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Reacting to a modern trend toward cross-border lawyering, the New York State Bar Association on Saturday endorsed a proposal to update the rules on who is allowed to practice law in the state and under what conditions. The State Bar’s policymaking body voted to support so-called “multijurisdictional practice” — whereby lawyers admitted in other states but not New York are permitted to practice there. However, the support was conditioned on subjecting the out-of-jurisdiction attorneys to New York’s disciplinary rules and authorities. Also at Saturday’s meeting in Cooperstown: � A. Thomas Levin was officially installed as president, succeeding Lorraine Power Tharp of Albany. Levin, of Meyer Suozzi English & Klein, is the association’s 106th president. He was sworn in by Chief Administrative Judge Jonathan Lippman. � Wayne D. Wisbaum of Kavinoky & Cook in suburban Buffalo received the 2003 Root/Stimson Award for outstanding service to the community. � Former Bar Association Executive Director William J. Carroll received the Distinguished Service Award. � The organization took some first steps toward what could be a major structural reorganization of the State Bar. Bar leaders are hoping to foster greater diversity, geographic and otherwise, and are attempting to achieve that goal through changes in governance and structure. At Saturday’s meeting, the House of Delegates debated a report of the Special Committee on Multi-Jurisdictional Practice, ultimately adopting recommendations designed to provide attorneys and consumers with additional options without infringing on the privileges of the New York Bar, undermining the protections that shield law clients or unduly practicing a form of economic protectionism. The issue stems largely from the action of the American Bar Association last year in amending two sections of the Model Rules of Professional Conduct. Klaus Eppler, chairman of the Special Committee on Multi-Jurisdictional Practice, said it is critical to develop a national consensus on MJP, and suggested New York should be in the lead. “As the nation’s premier commercial and legal center, New York should be in the forefront of adopting rules which recognize the realities of current multi-jurisdictional practice and which foster such practice,” Eppler, of Proskauer Rose in Manhattan, said in a report. “Permitting a lawyer admitted in another U.S. jurisdiction who has not established an office or other systematic and continuous presence in New York … is likely to enhance the position of New York as a legal center and to improve lawyers’ abilities to meet client needs more effectively and efficiently.” Eppler’s report won the unanimous support of the Committee on Legal Education and Admission to the Bar. It was also supported by the Association of the Bar of the City of New York and the State Bar’s Committee on Professional Discipline, although both expressed concern over the practicality of subjecting out-of-state attorneys to New York disciplinary processes. However, there were pragmatic interests as well. “Given the need of many New York attorneys to practice in more than one jurisdiction, there are obvious benefits in promoting a uniform standard governing multijurisdictional practice,” E. Leo Milonas, president of the City Bar, said in a statement to the State Bar. RECIPROCAL DISCIPLINE Barry Kamins, chairman of the Committee on Professional Discipline, also questioned whether there were adequate provisions for reciprocal discipline. Kamins, of Flamhaft Levy Kamins & Hirsch in Brooklyn, said non-New York attorneys who regularly practice in the state should be required to pay some sort of registration fee. The association governance issue consumed much of Saturday’s session, and the discussion will be continued in November, when the House of Delegates reconvenes in Albany. Leading the discussion is Dennis R. Baldwin of Mackenzie Hughes in Syracuse. Baldwin chairs the Special Committee on Association Governance. At issue is how to alter the structural framework of the organization to foster greater diversity. The attempt, however, has seemingly created an upstate/downstate friction, since changes in nominating and executive committee representation would, according to some, alter the balance between New York City and upstate constituencies.

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