Legal subjects as varied as the harsh realities of the reentry for military personnel returning to civilian life and the rights of celebrities to preserve their images after death will be explored over the course of the New York State Bar Association's annual meeting this week.
More than 4,000 attorneys are expected to attend the conference, which began yesterday and runs through Jan. 26 at the Hilton New York in Manhattan.
The House of Delegates, the policy-setting body for the 76,000-member bar group, will hold one of its four yearly meetings in conjunction with the annual conference on Jan. 25. At that time, Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman will make a presentation in tribute to Theodore Jones Jr., the Court of Appeals judge who died in November (NYLJ, Nov. 7).
And the Criminal Justice Section on Jan. 24 will posthumously award Jones its Vincent E. Doyle Jr. Award for Outstanding Judicial Contribution in the Criminal Justice System.
Another main event of the meeting is tomorrow's Presidential Summit, where the bar group's president, Seymour James Jr., has set the agenda for discussion of issues he considers of particular importance. This year's summit will be divided between a speech and panel discussion on how lawyers can assist veterans in meeting the challenges associated with their military service and a session on how voting laws can be improved to boost voter participation.
James said the presentation concerning veterans will be "kind of a primer" for lawyers to better understand the special legal needs of veterans, particularly those returning from the Middle East, and how lawyers can help meet those needs.
Among the civil and criminal legal problems encountered by service personnel are post-traumatic stress disorder, unemployment, consumer debt, substance abuse and stress in family situations, said James, attorney-in-charge of the criminal practice for the Legal Aid Society.
The keynote speaker will be David Sutherland, a retired colonel who was once special assistant to the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff for family and soldier support. He will also participate in a panel discussion on veterans' legal needs. The panel includes Judge Robert Russell, who operates the first Veterans Treatment Court established by the Unified Court System.
Those on the voter participation panel include Jeremy Creelan, special counsel who focuses on ethics and integrity-in-government issues for Governor Andrew Cuomo. The panel will be moderated by Daniel Kolb of Davis, Polk & Wardwell and John Dunne of Whiteman Osterman & Hanna in Albany.
Kolb and Dunne were cochairs of a Special Committee on Voter Participation appointed by James to develop recommendations on improving voter turnout. The special committee will present its report for consideration by the House of Delegates on Jan. 25.