2013 In The News

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New York Law Journal, December 13, 2013

Q&A: Allen Charne

Allen Charne, the longtime executive director of the New York City Bar Legal Referral Service (LRS) has been the leader and innovator of a program that annually fields more than 75,000 calls from consumers and makes more than 23,000 referrals in matters ranging from torts to bankruptcy to matrimonial issues and beyond....Charne, who had been in private practice in San Diego before taking on the challenges of the referral service, looks back with pride at his time with the program, which, in addition to its day-to-day work informing the public of the role of lawyers, under what circumstances legal advice is needed, answering basic legal questions and referring callers to qualified counsel, also stepped up to coordinate thousands of lawyer volunteers to help fellow New Yorkers affected by 9/11.

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New York Law Journal, December 6, 2013

Legal Referral Service Looks to Oregon for New Director

A new executive director has been tapped by the New York City Bar to head the Legal Referral Service. George Wolff, most recently the Oregon State Bar’s referral and information services manager, will replace the current executive director, Allen Charne, who is retiring at the end of this month after leading the New York program for 30 years (NYLJ, Sept. 25). Wolff was a panelist in the Oregon referral service before being hired to lead it. His background includes business litigation in private practice in Portland and San Francisco and service on several bar association executive committees.

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Bloomberg Law, December 5, 2013

Bar Groups Give Jobless Lawyers a Boost

"Ironic" could be the theme of the current market for legal services: thousands of unemployed new lawyers, but even more potential clients who can’t afford market-rate legal bills. Now bar associations are playing matchmaker. The New York City Bar Association is starting a law firm and the Chicago Bar Foundation is creating an incubator. Both will link new lawyers with moderate-income clients, charging lower prices than typical firms....The bar initiatives will help transition new lawyers into small firms, and help them develop their own clientele.

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Crain's New York, December 1, 2013

It's Getting Harder to Process

The regulatory crackdown stems from a 2008 investigation by Consumer Affairs that found widespread violations of record-keeping requirements..."For years, too many process servers failed New Yorkers, especially those struggling with debt and those being pursued in court for debts they didn't even owe," a Consumer Affairs spokeswoman said....The New York City Bar Association supported the 2010 reforms because of the number of cases in which people subject to legal action were not properly served, never showed up in court and were hit with judgments. The scenario was especially common in consumer-debt cases.

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New York Times, November 20, 2013

In a Shelter, and Striving to Help a Child

The last few years have been traumatic ones for Juana Rosario, who has been living in the New York City shelter system since 2010, alongside her husband and her disabled granddaughter, Amy Germosen Rosario....The family has since bounced around among various shelters; many are unsuitable for children with disabilities....Last November, the family was placed in a shelter in East New York, Brooklyn, that was a two-hour bus ride from Amy’s school. She would cry on the long rides. Ms. Rosario sought help from the City Bar Justice Center, which provides legal assistance to low-income clients. It helped get the family transferred to a more appropriate shelter, closer to Amy’s school. 

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New York Law Journal, November 14, 2013

Task Force Suggests Changes to Bar Exam

Law graduates taking the New York State bar exam in 2015 had better be schooled in aspects of administrative law but they will not need to be experts on Article 3 of the Uniform Commercial Code, which covers obligations and procedures of negotiable instruments such as checks or notes. Changes to the exam were mentioned in a report issued Wednesday by the New York City Bar Task Force on New Lawyers in a Changing Profession, which among things, urged the Board of Law Examiners and the New York Court of Appeals to consider further proposals to reform the bar exam and lawyer accreditation process.

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Law360, November 14, 2013

NYC Bar Hopes New Law Firm Pilot Will Help Launch Careers

The New York City Bar Association on Thursday began an ambitious expansion of its efforts to match law school graduates with millions of New Yorkers who have unmet legal needs, launching a law firm pilot dedicated to helping clients of modest means and pushing government and private 'bridge-to-practice' partnerships. The 24,000-lawyer group also said in its report dedicated to 'New Lawyers in a Changing Profession' that it would, within a year, recommend possible changes to the state bar exam to improve how law school grads' qualifications are tested.

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New York Law Journal, November 14, 2013

City Bar Report Pushes for Training of Young Lawyers

After an exhaustive look at the dismal state of employment for young lawyers in New York, a New York City Bar task force has recommended additional avenues of training and support for new graduates, a shift in focus from large law jobs to providing services to the middle class, and continued experimentation with law school curricula and changes to the bar exam.

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Bloomberg, November 13, 2013

Weil on Finance: Rakoff Slams Holder

The U.S. district judge from Manhattan spoke yesterday at a New York Bar conference, criticizing the Justice Department and U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder for the lack of prosecutions of high-level executives in connection with the financial crisis..

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Wall Street Journal, November 13, 2013

New York Bar Group Develops Alternatives to 'Big Law' Jobs

With thousands of debt-laden new lawyers entering the market at a time when plum jobs at big firms are in short supply, the influential New York City Bar Association is trying out some alternatives. They include placing novice lawyers in apprenticeships with big banks and other employers, and starting up a law firm that will test whether young attorneys can make a decent living helping people who can't afford market-rate legal bills. What's needed to address fundamental shifts in the legal profession is more hands-on training—both during and after law school—according to a report to be published Thursday by a task force formed by the bar group.

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