The New Jersey State Bar Association’s governing body voted on a number of measures at its recent meeting. Among the issues on the agenda were personal injury protection (PIP) regulations, future meetings, and mandatory pro bono requirements.
 
A key issue facing the trustees was how to address open positions. The board said the association would accept petitions from members for the positions of at-large trustee and second vice president.
 
 Both positions are for full terms and will begin in May. The at-large trustee seats are for members from under-represented groups. Those groups have been designated as women; African-Americans; Hispanics; Asian Americans; members over the age of 70; and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender members. The open seat is designated for a woman. Candidates must file a petition by March 18 to appear on the ballot that will be voted on by the association’s full, eligible membership.
 
Candidates seeking a spot on the ballot for the position of second vice president must submit a petition with signatures from 250 members of the association. Candidates seeking the at-large trustee seat must submit a petition with signatures from 100 members of the association. Once the petitions are certified, the names of qualified candidates for each position will be placed on the ballot. 
 
The association’s Nominating Committee had selected Angela White Dalton to serve as its second vice president and Mitzy Galis-Menendez as an at-large trustee. Both terms were to begin in May. Earlier this month, both were confirmed as judges of the state Superior Court and withdrew from consideration.
 
The petition process remains applicable to the remainder of the slate of candidates the Nominating Committee selected. To find out more contact Angela Scheck, executive director, at  732-249-7500 or  ascheck@njsba.com.
 
In addition, the Nominating Committee will be reconvened to address the open position of secretary. That position is now open because Thomas Prol moved up to serve as treasurer, after Dalton’s judgeship was approved.

The trustees also voted on several other issues:

Amicus
The trustees agreed to seek permission to file an amicus brief at the Appellate Division level in challenges to recent PIP regulations. The association will take a position limited to four issues, primarily related to deprivation of due process, assignment of benefits, instituting evidence-based medicine standards, and legal fees.
 
Pro Bono
The board approved a resolution opposing a proposal that bar candidates must complete 50 hours of pro bono service. The resolution was submitted to the Supreme Court committee studying the issue, and states that the association: “Finds the proposal for mandatory pro bono service by individuals who have not yet been admitted to the bar be unnecessary, unworkable and an affront to consumers who expect experienced practitioners to provide legal services. The New Jersey State Bar Association, therefore, urges the New Jersey Supreme Court that the Court reject the proposal and recognize and appreciate the extraordinary pro bono service provided by the bar and to work in conjunction with the New Jersey State Bar Association to identify any need for additional programs or services to assure the prompt and effective delivery of legal services to all citizens of the state.”
 
In addition, the trustees approved a second resolution to be sent to the Judiciary asking it to recognize the need to provide pro bono legal assistance to immigrants in New Jersey by establishing a process where attorneys may qualify for a Madden exemption for performing 25 or more hours of pro bono service in a year on a case assigned by an immigration judge in consultation with the U.S. Department of Justice’s Executive Office for Immigration Review.
 
Bylaw Changes
The trustees approved various amendments to the association’s bylaws, which will go to the membership for a vote. The changes include requiring members of the Board of Trustees to maintain an active email account and permit the board to act on urgent matters by email or other means of electronic communication; clarifying that no one may serve in more than one officer or trustee position simultaneously, and that a sitting trustee elected to an officer position be deemed resigned from that trustee position at the conclusion of a challenge period, and clarifying that the Board of Trustees may organize inactive sections or divisions.