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In this Issue
Albert B. Jeffers
The MCBF Thanks its generous sponsors
Comments on the ABA Standing Committee
Report on The NJ Lawyer Discipline System
MCBA Seeks Nominations
Grant Money Available to Qualified Organizations
MORRIS LAWYER August, 2011
MCBA PRESIDENT'S MESSAGE
BRIAN J. FRUEHLING
I hope your summer vacations went well, your practice is roaring along, and the balance of the year looks good.
We had a great Lawyers for Kids 5k race on July 7th. Over 600 participants were in attendance this year, which is a record for the event. Special thanks to Bill Krais and the bar office, along with our many volunteers and sponsors.
The annual Golf Outing on July 25th, was also great with really solid attendance and sponsor participation. Many thanks to Dave Pennella, Chris Garibian, Mark Wechsler and Nancy Bangiola for so capably handling the day. Despite rain (or because of it) the cocktail hour was extended, dinner brought out earlier, and we had a great time. The bar office is the process of sending out vouchers for rounds of golf, courtesy of Cedar Hill.
We also had a nice Young Lawyers division cocktail social on July 28th for newly-minted attorneys, law clerks and summer associates. The event was held at the Side Bar at the Famished Frog in Morristown. We were fortunate to have Judge Weisenbeck, and Tom Curtin address the young lawyer crowd and share some advice and tips for practicing in Morris County. Thanks again to Judge Weisenbeck and Tom Curtin.
I want to invite all of those interested in presenting seminars to contact the bar office. We are in the process of scheduling our CLE-accredied semianrs for the rest of this year. If you have an expertise/practice area that you would like to highlight by presenting a seminar - now is your chance. The bar office can assist you in making your seminar a reality, by providing logistical support and publicizing the event.
Also visit our website at www.morriscountybar.com Check out the photos from recent bar association events.
I hope your summer vacations went well, your practice is roaring along, and the balance of the year looks good. Here's to a happy and successful balance of 2011!
In Memoriam - Albert B. Jeffers, Age 83 - Califon NJ
Albert B. Jeffers, 83 died on Saturday, July 30, 2011 after a long illness. Mr. Jeffers was born in Providence RI and lived in Morristown from 1975 until 2006 when he moved to Califon. He received a BA from Brown University in 1950 and a law degree from Columbia University in 1955. He practiced law in Morristown for over 50 years until retiring in 2006 from Celii & Schlossburg where he was of Counsel. His work with Lawyers Concerned for Lawyers was known throughout the state. He was a member of the Washington Association in Morristown, and The Morristown Club. .
The Morris County Bar Foundation Thanks its Generous Sponsors for a Very Successful
The Morris County Bar Foundation enjoyed a very successful fundraising season. The 6th Annual Lawyers for Kids 5k was attended by over 600 people. The weather held until the end of the race when a refreshing rain fell on the runners and cleared again in time for the kids' race. The event was supported by numerous sponsors which included Morris County Law Firms and businesses. Everyone involved was inspired to join in support of the wonderful work of the Morris and Sussex County CASA volunteers. Half of the proceeds of this event will be distributed to CASA to assist them in their work on behalf of abused an neglected children.
The Annual Golf Outing was also a tremendous success. One hundred golfers enjoyed a day on the links at Cedar Hill Golf Club. We also enjoyed the support of numerous sponsors.
We would like to publicly thank all of the sponsors of these events. Through the generosity of theses people and organizations we look forward to supporting many worthwhile local causes.
The following were Major Sponsors of the 5k, Golf or both: Lakeland Bank; Einhorn, Harris, Ascher, Barbarito & Frost, P.C.; Investors Savings Bank; Bressler, Amery & Ross, PC; Porzio, Bromberg & Newman, PC; Smth & Doran; Madison Jaguar; Rotenberg, Meril, Solomon, Bertiger & Guti; Sax Macy Fromm & Company; Day Pitney LLP; Donahue, Hagan, Klein, Newsome, O'Donnell, & Weisberg, P.C.; Duff & Phelps, LLC; Micro Strategies; Peter N. Gilbreth, Esq.; Progressive Title Agency; Taylor & Friedberg; County College of Morris; Daly & Associates, LLC; DGR - The Source for Legal Support; Eco-Stat, LLC; Financial Research Associates; Graham Curtin; Guaranteed Subpoena; Haber, Silver & Simpson;Henry O. Baker Insurance Group; Heritage Community Bank; Impulse Courier Service Inc.; McElroy, Deutsch, Mulvaney & Carpenter, LLP; Mercer; Robert W. McAndrew, Esq.; Sentry Court Reporting; Stephen S. (Skippy) Weinstein, P.C.; Nusbaum, Stein, Goldstein, Bronstein & Kron, P.C.; Paritz & Company; Robert Cirillo, Inc., Certified Court Reporters; Schonwald & Iskra.
The following Law Firms or Companies were benefactors of the 5K: Berman Sauter; Celli, Schlossberg, LLC; Engineering Land PLanning Associates; Gaul, Baratta & Rosello; Gregory & Reed; Harman Office Furntiure; Leonard Finacial Group; Linda Mainenti Walsh; Premier Office Supply; Robson Forensics; Schenck, Price, Smith & King; Susan King and Company, LLC.
This list does not include those who sponsored tees and took ads in the Golf Journal. We thank all of those sponsors as well.
Finally, thank you to the Trustees for the Foundation who worked tirelessly to support these events. We met and exceeded our fundraising goals because of your hard work.
Please visit www.morriscountybar.com for photos of both events.
TMCBA President Comments on the ABA
I have read with great interest, the ABA's Report on
N.J. Lawyer Discipline System ("Report"). While I strongly disagree with a centralized professional body to handle all ethics complaints, I am supportive of the Report's recommendations that increase options for handling discipline.
Currently, the volunteer attorney members of the local DECs investigate and prosecute matters that are not deemed extremely serious (usually involving misappropriation of client funds or similar conduct that usually results in disbarment) or very complex matters that would require an inordinate commitment of time, to be handled by volunteers. I support continuing with volunteer attorneys at the district ethics level. The invaluable experience and knowledge gained by volunteer attorneys handling matters at the local district ethics committee level is certainly worth preserving. Attorneys should be part of the ethics system, and we should be actively engaged in the development, application and enforcement of the Rules of Professional Conduct.
There is no doubt that serving on the local DEC requires a substantial time commitment and effort by volunteer attorneys. But I would argue that such a sacrifice is worthwhile. Handing over the reins to a central professional office would create a gap between attorneys and the ethics system. Having the "ethics police" breathing down the necks of all attorneys, regardless of the severity in the alleged infraction, would create an atmosphere of "us against them," and in fact would detract from the professionalism of practicing law in New Jersey. The Report's primary reason for the recommendation of centralizing all investigations with the OAE, is a "lack of public confidence" in the current system and alleged "unevenness in diligence." The Report contains no substantiation of these claims, nor any proof that a central professional body actually would do a better job. I would however, strongly support the Report's recommendation that we should expand and promote alternatives for discipline, including diversion and probation of wayward attorneys. As suggested in the Report, prior misconduct of an attorney should not necessarily make a lawyer ineligible for referral to an alternative to discipline program. Minor misconduct should be treated accordingly, and not with the "one strike and you're out" philosophy currently in place. Cases are adjudicated on a case-by-case basis, and should continue to be so adjudicated but now without artificial barriers to diversionary treatment. Rather, all forms of discipline, depending upon each particular case, should be available for the fact-finder's consideration. The DRB and (in cases of disbarment and certain other instances) the N.J. Supreme Court will be the ultimate gatekeeper on appropriate discipline, in any event.
Discipline by consent should be encouraged at all stages of the proceedings. This is another great recommendation in the Report. Having handled numerous attorney ethics cases, I know from experience that the public is benefited and protected when the parties can consent to discipline in exchange for a Respondent's admission to misconduct. The Report properly states that, "the sixty-day rule is overly rigid and impedes the process of seeking and obtaining discipline on consent." (page 20) In many instances the Respondent is unaware of the importance of the situation, or ramifications of the misconduct, until after an investigation or hearing is commenced. Currently, the Respondent can only agree to discipline on consent in minor misconduct situations, within 60 days of the time Respondent files an Answer to the ethics Complaint. This rule creates an artificial barrier to appropriately disposing of cases that can easily and quickly be finalized, once all the facts are apparent. Implementing this change also would greatly reduce the current backlog of ethics cases.
The Court should also consider adopting the Report's suggestion that probation be implemented as a sanction. This proposed sanction likely would assist Respondents and the OAE to handle minor misconduct cases more efficiently, helping to further reduce the backlog of matters.
TMCBA Seeks Nominations
The Nominating Committee of the Morris County Bar Association will meet soon to consider applications for Trustee positions. This year, 34 Trustees will rotate off the Board. Morris County Bar Association Members who are interested in serving the Association for a term of at least 2 years (maximum number of terms is two, two year terms) are encouraged to indicate their interest by forwarding their resumes or letters of interest to Morris County Bar Secretary, Robin C. Bogan C/O 245 South Street, Unit 1 Morristown, NJ 07960. Trustees must be current members of the Morris County Bar Association. The slate of proposed Officers & Trustees will be announced in October. The entire membership will have the opportunity to vote on the slate at the next meeting of the Morris County Bar Association.
Grant Money Available to Qualified Organizations
The Morris County Bar Foundation is accepting applications from Morris County non-profit organizations for grant money available in January, 2011. Programs qualifying for consideration should conform to the mission of the Morris County Bar Foundation and should foster the honor and integrity of the profession of law; improve and facilitate the administration of justice; improve relations among lawyers, the judiciary and the public; promote the study of law and legal research; foster an increased awareness, appreciation and knowledge of law and the legal system in the community; serve as a resource for a law-related education for the public; provide opportunities for lawyers to serve the public through pro bono activities. Interested organizations are encouraged to call either the Morris County Bar Foundation office at (973) 267-6089 or send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org for application materials or further information. The deadline for application submission is Monday, October 31, 2010.