Annual Meeting 2017
Thanks to a little something called
Twitter, I was able to enjoy various aspects of the @NYSBA Annual Meeting 2017.
With a busy schedule, I was not able to make it to the city to attend the
events this past week. However, that didn’t stop me from participating. I was
able to learn about almost all of the different NYSBA sections, and pick up a
few tips from some great tweets.
For the second year, we have presented the Pathway to the Profession Award to two student fellows who have demonstrated a desire to become more involved in the Bar Association.
Annual Meeting 2018
Mark your calendars now, the New York State Bar Association's Annual Meeting 2018 will be held from January 22 - 27, 2018 at the New York Hilton Midtown. With the success of the Student Volunteer Program this year, we will be looking for more volunteers in 2018. More details will be available in the Fall 2017 issue of Pathways.
the last several months, serious thought has been
given to the Supreme Court appointment and confirmation process. The
United States Constitution states that the judicial power of government lies
within one Supreme Court and that the judges shall hold their offices during
This article essentially sets out
the well-known rule that Supreme Court judges hold their office until; death,
retirement, or conviction by the Senate. Furthermore, Article II states that
the President has the power, with the advice and
consent of the Senate, to appoint judges to the Supreme Court.
I am aware that for
others, it was not such a wonderful moment.
I could ramble off a bunch of clichés about it not being the end of the
world and that you’ll pass next time, but I think John Lennon said it best when
he said, “Everything will be okay in the end.
If it’s not okay, then it’s not the end”.
Throughout the evening, I spoke with lawyers who practiced immigration
law, intellectual property, environmental, real property, criminal, family law,
and Commercial and Federal Litigation. I was able to question and listen to
attorneys who handle real-life matters on an everyday basis. For the first time
I felt my journey to becoming a lawyer was real and I couldn’t have been more
The volunteer attorneys from various NYSBA Sections were
eager to share their experiences and insights. Mark Berman, Chairman of the
Commercial and Federal Litigation Section, informed us about the importance of
a clerkship and how publishing a piece in the NYLitigator Magazine could
benefit us tremendously in the future.
“Law school is like studying the manual for a
toaster for years without ever actually having one to work on; this clinic is
your toaster.” On my first day observing arraignments at the New York County
Criminal Court, a judge imparted this unconventional but fitting description of
the clinical experience. Traditional law school classes teach students “black letter
law” from casebooks, and in nearly all instances, students will never apply
that knowledge aside from exams and during class discussions. By contrast, New
York Law School’s Criminal Defense Clinic provides students with a vehicle for
using some of the knowledge gained from doctrinal classes. More significantly,
however, the Clinic doesn’t just teach a student how to think like a lawyer.
Instead, it teaches students to be effective advocates through deep analysis of
the law, thoughtful consideration of the consequences of their actions, and
actually applying the law.
This article was
written for a discussion board post for my 1L contracts class. The doctrine
covered was mitigation of damages. We were presented with a hypothetical
scenario where our client, Pippin, had entered a lease agreement with
Brandybuck, a property management firm in Alaska. Pippin breached the contract
and ceased his rent payments when, because of a recently approved municipal
ordinance, the property could no longer be used for a tavern (which was
Pippin’s intention when entering the lease). The question was whether Pippin had
a valid legal claim that Brandybuck failed to mitigate their damages by trying
to find another tenant. Given the names of the characters in this hypo, and my
love for J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings series, I thought I’d have a little fun with my analysis. This hypothetical
scenario is from the CaseFile Method curriculum developed by Professor Douglas
Leslie at the University of Virginia School of Law.
Historically, capital punishment has shown to have a disparate impact on African American defendants. Statistics show that this disparate impact may be as a result of prosecutors seeking to impose the death penalty more often if the defendant is African American and the victim is white. In McCleskey v. Kemp, the Supreme Court of the United States, determined that a racially disproportionate impact of Georgia’s death penalty statute is insufficient to overturn a guilty erdict without showing the existence of purposeful discrimination, and that the purposeful discrimination had a unfair affect on the capital defendant. The majority explains that even when there appears to be no substantive explanation as to why African Americans are disproportionately
affected by capital punishment, race is not the motive. The Court declines arguments that conclude race as a reason for the disparities, as Justice Powell states “… we decline to assume that what is unexplained is invidious.”
McCleskey was unsuccessful in his appeal because he failed to show that the prosecution intended to discriminate against him because he was African American. He was only able to emonstrate a mere disparate impact and not that the jury acted with a discriminatory purpose. Consequently, the Court did not infer intent of discrimination from the adverse impact. More importantly, the decision to impose death as a punishment is at the discretion of the jury and not he prosecution or the judge. The Court concludes that the issue of disparate impact is one for the state legislature and not the federal constitution.
The honorable Judge Robert Allen
Katzmann, currently serving as the chief judge of the United States Court of
Appeals for the Second Circuit, recently came to the Benajmin N. Cardozo School
of Law to give a lecture to students about his latest book “Judging Statues”
and how U.S. courts have different tools available to them to assist with
interpreting laws enacted by Congress. Judge Katzmann’s book and lecture both had
great insights on approaching statutes that all students of law could benefit
from and created excellent arguments for why it is sometimes necessary for
courts to go beyond the literal words of a law in order to uphold the true
intentions of the legislature. “What propelled me to write the book”, Judge
Katzmann began, “is that very little attention is given to the holistic
enterprise of how a law gets made.”
Pathway to the Profession is looking for a few good students to be our Campus Fellows for the 2017/2018 School Year.
If you are interested in learning more, please email Alex Englander at aenglander@nysba. org.