Board of Trustees Report January 15, 2016

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The following is a summary of actions taken at the Jan. 15, 2016, 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 minutes.

New trustee sworn in: Alexandra Gallo was sworn in as the newest member of the NJSBA’s Board of Trustees. Gallo is of counsel to McElroy, Deutsch, Mulvaney & Carpenter LLP in Morristown, where she practices corporate law, handles appellate work and local government matters. She fills an unexpired vacancy as a section/committee trustee.

New member benefit: The trustees approved a new benefit with Verizon Fios. Members will be able to receive discounts on certain services the company offers. Members who are new customers can receive up to $10 off triple-play service and $5 off double-play serving. It also applies to those customers who upgrade their services. Additional details will be available soon at njsba.com.

Name changes approved: Two association groups have new names that better reflect their members and mission. The Automobile Reparations Committee will now be known as the Automobile Litigation and No Fault Committee and the Government, Public Sector and Public Interest Lawyers Special Committee is the new name of the former Government and Public Lawyers Special Committee.

Diversity and inclusion: The trustees agreed to support Resolution 107 that the American Bar Association’s House of Delegates will consider next month. The resolution would encourage states to require that existing mandatory continuing legal education requirements be modified to incorporate programs regarding diversity and inclusion in the legal profession. The proposal does not increase the number of credits required in a two-year reporting cycle.

The trustees also approved a request from the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Rights Section to encourage the anonymous and voluntary collection of data by the Juvenile Justice Commission about sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression, consistent with the recently adopted juvenile justice reforms.

As a way help high school students understand legal issues and ways they can be applied in real life, the New Jersey State Bar Association’s Diversity Committee will present a daylong pipeline program at Atlantic City High School. The event will focus on the principles of constitutional law and the Bill of Rights. The pipeline program will be held May 17, the day before the association holds its three-day Annual Meeting and Convention in Atlantic City.

Judicial independence public hearings: A recommendation of the association’s Task Force on Judicial Independence, which spent 18 months examining the threats to a fair and impartial justice system and ways to keep it free from political influence, was to take a closer look at the issue in the municipal courts. The Municipal Court Practice Section is taking steps to do just that, and the board approved a proposal that the section hold four public hearings to gather examples and data about what it means in practice. One of the hearings will be held at the Annual Meeting in May.

Uniform bar exam: The trustees did not support adoption of the Uniform Bar Exam (UBE) in New Jersey. The board further recommended that if adoption is to occur then consideration should be given to ensuring that portions of the exam test for proficiency in New Jersey law.

The association expressed concerns about use of the uniform exam, which is used in New York and 16 other states. While the UBE has some benefits, there are unanswered questions about the impact its use would have on law students, newly admitted attorneys, employers and the profession, the trustees said. The board said data should be collected and reviewed for at least one year before the UBE is considered for adoption in the state. The Court’s report is here.

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