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While the New Brunswick offices of the New Jersey Lawyers Assistance Program (NJLAP) are currently closed, it remains ready and available to assist lawyers, judges, law students and law graduates with both personal and professional well-being issues.  NJLAP is available by phone at 800-246-5527 and is also maintaining a constantly updated COVID-19 web page linked at the top of its home page at  njlap.org . “As the free and confidential resource assisting New Jersey lawyers for the past 25 years, NJLAP is reaching out during this emergency to remind attorneys, judges, law students and law graduates that they are not alone,” said William John Kane, director ...
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Chief Justice Stuart Rabner and Acting Administrative Director of the Courts Judge Glenn A. Grant expressed gratitude to the state’s lawyers for the critical role they are playing in ensuring access to justice in these unprecedented times. In a letter to NJSBA President Evelyn Padin this week, the Judiciary leaders praised attorneys who have been working zealously to assist clients in an ever-changing world. The letter also provided assurances that the New Jersey courts would continue to provide essential services during the COVID-19 public health crisis. The letter goes on to enumerate steps the Judiciary has taken to meet requirements of social distancing. ...
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The New Jersey State Bar Association has reached out to government officials on a number of critical issues facing the legal profession and the state’s residents. NJSBA Urges Division of Workers' Compensation to Resume Hearing Emergent Matters The NJSBA asked the state's labor commissioner and chief judge of the Division of Workers' Compensation to resume hearing cases to ensure that New Jersey’s injured workers continue to receive their statutory benefits in a time of financial stress, just as other litigants’ rights continue to be met in the superior courts. Officials at the Division of Workers’ Compensation said they are working on a plan ...
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First-ever electronic voting session advances key bills Amid the post-COVID-19-imposed statewide lockdown of non-essential businesses, the Assembly acted last Thursday in the first-ever remote voting session authorized by the newly passed law permitting public bodies to meet remotely during a public health emergency or state of emergency. Key bills were advanced that would greatly impact the lives of New Jersey residents and access to justice in New Jersey.   Remote Notary Bill   A-3903 (Downey/Houghtaling/Swain) passed the Assembly with overwhelming support. It would supplant a bill, presently sitting on the governor’s desk, to permit notaries ...
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The legal profession is replete with pressures, but with the additional challenge presented by the COVID-19 pandemic, both physical and mental, there’s no better time to take steps to strengthen a sense of well-being.   A number of legal websites offer useful advice. Patrick Krill, founder of Krill Strategies, a behavioral health consulting firm focused exclusively on the legal industry, recently wrote that “it’s important to recognize that anxiety and panic rarely lead to good decision-making or improved circumstances, but frequently lead to fatigue, emotional exhaustion and retrospectively disproportionate despair and energy expenditure.”   Among ...
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Legislative bodies on both the state and federal level are working on measures to blunt the enormous economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Here are some key elements that law firms may want to keep in mind.   Paid sick and medical leave Among the provisions of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act , signed by President Trump on March 18, is the requirement  that small and medium-size businesses offer two weeks of emergency paid sick leave and 10 weeks of paid emergency family medical leave under certain circumstances related to COVID-19. The law applies to employers with less than 500 employees, though employers with fewer than 50 ...
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With so many New Jersey attorneys working from home during the COVID-19 pandemic, it is paramount they protect their computer and data, especially now as threats evolve to try to take advantage of teleworkers.   PracticeHQ, the New Jersey State Bar Association’s legal practice management platform that is free for members, offers numerous helpful articles on this subject. While a firewall, spam filter and password policy are good starters, more can be done, cautions one article on the site. For example, you can learn to avoid three security blind spots that if left unchecked, can be a huge risk to security or clients.   Don’t cut corners on your backup ...
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Gov. Phil Murphy ordered all non-essential retail businesses in New Jersey to close by 9 p.m. tonight in hopes of slowing the spread of COVID-19. Murphy issued an executive order today that directs almost all residents of the state to stay at home.  The order comes on the heels of governors in several other states making similar declarations, as well as a spike in the number of New Jerseyans infected with the virus in recent days . Other businesses, including law firms, are directed to have most of their workforce, “wherever practicable,” telework from home, with the exception of employees who cannot perform their functions via these arrangements. Specifically, ...
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Below is the text of the letter sent to Gov. Murphy this morning urging law firms and lawyers be deemed essential and remain open under his executive order. A copy of the letter can also be found here.  Dear Governor Murphy :  We appreciate the heroic efforts that you and your administration are undertaking in these unprecedented times. We also acknowledge that each of us will be required to sacrifice to ensure that we limit the damage, both human and economic, that will be caused by this pandemic.  We understand that you are poised to issue a statewide directive today, to supersede the numerous local directives, to provide uniformity in how we ...
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As the New Jersey legal community scrambles to adjust to a new way of working during the COVID-19 pandemic, the New Jersey State Bar Association’s (NJSBA) has free resources that members can tap into. PracticeHQ , a new legal practice management platform, has a wealth of useful articles, comparison charts and tutorials that can help with running a legal practice from home. PracticeHQ sifts through the welter of features and prices that various service providers offer so attorneys can quickly evaluate what VoIP [voice over internet protocol] they could use to receive office phone calls at their new home-based offices; what web meeting services they ...
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Social distancing means you are more reliant than ever on your technology and the Internet for the work of your firm and clients, and that also means remaining vigilant on the cybersecurity and online scam front. The New Jersey Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Cell (NJCCIC) reports that they are seeing more phishing and other scams this week that attempt to exploit the global concern over COVID-19.  “Email and social media-based phishing scams referencing the virus attempt to convince recipients to open links or attachments to direct users to malicious websites or deliver malware , reveal sensitive information, or donate to fraudulent causes,” ...
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The NJSBA told government officials that lawyers and law firms are essential and should not be closed during the public health crisis stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic.   The public's right to access to justice is one of the core foundations of a just and civilized society, the Association told officials in Bergen County, as well as the Governor. Lawyers across the state are being flooded with urgent questions from the public, like how to protect themselves from abuse, how to prepare a power of attorney for what may be coming, and what to do if they risk mortgage delinquency because of debt.   "Shutting down such access is not something that can be ...
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These are challenging times and the New Jersey Institute for Continuing Legal Education and NJSBA are here for you.  In response to the challenges the COVID-19 crisis presents for the legal profession, we are offering a series of free webinars. Attendees can log into live and ask questions in real time, or watch archived versions at your convenience.  The list to date is below. Check back often.  Do you have an idea for a webinar that we should do? Email us at [email protected] Practical Wellness Techniques for the COVID-19 Outbreak Wednesday, March 25, 12 p.m. to 1 p.m. REGISTER HERE We are living through unprecedented times. ...
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As the New Jersey Legislature shed its regular committee schedule, it voted Tuesday on a set of bills to set forth a package to combat the negative economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.  Some of the bills promise to infuse cash-strapped small- and mid-sized businesses with stimulus money to carry them through the hardest hitting months. Others provide much-needed relief to those unemployed due to a COVID-19 diagnosis. Still others provide accommodations to conduct business while the country faces unprecedented curfews, lockdowns and prohibitions on travel that make business as usual a difficult proposition. All of the bills were introduced last Monday ...
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The coronavirus pandemic is causing workplaces to adjust and change their work routines at a breathtaking pace. New Jersey's law firms are taking a variety of approaches to the crisis. Some firms are staying open, and reducing staff to allow for social distancing; some firms are disinfecting conference rooms on a regular schedule; and some firms are going completely virtual.   The New Jersey State Bar Association has heard from many firms statewide, and here is a look at how a few of them are handling it.  Lawrence Law LLC is open for the moment. They are holding some in-person meetings and mediations. But the lawyers are also offering to handle meetings ...
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Editor's note: The following is excerpted from a longer article in the NJSBA New Jersey Labor and Employment Law Quarterly, February 2020 issue. To read the complete article and others, log in to the Labor and Employment Law Section here . A few reflections on the weaponization of the First Amendment in public sector labor law and its potential re-weaponization By Hop T. Wechsler  The irony is that, if opponents of labor have weaponized the First Amendment by expansion in the public sector, the reverse has been true in the private sector, where the scope of First Amendment protection of labor rights has become narrower. For example, Seattle ...
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Maybe I'm old fashioned, but during this declared state of emergency, I find it outrageous that ICLE would charge $99.00 for this seminar. NJSBA has an obligation to the members of the bar association to keep us informed during this crisis, and I note that members of this section have been doing just that and posting helpful information and advice. For ICLE to profit from this crisis is as bad as members of the bar hoarding or gouging. . . Just my opinion.
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The New Jersey Lawyers Assistance Program gathered some ways lawyers, judges and all members of the legal profession can get help during this crisis.   ANXIETY   To get free confidential, 24/7 support for anxiety, text “HOME” to the Crisis Text Line which is 741741    Science-based strategies for coping with Covid anxiety - Click here     OFFICE MANAGEMENT/LEADERSHIP   This article discusses organizational leadership and managing COVID-19 panic. Click here   Here are tips for working remotely from Fast Company: Click here   PANIC   This article shares specifics about mental health and panic associated with COVID-19. ...
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The New Jersey State Bar Association (NJSBA) is seeking nominations for the Municipal Court Practice Award and Pro Bono Awards. Municipal Court Practice Award Candidates for the NJSBA Municipal Court Practice Award must be New Jersey lawyers, prosecutors or retired judges in good standing who have demonstrated the following:   Public service in advancing the development of municipal court practice in New Jersey in the preceding year or cumulatively as lifetime achievements in the field Dedication to the positive development of municipal court practice by publishing, teaching and serving on municipal court practice committees Commitment to significant ...
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All NJICLE seminars will now be webcast NJSBA business meetings will be virtual Bar Foundation cancels March trainings; developing online learning platform Annual Meeting planning underway; refund request deadline extended   We continue to monitor the COVID-19 developments with concern. As you know, in recent days events around the world have been postponed and New Jersey has declared a state of emergency. In many ways it remains a fluid situation, and the NJSBA, NJICLE and NJSBF strive always to be conscientious in our goal to limit potential exposure to the illness of our members and New Jersey Law Center visitors. The health and well-being ...
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