The following is a summary of actions taken at the April 21, 2017,
meeting of the New Jersey State Bar Association Board of Trustees at the New
Jersey Law Center in New Brunswick. This summary does not constitute official
meeting marked the start of a season of change as the association winds down
its current year and looks ahead to starting with new leadership in May.
To fill a
vacancy for a trustee representing Warren County, the trustees selected Thomas P.
Fischer, of Broscious Fischer & Zaiter, P.C., in Washington. Fischer
handles criminal defense and municipal court matters and has been active with
the Warren County Bar Association, as well as serving on the state bar
association’s Judicial and Prosecutorial Appointments Committee for six years. He
will be sworn-in at the Annual Meeting and Convention in Atlantic City on May
to selecting Fischer as an association trustee, the board also tapped Kelly
Bird, of Gibbons, P.C., to join the New Jersey State Bar Foundation’s trustee
board where she will join other association appointees, including Kenneth
Sharperson, Paulette Brown, Norberto Garcia, former association President Ralph
J. Lamparello, Thomas J. Manzo, and Brian J. Neary.
President Thomas H. Prol also recognized several trustees whose terms are
expiring or who have left the board, including: Craig M. Aronow; Joan M. Burke;
Michael S. Selvaggi; Richard M. Sevrin; James Uliano; Kenneth Sharperson; and
Stephen Barry, as well as three members who have been appointed to the bench,
such as Superior Court Judges Linda W. Eynon and Haekyoung Suh and Workers’
Compensation Judge Christopher Leitner.
Government affairs: In consideration of pending legislation,
the association will support proposed revisions to New Jersey statutes
regarding how and when liens can be instituted in estate tax matters, and will
express concerns about A1808/S1194,
involving liability and insurance coverage for medical malpractice actions.
Task forces created:
The trustees approved the creation of two task forces that will begin work when
President-Elect Robert B. Hille starts his tenure as president in May. One will
examine cyber security issues in the profession, from data security to court
rules. A second will evaluate, identify and review issues surrounding the
practice of law by taking a proactive look at court rules, statutory
regulations and federal issues with the goal of offering comprehensive
proposals that will advance the administration of justice and ensure the bar
has a voice in any changes.
Section news: The
trustees agreed the Entertainment, Arts and Sports Law Section should be
allowed to change its bylaws to increase the number of section directors from
six to 10. The board approved a request from the Land Use Law Section to
participate in the Municipal Land Use Law Reform Steering Committee that will
examine the state’s zoning statutes. And the trustees said the association
should co-sponsor its annual ADR Day event, along with the New Jersey
Association of Professional Mediators.
Character amendments: The trustees agreed to review proposed
amendments to the procedures used by the Court’s Committee on Character and
Fitness when reviewing candidates to be admitted to practice in New Jersey. The
amendments are aimed at streamlining and expediting the review process. It is
the association’s understanding that the proposed amendments and any comments
submitted will be further reviewed by an ad
hoc committee appointed by the Court to examine the entire process.
Amicus: The association will offer its insights at an upcoming
hearing before a special
master assigned to handle questions about the Alcotest in the driving while
intoxicated matter of State v. Cassidy.
The New Jersey Supreme Court recently appointed a special master to handle
questions about how the Alcotest was used and maintained. The association has
been involved as amicus in litigation
over the use of the device, which is used to test people suspected of being
under the influence, dating back to the Chun
case over a decade ago.
endorsed: To further its mission of fostering diversity and inclusion in
the profession, the trustees backed a plan to request that the New Jersey
Judiciary incorporate a provision into the Rules of Professional Conduct that
would classify as professional misconduct a lawyer’s engagement in harassment
or biased conduct in the practice of law. The proposal comes after the American
Bar Association incorporated similar language into its Model
Rules of Professional Conduct, which serve as the basis for the rules that
govern attorney behavior across the country.