May 21, 2008
Following is a summary of actions taken at the May 21, 2008 meeting of the New Jersey State Bar Association Board of Trustees at the Trump Taj Mahal Casino Resort in Atlantic City. This summary does not constitute official minutes.
Hudson County Trustee
The Board approved the recommendation of the Nominating Committee to name Bennett Robbins the Hudson County Trustee for a two-year term.
Court Rule Proposals
The NJSBA offered testimony at the May 28 public hearing concerning the Supreme Court Special Committee on Public Access to Court Records Report. In its comments filed March 21, 2008, the NJSBA expressed concerns regarding the potential availability of confidential personnel information on the Internet specifically in family law matters, guardianships and tax appeals. Another hearing on May 28 concerned the proposed court rule amendments which the NJSBA supported.
Following an official count of the ballots for the proposed bylaw amendments, it was announced at the Annual Meeting Opening Business Session that all of the proposals passed with the requisite 2/3 affirmative vote. An amendment to Article I provides a mechanism for the censure, expulsion or suspension of a member. An amendment to Article II permits flexibility in the collection of dues, and would transition the NJSBA into a "rolling dues" cycle instead of an annual dues billing cycle applicable to all members. Amendments to Article III and Article X provide alternative voting methods, including electronic voting, for the Board of Trustees, and members of a section, committee or division.
General Practice Section
The Board approved another term of service for Cecilia Blau as Chair of the General Practice Section. Ms. Blau has already served as Section Chair for two, one-year terms.
The Board approved the bylaws proposals of the Entertainment Arts and Sports Law Section and Land Use Law Section, which were revised to comply with the bylaw requirement mandating two general section meetings each year, with at least one of those meetings at the NJSBA Annual Meeting and Convention, coupled with election of officers.
Real Property Trust and Estate Law Section
The Board approved sending a letter to the Department of Housing and Urban Development encouraging serious reconsideration of the proposed Rules to Simplify and Improve the Process of Obtaining Mortgages and Reduce Consumer Settlement Costs. The letter addresses critical defects in the proposed rules including the timing for the finalization of the figures and the reading of the transaction reconciliation statement, the timing of the discussion on the variance of good faith estimates and actual costs, interference with the attorney-client privilege, insuring compliance being placed in the hands of a settlement agent, and the requirement of having a "script" at closing.
A2715 (Roberts) - This bill addresses the authority for the establishment and administration of peremptory challenges. The Board voted to oppose, high priority.