In the past year, we have seen a new administration begin in Washington, D.C. and promise regulatory reform, particularly in the financial services area. While these promises to date have proved more aspirational then real, this year we may start to see many of the legislative and regulatory proposals moving forward. The Business Law Section of the New York State Bar Association will be reviewing any proposals to determine if there is any effect on the New York business law climate.
One of the best ways to keep up with the latest developments in the business law field is to join the Business Law Section. The Section encompasses a variety of specialties: banking, insurance, technology and venture law, nonprofit organizations, franchise, bankruptcy, public utility. Last year, we added a committee on mergers and acquisitions and this year, we are replacing the Corporations Law Committee with a Business Organizations Law Committee that will go beyond just corporations to include limited liability companies and all forms of business organizations. In other words, we have something to offer everyone and we encourage everyone to get involved.
The Business Law Section has over 3,500 members, yet only a small proportion of those members are actively involved in the committees. Each section member has something to offer and we welcome all who are interested. Committee meetings are useful for keeping up to date on the latest legislation, regulations, guidance and litigation, and offer an ability to provide input on section and association positions. Our recent Section Fall Meeting, “Financial Regulation and Deregulation: What’s Next,” attracted a large number of attendees, who were treated to presentations and panels involving state and federal regulators, in-house counsel, private practitioners and other experts who briefed attendees on the current business regulatory climate as well as providing their thoughts on what might be happening next. At the Annual Meeting, we are teaming up with the Corporate Counsel Section on January 24 to present a program on compliance-related issues, including whistleblowing and ethics.
The Section sponsors the well-respected NY Business Law Journal, for which proposed submissions are welcome, as well as a lively Community on which you can find out information about relevant Section and Association initiatives and members who quickly respond to requests for assistance from fellow Section members.
Finally, the Section has established a dedicated new Small Business Support Fund at the New York Bar Foundation that will provide financial support for programs that provide legal advice and assistance to military veterans, minorities and other underserved New York residents seeking to establish their own small business enterprises in the State.
My point in all this? Practitioners need to keep up with the ever-changing state of business law and the Business Law Section offers ways to keep members up-to-date on current developments, and opportunities to shape Section and Association positions on matters important to New York business lawyers. We have room and encourage you to join us!
Kathleen A. Scott is a senior counsel in the New York office of Norton Rose Fulbright.