New Jersey State Bar Association
Board of Trustees Report
August 19, 2020
The following is a summary of action taken at the August 19, 2020, meeting of the New Jersey State Bar Association Board of Trustees. This meeting was held via conference call, due to the COVID-19 public health crisis. This summary does not constitute official minutes.
Mid-Year Meeting Napa: The Board approved a new contract to hold the Mid-Year Meeting at the Silverado in Napa from March 16-21, 2021. After extensive negotiations to ensure the Association can provide for the health and safety of its members who attend the event, the contract includes provisions to ensure those issues on-site, as well as a clause that would allow for a cancellation if necessary due to the ongoing public health pandemic. Information about the event will soon be available at njsba.com.
NJSBA urges virtual immigration proceedings due to health and safety concerns: With the support of the Board of Trustees and at the request of the Immigration Law Section, the New Jersey State Bar Association issued a statement and sent letters to elected officials supporting the American Immigration Lawyers Association, New Jersey Chapter, in efforts to ensure in-person non-detained hearings are halted in the Newark Immigration Court until they can be conducted in a manner that protects the health and safety of all participants and provide for virtual proceedings. Read more here.
NJSBA Works with Legal Community Regarding 2020 Bar Exam: The Board urged that a statement be issued to alert recent law graduates and the legal community about the work it has done with others in the profession to address the needs of this year’s law school graduates and the 2020 bar exam. The statement is here and follows:
Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the New Jersey State Bar Association’s guiding mission has been to help the legal community navigate through uncertainty and find specific strategies to keep moving forward. We believe the newest members of the legal community, the 2020 law school graduates, should receive additional support as they begin their professional journey.
Starting this spring and throughout the summer, the NJSBA has been in continuous communication with its Young Lawyers Division, the Judiciary, the state’s law school administrators and its members about the myriad issues recent graduates face and finding ways to help them thrive. While the New Jersey Judiciary has determined that diploma privilege is not a viable path forward at this time, the Association is dedicated to working with the entire legal community to bolster the Class of 2020 which is currently scheduled to take the bar exam online in October.
As the Judiciary acknowledged, there may not be an ideal solution, but here are steps being taken to ensure the October exam is a success:
● The Judiciary recently said it has entered into reciprocal agreements for admission with several jurisdictions, including New York, Connecticut, Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Ohio, Tennessee, Vermont, and the District of Columbia.
● All law clerks are being given additional time off to study for the bar exam and the NJSBA will be urging private lawyers and law firms to make similar allowances for those sitting for the October exam.
● The Board of Bar Examiners will conduct two mock tests in September as practice sessions for the online exam.
● The state’s law schools have said they would make space or technology assistance available to graduates who need support for actually taking the test.
● Anyone else who requires a secure place to take the exam or who is in need of accommodation under the Americans with Disabilities Act is urged to contact the Board of Bar Examiners to ensure appropriate accommodations can be provided.
● The NJSBA created a portal for attorneys to post temporary practice opportunities for recent graduates who are seeking a position where they can work under the guidance of an experienced attorney.
The New Jersey State Bar Association’s mantra during this public health crisis has been NJSBA: Here For You. We are working on behalf of the entire profession and look forward to working with the Class of 2020 for years to come.