Board of Trustees Report, July 15, 2016

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The following is a summary of actions taken at the July 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. 

Member survey: A pollster from Fairleigh Dickinson University’s PublicMind gave an overview of the NJSBA member poll that was conducted this spring through electronic, print and telephone surveys, as well as several focus groups. The next steps include determining how to move forward with the information and the recommendations highlighted in the survey results to best address the needs of members as identified in the survey results.

Blue Ribbon Commission on Unmet Legal Needs: The board accepted the final report of the Blue Ribbon Commission on Unmet Legal Needs, which spent a year conducting extensive research and debated how to bring together the cadre of attorneys who are underutilized with the portions of the population who experience persistent unmet legal needs and cannot afford market rates. Additional discussion of the conclusions and steps forward will be undertaken at a future meeting of the board.

Committee name change: The board approved a name change for the association’s Securities Litigation and Regulatory Enforcement Committee. It will now be known as the Securities Law Committee.

Contract approval: The trustees approved contracts to finalize two events happening next year: the Family Law Retreat, which will be held in March 22-26 in Cancun, and the Mid-Year Meeting in Madrid next fall.

Government affairs: The board agreed to support A-2159/S-2262, which prohibits the use of anti-concurrent causation clauses in homeowners’ insurance policies.

American Bar Association resolutions: The trustees supported several resolutions related to diversity and inclusion that will be presented to the American Bar Association’s House of Delegates, which is scheduled to meet in early August. With the board’s support, the association’s delegates will be asked to vote in favor of the resolutions when they are presented.

            The resolutions all focus on ensuring that people from diverse communities have full participation in the legal system, from serving on juries to being considered for positions for the federal bench.

A summary of the issues follows:

·         Urge appropriate parties to recognize the importance of a diverse federal bench and to expand the diversity of the pool of qualified candidates;

·         Create a rule prohibiting discrimination and harassment in the justice system;

·         Urge federal, state, territorial and local law enforcement to provide a uniform translation of the Miranda warning in Spanish;

·         Urge all providers of legal services to expand and create opportunities at all levels of responsibility for diverse attorneys;

·         Urge the appropriate parties to adopt policies, legislation and initiatives designed to eliminate the school-to-prison pipeline; and

·         Amend the list of those who should not be excluded from jury service to include marital status, gender identity and gender expression.

 All of the resolutions can be found here.

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