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The New Jersey State Bar Association (NJSBA) this week commented on proposed rule amendments at the annual state Supreme Court public hearing.  President Kimberly A. Yonta thanked the Court for holding the hearing.  “This provides a meaningful opportunity for a free and open exchange between the organized legal community, the public and the Court on the recommendations of the Court’s rules committees, which help to shape the landscape of the legal system and administration of justice in New Jersey,” Yonta said. Yonta addressed the Report of the Supreme Court Special Civil Practice Committee issued earlier this year, and lent support to the report on tax ...
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Editor’s note: This is part of an ongoing series that looks at how New Jersey State Bar Association members’ work lives have changed since Governor Phil Murphy issued a stay-at-home order because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Way We Work Now: A quiet office is the ‘calm before the storm’ The phones haven’t been ringing much over the last two months at Ostrowitz & Ostrowitz in Manalapan. Ever since the coronavirus pandemic struck and the governor issued a stay-at-home order, business has fallen at the small firm, which does commercial litigation representing banks and credit unions. The office hum, a kind of pulse that used to run in the background, ...
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At the New Jersey Judiciary’s first virtual swearing-in ceremony on Monday, New Jersey Supreme Court Chief Justice Stuart Rabner and U.S. District Chief Judge Freda Wolfson told the newly admitted attorneys to persevere during these challenging times. The ceremony was livestreamed on the New Jersey courts website because of social distancing measures required during the COVID-19 pandemic. New Jersey State Bar President Kimberly A. Yonta and Edward T. Kole, president of the Association of the Federal Bar of New Jersey, each presented a motion to admit the new attorneys to their respective bars. Wolfson said while the public health, economic and social justice ...
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The following is a message from NJSBA President Kimberly A. Yonta. As the president of New Jersey’s largest organization of attorneys, I join with the Association of Black Women Lawyers of New Jersey, the Garden State Bar Association and other colleagues across the state and nation in calling for a swift, fair and independent investigation into the killing of George Floyd. There are two truths to acknowledge here. The first is that racial bias and racism still thrive in our society. The second is that those biases can undermine public confidence in our justice system. Americans must have faith that our justice system is fair, and our laws are applied ...
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The New Jersey State Bar Association has created a sweeping task force to examine issues facing the legal community as a result of the COVID-19 public health crisis. The NJSBA Pandemic Task Force brings together thought leaders from across the profession to study questions including how to safely reopen law firms; adjust courthouse operations; resume jury trials; examine the impact of the pandemic on substantive areas of law; and how access to justice has been affected. The Task Force will consult with a cross section of attorneys around the state, the Judiciary, elected officials, members of law enforcement, county and specialty bar associations, and ...
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The New Jersey Supreme Court issued an opinion last week signaling concerns with the Department of Children and Families’ (Department) use of the “not established” finding, agreeing with the New Jersey State Bar Association’s (NJSBA)  amicus curiae arguments . In the matter of S.C. v. New Jersey Department of Children and Families, Docket No. A-57-18, the Supreme Court held that the standard for a finding of “not established” is “vague, amorphous, and incapable of any objective calibration” because it requires less than a preponderance of the evidence and only requires some evidence. “This is a very important decision as it highlights that, notwithstanding ...
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The New Jersey Supreme Court has agreed to hear a case that looks at whether it is appropriate to permit lawyers to purchase a competitor lawyer’s name as a keyword in an internet search as part of a search engine’s ad campaign in order to promote the lawyer’s law firm. The New Jersey State Bar Association petitioned for review because it argued the practice “condones gamesmanship over professionalism.” The NJSBA urged the Court to review Opinion Number 735 by the Advisory Committee on Professional Ethics (ACPE), which opined that the practice does not violate the Rules of Professional Conduct. The brief was written by NJSBA member Bonnie C. Frost, of Einhorn ...
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The following article written by Raymond M. Baldino was published in the May 2020 issues of New Jersey Labor and Employment Law Quarterly, which is distributed to members of the Labor and Employment Law Section. For information about joining an NJSBA section, email us at [email protected] Courts have long struggled with how to strike the proper balance between protecting employer’s rights and protecting employee free speech. Over time that conflict has generally evolved to narrow the field of protected employee speech. However, two recent Third Circuit decisions, Palardy v. Township of Millburn 1 and Baloga v. Pittston Area School District, et al. ...
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The New Jersey State Bar Association (NJSBA) sent a letter to Governor Phil Murphy asking the administration to take additional steps to ensure real estate transactions can continue during the state of emergency issued because of the COVID-19 pandemic. While an earlier executive order from the governor recognized real estate transactions as an essential service, the NJSBA noted, “current closures of various county and municipal services place this essential service in jeopardy without additional immediate action.” The NJSBA requested the administration to issue temporary waivers or provide an alternative method of meeting requirements for smoke alarm certificates ...
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Legislative leaders talk furloughs, taxes at NJSBA’s Virtual Annual Meeting The leaders of the Senate and Assembly came together to talk all things COVID-19 at the New Jersey State Bar Association’s (NJSBA) first-ever Virtual Annual Meeting last week. Moderated by Carolyn V. Chang, the panel, titled “What’s Next? The Changing Priorities in a Post-Pandemic Legislature,” featured Senate President Stephen Sweeney, Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin, Republican Leader Senator Tom Kean Jr. and Republican Leader Assemblyman Jon Bramnick. The continuing legal education (CLE) program covered everything from virtual meetings to property taxes, budget forecasts to ...
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New Jersey residents facing the myriad legal questions raised by the global COVID-19 pandemic have a new place to turn for help. The New Jersey State Bar Association has launched NJ Free Legal Answers, an online legal advice resource that allows the public to post civil legal questions and get help from a volunteer attorney.     “The NJSBA is committed to ensuring public access to the justice system. The need is especially urgent in the unique circumstances of the global pandemic,” said NJSBA President Kimberly A. Yonta. “New Jersey Free Legal Answers lets the public get timely advice from legal professionals, so they may make sound decisions during a chaotic ...
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The following is written by Ray Ortiz,  Senior Attorney Counselor for the New Jersey Lawyers Assistance Program, and was published as part of NJLAP's Lawyer Well-Being Newsletter. To have the newsletter come directly to your in-box, request to subscribe by emailing  [email protected] .  There are people, places and things that we have no control over. There are also events in our lives that are unwelcome and painful and also out of our control. I was at my doctor's office waiting to be seen. I picked up one of those magazines that were posing a question to those 80 or over as to,  what is the secret of a long life?  One of the responders in the article ...
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The New Jersey State Bar Association (NJSBA) installed six new trustees on the board on Thursday during a live-streamed swearing-in ceremony at the NJSBA 2020 Virtual Annual Meeting held May 13-15. Instead of the traditional gathering in Atlantic City, the ceremony, like the rest of the meeting, was conducted online because of social distancing measures required during the pandemic. New Jersey Supreme Court Chief Justice Stuart Rabner administered the oath remotely to the trustees who were at their homes. The new trustees will each serve a two-year term. G.   Glennon Troublefield — Essex County . He practices in litigation and intellectual property in ...
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At the New Jersey State Bar Association (NJSBA) Board of Trustees meeting in May, the board approved a resolution condemning and denouncing acts of bias against Asian Americans in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Citing recent examples of hate speech and violence, and an alarming surge in reported anti-Asian incidents, the resolution states that the NJSBA "stands steadfast in opposition to xenophobia and discrimination of any kind," and joins with colleagues around the country — including the Asian Pacific American Lawyers Association of New Jersey — in calls for unity and support. The board also welcomed Christine A. Amalfe as the new secretary on the Executive ...
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Yonta becomes Association president; Carmagnola is president-elect; Padin is immediate past president   Kimberly A. Yonta was sworn in Thursday night as president of the New Jersey State Bar Association (NJSBA) for the 2020–2021 term. She took the oath of office from her East Brunswick home during the NJSBA’s first virtual Annual Meeting, and the ceremony could be viewed live online. The most anticipated event on the New Jersey legal education and social calendar moved online in light of the COVID-19 pandemic and physical distancing measures. “This is neither the speech I thought I would be giving nor the place or manner in which I thought I’d be delivering ...
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The drastic changes in New Jersey family courts necessitated by the COVID-19 pandemic have involved a learning curve, but collaboration between attorneys and the judiciary has meant forward movement for many matters. That was the take of panelists at Friday morning’s Family Bench Bar Conference, part of the NJSBA 2020 Virtual Annual Meeting. Speakers all emphasized the importance of communication and empathy as clients, litigants and judges navigate a shift that will likely have lasting changes for the legal community. “Please keep an open mind,” said Superior Court Judge Harold U. Johnson, who sits in Cumberland County. “Don’t be the attorney that looks at ...
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Shortly after the governor ordered a stay-at-home order in March because of the coronavirus pandemic, the New Jersey criminal bench and bar were on the cutting edge of virtual court proceedings, a moderator told attendees at the Criminal Law Bench Bar Conference Friday at the NJSBA 2020 Virtual Annual Meeting. Attorney James J. Gerrow moderated a panel featuring Passaic County Superior Court Judge Sohail Mohammed, Hudson County Prosecutor Esther Suarez and attorneys Robert J. Brass and Brandon D. Minde. More than 23,000 virtual proceedings have been conducted as of Thursday, with more than 189,000 participants—and most have been in criminal courts, he said. ...
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Two cases speaking to disputes between attorneys and clients were among those highlighted by Supreme Court justices on Thursday in the annual “Supreme Court in Review” at the New Jersey State Bar Association Virtual Annual Meeting. The first, Balducci v. Cige , deals with an attorney retainer agreement. The second, S.T. v. 1515 Broad Street, LLC , has to do with a litigant should do if they believe the client lacks the mental capacity to govern their affairs. “The lessons of these two cases are surely a guide through the minefield of professional ethics,” Justice Barry T. Albin said.  The Supreme Court program is an annual tradition where justices ...
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In a candid and moving discussion, attorneys spoke about their personal and professional experiences in their journeys as individuals who identify as LGBTQ in the program, “The Many Closets of a Diverse Profession” at the New Jersey State Bar Association (NJSBA) 2020 Virtual Annual Meeting. Jeffrey Fiorello, a trustee and chair-elect of the Association’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Rights Section, moderated the panel that featured Arielle B. Adler, Trustee Celeste Fiore, Robyn B. Gigl, Shawn M. LaTourette, Reid Powell, and Brian P. Rice. Many recounted the implicit bias, microaggressions, rejection and discrimination they faced, but also the liberation ...
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The ability of women to advance in the legal profession remains grim, and it could get worse as reports suggest women attorneys will suffer more than men attorneys in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. A panel of national thought leaders examined issues specific to women in the profession at the “ABA Study/Women in the Business of Law” program Friday at the 2020 Virtual Annual Meeting. NJSBA Secretary Christine A. Amalfe moderated the discussion. “There is a stampede out of the profession by the time they get to 50,” said Roberta Liebenberg, a co-author of the American Bar Association’s landmark study “Walking Out the Door.” “It’s death by 1,000 cuts that ...
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