July August 2012 New York County Lawyer
Work-life balance has been a topic of much interest over the last several years, and we have devoted this issue of the New York County Lawyer to discussing what it is and how to achieve it during different parts of your career. Whether you have tried-and-true methods of achieving it or are a disbeliever, we invite you to flip through this issue and read about the insights that our authors provide.
COUNTY LAWYER NEW YORK July/August 2012 Visit us at www.nycla.org Work-Life Balance According to WorkLifeBalance.com, “the best work-life balance is different for all of us because we all have different priorities and different lives.” Work-life balance has been a topic of much interest over the last several years, and we have devoted this issue to discussing what it is and how to achieve it during different parts of your career. Whether you have tried-and-true methods of achieving it or are a disbeliever, we invite you to flip through this issue and read about the insights that our authors provide. NYCLA Board Member, practicing lawyer, wife and mother of three children, Dyan M. FinguerraDuCharme, offers advice about balancing work and family life in the article below, while on page 7, a lawyer-turned-recruiter shares tips on finding a job with balance that works for you. On page 11, Jennifer Yoon, a NYCLA member and newly admitted-attorney, shares how while starting out, newly-admitted attorneys can achieve coveted balance. Many wonder how I balance my personal life with the demands of my legal practice, as well as the demands placed upon me as head of Arnold & Porter’s New York office and President of NYCLA. I try to achieve this balance by treating my of your client work. There are many bar association-related activities where you can socialize, even with the lawyers who may be your adversaries in pending cases. Establishing relationships with your peers will lead to better communications and better results for your clients in terms of efficiencies, cooperation, and the like. Stewart D. Aaron President, New York County Lawyers’ Association personal obligations the same way I treat my client obligations. As an experiment, I suggest that you place on your calendar every Wednesday evening dinner with your spouse, your family or your significant other, and aim to keep that appointment just like you’d keep any appointment with a client. Of course, you may inevitably get pulled away by a court or client crisis, but if you prioritize your personal life the same as you prioritize your client obligations, you will maximize your life’s enjoyment. I also recommend spending time with your fellow lawyers outside the context Bar association-related activities can also provide a welcome outlet for your hidden passions. As for me, I like to sing with my fellow lawyers in musical performances that are held a few times a year, or at a local karaoke bar. It certainly can relieve stress to belt out a Neil Diamond classic. Achieving work-life balance in some ways gets easier as you advance in your career, but it also can create more stress. As you attain more seniority, it is important that you learn to delegate work to those with whom you work and to trust that they will get the work done. If you insist on doing everything yourself, you will be needlessly stressed, and your client work will suffer. Tweet me @NYCLAPres and share how you achieve work-life balance. Volume 7 / Number 14 I N S I D E Balancing Career and Family Life 1 Time Management Tips 5 Work Stressors and Solutions 6 Where Work & Life Converge 11 T A B L E O F C O N T E N T S Balancing Career and Family Life ...........1 CLE Programs ..........................................4 Collaborative Divorce Law.....................12 Balancing Career and Family Life Court of Appeals Vacancy ......................11 Ethics Hotline .........................................13 Dyan M. Finguerra-DuCharme holds many posts. She is a wife, a mother of three children (11, 9, and 5), a member of the NYCLA Foundation Board of Directors and NYCLA Board of Directors, and Counsel at White & Case LLP specializing in intellectual property litigation. She offers readers first-hand advice on balancing work and family life. Q-What is the best type of environment to work in if you have a family and are seeking work/life balance? Is it possible in any size firm? A- In my experience, the best type of environment is one that does not place a premium on “face time” but instead expects that you will get the job done well, regardless of where you do it. It is possible in any size firm – it just depends on the firm’s culture and expectations. I have worked at large and mid-sized law firms and have found that as long as I meet deadlines and turnaround excellent work product, the partners and clients for whom I worked do not care if I drafted the brief in the office or at home. Q-What is the best way to go about negotiating a flexible schedule with an High School Essay ................................13 Library Notes..........................................10 Message from Barbara Moses, President of the NYCLA Foundation ...........................3 Message from Stewart Aaron, President of NYCLA ....................................................1 New Publication .....................................12 NYCLA in the News ................................3 Public Policy Update ..............................13 Recent Events ...........................................8 employer? A- Have a plan as to what your schedule will be and how you will be able to meet your employer’s demands. Present the plan instead of seeking guidance on the plan. A good plan, however, will recognize and account for unexpected demands. It can’t be a rigid plan – “Every Thursday will be my day off” – a part-time lawyer needs to be flexible and expect to do some work on his or her day off and/or change the schedule to meet the demands of clients or a court deadline. Time Management Tips ............................5 Q-What do you believe is the biggest obstacle lawyers face in maintaining work/life balance? A- Maintaining one’s sanity! It’s not easy and it doesn’t ease up as the kids grow. The demands just change. When the kids were babies, the hardest part was keeping them quiet and occupied during a conference call. Now that they (See Balancing Career & Family on Page 12) Tips from a Recruiter................................7 Upcoming Events .....................................2 Where Work & Life Converge ...............11 Work Stressors and Solutions...................6 2 July/August 2012 / The New York County Lawyer July/August 2012 / The New York County Lawyer MESSAGE FROM BARBARA MOSES PRESIDENT OF THE NYCL A FOUNDATION Law School. We are grateful for every contribution and promise to make your charitable dollars go a long way. Dear Friends: Summer is upon us. Perhaps the pace of work has slowed a bit—or not. Perhaps you are looking forward to a welldeserved vacation—or just thinking about it. Either way, NYCLA can help you refresh, recharge, and recalibrate your work-life balance. When was the last time you read a novel? Don’t wait until you get to the beach—join NYCLA’s Law & Literature Committee, pick up a copy of “Dark Fire,” by C.J. Sansom, and immerse yourself in an intricate plot mixing murder, alchemy, and 16th-century politics, set in Tudor London. The Committee meets on July 19 at the Home of Law. Still feeling a bit shy socially? Perhaps you should have attended the scotch-tasting sponsored by the Young Lawyers’ Section and the Scottish Bar Association of New York in May. Watch the website—or, better yet, join the Young Lawyers’ Section—to keep abreast of section mixers and networking events. Need a little retail therapy? NYCLA members get a 15 percent discount at Brooks Brothers and Adrienne Vittadini stores. Sign up through the Membership/Member Discount tabs on the NYCLA website. That’s also where you’ll find discounted gym memberships at Crunch Fitness, Equinox, the New York Health & Racquet Club, and New York Sports Club. Now what’s your excuse? As you know, your dues do not cover all of NYCLA’s programs and services. We depend on your contributions (made to the NYCLA Foundation, which is recognized by the IRS as a 501(c)(3) organization) to carry out the programs that make us proud to be members of NYCLA. Long-time members Glenn Lau-Kee, Vilia Hayes, and Susan B. Lindenauer showed their pride by donating to the Foundation early in 2012. So did Hadas Jacobi, who joined NYCLA in 2011—the same year she graduated from Columbia You too can make donations—in any amount you choose—simply by going to http://www.nycla.org and clicking on “Giving to NYCLA.” You can also mail a check, payable to “NYCLA Foundation,” to NYCLA Foundation, 14 Vesey Street, New York, NY 10007. We are pleased to say “thank you” with a selection of DVDs, books, prints, and other gifts described on our web site. Since the NYCLA Foundation is recognized by the IRS as a 501(c)(3) organization, gifts are deductible to the extent provided by law. NYCLA needs both your support and your ideas. Please do not hesitate to contact me with suggestions for fundraising or related topics. You can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Sincerely, Barbara Moses President of the NYCLA Foundation NYCLA In The News A roundup of recent national and local news stories featuring NYCLA and its members An in-depth feature on The United States District Court for the Southern District of New York: A Retrospective (20002010), recently published by NYCLA, was posted in the Legal section of this web site. Thomson Reuters News & Insight History Lesson June 8, 2012 A NYCLA Ethics opinion is mentioned in articles about research of jurors via social media. Abajournal.com Ethics Opinion Warns Lawyers About Perils of Unintentional Juror Contact During Online Research June 5, 2012 Thomson Reuters News & Insights NYC bar limits jury research on social media June 4, 2012 NYCLA is mentioned with other bar associations and local organizations that joined the Committee for Modern Courts Coalition for Court Simplification. New York Law Journal Advocates Urge Constitutional Amendment to Reshape State’s ‘Archaic’ Court System June 4, 2012 A photo taken of first-place winner Neil Alacha of Brooklyn Technical High School at NYCLA’s annual high school essay contest ran in this outlet. New York Law Journal NYCLA Honors Essay Winners May 11, 2012 A letter by NYCLA’s President to readers of this paper shared the accomplishments of the organization in the past year. Metropolitan Corporate Counsel Letter from The President of the New York County Lawyers’ Association May 17, 2012 This outlet mentioned how at NYCLA’s Annual meeting, its Task Force on Judicial Budget Cuts would be presenting Unsung Heroes Awards to honor non-judicial members of the state and federal court system who have distinguished themselves in the exemplary performance of their duties during these difficult times of reduced resources and increased caseloads. Metropolitan Corporate Counsel NYCLA Presents Unsung Heroes Awards at Annual Meeting May 18, 2012 3 NEW YORK COUNTY LAWYER Stewart D. Aaron President Sophia J Gianacoplos Executive Director Toni Valenti Director of Marketing and Membership Development Ariella Greenbaum Editor Senior Communications and Social Media Manager New York County Lawyer is published by Long Islander Newspapers under the auspices of the New York County Lawyers’ Association. For advertising information, call 631-427-7000. 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Photo Credits Ariella Greenbaum 4 July/August 2012 / The New York County Lawyer CLE INSTITUTE Upcoming CLE Programs Bridge the Gap 1 Consecutive Fridays, July 13 and 20; 9 a.m.-5 p.m. 16 MCLE Credits; 3 Ethics; 6 Skills; 7 PP/LPM; Transitional and Non-transitional Bridge the Gap 2 Consecutive Fridays, August 10 and 17; 9 a.m.-5 p.m. 16 MCLE Credits; 3 Ethics; 6 Skills; 7 PP/LPM; Transitional and Non-transitional New Jersey Bridge the Gap Wednesday and Thursday, August 22 & 23; 9 a.m.-5 p.m. 15 MCLE Credits in 5 of 9 Specified Practice Areas; Transitional and Nontransitional Summer Video Replay Series VR: Ethical Issues in Immigration Practice Tuesday, July 24, 2012; 5:30– 8:30 p.m. 3 MCLE Credits: 3 Ethics; Non-transitional VR: Co-op and Condo Law and Practice: A View From Both Sides Thursday, August 2; 5:30 -8:30 p.m. 3 MCLE Credits: 1 Ethics; 2 Skills; Nontransitional Breakfast with NYCLA Video Replay: Ethical Issues in Elder Law and Special Needs Planning Wednesday, August 1; 8:30-10:30 a.m. 2 MCLE Credits: 2 Ethics; Non-transitional Video Replay Marathons Civil Trial Practice Institute Consecutive Tuesdays and Wednesdays, July 10, 11,17, 18; 5:30-8:30 p.m. 15.5 MCLE Credits; 3 Ethics; 6 Skills; 6.5 PP/LPM; Non-transitional 4th Annual Art Litigation and Dispute Resolution Practice Institute Friday, July 27, 2012; 9 a.m.-5 p.m. 7.5 MCLE Credits: 3 Ethics; 1 Skills; 3.5 PP; Non-transitional Criminal Trial Advocacy Institute Consecutive Tuesday and Wednesdays, August 7, 8, 14, 15; 5:30-8:30 p.m. 15 MCLE Credits: 3 Ethics; 6 Skills; 6 PP; Non-transitional NYCLA’s CLE Institute now an Accredited Provider in New Jersey New York County Lawyers’ Association’s CLE Institute is currently certified as an Accredited Provider of continuing legal education in the State New Jersey. Courses qualifying for CLE credit in New Jersey will be so designated on the NYCLA website. Be sure to consult www.nycla.org for program details and program locations. SAVE THE DATE: Bridge the Gap – 4 Evening Series, September 13, 20, 27, October 3 Stress Management for Lawyers, Monday, September 10 Local Law 87 Energy Audits and Retro Commissioning, Wednesday morning, September 12 Please note that Tuition Assistance is available for qualified attorneys for live programs offered by the CLE Institute. Check our website at www.nycla.org for more information and how to apply for Tuition Assistance. Check our website for course details, faculty, complete program descriptions and pricing. Be sure to check our website for a complete listing of programs. July/August 2012 / The New York County Lawyer 5 Are You a Lawyer or a Chicken Without a Head? By Elise Holtzman, Esq., ACC When’s the last time you heard yourself say that you’re overloaded, crazed, or running around like a chicken without a head trying to get everything done? If you’re like many attorneys, you’ve probably declared something similar very recently. Twenty-four hours per day just doesn’t feel like enough. Do any of these thoughts sound familiar? • I am overwhelmed with tasks and responsibilities. • There just isn’t enough time in the day for me to get it all done. • I have no control over my time. • If I want it done right, I have to do it myself. • Others are so demanding – I am expected to be all things to all people. • If I say no, others will think I’m lazy and won’t respect me. • I have to multitask or nothing will ever get done. We’ve all heard the old adage “time equals money.” Nowhere is that more true than in the practice of law, in which most attorneys bill by the hour and pressure to be time efficient can be intense. While poorly managing your time can impact the bottom line, the stress resulting from being overwhelmed and overloaded can also be hazardous to your physical and emotional health and cause harm to your clients and reputation. Here are six proven tips to help you take control of your schedule. Even implementing one of them is sure to have a positive impact. Be Priority-Focused. Don’t just work on client matters, work on what matters. We often attend to tasks that seem urgent even if they aren’t critical and neglect important issues simply because they haven’t risen to the level of an emergency. Just because the phone rings, the e-mail pings, or someone stops by for a visit doesn’t mean that’s what should get your attention. Identify what really matters and get busy. Do the Worst First. Admit it. You do the easy, pleasant tasks first and let the big hairy beasts hang over your head all day, creating dread and worry. Do yourself a favor and get your least appealing work done earlier in the day. Eliminating the stress early on will make the rest of your day seem like a cakewalk. Implement a Daily “Productivity Hour.” Regularly set aside time when you are unavailable to others. Sound like heresy? Imagine how much work you will get done when you have one uninterrupted hour each day to focus on critical issues without being distracted. Educate those around you to respect your time and help them get on board by letting them know when you will be available again. Delegate When Appropriate. If you fall into the “if I want something done right, I have to do it myself” trap, you are wasting your time and energy and your clients’ money. Always ask yourself what the best use of your time is, and include delegating as part of your plan. Select the right person for the job and provide all the information needed to perform the task properly. Then, monitor progress, offer suggestions, and solicit feedback from your delegate to make things go even more smoothly next time. Plan for the future by accepting the short-term cost of the time and energy needed to train someone. Have a To-Do List System, Not Just a To-Do List. Do you write your to-do list on the backs of envelopes, sticky notes, or whatever else is lying around? Create efficiencies and reduce stress by having one ongoing list. Update your list at the end of the day instead of the beginning; your list will be more accurate and, with all your bases covered, you’ll have a more relaxing evening. Elise Holtzman, Esq., ACC, The Lawyer’s Success Coach and the founder of The Lawyer’s Edge, helps lawyers achieve greater career success and satisfaction through one-to-one coaching, seminars, and CLE programs designed specifically for attorneys. For more information and a free special report which will get you on the right track, visit www.thelawyersedge.com or contact Elise at email@example.com. Take control of technology so it doesn’t control you. Increase your efficiency by minimizing the distraction of telephones, e-mail, and other technology designed to make your life “easier.” Something as simple as turning off email signals, cleaning out your inbox once a week, or checking your e-mail at predetermined intervals can make a huge difference. Don’t feel obligated to answer the phone every time it rings; you can call back later. Instead of playing phone tag, use e-mail to arrange telephone appointments for a certain time and then set an agenda to move the call to its conclusion. Technology is here to help you, not control you. In Remembrance This spring, the New York legal community was saddened by the passing of two former NYCLA Presidents—Daniel C. Draper, former Partner at Cadwalader, Wickersham and Taft, who served as President from 1984 to 1986, and Casimir “Caz” C. Patrick II, former Partner at White and Case., who served as Vice President from 1988 to 1993 and President from 1994 to 1995. NYCLA.org DUFFY & POSILLICO AGENCY INC. Court Bond Specialists BONDS * BONDS * BONDS * BONDS Administration • Appeal • Executor • Guardianship Over 8,000 patents granted Over 15,000 trademarks obtained Over 45 years of experience Injunction • Conservator • Lost Instrument Stay • Mechanic’s Lien • Plaintiff & Defendant’s Bonds Serving Attorneys since 1975 Complete Bonding Facilities or e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org IMMEDIATE SERVICE! 1-800-841-8879 FAX: 516-741-6311 1 Birchwood Court • Mineola, NY 11501 (Across from Nassau County Courts) NYC Location: 108 Greenwich Street, New York, NY 10006 6 July/August 2012 / The New York County Lawyer Work/Life Balance for Lawyers: Myth or Reality? By Cynthia Devasia, Esq. and Andreas Koutsoudakis, Esq. As a lawyer it’s difficult, and some might say nearly impossible, to maintain a healthy balance between your professional and personal life. With long hours, merciless deadlines, and billable hour requirements, you may feel that you have no time at all for a personal life. However, maintaining a healthy work-life balance is possible. It is crucial to your success as a lawyer, and there could be serious consequences if you are not able to do so. Many studies and statistics show that the demands of a legal career can take a significant toll on lawyers. One Johns Hopkins University study found that lawyers tend to experience higher incidences of depression compared to people practicing other professions. A famous North Carolina Bar Association study showed that nearly 20 percent of lawyers in that jurisdiction had an alcohol dependency and over 10 percent of lawyers contemplated suicide at least once a month. An equally well-quoted study of Washington lawyers found that one third of lawyers suffer from depression, drinking, or substance abuse. One need not rely on studies and statistics alone. A lawyer can easily witness first hand the consequences of failing to maintain a healthy work-life balance: burnout, career dissatisfaction, physical and mental health issues, lack of a social life, and failed relationships—all which are unfortunately common. In their personal lives, lawyers may not have the time (or energy) to main- tain friendships, develop personal relationships, and have families. For those who do, the stressors of work can often spill over into their personal lives and adversely impact their friendships, relationships, and families. In their professional lives, many lawyers are often dissatisfied with their career choice and decide to leave the profession entirely. Others continue to work through this dissatisfaction, which can be a disservice as it can lead to counterproductive work behaviors and leave an attorney struggling to meet the demands of the job. Lack of focus increases the chance that mistakes will be made. Lawyers pay a physical price as well. Long hours and heavy workloads don’t leave much time for healthy eating habits or exercise. Insomnia, irritability, and fatigue can easily become the norm. Thus, it is crucial that lawyers find ways to balance work and life so they don’t fall victim to these pitfalls. Whether you are just beginning your career as an attorney, or you have been practicing for years, efficient use of your time is essential to creating a healthy work-life balance, which will ultimately result in your success and happiness—both professionally and personally. First things first: If you managed to get through law school, then you probably learned a thing or two about work ethic. As a lawyer, the rules are not that different—work first, play second. Of course, the more efficient you are at work, the more time you will have Attorney Seeking Entry Level/ Internship Position Recently admitted NY attorney seeks entry- level position/internship in criminal or civil litigation • New York Law School – Moot Court & Trial Advocacy • John Jay Bachelor of Arts in Criminology, cum laude • Exceptional interpersonal & communication skills • Unwavering dedication and outstanding work ethic Deborah Hertz (917) 280-6927 email@example.com to enjoy your life outside of work. As lawyers, we appreciate the importance of good organization and time-management skills. This means making sure you are aware and keep track of all your open projects, and that you create an action plan with deadlines for all open tasks and set aside specific time periods to complete these tasks. Only then will you be able, storing this amount of information meant hundreds of thousands of dollars in data servers. Now, however, employers can access this amazing technology for a fraction of the cost of data servers. Such a solution allows employees to work from home, with access to everything they would have at the office, since the office is now wherever the employee has access to the Internet and a computer. With the explosive spread of smartphones, PDAs, and tablets, attorneys can now do more reading, research, and communications while on the go. For example, before the availability of tablets such as the iPad, compliance conferences in state court usually meant spending two hours waiting in the Central Compliance Part without the ability to do anything other than read the newspaper. Now you can sit in the back row with your iPad, research seamlessly using Lexis Advance, and review and respond to e-mails. When you get back to the office, you are ready to immediately begin working on your next task, instead of doing the tasks you already completed while waiting for your case to be called at the conference. able to incorporate time for your personal life as well. While organization and time-management skills are important, the essential aspect of efficiency is the ability to use resources that make your day-to-day tasks easier and less time consuming. With the advances in technology, there are now a multitude of resources available to help you maintain a proper work-life balance that allow for a more productive work-from-home arrangement; the ability to do work during situations where employees would otherwise be unable to; and better relationship maintenance and management. In the legal profession, employers are capitalizing on alternative work arrangements by embracing technological advancements. Specifically, job sharing and work-from-home arrangements are now more realistic and efficient options for both employers and employees. New technologies provide solutions that allow employers to reduce their payroll expenses, and employees to spend less time at the office and maintain optimal productivity levels, while having more time for their personal lives. One major technology-based solution is cloud computing. This technology allows companies to store documents in a “cloud” and offer access to specific persons from anywhere on the planet. For example, a law firm can now create an account with a cloud computing service provider, upload all of the firms documents into the cloud, and provide its attorneys with access to their respective matters from anywhere in the world. Before cloud technology became avail- Finally, technology has been critical to the ability of attorneys to maintain and manage their personal and professional relationships. Social networking technologies provide more than simply another way to communicate with others. As busy professionals, sites such as LinkedIn and Facebook allow attorneys to keep up to date with activities, accomplishments, and interests of their peers, friends, and colleagues, while also providing a platform through which they can build new relationships. Social networking sites allow busy professionals to send short messages to individuals they wish to maintain relationships with, without having to set aside time to speak with others over the telephone. Of course, there is no replacement to spending time with a friend, peer, or colleague in person; however, this technology provides individuals with a convenient way to keep up with others without sacrificing friendships and relationships. In sum, these technologies provide timesaving solutions that will allow lawyers to maintain a healthier work-life balance. To do so, it is important to think about the areas in which technology can help you. Begin by examining the areas you believe you need to become more efficient in. The more areas in which you can improve your work efficiency, the more time you will have to enjoy recreational activities that are not work related. After all, “work first, play second” only makes sense if you actually have some time to play. Cynthia Devasia and Andreas Koutsoudakis practice labor and employment law at Koehler & Isaacs LLP. Devasia is a NYCLA member and participates in the Association’s Law-Related Education Committee. Correction In our profile of Jonathan Pressment (Page 5, New Board, June), Mr. Pressment’s education was incorrectly stated. He received his B.A., with honors, from Brown University. July/August 2012 / The New York County Lawyer Finding the Right Fit Tips from a recruiter for finding your balance By Ariella Greenbaum The level of work-life balance one achieves varies from industry to industry and from lawyer to lawyer, depending on personal needs and obligations and the point in a person’s career. Everyone has a different sense of what work-life balance is but no matter what level of work-life balance you’re looking to achieve, it’s important to know how you can find the balance that’s right for you. Kim Powe, Esq., a Director of Recruiting in the New York office of Lexolution, a contract legal staffing firm, offers a unique perspective on work-life balance for lawyers— from personal and professional experience. She practiced in a law firm for five years and then in the corporate world for 10 years before joining the recruiting firm in 2003. In her first few years as a lawyer, she worked long hours—often until 11 p.m. or midnight—but once in a blue moon she would leave the office at 5 p.m. She will never forget the time she ran into a partner on her way out the door on one of those days when she left “early” who joked around with her about “working a half day.” Worklife balance—something that is coveted by many at all stages of a legal career—was limited for her then as a young lawyer and is for many lawyers out there today, at various stages in their careers, who believe it’s impossible to achieve. Not true, says Powe. Although there are a limited number of jobs within the legal field, she says that there are now more opportunities which offer employees more flexibility for work-life balance vs. a decade or two ago, and that employees have the ability to obtain this flexibility. Lawyers looking for more balance can seek out in-house positions because the hours are often not as intense as those at law firms. She talks about her transition from a law firm to an in-house position, and how the culture there was vastly different from her previous employer. “For a while after changing jobs from a firm to an in-house position, I felt like I was on vacation because I was able to leave work at 6 p.m.” For lawyers who prefer firm work as opposed to in-house work but seek more work-life balance, Powe recommends looking into staff attorney positions which offer more predictability in terms of type of work and hours than the traditional associate positions at firms. Powe says that many practice groups are hiring former lawyers to create professional development programs within practice areas, an opportunity for experienced lawyers looking for non-practicing positions at firms. Temporary work also allows a lawyer more control when seeking work-life balance, providing full-time work without the pressures of a permanent job. Although the bread and butter of temporary legal staffing is document review, there are also many substantive corporate litigation, real estate, trusts and estates, and tax positions available, among others, and often these positions offer more flexibility such as the option to work from home. She says at the end of the day, the best way to find the job that’s right for you, whether it is temporary, full-time, or part-time, is through networking. As we all know, it’s very tough to find a job in the legal field right now, so you are going to have to stretch yourself and do things you might not ordinarily do, like ask a neighbor if they know someone who is hiring. Talk to as many people as possible in order to build connections and find the right fit. Once you have your foot in the door for a job, you can use your intuition to feel out the level of work-life balance a position can offer you. Ask questions about the culture of the organization during the interview process but be careful about asking direct questions regarding work-life balance at this point in the interview process. Powe recommends that lawyers at most levels of their careers save those for the end of the process, with the exception of newly admitted attorneys who should avoid bringing up work-life balance at all since there are so few jobs at this level. You do not want to give the impression of being lazy or high maintenance. If you’re working with a recruiter, take advantage of his or her familiarity with the company you’re interviewing with—they have the history of the company hiring and can help you answer dicey questions about certain things, such as telecommuting or hours. Even when bringing up questions about work-life balance when an offer is on the table, be careful and ask questions in a subtle way. For example, if you’re trying to determine whether you’ll have to be available 24/7, Powe suggests asking something like, “Will I be required to carry a BlackBerry?” Such questions will give you hints to see what will be required and will help you form a decision about whether or not you want to take the job. The more established you are in your career, the easier it is to ask these questions. Also use your intuition to pick up on the vibe coming from a prospective employer. Pay attention to what they say and how they say it. If a hiring manager is talking about how overwhelmed with work they are and how much help they need, it might be a sign that there is a lack of work-life balance at this particular company. On the other hand, if worklife balance is truly a part of the firm’s or company’s culture, when you are interviewing there, the hiring manager or employees you’re interviewing with will likely bring it up as a selling point and will try to use benefits such as child-care facilities, telecommuting, or summer Fridays to lure you in. Powe encourages candidates to remain optimistic and open minded. “Believe that you will find a job that will offer you balance— maybe it’s not exactly what you want, but something you can live with. And be flexible and keep your eyes open for people who you can talk to about your search wherever you go so you can find that right position.” Greenbaum is NYCLA’s Senior Communications & Social Media Manager. 7 The New York Center for Neuropsychology & Forensic Behavioral Science Dr. N.G. Berrill, Director [ Over 25 Years \ Providing Consultation to Attorneys & the Courts on Psycho-legal Matters • Criminal Cases: Competency Issues, Criminal Responsibility, Extreme Emotional Disturbance, Risk Assessment, Sex Offender Workups & Dispositional Planning • Matrimonial & Family Court Cases: Custody/Visitation, Neglect/Abuse, Termination, Delinquency, Family Violence, & Adoptions • Civil Cases: Competency Issues, Head Trauma, Sexual Harassment, Discrimination, Immigration, & Post-Traumatic Stress Disorders Comprehensive Diagnostic & Treatment Services MAIN OFFICE 26 Court Street, Suite 1711, Brooklyn, NY 11242 718-237-2127 LONG ISLAND OFFICE 45 North Station Plaza, Suite 404, Great Neck, NY 11021 516-504-0018 MANHATTAN 139 Manhattan Avenue, New York, NY 10025 212-280-3706 WWW.NYFORENSIC.COM firstname.lastname@example.org 8 July/August 2012 / The New York County Lawyer RECENT EVENTS Annual Meeting Honors and Celebrates NYCLA members gathered at the Association’s Annual Meeting on May 24 to install officers and Board Members, honor members of the legal community, and celebrate accomplishments of the year past. Musical Group Entertains Annual Meeting Attendees Unsung Heroes of the Court System Honored at Annual Meeting Recipients of NYCLA’s Unsung Heroes Award are honored at NYCLA’s Annual Meeting on May 24 for their exemplary performance of duties during these difficult times of reduced resources and increased caseloads by NYCLA’s Task Force on Judicial Budget Cuts. Honorees were from the United States District Court, Southern District of New York; New York County Supreme Court; United States District Court, Eastern District of New York; New York City Surrogate’s Court; New York City Civil Court; New York City Criminal Court; and New York City Family Court. After officers and members of the Board were inducted and awards were presented, NYCLA’s President Stewart D. Aaaron (left), member Peter W. Dizozza (second from left); Foundation Board Member Martha Cohen Stine (second from right); and Rita Wasserstein Warner (right), NYCLA Board Member, sang a tune and entertained the crowd of over 200 Annual Meeting attendees. NYCLA Leaders Educate Youth at Conference Photo right: Conference attendees listen to Anthony Crowell, Dean and President, New York Law School, give opening remarks before activities kicked off. Photo left: Hon. Joseph Kevin McKay (left), Vice Chair of NYCLA’s Justice Center and NYCLA Board Member, poses with Anthony Crowell (center), Dean and President, New York Law School, and Hon. Richard Lee Price (right), Chair of NYCLA’s Law-Related Education Committee, at the NYCLA and Justice Resource Center-sponsored NYC Youth Law Conference on May 25 at New York Law School. Each gave Welcoming Remarks at the conference attended by 130 high school students from around New York City who came to learn about “Rights and Wrongs: What You and the Justice System Can Do About Discrimination.” July/August 2012 / The New York County Lawyer RECENT EVENTS NYCLA Awards Winners of New York City Public High School Essay Contest Neil Alacha, first-place winner of NYCLA’s 18th Annual New York City High School Essay Contest, is congratulated by Law-Related Education Committee Chair, Hon. Richard Lee Price (right), and NYCLA’s President, Stewart D. Aaron (left) at the Essay Contest award ceremony on May 9. Alacha and the other winners gathered at the Home of Law for a ceremony and reception honoring them. The competition, created by the Law-Related Education Committee, awarded honors to ten high school students for essays judged on the basis of content and writing. Members of NYCLA’s Law-Related Education Committee and teachers from the students’ high schools presented the awards. Federal Courts Committee Hosts SDNY District Executive The Honorable Edward Friedland (second from right), District Executive for the Southern District of New York, served as guest speaker at the May 22 Federal Courts Committee meeting hosted by Hal Kennedy (right) of Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP. Also pictured are Ruby J. Krajick (second from left), Clerk of Court for the Southern District, and Committee Chair, Gregg Kanter (left). Matrimonial Section Honors Lambda Legal Counsel at Spring Cocktail Party At the Matrimonial Section Spring Cocktail Party on June 6 at Battery Gardens Restaurant, Section Co-Chairs, Frederic Schneider, Esq. (second from left) and Briana Denney, Esq. (second from right), event Chair, Charlotte Lee, Esq. (right), and Section member, Bonnie Rabin, Esq. (left) welcome honoree Susan Sommer, Esq., (center) Senior Counsel and Director of Constitutional Litigation at Lambda Legal. 9 10 July/August 2012 / The New York County Lawyer LIBRARY NOTES Researching Varietals If you are like many others, you may go home at the end of a busy day and relax by enjoying a glass of wine. While most people sipping at the glass are thinking of color, bouquet, nose, and other attributes of the beverage at hand, as a lawyer, you might be thinking about research sources for wine and the law. The wine industry is very heavily regulated on the federal and state level in the United States and also in other countries supporting viticulture. Should you have an interest in this area of law, you can check out the following web sites which provide guidance on aspects of wine law. • Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau of the U.S Department of the Treasury http://www.ttb.gov/wine/wine_regs.shtml This site provides easy access to the relevant CFR sections, and U.S. Code Title 26 –Internal Revenue Code and Title 27-Intoxicating Liquors. • Stoel Rives LLP http://www.stoel.com This law firm, with offices in seven states, represents over 250 wineries and vineyards. From the researcher’s point of view, see the three firm produced volumes available on the site in PDF format: Electronic Research Center CLE Programs Unless otherwise noted, courses are free and open to the public July August Westlaw: Basic July 10 – 10-11 a.m. 1 MCLE Credit: 1 Skills; Transitional Westlaw: Basic August 7 – 10-11 a.m. 1 MCLE Credit: 1 Skills; Transitional Westlaw: Real Estate Research July 10 - 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. 1 MCLE Credit: 1 Skills; Transitional Westlaw: Bankruptcy August 7 - 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. 1 MCLE Credit: 1 Skills; Transitional Lexis: I July 11 – 10:30 – 11:30 a.m. 1 MCLE Credit: 1 Skills; Transitional Lexis: II August 8 – 10:30 – 11:30 a.m. 1 MCLE Credit: 1 Skills; Transitional Lexis: II July 11 – 12-1 p.m. 1 MCLE Credit: 1 Skills; Transitional Lexis: News and Business August 8 – 12 – 1 p.m. 1 MCLE Credit: 1 Skills; Transitional Lexis: Litigation July 11 - 1:30 - 2:30 p.m. 1 MCLE Credit: 1 Skills; Transitional Lexis Practice Advisor August 8 - 1:30 - 2:30 p.m. 1 MCLE Credit: 1 Skills; Transitional Using Bloomberglaw.com for Litigation July 19 - 10-10:50 a.m. 1 MCLE Credit: 1 Skills; Transitional Using Bloomberglaw.com for Litigation August 16 – 10-10:50 a.m. 1 MCLE Credit: 1 Skills; Transitional Using Bloomberglaw.com for a Corporate Transactional Practice July 19 - 11:05 - 11:55 a.m. 1 MCLE Credit: 1 Skills; Transitional Using Bloomberglaw.com for a Corporate Transactional Practice August 16 - 11:05 - 11:55 a.m. 1 MCLE Credit: 1 Skills; Transitional Westlaw: Intermediate July 24 - 1:30 - 2:30 p.m. 1 MCLE Credit: 1 Skills; Transitional Westlaw: Advanced August 21 - 1:30 - 2:30 p.m. 1 MCLE Credit: 1 Skills; Transitional Westlaw: Trusts & Estates July 24 – 3 - 4 p.m. 1 MCLE Credit: 1 Skills; Transitional Westlaw: Intellectual Property Research August 21 – 3 - 4 p.m. 1 MCLE Credit: 1 Skills; Transitional U.S. Bankruptcy Court Electronic Case Filing System July 25 – 10 a.m.-12:30 p.m. 2.5 MCLE Credits: 2.5 Skills; Transitional Member: $65 Non-member: $85 Non-legal Staff: $35 U.S. Bankruptcy Court Electronic Case Filing System August 22 – 10 a.m.-12:30 p.m. 2.5 MCLE Credits: 2.5 Skills; Transitional Member: $65 Non-member: $85 Non-legal Staff: $35 • Oregon Law of Wine 2011 • Washington Law of Wine 2011 • California Law of Wine 2011 The books discuss state and federal licensing/permitting; trademark protection; entity formation and business succession; winery and vineyard acquisitions and leasing; environmental and endangered species issues; construction and design; water rights; employment, Worker’s Compensation, & OSHA; taxation; financing; and litigation. • The Wine Institute http://www.wineinstitute.org The Wine Institute is the voice for California wine, representing the industry at the state, federal, and international levels. Though California centric, it provides a wealth of information on pending federal and international matters, and on all state laws concerning wine shipping laws. • On Reserve: A wine law blog http://www.winelawonreserve.com/ Lindsey A. Zahn, a 2012 graduate of Brooklyn Law School and a 2009 graduate of the Cornell University School of Hotel Administration, has been writing this blog, which is regularly quoted on major wine news web sites, since the summer of 2010 when researching her award-winning Note on the legal overtones of the wine industry, titled Australia Corked Its Champagne and So Should We: Enforcing Stricter Protections for Semi-Generic Wines in the United States. This blog, an impressive effort by a law student who is setting her career compass with precision, covers topics of wine law from around the world and the United States, including pending legislation and regulations. In addition, the blog references international and domestic conferences concerning alcohol beverage law; and how to find professional opportunities and jobs in wine law. At the end of this workday sit back, pour a glass, let it breathe, take a sip and click on the above sites to learn about this unique area of practice. Recently Updated The new pocket parts and index for the United States Code Annotated have just been filed. Law and the Family New York, 2d Ed. Rev. Joel R. Brandes Newly updated. The set is now located in the South Reading Room. An important set not available anywhere on Westlaw. KFN 5126 .F67 1997. Did you know? The NYCLA Library can pull D&B reports for you as needed. Send an email to email@example.com with the specifics of your request. This is a fee based service. • The NYCLA Library can use public records databases to find parties and witnesses involved in your case. • The NYCLA Library can do asset searches to try to help you find real property, airplanes, boats, and automobiles belonging to the parties in your case. Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with the specifics of your request. This is a fee based service. • Connecticut residents who are NYCLA Members should contact NYCLA’s Director of Library Services, Dan Jordan, at email@example.com to find out about Internet based legal resources made available through their state and local libraries. July/August 2012 / The New York County Lawyer 11 Balance: Where Work and Life Converge By Jennifer Yoon Harvey Mackay once famously stated, “Find something you love to do – and you’ll never have to work a day in your life.” As a fairly new attorney in the field, I was well warned about the typical lifestyle for one following this career path—overworked and underpaid; overstressed and undervalued—and the list went on. Upon graduation in 2010 during the crux of the economic downfall, when my colleagues and I were scrambling to find any position of employment, these warnings seemed less of actual pre-emptive warnings, and more of a reality as we accepted jobs that could pay less, but demand more because of our desperate need for employment. Having grown up in a small, sleepy hometown, I was not accustomed to a fast-paced lifestyle. So when becoming a litigator in a place that was the complete opposite—New York City—there was nothing more important to me than maintaining balance between my professional work and my personal life. Therefore, I set out with the typical checklists and how-to’s on achieving work/balance life: Reprioritize! Create time for friends! Build time in your schedule for fun! Ensure exercise three times per week! Let’s be serious – when did we become a society that had to “build time for fun”? And when there is a Summary Judgment motion sitting on your desk, who has extra time to “create” for friends? And exercise? After a 14-hour day, the last thing I am doing is going to the gym. In full disclosure however, I did try these checklists – but my ‘scheduling of fun’ was never really fun when it was planned, ‘creating time for friends’ became more of a burden, and reprioritizing only lasted for about three days. Therefore, I learned early on in my career the true meaning of work-life balance. It isn’t about this great separation between work life and personal life where the pieces of the pie chart have to be divided evenly. It is about combining my love for life with my work so that in Mackay’s word, I “never have to work a day in my life.” For me, it was about bringing the best parts of my everyday life into my work that has enabled me to achieve a work-life balance through the simple things in life. 1. Start your mornings off doing something small that you love. New Yorkers are famous for crowded subways, rush hour traffic, and minds set on full speed the moment we wake up. Not for a moment do we take time to pause and take a deep breath, lest we get shoved in the mad rush onto the L train. Start your morning off doing something small that you love. For me, it’s listening to Motown music and drinking Starbucks venti vanilla iced coffees while walking to work – and it sets my tone for the rest of the day. It is so important to bring small parts of your personal life into your work life and to focus on the small things that make you happy to get you through the big things throughout your work day. 2. Make your work relationships your new life relationships. While of course there are many boundaries of professionalism, when did we become a society that has to separate our work relationships from our personal relationships? More than anyone else, I spend the most time with my office mate – so why shouldn’t he be someone that I have developed a relationship with? Why don’t I know his birthday or his favorite band? This isn’t just for those people who work in your office; it’s about developing relationships with your clients and even adversarial attorneys. During court conferences, who says you have to solely speak about your case and not about your co-defendant kid’s upcoming recital? When you begin to develop deeper relationships with the people you work with, your job becomes a lot more personal as people become not merely coworkers, but people you are invested in and who are invested in you. Your work life slowly starts to become a part of your personal life. 3. Count your blessings, not your billable hours. Sure we all have the dreaded billable hours we have to meet, but why does this have to be the only area in life we count? With the unemployment level growing, having a job in this economy looks a lot more like a blessing and a lot less like a burden. When I begin to focus on the blessings I have in my life with my family and friends, and the opportunity to litigate in one of the best cities in the world, those billable hours seem a lot less harrowing. I become grateful for the ability to even be able to wake up and go to a job in such an unforgiving economy. The bottom line is that there doesn’t need to be this great divide between your work life and your personal life. You should bring your love and passion for life into your work life so that you are not only just trying to get through work, but actually enjoying each day for what it brings you – even if it is a Summary Judgment motion. Jennifer S. Yoon is a NYCLA member and a defense litigation attorney at Wilson, Elser, Moskowitz, Edelman, & Dicker. She is also a board member of a New York non-profit organization and practices general litigation in Florida and New Jersey as well. 12 July/August 2012 / The New York County Lawyer A Smoother Divorce Process: Introducing Collaborative Law By Brad Andrews In divorce law, Collaborative Law should be the norm and litigation should be the alternative. Everyone knows that couples are more likely to be satisfied with, and to adhere to, a resolution of their issues that takes the form of a settlement agreement as opposed to a decision following trial. And an agreement that can be reached prior to motion practice or discovery is surely preferable to one reached on the eve of trial. In New Jersey and elsewhere, family lawyers are required to advise potential clients of the various forms of ADR - typically identified as mediation and arbitration - during an initial consultation. The rule recognizes that many clients would be better served by having their issues addressed out of court, and that the bar better serves the public when it ensures that couples who do decide to litigate do so only after having considered all of the available options. The primary ADR forum for family law matters is mediation. But in recent years a new option—called Collaborative Law—has gained a foothold. Innovated in 1990 by a Minnesota divorce attorney named Stu Webb who had grown frustrated by the slow and imperfect justice to be had in the family courts, Collaborative Law has slowly spread throughout the country and internationally, primarily by word of mouth, by those who have come to believe that it represents a far better way to resolve the difficulties typically surrounding the dissolution of a marital relationship. What is Collaborative Law? It’s a process that occupies a sort of middle ground between mediation and litigation. Each side is represented by an attorney. The goal is for the attorneys, assisted as appropriate by financial experts and “child experts” - social workers or psychologists - to negotiate a resolution to the issues. What differentiates Collaborative Law from a traditional outof-court negotiation between the attorneys is the signing of a “Participation Agreement” by both clients and both New NYCLA Publication: The United States District Court for the Southern District of New York: A Retrospective Are you interested in reading about the history of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York? Learn about its background, notable cases, trials, and decisions in various areas of law; and read about current and former judges in The United States District Court for the Southern District of New York: A Retrospective (2000-2010), recently published by NYCLA. Download your copy today on NYCLA.org. attorneys. The agreement lays the foundation for the Collaborative process, laying out each party’s rights and responsibilities. Most importantly, it sets forth that in the event that the Collaborative process breaks down; neither attorney is permitted to represent the client in court. This restriction is critical for at least three reasons. First, it ensures that both attorneys are fully committed to resolving the case out of court because neither stands to profit from initiating litigation. Second, it creates a financial incentive for the parties to overcome any difficulties within the context of the Collaborative process, because abandoning the process means discharging the attorney and paying a new retainer to get a new attorney up to speed. Third, it serves to relax the tensions between a client and the other attorney in a fourway meeting, because the client knows that even if the process were to break down, he or she will never be sitting in a courtroom being cross-examined by that particular person. In the view of Mr. Webb—one shared by this author—Collaborative Law should not merely be an alternative method, employed in the occasional case where the parties seem to be getting along particularly nicely. It should be the norm, employed in the vast majority of cases. Only in those rare instances where the process fails should litigation be initiated as a last resort. In certain communities, Collaborative Law has indeed become the norm. About ten years ago, all 29 of the attorneys regularly practicing family law in Medicine Hat, Canada, were trained in the Collaborative process. Within six months of the first half of lawyers being trained, motion filings were down by 50 percent. Following the next training, they were down an additional 25 percent. Now, virtually all cases in that community are resolved through the Collaborative process. Collaborative Law does exist in New Balancing Career & Family (Continued from page 1) are older, they are involved in more activities and the homework is harder to help with. I think the biggest obstacle is carving out personal time for yourself. I used to look forward to Sunday afternoons. I’d leave the kids with my husband and go get a pedicure. Over the past few years, I’ve discovered a love for running. I try to run in the morning before everyone wakes up or at night once everyone is bed. Having some nugget of time for yourself is truly the only way to stay sane. Q-How can a parent stay active in his or her children’s lives when working full time? A- Plan, plan, and then plan more. For me, the month of June had a different activity every week (field day, art show, band concerts, dance recitals, end of school picnic). I planned for it – those days I either worked from home or planned to come in late even if it meant staying late. You don’t need to go to every event, but instead pick a few and get your child excited for that event and your presence there. Q-Are reduced billable hours/tiered pay scales a reality in many workplaces? A- Yes, but there needs to be flexibility on both ends. When I was part time, I did about two hours of work on my day off mostly from my BlackBerry. Occasionally, I’d have a grueling month – summary judgment briefs or back-to-back depositions. If I billed an extraordinary number of hours on those months, I’d try to make up the time the next month. It’s really the same for a full-time lawyer – there are some months that they bill over 300 hours and then the next month, they only bill 150. It’s a give and take and that should be the expectation as a part-time lawyer. It’s all relative. Yes, the part-time lawyer may need to do some work on his or her day off, but at the same time, the full-time lawyer may need to do some work until midnight or on a Sunday. However, if you are billing 6-8 hours on your day off, it’s time for a discussion with the partners for whom you work. The more senior you become, the easier it gets because you can delegate work down and just review and sign off on work product. Q-What are some options for maintaining work/life balance if you don’t want to reduce your compensation or hours? A- Wake up early. I sometimes get up at 6 am and log in. I get a lot done before the house comes to life at 7:30. Leave at 6 pm and go dark until 9 pm and then log back in. There are periods throughout the day that I am unavailable because I’m in a meeting or at a deposition. There’s no reason that I cannot be fully occupied because of the kids for a similar period of time. Q-How do you most effectively manage your time? A- I keep “to do” lists at home and at work and plan for commitments and deadlines. Q-Do you find that there is negativity toward working parents and, if so, how can one address that? A- When I worked from home one day a week, I used to have to correct a partner who would refer to it as my “day off.” I actually used to bill more time on that day than any other day of the week. My advice is to address negativity, don’t ignore it. Q-How do you set clear boundaries at work so employers, co-workers, and your staff know when you are available to work? A- I don’t think you can set clear boundaries. I think you need to be flexible. If a York. There are various associations, such as the New York Association of Collaborative Professionals, whose website is at www.nycollaborativeprofessionals.org. In addition a website with more extensive resources is maintained by the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals, at www.collaborativepractice.com. The site includes resources such as articles, videos, and forms such as sample participation agreements, and a “Collaborative Divorce Knowledge Kit” which can be used, among other things, to introduce a client’s spouse to the concept, with the goal of eventually persuading him or her to engage in the process. And the New York courts have published an excellent FAQ, available at www.nycourts.gov/ip/collablaw/faqs.s html. Yet, Collaborative divorce remains a fringe movement, employed in a relatively small percentage of cases. In this time of budget cuts and especially crowded dockets, it would seem that now is the time for it to be utilized on a much broader basis. Overtaking litigation as the norm will take time - perhaps a very long time. But the more cases that can be resolved through the Collaborative process, the better. Not only would those employing the process resolve their cases amicably and without the stress, time, and expense of litigation, but those cases that were litigated would receive more attention due to less crowded dockets. Family law practitioners unfamiliar with Collaborative Law should take a moment to review some of the resources mentioned in this article, so that although it will take time for Collaborative practice to become the norm, it might at least become the norm for discussion during an initial consultation. Doing so would serve well the interests of both clients and the courts. Bradley H. Andrews, Esq. is a collaborative divorce attorney and NYCLA member. client calls and says they just got served with a TRO, you can’t say that tomorrow is your day off. If you are part-time, I also think you are better off not reminding everyone of it—just get your work done without wearing your arrangement on your sleeve. If a lawyer wants to schedule a weakly team meeting on a Thursday and that’s your day off just suggest a different day. I leave every day at 5:30 to relieve my sitter. When someone wants to schedule a meeting at 5, I usually say “How about 4:30?” I don’t explain that I need to catch the 5:44 train so 5 won’t work. Q-What are some resources (web sites, organizations, etc.) you recommend for working parents looking to maintain work/life balance? A- Network within your firm. Look for role models or work with your colleagues to create and change the culture. When I was at a branch office of a large firm, I was the first woman to go on maternity leave and the first lawyer to work a flexible schedule. A colleague and dear friend of mine had her baby six months later. Together, we created a culture where pumping in your office became the norm. We were there for each other through many struggles and achievements. It truly was sisterhood and it kept me sane. July/August 2012 / The New York County Lawyer 13 18th Annual New York City Public High School Essay Contest Winning Essay By Neil Alacha Each year NYCLA’s LawRelated Education Committee holds its New York City Public High School Essay Contest. Over 150 students submitted essays on this year’s topic: You caught Derek Jeter’s 3,000th hit ball. The Commissioner of Major League Baseball has written you a letter advising you to return the ball. What arguments in support do you have to keep the ball? What arguments does the Commissioner have to get the ball returned to Major League Baseball? What would you do? Why? Neil Alacha of Brooklyn Technical High School, whose essay appears below, was the first-place prize winner. Turn to page 9 to see a photo of Mr. Alacha alongside Law-Related Education Committee Chair, Hon. Richard Lee Price, and NYCLA’s President, taken at the Essay Contest award ceremony on May 9. “Finders keepers; losers weepers.” Although many childhood aphorisms have little value other than as tools for demonstrating the simple thought process of a child, this one is an apt description of social and legal baseball norms. Ever since baseball has been an organized sport with its own professional association—the Major League—fans and spectators have swooned over the prospect of catching a “stray ball.” Indeed, spectators often bring baseball gloves to wear during games, for the express purpose of being ready when such an opportunity presents itself. Those fortunate enough to catch a “stray ball” respond in varying ways: some keep the hard-earned prize as a memento, others obtain a sizable sum of money by selling it, and, occasionally, the altruistic few will donate it. These varying responses have something in common: they all imply the existence of property rights. Relevant court cases substantiate this. In Popov v. Hayashi, heard by the California Supreme Court in 2002, the Court was asked to rule on the rightful possession of a stray baseball in a dispute between two spectators whose efforts to catch the ball were intercepted by a mobbing crowd. According to the holding and rule, “Before it (the ball) was hit it belonged to Major League Baseball. At the time it was hit it became intentionally abandoned property. The first person who came in possession of the ball became its new owner” (http://www.lawnix.com/cases/popov-hayashi.html). This Court opinion is clear as day. A stray baseball received by a spectator conveys property rights to the receiver. The norms of baseball and the Popov decision are instructive in the scenario at hand. If I were lucky enough to catch Derek Jeter’s 3,000th ball hit, I would be justified in keeping it. (I would probably sell it, however, as I am not a sports person. Or, if I were dating a girl who was into sports, I would gift it to her.) There is absolutely no legal precedent that establishes any right on the part of Major League Baseball (MLB) to demand the ball back from me. Since we are on the topic of property, it is worthwhile to explore our situation from an economic perspective. Baseball, like any other activity, carries with it an opportunity cost, or tradeoff. Because we live in a world with scarce resources and to boot, unlimited wants, every decision that we make or action we take is a sacrifice; in pursuing one thing, we give up the pursuit of something else. Part of the MLB’s Public Policy Update Immigration & Nationality Law Committee Comments on Department of Homeland Security Proposal Individuals who enter the United States without being inspected and admitted or paroled by an immigration official generally are not able to attain status as a lawful permanent resident while in the U.S. through the process known as adjustment of status. With limited exceptions, such individuals are required to leave the U.S. and attempt to obtain their green cards through consular processing. A proposed Department of Homeland Security (DHS) regulation would allow individuals to apply for the waiver before departing the U.S. but must show that denial of his/her re-entry into the U.S. would cause “extreme hardship” to a U.S. citizen spouse or parent. NYCLA’s Immigration & Nationality Law Committee developed Comments and Recommendations on this proposed rulemaking by the U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services (UCIS), which were recently adopted by the NYCLA Executive Committee. The Report states that although NYCLA applauds the important step UCIS is proposing in this regulation, the Association believes the proposed regulations are too narrow in focus and too restrictive and urges the DHS to broaden it. NYCLA Comments on Proposed Bill Currently, practicing or appearing as an attorney-at-law without being admitted or registered is considered a misdemeanor. Proposed bill, S1998A-2011 would change the penalty to a felony. NYCLA recently sent a letter to Assembly Member Helene E. Weinstein supporting the change to make the penalty equal to that in other professions, but expressed concerns over the current lack of definition of what it means to practice law in New York. Women’s Rights Committee Supports Pregnant Women Bill NYCLA’s Women’s Rights Committee sent a letter to State Senator Liz Krueger and Assemblywoman Eileen M. Gunther supporting the Advertise in the New York County Lawyer. call 631-427-7000 “Reasonable Accommodations for Pregnant Women Bill.” NYCLA Submits Comments on the Unified Court System’s Proposed Amendments of Request for Judicial Intervention Forms NYCLA wrote to New York State’s Office of Court Administration in response to the Administrative Board of the Courts’ request for comments on proposed amendments to the Request for Judicial Intervention form. NYCLA Supports New York State Bar Association Proposed Changes to the Statement of Client Responsibilities NYCLA’s President, Stewart D. Aaron, sent a letter to the New York State Bar Association’s President, Vincent E. Doyle III stating that NYCLA is pleased to support the proposed changes to the Statement of Client Responsibilities, and that the Association agrees with the Committee on Standards of Attorney Conduct that the changes update, correct, and clarify the existing statement. opportunity cost of orchestrating a baseball game is the money spent on baseballs. The MLB knows and understands this. An effort by the MLB Commissioner to procure the ball back without my consent is an effort to defy the most fundamental principle of economics. This is akin to an effort to defy gravity—it just doesn’t fly. The only appeal that the MLB can legitimately make in order to receive the ball back is an emotional one. The president of the MLB could try to reason with me, contending that the sentimental value of the ball from Jeter’s 3,000th hit is priceless to the organization and that I would be “doing the right thing” by returning it. And who knows, depending on my mood, I just might decide to be a Good Samaritan and return the ball. But the point is that this would be my decision. In catching the ball, I was the receiver of “intentionally abandoned property”; at that point, it became my property. As much as our society would be better off with more Good Samaritans, this is irrelevant when speaking of legal obligations. There is no law binding me—or anyone else—to act selflessly. As long as I am not infringing on the rights of others or in possession of a controlled substance, I am free to do as I please. Ethics Hotline The Committee on Professional Ethics accepts both written and telephone inquiries on ethics matters and provides advisory opinions. For additional information, call the members listed below. July 1-15 Anne Loranger 212-656-5263 July 15-31 Joseph Vogel 212-997-7634 August 1-15 David Wirtz 212-583-2699 August 16-31 Bruce Green 212-636-6851 Please Note: Assignments are subject to change. Questions to the Hotline are limited to an inquiring attorney’s prospective conduct. The Hotline does not answer questions regarding past conduct, the conduct of other attorneys, questions that are being litigated or before a disciplinary committee or ethics committee, or questions of law. This notation shall not be construed to contain all Hotline guidelines. For a full discussion of Ethics Hotline guidelines, please see “Guidelines on NYCLA’s Ethics Hotline,” September 2006, New York County Lawyer, Vol. 2, No. 7. To view the article, visit NYCLA’s website at www.nycla.org, click on Ethics (on the left-hand side of the page) and then on Ethics Hotline. 14 July/August 2012 / The New York County Lawyer Public Service Awards Since 1990, NYCLA has annually presented its Public Service Awards to honor lawyers in the public sector who have distinguished themselves as role models, innovators and problem solvers of complex legal issues. The Awards recognize the efforts of lawyers who dedicate themselves to public service, but whose achievements are not often publicly acknowledged. Do you know a lawyer in the public sector who has gone above and beyond? Nominate them for a 2012 Public Service Award. 2012 Public Service Fellowship Essay Contest Are you a newly admitted (practicing up to seven years) public sector (prosecutor or institutional defense) attorney working in New York City in the field of criminal justice and carrying more than $30,000 in educational debt? Participate in the Criminal Justice Section’s 2012 Public Service Fellowship Essay Contest for a chance to win a cash stipend of at least $2,000 to alleviate educational debt. Interested in making a nomination? Send the nominee’s biography and a statement about the nominee’s achievements, to the attention of Sophia Gianacoplos, NYCLA Executive Director, by fax: (212) 406-9252, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; or mail to 14 Vesey Street, New York, NY 10007. Submit an essay on the following topic to “Criminal Justice Section Essay Competition,” c/o NYCLA, 14 Vesey Street, New York, NY 10007, with a cover letter indicating your year of graduation and postlaw-school work history, explaining why you entered public service and outlining the status of your educational debt. Must be postmarked by August 17, 2012. Nomination deadline July 6 “What should New York do to prevent misidentification of a defendant from leading to a wrongful conviction?” Advertise in the New York County Lawyer. call 631-427-7000 Eyewitness misidentification is a leading cause of wrongful convictions in New York. Given the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent decision in Perry v. New Hampshire and the New York Court of Appeals decisions in People v. Legrand and People v. Santiago, what rules should be promulgated and what practices should be implemented to enhance the reliability of eyewitness identification and its consideration by jurors? Court Vacancy Upcoming Judicial Vacancy – Court of Appeals State of New York on Judicial Nomination Solicits Candidates Upon the retirement of Senior Associate Judge Carmen Beauchamp Ciparick, there will be a vacancy at the Court of Appeals. View more information & apply at http://www.nysegov.com/cjn/ WHERE YOU SAY IT OFTEN IS AS IMPORTANT AS WHAT YOU SAY CONNECT WITH NEARLY 20,000 MEMBERS OF THE LEGAL PROFESSION WHO READ THE NEW YORK COUNTY LAWYER, QUEENS BAR BULLETIN AND THE SUFFOLK LAWYER CALL 631-427-7000 14 9 MAIN STREE T , HUNTINGTON, NY 11 7 4 3 July/August 2012 / The New York County Lawyer 15 SERVICE DIRECTORY TO PLACE YOUR AD CALL 631-427-7000 Real Estate Services LAWYER TO LAWYER SECURITIES LAW John E. 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CALL 631-427-7000 Connect with NYCLA Shaina Rubin is a recent law school graduate and a member of the Young Lawyersâ€™ Section. 16 July/August 2012 / The New York County Lawyer