Included in the changes are: eliminating the position of treasurer and replacing it with chair-elect; increasing the section’s nominating committee to five members, adding the immediate past chair of the section the committee’s chair, and requiring one member of the committee to be a young lawyer; define the roles of each officer; and increase the size of the section’s board of trustees from three to 10.
Trustees: The board welcomed several new trustees. They included: J. Christopher Gibson of Cape May County; Craig M. Aronow of Middlesex County; Richard M. Sevrin of Ocean County; Christina Vassiliou Harvey of the Young Lawyers Division; Stuart M. Lederman of the New Jersey State Bar Foundation; Steven W. Suflas and Kimberly Yonta Aronow, both representing association section and committees; and Fruqan Mouzan, Mitzy Galis-Menendez, William Ferreira, and Kenneth E. Sharperson as at-large trustees.
It also bade farewell to trustees Joanne D. Kay, John S. Sawicki, Eli L. Eytan, Desha Lang Jackson and Richard J. Badolato.
Judicial independence: Through an op-ed in the Star-Ledger, the New Jersey State Bar Association spoke out about Gov. Chris Christie’s recent attacks on the independence of the Judiciary.
Rules hearing: Immediate New Jersey State Bar Association Past President Richard H. Steen reported he and other bar association officials testified about proposed changes to the Rules of Court on May 17. The Supreme Court held its annual public hearing on various proposals that would change the way proceedings are handled in criminal, family, municipal and other matters.
Testimony on the substantive matters included: an endorsement of the Supreme Court Committee on Complimentary Dispute Resolution’s recommendation on presumptive mediation; comments on the criminal practice rules involving electronic discovery of grand jury proceedings and other issues by Angela White Dalton, association secretary; Jeffrey Evan Gold, past chair of the Municipal Court Practice Section, expressed opposition to changes to the discovery and inspection rules in municipal court; and Thomas Snyder, past chair of the Family Law Section, spoke out on behalf of requiring the clerk of the Appellate Division to send a notice of appeal to the Surrogate’s Office in adoption cases.
The Court is expected to release revisions to the rules in the coming months.
Upcoming events --
Pro Bono Conference: The fourth annual Pro Bono Conference will be held at the Law Center on June 8. The keynote speaker will be former U.S. Third Circuit Court of Appeals Chief Judge John J. Gibbons.
Medal of Honor: New Jersey State Bar Foundation confers its highest award—the prestigious Medal of Honor—to retired Superior Court Judge L. Anthony Gibson and Cynthia M. Jacob. The reception dinner will be June 14 at the New Jersey Law Center in New Brunswick. The award is given annually to individuals who made exemplary contributions to improving the justice system in New Jersey.