The New Jersey State Bar Association’s Board of Trustees met earlier this month to address legislation, proposed court rule changes and remember one of their own. The trustee board is the association’s governing body and met at the New Jersey Law Center in New Brunswick on Sept. 21. This summary does not constitute official minutes.
Honoring Evelyn Storch: The Board of Trustees observed a moment of silence and reflection on the achievements and life of former trustee Evelyn Storch, who died earlier this month. She was remembered as a talented writer, a deep thinker, as a colleague and friend and the trustees voted to honor her life with a memorial brick in the portico of the New Jersey Law Center.
Comments on Court Reports: The board said the association should submit comments on court reports covering municipal court operations, the Complex Business Litigation Program and e-filing.
The NJSBA submitted extensive comments on the report of the Supreme Court Committee on Municipal Court Operations, Fees and Fines. The association has previously expressed concerns about the independence of municipal courts, culminating with the adoption of a Report on Judicial Independence in the Municipal Courts last year. The association has said that it is critical to the integrity of the municipal courts that all of those matters are handled in a fair and impartial way. Many of the recommendations made in the NJSBA report were included in the Supreme Court’s report, and the association urged that they be formalized. “Our state’s municipal courts often represent an individual’s first, and hopefully only, interaction with the criminal justice system,” the NJSBA noted in a letter.
The association asked the Court to consider allowing attorneys to resubmit any e-filed document that is incorrectly rotated without the need for an amended filing. The change would be made to Rule 1:4-9.
Complex Business Litigation Program
The NJSBA submitted comments on how settlement discussions should be addressed in court papers for cases in the Complex Business Litigation Program. The association agreed with most of the proposed Model Joint Discovery Plan, but suggested that information about settlement discussions is usually confidential until an agreement has been reached and is not typically shared with the judge. The NJSBA asked that the plan be revised to seek information about whether the discussions have taken place, but not include specific details about the negotiations. Read the letter here.
Nomination procedures: The trustees approved proposals to update the association’s policy manual regarding certain nomination procedures. The trustees agreed to allow sections and committees to sponsor an alternative candidate for a section/committee trustee position when their sponsored candidate is a sitting trustee eligible for renomination but is also seeking the nomination for secretary. The alternative candidate would only be considered by the Nominating Committee if the incumbent trustee is tapped for an officer position. The board also reaffirmed the practice of asking all candidates for a position the same questions, with allowance for follow-up questions that are relevant, to determine the candidate’s leadership experience and their capacity to fulfil the obligations of the position. A potential list of questions will be provided in advance to all candidates.
Continuing Legal Education: The New Jersey Institute for Continuing Legal Education will offer a pair of nationally sought-after programs this fall. The trustees approved bringing in Todd Winegar for a CLE program on Trials of the Century, as well as Lisa March and Tina Weber who will present Pushing Buttons – Using the Bad Character of Others to Your Advantage. Both programs will be held in November.
The board also approved this year’s Alfred C. Clapp and Distinguished Award winners to recognize attorneys and jurists who have dedicated significant time and energy to developing seminars with the New Jersey Institute for Continuing Legal Education, the educational arm of the association. A celebration will be held in June.
Government relations: The trustees agreed to lend the association’s support to A2234 that increases protections for domestic violence victims, as part of the driver’s license application or renewal process, and to a number of bills addressing cyber-security issues.
Contracts: The trustees agreed that the Executive Committee should give final approval of a contract to hold the 2019 NJSBA Family Law Section Retreat at the Hilton Aruba Caribbean Resort & Casino in March.