New Jersey - Still no need to redefine marriage
Areas of Focus | 2008/02/29 05:05

New Jersey Governor Corzine should not legalize same-sex marriage.

AS EXPECTED from a panel stacked with same-sex activists, the Civil Union Commission issued a report last week saying that its members believe civil unions are a failure.

What is their conclusion based on? Seven substantive complaints -- from among the 2,400 same-sex couples who have entered into civil unions in New Jersey. They complain about the failure of New Jersey employers based out of state to provide benefits to partners in civil unions. Those companies say that the federal Employment Retirement Income Security Act, which regulates the provision of benefits to employees, does not require them to provide expensive health benefits to same-sex couples.

Activists claim there are more complaints, including insinuations that hospitals have denied visitation – an accusation that an official from the New Jersey Hospital Association insists is absolutely false. Other additional claims are unofficial and unsubstantiated. The majority of complaints cited by the activists do not deal with rights being denied, but rather gripes about how same-sex couples have to explain themselves to other people.

The commission also says that employers in Massachusetts are more likely than those in New Jersey to voluntarily provide health benefits to same-sex couples simply because the law gives their unions the title marriage. This contention is completely anecdotal, as noted in an article last week on the New Jersey State Bar Association Web site.



Former bar presidents support Servaas
Legal Interview | 2008/02/29 05:02
Judge Steven Servaas, under pressure to resign his seat on the District Court bench, is getting support from fellow lawyers.

A letter signed by 12 former Grand Rapids Bar Association presidents supports Servaas in his fight with the Michigan Judicial Tenure Commission.

In the letter, the former bar presidents say, "Regardless of the reason that the judicial tenure commission has undertaken to attack Judge Servaas, it has seemingly done so in a reckless manner."

The lawyers ask the commission to reconsider the issue.

He's also moved back into a house he owns within his district, a key element in the commission's attempt to oust him. Servaas owns two homes, both in the 63rd District, but only one is in his division of the district.  



Two new commissioners seated
Court Watch | 2008/02/29 05:02

The Pacifica City Council appointed Josh Gordon and Celeste Langille to the Pacifica Planning Commission Feb. 11.

Josh Gordon is an attorney with the San Francisco firm Morrison and Forester. He worked for a federal judge in San Francisco for one year and spent eight years with a top tier law firm in Palo Alto. He spent eight years working with autistic children in Santa Cruz.

Gordon is a member of the American Bar Association, Doctors Without Borders, Southern Poverty Law Center and the San Mateo County Bar Association.

On his application for the Planning Commission he wrote he wishes "to directly participate in the decisions affecting my community."

"I bring to the table an ability to rigorously analyze all sides of an issue, which is a product of my legal training and experience as a lawyer," he wrote.

Langille is an attorney who has represented environmental and community groups and has experience working with public agencies and officials. She is well versed in land-use laws, including CEQA, and real estate law. She has experience in document review and analysis.

She is a member of the California Bar Association and the Sierra Club.



Lawyers ask for more time to redefine practice of law
Legal Interview | 2008/02/29 04:59

Hawaii attorneys have asked the state Supreme Court to give them more time to develop proposed rules that will define the practice of law.

The Hawaii State Bar Association asked the court for an extension until March 28 to fine-tune its earlier proposal to change the court's rules. Only licensed attorneys can practice law in Hawaii, but what constitutes the practice of law is not clearly defined.

The association now is working with real estate professionals and certified public accountants, two of the professional groups that potentially would be affected by the rule change.

The debate started months ago when lawyers suggested clarifying the rules that define the practice of law. But critics said the suggested definition was too broad and would potentially bump into other professions such as insurance, real estate, accounting, paralegals and legal document service providers.



Upcoming Events in the NY Legal Community
Legal Business | 2008/02/29 03:29
Thurs. Feb. 28, MBBA Fundraiser, 7:45 p.m.
The play “Cat on a Tin Roof,” by Tennessee Williams. A fundraiser event for the Metropolitan Black Bar Association. For information, contact Dakota D. Ramseur: (646) 773-0073.

* * *

Sat. March 1, CLE: NYSDA’s 22nd Annual Metropolitan Trainer, 8:30 a.m.-4:45 p.m.
Speakers: Robert Epstein, Tom Klein, Joann Macri, Edward Nowak, Steven Zeldman. Approved for (6.5) CLE credits, including (1) credit toward Ethics. Held at Tishman Auditorium, New York University School of Law, Washington Square South, Manhattan. Registration required by Wednesday, Feb. 27.  For information or to register, contact the New York State Defenders Association.

* * *

Tues. Mar. 4, CLE: Evidence Update, 6–8 p.m.
Speaker: Professor Richard T. Farrell, Brooklyn Law School, and author Prince-Richardson on Evidence (11th ed. & Supp. 2008). Approved for (2) CLE credits toward Skills. Held at the Brooklyn Bar Association, 123 Remsen St. For information or to register, contact the Brooklyn Bar: (718) 624-0675 x210; Fax: (718) 797-1713; or email: malfano@brooklynbar.org.

* * *

Tues. March 4, CLE: Appellate Practice, 6 p.m.
Speaker: Hon. Theodore T. Jones, NYS Court of Appeals. Approved for (1) CLE credit toward Professional Practice. Columbian Lawyers’ monthly dinner meeting. Held at Rex Manor, 1100 60th St., Brooklyn (at 11th Avenue). Reservations required. For information or reservations, contact the Columbian Lawyers Association: (718) 875-0158.

* * *

Thurs. March 6, BLSPI’s 18th Charity Auction: Jeopardy, 5 p.m.; silent auction, 6 p.m.; live auction, 7 p.m.
Held at Brooklyn Law School in the Subotnick Center, (10th and 11th floors), 250 Joralemon St. Brooklyn Law Students for the Public Interest are seeking donations. The auction supports symposia, service trips and unfunded public interest summer internships. Information about the lots to be auctioned off will be available at www.blspiauction.com, as the date approaches. For information contact BLSPI: (718) 780-7549; or Michael J. Daily, fundraising chair: Michael.dailey@brooklaw.edu.


Suspect accused of running fake raffle
Areas of Focus | 2008/02/29 03:14
A call to police from a Troy sports bar led to the arrest of a Royal Oak man believed to be involved in an area-wide fraudulent sports raffle sales scheme.

A bar patron apparently realized the man selling raffle tickets purportedly for his 8-year-old son's hockey team might be the same person the Michigan Amateur Hockey Association (MAHA) issued a warning about on its Web site earlier this month.

Officers took Robert Eugene Yontz, 34, into custody shortly after 8 p.m. Saturday at Field of Dreams sports bar, 1090 Rochester Road, Troy.

Yontz was arraigned Monday for larceny by false pretenses second or subsequent offense, a five-year felony. Yontz is held in lieu of a $25,000 cash bond pending a pre-exam conference March 10 in Troy's 52-4 District Court.

Yontz had 60 raffle ticket stubs with the names of 32 people, including two persons who purchased the $5 tickets at Field of Dreams that night, said Troy Police Lt. Gerry Scherlinck . Yontz had $83 on him when arrested, Scherlinck said.

The alleged fraudulent raffle tickets contained a Web site for MAHA which on Feb. 4 warned about a person selling fraudulent tickets claiming they benefit MAHA.

MAHA attorney Steven Stapleton said the scam has been ongoing since December.



February 2008 CA Bar Exam Deadlines
Court News | 2008/02/28 22:05
FEBRUARY 2008 CALIFORNIA BAR EXAMINATION INFORMATION

DATE, TIME, LOCATIONS, FEES AND IMPORTANT DEADLINES
DATE: Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, February 26, 27 and 28, 2008
TIME: Morning and Afternoon on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday.

Important Dates and Deadlines for the February 2008 California Bar Examination

Timely Filing Deadline November 1, 2007
$50 Late Filing Fee November 2, 2007 - November 30, 2007
$250 Late Filing Fee December 1, 2007 - January 15, 2008
Withdrawal Deadline (60% refund - 30 days after timely filing) December 3, 2007
Withdrawal Deadline (30% refund - 45 days after timely filing) December 17, 2007
Final Deadline to Withdraw from Examination (No refund) February 13, 2008
Final Filing Deadline January 15, 2008
Change of Address Deadline January 15, 2008
Examination Type Change Request January 15, 2008 (for Attorney Applicants only)
Test Center Change Request Deadline January 15, 2008
Testing Accommodations Petition Final Filing Deadline January 15, 2008 (Petitions must be complete)
Final Eligibility Deadline February 13, 2008
Proof of Admission (first-time Attorney Applicants) February 13, 2008
Proof of Law Study (first-time Applicant for the General Bar Examination) February 13, 2008


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