2012 In The News

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New York Law Journal, February 24, 2012

Lawyers’ Titles and Law Firm Names in the Hi-Tech Era

A New York City Bar opinion addressed a similar issue where two attorneys who shared office space wanted to use letterhead referring to their individual practices as “The Law Offices at X Square.” The opinion concluded that the name was a prohibited trade name under the ethics rules. It rejected the lawyers’ proposals to include their individual names below the letterhead and to include language to clarify they were not affiliated by noting, “[t]hese approaches do not eliminate the problems with lack of clarity and capacity to mislead associated with use of a trade name.”

The entire article may be read here.

   

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Brooklyn Daily Eagle, February 16, 2012

For 2012, Courts Aim at Curtailing Societal Ills

“We…applaud Chief Judge [Jonathan] Lippman’s inclusion of enhanced access to DNA for defendants in [Tuesday’s] State of the Judiciary message. The Senate and Assembly should seize this moment to come to agreement on a DNA bill which effectively serves the needs of both prosecutors and defendants,” stated New York City Bar Association President Samuel Seymour. Seymour made special note of the provisions set forth in Brooklyn Assemblyman Joe Lentol’s bill, A.5886, which provisions are designed to clarify and expand a defendant’s ability to ask a judge to order DNA comparisons from existing evidence and existing databases, both pre- and post-conviction.

The entire article may be read here.

   

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Wall Street Journal, February 16, 2012

Justice’s Bribery Racket

The government saw a $1.8 billion windfall in FCPA-related fines and penalties from Justice and the Securities and Exchange Commission in 2010 and another $508.6 million in 2011. According to a report last month by the New York City Bar Association, by April 2011 the five biggest FCPA fines were more than $300 million each, up from a single largest fine of $28.5 million in January 2007. In many cases, companies settle for fines even if they dispute the charge to avoid the reputational risk of an indictment.

The entire article may be read here.

   

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New York Law Journal, February 15, 2012

Youth Court, DNA Top Lippman’s Agenda

A new “youth court” to deal with non-violent 16- and 17-year-old offenders, and an expanded DNA databank with novel protections against wrongful convictions, highlight Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman’s legislative agenda. Also in the State of the Judiciary address, Judge Lippman.….announced an initiative in conjunction with the New York City Bar and banks to afford distressed homeowners more opportunity to work out loan modifications. Under the initiative, a special court part will be established, with settlement conferences calendared on a specific monthly schedule with each week dedicated to a particular bank’s cases and legal service providers available to assist unrepresented homeowner.

The entire article may be read here.

   

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Associated Press, February 14, 2012

NY Chief Judge Backs Broader DNA Testing

New York’s chief judge urged lawmakers Tuesday to require DNA testing for every felony and criminal misdemeanor conviction and to give defendants who plead guilty to serious felonies greater access to genetic evidence from crime scenes…Facing an ongoing home foreclosure crisis, Lippman said the New York City Bar Association is fostering a partnership between mortgage banks and legal services organizations representing homeowners to work out loan modifications to keep people in their homes. Courts in the city are establishing regular settlement conferences dedicated to a specific bank’s cases, starting in a few months.

The entire article may be read here.

   

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Forbes, February 14, 2012

Supreme Court Cert Petition Spotlights Speech Limits on Securities Market

Distinguished First Amendment scholar Frederick Schaeur once wrote in the Harvard Law Review, “It might be hyperbole to describe the Securities and Exchange Commission as the Content Regulation Commission, but such a description would not be wholly inaccurate.” SEC has yet to heed a suggestion from one of its own advisory committees to relax prohibitions on general solicitations and advertising, and has ignored a letter from the New York City Bar noting that New York and 30 other states take a more respectful approach to securities speech regulation.

The entire article may be read here.

   

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New York Law Journal, February 8, 2012

City Bar Announces 2012 Legislative Agenda

Improving access to justice for low-income New Yorkers in civil cases and expanding the use of the state’s DNA database to better investigate crimes and exonerate the wrongly convicted are at the top of the New York City Bar’s legislative priorities for 2012. The group said it would also push for passage of a Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act. While laws now forbid discrimination based on gender and sexual orientation, the city bar argued that bias based on perceived sexuality or against transgendered individuals is still occurring.

The entire article may be read here.

   

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Thomson Reuters, February 6, 2012

City Bar Sets Out Legislative Priorities for 2012

The New York City Bar Association will focus in 2012 on increasing access to the legal system for the poor, adding judges to family and civil courts and consolidating state trial courts, the group said in a wide-ranging report released Monday. The 53-page report is a compilation of the association’s views on a host of issues currently before the state legislature, some of which impact attorneys and the court system directly, and others that do not. Like its statewide counterpart, the New York State Bar Association, the NYCBA is calling on the legislature to pass the Office of Court Administration’s proposed $2.5 billion budget in full.

The entire article may be read here.

   

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Daily Telegraph, February 2, 2012

Selling the Dead

Much may depend on whether Senator Golden’s proposed bill is passed in New York this year: the new law would prohibit any unlicensed advertiser or manufacturer from using the image of a New York-based celebrity for 70 years following their death…What most alarms opponents is that the new law would be retroactive, providing post-mortem publicity rights to heirs of personalities who died as long ago as the 1940s. The bill prohibits the use of a celebrity’s name, portrait, voice, signature or picture for advertising or trade purposes….The New York City Bar Association warns that such legislation would not only generate litigation over licensing contracts agreed many decades ago but also threaten creative freedom.

The entire article may be read here.

   

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New York Law Journal, January 30, 2012

Summit Participants Discuss Efforts to Find Competent Lawyers for Poor N.Y. Immigrants

Additional time and resources will be needed to improve legal representation of the poor in immigration courts, participants in a discussion at last week’s annual meeting of the New York State Bar Association agreed.…Some coordinated efforts already are under way. Last summer, hundreds of attorneys appeared at an event held at the New York City Bar on Aug. 17 and 18 and, promising to provide pro bono representation to immigrants in exchange, received free training from the federal government, the American Immigration Lawyers Association and the state bar.

The entire article may be read here.

   

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Staten Island Advance, January 22, 2012

Getting a Divorce? Better Not Be in a Hurry

Divorce cases are among the most gut-wrenching and contentious on Staten Island court dockets, and to the dismay of litigants and their lawyers, they’re taking longer to resolve. Budget cuts and layoffs in the court system are prime culprits for the delays…According to the New York City Bar Association, the state judiciary, last year, was subjected to a $170 million budget cut. About 8 percent of its workforce, or 1,300 employees, left the courts due to early retirements and layoffs. As a result of those reductions, all courtrooms throughout the state must stop all activities at 4:30 p.m., including trials, settlement conferences and meetings with lawyers.

The entire article may be read here.

   

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New York Law Journal, January 20, 2012

NYCLA Is Latest Bar Organization to Express Concern About Cutbacks

For the third time in little more than one week, a major New York bar association is reporting that $170 million in cuts has taken a heavy toll on the state’s courts. The report by a task force of the New York County Lawyers’ Association released on Jan. 19 came to many of the same conclusions as the other recent studies on the court system following the 2011 cutbacks. NYCLA, the New York City Bar (NYLJ, Jan. 10) and the New York State Bar Association (NYLJ, Jan. 19) all have found that the cutbacks have significantly compromised court operations. 

The entire article may be read here.

   

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New York Law Journal, January 10, 2012

City Bar Urges Adoption of Judiciary Budget

The New York City Bar Association is urging the Legislature to approve “in its entirety” the Judiciary’s proposed $2.3 billion budget for 2012-13. The spending plan “is fiscally prudent, ameliorates the harshest consequences of last year’s budget cuts, and helps address vital unmet legal needs of the state’s most vulnerable individuals,” the city bar said in a brief report released last week.

The entire article may be read here.

   

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Wall Street Journal, January 9, 2012

Credit Suisse Parts with Litigation Finance Group

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Institute for Legal Reform has criticized litigation funding, saying it could lead to conflicts of interest or abusive lawsuits. But the New York City Bar Association says such conflicts are by no means insurmountable; see this July opinion from the group’s ethics committee on third-party litigation financing.

The entire article may be read here.