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Dear YLS Member:
I am pleased to present to you the February issue of Electronically In Touch. In this issue, you will find:
• Snapshot: YLS Annual Meeting Review
I would like to thank the young lawyers who submitted content for this issue. You continue to perform such a valuable and important service to our Section by keeping our young lawyers and law student members informed of current topics, trends, and recent developments in the law, and by providing career and professional development advice that is useful, practical, and truly enjoyable to read.
I would also like to take this opportunity to thank Seth Azria for serving as Editor of Electronically In Touch. Seth assumed editorial responsibilities in August to allow me to focus on my responsibilities as Chair of the Section. We recently learned that Seth has been offered a teaching position in China and expects to be overseas in the next few months. I will, therefore, resume editorial responsibilities for the publication until a new editor is named and appointed. On behalf of the Young Lawyer Section, I wish Seth the best of luck as he embarks on this new and exciting endeavor!
Please note that
we have had to make some adjustments in our monthly publication schedule
due to this editorial transition. As a result, we published a combined
issue for the months of December/January and have had some unexpected
delays in publishing the February issue. We will resume our regular
monthly schedule beginning in March. We apologize for this
We hope that you enjoy the February issue and look forward to staying In Touch…
Snapshot: YLS Annual Meeting Review
At this year's Annual Meeting program, held January 24-26, 2007 at the Marriott Marquis in New York City, I was reminded of why I became active in the Young Lawyers Section a little over five years ago: opportunities to meet some of the most interesting and accomplished young lawyers from around the state and share experiences, continuing legal education programming catered to our unique and changing academic, practice, and professional development needs, mentoring and networking with highly-regarded, seasoned, and notable members of the Bench and the Bar, and access to the larger Bar Association to advocate the issues that concern us as young lawyers.
Hallmarks of the YLS's 2007 Annual Meeting included: three jam-packed days of continuing legal education programming, covering more than 20 different practice-related, career, and professional development topics; a lively debate during the Section's annual general membership meeting and executive committee meeting election; a reception honoring the Section's 2007 Outstanding Young Lawyer, Laurie Giordano, who has accomplished more in just under ten years than many seasoned lawyers accomplish in a lifetime; the Section's annual dinner and social event at one of the coolest restaurants in Manhattan; and the Association's Annual House of Delegates meeting where the YLS leadership spoke in support of a hotly contested proposal on living will legislation.
If you were unable to join us in New York, you missed an amazing meeting! However, all is not lost. Upcoming meetings and events for 2007-2008 are being planned and scheduled; consider joining us at venues throughout the state for Section networking events, meeting programs, and activities this Spring and Fall. Check out the website to learn more about how to take advantage of the many benefits and services that Section membership has to offer. Finally, I encourage you to consider other opportunities for more active involvement in the Section. I am certain that you will not be disappointed!
Each year at the YLS's Annual Meeting, there is an election of the Section leadership, which sits as the YLS Executive Committee. The Executive Committee of the Young Lawyers Section comprises four (4) officers of the Section; one (1) representative and one (1) alternate representative member from each Judicial District of New York State; four (4) Young Lawyers Section Delegates and (1) Young Lawyers Section Alternate Delegate to New York State Bar Association's House of Delegates; one (1) Young Lawyers Section Delegate from the New York State Bar Association to the American Bar Association House of Delegates; all chairpersons of the Standing Committees of the Section; all Liaisons from the Section to other sections, divisions or committees of the New York State Bar Association; and the Editor of Perspective. Following these elections, appointments may be made by the Chair of the Section to fill existing vacancies on the Committee.
On behalf of the YLS, we congratulate the following elected and appointed members of the 2007-2008 YLS Executive Committee, whose terms begin June 1, 2007:
Valerie M. Cartright, Huntington
REPRESENTATIVE David S. Rothenberg, New York
REPRESENTATIVE James A. Muscato, Albany
REPRESENTATIVE Elizabeth B. Snyder, Utica
REPRESENTATIVE Timothy A. Hayden, Binghamton
REPRESENTATIVE Eric C. Genau, Buffalo
YLS DELEGATE TO
THE ABA HOUSE Manuel Campos-Galvan, New York
YLS ALTERNATE DELEGATE TO NYSBA HOUSE James R. Barnes, Albany
PERSPECTIVE EDITOR Michael B. Cassidy, Albany
April J. Tabor, New York
AND PRO BONO Michael L. Fox, New York
YLS members who were not elected for a position on the Executive Committee and/or who are interested in an appointment to any of the vacant positions on the Committee are encouraged to contact the Section Chair Justina Cintrón Perino by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The following is a brief description of vacant positions as noted above:
District Representatives – represent the Section in their judicial district; conduct at least one (1) district event for district members; facilitate and implement communication between the Section and members; assist in the recruitment of new members; apprise the Officers and Executive Committee of issues; attend at least two (2) Executive Committee Meetings per year; assist with and participate in YLS activities, events, programs, and projects.
Alternate Representatives – assist the District Representative in representing the Section in their judicial district; assist the District Representative in conducting district events; assist in the recruitment of new members; apprise the Officers and Executive Committee of issues; attend at least two (2) Executive Committee meetings per year; in lieu of the District Representative; vote at Executive Committee meetings; and assist with and participate in YLS activities, events, programs, and projects.
(Kings and Richmond counties)
Section Liaisons – attend at least two (2) meetings of the section, division, or committee to which assigned; attend at least two (2) YLS Executive Committee meetings per year; represent and advocate the interests of the YLS and its members to the assigned section, division, or committee; assist with and participate in YLS activities, events, programs, and projects; and assist the District/Alternate Representatives in their district in conducting district events.
Food, Drug and
This year, the YLS has been working in very close collaboration with the American Bar Association Young Lawyers Division (ABA YLD) to help increase the participation of New York young lawyers in the American Bar Association. In the fall, the Section leadership was invited to appoint members of the YLS and ABA to the Assembly of the ABA YLD.
The Assembly is the principle policymaking authority within the Division. As a general rule, it may review any action (other than election, appointment, or award) by the Council or any other board, committee, subcommittee, officer, representative, or other elected or appointed agent. The Assembly is composed of members of the YLD Council, Delegates representing affiliate state and local bar young lawyer organizations, two delegates representing each national affiliate, and Delegates appointed by and representing the chief legal officer of each of the U.S. armed forces. The Assembly debates may issues of importance to young lawyers, including policies placed on the ABA's House of Delegates calendar for debates.
In December, the Section sent out a call for appointments, and more than 30 YLS members responded to fill 19 Delegate vacancies, and nine (9) alternate delegate vacancies. Only 10 Delegate positions have been filled to date. If you are interested in serving as a Delegate or Alternate Delegate, please note the following:
1. You must meet the following requirements:
(A) Be a member of
For a more complete statement of Delegate requirements, please visit http://www.abanet.org/yld/delegate/delegateinstructions.html.
2. You will be required to bear registration and travel costs associated with ABA meeting attendance. At this point, the New York State Bar Association does not cover these expenses. There are, however, opportunities for reimbursement from the YLD for expenses associated with attendance. Since New York has been an underrepresented state in the YLD for a number of years and there is a strong push to have our young lawyers attend the YLD's meetings, you may be able to make a strong case for securing some funding assistance for a meeting or meetings. Additionally, the YLS is exploring some opportunities for funding as well.
3. If you are interested in serving as a Delegate or Alternate Delegate and are appointed to serve, you will be added to the list of New York Delegates/Alternate Delegates sent to the AB YLD. Once on the list, you will be eligible to represent New York in the ABA YLD Assembly. Your primary responsibility as a Delegate will be to attend at least two (2) ABA YLD meetings per year, and report back to the NYSBA YLS leadership about YLD activities and events, opportunities for YLS/YLD collaborations, and issues being advocated or addressed by the YLD that are of concern to and/or affect New York young lawyers and the YLS.
4. Delegates/Alternate Delegates must be certified for each YLD meeting attended. Therefore, when a Delegate cannot attend a meeting, an Alternate Delegate will be offered an opportunity to attend and become certified as the Delegate for that meeting. To be placed on the list, you will be asked to provide information to the YLS/YLD so that you may be certified for ABA YLD meetings, including your name, business address, telephone and fax numbers, email address, date of birth (to establish whether you meet the membership requirements), and ABA Membership Number.
Upcoming meetings of the ABA YLD include:
If you are interested in serving as a Delegate or Alternate Delegate, please contact the Section Chair, Justina Cintrón Perino, at email@example.com.
YLS Members Invited to Network 20/20
YLS members are invited to join Network 20/20 for its 4th Annual Benefit featuring a conversation with General Peter J. Schoomaker, Chief of Staff, U.S. Army, and Colonel Paul D. Hughes (ret.), Iraq Senior Program Officer at the U.S. Institute of Peace and director of the Military and Security Secretariat for the Iraq Study Group, on Tuesday, April 24th at the Ukrainian Institute of America (2 East 79th Street at Fifth Avenue in New York City) from 6:30 p.m.-9:30p.m. The discussion is titled "On the Ground in Baghdad" and will feature cocktails, a silent auction and live auctions, foreign policy briefings, a "moveable feast" and plenty of networking between young professionals interested in foreign affairs. Tickets for this special evening are $150 and partially tax deductible.
Network 20/20 is an independent, non-profit organization that helps prepare next generation leaders in the U.S. to participate meaningfully in the creation and execution of policies promoting entrepreneurial diplomacy and global security. We do this by means of lectures and educational initiatives here at home and through a series of trips and exchanges abroad.
April 20 & 27,
Learn from remarkable women who have successfully balanced their personal and professional lives and who have changed the face of the legal profession. Learn more about mentoring, business development, marketing, time management and stress management techniques.
Whether you are launching a practice or trying to expand your book of business – learn to position yourself apart from the crowd and become an accomplished rainmaker. Discover how to construct a satisfying, secure and balanced career and personal life within -- or outside of -- the legal profession. Develop long-term goal setting techniques and organizational skills.
This half-day seminar consists of two plenary sessions, a keynote address and closing remarks on diversity in the profession. Registrants will be able to attend two breakout sessions and earn 4.5 MCLE Credits (2.5 Professional Practice; 1.0 Skills; 1.0 Law Practice Management).
A networking reception will follow the program from 5:10 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.
June 3-4, 2007
REMINDER: Attention Registrants …
YLS members who
have submitted their pre-registration form and fee must complete and
submit their application paperwork in accordance with the deadlines
below. This program is limited to the first 50 applicants, which will be
determined by the first 50 completed applications received and not the
first 50 pre-registration forms received. In the event that you have
registered, but are not timely in forwarding a completed application to
the Bar Association, your registration fee will be refunded prior to May
For more information about this program and/or questions about the application process, please contact YLS Staff Liaison, Megan O'Toole, by telephone at (518) 487-5743, or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dear YLS Member:
I am pleased to present to you the March issue of Electronically In Touch. In this issue, you will find:
• The Road Less Traveled: Why I Opted Out of Traditional Law
Practice - one young lawyer's path toward a nontraditional career in
Thank you once again to the young lawyers who submitted content for this issue. Your contributions are invaluable in keeping the YLS membership informed of current topics, trends, and recent developments in the law. And your career and professional development advice is always useful, practical, and just a fun read.
If you are looking for an opportunity to become more active in the Section, I encourage you to consider writing a brief article, case law update, legislative summary, book review, or comment on a current news event for inclusion in the newsletter. I also encourage you to share any ideas, advice, and/or tips you may have on ways we can improve this publication to meet your unique and changing needs. Submissions should be sent to me at email@example.com. Electronically In Touch is a monthly publication. The deadline for submissions is the 10th of the month.
We hope that you enjoy the March issue and look forward to staying In Touch…
The Road Less Traveled: Why I Opted Out of
Traditional Law Practice
I am the editorial director at a legal publishing firm in New York City. I am also a licensed attorney, and I have the law loans to prove that I spent what could have been prime backpacking-across-Europe years using Westlaw, editing law review articles, and pretending to understand one thing about the Rule Against Perpetuities.
I love my job.
I didn’t start here. I lived in Boston in the late ‘90s and early 2000s. I was a legal compliance manager at two financial management companies, which meant pouring over prospectuses and marketing materials for NASD and SEC rule violations and the use of overly promissory language. I did basically the same thing at an insurance company – examining claims for evidence of wrongdoing by overzealous insurance agents.
I did not love those jobs.
One day, I found an advertisement that asked for an editor, someone who could write case summaries for a lay audience, perform research on various law topics, and proofread articles on topics ranging from workers’ compensation to zoning law. I almost did three cartwheels across my living room. Until I remembered that I'm as graceful as a three-legged ballerina and that I was living in a frighteningly undersized studio apartment appropriate only for a hobbit, replete with your basic Smurf-high ceilings and nothing remotely living room-esque.
I settled for calling the number in the ad.
I got an interview at this small, family-owned publishing firm, and I told my interviewer my sob story. Basically, I said to him, if I read one more bloody prospectus, I was going to wind up on a daytime talk show, crying to Dr. Phil about how boredom mixed with ennui was not what I had signed up for when I embarked on becoming a legal eagle, and please, could I ride a crowded green line train all day long instead?
I didn’t have to do any such song and dance: My interviewer was a law grad, who had been an English major in college as well, who had a sizable creative writing portfolio that was collecting dust, and who harbored no desire to litigate in court or prepare legal memoranda. Plus, we both thought The Shawshank Redemption was a really good movie.
He gave me a shot, and I ended up moving up from editor to managing editor within a year – mostly due to timing and luck, and partly because I worked so hard that the owner of the company worried I had no place to go after work. I finally enjoyed how I was spending my daytime hours; working hard and pulling long hours, well, it was not a burden, really.
I ended up moving to New York City after those four years at the family-owned firm to head up another legal publishing firm’s editorial department. I spend my time pouring over manuscripts, trying to find new story ideas and leads, and dreaming up new products and new angles to try to drive in more business. I manage editors who need some guidance on how to frame their articles, work with their freelancers, provide cutting-edge information, and stay motivated. I help create ancillary products to round out our library of titles and look for business partnerships that will bring my company closer to its editorial mission and financial objectives.
It ain’t traversing the Anaconda to cover a story for Outside magazine, but it’s not boring. And I’ve never thought about calling Oprah’s press agent since making the career switch.
If I can be of any assistance to an attorney who is interested in an untraditional career – and there are plenty of opportunities out there -- I’d be pleased to provide it. I can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org. It’s best to catch me between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m., when I’m at my most caffeinated. Cheers.
Standing Out in the Crowd—a monthly
Nearly every third and fourth year lawyer that I know has been complaining lately that they don’t know what they want to do when they “grow up.”
At this point in our careers, we have become comfortable with the basic elements of our jobs. We are now pretty confident in the skills that we’ve been developing over the past two years, and we’re hungry to begin learning the next set of skills in our development process. It no longer takes the same mental concentration and intensity to turn out work product, which sometimes allows our minds to wander. During such mental meanderings, we find ourselves wondering--is this it? Is this what I want to do for the rest of my life?
These questions do not necessarily mean that we are miserable in our jobs, and that we don’t really want to be lawyers. Rather, we are asking these questions because we finally have the chance to pause and breathe a bit. In this renewed clarity, we are regaining our powers of reflection.
Re-evaluating where we are at in our careers, and where we want to be going, is an intimidating task that requires us to engage in introspection and self-reflection. Unlike the jobs with which we are finally becoming comfortable, this task has no defined end-point, and no one to report back to other than ourselves. The Type-A personality that is generally attracted to the practice of law may hesitate to put effort into such an open-ended task.
Despite our discomfort with this process, it should be embraced. To help you begin, I suggest below a few questions that you can ask yourself as a way to jump start your reflection. These questions were created by Cordell Parvin, a nationally prominent career coach for lawyers, and they are part of the lessons learned by the main character in the book that Cordell and I co-authored, Say Chow to Ciao Mein: Conquering Career Burnout. The process of answering these questions will help you evaluate the ways in which you can shape the path of your career to more closely feed your passions.
Read the four questions below a few times during the week. At the end of the week, find an uninterrupted block of time to actually write down your answers to these questions.
(1) Why did you
want to become a lawyer?
Keep in mind that these answers are not for anybody but you. Unlike law school admissions essays, you don’t need to spin why you wanted to be a lawyer. Respect yourself enough to be honest, and write down the real reasons.
Next month, I will write about ways you can apply the answers to these questions to your career.
If you are interested in learning more about this topic, please visit Cordell’s webpage at www.cordellparvin.comwww.cordellparvin.com, where you can read his career development blog and buy copies of his career development books for lawyers.
Recent Grants for Leave to Appeal to the New
York Court of Appeals
This article is the first installment of 2007 concerning appeals that have reached the New York Court of Appeals. The first appeal discussed -- Reynolds v. Amchem Prods., Inc. -- raises interesting issues concerning high-low agreements and an attorney's duty to disclose any agreement to the other attorneys who represent parties not a part of the agreement. In Reynolds, the plaintiff commenced an action against defendants Garlock and Niagara, claiming that her husband contracted an incurable disease through exposure to asbestos contained in products manufactured by the defendants, among others. Prior to the trial, the plaintiff and Niagara entered into a high-low agreement, capping Niagara's exposure at $185,000. Neither Garlock, nor the jury had knowledge of the agreement. The trial court Justice was apprised of the agreement.
The jury returned a verdict apportioning 60% liability against Garlock and 40% against Niagara, awarding the plaintiff damages of $3.75 million (reduced down to $2.7 million). The Appellate Division, Fourth Department would not set aside the jury verdict based on the Garlock's lack of knowledge of the agreement, concluding that, absent collusion, the failure to disclose the agreement did not mandate a reversal. Presumably, the novel issue presented on the appeal is whether high-low agreements between a plaintiff and a co-defendant must be disclosed to the other co-defendants. The appeal has sparked quite a debate within the asbestos litigation circle, but its result will impact litigators outside the asbestos context, as well.
The Court will also address two Labor Law issues, involving two sections of the Labor Law -- Sections 240(1) and 241(6) -- that keep the Court busy on a regular basis. The first case -- Broggy v. Rockefeller, Grp., Inc., 30 A.D.3d 204, 818 N.Y.S.2d 6 (1st Dep't 2006) -- concerns the interplay between commercial cleaning of interior windows and the applicability of Labor Law § 240(1). The plaintiff in Broggy injured himself after falling from a desk while performing his duties cleaning interior windows in a commercial building. The desk was merely 3-feet off the ground, and the plaintiff could have cleaned the windows from the floor. Regarding "cleaning" as one of the activities set forth under § 240(1), the First Department has held that cleaning can be a protected activity when it is incidental to building construction, demolition, or repair work. The Court of Appeals later clarified the point and defined the scope of the statute to include activities that, while not performed at a construction site, involve “making a significant physical change to the configuration or composition of the building or structure” so as to constitute an alteration within the meaning of the statute.
The First Department granted the owner of the commercial building's summary judgment motion, holding that the plaintiff had identified no significant physical change to the premises to which the plaintiff was cleaning the interior windows. It also concluded that the cleaning was not related to construction, demolition, or repair work. Additionally, the Court concluded that, even if case law could be interpreted to hold the statute's applicability to incidental cleaning of interior windows, the plaintiff did not demonstrate that any protective device set forth in the statute could have afforded the plaintiff protection for the gravity-related accident -- i.e., falling off the desk when he could have washed the windows from the floor.
It is unclear whether the Court of Appeals granted the motion for leave to appeal to clarify the definition of "cleaning" as set forth in § 240(1) or whether it will address the First Court's observation that the plaintiff could not demonstrate that any protective device would have afforded him protection. The Court recently addressed the type of gravity-related work § 240(1) contemplates, and might use this appeal to reinforce its prior holdings. See Outar v. City of New York, 5 N.Y.3d 731, 799 N.Y.S. 770, 832 N.E.2d 1186 (2005); Toefer v. Long Island R.R., 4 N.Y.2d 399, 828 N.E.2d 614, 795 N.Y.S.2d 511 (2005).
The second Labor Law appeal that the Court will address -- Morris v. Pavarini Constr. -- concerns the application of Labor Law § 241(6) and, specifically, 12 NYCRR 23.2.2(a) of the Industrial Code. Section 241(6) requires owners and contractors to “provide reasonable and adequate protection and safety” for workers and to comply with the specific safety rules and regulations promulgated by the Commissioner of the Department of Labor. The duty to comply with those rules and regulations is nondelegable.
The plaintiff in Morris was injured when an unfinished concrete form from another wall fell on him while he was working on a different form (concrete forms are used as "molds" to pour concrete). The plaintiff testified at his deposition that the form that fell on him had only one side, and thus was “ [n]ot created yet.” 12 NYCRR 23-2.2(a) provides:
“Forms, shores and reshores [for concrete work] shall be structurally safe and shall be properly braced or tied together so as to maintain position and shape.”
The First Department held that this particular rule was inapplicable because the form was incomplete, dismissing the plaintiff's § 241(6) cause of action against the defendants. The Court of Appeals will now have the opportunity to clarify 12 NYCRR 23-2.2(a) and its applicability where forms, shores or reshores are incomplete when a worksite accident occurs.
*Julie DiMauro, Editorial Director, Vendome Group, LLC, New York, NY.
**Christina H. Bost Seaton is a third year associate in the complex litigation and labor & employment practice groups at Troutman Sanders LLP in Manhattan, where she is constantly trying to “play rainmaker.” She is the co-author of Say Ciao to Chow Mein: Conquering Career Burnout, which was released this month and is available on www.cordellparvin.com and at bookstores.
***Matthew S. Lerner is an associate at the Albany, New York
office of Goldberg Segalla LLP. He is also the author of New York Civil
Law, a forum for the discussion of New York Appellate Law, Civil
Procedure, Insurance Law and Defense, and other interesting legal
issues. He can reached at: email@example.com and his
“blawg” can be accessed at:
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