The following is a summary of actions taken at the Dec. 11, 2015,
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
New trustee named to board: The New Jersey State Bar
Association ’s (NJSBA) Board
of Trustees selected a new member earlier this month to fill the vacancy
created when Thomas Scrivo was tapped as counsel to Gov. Chris Christie.
Alexandra V. Gallo joined board, which is the association’s governing body.
Gallo is of
counsel to McElroy, Deutsch,
Mulvaney & Carpenter LLP in Morristown, where she practices corporate law
and handles appellate work and local government matters. She co-chairs the NJSBA’s Equity Jurisprudence
and is a former trustee of the Essex County Bar Association. She received her
law degree from Seton Hall University School of Law.
Diversity action plan approved: The trustees approved the
Diversity and Inclusion Action Plan and Checklist, the latest development in a
series of moves to ensure the association is diverse and inclusive at all
Creation of the
action plan and checklist culminates two years of work by the NJSBA Diversity
Committee. The tool is designed to give association members in leadership
positions — trustees in particular — a way to measure and certify their efforts
to make the organization more open.
Bylaws to be reviewed: The New Jersey State Bar
Association is seeking input from its groups, county bar associations and
specialty bar associations on a proposal to streamline and modernize the
The Bylaws and
Resolutions Committee has been examining the association’s rules since 2013,
working with the recommendations of a nationally recognized parliamentarian.
The goal is to eliminate ambiguities resulting from piecemeal revisions made
since the last comprehensive review a decade ago, and to produce a clear,
cohesive document to guide the organization. It would include a policy manual
for administrative details and set forth definitions.
This winter, the bylaws
committee plans to gather, review and evaluate suggestions and then submit a final document to the board. If the
board approves the proposal, the full membership would vote on adopting the
NJSBA offers comments on proposed changes related to metadata:
With much of the practice of law being conducted electronically, many in
the legal community are concerned about what happens when bits of sensitive
information embedded in legal documents are shared.
The New Jersey Supreme Court formed
the Working Group on Ethical Issues Involving Metadata in Electronic Documents,
which studied what happens when information is inadvertently disclosed. The
group recently released its recommendations.
The NJSBA, the state’s largest group of lawyers and judges,
supported much of the report, including recommendations that:
be taken to minimize the disclosure of metadata in documents electronically
filed with the Judiciary;
lawyers and law students be educated about metadata;
be modified to create ways for documents with metadata to be reviewed in a
manner that won’t prejudice a
case or lead to an ethics violation; and that
Rules of Professional Conduct (RPC) should reference metadata.
Based on comments from a wide swath of
sections and committees in the association, the NJSBA does not support adopting
the committee’s proposed change to the RPCs. Doing so would place the burden of
determining whether metadata was inadvertently sent on the recipient, and the
possibility of an ethics violation is too great, the trustees determined. Read
the full comments here.
Uniform Bar Exam should wait in NJ: The Uniform Bar Exam
should not be implemented in New Jersey until data from other jurisdictions
where it’s used is collected and reviewed, the trustees said.
previously 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 data should be
collected and reviewed for at least one year. The Court’s report is here.
Action on legislation: The board of trustees supported A3301,
which prohibits a person appointed to a case as an arbitrator and who
subsequently serves as a mediator from returning as an arbitrator unless the
parties agree; and A4230, which
establishes a separate class of claims against insolvent estates for child
related to drunk driving; S2336,
which transfers immunity from civil liability for healthcare providers; and S2479/A4294, which raised
concerns among family law practitioners because it sought to add aggravating
factors in sentencing of certain domestic violence situations.
Examining the future of the legal profession: The trustees
reaffirmed the association’s
opposition to the prospect of non-lawyers being allowed to offer legal
At issue are two
items from the American Bar Association (ABA) that the NJSBA believes would
open the doors to allowing limited-license legal technicians and other
non-lawyers to handling legal matters, as well as the possibility of
non-attorney owned law firms.
forcefully contends that the public and profession are best served when trained
attorneys, who are subject to stringent ethics rules, provide legal advice.
directed the association’s
representatives to the ABA’s
House of Delegates to
oppose a resolution that would encourage courts to create a regulatory
framework and implement regulations allowing legal services to be offered
outside the traditional legal model. The trustees also agreed the association
should provide feedback on another ABA paper, reaffirming that the public has
been well served under the traditional legal model.
Hotel selected for Mid-Year Meeting 2016: The NJSBA
Mid-Year Meeting will be headquartered at the Hilton Amsterdam, Oct. 22-29,