New York State Bar Association

View this Special Report as a PDF.

Constitutional Reform of N.Y.’s Court System Remains a Priority

Janet DiFiore, Chief Judge of the State of New York, writes: Our work to modernize the structure and organization of our court system is a matter of the utmost mutual concern. It is absolutely vital that the Bench and Bar work together to recommend and follow through on practical, achievable constitutional amendments that will make our court system more efficient, affordable and accessible, and support the Empire State’s ability to maintain a healthy business climate that supports economic growth and job creation.

A Technology-Focused Approach to Administering Justice

Lawrence K. Marks, Chief Administrative Judge of the New York State Unified Court System, writes: One critical means of achieving the goals of the Excellence Initiative is through technology. By expanding and modernizing our technology operations, we have made justice more accessible and more efficient.

Revisiting the Basic Values of Honor, Fairness

Rolando T. Acosta, Presiding Justice of the Appellate Division, First Department, writes: From e-filing to standardizing Appellate Division practice rules to developing a uniform guide to New York evidence, our judiciary is taking needed steps to modernize and become more efficient.

A New World: The Role of the Presiding Justice

Alan Scheinkman, Presiding Justice of the Appellate Division, Second Department, writes: As the court’s newest member, I am adjusting to a new way of adjudicating cases. No longer will I be alone in controlling a calendar and a courtroom and acting as sole arbiter of requests for relief. My role now will be to approach cases from the perspective of a reviewing court and to work collaboratively with my new and highly distinguished colleagues to achieve a just result in each appeal that comes before us.

Bringing Our Best Traditions Forward

Elizabeth A. Garry, Presiding Justice of the Appellate Division, Third Department, writes: The New York State Bar Association’s Annual Meeting provides an excellent example of what is great about our profession. Attorneys from across New York state and beyond gather as a community of colleagues from vastly different backgrounds, practice areas and professional settings, but with a shared commitment to learning from one another and upholding the highest standards of service and integrity.

Oath to Uphold Constitution Is an Active Duty

Gerald J. Whalen, Presiding Justice of the Appellate Division, Fourth Department, writes: Our oath to uphold the Constitution is an active duty assignment. Vigilance may not require perfection; nonetheless we are expected to be perfect in our earnestness to fulfill our duty. The promises that have been made require no less.

Bar Week Events Underscore Core Values

Sharon Stern Gerstman, President of the New York State Bar Association, writes: Our Annual Meeting theme is Connect, Inspire, Learn. We connect with other lawyers from throughout the state (and the world); we are inspired by the passion and the commitment of the many excellent lawyers who will be receiving awards; and we will learn from experts who provide the smorgasbord of cutting-edge CLE that is NYSBA’s signature.

An Enriching, Valuable and Meaningful Membership

Michael Miller, President-elect of the New York State Bar Association, writes: Attending NYSBA’s Annual Meeting provides a reminder that we lawyers are part of something special, with a rich tradition of scholarship, problem-solving and an abiding commitment to help the less fortunate.

Antitrust Is Cool Again

Michael L. Weiner, Chair of the NYSBA Antitrust Law Section, writes: As the Trump administration enters its second year, it will bear close watching to see what its antitrust enforcement approach shapes up to be.

Keeping Up With the Business Law World

Kathleen A. Scott, Chair of the NYSBA Business Law Section, writes: 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.

Recent Bills Affecting the Entertainment and Arts Industries

Cheryl L. Davis, Co-Chair of the Diversity Committee of the NYSBA Entertainment, Arts & Sports Law Section, writes: 2017 was eventful on a number of fronts, not least of all in terms of legislation affecting the entertainment and arts industries.

The Practice of Matrimonial Law Continues to Evolve

Mitchell Y. Cohen, Chair of the NYSBA Family Law Section, writes: Family law practitioners are well acquainted with change, in the law, in the practice rules of the courts in which we appear, or the constantly changing facts and family dynamics relative to the people we represent. This past year has been no exception.

Hot Topics for Food, Drug and Cosmetic Law Section

Brian J. Malkin, Chair of the NYSBA Food, Drug and Cosmetic Law Section writes: The Food, Drug and Cosmetic Law Section this year has focused its program in selecting topics of a cross-functional nature, as discussed below.

Lawyers Should Help Lawyers

Joel E. Abramson, Chair of the NYSBA General Practice Section, writes: The General Practice Section is the section where lawyers in every practice area, regardless of firm size, can get together in order to make their lives as lawyers better and more satisfying.

Five Steps Governments Should Take to Address Workplace Harassment

Richard K. Zuckerman, Chair, and Sharon N. Berlin, First Vice-Chair of the NYSBA Local and State Government Law Section, write: Seemingly daily harassment allegations being lodged against elected officials, high-level executives and public figures require municipalities to promptly stop this abhorrent behavior and its costly impact on morale, productivity and public perception.

Honoring Excellence and Achievement

Conrad Singer, Presiding Member of the NYSBA Judicial Section, discusses the various awards the Section will bestow at the Annual Meeting, as well as the Section’s initiative to increase judicial participation in the New York State Bar Association, and to provide continuing educational opportunities.

Defending Civil Claims Involving Allegations of Criminal Culpability

Elizabeth A. Fitzpatrick, Chair of the NYSBA Torts, Insurance and Compensation Law Section, writes: Defending a civil suit involving criminal claims presents unique challenges to the parties and an understanding of the effect a plea or conviction in the criminal matter may have, not only on the civil lawsuit itself, but also on the availability of insurance coverage to cover any damages, is important.

Maintaining Careers and Undertaking New Activities

The NYSBA Senior Lawyers Section is home to New York’s experienced lawyers, age 55+. C. Bruce Lawrence, Chair of the Senior Lawyers Section, outlines the section’s Annual Meeting programming and awardees.