November 2011 Archives

ELECTRONICALLY-IN-TOUCH

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November 2011


Dear Young Lawyers Section Members:


Welcome to the latest edition of Electronically-In-Touch, the E-publication of the NYSBA Young Lawyers Section. The current issue is full of interesting and insightful material, beginning with articles covering bankruptcy law and the topic of organizing and running your own law practice. We also have information on the Steven C. Krane Special Committee on Student Loan Assistance for the Public Interest (SLAPI), which focuses on loan repayment assistance and provides repayment help to public interest and government attorneys.

Finally we cover our section events: the YLS had its Fall Program in October and we have a recap of that event from Michael L. Fox, Esq., the Young Lawyers Section Chair-Elect.  There is also coverage of two other events that took place in October, the YLS mentoring initiative and an event co-sponsored by the 13th District Young Lawyers Section District Representatives.

 

Nilesh Yashwant Ameen, Esq.

Editor, Electronically-In-Touch

BANKRUPTCY LAW

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BANKRUPTCY LAW


ECF Bankruptcy Tips for Attorneys


 by Sapna Gupta, Esq.

 

Electronic Case Filing (ECF) in the New York Bankruptcy Courts allows attorneys to minimize the cumbersome paperwork and time associated with executing filings. 

More often than not, bankruptcy clients need to file immediately, particularly when they face a pending foreclosure or levy on property.  Electronic filing allows you to do an immediate skeleton filing to stay the looming foreclosure, giving both you and the client a much needed time cushion.  Within fourteen days thereafter, however, the rest of the schedules and other required filing, must be submitted via ECF.  

Skeleton filings need only include the Petition (Official Form B1), Declaration of the Debtor (Official Form B1D), the Statement of Social Security Number (Official Form B21), the client must have completed the requisite one-hour credit counseling course, and a preliminary Creditor's Matrix naming at least one Creditor.  In lieu of signature, an electronic signature signified by "/s/ [Name of signor]" may be submitted via ECF, however the original signatures must be submitted to the Trustee's office prior to the initial 341 hearing.  

Attorneys should keep in mind that electronic amendments can be costly.  If you have more than one amendment, the Court may allow you to upload all of your amendments as one PDF document, thereby minimizing the cost. 

It's also important to note that the hearing schedule calendar is based on the time of filing.  The earlier in the day you file, the earlier on the calendar your hearing will be scheduled.  It may, therefore, be beneficial to wait until immediately after midnight to file, thereby decreasing the likelihood that you will be stuck with a lengthy wait at court. 

The ECF Helpdesk at the Bankruptcy Courts are generally accessible and helpful if you have further E-filing questions.  Also, the Eastern and Southern Districts require a worthwhile ECF Training for attorneys before they are able to obtain access to the ECF system.  Also be sure to check the Court's websites for updated information.  Because the ECF system is relatively new, the Court regularly updates the system.

 

 - Pantano & Gupta, Attorneys at Law  

 

Sapna Gupta is a partner of Pantano & Gupta, LLC a general practice law firm located in Downtown Financial District.  Sapna is admitted in the Southern and Eastern Federal Districts of New York and focuses on individual Chapter 7 and 13 and Corporate Chapter 7 Bankruptcy.  Before co-founding the firm with her partner, Anthony Pantano, Sapna worked with a solo practice Bankruptcy attorney at Troy & Associates, and received her JD from Case Western University.  She is an active member of the New York State Bar Association, South Asian Bar Association of New York and New York County Lawyers' Association.     

LAW PRACTICE

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LAW PRACTICE


Part Two of the Modern-Day Mobile Lawyer's Manifesto: Your Law Office is All Around You


By Michael J. P. Schewe, Esq.


This is the second part of a series dealing with the ever-changing way that we practice law.  In this article the topic is lawyer mobility.  Assuming you have already made the jump to a paperless law office (think: no more need to carry around those pesky, fifty pound Redwells everywhere), you may be tempted to practice law outside the office.  I practice what I preach; I am currently writing this article while enjoying some lovely jazz at the Newark Museum's backyard garden.  And why not?  Work is work - whether you do it cooped up in a windowless office, fighting paper cuts and momentary lapses of sanity - or you whip out a brief in a bathing suit in between cannonballs; it still has to get done.

Personally, I work better when I am in good spirits.  I also do not buy into what I like to call the "distraction retraction," essentially that work done in the office is "better" because you are more focused.  In the 20-teens (is that what we call this decade?), we must come to grips with the fact that we are constantly distracted.  Jean Jacques Rousseau once wrote in his famous treatise, "The Social Contract," that "man is born free, but everywhere he is in chains."  In today's day and age, we have become a slave to our conveniences or, perhaps more accurately, our various devices.  They enslave us in various ways, but none more troublesome than their distractive tendencies.  Try all you want with technological blocking tools and/or personal volition control mechanisms, constant distraction is a part of our newly-connected lives.  Therefore, I fail to see the difference between sitting in the office reading www.NYTimes.com articles and stopping writing briefly to enjoy a particularly lucid jazz improvisation.

But, as I often do, I digress.  I can argue with myself all day about the pros and cons of mobile lawyering so, for the purposes of this article, I will assume you are reading this because (a) you, like me, found freedom and flexibility in your choice of employment or (b) this is just another way to feed your distractive habit.  Either way, thanks for stopping by.

Hardware

Laptop

Most of us grew up putting floppy disks into desktop computers that were immovable objects.  We crudely navigated MS-DOS on our massive, rear-projection monitors.  Computers were new and fun, so we couldn't complain, but today the idea of a non-mobile computer seems as outdated as a non-mobile lawyer (ha).  In order to fulfill the dream of lawyering from anywhere, we need workstations that function where we are, as opposed to where they are and will always be.

I won't go into the highly technical deliberations you will need to make when making your machine purchase, but let me share some of my general feelings.  You are neither a graphic designer nor a cinematographer (maybe you are and, let me say, you are terribly lost!), so the your virtual office laptop purchase, unlike your personal computer, needs to focus on power, memory and ease of use - both in the courtroom and on the move.

Tablets

I have talked with or read about a growing number of lawyers who love their tablets.  They claim to have the relevant court rules and case law always available and side-by-side their case-specific pleadings and exhibits on their screen while in the courtroom.  While I cannot agree more with the utility of these ends, I am not sure why it necessitates a tablet.  Although the tablet is very lightweight and has fancy apps, there are times in court I would prefer a full keyboard to type some quick notes.  Tablet enthusiasts will counter that they can attach or use a wireless keyboard but, if you anticipate the need for typing, why bother lugging around a separate keyboard?

In case you care, and I assume for argument's sake you do because you are reading this, I settled on a hybrid setup.  It is a superlight (no DVD drive), full keyboard (built in), tablet-convertible, built-in-WiFi-capable, touchscreen beast.  It gives me the best of both worlds.  If I am on oral argument, I can flatten the screen and quickly scroll through my notes and the relevant case materials.  However, if I am at a deposition or trial, I am able to quickly and easily take notes typing into the keyboard.  Everyone is different (heck, I could change my mind in four months), but that's where I'm at now.  [Sidebar: I believe that the trend of phones getting bigger and tablets getting smaller, in conjunction with the evolution of more capable voice recognition and keyboard-Swype technology, will eventually meld the two into some kind of super-phone-tablet-computer.  You can laugh, but we're more than halfway there].

Smartphone

"Smart" phone technology, whatever you take that to mean, has become indispensible.  The things we can accomplish with our telephones in modern society are remarkable.  While I may enjoy a traffic-avoiding re-route to the courthouse using my Galaxy S, you may not be as impressed.  Indeed, we could go on all day about helpful, yet dispensable apps (and I will in my blog - link below - supersonic mosquito repellant!).

So why the smartphone and not the pager?

The simplest answer is that, if you live the paperless life, your phone (like all your other devices) carries your entire office with you on the go (this is assuming that your practice management software is on the cloud, so-called "Software as a Service," or "SaaS").  Thus, if you are ever without wireless (or a WiFi-enabled computer), your phone becomes your last line of defense.  For example, say you are in the Newark Immigration Court and the Immigration Judge is beaming down at you about a document neither you nor assistant chief counsel can locate, and you quickly access it on your phone and email it to the judge's law clerk: you obtain instant hero status.  Heck, I've Google Scholar-ed the case another attorney is basing his oral argument on while he is giving it in court in order to form a well-reasoned response (the case which, of course, he magically just found that day and was going to email me but forgot).  The key is that, in an age where information is clearly power, the smartphone is just another tool to keep the playing field anything but level.

Wires (or, if I have anything to say about it, the lack thereof)

As an introduction to this section, let me just say that I have developed a firm hatred of all wires.  I don't know why or how, but I want to rid the world of wires.  I firmly believe they are the flotsam and jetsam of the digital world!  There, I said it.

Bluetooth Headphones

My love affair with Bluetooth began when my mother gave me her extra headpiece claiming "I never use it anyways."  I initially used it just for the sake of it, but I eventually began to see its many benefits.  For one, it allows me to drive and talk (which I am not crazy about - cars are for loud music and awkward singing - but occasionally duty calls and no one wants a ticket).  Another benefit to Bluetooth is avoiding neck-craning injuries and/or, what I affectionately call, "sweaty-phone-head" (for those sweltering summer months in suits).

My next Bluetooth revelation came while at the gym.  I was fed up with the situation where your phone rings causing you to pause your music, remove/secure your headphones, find and secure your Bluetooth earpiece, answer your phone and realize you missed the call.  So that day, amidst my "running-the-wires-through-the-shirt-so-as-not-to-interfere-with-the-lifting" procedure - all the while trying to answer firm calls being forwarded to my cell (see, infra) - I shouted to the gods "why can't my Bluetooth just play music!!"  Being that I am not a genius, nor am I ahead of any trends, a simple Google search when I got home revealed that, yes, such multi-tasking ear buddies had already been created with me in mind.  They are my new favorite thing.  Strap 'em on, put on your music and, if your phone receives a call, it pauses your music and moves to the call.  When the call ends, your music restarts automatically where you left it (sigh of relief).  I cannot, nay will not, live without them ever again.

Other Wireless Wonders

This is probably a better topic for my blog (shameless plug, link below), but suffice it to say that Bluetooth technology is helping to make my dream of a wireless world a reality.

Tethering

Internet is a must no matter where you are, especially if your practice management software is web-based.  And, while many places now offer free WiFi, it is a fact of life that you cannot work from anywhere without internet access and not all places offer it (sinners).

In order to combat this, you have two basic choices: (1) buy a laptop that has 3G or 4G capabilities built-in or (2) "tether" your phone to your laptop (allowing your phone to act as a kind of "wireless 3G modem" or "hotspot" for your other devices).

The phone companies are beginning to offer tethering as a potential option on your phone, but the prices to date are a little high (I believe Verizon wanted to tack on about $20 extra per month to have "Mobile Hotspot" capabilities, which is an extra $240 per year).  The more economical way to obtain internet access on your laptop is to use a desktop application in conjunction with a tethering application on your phone.  The most well-known of these "tethering apps" is probably "PDANet," but there are clearly othersWith PDANet, you download their software onto your laptop then, for a small fee (currently a single license is a one-time payment of $15.95), you download the mobile app onto your cell phone and, voila, you have access to the Internet anywhere your phone can tap into 3 or 4 or (soon enough, I'm sure) 5 of those mysterious Gs.

I am sure there plenty of other applications that provide this service , so do a little research to find out which is right for you and is compatible with your phone.  I've said it before, but it bears repeating: this is not a sponsored article; I simply suggest products I have used to help you navigate the quagmire.  And one last caveat: while very handy to have, tethering drains your batteries very quickly (especially your phone's battery).  Stay plugged in whenever possible or carry a spare batteries to avoid letdown.

Call Forwarding

Working from anywhere is useless if your office falls apart while you are gone.  Call forwarding allows me to, using the web, direct calls to go to me (or, if I am unavailable, to someone else) so that clients always have a friendly voice greeting them when they call.  Ok, almost always friendly, the occasional client call at 6:10 a.m. on a Sunday is not met with the same level of enthusiasm as 10:00 a.m. Monday morning.  [Although, that early morning weekend call related to a family emergency and the client was very impressed I picked up in his time of need.  Be available.]

I have heard (fairly persuasive) arguments relating to using virtual assistants to receive calls (color me unimpressed) and other (less persuasive) arguments to have your secretary receive all calls (that is, not just when you are otherwise unavailable).  I, however, desire to be my firm's first line of defense most of the time, and all of my clients appreciate being able to speak to me even if briefly, when they call with a question.  It is also in my best interest to answer my own calls for other more selfish reasons: (1) if I don't pick up their call at 6:45 on Friday, potential clients will go to the next attorney they find on Google and I lose business and, (2) if my secretary schedules an appointment for a bad employment law case (for which I do free consultations), I could be wasting an hour talking to someone I could have eliminated as a potential client in a ten minute call.

Hey, it's your time and your clients, so do with each what you see fit; but I sell my brand on being open, honest, and accessible.  On the whole, I have very happy clients.  The first or second most-cited gripe of a dissatisfied client is inaccessibility so, "be the wave, not the tide," and go overboard on accessibility.

Security

I would be remiss if I ended an article about mobile lawyering without discussing mobile security.  Let me be perfectly clear: mobile lawyering brings with it great freedom but, without proper precautions, great peril.  If our aforementioned graphic designer has his laptop stolen, he loses his work product and creative goodies, but, as a lawyer, we get sued for malpractice.  If you neglect your security protocols, as about every ethics case I have read has held on the issue, you have opened yourself up to an ethics complaint or malpractice suit.  That said, let me run through some of my favorite mobile safety tips.

Basic

Your office laptop should be accessible to one person: you.  I achieve this goal because my laptop requires a fingerprint scan or, if that malfunctions, an absurdly-hard password.  Your workstation, in whatever form, should be the same.  Unfortunately for your sanity, your phone pretty much has to be the same way.  I realize that cell phone passwords or "password swipes" get annoying in minutes, but not half as annoying as your professional liability premium skyrocketing if you get sued because someone steals your phone and accesses client information.

Backup

An easy way to avoid major pain and suffering is to (i) backup (ii) everything (iii) all the time (or as close to all the time as possible).  Windows 7 has built in data Backup and Restore, for whatever that is worth, and the Professional or Ultimate Windows 7 editions even allow you to backup to a network drive.  In addition to whatever protection Windows 7 offers, everything I scan into the computer is digitally filed, then uploaded to my practice management software ("the cloud"), which is a backup of the data off-site.  Then, every Friday, I backup my entire hard drive to an external hard drive, which is NOT kept in the same place as the laptop (it doesn't do you any good to backup if you lose your laptop and backup at the same time).  Thus, if my laptop is stolen I can reload my data from the external hard drive onto another computer, unless my office burns down, in which case I simply restore my data back from the cloud.  If my cloud (SaaS) provider is also destroyed as a result of a cyberterror attack at the very moment my laptop is stolen and my office burns down, well then I think the Attorney Ethics Board will understand.  Hence, follow the "Backup Rule of Three" (full disclosure: I'm probably not the first to coin that phrase), to keep your law firm data safe.

Technology has made backing up your data extremely affordable.  Web-based practice management software or other online digital storage providers usually have a low monthly fee (or no fee).  Dropbox offers 50 gigabytes for $19/month or $199/year.  As for your third backup, you can get a one terabyte external hard drive for about $60.  I read recently - I cannot remember where - that a gigabyte of storage 20 or so years ago cost $50,000.  Today, our $60 terabyte of storage means that a gigabyte of storage today costs about six cents.

Backup or raise up (your malpractice premiums).  It is your choice.

LastPass

As aforementioned, this is not a sponsored article (nor is my blog), but I feel that part of sharing useful information is sharing experiences with actual products instead of leaving you to guess what I am talking about (by the way, if anyone is interested in what products I was describing ambiguously above, just reach out to me and I will gladly tell you what they are).

That said, when it comes to awesome security products, LastPass is top of the class.  LastPass solves two of our biggest security headaches: (i) we hate making "good" passwords, a.k.a. passwords that serious hackers cannot figure out in twenty minutes and (ii) we hate having multiple passwords because we can't remember all of them.  Enter LastPass.  LastPass in its non-premium form affixes to your browsers so that, when you start your computer, you sign in once to LastPass (you still have to remember one hard password) and, from that time on, LastPass auto-fills your saved login information to your frequently-visited webpages.  Caveat: I recommend you apply the setting to have LastPass sign off when you close your browser.  This helps you avoid the next person using your computer from having unfettered access to all of your sensitive information.

I know what you're thinking: "I already have my browser/computer auto-fill my passwords."  Great, you have opened yourself up to a major security risk.  When you have your browser save your login information, you make it that much easier for a hacker to steal that information (I am not a computer hacker, but essentially saving it in your browser saves it in your browser, so hacking your computer's browser - which is easier than hacking your brain - makes that information available to shady hacker types reminiscent of roles Humphrey Bogart played pre-Casablanca).  Furthermore, according to the "brainy smarties" of computers, even if you are entering in your usernames and passwords manually, if a hacker has achieved access to your IP address or computer screen (especially if you are mobile lawyering on your local Starbucks' unsecured network), anyone can see you what you are typing into the username and password fields.

LastPass stores all your information and when it auto-fills your information or auto-logs-you-in, it does so in an encrypted format (meaning your shady Starbucks hacker cannot "see" you typing it in...unless he's sitting behind you, and I can't help you there).  Another great feature of LastPass is that when you register for a site the first time, especially a site where you do not want to use personal information or common usernames/passwords, LastPass can auto-generate secure passwords and instantly save them so that you don't have to ever remember what your password was.  If the movies "A Beautiful Mind" or "21" (shudder) were based on your life, maybe you don't care about software that remembers complicated passwords; but, if you're like the rest of us, LastPass is a wonderful tool.

For a small sum - about $12 a year - you can extend LastPass goodness to your smartphone.  It latches onto your mobile Dolphin Browser HD, and allows you the safe security and ease of operation as the desktop version.  From personal experience, having this information on my phone has come in very handy and, for the money, it's a no brainer.  I estimate (non-scientifically) that LastPass has saved me over five hours of wasted time per month (and that's not counting the dreaded and inevitable time I would have spent clicking "did you forgot you password?").

Lookout Mobile Security

What's better than security?  Free security.  For zero dollars, Lookout Mobile Security will (a) backup your mobile phone's data, (b) block malware and other unhealthy phone problems and, (c) most awesome, if your phone is stolen, it helps you track it down by emitting an alarm and using GPS to pinpoint its location.  When you notify Lookout your phone has been stolen, the phone will lock and, if absolutely necessary, remotely wipe itself of all potentially client-sensitive information.  All good things.

Https

But wait, isn't it "http:"?  Simple answer: it was. Again, I am no master of technology (I just do what they tell me to do), but evidently using https for web browsing increases security.  Why?  Who cares.  Facebook has a setting to achieve this: look in Account Settings>Security Setting>Secure Browsing (why do they hide these things?!) and some browsers allow you to set the preference of https (when available) for your browsing peace of mind.  This is a "just do it" moment.  Be aware of https, and utilize it wherever possible (until the hackers figure that out, then we will use httpss, I guess).

That's all I have for now.  As always, if you have any questions about things written in this article or the one appearing in the May 2011 edition of this e-bulletin, please do not hesitate to contact me.  And, if you like what you read, I encourage you to sign up to my blog's RSS feed or email subscription to receive tips for running an efficient and effective law office on a much more consistent basis!

 

**The NYSBA Young Lawyers Section does not endorse or sponsor any of the products, services or companies referred to in the above article.

 

Michael J. P. Schewe, Esq., is the COO and Managing Attorney of ScheweLaw, LLC [www.ScheweLawLLC.com], with a practice in New Jersey and New York focusing on employment, immigration, family, and municipal court law.  He maintains a blog dealing with "the practice of law and life" at www.ScheweLawBlog.com.  He serves the New Jersey State Bar Association's executive committee in the capacity of an associate editor of their YLD Dictum magazine, and is a 2011-2012 Fellow of the Law Practice Management Committee of the American Bar Association.

 

The Rise Of The Millenial Generation

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LAW PRACTICE


        The Rise Of The Millenial Generation


                                     By Rayna White, Esq.

 

My decision to become a solo practitioner was an unexpected one to those around me--and to myself. Just several years ago, I had embarked on the conventional legal path. I would attend law school and then take the bar exam, the toils of which would culminate in what I then saw as the ultimate prize: gaining entry into a law firm. But upon graduating law school, a new set of realities came into full view for me--and with that my original plan went out the window. 

First and foremost, as I was preparing to enter the job market, the economy had taken a sudden nosedive--and the opportunities for new J.D.'s had plummeted. The legal services sector has lost about 54,000 jobs since May 2008, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Also, according to various media sources, partners are no longer as secure in their positions as they once were; associates are being dismissed; and recruitment programs are dwindling. And as competitive as getting a job at a big firm was prior to the recession, the stakes have since become only higher: since 2008, nearly 15,000 attorney and legal-staff jobs at large firms have disappeared, according to a Northwestern Law study.

Unsurprisingly, then, economics certainly played a large role in prompting me to do the unthinkable--go solo. Yet, economics fail to explain the full narrative of my decision. They also fall short of accounting for a growing trend. The number of recent law graduates going solo increased from 3.5 percent in 2008 to 5.5 percent in 2009--the biggest one year jump since 1982, according to data from the National Association for Law Placement cited in an MSNBC.com article. And in private practice jobs, that percentage increased to 5.7 percent, which is the highest it's been since 1997.

The economic factors eclipse the bigger picture. Both I and many other recent law school graduates are part of the Millennial Generation--a group that, in these precarious economic times and with the endless possibilities of the digital age at our disposal, seeks to create opportunities outside of conventional structures. Gone are the days where advancing through the ranks of a business, where strategically climbing the corporate ladder, is a foregone conclusion. For the Millennials, there is now a host of new ways to start from ground zero, and build businesses and brands from the bottom-up. There are now countless social media outlets and other technologies that make that far more feasible. One needs to look no further for proof of this entrepreneurial mentality than Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, Tumblr founder David Karp, and Groupon founder Andrew Mason. All 30 years or younger, these are Millennials who have created globally-recognized startups, all of which began as bold--if not quixotic--enterprises. Likewise, several of my own classmates, who were determined to secure a job on their own terms after graduation, started their own law practices.  In other words, we are a group that prizes entrepreneurship, individuality, risk-taking, immediacy, and visionary thinking--the very attributes that make for a solo practitioner.

And it is in light of all of these realities, and with the encouragement of colleagues who had successfully gone solo, that I took a leap of faith and started my own law firm. It was a terrifying choice, and I almost let myself be discouraged by the ever present naysayers, but in the end, I decided to say "nay" to the "naysayers" and pushed forward. I purchased Solo by Choice by Carolyn Elefant, and thus began my journey into the unknown.  

Now having been a solo practitioner for a few months, I am even more convinced that this was the right decision for me for a few reasons. Perhaps the most obvious among them is that I have the ability to make all of my own logistical decisions on my own terms. For starters, I can set my own hours, which is a welcomed plus given the stories colleagues have told me of working 60-hour weeks while earning arguably unsatisfactory salaries. Furthermore, I have power of case selection, which, as an independent-minded person, is a capability that I immensely value. I do not have to defer to any higher-up about which types of cases I have to take on, and as such, I am able to do work in the fields that interest me such as Criminal Law and Family Law.

Additionally, with the power of Internet and social media, I have been able to advertise my firm for only a small cost.  I have a website that details my practice and offers information about my background. I have also created a blog, where I provide my commentary on widely publicized legal cases, and offer my day-to-day musings on a slew of law-related matters. With these tools, I have been able to reach out to scores of potential clients on a more personal level, as opposed to employing the more impersonal type of language that larger firms understandably must use when handling social media. The ability to directly connect with so many people on my own initiative is truly gratifying.

That is not to say that there are no hurdles. If you plan to go solo, prepare to jump over tremendous hurdles, because solo practice is not easy -- especially straight out of law school. It is a financial and emotional struggle, and it is extremely important to have a support system.   Also, it's pretty safe to assume that recent law school grads actually have little to no idea how to practice law. As such, it is important to reach out to people who do. As intimidating as it may seem, it is absolutely necessary to connect with lawyers who are willing to help you, and believe it or not, there are a lot of lawyers who are willing to help -- especially other solos. There are various resources such as LinkedIn, Solo Practice University, and the ABA Solo Listserv where you can meet other solo lawyers who are willing to give you advice on particular issues. Using these resources, for me personally, have been wonderful as I learn so much every day.  

The obstacles I have encountered as a solo practitioner undoubtedly have been offset by the positives that this job entails--and oftentimes these obstacles are what keep my work particularly stimulating. So don't get discouraged! It's not an easy choice to go solo, especially when there are more people who advise against it than lending out their hand for support. As a solo practitioner, I enjoy an autonomy and sense of control that non-solo lawyers at times lament not having. And at day's end, I feel energized, having moved one step further in this bottom-up process of creating my own practice.

 

Special Thanks to Kimberly Kirschenbaum

 

 Rayna J. White received her undergraduate degree from the University of Hartford in West Hartford, CT in 2005. After graduation she spent some time in Costa Rica where she volunteered her services by teaching English and lending support to women a drug rehabilitation facility.

In 2007 she entered Hofstra University School of Law where she interned at various organizations and law firms, including Hofstra's Criminal Justice Clinic. She received her J.D. in May 2010, and was admitted to practice in New Jersey in November 2010, and in New York in March 2011. Shortly after being admitted to the New York bar, she opened her own law practice in Manhattan focusing on Criminal Law and Child Custody.

 

NYSBA SLAPI

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NYSBA SLAPI

New Help With Loan Repayment Assistance for Government and Public Interest Attorneys


by Edwina Frances Martin


The Steven C. Krane Special Committee on Student Loan Assistance for the Public Interest (SLAPI) was created in the summer of 2001 to review the impact of law school indebtedness on the ability of government and public service employers to attract qualified attorneys to undertake careers in public service, and to develop a plan to assist new attorneys in pursuing public service careers by reducing indebtedness. SLAPI was created at a time when the loan repayment world was very different and there were not many options. Now, many law schools and public interest/government employers offer loan repayment programs, and there are viable federal government loan repayment programs available. As a result, the Committee now has a two-fold focus: to continue to provide financial assistance to mid-level government and public interest attorneys burdened with large educational debt (who are less likely to qualify for federal and other loan repayment assistance), and to help educate attorneys and employers on the developments in the loan repayment assistance landscape.

SLAPI will award new loan repayment assistance grants - the first since 2008 - at the January 2012 Annual meeting; applications are due on November 30th. See http://www.nysba.org/AM/Template.cfm?Section=Home&Template=/CM/ContentDisplay.cfm&ContentID=56455 for more information. SLAPI also revamped its website to provide more information about federal and state loan assistance repayment options, http://www.nysba.org/AM/Template.cfm?Section=Home&template=/CM/ContentDisplay.cfm&ContentID=56478. For more information contact Gloria Herron Arthur, Esq., Director, Pro Bono Affairs, (518) 487-5640;garthur@nysba.org.

Young Lawyers Section Fall Program

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Young Lawyers Section Fall Program

 

On Thursday and Friday, October 20 and 21, 2011, the YLS held its Fall Program and CLE at the Bar Center in Albany.  The Section's business was conducted first at the Executive Committee meeting, held Thursday afternoon.  Among the items on the agenda, a number of the Section's upcoming programs were discussed, as well as our Section's interaction with the State Bar's other 24 Sections.  After the Executive Committee meeting, we were graciously hosted at the New York State Court of Appeals Building, across the street from the Bar Center, where Judge Graffeo provided a detailed, behind-the-scenes tour of the Court building and the work of the Court.  Our group was also addressed by Chief Judge Lippman, who welcomed us in the courtroom.  The tour was a terrific event, and we are grateful to Judge Graffeo and the Chief Judge for their time, courtesy, and warmth in welcoming us to the highest Court in our State.  After the Court of Appeals tour, our Fall Program dinner was held at Jack's Oyster House in downtown Albany.  It was a time for officers, members, staff and CLE presenters to enjoy a meal and networking.  With several Past Chairs in attendance, the officers recognized our outgoing Section Liaison, Megan O'Toole, for all of her work with us over the last five years in building the Section membership and programming.  Megan remains with us as Manager of the Bar's Membership Services, but won't be working with our Section as much on a day-to-day basis.  We also welcomed our new Section Liaison, Tiffany Bardwell, whom we are all looking forward to working with.

 

On Friday, the Section held it's full-day CLE program, which offered 8 credits including 2 ethics credits.  The panels included state and federal judges, professors, and practitioners from across New York State.  The panels covered topics including state and federal pleadings, discovery and depositions, bankruptcy practice, jury selection, mediation and arbitration, and ethics in litigation/ethics in everyday practice.  The Fall Program was a tremendous success, and we thank all of those who attended, including our CLE faculty.  Several photographs of the day's activities are included with this article.

 

Keep an eye out for our future events, the next of which is the Section's Annual Meeting programming, being held Wednesday through Friday, January 25-27, 2012 at the Hilton New York City.  The Section will hold its Annual Executive Committee Meeting and elections, as well as a half-day CLE program on immigration law, and a 2-day Bridge-the-Gap CLE program.  The annual Outstanding Young Lawyer Award will also be presented that week.  Please watch your mail and e-mail for more information.  All Section members are welcome to any and all events, including the Executive Committee meetings.  We hope to see everyone in January.

 

Michael L. Fox, Esq.

Chair-Elect


PLEASE CLICK on the following link to view pictures from the event:

http://www.nysba.org/AM/Template.cfm?Section=Home&ContentID=57365&Template=/CM/HTMLDisplay.cfm

Mentoring in the Schools

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Mentoring in the Schools


The Young Lawyers Section is constantly looking to provide opportunities for mentoring and networking with peers and seasoned practitioners.  To that end, we have recently started a mentoring program to help law students.  On October 3, 2011, our Mentoring Initiative officially launched, when approximately 30 pairs of young lawyer mentors and 1L mentees came together at our Kickoff Event, hosted by Cardozo Law School for an evening of networking, noshing, and knowledge.  

Julie Anne Alvarez and the staff from Cardozo welcomed all attendees warmly, and introduced James Barnes, the chair of the YLS to speak briefly regarding the importance of NYSBA and the Young Lawyers Section.  While I was a member of NYSBA while in law school, it tends to be the exception to the rule, and we are always looking to bring law students in to the association at the ground floor to become involved early on in their legal careers. 

Anne Nicholson, chair of the mentoring program, introduced Elise Holtzman of the Advocate Success Group who spoke at length about mentoring and offered concrete tips on how to get the most from the mentoring relationship both for the mentors and the mentees.  One of the tips given was that it is important to understand what you are looking for in a mentoring relationship and be realistic on both sides as to time commitments.  This was only a small portion of the great advice Elise gave to the group.

Throughout the evening, many of the speakers and mentors involved shared how much they would have liked to have had such an opportunity while they were in law school.  Not everyone coming into law school comes from a family of lawyers.  Some, like me, were the first of their family to study law.  These early mentor relationships may prove invaluable to these students in the future, if for no other reason than to help navigate how law school works. Many of the mentees shared how excited they were to be part of the program. They noted how quickly the program filled up and that there is a waitlist.  The committee's hope is that once this class of mentees goes through the program, they will in turn mentor incoming students.

We at YLS wish the best of luck to all our mentor-mentee pairs, and hope that what we have learned in setting up and operating this program will allow it to be brought to other law schools throughout the state.  It is a valuable resource for both students and lawyers and should be experienced by as many participants as possible.  

If you would like to participate and help us expand the Mentoring Initiative by partnering with a law school in your area, please email
yls@nysba.org and you will be put in touch with the members of this committee.  

 

- Sarah Gold, Esq.


PLEASE CLICK on the following link to view pictures from the event: http://www.nysba.org/AM/Template.cfm?Section=Home&ContentID=57364&Template=/CM/HTMLDisplay.cfm

13th District Networking Event

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13th District Networking Event

The 13th District Young Lawyers Section District Representatives and the Co-Chairs of the Richmond County Bar Association's New Lawyer's Committee, held their first event at Bocelli Restaurant on October 5, 2011.  The event was a huge success with over 40 attendees!  A great time was had by all! 

Please click on the following link to view the event photographs:

http://www.nysba.org/AM/Template.cfm?Section=Home&Template=/CM/HTMLDisplay.cfm&ContentID=57366

Photographs:

1). Ariana Gambella, Denise Marangos, Adelola Dow 2). Evan Foxx, Graig Avino, Steve Kroll, Ian Nerlfi 

3). Carol Wojtowicz, Eva Mastro, Bill Mastro 4). Al Conti, Michael Gervasi

5). Salvatore Scibetta, Jeff Alfano, Jeanett Loicono, Keith Casella

 

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Electronically-In-Touch is the monthly electronic news-publication of the NYSBA Young Lawyers Section (YLS). It is a member driven publication, encouraging YLS members to write articles, and as such we would welcome submissions from members on any relevant topic, including practice tips, substantive legal articles, case updates, work/life advice, and information regarding upcoming meetings and events. Please submit articles to Nilesh Yashwant Ameen, Esq., at nilameen@aol.com, no later than the 10th of the month.


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