Reforms Proposed for Juvenile Justice
By Jonathan Lippman
Chief Judge, State of New York
The New York courts' pioneering commitment in the 1990s to linking nonviolent adult offenders to community-based drug and mental health treatment has made us a national model for how to hold offenders accountable for their actions while producing positive outcomes for defendants, their families and our society. The time has come to apply these lessons to troubled young people.
Technology Benefits Court Administration
By Ann Pfau
Chief Administrative Judge, New York State Unified Court System
While online programs such as eTrack and eCourts are making the New York state courts increasingly navigable and accessible to the bar and public, the court system is making ever greater use of technology to streamline operations, optimize resources and provide better service.
With Growth, Change, Rule of Law Is Vital
By Luis A. Gonzalez
Presiding Justice, Appellate Division, First Department
The Delaware Chancery courts have been settling commercial disputes for over 200 years. However, it was New York that established the viability of specialized commercial courts designed to provide litigants efficient and effective resolution to business and technology cases.
Lawyer Ethics Guided By Core Principles
By A. Gail Prudenti
Presiding Justice, Appellate Division, Second Department
As the modern practice of law continues to present new challenges, we must ensure that our system of lawyer regulation continues to adapt to the changing legal environment, while remaining faithful to our core principles: competence, loyalty, professional judgment, fairness to participants in the judicial process, and truthfulness in dealing with others.
Fiscal Issues Trip Up Democratic Processes
By David A. Paterson
Governor, State of New York
The sudden importance in 2009 of language drafted in 1821 is a sobering reminder that every word and phrase set forth in law has the potential to impact New Yorkers' lives for decades. Yet New York law is rarely treated with the seriousness that such a far-reaching effect entails. The broken processes in Albany will not be fixed until new laws are viewed with the importance that they command.
New Program Aims To Stem Foreclosures
By Michael R. Bloomberg
Mayor, City of New York
Losing a home is devastating to families, and their communities often suffer as well. But by capitalizing on the spirit of public service that defines our legal community, a spirit that has endured throughout New York City's legal history, we can help keep families in their homes, help keep our neighborhoods strong, and help keep our city moving forward.
Right to Representation Must Be Preserved
By Michael E. Getnick
President, New York State Bar Association
"Access to justice," "the rule of law" and "due process" are empty terms if the right to legal counsel and representation by counsel is denied. An attack on lawyers who fulfill their obligations despite the unpopularity of the cause or client is an attack on our system of justice.
Assure Assistance to Immigrants, Detainees
By Patricia M. Hynes
President, New York City Bar
Our treatment of immigrants has been front page news for years, and how to address the large undocumented population has been a particular flashpoint. But beyond the basic policy decisions that have to be made is the fundamental issue of how we treat individuals who are caught up in our immigration detention system or who must use our courts. In both areas, there are injustices that lawyers should not countenance.
Taking a Fresh Look at Indigent Defense
By Ann B. Lesk
President, New York County Lawyers' Association
Today we celebrate a legal system grounded in the principle that everyone appearing in our courts is entitled to a fair and impartial hearing. We must, however, recognize that at least one essential element of that system remains in serious crisis, threatened by budgetary concerns and burgeoning caseloads.
Diverse Society Needs Continued Support
By Peter P. Zeltner
President, Westchester County Bar Association
The population of the United States, and particularly New York, continues to evidence growth in cultural, ethnic and racial diversity that rivals the immigration waves this country experienced in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. With this new growth comes new challenges to society and, in particular, to our legal system.
Spirit of Public Service Must Be Maintained
By Jamila D. Smoot Burrell
President, Association of Black Women Attorneys Inc.
We cannot assume government funding for legal assistance will be restored to past levels or maintained in amounts commensurate with the public need. Our society and our world, however, simply cannot afford to allow lawyers, as a whole, to leave the tradition of public service behind.
Can Mandatory Volunteerism Work?
By M. Barry Levy
President, Network of Bar Leaders
Pro bono service by members of the bar has been an honored hallmark, and an enduring tradition of the legal profession, which, unfortunately, has not been adequate to meet the growing needs of the indigent. Enticing larger numbers of attorneys continues to be an enduring challenge that has been exacerbated by the current state of the economy.
Small Claims Pro Bono Arbitrators Needed
By Paul V. Nuccio
President, The Small Claims Arbitrators Association of the Civil Court of the City of New York
Since its creation in the mid-20th century, the Small Claims Part has provided the general public access to the court system without the need either to navigate a procedural maze or for legal representation. As a result, it has been colloquially re-named "the people's court," as evening after evening pro se litigants appear to have their cases decided by an army of volunteer attorneys doing the public good.
Technology Challenges Solo, Small Firms
By Guy R. Vitacco Jr.
President, Queens County Bar Association
With the advancement of the computer age and beyond, the legal profession has evolved and lawyers are forced to become hi-tech efficient in the practice of law. As president of the Queens County Bar Association I am aware that most of our members are small and solo practitioners. With the advancement of technology it has become more and more expensive to run a small and solo law office, with the computer age and all the expensive technology to keep up with the larger firms.
'Graying' Population Affects Practice Most
By Emily F. Franchina
President, Nassau County Bar Association
With clients "aging in place," and continuing to work in their 70s, 80s and beyond, our representation of seniors will require counsel to become sensitive and educated regarding capacity issues, availability of resources for health and housing, as well as personal and property decision making in addition to our usual substance areas of expertise.
Patent System Adapts to Complicated Science
By Donna M. Praiss
President, New York Women's Bar Association
In the context of the current emphasis on consumer access to therapeutics and health care in the near term through insurance initiatives such as the Health Care Reform Act, the importance of the "progress of science" sometimes seems to take a back seat to the cost of prescription drugs that embody some of today's important scientific discoveries.