Board of Trustees Report - September 11, 2015

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The following is a summary of actions taken at the Sept. 11, 2015, meeting of the New Jersey State Bar Association Board of Trustees held at the New Jersey Law Center in New Brunswick. This summary does not constitute official minutes. 
Pro bono recognition: As part of events scheduled for National Pro Bono Week, the trustees agreed that attendees of the annual Pro Bono Conference, scheduled for Oct. 27, would be able to attend for free if they agree to handle a matter with one of the participating pro bono organizations. Attendees of the conference will earn two continuing legal education credits at the seminar. The gathering will also feature the presentation of awards to lawyers and law firms that excel in providing volunteer legal services to the public. The event is one of several the New Jersey legal community has planned to mark the national celebration. Additional details will be posted on in the coming weeks. 
Government affairs: Several pieces of legislation were the subject of discussion before the board. The trustees supported a proposal to bring together two statutes related to inheritance and estate tax. 
            The trustees voted to oppose A3541/S2251, which addresses procedures for transferring motor vehicles, because it could create unnecessary shortcuts in an already straightforward process; S2696/A2445, which has to do with the redaction of information in public motor vehicle accident reports because the proposals eliminate too much information from the public domain; A2713, which involves security in municipal courts because the bill would shift the issue to the discretion of the municipal government body and the trustees felt security should be uniform across the state; and A4438, which has to do with fees related to evaluating physicians in workers’ compensation matters.
            Input from NJSBA sections and committees, as well as diversity and county bar associations, will be sought related to whether the association should add a political action committee to the set of tools available in its government affairs program to advance legislative matters that matter to the membership and legal profession. The association has studied the issue extensively and is exploring if such an entity, which several other bar associations and trade groups in New Jersey and around the country maintain, could enhance the association’s voice in the decision-making process in Trenton. Read more about the proposal here
Section bylaws changes: The trustees approved changes requested by one of its sections, including updating its name to Product Liability and Mass Tort Section, adding a legislative coordinator as an officer of the group, and a variety of administrative issues. 
Upcoming events: Budgets and contracts for several upcoming events were approved. The Elder Law Retreat will be held April 13-15 at Crystal Springs and the New Jersey Institute for Continuing Legal Education’s Ethical Concerns in Risk Management Conference will be held Nov. 14 at Caesar’s in Atlantic City. The trustees also approved budgets to govern the upcoming Family Law Retreat in Savannah and the 2016 Mid-Year Meeting in Amsterdam. 
Admission and ethics report: The trustees reaffirmed the positions taken at the July meeting related to recommendations to change the Rules of Professional Conduct as outlined in the report from the New Jersey Supreme Court’s Special Committee on Attorney Ethics and Admission. The NJSBA submitted a letter that covered issues including admission by motion; conflicts of interest; advertising; multijurisdictional practice; the outsourcing of legal services and confidentiality. A letter detailing the association’s comments can be found here