June 2012 Archives

Electronically-In-Touch

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July 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 new Section Chair, Michael L. Fox, Esq. covering our very successful U.S. Supreme Court Admissions Program, along with articles on Mitchell-Lama Housing, Bankruptcy, Employment Law, and Workers' Compensation. 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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Greetings NYSBA YLS members!

I am Michael Fox, and I am the Chair of YLS as of June 1. We have another great year planned for 2012-2013, and I encourage everyone to be involved in our Section and its programs. Please see my Chair's Message on the NYSBA YLS webpage for a more in-depth description of the next year's events, and the goals of my term as Chair. However, in this article I want to provide an update concerning our Section's very successful U.S. Supreme Court Admissions Program, held in Washington, D.C. this past June 10-11, 2012.

The event started on Sunday morning, with a tour of the Smithsonian National Zoo. Small group tours were arranged, and all were treated to views of the elephants, zebras, lions, gorillas, orangutans, and, of course, the giant pandas - among many of the zoo's other inhabitants.

After the zoo, we held our summer Executive Committee meeting, welcoming a number of new members as District Representatives, Section Liaisons and Committee Chairs. Many items of business were discussed, so please keep your eyes open for announcements of programs and events to be held across the State in the coming year - including our Section's 75th Anniversary celebration to be held next summer!

Sunday night we had our welcome reception and dinner, in the Hyatt's Thornton Room, overlooking the Capitol and Senate buildings. Retired Army Major General William K. Suter, the 19th Clerk of the Supreme Court of the United States, and his wife Jeanie, were our guests. General Suter was our keynote speaker, providing some interesting stories and insights into the High Court. Also in attendance was NYSBA President Seymour James, and his wife Hon. Cheryl Chambers. The evening was very enjoyable for all.

Monday morning began early, with admittees and their guests leaving the hotel at 7:15am for a short walk to the Court, passing the Capitol Building along the way. Following a group portrait on the steps of the Court, the group proceeded into the courthouse and to the East Conference Room, where a continental breakfast was waiting.

At 9:15am, the group was lined up, and all proceeded to the Courtroom. The Justices took their seats precisely at 10:00am and Court came to order. Chief Justice Roberts called on Justice Thomas to read an excerpt from the majority decision in a ruling handed down that day. Thereafter, the swearing-in of admittees was held. President James was the movant of our group, and 37 attendees took their oath. General Suter, as Clerk of the Court, administered the oath to our admittees, along with numerous other attorneys from groups across the Country.

The Court recessed following the administering of the oath, which had been preceded by a very brief statement by the Chief Justice welcoming the new admittees as officers of the High Court.

Back in the East Conference Room, Justice Sotomayor and Justice Ginsburg both graciously visited with the group, answering questions and providing some further insight into the workings of the Court.

A champagne brunch was held at the Hyatt to end events, with President James addressing the group, and inviting all present to become involved with NYSBA and the YLS.

It is interesting to note that our attendees came not just from New York, but also from across the Country and around the World. One admittee hailed from Vietnam, another from Hong Kong and another from Canada. Others joined us from San Francisco, Miami, Puerto Rico, Wisconsin and North Carolina - demonstrating that the NYSBA and YLS provide programs having an interest and benefit on a state, national and international level.

All in all it was a great program, and very well received. We give special thanks to General Suter, President James, and Justices Ginsburg and Sotomayor for taking time to share thoughts and time with us. In addition, none of it would have been possible without the tremendous efforts of our Section Staff Liaison, Tiffany Bardwell, and Bryana Wachowicz of the NYSBA Meetings Department.

If you have an interest in being part of this program in the future, you will soon have your chance. Forms for the 2013 program will be available in the fall.

Michael L. Fox, Esq.
Chair, YLS


Supreme Court Admissions

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Housing

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Mitchell-Lama Housing
By Tara Bognar, Esq.

Mitchell-Lama Overview

What are Mitchell-Lama apartments?

The Mitchell-Lama program helps make renting and cooperative ownership accessible to "moderate and middle income" families. Developers get special mortgages and benefits in exchange for making apartments available according to regulations found in two places: Mitchell-Lama regulations and Private Housing Finance Law Article 2. Mitchell-Lama occupants qualify by income and family composition, benefit from low monthly costs (tied to their income), and are restricted in their ability to sell, bequeath, transfer, and share their units.

After twenty years, the owner of the building, whether it is still the housing company or whether it is the association of coop owners, has the option of buying their building out ("buy-out") of the Mitchell-Lama program by paying off the mortgage. It is impossible to know very far in advance whether and when a building will privatize and the consequences of that privatization on occupants. Generally, a Mitchell-Lama occupant who is a tenant at the time of privatization risks losing all rental protections (unless the state steps in with subsidies or other measures) while a coop owners stand to reap a tremendous financial boon. The unpredictability of the future of any Mitchell-Lama housing is a confounding factor for individuals making evaluations and decisions about Mitchell-Lama occupancy.

The New York State Division of Housing and Community Development (DHCR) is responsible for regulating and monitoring Mitchell-Lama projects. At least in 2007, the Office of the Inspector General 's report found that the DHCR is not doing a great job and there are many areas where how Mitchell-Lama works in theory and how it works in practice diverge, sometimes significantly.


Please use the following link for the complete article including chart.
http://www.nysba.org/AM/TemplateRedirect.cfm?Template=/CM/ContentDisplay.cfm&ContentID=67695

Bankruptcy

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TIPS FROM THE BANKRUPTCY BAR
By Sapna Gupta, Esq.

On May 18, 2012, Eastern and Southern District Trustees and Bankruptcy Judges came together to offer a free Continuing Legal Education course on "Pathways to Success in Individual and Small Business Bankruptcies." Initially, an attorney from the audience voiced his concern that the Trustees' treatment of the clients and attorneys is generally uncivil at 341 Creditor's Meetings. The sentiment was widely shared amongst the audience of attorneys practicing in the area. The speakers then proceeded by providing some insight on what they expect when filing in order to gain civility from the Bar. Provided below are some of their noteworthy tips.

Filing The Petition

The difference between attorneys and document preparation services, is that attorneys should understand or research the intricacies of the law. This becomes important when determining which exemptions the Debtor may take. The attorney should claim either Federal OR New York State exemptions, not both. If the Debtor does not own real property, the "Wild Card" Federal exemption may be the most beneficial. Attorneys should be reviewing the Debtor's assets in detail in order to determine the proper exemptions. One specific consideration that the Bankruptcy Bar had to offer is that 401K exemptions are allowed in Chapter 13 but not Chapter 7 bankruptcy filings.

When listing personal or real property on the Debtor's schedules, attorneys must employ the proper valuation. For cars and other personal property of significant value, value must be provided to the Trustee. Value can be provided via Kelly's Blue Book, EBay, Craigslist etc. As long as the attorney provides the Trustee with a reliable source, the Trustee will generally accept the value. For real property, Trustees will generally require an appraisal of the property. When the property is "under water", however, Trustees may accept other methods of valuation.

The attorney should also strive to balance the Debtor's budget on Schedules I (Current Monthly Income) and J (Current Monthly Expenses) of the petition. Trustees are not interested in seeing a negative number indicating the Debtor's disposable income. Zero is preferable. This is a simple mathematical strategy when preparing the petition which may avoid further questioning and possible embarrassment at Creditors meeting for both the Debtor and attorney.

One Trustee stated that if the attorney checks the box on the Statement of Current Monthly Income, indicating that the presumption of abuse arises, then there is a problem. When filing properly for an eligible Debtor, this box should never be checked.

Last, do not provide the Trustee with more tax returns, pay stubs, and bank statements than required. Providing additional documents is an unnecessary disclosure of the Debtor's finances.

Preparation for the 341 Meeting

It is the attorney's role to put the Client at ease by preparing Debtors for the 341 Creditors Meeting. The Debtor should read the bankruptcy information sheet sent to them by the Court. Trustees will commonly ask whether or not the Debtor has read the information sheet during their examination at the 341 meeting. In addition to reading the information sheet, the attorney should offer the client an opportunity to participate in a mock 341 meeting during which the attorney should go over common questions asked by Trustees. The Debtor should know the information which has been provided on the filed petition. Frequent Bankruptcy filers may know the types of questions that each Trustee generally asks. If there is time, an attorney unfamiliar with the particular Trustee should observe the Trustee's calendar prior to the meeting.

The debtor should have their social security card and government-issued photo ID ready for the Trustee to examine. If the Debtor does not have their social security card, the Trustee may accept either pay stubs with the social security number on them, healthcare card, or possibly another method. The Trustee will not allow any documents created by the attorney or debtor, and will not look to the Bankruptcy notice issued by the Court or the Debtor's tax returns.

In order to avoid surprises at the Creditor's meeting, prior to the meeting, attorneys should provide the Trustee with additional paperwork for any matter which the Trustee may examine with scrutiny such as: domestic support obligation, personal injury case, and transfers. If the Trustee sends a request for documents to the attorney, the attorney should provide the documents, or explanation as to why a particular document is not being provided at least ten (10) days before the 341 meeting. Attorneys should bring all amendments to the petition to the 341 meeting as well.

While the tips above are helpful, each case and Trustee are different, and the attorney should respect the requests and methods of examination of each Trustee. For attorneys who are not frequent filers, the best way to ensure that the Trustee is satisfied with the filing is to contact the Trustee's office well in advance of any hearing with specific questions. The helpdesks at each of the Bankruptcy Courts, case law, the Bankruptcy Code, Local Rules of each Court, and Judge's Procedures provided on the Bankruptcy Court websites are all useful resources when filing and representing Debtors in Court.

Employment Law

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EEOC Updates Guidance on Criminal History
Michael S. Katzen, Esq.

On April 25, 2012, the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission issued its updated Enforcement Guidance on the Consideration of Arrest and Conviction Records in Employment Decisions Under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e. The EEOC previously issued policy statements on the issue in 1987 and 1990, and referenced the topic in the 2006 Race and Color Discrimination Chapter of its Compliance Manual.

The updated Guidance incorporates recent social science and criminological research, case law, and information about various state and federal laws in an effort to educate employers. This article summarizes the EEOC's updated Guidance by answering "frequently asked questions" about the use of criminal history in the employment process. The full text of the Guidance can be found at http://www.eeoc.gov/laws/guidance/arrest_conviction.cfm.

Is criminal history a "protected class" like race or national origin?
Title VII prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex and national origin. It does not prohibit discrimination on the basis of criminal history. However, national data suggests that discriminating against applicants and employees with criminal records, while not "illegal" under federal law, does have a disparate impact based on race and national origin.

What is "disparate impact" discrimination?
Disparate impact discrimination is "unintentional" discrimination. It occurs when an employer's facially neutral policy (e.g., a policy excluding applicants from employment based on certain criminal conduct) disproportionately impacts some individuals protected under Title VII (e.g., racial minorities). The Supreme Court first recognized that Title VII permits disparate impact claims in Griggs v. Duke Power Company, 401 U.S. 424 (1971), and the disparate impact analysis was later codified by the Civil Rights Act of 1991, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-2(k).

Does this mean all criminal history exclusions are unlawful?
It depends. In order to overcome a disparate impact challenge, an employer's policy regarding criminal history must be "job related and consistent with business necessity." In order to examine this standard, one must first distinguish arrests from criminal convictions.

Are exclusions based on ARREST records "job-related and consistent with business necessity"?
The EEOC takes the position that, unlike criminal convictions, arrests do not establish that criminal conduct has occurred (i.e., a person is "innocent unless proven guilty"). Consequently, exclusions based on arrest records are, in and of themselves, not "job related and consistent with business necessity." However, an employer may make an employment decision based on the conduct underlying an arrest if the conduct makes the individual unfit for the particular position in question. Under these circumstances, the EEOC suggests an employer investigate the conduct and give the individual a chance to tell his/her side of the story.

Are exclusions based on CRIMINAL CONVICTIONS "job related and consistent with business necessity"?
The updated Guidance lists two circumstances in which criminal conviction exclusions will be "job related and consistent with business necessity."

The first circumstance is where the employer validates the criminal conduct exclusion in accordance with the Uniform Guidelines on Employee Selection Procedures, 29 C.F.R. part 1607. This process typically involves examining social science data about criminal conduct as related to subsequent work performance, although the EEOC notes that such social science studies are rare at this time.

The second circumstance is where the employer develops a "targeted screen" that considers at least the factors outlined in Green v. Mo. P.R. Co., 549 F.2d 1158, 1160 (8th Cir. 1977). The "Green factors" include (1) the nature of the crime, (2) the time elapsed, and (3) the nature of the job. The EEOC also suggests an employer conduct an "individualized assessment" when a person is identified by the screen to determine if the policy as applied to that particular individual is job related and consistent with business necessity. According to the Guidance, employers should consider the following factors when conducting an individualized assessment:

• The facts or circumstances surrounding the offense or conduct;
• The number of offenses for which the individual was convicted;
• Older age at the time of conviction, or release from prison;
• Evidence that the individual performed the same type of work, post-conviction, with the same or a different employer, with no known incidents of criminal conduct;
• The length and consistency of employment history before and after the offense or conduct;
• Rehabilitation efforts (e.g., education/training);
• Employment or character references and any other information regarding fitness for the particular position; and
• Whether the individual is bonded under a federal, state, or local bonding program.

Once the employer determines its policy is "job related and consistent with business necessity," has the employer satisfied its obligation?
Even if an employer's policy or practice is job related and consistent with business necessity, the employer still must consider whether there is a less discriminatory alternative employment practice that serves the employer's legitimate goals as effectively as the challenged policy or practice.

What about laws or regulations that conflict with Title VII?
The EEOC Guidance clarifies that compliance with other federal laws and/or regulations that conflict with Title VII (e.g., federal laws and/or regulations that prohibit individuals with certain criminal records from holding particular positions or engaging in certain occupations) is a defense to a Title VII discrimination charge. On the other hand, state and local laws and regulations are preempted by Title VII if they "purport to require or permit the doing of any act which would be an unlawful employment practice" under Title VII.

Employers also should remember to check for applicable state and local laws that provide employees with greater protection than Title VII. For example, New York Executive Law § 296(16) prohibits employers from asking an individual about (1) an arrest, not then pending, that was resolved in his/her favor; (2) a sealed record; or (3) a youthful offender adjudication. Additionally, New York Correction Law Article 23-A requires employers consider and balance a variety of factors before terminating employees or refusing to hire applicants with prior criminal convictions. These factors are aimed at determining whether there is a "direct relationship" between the conviction and the employment sought, or whether granting the employment would involve an "unreasonable risk to property or to the safety and welfare of specific individuals or the general public."

What are some suggested "best practices" for employers?
Section VIII of the EEOC's updated Guidance suggests employers:

• Eliminate policies or practices that exclude people from employment based on any criminal record whatsoever.

• Train hiring managers on avoiding unlawful discrimination and the proper use of criminal history in making employment decisions.

• Develop a narrowly-tailored written policy and procedure for screening applicants and employees for criminal conduct.

• Do not ask about criminal convictions on job applications. According to the EEOC, an employer is more likely to assess an applicant's criminal history objectively when it is already familiar with the applicant's qualifications and experience. Therefore, the EEOC believes employers are better off asking about criminal history later on in the application process.

• If and when asking questions about criminal records, limit inquiries to records for which exclusion would be "job related and consistent with business necessity."

• Keep criminal history information confidential and only use it for the purpose for which it was intended.

* * *

Michael S. Katzen is a labor and employment law attorney with Jules Halpern Associates LLC. Michael and his firm advise New York and New Jersey-based employers on labor and employment law matters, including employment discrimination and equal employment opportunity issues. Michael can be reached at 732.582.7200, or mkatzen@halpernadvisors.com.

This article is provided for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be legal advice, and does not create an attorney-client relationship between Jules Halpern Associates LLC and any reader.

Workers' Compensation

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Liability for Workers' Compensation Benefits
by Todd M. Jones, Esq.

Liability for Workers' Compensation benefits is imposed on an employer who is then immunized from a law suit for damage. That immunity is not extended, however, to a negligent third party who caused the work-related injury. This principle makes it much more likely that if you practice in an injury-related area of the law that you will have to consider the implications of an injury that involves a workers' compensation claim.

In this sense, it is important to note that the goals and design of a third-party action and a workers' compensation claim do not entirely overlap. While a third-party action may be seeking to recover a loss that has been sustained, the Workers' Compensation system is designed to favor an employee and assure the medical and indemnity benefits that they should receive. The Workers' Compensation Law, however, is not designed to be an additional award for those 'fortunate' enough to be hurt at work. Instead, Section 29 of the Workers' Compensation Law prevents such a double recovery.

This section provides that a carrier or employer is entitled to a lien against the third party action recovery. The lien covers both the indemnity and medical benefits paid up to the date of the recovery and that would have been payable into the future. The carrier and employer are entitled to take credit for those future benefits against the balance of the net of the third party recovery. The claimant is only entitled to further compensation benefits when that credit is exhausted.

As a practitioner from an area outside of Workers' Compensation, its important to note that when the third party action is settled, it must be made with the consent of the workers' compensation carrier. When a third party action is settled without consent, a claimant loses his right to continue to receive workers' compensation. The remedy would be to apply for an order nunc pro tunc to approve the settlement. Such an order, however, is by no means a certainty. The complications that can arise to both a client and a practitioner at this juncture are significant.

Briefly, if you have a client who was hurt at work, it does not hurt to put together a check list of basic information.
1) Who is the employer? The Workers' Compensation carrier?
2) What is the carrier case number?
3) Who is the adjuster?
4) What is the prospective net award to the client?

It also never hurts to reach out to a practitioner in Workers' Compensation to discuss the details beyond this initial framework.

Todd M. Jones is at attorney at Pasternack, Tilker, Ziegler, Walsh, Stanton & Romano, L.L.P., focusing on Workers' Compensation Law. He is a graduate of the Touro Law Center, where he served as the President of the Student Bar Association.

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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 Erin K. Flynn, Esq., at erin.k.flynn@gmail.com, no later than the 15th of the month.

Electronically-In-Touch

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May 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., a recap of the Criminal Justice Mix and Mingle and the Starting Your Own Practice event along with a note from Sarah Gold on the many benefits of attending section meetings. We then proceed onto four articles covering Child Custody, International Pro Bono Work, International Programs, Immigration, and International Contract. 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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A Salute to the Past, Present, Future and Beyond!

Our Section's theme for this year has been "The Future is Now." As the Young Lawyers Section of the New York State Bar Association, our members are in a constant state of personal and professional transition. In times of transition, people look to the future. What lies ahead? How am I going to get "there?" What are my goals? For our members, these general questions are often embodied in more specific questions. How do I get my first job? What type of law should I practice? Where can I gain valuable experience? How do I maintain a healthy work-life balance? What can I do professionally outside of my job? Can I move up the ladder in my firm? Should I start my own practice? Our Section looks to assist attorneys on their journey to answer these questions. It is undeniably critical to look to the future, set goals, and form a plan of action for success. However, we need to realize that the future is built on the actions of today. As young and new attorneys, we can make a difference in our profession and communities right now. Build for the future, but do something meaningful each and every day.

As I look back at where we started this year in June of 2011, it helps to see how things have evolved over the last several years. Our Section has been blessed with the ongoing support of our Bar Association in general, and from so many of our Association's experienced attorneys. We would not be where we are today if the leaders of our profession did not place such a high value on the importance of young attorneys. Our Section's past Chairs and former Executive Committee members have made a lasting impact on our programs and initiatives. This Section has grown in both members and activity from year to year. I have witnessed the conscious effort and sacrifice of our leaders and members to accomplish collective goals. It should be the goal of any organization to be better today than we were yesterday, and even better tomorrow than today.

We have solidified our mission to maintain four Section-wide events each year. We started in June of 2011 with a full delegation for our United States Supreme Court Admissions Program in Washington D.C. Our incoming Chairperson, Michael Fox, organized our October Fall Meeting in Albany, featuring a tour of the Court of Appeals, a full day CLE program, among other events. The Association's January Annual Meeting included several YLS events, including a special CLE program on Immigration Law chaired by Alena Shautsova, and a two-day Bridging the Gap CLE program chaired by Jason Clark and Simone Archer. In March, our Section held its third annual Trial Academy program at Cornell Law School in Ithaca, which was chaired by Michael Fox and immediate past-Chair, Philip Fortino. These programs are designed to facilitate professional growth, provide opportunities to make contacts, and have some fun along the way. The Section is actively preparing the 2012 and 2013 versions of these programs, so mark your calendars now.

Our Section is the place for young attorneys looking for professional development, practical continuing legal education programs and community service initiatives. We have seen greater Section activity in our local districts. We have partnered with many different sections of the Bar Association on various programs and initiatives, as well as with other professional organizations. We heeded President Doyle's Diversity Challenge, and were recognized as a "1st Place Winner - Section Diversity Champion." We looked to reach the 4,000 member mark for the first time, and exceeded that goal. Our Mentoring Committee, led by Anne Nicholson, created a new mentoring program at Cardozo Law School pairing young attorney mentors with law student mentees. We furthered our outreach to law schools throughout New York State. Finally, in January, our Section was granted the supreme honor of receiving a permanent seat on the Association's Executive Committee, which begins in June 2013.
It has been an honor to serve as this Section's Chairperson. I am truly thankful for the support I have received over this past year. Michael Fox and Lisa Schoenfeld have been fantastic officers. The Section is poised for great things under their leadership, with Sarah Gold and Jason Clark joining the mix. Tiffany Bardwell and her fellow members of the NYSBA staff have proved invaluable. I appreciate all of the guidance and advice offered by President Doyle and our Section's past Chairs. I can't begin to name all of the members of our Section, and other attorneys in the Association, who have made this year so memorable for me. Our members are truly our greatest asset. Thank you to everyone back home at Burke & Casserly for giving me the support to step outside the firm and work with this Section. Most importantly, I am eternally indebted to my wife, Monica, for her encouragement, love and positive energy.

This is only the beginning. There is so much that we can continue to accomplish. As the Grateful Dead tune suggests, "Once in a while you get shown the light in the strangest of places if you look at it right." The path to that light brings together the past, present and future. I look forward to all of the adventures that lie ahead on our journey together.

Mix and Mingle

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Criminal Justice Section Mix and Mingle Event

On May 30th the Criminal Justice Section along with the Young Lawyers Section and the Committee on Lawyers in Transition hosted a Mix and Mingle dinner at Brasserie Les Halles in New York, NY. The dinner brought together young lawyers and experienced criminal practitioners for a night a dynamic conversation. Marvin Schechter, Esq., Karen Schlossberg, Esq., Guy Mitchell, Esq., and Hillel Hoffman, Esq. all gave generously of their time and advice making this a great event.

A special thanks to the Criminal Justice Section for hosting the first of what we hope will be a series of Mix and Mingle dinners throughout the sections.

Starting Your Own Practice

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Starting a Practice in New York

On Friday, May 19, 2012, the Young Lawyers Section along with the Law Practice Management Committee, the Committee on Continuing Legal Education, the Committee on Lawyers in Transition, the General Practice Section and the Senior Lawyers Section, sponsored the Starting a Practice in New York CLE. This sold out event was held at the Concierge Conference Center in New York, NY.

After welcoming remarks from Gary A. Munneke, Esq. on behalf of the Law Practice Management Committee and Jessica Thaler Esq. on behalf of the Committee on Lawyers in Transition, the event started with an in-depth discussion of choosing business entity and financing your law firm. This discussion was lead by Peter A. Giuliani and Anthony Q. Fletcher, Esq..

Partha P. Chattoraj, Esq. covered the all important topic of attorney escrow accounts, IOLA and ethical issues surrounding the handling of client funds. Scott E. Kossove, Esq, discussed next, insurance considerations.

John R. McCarron Esq. gave the keynote address over lunch addressing the "Virtual Law Office" and ways escaping a traditional office can make your practice cost effective. Hon. Walter Rivera and Norma E. Ortiz, Esq. both discussed the benefits of organization and establishing systems and check lists to ensure best practices in your firm.

Joel A. Rose, Esq., John. R. McCarron, Esq. and Hal M. Stewart all discussed the next topic of leveraging technology in your practice. Nancy B. Schess, Esq. fielded questions regarding Human Resources. The program concluded with a discussion of marketing your practice and ethics by Shalom Leaf, Esq.

For those who were not able to attend the live program, the program is available online. Check It Out Here

Section Meetings

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Attending a Section Meeting

By Sarah Gold, Esq.

You may be a member of the NYSBA. You may even be a member of a section, and you get their publications in the mail. But have you ever thought about attending a meeting for that section? It is not nearly as scary as it sounds. For practitioners in a specific area of the law, perhaps the CLE program is something that catches your interest, but the meetings are so much more than just CLE. The meetings bring together attorneys from throughout the state, and in some instances from outside the state and the country. For young attorneys the exposure to some of the movers and shakers in the legal community can be invaluable. Job opportunities, writing opportunities, and the camaraderie that these meetings bring are more than worth the price of admission.

From personal experience, I found myself at my first Business Law Section meeting as a result of my role as a liaison from the Young Lawyers Section. Going in I was a bit intimidated. Name partners, general counsels to big banks, even speakers from the Federal Reserve were all at the meeting. And yet, the sessions were cozy and collegial, the attendees warm and welcoming. People were interested in my line of work, and pleased to see that I cared enough about my career to attend their programs. They were eager to speak with young attorneys who wanted to build a career in their field of law.

For young lawyers the price of attending conferences can be steep, especially if you do not have the financial backing of a big firm. The sections understand this. Many of them have gone as far as to offer scholarships for those new to the practice of law to make sure they can attend these important meetings. You may still have to bear some travel expenses, but the enjoyment of the experience far outstrips the price to travel.

Find your section, meet some new friends, and learn something new in the process. Your own practice will be improved by the experience, and who knows where it could lead?

Family Law

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How New York State Courts Make Child Custody Decisions
By Justine Borer and Rosalind Ting

"The right of a parent to the custody and control of a minor child is one of our fundamental rights as United States citizens." Mark N. v. Runaway Homeless Youth Shelter, 189 Misc. 2d 245, 733 N.Y.S. 2d 566, 569 (N.Y. Fam. 2001). However, there is a tension between the parent's right to custody and the tremendous discretion afforded to New York State trial courts in making custody awards. The trial court "is in the best position to weigh the various factors in its assessment of the testimony, character, and sincerity of all parties involved in this type of dispute, and, in making a determination of best interests, the court must consider the totality of the circumstances." Murray v. McLean, 304 A.D.2d 899, 757 N.Y.S.2d 612, 615 (3rd Dept. 2003).

In the not-so-distant past, this tension was often less painful. Even in the late 1970s and early 1980s, courts often adhered to the so-called "tender years" doctrine in making custody awards. As anyone who has seen the 1979 film Kramer v. Kramer knows, under the "tender years" doctrine, mothers were given priority.

Today, however, neither the mother nor the father has a prima facie right to custody. See N.Y.S. Domestic Relations Law §70(a) and §240(1)(a); Mohen v. Mohen, 53 A.D.3d 471, 862 N.Y.S.2d 75 (2nd Dept. 2008); In re Luis, 847 N.Y.S.2d 835 (N.Y. Fam. 2007). The trial court is given the task of making each custody determination on the basis of the "best interests of the child," by examining the "totality of the circumstances." See N.Y.S. Family Court Act §611 and N.Y.S. Domestic Relations Law § 70a; Eschbach v. Eschbach, 451 N.Y.S.2d 658, 56 N.Y.2d 167, 436 N.E.2d 1260 (1983); Louis M. v. Administration for Children's Services, 69 A.D.3d 633, 892 N.Y.S.2d 488 (2nd Dept. 2010).

When a court makes an inquiry into the totality of the circumstances to determine the best interests of the child, the court must consider the following factors:

• the presence or absence of "parental alienation" (efforts by one parent to undermine the relationship between the other parent and the child)
• what custody arrangement will best promote the child's stability
• the child's wishes
• the home environment of each parent
• the guidance each parent is able to provide the child
• the relative fitness of the parents, including a consideration of past performance
• the ability of each parent to provide for the child's well-being
• the bond between the child and each parent
• the original placement of the child, including the length of that placement
• the financial status of each parent, including each parent's ability to provide for the child
• informal custody arrangements followed by both parents
• the presence or absence of an Order of Protection.

The court may decide how much weight to give each factor. But the court must consider each factor, and make a custody determination based on the totality of the circumstances. The weighing process is case-specific, but the gender of each parent is not one of the factors the court should consider.

Justine Borer is an attorney at the New York City law firm Burger Yagerman & Green, LLP, focusing on family and matrimonial law. She is also a family and divorce mediator, and maintains the website www.justineborer.com. Justine received her Juris Doctor degree from UCLA School of Law, and her Bachelor of Arts degree from Harvard College.

Rosalind Ting is an attorney at Katz & Matz, PC, focusing on real estate transactional law. She received her Juris Doctor degree from Brooklyn Law School and her Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Pennsylvania.

International Pro Bono Work

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How to include the working poor while protecting the forest?
My quest doing pro bono work in India

By Naiara Leite, Esq.

This time I decided to take my pro bono practice to India, my husband's home country which I have been visiting for the past five years. There was a two-folded reason to go, my fascination for India's culture, and interest in learning about its legal system. The opportunity finally arrived when I found a six-week window in my busy schedule.

I came to India to work with Arch Vahini, a small organization (literally eight working "members") that has had a direct impact on the lives of thousands of rural families through its health care, educational, and legal work. Despite having worked in the not-for-profit world since the beginning of my career, Arch's large-scale impact redefined the concept of "grass roots" for me.

Poverty is the major challenge affecting the rural and tribal communities served by Arch. It is not that the government is blatantly ignoring them - there are many policies in place, both from central and local governments, seeking to address various needs. But the state-controlled delivery mechanisms make it such that these policies hardly reach the working poor, and in some instances have ended up hurting them (i.e., the fertilizer subsidy policy was meant to alleviate the cost of production, but now local farmers pay more for their fertilizers them they would in the free-market place). Soon it became clear that addressing the poverty issue required more than just policy, there was a need for what we famously call in the West a "rights based approach".

India's Forest Right Act

In 2006 India passed its Forest Rights Act (FRA). As a matter of historical justice, this Act recognizes that tribal families shall be granted title to the land they have been inhabiting and cultivating for many years. The Act provides for both individual and community rights. It further recognizes the tribal community's ability and responsibility for sustainable use, conservation of biodiversity, and maintenance of ecological balance. It provides them community rights over forest resources, that includes hundred percent ownership rights over all minor forest produce, including bamboo and also the right to protect, regenerate and manage the forests of their area as Community Forest Resources. According to research and practice, securing property rights over the land can unleash unprecedented improvement in income, nutrition, and shelter among the tribals. Meanwhile, the communities would have the appropriate incentives to engage in regeneration of the forest by producing high-profit-yielding bamboo and other sustainable practices. Despite this landmark law, states implementation of it has been utterly disappointing.

Under the law, land claimants are to produce two, out of a list of thirteen acceptable types of evidence, showing their ancient occupation (Rule 13 of the Forest Rights Rule). Here the law stroke a balance between forest dwellers' interests and the need to prevent further occupation of forest land. Therefore, ancient occupation is defined as that in existence prior to December 2005.

From law to rights: a leap of action

Arch closely followed and educated tribal families in preparing land claim applications in 12 districts in Eastern Gujarat state over the past years. Among the evidence produced by claimants were (1) satellite imagery (provided free of cost by Google Earth), (2) statement by the village elders, and (3) field verification of claimed lands (known as Panchnama), all acceptable under the FRA. However, Gujarat state government instructed the agencies in charge of implementing the law to ignore evidence produced by land claimants and consider only "record based evidence" as acceptable. By record based evidence the government meant (1) list prepared by the Forest Department of Pre-1980 claims which were in principle approved under a Government resolution of 1992, and (2) lists of the Forest Settlement Officers' Reports recommending deletion of the lands from the proposed forest areas.

Tribal families came to learn about the state government's partial and limiting interpretation of the law by filing a Right to Information Act petition (equivalent to the US FOIA) at the Gujarat High Court. The voluminous information derived from it clearly showed that the large-scale rejection of claims did not happen by chance. The effect of the state's skewed interpretation of the law was the rejection of about 80% of the 180,000 claims filed in the districts supervised by Arch. Currently tribal families live under the threat of being evicted from their own lands; meanwhile the government has been charged with selling land in forest areas to large corporations at throw away prices.

Arch is challenging the implementation of FRA at the Gujarat High Court via a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed on August of 2011. A first hearing on the interim relief prayers is expected to take place in a matter of weeks. A positive interim relief ruling is expected to halt evictions and direct agencies to consider all evidence, not only state's record. As illustrated above, proper implementation of property rights via FRA will break the cycle of poverty and create the conditions for realization of many other rights. Only this time, tribals will have the means, via their own economic activities, to provide for themselves and their children.

Visiting the villages in Eastern Gujarat has been an enlightening experience. Tribals are keen to invest in their children's education, in fact they have made it a priority. In talking to Savitaben from Jumavadi village, she says she had to decide between sending her older daughter to college and finishing construction of her home. She opted for the latter.

Land security will enable these families to further invest in and maintain their lands. Consequently, productivity will increase and families will have the extra income to be self-sufficient, therefore breaking another disabling pattern in India, government-sponsored paternalism.

* For information on how to contribute with Arch Vahini, please visit www.friendsofarch.org, or contact Naiara Leite at naiaraleite@gmail.com.

An Irish Blessing

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Reflections on the American Bar Association, Section of International Law Fall Meeting held in Dublin

By Andrew Otchie, Esq.

The 2011 Fall Meeting of the American Bar Association Section of International Law was held in Dublin, which proved a very popular destination with American attendees, many of whom proudly trace their roots back to Ireland and take an active interest in its politics and economics. There were representatives attending from large and respected global law firms, prominent regional and national firms, US-based small-firm and solo practitioners with significant international practices, corporate and in-house counsel, and academics. The ABA International Section has 23,000 members, from 90 countries, and boasts of 60 committees that meet to consider legal issues arising from all regions of the world. With such a critical mass of lawyers for its membership, the International Section is able to put together a very well-organised conference, lasting for an entire week, with over 70 individuals programs, and hosting leading experts and decision makers.

Opening session
According to an Irish proverb, time is a great story teller, and "he is bad that will not take advice, but a thousand times worse that takes every advice". To open the conference, there was much wisdom shared from her life experience, and a clear message spoken by Mary McAleese, the President of Ireland, herself a member of the Northern Irish Bar since 1974 and Reid Professor of Criminal law and Penology at Trinity College Dublin. Her Excellency spoke of her passion for international law in campaigning for human rights and the need for "legal literacy" in Ireland and the world. Throughout her career, she had drawn inspiration from Daniel O'Connell, a fighter for Catholic emancipation in 19th Century Ireland, and although the face of injustices in our day are quite different, they must yet be overcome by ensuring we have proper access to legal systems that work.

The President's address also reminded the conference that the world must "cherish" human rights in its civic discourse, and legal systems that work must be fought for and pursued by joined up thinking. This was the case in respect of free second tier education in Ireland, which was not fully established until the 1960's. The move toward higher rates of literacy was a journey, from which there was no turning back, and ensured that the Irish were aware of their rights, and not diminished as human beings. Today, with a more diverse population, and still overcoming the scandal of child abuse in the Catholic Church, legal literacy means ensuring that citizens are confident in their rights and responsibilities from a young age, have the knowledge that their consent is needed for decisions made on their behalf, and aware that they are always entitled to the full protection of the law, no matter who they are.

Human rights issues
A strong human rights theme was prevalent throughout the conference, as a luncheon was hosted by Mary Robinson, the former President of Ireland, and former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights. A panel also considered "Elections and the Rule of Law in Developing Nations: Guidelines for Understanding, Adjudicating, and Resolving Disputes in Elections", whereby they discussed the prominent role of the Afghanistan Election Complaints Commission following the 2009/2010 election, and the 2010 protests in Thailand. These incidents have drawn attention to the importance of Election Dispute Resolution ("EDR") and systems that are effective, competent and responsive, protecting political rights of citizens, yet establishing and maintaining the legitimacy of a system of government and preventing post election violence. There are seven key international law standards that apply to electoral complaint adjudication, and lawyers are increasingly becoming involved in EDR as a growing area of legal practice.

Furthermore, the moral and ethical dilemmas that are present in the "Privatization of Military and Security Functions" were also addressed. The outsourcing of military functions that were traditionally only the domain of States raises novel transnational regulatory and human rights challenges, as the distinction is blurred between regular forces (who are responsible to the State and must abide by military law) and private security companies, whose operatives are merely subject to contracts of employment, and have been to known to cause severe strains in relations with the nations within which they operate, when exercising the use of force. The panel, including Ambassador Zameer Akram of the Government of Pakistan, analysed the issues, discussed challenges and solutions, such as payments of reparations, strong national legislation, self-regulation of stake-holders, and international humanitarian law observance, through the ratification of the international convention known as the "Montreux document".

Commercial & corporate topics
The conference also addressed many commercial topics, including a review of Ireland's Arbitration Act 2010 and the work of Arbitration Ireland. The Act aligned Ireland's rules and procedures with international standards, including the UNCITRAL (United Nations Commission on International Trade Law) Model Law. Thus, under the Act, arbitrators are required to give written, reasoned awards, unless the parties agree otherwise, it is not possible to appeal awards and awards are set aside on very specific, limited grounds only. The Act was intended to create a more streamlined, cost-effective and user-friendly arbitral system, and Arbitration Ireland, a body of leading members from the Irish Bar and law firms, was established to coincide with the passing of the Act, and promote the attractiveness as Dublin as a destination for high-level international arbitration.

Also considered was "A New Era of Anti-Corruption Enforcement" and with the UK Bribery Act coming into force in 2011, specifically how companies and individuals who conduct business internationally face a broad new set of anti-corruption standards. The experts compared and contrasted the Bribery Act and the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. Many are weary that enforcement agencies are becoming increasingly aggressive and unsure how resources are to be employed, and documents preserved, as the two regimes evolve. In particular, attention was paid as to how the jurisdictional reach of the two laws differs, whether the Bribery Act and its "adequate procedures" defence will require a substantial revamping of existing compliance programs, and what will likely be best practice, when defending an anti-corruption enforcement action. It was interesting to note how many lawyers from around the world are paying such close attention to the UK Bribery Act.

Networking
The conference also provided "Speed Networking" sessions, where there was an opportunity to meet with the ABA Section Leadership, local and other international lawyers. Exchanging business cards, participants had the opportunity to engage and learn about other members and create future business opportunities, networks, and make friendships that will last a long time.



Andrew Otchie was recently admitted to the New York Bar and is a practicing Barrister at 12 Old Square Chambers, London

This article is taken from his report to the International Committee of the Bar Council of England & Wales and the London Common Law & Commercial Bar Association. It originally appeared in the Criminal Bar Quarterly of England & Wales.


Immigration

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How the Real ID Act of 2005 Has Impacted The Adjudication of Asylum Cases

By Sanam Nowrouzzadeh, Esq.

Enacted on May 11, 2005, the Real ID Act considerably affected the practice immigration law, including how legal practitioners can and should prepare and successfully pursue applications for asylum and for relief under the Convention Against Torture (CAT).

Under the Real ID Act, the Immigration Judge (IJ) must be presented with corroborating evidence from Asylum and withholding applicants in support of their claims. The only instance in which the IJ can waive this requirement is if such evidence cannot be "reasonably obtained". While it is essential to ensure the credibility of applicants, in reality, many asylum seekers flee their homes without bringing along such evidence, and are often difficult if not impossible to obtain after the fact. Moreover, corroborating evidence is broadly defined, and as a result, fulfilling the requirement can lead to unchartered territory for legal practitioners. Examples of such evidence often include U.S. State Department and Amnesty International Reports, yet it remains unclear what is sufficient to satisfy the requirements under the Real ID Act. Finally, although whether corroborating evidence is obtainable by the applicant is a question of fact, there remains a clear potential for discretionary abuse.

Another change the Real ID Act has introduced lies in the burden of proof under INA § 208(b)(1)(B)(i), under which the applicant must prove that "the race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion" is the central reason underlying the applicant's claims. The revised standard adds yet another clear hurdle to successful advocacy because, more often than not, the persecutors' exact reasons cannot be clearly ascertained by asylum applicants. This is particularly true if the case involves mixed motives, and includes those that are not related to the five statutorily enumerated grounds. Thus, from the practitioner's perspective, it is critical to prepare the client so as to emphasize and remain focused on the "central motives of the persecutor".

In light of the required credibility determinations, any change in the narrative could prove damaging or even fatal to the underlying claim, regardless of whether it is central to the asylum claim. What the Real ID Act fails to fully account for is that minor mistakes or inconsistencies are not uncommon in recounting traumatic circumstances and experiences. Moreover, it is not always possible to obtain or illicit verbal components of painful memories or threats, and other avenues, methods, or approaches must instead be utilized.

In spite of the additional requirements brought on by the enactment of the Real ID Act, Immigration practitioners and advocates can ensure a higher likelihood of success in Asylum and withholding claims by, among other measures, 1) interviewing the applicants multiple times when required to gain as much detail and insight as possible, 2) ensuring the presence of competent translators, 3) asking clear questions, and 4) enlisting the services of licensed and experienced psychologists or psychiatrists.

Admitted to practice in New York and Connecticut, Sanam Nowrouzzadeh, Esq. is in private practice, focusing on family-based and business immigration, as well as Chapter 7 Bankruptcy protection. She can be reached at sanamnorooz@yahoo.com.

International Contracts

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International Construction Contracts - FIDIC & NEC3
Mark Kane, Esq.

In today's globalised economy, the shrinking pool of work for construction professionals on account of the ongoing economic slump and an established trend in which client's seek lower cost economies for opportunities to build their core business infrastructure, such as manufacturing facilities, international construction projects are an evermore important area for both construction professionals and their clients who commission same.

This article is primarily aimed at those younger attorneys who represent the clients who commission international construction projects in furtherance to their client's core business activities.

Firstly, advice is needed before your client embarks on an international construction project as both you and the client will need to know how international construction works and how the host nation's construction industry and laws will affect the project.

Local construction industry knowledge can be obtained from reputable construction and engineering consultancies that have substantial operations in the host nation and have a proven track record of delivering projects of a similar nature to your client's requirements. Ideally the firm will have a degree of experience in international construction themselves so as to be familiar with the unfamiliarity you or your client faces into.

Local legal knowledge should be obtained from those law firms with construction and real estate expertise or from specialist practitioners in the host nation. Ideally these lawyers will be somewhat familiar with the legal system you and your client hails from in order to provide some form of comparative brief.

The appointment of a client's representative for the project is critical and this could be an in-house resource within your client's organisation or outsourced to one of the many international project management firms. This person or organisation will organise and control the information/decision stream between the client and the various other parties, such as contractors, designers, financiers and host nation bodies.

A client's representative will allow the client to continue its focus on its own core business activities, which are very rarely construction related, and the key deliverables it wants from the project e.g. more production capacity and not on the mundane although important running of the project delivery process such as the burdensome notice provisions incumbent in most standard form construction contracts today.

There have been commentators who have advocated that such client's representatives should be legally qualified in the case of complex international construction projects or projects where the contractor has taken a claims conscience outlook and although it might be thought that such legal involvement in contract administration would protect the client's interest, it would not aid in the smooth delivery of your client's construction project. In most cases the client's representative will on complex international construction contracts will have some form of legal or allied knowledge and/or credential such as being a construction arbitrator in addition to their primary construction related qualification.

The starting point when considering which contract is right for your client in international construction is the contract philosophy. Your client and the contractor may wish to engage on the construction project with a high degree of cooperation and trust and in such a situation the New Engineering Contract 3 Contracts are ideal and with minor modification is generally useable in international construction. If the parties are looking for set and well defined allocation of risk and responsibility in a traditional sense the FIDIC contracts are preferential as they clearly define the party roles and the contract is applicable for international construction with only modification to meet the law of the host nation and/or selected jurisdiction and law.

FIDIC EPC/Turnkey Contract 1st Ed (1999 Silver Book) - This is a client output focused contract which aims to shift the burden of the project delivery to the contractor who in a turnkey procurement model should be best placed to handle the risk. There are a multitude of semi-compatible documents for the appointment of various other agents and parties. Similar language is used in all documents and the duties between documents ostensibly marry. You can find out more about the drafting organisation and their suite of documents at: www.fidic.org

NEC 3 Engineering and Construction Contract - This offering is an à la carte menu of contract provisions which, with skill, can come together to form a very collaborative project manager led international construction contract. There is a full suite of compatible documents for use which all follow the same project delivery philosophy. You can find out more about the drafting organisation and their suite of documents at: www.neccontract.com

A few of the considerations that I have found useful in considering the initial framework for an international construction contract are noted below as a prompt for you should you be faced with same.

Language - Although this may seem unworthy of comment the language of the contract and contract documents such as drawings and specifications are a critical consideration when your client is doing business in a host nation or with another party that may not share your client's first language.

Design Responsibility - Some clients have a preference for having control over the design process, this is especially true in the case of architecturally significant construction projects and both NEC 3 and FIDIC contracts allow for a choice in this regard this. In other situations the client will be willing to pay a little more and have the design carried out and completed by the contractor and the contractor's in-house designers, if this is the agreed way forward the FIDIC 1999 Silver Book is an ideal base document upon which a contractor led design and build project can be undertaken while protecting your client's interests.

Pricing - Some clients will insist on the illusive fixed price lump sum contract and other more pragmatic clients may be happy with a target price, provided adequate checks and balances are provided for in the contract. In either case you will need to advise your client that international construction contracts cannot be priced to the penny, cert or tïın at the concept/feasibility stage of the project or even much later, therefore thought should be given to including a client's contingency into the contract such that initial programme events and/or compensation events are borne by the contractor or other such delivery professionals i.e. the risk is transferred at procurement to the entity best able to deal with it and as such is not left with your client by default.

Procurement - How is your client's project going to be procured? In terms of contractor procurement some clients who are experienced in construction procurement will opt for a negotiated route with a few select contractors who have the capability to deliver the client's requirements. Others may believe that price is everything and may opt for an open procurement through advertised tendering with the mind frame of selecting the cheapest contractor, although this has its own negative ramifications which are beyond the scope of this short article.

Is time of the essence - Exceptionally few jurisdictions will imply that time is of the essence in a construction contract even if a completion date is given and very many of the standard provisions in construction contracts make patently clear that time is not of the essence, e.g. NEC3 ECC and FIDIC Silver or Red Books, through their acceptance of the contractor's right to an extension of time to the completion date for a multitude of events or circumstance. If your client needs to have the project complete and operational by a drop dead date careful drafting and practical consideration of how this can be achieved is required as in such circumstance if the project delivery team fails so does your client and liquidated damages will be unlikely to fully restore your client to where it would be had the project been completed by the stated completion date.

Confidentiality, Publicity and Intellectual Property - This is a subject that has in recent years given rise to commentary and boilerplate provisions in contracts. This is an area that the pharmaceutical and microelectronic industries are clued into when procuring construction projects. In other cases it is vital that you understand your client's requirements for them and make adequate provision, this is especially true in the case of international construction where the host nation's legal provision may be scant or ignored by the host nation's enforcement authorities.

Third Party Considerations - In international construction there are rarely simple relationships and none is more complicated than that in the supply chain with sub-contractors, suppliers, labour agencies, etc. In some jurisdictions a client may be able to shield its self from liability from health and safety and industrial relations issues through the use of a competent contractor but this is not always the case. The use of novation, assignment and collateral warranties will also require attention to ensure your client does not end up liable for the failings in the contractor's supply chain.

Force Majeure - Not all nations or legal systems enforce the concept of force majeure without party agreement and/or provision in the contract and so a comprehensive list of host nation and party specific risks should be compiled and included in the contract; also don't forget to state what notice provisions will apply and what the contractor's and your client's entitlements are post force majeure notice.

Dispute Resolution - Arbitration, as opposed to the host nation's courts, is always preferential when the parties are drawn from different countries or cultures.

Jurisdiction and Law - In most cases the parties will agree on that of the host nation where that nation is stable. If the host nation is unstable or the legal system of the host nation is not agreeable to the parties a neutral jurisdiction and law should be chosen for the convenience of the parties such as New York, USA or the UK.

Conclusion - Whatever your client decides remember the key to success in matters of construction law both domestic and international is to seek advice from people who have been there before and seek that advice early.

Mark Kane is an International Construction Lawyer practicing primarily in Europe, in addition to serving as an Arbitrator and Mediator in construction disputes. The views expressed in this article are his own and are in no way representative of any of his clients.
www.constructionandlegal.com

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