Board of Trustees Report, April, 12, 2019

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At the April 12 meeting, the trustees voted on everything from honoring volunteers, to proposed court rule changes, to adopting the recommendations of a task force formed to help lawyers in times of medical crisis.

Here is a summary of the action: (Note: This summary does not constitute official minutes)

Trustee update: NJSBA President John E. Keefe Jr. recognized four outgoing New Jersey State Bar Association trustees. They are: Christine Amalfe; Luis Diaz; New Jersey State Bar Foundation President and former NJSBA President Susan A. Feeney; and John R. Nachlinger

Scott Malyk, a former chair of the association Immigration Law Section, was approved to fill the Section/Committee Trustee seat left vacant when William H. Mergner Jr. became incoming NJSBA secretary.

The trustees also appointed seven trustees to the New Jersey State Bar Foundation’s Board of Trustees. The board approved the motion. The trustees are: Kelly Ann Bird; NJSBF President-Elect Norberto A. Garcia; Mikeisha Anderson Jones; former NJSBA President Ralph J. Lamparello; Thomas J. Manzo; Brian J. Neary; and Kenneth Sharperson.

Lawyers Helping Lawyers Task Force: NJSBA President John E. Keefe Jr. formed the Lawyers Helping Lawyers Task Force a year ago to examine and find ways to ensure that members of the profession -- especially lawyers in solo and small firms who don’t have partners or associates to rely on if they get sick -- could find assistance and resources to guide them through a difficult medical crisis. The Task Force was comprised of attorneys and judges who have suffered health challenges or helped colleagues navigate those waters.

It spent a year examining the ways the legal community can provide assistance to attorneys facing acute medical crises that require them to temporarily step back from the practice of law. The board adopted several of its recommendations and voted to extend the task force so it could implement those proposals. The recommendations included: urging the Supreme Court to ask attorneys to voluntarily provide information about a colleague who could help in times of crisis; creating a portal with resources on; and inviting county and affinity bar associations to maintain lists of attorneys by practice area who could help a colleague.

Comments on Court Rules Reports: The board discussed and took action on a raft of recommendations related to the annual Court Rules reports. This year’s proposals came from the Committee on Complementary Dispute Resolution; Criminal Practice Committee; Committee on Rules of Evidence; Family Practice Committee; Committee on Minority Concerns; and Municipal Court Practice Committee. The association has submitted a detailed letter outlining its feedback. 

Section bylaws: The board approved a request from the Dispute Resolution Section to revise its bylaws to further clarify its purpose.

Awards: The board approved recommendations from several sections and committees to bestow awards on volunteers, including:

Assemblywoman Annette Quijano, who the Diversity Committee, selected for the Mel Narol Award;

The Amicus Committee recognition of those who have participated in amicus matters in the past year; 

Chief Justice Stuart Rabner as the inaugural recipient of the Government Sector Servant Leader Award;

Bruce McMoran and Justin Burns as this year’s Distinguished Legislative Service Award honorees;

Jon Lomurro as the NJSBA’s Award of Excellence in Medical Malpractice Litigation from the Medical Malpractice Committee; and

Ken Lipstein as the Insurance Defense Committee’s honoree.

Ad Hoc Committee on Advertising and Contingency Fees: Last spring, Keefe appointed an ad hoc committee to study attorney advertising and whether limits should be placed on attorney solicitation of personal injury clients, as well as permissible contingency fee structures. The board adopted recommendations of the committee to support pending legislation to reduce the cooling-off period to 30 days and to support application of RPC 7.3(b)(4) to all accidents, not just mass disasters. It also adopted proposals to seek an update the contingency fee structure used in New Jersey.

Resolution Honoring Chief Judge Judge Jose L. Linares: The board approved a resolution to recognize the accomplishments and achievements of Chief Judge Jose L. Linares, of the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey. It will be presented at the upcoming NJSBA Annual Meeting and Convention.

CLE program: The board approved a speaker to present “Ethical Train Wrecks and Other Avoidable Disasters” through NJICLE in July.