April 23, 2014

Seeking Outside the Box-ers


Are you one of those people that's embracing technology and using it in new and creative ways for your legal work? The ABA Journal has an interesting project underway, and it's seeking "legal rebels" who are "leveraging technology to create new tools for lawyers, broaden access to justice and legal services, and in some cases remake how law is practiced." Click here to find out more about the ABA Journal's 2014 Legal Rebels project.

March 31, 2014

Judges and Social Media


It's hardly "news" that the legal profession generally is struggling to find ways to use social media for enhancing legal practice. And there certainly has been lots of virtual ink spilled over the issue of judges using social media. What's new and interesting in this recent article posted on LIBN.com is the perspective about these issues from Ira Warshawsky, a well-respected and recently retired state court judge. So what's his judgment on judges using social media? He recommends that judges "play it safe" and stay away from it.

March 17, 2014

Public Service Law Pays in Happiness Dividends


It's probably no surprise to readers of this blog, but now it's confirmed. As reported in the ABA Journal Law News Now, a recent Florida State University University College of Law survey found that lawyers in "prestige" jobs, who had the highest grades and incomes, aren't as happy as lawyers working in public-service jobs for substantially lower pay. (By the way, the survey found that judges were happiest of all.) Who says public service doesn't pay?

January 29, 2014

Court of Appeals Judge Victoria Graffeo Receives State Bar's Excellence in Public Service Award

From the NYSBA press release:

ALBANY, NY (01/29/2014)(readMedia)-- Hon. Victoria A. Graffeo, senior associate judge of the Court of Appeals, is the 2014 recipient of the Excellence in Public Service Award, given by the New York State Bar Association's Committee on Attorneys in Public Service.

The award recognizes public sector attorneys who demonstrate a "higher calling" by an extraordinary commitment to service, honor and integrity. Graffeo received her award on January 28 at the State Bar Association's Annual Meeting in Manhattan.

"Judge Graffeo's career has spanned all three branches of state government and exemplified excellence at every turn. She has improved the lives of New Yorkers through her work and decisions," said Catherine A. Christian of New York City (assistant district attorney, New York County), chair of the Committee on Attorneys in Public Service. "She is a model public servant and epitomizes the best values of the legal profession."

Graffeo, who has spent most of her career in public service, has served on the Court of Appeals since 2000. She previously was an associate justice of the Appellate Division of the state Supreme Court, Third Department, and a justice of the state Supreme Court, Third Judicial District.

She began her career in private practice and later became assistant counsel to the New York State Division of Alcoholism and Alcohol Abuse. She later served as chief counsel to the Assembly Minority Leader. In 1995, she was appointed New York State Solicitor General.

Graffeo earned her undergraduate degree from the State University of New York at Oneonta and her law degree from Albany Law School. She resides in Voorheesville.

The 75,000-member New York State Bar Association is the largest voluntary state bar association in the nation. It was founded in 1876.


January 8, 2014

Law Students as Pro Bono Lawyers


The Wall Street Journal Law Blog reports that the state of Iowa is considering allowing law students to handle pro bono cases. According to the ABA Journal online, students who are supervised by a legal aid organization, a lawyer with the state attorney general's office, a county attorney's office or the public defender's office may handle such cases.

December 5, 2013

2014 CAPS Award for Excellence in Public Service


NYS Court of Appeals Judge Victoria A. Graffeo has been selected this year's recipient of the 2014 NYSBA CAPS Award for Excellence in Public Service.

The award recognizes excellence by a member of the legal profession in the commitment to and performance of public service.

Award Criteria: Individuals must epitomize a commitment to the highest and noblest calling afforded by the legal profession: to preserve and protect the public. Their efforts must demonstrate a commitment to service, honor and integrity.

The ceremony/reception will be held in Manhattan during the NYSBA annual meeting on January 28, 2014 at 6pm.

October 10, 2013

Nominate Your Favorite Public Service Star


Dear Colleague:

The Committee on Attorneys in Public Service (CAPS) is seeking nominees for its 2014 Award for Excellence in Public Service, which is presented annually to members of the legal profession who demonstrate an extraordinary commitment to serving the public.

All lawyers active in government service or related public service are eligible for nomination. Recommendations should be based on the nominee's outstanding commitment to and performance of public service and may recognize individual attorneys or the collective work of attorneys in an office during the past year or over the course of a career. The award will be presented on Tuesday, January 28, 2014, at the New York State Bar Association's Annual Meeting in New York City.

Nominations must be submitted by using the nomination form located at www.nysba.org/capsaward.

Nomination forms and any supporting documentation must be submitted no later than Friday, November 1, 2013 to:

Megan O'Toole
Membership Services
One Elk Street, Albany, NY 12207
caps@nysba.org
Phone: 518-487-5743
Fax: 518-487-5579

More information on the Excellence in Public Service Award and a listing of past recipients may be found at www.nysba.org/capsaward.

Thank you for your participation in this important process.

Sincerely,

Theresa Egan Donna Giliberto
Co-Chairs, NYSBA Committee on Attorneys in Public Service
Subcommittee on Awards
NEW YORK STATE BAR ASSOCIATION
ONE ELK STREET, ALBANY, NY 12207
Phone: (518) 463-3200
Secure Fax: (518) 487-5993

For Public Officials: The New York State Bar Association is registered with the New York State Joint Commission on Public Ethics pursuant to the Lobbying Act to engage in lobbying activities. Consequently, public officials cannot accept certain benefits from the Association. Further information can be obtained by contacting an official's agency ethics officer or the Association at (518) 463-3200.

Accommodations for Persons with Disabilities: NYSBA welcomes participation by individuals with disabilities. NYSBA is committed to complying with all applicable laws that prohibit discrimination against individuals on the basis of disability in the full and equal enjoyment of its goods, services, programs, activities, facilities, privileges, advantages, or accommodations. To request auxiliary aids or services or if you have any questions regarding accessibility, please contact Kathy Heider at (518) 487-5500 or kheider@nysba.org.

October 8, 2013

October 16th Reception for Honorees


Fifth Annual Citation for Special Achievement in Public Service
Complimentary Cocktail Reception and Program

Wednesday, October 16, 2013 | 5:00 - 7:00 p.m.

New York State Bar Association
One Elk Street
Albany, NY 12207

RSVP no later than Monday, October 14, 2013 to: caps@nysba.org or 518.487.5571

Come celebrate the achievements of our 2013 Citation recipients: Tina Janssen-Spinosa, Esq., Jessica Lazarin, Esq., and Tasha Moore, Esq. Meet members of NYSBA's Committee on Attorneys in Public Service and colleagues. NYSBA members and non-members are welcome to attend.

2013 Citation Winners
Tina Janssen-Spinosa, Esq.
Program Coordinator of Total Life Choices
New York City

Jessica Lazarin, Esq.
Immigration Staff Attorney, ECBA Volunteer Lawyers Project, Inc.
Buffalo
and
Tasha Moore, Esq.
Regional Director, NYS Division of Human Rights
Buffalo

The Justice Gap: How Do We Make a Dent?
Presented by Anne Erickson, President and CEO, Empire Justice Center
According to the Office of Court Administration more than 2.3 million litigants appear in civil court each year in New York State without an attorney. Faced with losing their homes, dealing with foreclosures and evictions, coping with divorce or intense family law issues, challenging the denial of critical benefits, confronting small claims issues or engulfed in personal financial bankruptcy, these litigants face daunting legal challenges without the benefit of counsel. Discussions are occurring around the county about how to address these challenges - from creating a civil right to counsel to expanding the role of non-lawyers to increasing the level of pro bono legal assistance. Our speaker will address some of these issues and their status in New York.

The Empire Justice Center is, a statewide legal services organization which provides training, support and technical assistance to legal services programs outside New York City, provides legal assistance to key areas of poverty law, undertakes impact litigation, and engages in legislative and administration advocacy over a broad range of substantive law areas that impact the rights of those who are poor, low income or otherwise disenfranchised in New York State.

About Anne Erickson
Ms. Erickson has been with Empire Justice (formerly known as the Greater Upstate Law Project) since 1989. She began as a policy analyst and legislative coordinator and became President when the organization's director of more than 30 years retired in 2000. Ms. Erickson has overseen the transformation of the organization, merging its Rochester operations post-LSC restrictions, expanding its White Plains office, opening an office on Long Island and strategically growing the organization.

Prior to taking on her current leadership role, Ms. Erickson directed the legislative and policy advocacy work of the Greater Upstate Law Project. Working closely with the organization's staff attorneys, she helped develop and pursue an annual legislative agenda, focused primarily on health and welfare issues and on securing funding for Civil Legal Services.

Ms. Erickson is the former chair of the New York State Equal Justice Commission and helped lead the state legal services planning efforts in New York that resulted in historic mergers, consolidations and re-alignment of the state's federally-funded legal services organizations. She continues to play a leading role in the statewide delivery of legal assistance. Ms. Erickson is a member of Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman's Task Force to Expand Access to Legal Services in New York and was recently named to the Committee on Non-Lawyers and the Justice Gap.

Before entering the world of advocacy, Ms. Erickson was a journalist, working as the first legislative correspondent for WAMC-Northeast Public Radio, providing daily coverage of state government and politics and developing and hosting a weekly half-hour news show, The Legislative Gazette. She is now Chair of the WAMC Board of Trustees.

NYSBA Committee on Attorneys in Public Service
Catherine Christian, Chair
Terri Egan and Donna Giliberto, Award Co-Chairs


NEW YORK STATE BAR ASSOCIATION
ONE ELK STREET, ALBANY, NY 12207

Phone: (518) 463-3200
Secure Fax: (518) 487-5993


For Public Officials: The New York State Bar Association is registered with the New York State Joint Commission on Public Ethics pursuant to the Lobbying Act to engage in lobbying activities. Consequently, public officials cannot accept certain benefits from the Association. Further information can be obtained by contacting an official's agency ethics officer or the Association at (518) 463-3200.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Accommodations for Persons with Disabilities: NYSBA welcomes participation by individuals with disabilities. NYSBA is committed to complying with all applicable laws that prohibit discrimination against individuals on the basis of disability in the full and equal enjoyment of its goods, services, programs, activities, facilities, privileges, advantages, or accommodations. To request auxiliary aids or services or if you have any questions regarding accessibility, please contact Kathy Heider at (518) 487-5500 or kheider@nysba.org.




October 1, 2013

Recent Environmental Reports Available Online


The Pace Law School Library Blog has an extensive roundup of recent environmental-related research reports published by the Congressional Research Service (CRS), a public policy research arm of Congress.

NB: Hopefully this note will be outdated quickly, but so long as the federal government is (temporarily) shut down, some of the links and materials may not be accessible.

September 23, 2013

Pro Bono Affairs Notice



New York State Bar Assocation - Department of Pro Bono Affairs

Join your colleagues at the New York State Bar Association or the cosponsoring law schools across New York State (shown at the bottom of this announcement) for a live broadcast and discussion.

WHY WE NEED A RIGHT TO COUNSEL IN CIVIL MATTERS WHERE BASIC HUMAN NEEDS ARE AT STAKE

When: October 3, 2013
Where: New York State Bar Association, One Elk Street, Albany, New York 12207
Time: 5:00pm - 6:30pm

RSVP by close of business Wednesday, September 26 to probono@nysba.org or
(518) 487-5641 to attend at the New York State Bar Association

2013 is the 50th Anniversary of the US Supreme Court's decision in Gideon v. Wainwright, in which the Court established the right to representation by an attorney, at government expense, for people who cannot afford to pay for counsel. The court found that it was an "obvious truth" that a criminal defendant cannot have a fair trial unless counsel is appointed. Find out why it is an equally obvious truth that there should be a right to counsel for low-income people who face court cases that may result in orders evicting them from their homes, denying them custody of their children and affecting other basic human needs.

The program will include:

New York State Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman,
N.Y. State Bar Assoc. President David Schraver, and
A live panel discussion of experts, including:
Fern Fisher, Deputy Chief Administrative Judge for the NYC Courts and Director of the NY State Courts Access to Justice Program
Bryan Hetherington, Chief Counsel, Empire Justice Center
Martha Davis, Professor, Northeastern University Law School
John Pollock, Coordinator, National Coalition for a Civil Right to Counsel
Andrew Scherer (moderator), author, Residential Landlord-Tenant Law in NY and Senior Fellow, Furman Center at NYU Law School

~To attend this event at the NYSBA location, please contact probono@nysba.org to register.~

**The law schools listed below will be showing a live broadcast of this event, along with agendas unique to their schools. If you wish to participate at one of these locations, please contact the school directly.

Sponsored by the New York State Bar Association and the following law schools: Albany Law School, Brooklyn Law School, Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, Columbia University School of Law, Cornell Law School, CUNY Law School, Fordham University School of Law, Hofstra University School of Law, New York Law School, New York University School of Law, Pace University School of Law, Rutgers School of Law, St. John's University School of Law, Seton Hall University School of Law, Syracuse University College of Law, Touro College, Jacob D. Fuchsberg Law Center, University at Buffalo Law School, Yale Law School.
NEW YORK STATE BAR ASSOCIATION
ONE ELK STREET, ALBANY, NY 12207

Phone: (518) 463-3200
Secure Fax: (518) 487-5993

For Public Officials: The New York State Bar Association is registered with the New York State Joint Commission on Public Ethics pursuant to the Lobbying Act to engage in lobbying activities. Consequently, public officials cannot accept certain benefits from the Association. Further information can be obtained by contacting an official's agency ethics officer or the Association at (518) 463-3200.

Accommodations for Persons with Disabilities: NYSBA welcomes participation by individuals with disabilities. NYSBA is committed to complying with all applicable laws that prohibit discrimination against individuals on the basis of disability in the full and equal enjoyment of its goods, services, programs, activities, facilities, privileges, advantages, or accommodations. To request auxiliary aids or services or if you have any questions regarding accessibility, please contact Kathy Heider at (518) 487-5500 or kheider@nysba.org.