The following is a summary of the NJSBA’s Board of Trustees
meeting. It does not constitute official minutes.
Legislation: The Board of Trustees
approved taking positions on several measures pending before the New Jersey
Legislature. The board voted to support:
Lopez/S3815 Vitale, which makes child support arrearages
collectable anytime by public welfare or other social services board or agency
against obligor or obligor’s estate based on amount of public assistance
provided due to obligor’s failure to pay support.
Vainieri Huttle/S3528 Scutari, which establishes a process to obtain judgement of adoption for civil
union partner or spouse of natural or legal parent of child when that person is
named as parent on child’s birth certificate.
Diversity and Inclusion Action Plan and
Individual Checklists: The trustees reviewed data collected over three years about activities
its members had taken to advance the goals of diversity and inclusion in their
personal and professional lives. The checklist is meant as a tool to offer
examples of ways leaders can demonstrate their commitment to those goals. Among
the activities the trustees have done in a widespread way are: develop a
mentoring relationships with an attorney or law student of a diverse
background; attend a conference, program or seminar on a diversity-related
topic; and attend an event or function where the trustee was in the minority.
The checklists are an ongoing effort and the questions and categories are
constantly being reviewed. To read more about them, visit here.
Judicial Vacancies: NJSBA
President Evelyn Padin advised the Board of Trustees that the NJSBA was seeking
a meeting with the Governor’s Office to discuss judicial vacancies, which are
approaching nearly 50 statewide and could grow in 2020 after the new judicial pay
schedule goes into effect.
Courthouse security: Following
an incident where a Workers’ Compensation Court Judge was threatened, the NJSBA
trustees approved sending
a letter to the Department of Labor and Workforce Development commissioner
urging greater and more uniform security measures be put into place in the
Division of Workers’ Compensation courts. The request to address the issue was
made by the NJSBA’s Workers’ Compensation Section.
The Board of Trustees voted to
approve several speakers for special seminars. It approved a return for the presidential
historic reenactors who appear in Revolutionary Minds; Steven Stark, a writing expert; Samuel D. Hodge, who teaches about anatomy for lawyers; Barron Henley, who will present about using technology
effectively; Steven Rosen, of Movie Magic – How the Masters Try Cases; and Tom Blaisse, a time management and performance
General Council election:
Intelliscan, a third-party
administrator for a fall election for a General Council member to serve on the NJSBA’s
Nominating Committee. The election will be held Oct. 16-23.
Policy Changes: The trustees approved several
policies. Among those changes are:
the Judicial and Prosecutorial Appointments Committee Manual to codify that a
member of JPAC cannot appear as a candidate before the committee for 12 months
from the end of their service. A second change is that committee members should
be deemed to have resigned their position if they miss 25 percent of the
meetings each year, at the discretion of the chair.
the NJSBA’s Reimbursement Policy to allow for the reimbursement of expenses the
Family Law Section chair incurs in planning and holding the annual Family Law
Retreat, provided that profit from the event can cover the expense.
trustees voted that no changes were necessary to the questionnaire the
Nominating Committee will use this year.
board voted to adopt a policy that disqualifies any employee of the NJSBA
during the term of their employment and for two years after from consideration
of any award on the basis of their activities that fell within the scope of
changes will be made using gender-neutral language.
Muncipal Court Report:
The trustees voted to share
feedback on four recommendations of the New Jersey
Supreme Court’s Working Group on Municipal Courts.
The NJSBA comments are consistent with prior
recommendations to the Report of the Supreme Court Committee on Municipal Court
Operations, Fines and Fees.
On recommendation 7 about
representation in cases involving license suspension for failing to pay, the
NJSBA will urge that while defendants have a right to counsel in license
suspension hearings, those defendants who qualify for a public defender should
be afforded representation by the municipal public defender. Other defendants
should be advised of their right to seek private counsel and that the so-called
Madden list should not be invoked for appointments.
On recommendation 11, the trustees
endorsed the concept of establishing a uniform and formalized process for
appointments and reappointments of municipal judges.
On recommendation 13, the trustees
voted to express concern about the process of reviewing sentences imposed to
ensure they are not reviewed in a vacuum and take into account all of the
circumstances surrounding each sentence.
On recommendation 15, the trustees
voted to generally support the goal of permitting municipal court presiding
judges to be designated as full-time at the Chief Justice’s discretion, but to note
that it will be necessary to establish more details about how individuals would
be appointed to their position, and the terms and expectations of those
Committee name change: The
board voted that the
Drug and Alcohol Abuse Committee will now be
known as the Committee on Lawyer Well-Being, in line with a more expansive view
of attorney wellness issues and practices of other bar associations.