Letters to the Editor

Plenty of Opportunity in Specialty Firms

A New York Law Journal article, "Midsize Firms Face Increased Pressure to Merge or Grow," suggests that the only way for many firms to survive in today's competitive environment is to expand. The article misses the point that, for many of us, bigger is not better.

Contract Lawyer Overtime Suits Raised Industry Awareness

By John Tarbox |

Even before recent cases on overtime pay for contract attorneys were resolved, law firms sought to make changes in contractor procedure. But now they are even more sensitive to this topic as it regularly comes up in client meetings.

Judith Kaye

Remembering Judith Kaye

By David Saxe |

Judith Kaye was a commanding presence and an astute legal thinker, an innovator and an acute strategist, able to reconcile disparate elements of her court into a controlling consensus. She was all those things, but that was only really a small part of a much larger picture.

Parole Board Drags Its Feet on COMPAS

In order to address the tragedy of mass incarceration, we must include in the conversation the issues of parole and release for incarcerated people.

A Career in Law That Almost Didn't Happen

By Aaron Twerski |

I was a Harvard teaching fellow in the 1966-67 school year. which in those times meant an almost automatic entre into a teaching position; five other teaching fellows that year received multiple offers from various law schools. It did not take much to figure out why I did not. I am a Chassidic Orthodox Jew. I wear a yarmulke, have a beard that was never trimmed and wear the classic Chassidic garb.

Given Risk to Client, Lawyer Should Let Dissent Speak for Him

Your coverage of the Appellate Division, First Department, decision in 'People v. Kindell' made me think about how an attorney should react when allegations of his incompetence give a client a chance to undo a 19 1/2 year-to-life jail sentence.

Sarah Kramer and her dad Herbert Kramer in his Riverside Drive apartment

Film Shows Pride of Practicing Law

It is wonderful to learn that Sarah Kramer, a documentary filmmaker, has prepared a film about the law practice and career of her father Herb Kramer.

The courthouses of the four divisions of New York's Appellate Division

Beware of 'Harmonizing' Attorney Discipline

By Leon Polsky |

The Commission on Statewide Attorney Discipline's advocacy of inter-departmental uniformity and the "harmonizing" of disciplinary sanctions smacks of the sentence uniformity of the federal sentencing guidelines, something which has been wisely and repeatedly rejected by New York.

Pro Bono Makes All the Difference in Family Matters

By Laura Israel Sinrod |

Justice Jeffrey Sunshine's moving, landmark decision in 'Alice M. v. Terrance T.' is about more than the impact of egregious conduct on the equitable distribution of the marital portion of a city worker's pension; it is also about access to economic justice and the right to counsel.

A Proposed Path to Ethics Reform

By Robert Tembeckjian |

When the Legislature returned to Albany last week for a new session, leaders in both houses declared that ethics reform was high on their agenda, and the governor has also made it a priority. In the wake of a numbing string of convictions by federal prosecutors against numerous legislators, it is no wonder.

It Is Important to Fill Vacancies in the Judiciary

By Roy L. Reardon |

It is unfortunate that the people of our great state have been denied the confirmation by the New York State Senate of the governor's appointment of Janet DiFiore as chief judge of the New York Court of Appeals.

Justice Denied When Court Calendars Are Unmanagable

By Leonard J. Levenson |

Although I generally practice criminal law in New York County, I recently had cause to appear in Civil Court Kings County. The experience was eye opening.

The Appellate Division, First Department, at 27 Madison Ave.

'Artcorp' and Curing Improper Assignments

By Menachem J. Kastner |

While I totally agree with the conclusions reached by the authors of "Yellowstone Injunctions: Timeliness is Critical" that the 'Reisenberger' court held that assignments are per se incurable, the authors' reasoning is questionable in light of the First Department's decision in 'Artcorp Inc. v. Citireach Realty Corp.'

The Benefits of New York City's Civil Rights Law

By Gregory Antollino |

It did take years for the plaintiff's bar to make the courts, both state and federal, aware of the uniqueness of the New York City Human Rights Law. But we shouldn't be discouraged by one disagreeable decision in a tough case.

A courtroom in the new Staten Island courthouse.

Court Clerks Deserve Raise, Contract

By Christopher A. DePietto |

As the second vice president of the New York State Court Clerks Association, I write to express dismay and frustration over the failure of the Office of Court Administration to reclassify the clerks' judicial grade and offer clerks a decent raise and contract.

The Reality of 'Matter of G.S.'

In a Nov. 20, 2015 article, "When Nursing Homes Use Guardianship Law to Collect Debts," Daniel G. Fish claimed that my firm filed a guardianship petition on behalf of a nursing home client for debt collection. This is not true.

An alcoholic drink next to car keys

Hit and Run Bill: A Positive Step, But Misses the Mark

By Steven B. Epstein |

The proposed "hit-and-run" bill approved by the New York State Senate and Assembly, awaiting signature by Gov. Andrew Cuomo, does not go far enough to accomplish its intended purpose.

Making a Settlement Agreement an Arbitration Award

By Louis Castellano |

Presently, more contracts and disputes are resolved by arbitration. However, I have had a situation where the contract provided for arbitration of disputes, but before the arbitration hearing was held, the case settled.

Correcting the Record on Eminent Domain Law in New York

This letter is written in response to the letter, "Burden of Proof in Condemnation Proceedings," by Fred Kolikoff, which states that my eminent domain article was incorrect, citing 'Grossman v. Rankin'. But 'Grossman' is not a condemnation case and is not analogous.

Burden of Proof in Condemnation Proceedings

By Fred Kolikoff |

Michael Rikon's recent column is incorrect insofar as he states that a claimant in a condemnation proceeding does not generally have a burden of proof.

Could Bar Exam Pass Rates Be Returning to Normal?

By Dwayne Thomas |

I think the characterization of bar exam pass rates as "down" is misleading. The high pass rates of the last 10 years were unusually high, while the more recent results mirror historical averages.

How Structured Settlement Companies Work

While the article "Paralegal Indicted for Forging Signatures of 76 Judges" makes a key point about the importance of a regulated process to protect the best interests of injured people, we would like to clarify the role of structured settlement companies.

A courtroom in the new Staten Island courthouse.

Time to Re-evaluate Judicial Invocations of a Deity

By Brian Graifman |

A recent rash of government employees and politicians citing religion and its government-intertwining as a basis for refusals to perform legal duties makes imperative a serious reevaluation of judicial invocations of a deity.

PBI Offers Guidance on Pro Bono for Social Enterprises

By Tamela J. Taylor |

While we are usually delighted to see coverage of pro bono in the media, we were troubled by inaccuracies about our work in an earlier article, which said the Pro Bono Institute provides "little guidance" regarding the eligibility of for-profit businesses for pro bono services.

The System's Harsh Treatment of Poor and Disadvantaged

By Leonard Levenson |

When do we stop dehumanizing our poor, our disadvantaged and our powerless? This question took on a painful meaning for me last week.

Tenants, Landlords Not Equal Under New City Law

By David Hershey-Webb |

In stating that the new law anti-harassment provisions adopted by the New York City Council relating to buy-outs protects tenants but not landlords, Warren Estis and Jeffrey Turkel make the common mistake of suggesting that the bargaining positions of tenants and landlords are equal.

Drafts Not Required for Retention Under Appraisal Standards

By Fred Kolikoff |

In his article, Michael Rikon suggests that the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice requires an appraiser to retain copies of all draft, preliminary, or incomplete reports. However, this is not true.

Why the City's Credit Check Law Is Necessary

The authors of the essay "City's New Credit Check Law Is Unnecessary" got one thing right—New York City's law is the strongest in the country. But the argument that this law is unnecessary is naïve, at best, and dishonest, at worst.

City's Credit Law Tackles Serious Discrimination

The article "City's New Credit Check Law Is Unnecessary" unfortunately gets a whole lot wrong about New York City's newly-enacted employment credit checks ban.

Next Steps to Achieve Marriage Equality: Train Local Judges

By Daniel S. Alter |

It would be naïve to think that the Supreme Court's decision blew through state courthouses across this nation like a cleansing breeze, instantaneously sweeping away harmful stereotypes and stagnant bias against same-sex relationships.