A Letter from the President of the New York County Lawyers’ Association

2015-01-20 10:45

To The Readers of The Metropolitan Corporate Counsel:

As we dive into 2015, you may be exploring opportunities that would positively impact your career. If you’re not already a member of NYCLA, I encourage you to consider joining to take advantage of many opportunities to help you succeed.

As a member, you can join and become involved in NYCLA’s many open committees and sections through which you can meet industry leaders and professionals inside and outside your practice area and stay on the cutting edge of the profession.

I’ve outlined some activities currently underway within some of our most popular groups.

ADR Committee 

The ADR Committee closed 2014 out with a December meeting featuring Elizabeth Clement, president of the Association for Conflict Resolution of Greater New York.  The committee’s first meeting of 2015 featured Hon. Douglas McKeon, the administrative judge of Bronx County, a noted ADR expert, who spoke about a pilot program designed to encourage early mediation of medical malpractice cases throughout New York State.  The committee is planning additional CLE programs in 2015 including a program on trusts and estates, partnering with the Estates Trusts Section and the Elder Law Committee.  A CLE on international arbitration, co-sponsored by the NYCLA Foreign and International Law Committee, is also in the works.  The ADR Committee also is committed to fostering and nurturing member writing projects.

Federal Courts Committee 

NYCLA’s Federal Courts Committee meets with and promotes the interests of the federal courts in New York.  The committee meets with a different federal judge virtually every month of the year and sponsors or co-sponsors special events in addition to its regular meetings.  The committee recently has sponsored or co-sponsored continuing legal education programs on winning cases in federal court (moderated by federal judges), electronic discovery, proposed changes to the federal rules, as well as NYCLA’s forum commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, at which Magistrate Judge Ellis and EDNY District Judge Chen were participants.  Over the last several years, the committee has met with such judges as SDNY Chief Judge Preska, EDNY Chief Judge Amon, and SDNY Bankruptcy Court Chief Judge Cecilia Morris.  At its Weinfeld Luncheon last year, more than 45 federal judges were in attendance to honor EDNY Chief Judge Amon.  The Federal Courts Committee also issues position papers on topics of interest to federal practitioners, most recently position papers on electronic discovery, proposed local rules changes, and proposed federal rules changes.  The committee also took an active role in advocating for increases in the budget for the federal judiciary, assisting with NYCLA’s effort.  For the first half of 2015, the committee has meetings planned with former SDNY U.S. Attorney Robert Fiske, Second Circuit Chief Judge Robert Katzmann, and SDNY District Judge Colleen McMahon.  The committee is also in the process of completing a Retrospective History of the EDNY’s cases since 1990, planning a related reception at the EDNY, and preparing commentary on several recent proposed changes to the FRCP.  Other upcoming events include a forum with two magistrate judges on changes to the discovery rules and the committee’s annual summer party at Battery Gardens.

Cyberspace Law Committee 

NYCLA’s Cyberspace Committee addresses issues such as privacy, security, biometrics, jurisdiction, B2B, auctions, franchising, e-contracting, and ubiquitous molecular computing within the borderless environment of cyberspace.  In 2014, the committee held a CLE on Privacy and the Law with Judge James Francis that was attended by more than 120 people.  Recent committee meetings have featured presentations on Cyberbullying and Social Media by the authors of a new book on that topic, and presentations by committee members on cloud computing, privacy and e-discovery.  The committee’s upcoming events include a CLE on eDiscovery and the use of technology-assisted review; a CLE, co-sponsored with NYCLA’s Admiralty and Maritime Law Committee, on cybersecurity; and a CLE on cross-border discovery.  The Committee additionally is developing a response to current legislation to amend/augment the ECPA.

Committee on Women in the Law 

NYCLA’s Committee on Women in the Law works to assure equal rights and opportunities for women, provides a forum for discussing legal issues affecting women, and provides resources and support for female lawyers to help them succeed in the profession.  The committee’s upcoming events include a film screening of After Tiller and the annual Edith Spivack award presentation and CLE.  After Tiller, a documentary film examining the lives and experiences of late-term abortion providers after the2009 shooting of practitioner Dr. George Tiller, will be screened at NYCLA on March 25.  A panel discussion with the directors will immediately follow the film.  The Edith Spivack Award and CLE program will be held on May 15.  Proposed panel discussions include sexual assault on college campuses and pregnancy discrimination in the U.S.  One of the co-chairs of the committee also will be attending the United Nations forum in March, which will examine women’s issues in an international context.  Finally, the committee is co-sponsoring two events this spring, the first on Breast Cancer Awareness and the second a Spotlight on Women in the Media.  

Civil Rights and Liberties Committee 

The Civil Rights and Liberties Committee reviews legislation and other matters affecting rights guaranteed by the New York State and Federal Constitutions.  The committee is currently working on a report addressing Police Licensure and Decertification legislation, and another report addressing whether the federal government has the right to review email communications sent between attorneys and their inmate clients. Lastly, the committee is working with other civil rights organizations, including the Legal Aid Society of New York and the New York Chapter of the National Police Accountability Project, to draft a Best Practices Manual for Police Misconduct Litigation.

Consider joining NYCLA by visiting www.nycla.org/joinus and select one of these or another of our over 60 committees when you fill out the membership application. If you’re already a member of NYCLA and a part of a group and want to get more involved, look out for emails from your committee or section chair about upcoming meetings and opportunities. If you’re looking to join a new group, log onto NYCLA.org with your member ID and password then click on “Join a Committee” on the left navigation under “Members Only.”

I hope to see you at NYCLA. Please email me at ltesser@tesserryan.com or tweet me @NYCLAPres and let me know how NYCLA can work for you.

Sincerely yours,

Lew Tesser