April 2012 Archives

Electronically-In-Touch

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April 2012

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 includes a Message from our Section's Chair, James R. Barnes, Esq., and recaps of our March events, the Young Lawyers Trial Academy and St. Patrick's Day Celebration. We then proceed onto four articles covering Education, Ethics, Immigration, and Family Law. We are always looking for submissions so please keep your articles coming to Electronically-In-Touch.

Erin K. Flynn, Esq.

Editor, Electronically-In-Touch

Chair's Message

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Making Membership Matter

Membership is of critical importance to any group. But what makes membership so significant? Is it simply a numbers game? Is exclusivity important? What is the group looking for in potential new members and how does it seek to keep existing members?

One thing that I have observed over the years is that our Section's greatest asset is our members. We are so fortunate to have members who are both dedicated professionals and concerned citizens. The diversity of our members only adds to the positive synergy, as viewpoints are broadened, experiences enhanced, and friendships formed.

We believe that it is worthwhile for all attorneys in practice ten years or less, including law students, to become active members of our Section. One goal set this year was to cross the 4,000 member mark. I am pleased to say that we have exceeded that goal. That being said, we're not finished. There are far too many potential members still out there. We want them to join - EACH AND EVERY ONE. Many first year attorneys have chosen to join our Section, as NYSBA allots one free Section membership to first year members. We appreciate our first year members and feel obligated to demonstrate the value of membership going forward. To our long-time members, we understand the importance of providing practical programming and signature events year after year.

The Section remains dedicated to providing professional development and networking events, continuing legal education programs, and community service projects. We have many opportunities for young attorneys to build leadership skills. I recently returned from Ithaca where our Section held its third annual Trial Academy at Cornell Law School. We had a full house on hand of young attorney attendees and veteran faculty, working together over the course of the week to enhance trial techniques and develop practical skills. It always amazes me to see the bonds formed over a short period of time when people come together for a common purpose. We are already looking forward to a new class in 2013, as this program gains steam each year. The YLS also actively participated in "Buffalo Bar Week" at the end of March. President Vincent Doyle and the NYSBA staff organized a wonderful week of activities, featuring a two-day CLE program in Buffalo and Toronto, in conjunction with the Ontario Bar Association. The Young Lawyers Section joined forces with the Bar Association of Erie County's Young Lawyers Committee for a networking event on Saturday evening that capped off the week's festivities.

Membership begins with one person, and then builds from there. If you are thinking about becoming a member, please contact one of our leaders to find out more about our Section. If you are a member, but have not become active, we have opportunities for you. If you are an active member, please reach-out to prospective members. We want everyone to enjoy the benefits of being a member of the Young Lawyers Section. In short, the YLS Wants You!

James R. Barnes, Esq.

Trial Academy Recap

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The 2012 Young Lawyers Section Trial Academy was a resounding success with 54 participants from six states and three countries. Cornell Law School gave us the use of amazing facilities for the program and somehow arranged for recording breaking weather.

The Program kicked off on Wednesday, March 21 with welcoming remarks by James R. Barnes, Young Lawyers Section (YLS) Chair, and Stephen P. Younger, Immediate Past President, New York State Bar Association (NYSBA). Philip G. Fortino, Immediate Past YLS Section Chair, and Tucker C. Stanclift introduced the program encouraging all participants to take this opportunity to grow and not be afraid to make mistakes.

Stephen P. Younger and Hon. Marc Seedorf presented the first lecture on jury selection. Next, two different styles of opening statements were presented with Timothy J. Fennell, giving the civil perspective and Marvin E. Schechter giving the criminal perspective.

The afternoon gave the participants their first chance to be filmed and critiqued as they presented jury selections in the breakout groups. Each group was guided by one of four team leaders: Anthony Colleluori, Thomas J. O'Hern, Manuel A. Romero and Sherry Levin Wallach. The Statler Hotel was the setting for the final program of the first day, a cocktail reception where participants and faculty had the opportunity to meet and mingle.

Thursday morning started with a lecture on evidence, foundations and objections by Lauren J. Wachtler and Nicholas J. DeMartino. Guy H. Mitchell and Jonathan D. Lupkin concluded the morning session with a lecture on direct examinations. That afternoon, participants presented opening statements for either a criminal case or a civil case.

Friday, March 23 started with Vincent E. Doyle III, President, NYSBA, and Sherry Levin Wallach presenting practical tips for cross-examinations illustrated by movie clips from some of the best legal movies of all time. Michael E. Getnick followed them by giving his views on cross-examinations. Peter Gerstenzang finished the morning by putting the participants to the test by having them cross-examine him. In the afternoon the participants made individual presentations on direct examination.

Saturday brought a lecture on trial motions and motions in limine with Michael P. O'Brien presenting the civil perspective and Xavier Donaldson presenting the criminal perspective. Hon. Mark D. Fox and Peter Gerstenzang lectured on closing arguments then concluded with Hon. Mark D. Fox, performing a civil closing argument and Peter Gerstenzang performing a criminal closing argument. After the participants gave their individual cross-examination presentations, the evening ended with a closing reception in the Cornell Law School Atrium.

Sunday, March 25 was the final day of the program with participants presenting closing arguments.

The program was a great success due to the hard work of the lecture speakers, critique faculty, jurors and witnesses, YLS members and NYSBA staff. We look forward to our fourth annual trial academy in 2013.
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St. Patrick's Day Celebration

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St. Patrick's Day celebrated by NYSBA General Practice Section and Young Lawyers Section at a Diversity Event

"Let us celebrate diversity," said a jubilant David J. Hernandez, Chairman of the Diversity Committee of the General Practice Section of the New York State Bar Association (NYSBA). "Everybody is Irish on St. Patrick's Day."

On Wednesday, March 14, 2012, the NYSBA General Practice and Young Lawyers sections with the Brooklyn Bar Association Young Lawyers Section and the Brooklyn Law School Latin American Law Students Association sponsored a Networking event at Brooklyn Borough Hall to celebrate and encourage diversity within the Bar.

David J. Hernandez encouraged the attendees to join bar associations and to get involved on the local, state and federal levels. He emphasized the importance of attorneys from different backgrounds joining various bar associations so that all bar associations represent the needs of a diverse bar.

"Often times people can get isolated into their own groups of friends and colleagues," said Jimmy Lathrop, Co-Chair of the Brooklyn Bar Association Young Lawyers Section. "We wanted to provide a forum where different groups of individuals could meet up, have a beer and make new connections and we wanted to increase the membership of our associations."

The event started at 6:00pm and was held in the lobby of Brooklyn Borough Hall. The organizers provided Irish fare, such as, potatoes, corn beef and cabbage for the attendees. The Brooklyn Brewery sponsored the event and free Brooklyn Beer was provided to the attendees. There was approximately 85 attendees which were a very diverse group of individuals, in part, due to the different organizations which sponsored the event.

"I enjoyed networking with such a wide cross-section of practice areas and levels of experience," said Norma Ortiz, Chairwomen of the Bankruptcy Committee of NYSBA. "It was great to see NYSBA organizing events here in Brooklyn, I haven't seen a NYSBA event is Brooklyn for a while and I really liked the venue and can't wait for the next event."

"Tonight, I joined the General Practice Section of NYSBA," said Adam Kalish, a practicing attorney in Brooklyn. "I definitely agree that it is so important to get involved with the different bar associations and I'm glad they had this event so I could join up, meet new attorneys and get involved."

Large groups of young attorneys were meeting each other and talking with judges and veteran attorneys. Some of the judges in attendance were, Hon. Kenneth P. Sherman, Hon. Ingrid Joseph, Hon. Margarita Lopez-Torres, Hon. Carolyn E. Wade and Hon. Larry D. Martin.

Towards the end of the evening large cakes were served to the crowd with rainbows and leprechauns decorated on them. The Benny Lopez Quartet provided live music throughout the event including several Irish favorites, such as "Oh Danny Boy." "I had a blast, meeting new people and making friends," said Sam Collin, a 2009 Brooklyn Law School Graduate. "I really enjoyed the live music, free food and drinks, so I decided to join the NYSBA General Practice Section to participate in the upcoming events.

- Michael Raymond Hernandez, Esq.
NYSBA YLS 2nd District Representative
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Education

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New Educational Requirements for Law School Graduates Emphasize Clinical Education

Brian Lusignan, Esq.



Changes to the rules for attorney admissions, announced by the New York Board of Law Examiners in January, send a clear message to law school students: take advantage of out-of-classroom practice opportunities. The changes will permit law school graduates who wish to sit for the New York bar examination to receive more credit for time spent in clinics, field placement courses or externships.

The amendments, adopted by the Court of Appeals, modify the instructional requirements that must be met by graduates of U.S. law schools seeking to sit for the New York bar exam. The new rules increase the number of credits that a graduate may receive from a law school clinic, field placement program or externship from 20 to 30. Study in a law school clinic may also now be counted towards the 64 credits that a graduate must obtain in "regularly scheduled classroom courses." Clinical study may be counted towards this total if it "includes adequate classroom meetings or seminars," is supervised by a member of the law school's faculty and "the time and effort required and anticipated educational benefit are commensurate with the credit awarded."

The Board, in a press release accompanying the new rules, noted that the "changes are intended to address the growing concern that graduates of law schools are insufficiently prepared to enter practice." Indeed, recent studies have noted the shortcomings of traditional legal education, which focuses on imparting critical legal thinking skills on students without necessarily preparing them for the complexities of legal practice. Driven in part by these studies, the joint American Law Institute (ALI) and American Bar Association (ABA) summit on Equipping Our Lawyers released a 2009 Final Report noting that "[a]ll members of the legal community share responsibilities to initiate and maintain the continuum of educational resources necessary to assure that lawyers provide competent legal services throughout their careers" and urging "[l]aw schools, the bar, and the bench" to "develop and encourage transitional training programs," including "[e]xperiental learning opportunities" such as clinics and internships. The amended rules pursue just such a goal and, in the Board's words, "will hopefully lead to the expansion of practice opportunities for law students."

The changes also respond to some of the recommendations of the New York State Bar Association (NYSBA) Task Force on the Future of the Legal Profession released in 2011 report:
At a time when the bench and bar have been decrying the lack of training and preparedness of law graduates for the competent and ethical practice of law, it is surprising that the state with the largest bar in the country still imposes significant legal restrictions on clinical and practical skill training for law graduates seeking admission to its bar.

The NYSBA task force compared New York's 20-credit cap to the ABA's accreditation standards, which do not cap the number of credits a student can receive in a qualifying clinical program. The new 30-credit cap is still more restrictive than this ABA standard and falls short of the task force's recommendation that the Court of Appeals "eliminate the hourly restriction governing hours spent by law students 'outside the classroom[.]'" Nonetheless, the new rules promote a greater integration of clinical programs with the traditional classroom experience at law schools.

Although these changes affect current law students, the need for transitional programs to teach practical skills and develop lawyer competency also applies to recent law graduates and newly admitted attorneys. The NYSBA task force reported that "[t]he linkage of continued development for all new lawyers with continued learning through experiential opportunities after admission to the bar should be axiomatic for experienced members of today's legal community." The ALI-ABA summit report recommended an increased focus on "[p]ost-admission supervised apprenticeships . . . or other practice experiences[.]" Both bodies noted the potential value of mandatory mentoring programs for new attorneys, such as those already enacted in several states. Although these recommendations have not yet been adopted, they can be viewed as aspirational goals for the full spectrum of attorneys, from newly admitted to long experienced.

In addition to the changes regarding clinical studies, the amended rules expressly permit, for the first time, law students to count 12 credits earned in distance-learning classes towards their classroom credits. The amended rules still do not permit students to receive credit for "correspondence course" or distance-learning courses "where students and the instructor are separated in time as well as in place."

Finally, the new rules liberalize the scheduling requirements for law schools. The current rules require full-time law students to attend class four days a week. Recognizing, according to the Board, "the realities of modern day legal education," the amended rules require that a "law school's academic year must consist of no fewer than 130 days on which classes are regularly scheduled, during no fewer than eight calendar months." The Board observed that "[m]ore options should be available for students who want to pursue non-traditional class schedules because they need to work in order to pay for the increasing tuition costs."

The amended rules, announced January 12, 2012, will become effective April 1, 2012, or as soon thereafter as they can be published in the State Register. The order amending the rules and the Board's press release, are available at http://www.nybarexam.org/Press/PressReleasOrder_Section50RuleChanges.pdf.


Brian Lusignan graduated from Vermont Law School, where he spent a semester in the school's Environmental and Natural Resources Law Clinic. He currently works at the New York Court of Appeals, and previously worked at the New York Supreme Court, Appellate Division, Third Department. He did not have any involvement in the amendment of the rules discussed in this article. The views expressed in this article are his own and in no way represent the views of the New York Court of Appeals or any other court.

Ethics

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The "Disclaimer" Duty: Avoiding an Ethical Minefield During Workplace Investigations

Brian P. Murphy, Esq.

Note: This article originally appeared in the March 2012 issue of The Suffolk Lawyer.

Lawyers are often involved in workplace investigations on behalf of clients. These investigations arise in various contexts. For example, some investigations may be caused by concerns over various workplace irregularities (e.g., embezzlement/theft or SEC violations), while others may be more defensive in nature (e.g., in response to claims of sexual or other harassment). They may be unrelated to litigation concerns, or they may arise in anticipation, or even in the midst, of litigation. Generally, investigations are conducted by either in-house counsel or outside counsel with in-house oversight. Regardless of the circumstances, this work can present an ethical minefield. This article explores a lawyer's "disclaimer" duty, which is a common ethical issue that lawyers encounter in their role as "workplace investigators."

Cited in this article are the New York Rules of Professional Conduct ("Rules"), which, effective April 1, 2009, replaced the New York Code of Professional Responsibility ("Code"). The new Rules and their accompanying Comments are intended to provide a framework for the ethical practice of law, both by prescribing "black letter" obligations and prohibitions and by offering additional guidance in the form of commentary.

In the course of a workplace investigation, it is common for a company's lawyer to personally interview those individuals who have relevant information. In those instances, the client is the corporate entity and not the interviewee, even when the individual being interviewed is a corporate officer. See Evans v. Avtek Sys. Corp., 715 F.2d 788 (2d Cir. 1983); Kubin v. Miller, 801 F.Supp. 1101 (S.D.N.Y. 1992); Talvy v. Am. Red Cross, 205 A.D.2d 143 (1st Dept. 1994), aff'd. 87 N.Y.2d 826 (1995). While that may be apparent to the lawyer, it is not always clear to the interviewee, especially where there has been some pre-existing relationship between the official and the lawyer, such as where the official has been the principal corporate contact with the lawyer or the lawyer has performed some personal work on behalf of the individual. As a result, Rule 1.13 provides:
When a lawyer employed or retained by an organization is dealing with the organization's directors, officers, employees, members, shareholders or other constituents, and it appears that the organization's interests may differ from those of the constituents with whom the lawyer is dealing, the lawyer shall explain that the lawyer is the lawyer for the organization and not for any of the constituents.

Failure to provide this "disclaimer" to the individual is not only a direct violation of the Rules, but could allow the individual to reasonably believe that the lawyer represents both the company and the individual. In other words, the individual could be considered the lawyer's client as well, for conflict purposes, even though the lawyer never intended to create an attorney-client relationship. See, e.g., Catizone v. Wolff, 71 F.Supp.2d 365 (S.D.N.Y. 1999) (putative client's reasonable basis for believing attorney-client relationship exists is a factor in determining whether that relationship exists for conflict purposes); Culver v. Merrill Lynch & Co., 1997 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 6041 (S.D.N.Y. 1997) (same). If the individual is deemed a client for these purposes, the lawyer may be precluded from using or disclosing any information the individual provided to the benefit of his/her real client. Such a finding may also result in that lawyer's disqualification from continued representation of his/her real client, at least to the extent that that representation is adverse to the interests of the individual.

Whenever, during the course of investigating a client's constituents, there is any basis for believing that the interests of those constituents and the client might differ, a lawyer must provide a disclaimer. Specifically, the lawyer must explicitly advise the constituent that the lawyer's role is limited to that of attorney for the organization and not for the individual constituent. While the rule does not require this disclaimer to be in writing, clearly the best practice would be to do so.

In addition, in dealing with a non-represented constituent, a lawyer must be careful not to provide advice. This concept is summarized in Rule 4.3, which provides:
The lawyer shall not give legal advice to an unrepresented person other than the advice to secure counsel if the lawyer knows or reasonably should know that the interests of such person are or have a reasonable possibility of being in conflict with the interests of the client.
At first blush this might seem like an easy rule to satisfy, but in practice it is often not. For example, when an anxious interviewee is requested to submit to questioning and asks the company's lawyer the inevitable question - "What should I do?" - the lawyer cannot offer advice. Similarly, when that interviewee asks about the legal import of his cooperating, or not cooperating, a substantive answer can run afoul of this proscription. See W.T. Grant Co. v. Haines, 531 F.2d 671 (2d Cir. 1976) (explaining that asking an unrepresented party to sign documents implicates former DR 7-104(a)(2) [current Rule 4.3]); In the Matter of Cipriani, 20-A/89, 723-A/03 (Surr. Ct. N.Y.C. 2006) (unpubl.) (same); but see NYSBA Formal Opinion 728 (2000) (declaring that it is permissible to advise an unrepresented person of the general nature of the legal issues he/she is confronting for the purpose of ensuring that he/she understands the need for his/her own counsel).

In summary, workplace investigations involve many opportunities for lawyers to run afoul of ethical rules. Care must be taken to ensure that those being interviewed understand the lawyer's role, as well as who his/her clients are - and who they are not. An ethical misstep in the course of an investigation may not only lead to discipline for the lawyer, but could also lead to disqualification, a damaged client relationship and, even worse, significant adverse consequences for the client on the public relations front.

Brian P. Murphy is an Associate at Bond, Schoeneck and King, PLLC's Garden City Office. His practice is concentrated in the areas of labor and employment law and commercial and civil litigation for a variety of public and private sector clients. He is also involved in all aspects of trial court practice and appeals. Previously, he served as an Assistant District Attorney in the County Court Trial Bureau of the Nassau County District Attorney's Office.

Immigration

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The Controversial Morton Memos: A Year Later-- Much Ado About Nothing?

Sanam Nowrouzzadeh, Esq.

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in early 2011 began to formally implement concrete measures to prioritize immigration enforcement through a series of memos issued by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Director John Morton. Prosecutorial discretion, has long been part of the American legal system, and, in the immigration context, rests on two principles - first, the immigration agency lacks the resources to target every person against whom a legally sufficient charge exists. Second, removal is inappropriate for certain individuals who present strong equities or related humanitarian factors, but who otherwise lack a formal remedy under the law to prevent deportation. In an aim to prioritize the removal of alien criminals and threats to national security, the prosecutorial discretion policy holds that personnel should take into account factors such as educational level, criminal history, age and circumstances of arrival to the United States.

While the agency has long counseled its officers and attorneys to exercise prosecutorial discretion as early in the process as possible, they are able to do so at any enforcement phase. According to a March 9th ICE Agency email sent to members of Congress, more than 1,500 undocumented immigrants are eligible for prosecutorial discretion. As of March 5th, 13,190 immigration cases under review by ICE and other DHS attorneys are "provisionally amenable to the exercise of prosecutorial discretion, pending the results of background checks." That figure represents only 8 percent of the 165,471 cases that have undergone review. ICE Director John Morton told a House Appropriations subcommittee in March that an ICE review of about half of the 300,000 illegal immigrations cases has so far resulted in the administrative closure of about 1,500 of them, the vast majority of which concern people who have lived in the United States for a long time, or who have a American citizen spouse or dependent child.

Such a relatively low number of case closures--approximately 1,500--suggests that prosecutorial discretion would be extended to only a tiny portion of undocumented immigrants. Possible reasons for such low numbers include the background check requirement before the provision offer of prosecutorial discretion becomes final, the requirement that prosecutorial discretion receive approval from an immigration judge, the fact that pro-se immigrants may not receive an offer until they appear in person in court, and the possibility that an undocumented immigrant may reject an offer of prosecutorial discretion in favor of going before a judge, such as in asylum cases.

This is especially consequential because, as a practical matter, there is no federal court review over the exercise of (or the refusal to exercise) prosecutorial discretion. See e.g. Heckler v. Chaney, 470 U.S. 821, 831 (1985) (finding that there is a rebuttable presumption under the Administrative Procedures Act that a decision not to prosecute is not reviewable by the courts); see also INA § 242(g); Reno v. American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Comm., 525 U.S. 471 (1999) (finding that 8 U.S.C. § 1252(g) was directed against attempts to impose judicial constraints on prosecutorial discretion). Thus, once an agency decides not to exercise prosecutorial discretion, it generally will not be possible to challenge this decision in federal court.

It behooves Immigration practitioners to therefore become familiar with the officers within their local DHS offices and learn who has authority over what types of decisions. It is also important to know who the supervisors are, as they may have the final say over a
decision. While some DHS personnel may not have the authority to make the decision,
they certainly still could be influential. For example, Assistant Chief Counsels are not authorized to cancel an NTA, or to grant deferred action or a stay of removal. See William Howard, Principal Legal Advisor, ICE, "Prosecutorial Discretion"(Oct. 24, 2005). However, someone from the local Office of the Chief Counsel may be able to help favorably resolve a case, and ICE attorneys can certainly advise their clients, the agency, about what action to take in a case. Moreover, ICE attorneys have authority over other determinations, such as whether to consent to administratively close a removal case or whether to join a motion to reopen.

It is important to remember, and to fully explain to clients, that a favorable grant of
prosecutorial discretion does not confer lawful immigration status. In most cases, all that such a grant will do is provide a reprieve from adverse action, even if of perhaps indefinite duration. For example, if ICE agrees not to place a client in removal proceedings, this does not give the individual any different status than that which she previously had. Additionally, if the circumstances that led ICE to refrain from initiating proceedings change, there is nothing to prevent ICE from initiating removal proceedings at a future date. Similarly, where favorable action is taken by the agency - for example a stay of execution of removal, a grant of deferred action, or parole - that action is not permanent and can be reversed if the circumstances change.

Immigration Advocacy groups ought to continue the reporting and monitoring of local compliance with the Morton memo in order to fully and meaningfully evaluate whether the policies and procedures are effectively being put into practice, as well as to discover any problems which arise through their application. Constructive communication with and critique from not only legal services and advocacy organizations, but private practitioners as well, will be essential to the success of this effort.


Family Law

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Dissolution of Civil Unions

Tara Bognar, Esq.

Today I had to tell someone who came for help with the relatively straightforward (standardized, templates online, etc) paperwork for an uncontested divorce that it won't do her any good, and she needs file a unique and non-standard motion to dissolve her New Jersey civil union.

It is a hole in American/New York law that states that don't provide civil unions don't provide a mechanism for dissolving them, and states that do provide them will grant civil unions to out-of-state couples but then refuse to dissolve them for lack of jurisdiction. The civil union prevents the members of the couple from remarrying and potentially leaves them vulnerable to legal obligations to or the legal power of a spouse they do not want. And all of this even while most of the United States won't recognize the validity of their relationship at all.

Thanks to the work of Amy Schwartz, Geri Pomerantz, and the Empire Justice Center, who moved Dickerson v. Thompson (I), 73 A.D.3d 52 (3rd Dept. 2010) and Dickerson v. Thompson (II), 88 A.D.3d 121, (3rd Dept. 2011), a precedent-setting case, through multiple trials in multiple courts over four years, it is now possible to dissolve an out of state civil union in New York. It requires an "action for equitable and declaratory relief seeking dissolution of a civil union validly entered into outside of this state."

There is currently no template for the dissolution of a civil union up on the NY State Courts website. I prepared one with the very kind consultation of Amy Schwartz - all shortcomings are mine alone - and though it has not yet 'succeeded' (or indeed been filed), I'm sharing it here in case it's useful for anyone. No warranties are made, buyer beware, etc.

This action is a very simple version of what might be a more complex document if the couple involved needed the Court to divide assets or address issues of maintenance, child support, and child custody. Since it was created for a couple with a Vermont civil union, it cites Vermont law. For a New Jersey civil union, one would have to cite the New Jersey law that addresses civil unions and their dissolution, which I believe is here.

The basic elements:
• nature of the action - declaratory judgment action seeking an order dissolving the Vermont Civil Union
• jurisdiction - naming the parties, reciting their residences, that New York State jurisdiction is proper under CPLR 3001 & the Supreme Court's broad equity jurisdiction (cite Dickerson v. Thompson), and venue under 503/509
• facts and law - Detail the creation of the out-of-state civil union, show that under the laws of the state in which the civil union was performed, the couple would have grounds to dissolve but for that state's residency requirement, and assert that equity would be served by granting a judgment dissolving their civil union, permitting them to be free of a bond they no longer wish to be in, and to marry others.
• request - Declaration that the union is dissolved

Tara Bognar is currently practicing as a volunteer attorney at the New York Legal Assistance Group. She graduated from the McGill Faculty of Law and lives in Brooklyn, New York.

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