November 2014 Archives

Holiday 2014

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Message from the Editors

Dear Young Lawyers Section Members:

Happy Holidays! Welcome to the Holiday edition of Electronically In Touch, the e-publication of the NYSBA Young Lawyers Section. The current issue includes messages from our section, information regarding YLS' Call for Position Submissions for 2015-2016 and information on upcoming events. Additionally, we have a Tax Law Section Liaison update and an article on networking at holiday parties by Kristin Gallagher. We conclude with Daniel Morton-Bentley's article covering the Second Circuit's endorsement of direct payments for IDEA tuition reimbursement.

Electronically In Touch is a member driven publication and as such we welcome submissions from members on any relevant topic including practice tips, substantive legal articles, case updates, work/life balance, and information regarding upcoming meetings and events. Please submit articles by the 20th of each month to Kara Buonanno at and Tyear Middleton at

The Officers of YLS and the Editors of Electronically In Touch also wish to make clear that the thoughts and opinions expressed in the articles that follow are those of the respective authors alone, and do not represent the opinions of the NYSBA Young Lawyers Section, or its Officers or Executive Committee.

We wish all of you a happy and safe holiday season!

Kara Buonanno, Esq.
Editor-in-Chief, Electronically In Touch

Tyear Middleton, Esq.
Managing Editor, Electronically In Touch

Chair's Message

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Greetings! Getting past the first holiday, we're quickly rolling toward the end of the year and with it a brand new 2015. Like so many in New York, I write this surrounded by snow, not as much as some, but more than others. Record setting snowfalls are not necessarily good for one's practice, but can be fun under the right circumstances. Before you know it, we'll all be in New York City at the Annual Meeting (January 26-30, 2015). I am always thankful to get a chance to reconnect with my colleagues, some of whom I see once a year, and learn a thing or two in the process. You should join us! We will be having two full days of CLE at our Bridge The Gap Program on Thursday and Friday, as well as our half-day program on Trial Advocacy on Wednesday. We will also be celebrating our winner of the Outstanding Young Lawyer Award at our luncheon on Wednesday, January 28. If you've never attended the Annual Meeting, you should. It is truly amazing to be among that many fellow attorneys in one place all there for the same reason. If you are interested in joining the fun, you can find more information here:

YLS Annual Meeting and Call for Submissions

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Dear Young Lawyers Section Member:

As we look forward to the new year, the New York State Bar Association (NYSBA) and the Young Lawyers Section (YLS) are working to prepare for the 2015 Annual Meeting in New York City, beginning the week of January 26, 2014.

The YLS is gearing up for many exciting events at the Annual Meeting, scheduled to take place January 28- January 30, 2015. On Wednesday, January 28, 2015, we will hold our Annual Meeting 1/2 day continuing legal education program, which will immediately be followed by our executive committee luncheon and membership meeting. Our two-day Bridging-the-Gap continuing legal education program is scheduled for January 29 and January 30.

The presentation of our 2015 Outstanding Young Lawyer Award will take place during the Executive Committee meeting and luncheon on Wednesday, January 28, 2015, at 12:30 PM.

As part of our Annual Meeting events, we will be selecting the Section leadership for next year (June 2015-May 2016). Therefore, we invite you to put forth an application for a position on the YLS Executive Committee for 2015-2016 (see nomination form below). The Executive Committee of the Young Lawyers Section is comprised of four (4) officers of the Section; one (1) representative and one (1) alternate representative member from each judicial district of New York State; four (4) YLS delegates and (1) YLS alternate delegate to the New York State Bar Association's House of Delegates; one (1) YLS delegate from the New York State Bar Association to the American Bar Association's House of Delegates (not currently vacant); all chairpersons of the standing committees of the YLS; all liaisons from the YLS to other sections, divisions or committees of the New York State Bar Association; and the Editors of Perspective and Electronically-In-Touch.


As a member, you have enjoyed the valuable services, benefits, and opportunities for young lawyers working in and around New York State, including, but not limited to access to valuable publications such as Perspective and Electronically-In-Touch; interesting and informative Continuing Legal Education programs, such as Bridging-the-Gap; and a wealth of networking opportunities with other young and experienced attorneys and practitioners.

As a leader, you will have opportunities to network on a larger scale with the YLS membership, and other Section and Association leaders who are regarded as top experts in their practice areas. You may assist in organizing district programs and events or Section-wide initiatives, such as the annual Trial Academy. Most of all, you will serve with a talented group of young attorneys from around the State to help make the transition from law school to practice an easier one for young and newly-admitted attorneys by enhancing and developing career, professional, and leadership skills; providing opportunities for mentoring and networking with peers and seasoned practitioners; and, serving as a champion in the facilitation and resolution of issues common to our membership.

Whether you currently serve in a leadership capacity and would like to continue your service, or are a Section member who would like to be considered for a position on the Young Lawyers Section Executive Committee for 2015-2016, I invite you to submit a Nomination Form expressing your interest. Nomination forms can be accessed by clicking here.

If you would like to be considered for any one of the three elected officer positions (Chairperson-Elect, Treasurer, or Secretary), we ask that you submit a one-two (1-2) paragraph statement, indicating the position you are seeking and your reasons for seeking such position, along with your Nomination Form.

Nomination Forms should be emailed to:

John P. Christopher
YLS Nominating Committee Chair
Email completed nomination forms to:

Deadline for Submission: Tuesday, December 16, 2014
Nomination Forms will be reviewed by the YLS Nominating Committee. The Nominating Committee will then prepare and vote upon the slate of Nominations. The slate will be presented to the Chairperson of the Nominating Committee for presentation and a vote at the Annual YLS Membership Meeting on Wednesday, January 28, 2015.

On behalf of the Young Lawyers Section, we would like to extend our warmest wishes to you and your families for a happy new year! See you in 2015!

Sarah Gold
Young Lawyers Section

Recent & Upcoming Events

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Young Lawyers Holiday Event

On December 1 the Young Lawyers Section co-hosted an event to kick off the holiday season with the New York City Bar Association's Young Lawyers Committee, the Metropolitan Black Bar Association's Young Lawyers Committee and the Federal Bar Council's First Decade Committee. Over 150 young lawyers where in attendance, most wearing some red in honor of World Aids Day. Coats were also collected for New York Cares Coat Drive. It was a great to start the holiday networking season.

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YLS First District Gift Card Party to benefit the Girls Education & Mentoring Services (GEMS)

December 10, 2014 | 6 pm - 9 pm
Tempest Bar, 407 8th Avenue, New York, NY

Celebrate the holidays with YLS and GEMS, a NYC-based nonprofit dedicated to ending commercial sexual exploitation of girls and young women in New York State. Gift cards will go directly to GEMS' members. Enjoy a cash bar as well as complimentary hors d'oeuvres and desserts. Enter to win raffle prices and mingle with lawyers from the Young Professionals Board of GEMS.

Please bring a gift card of your choice in the amount of $20 for admission.

RSVP to by December 5, 2014.

YLS Annual Meeting and Bridging-the-Gap CLE Program
January 28 - 30, 2015
1335 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10019

Section Meeting
Wednesday, January 28, 2015
8:45 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
Executive Committee Luncheon to follow. The presentation of our 2015 Outstanding Young Lawyer Award will take place during the Executive Committee meeting and luncheon on Wednesday, January 28, 2015, at 12:30 PM.

Bridging the Gap 2015
Thursday, January 29 - Friday, January 30, 2015
Meeting 9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. both days
Lunch on your own.
This two-day program will cover different topics in various areas of practice, including Family Law; Criminal Law; Research Tips For Lawyers; Hot Topics in Intellectual Property; Electronic Discovery and Social Media; Introduction to Credit Agreements.

For more information about the Young Lawyers Section, please contact Tiffany Bardwell at

Save the Date - Trial Academy 2015

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The Young Lawyers Section Sixth Annual Trial Academy
Sunday, March 29 - Thursday, April 2, 2015
Cornell Law School, Ithaca, NY

Mark your calendars now to attend the Sixth Annual Trial Academy, the NYSBA's only comprehensive trial training program. Sponsored by the Young Lawyers Section, this intensive 5-day trial techniques and advocacy program is geared toward young and new lawyers - teaching, advancing and improving the quality of their experience in the courtroom to benefit their careers and their client's interests.

It is the perfect opportunity to gain critically important trial experience outside of the courtroom. Participants will attend morning lectures on an aspect of a trial and spend the afternoons in small groups with their designated team leader demonstrating the day's trial skill from a previously provided fact pattern. One-on-one critiques will be provided by a rotating faculty made up of NYSBA leadership and leading litigators, advocates and judges from every region of New York.

Save the date and look for early bird registration materials in the coming months.

2015 Supreme Court Admissions

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JUNE 15, 2015

The Young Lawyers Section is proud to sponsor the Supreme Court Admissions Program for the New York State Bar Association's members. This year the section will be accepting 15 applications for attorneys to join the section and be admitted to the United States Supreme Court.

2015 brochure and registration form


For more information about this program contact Tiffany Bardwell at

Tax Law Section Liaison Update

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by Brett Blair

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 (ACA) is still a popular topic for debate. On September 9, 2013, the Tax Section of NYSBA submitted a report to the Treasury Department on Proposed Treasury Regulations Section 1.162-31 under Section 162(m)(6) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986. In general, Section 162(m)(6) limits the deduction allowed for all forms of compensation paid to individuals for services provided to "covered health insurance providers" (CHIPs).

The allowable deduction is limited to $500,000 annually, which includes payments toward ordinary compensation and deferred compensation. This deduction applies to payments to all individuals, not just certain senior executives. The limitation also fails to provide exceptions for commissions or "performance-based" compensation. In general, the limitation includes all types of compensation, and applies to every individual that is compensated.

The Tax Section's report lists recommendations on key issues that arise based on the proposed regulations. The report "commend[s] the Treasury Department . . . on the Proposed Regulations" and states that Section 162(m)(6) is "a difficult provision to implement". The Tax Section's recommendations "are in the nature of fine-tuning" and provides guidance on specific issues in need of clarification.

As professional legal practitioners, it is our duty to provide guidance on the implementation of new legislation, particularly those as significant as the ACA. In my line of work as a tax practitioner, there is anticipated confusion over employer responsibility, individual shared responsibility payments, and the premium tax credit. The ACA is arguably still a work in progress; with the right leadership, we as young lawyers and experienced practitioners can ensure that the ACA truly does benefit society as a whole.

Networking at Holiday Parties

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Turn Holiday Parties into Networking Opportunities
by Kristin Gallagher

As the holiday season approaches, so do the celebrations, office parties, and holiday charity events. New attorneys likely will receive several invitations this season and feel obligated to attend. However, these aren't events to dread or to spend in the corner sipping eggnog. Holiday parties are excellent networking opportunities for young attorneys. Below are some tips to make the most out of these holiday events.

Practice your Elevator Speech

When you meet someone at a holiday party and they ask you what you do, telling them that you are a junior associate and you work for so-and-so doesn't tell that person anything. Tell them in a nutshell what your role in the firm is and what your competencies are. Consider throwing in a tidbit about an interesting issue you are working on or a unique aspect of your position. The idea is to engage the person with whom you are speaking by giving them a short burst of information about yourself. Make yourself memorable.

Ask Good Questions

People generally love to talk about themselves and the work that they are doing. Asking good questions not only takes the pressure off of you to come up with interesting conversation, but it gives you the opportunity to learn about what other people do for work. You never know when you might meet someone who practices in a field you are interested in or who is looking to fill a position that matches your skill set.

Sometimes people new to networking see it as something you do with an immediate goal, ie, obtaining a new job. Such a narrow view of networking may leave you stressed or dissatisfied. Networking is more fruitful if viewed as a gradual process of making connections and building relationships.

For example, if you pay attention to what others tell you during your conversations instead of simply nodding while going over your grocery list in your head, you will be able to add people to your network for future opportunities. You may meet a matrimonial lawyer at a cocktail party and be able to refer work to that person when a client you are representing in your employment law practice needs a divorce attorney. You may meet someone who does trusts & estates work that you can then call six months down the road with a question that will take them two minutes to explain and save you an hour of legal research. Getting to know people and adding them to your contacts may serve you better in the long run, although you may not get any instant benefit.

Follow Up

Get business cards from people that you meet, but don't just throw them into a drawer and forget about them. Follow up with an invitation to connect on Linkedin, or send an email letting the people you spoke with know that you enjoyed the conversation and look forward to seeing them at future events. If you met someone that you found particularly interesting, invite them to coffee.

The idea with following up is repetition. If you meet someone at a function and then follow up with them, they are more likely to remember you. You therefore make a stronger connection and increase the chances that the individual who you met will become part of your professional network.

Enjoy Holiday Cocktails in Moderation

It should go without saying that you want to be remembered for your interesting conversation and not for being the associate who acted inappropriately during the evening's toast.

Implementing the above tips will help to ensure that the holiday season will be a fruitful one for professional net

Kristin Gallagher is an associate with Kraus & Zuchlewski LLP and a District Representative for the Young Lawyers Section Executive Committee.

Second Circuit Endorses Direct Payment Remedy for IDEA
Tuition Reimbursement Cases

by Daniel Morton-Bentley

The Second Circuit Court of Appeals recently held in E.M. v. New York City Dep't of Educ. (758 F.3d 442 (2d Cir. 2014)) that parents may seek direct payment of private tuition costs in special education appeals under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). The Court also held that a valid contract between a parent and a private school is sufficient to confer Article III standing even if the parent has not made any payments under the contract.

The IDEA is a federal law that provides money to States which make a free and appropriate public education (FAPE) available to students with disabilities. To that end, school districts must develop individualized education plans (IEPs) for students with disabilities. IEPs must be reviewed on an annual basis. If a parent believes that a school district failed to offer his or her child a FAPE, the IDEA allows a parent to unilaterally enroll the child in a private school and file an administrative complaint seeking reimbursement for the costs of the student's tuition at the private school. If an administrative officer finds that the school district failed to offer the student a FAPE, he or she may order tuition reimbursement to the parent.

In E.M., the Second Circuit considered the validity of a contract between a parent and a private school where the parent did not have sufficient financial resources to pay the costs of the student's tuition. The Court held that "the broad spectrum of equitable relief contemplated [by] the IDEA encompasses, in appropriate circumstances, a direct-payment remedy." The Court additionally held that a "plain reading of the written enrollment contract" between the parent and the private school created a binding obligation on the parent to pay the costs of the student's tuition thus providing the parent with standing to pursue her claim in federal court.

E.M. provides two lessons for practitioners. First, because E.M. did not resolve what proof is necessary or which party bears the burden of proof and production on the issue of direct payment, parents' attorneys should be prepared to present proof demonstrating their clients' inability to pay tuition to a private school. Second, if the availability of direct payment is disputed, attorneys should carefully review contracts between parents and private schools. E.M. suggests that courts retain discretion to deny direct funding where a contract relieves a parent of financial responsibility or is otherwise collusive. Two significant factors in this regard are the extent to which the contract clearly identifies both the amount owed and the parent's obligation to pay.

Daniel Morton-Bentley ( is an attorney with the New York State Education Department. He holds law degrees from Suffolk University (LL.M) and Roger Williams University (J.D.). The views expressed are the author's own.

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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 Kara Buonanno at and Tyear Middleton at, no later than the 20th of the month.

About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries from November 2014 listed from newest to oldest.

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February 2015 is the next archive.

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