Hello everyone. I am coming to you live from the Harlem Room of the NY Marriot Marquis in Manhattan NYm giving you the "scoop" for the Annual NYSBA Conference. For those of you not in the "know", every year during the last week of January, the State Bar (usually located in Albany) comes to NYC for a soriee that is very educational and often fun. Even if you are too cheap, ( or poor) to afford the actual attendance fee, there is a lot to do, and learn just hanging out drinking the free coffee.
Almost every section and special committee holds a meeting where legislation and other initiatives are discussed and debated. There are always a bunch of politico's and legal giants are present and their atmoshpere is a lot like MY Supreme Tap part times 10.
Anyway, I am writing today's column in advance of tomorrows big show. The Criminal Justice Section Meeting CLE and Luncheon is a not to be missed event. Of course I have a couple of judges who do not agree so I will unfortunately be absent from the business meeting to be held at or about 11am. The real work gets done in the exec meeting which starts at 8:30am anyway. I hope to get back for the Lucheon however which is scheduled to begin at 12pm
The luncheon honors those that have made substantial contributions to the field of criminal law over the past year or over their career.
I have a special dog in this hunt. My old friend and Contracts Professor, legal ethicist, Monroe Freedman is getting the award for contribution in the field of Criminal Law Education. The truth is, Monroe (as of yesterday he made it clear I am not to refer to him as Professor Freedman anymore or he will have to call me Mr. Colleluori and it is a hard name to pronounce) is more than just a Criminal Law Educator. In fact to my knowledge he has not taught a full time criminal law class in over 25 years. He does however provide a moral compass for those of us who practice criminal law and must participate in the everyday real life practice of law.
Ethicists tend not to engage in the day to day struggle. They are not bound by realities of human strife so they can propound difficult standards to hold the rest of us by. Monroe from the beginging has been aware of the practicalities of these standards. His seminal work Lawyers Ethics in an Adversarial System is one of the all time best sellers on the work. It possess the great trilemma how one can defend someone without being told the truth and then once told the "truth" how he can defend that person if he wants to get on the stand and tell a different story. Monroe's take on the issue is a minority view, at least from the viewpoint of the ABA. Most criminal defense attorneys however would beg to differ. Having Monroe's leadership and logic as our defense to prosecutor's challenges has come in very handy to many of us who want to fulfill our duty to both the law and the client.
In addition to Prof. Freedman's award there are a number of other people and organizations being honored. A list of the Honorees can be downloaded here. I do however, want to point out that the Crimi Award, given in memory of the Late Charles Crimi of Rochester NY is being given to Donald Thompson. Don is a courageous champion of the rights of the oppressed. He is a witty and able attorney and a tremendous teacher and mentor to younger criminal lawyers. The Crimi honors the best criminal defense attorney in the state. It is fitting that it should go to Don.
Now lest you should think that this annual meeting is all hail and fairwell, there is also a tremendous CLE opportunity here. After Lunch the section is co-sponsering a 3.5 hour CLE program which will also cover 1 hour of Professional Ethics. The Program is entitled "THE DEVELOPING ROLE OF THE MONITOR IN CRIMINAL, CIVIL AND CORPORATE PRACTICE". It really is everything you wanted to know about Monitors but didn't know who to ask.
The sylabus includes topics such as What is a monitor, how a monitor is appointed, the ethical duties of a monitor, and how to become a monitor. Lest you should snicker about the last item, the last case that I had where the court appointed a fiduciary, the impartial monitor earned well into the six (6)figures. He also had to fly to a couple of exotic locales to secure the corporations assets. Not to shabby if you ask me.
The speakers is a veritable whose who of the NYC white shoe bar. I have heard a few of them speak before and I know if you have any interest at all in the subject you will not be disappointed.
So with that, I commend to you the Criminal Justice Section of the NY State Bar Association's Annual meeting, ongoing at the Marriot Marquis in NYC on Broadway and 46th streeet. The exec meeting begins at 8:30 and the general meeting is at 11am. The luncheon will begin at 12 sharp to be followed by the award presentations and a really good CLE opportunity. I hope to see you there.