The following is a summary of the NJSBA’s Board of Trustees meeting. It does not constitute official minutes.
Audit: The association received a clean slate from its auditors. WithumSmith+Brown conducted the audit for the NJSBA's financial transactions in fiscal year 2018. The auditors said they will issue an unmodified opinion, which is the best kind of opinion that can be bestowed. The audit confirms the association's financials are free of misstatements, that its financial reports have been conducted with accuracy and transparency, and that all policies and procedures are up-to-date with current accounting standards. The association has a roughly $12 million annual budget to serve its over 18,000 members and offer hundreds of educational programs through the New Jersey Institute for Continuing Legal Education.
PracticeHQ: The board picked a partner, Affinity Consulting, to support PracticeHQ, a new suite of law office management services the NJSBA will offer to its members offering practical guidance and advice about running a law firm.
The new feature will include live consultations where members can meet with professionals to get help with the business and practical issues that come with running a law firm. In addition, there will be a new email hotline for members to ask questions and troubleshoot challenges they face in the day-to-day operation of their firm. The NJSBA will also offer a webinar series, articles and a library of white papers and checklists that offer guidance on everything from disaster preparedness, to business succession, to human resources matters, to head-to-head comparisons of technology, to types of computers and office software programs. Practice HQ will be launched in the weeks ahead.
Municipal Court Practice: The trustees agreed to ask the Supreme Court committee reviewing municipal court matters to examine several issues, at the urging of the Municipal Court Practice Section. The NJSBA will request that the committee review the ban on plea bargaining in DUI cases in light of the new interlock device law and potential legalization of marijuana. We will ask the committee to consider whether first appearances can be waived for defendants who are represented. The NJSBA will also request that a uniform standard be applied to adjourning cases that are several months old, since practices vary from county to county, and request that both parties be heard in those matters. Similar uniformity will also be urged in applying step-down provisions to driving while suspended cases where an offender has a very old violation.
Amicus: The board voted to seek participation as an amicus party to support the longstanding law that broker-prepared real estate contracts should abide by a three-day attorney review clause. The case before the Supreme Court is Sullivan v. Max Spann Real Estate.
The trustees also voted to seek to be an amicus party in Delaney v. Dickey and Sills Cummis, which involves arbitration clauses, particularly in retainer agreements.
Special speakers: The trustees also approved a host of special speakers to present continuing legal education programs, primarily during the holiday season when volunteers are often busy. The programs coming soon to the NJICLE calendar include:
• The Ultimate Springsteen CLE Experience;
• Clarence Darrow and Legal Ethics in the 21st Century;
• Hollywood, the Holocaust and the Law;
• Joel Oster, Comedian at Law;
• A Comedic De-Briefing of the Law;
• Dan Small on Powerful Witness Preparation; and
• Flip Your Memory Switch with Matthew Goerke an American Memory Master.
Visit njicle.com to see the latest schedule.
Women’s Right to Vote: The NJSBA will be a partner in the statewide NJ Women Vote 2020, a campaign, which celebrates the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment, guaranteeing and protecting women’s right to vote.
Attorney registration fee: The trustees will ask the Judiciary to draw down on the reserve reported in the 2020 Attorney Discipline Budget to reduce the annual attorney registration fee.
Nominating Committee Make-up: The trustees voted to update the NJSBA policy regarding the composition of the Nominating Committee to ensure that larger, mid-size and smaller sections all have a regular opportunity to serve on the committee.