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Friday, May 29, 2009

New Focus on "Lawyers Being Lawyers"

New State Bar Head Focuses on 'Lawyers Being Lawyers'
The New York Law Journal by Joel Stashenko - May 29, 2009

ALBANY, NEW YORK - At a time when seasoned, laid-off lawyers are competing for jobs with debt-burdened law school graduates on the most-rugged legal industry terrain in memory, Michael E. Getnick said his year as president of the New York State Bar Association will focus on finding ways to help attorneys keep practicing law. "This year, the bar association is going to be refocusing on the basics," Mr. Getnick said in an interview. "My theme is going to be a little bit different than some of my predecessors, who have created wonderful committees and task forces. I do intend to continue the work of those committees and task forces, but my main goal is going to be focusing on lawyers being lawyers." Mr. Getnick, 64, formally becomes state bar president on Monday, when he succeeds Bernice K. Leber as head of the 76,000-member group. He is a partner specializing in civil and appellate work at the Utica firm of Getnick Livingston Atkinson & Priore. Mr. Getnick said the poor condition of the state and national economies demands that the state bar present itself as a resource for law firms and attorneys seeking to stay in business, for lawyers who have lost their jobs and for aspiring lawyers entering the difficult job market. Attorneys must also be encouraged to continue to honor their obligations to pro bono clients who are facing foreclosures, consumer credit problems or other personal finance issues due to the economy, said Mr. Getnick, a former Legal Aid Society attorney. "I think you're going to find the bar association is the best and closest ally to lawyers," he said.

Mr. Getnick said he would provide the necessary resources to enhance the ability of the Solo and Small-Firm Practice, the Law Practice Management, the Lawyers in Transition and other state bar committees to provide firms and individual lawyers assistance in tough economic times. The committees will work in tandem at times, he said. In addition to the health and life insurance coverage available to members through the association, Mr. Getnick said the group can give attorneys practical direction on how to use technology and other tools to run their practices. It can also be a better "clearinghouse" to line up attorneys offering their services pro bono to the agencies looking for help for poor clients, he said.  In addition, Mr. Getnick said he wants to work with law schools to enroll more students into the bar group before graduation and to ensure the schools introduce more business-oriented curriculum to prepare prospective attorneys for their entre into the profession. "I think we can really help young law students so when they come out of law school they will be more prepared to get into the business world," he said.

'Transition' Guidance

The head of the Lawyers in Transition Committee, Lauren J. Wachtler, said she welcomes Mr. Getnick's intended emphasis on heightening the use of the state bar as a tool for lawyers seeking jobs or pro bono work.  Ms. Wachtler, of Mitchell Silberberg & Knupp, said she does not mean to downplay the value of committee and task force reports commissioned by recent presidents on legal and public policy issues. But she said the poor economy has made the direction Mr. Getnick plans for the state bar an imperative. "In this economic market, people are more interested in not, 'What can I do for the bar association,' but 'What can the bar association do for me?'" she said. Ms. Wachtler's committee was initially set up mostly to aid women attorneys seeking to re-enter the legal industry after willingly dropping out to raise families. It has since transformed itself into a source of information for all displaced attorneys seeking new jobs. Ms. Wachtler said the committee has begun monthly live webcasts for attorneys looking for work in the law or other professions.

Mr. Getnick said he would continue to push the initiatives begun by Ms. Leber and her predecessors. Under an informal deal that started with Ms. Leber's predecessor, Kathryn Grant Madigan, state bar presidents have agreed to continue to promote the issues championed by previous presidents.  Committees appointed by Ms. Leber in the past year have studied wrongful convictions, the legal implications of global warming, ways to protect the privacy of personal information, the needs of solo and small-firm practitioners and the physical condition of courthouses around the state. Ms. Leber, a partner at Arent Fox, called Mr. Getnick, her frequent lobbying partner in Washington and Albany on legislation affecting the legal industry during the past year, a "terrific guy." "He's very effective as an advocate," she said in an interview. "People do respect him. He has his head on right and he understands the needs of lawyers, particularly in this economic crisis." Mr. Getnick was born in Brooklyn and grew up in Freeport, Long Island. His father, Irving M. Getnick, was a solo practitioner in Manhattan before founding Getnick & Getnick with Michael Getnick's brother, Neil.

Michael Getnick said he knew as early as junior high school that he wanted to be an attorney, but also that he wanted to practice in a less metropolitan environment than Manhattan. He earned an undergraduate degree at Pennsylvania State University, where he briefly played basketball, and his law degree at Cornell Law School in 1969. "It was the only law school that appeared to be in a country atmosphere," he said. Following three years as a Legal Aid Society lawyer in Oneida County, Mr. Getnick went into private practice.  He said he initially expected to stay in the Utica area for just a few years with his wife, Susan, a special education teacher who grew up in suburban Syracuse. But they have remained there for nearly 40 years. The couple has two grown sons. Mr. Getnick said his elevation as state bar president should be the beginning, not the culmination, of his service to the organization. "Being nominated and becoming the president of the bar association is not an accomplishment, it's an opportunity," he said. "It really is a privilege. I would hope at the end of the year . . . that people would say, 'This person did a good job. This person upheld the trust that we put in him.'" Stephen P. Younger, a partner at Patterson Belknap Webb & Tyler, is in line to become the next state bar president in June 2010.


Anonymous said...

Why on earth would a lawyer want to be just a lawyer when [s]he could be a thief?

albany victim said...

Any chance of 'focusing' on ETHICS !?!?!

Anonymous said...

Isn't One of the Burdens and Roadblocks to Justice in the Courts the technical rules of "binding" and "copies" and the like sometimes used by Courts to kick out filings and cause financial pain to parties seeking justice?

Is Senator Sampson and the Senate creating similar roadblocks in the Public Hearings by making the public create 20 copies of the testimony?

Will testimony and statements not make it into the Records if the individuals can not bring the 20 copies but instead only 2 or 3?

Don't the Courts and Senate have massive budgets that get used up in many ways not necessarily furthering justice that could be reallocated to cover these costs for the Public Hearings?

Anonymous said...

lawyers are worsth than used car sales people trying to sell the 2007 Pinto.
I know lawyers working in banks,
i have a relative that his friend graduated in like 3 in his class he drives a delivery truck.
Another works at a starbucks part time. Can not find full time work as a lawyer. Regrets going to law school. Says when he goes to work the boss wants him to finish quickly to cut his hours.
Another friend was going bankrupt.
They meet with a lawyer, wanted 1,000 plus court fees.
The lawyer called him a few days later and told him 750.
They paid i think 250 plus court cost at We The people.

Anonymous said...

The hearings should be user friendly...but as you see, these NY politicians make every attempt to stomp the good right out of those interested in beleiving they are going to see change.
Although I am more than skeptical of these hearings..I think everyone who can..should attend and create a huge stir...even if it isn't what Sampson asks for or deems!
Bring papers and reports of any size and any amount and leave them where they can be seen...don't let Albany direct your government expose...let it just happen!
If it does not leave a mark on these losers we were forced to elect..toss this event up to one of many things they have to look forward to...done our way.
Never lose hope that the system is not feeling the sting of this blog and the information being passed on.
I have a top administrator avoiding federal court depos 4x...who will be subpoened because of same...because he is worried that what I know and have stated here...will indict it should AND will.
This setup is working but it does need more information to come forward...court employees...OCA isn't worth staying quiet for and they can't reach your unleash the truth, as it will pay off soon!

Anonymous said...

anyone know what procedures the Office of Court Administration has in place for Assigning Cases or much about this?

NY Supreme Civil Website says Judge Paul Czajka was Assigned to case No. 009-438-2005 on May 14, 2009 transferred by Judge Mary Donahue.

Judge Paul Czajka had been Disqualified from matters involving two of the Litigants by his own written admission and by Order of Administrative Judge Ceresia.

Anyone know how the OCA could Assign a Judge to a case where a Judge previously filed written admission of Disqualification and where Administrative Judge Ceresia already issued written Order of transfer based on disqualification?

Is the OCA system that inept or that corrupt or both? anyone know the procedures from the inside? or just know the procedures in general for the OCA?

Anonymous said...

TO THIS COMMENT : Don't the Courts and Senate have massive budgets that get used up in many ways not necessarily furthering justice that could be reallocated to cover these costs for the Public Hearings?

ANSWER : Yes they DO. Hold them to it. Your testimony has immense value to the State.

Anonymous said...

Go and investigate Bernadette E. Lupinetti, Esq. in Goshen, New York Orange County and her umbrella with the OCA and Andrew Cuomos' office. This rat is involved in rigging child custody and divorce cases. She is also connected to CPS in order to get false abuse reports. This woman is corrupt and more.

Anonymous said...

Umbrella Patrick??

Anonymous said...

GAD, I detest comments like this
"I think you're going to find the bar association is the best and closest ally to lawyers," Getnick said.

Yeah Mike, We the People know all about the power of the 76,000 members of the NY BAR.
How about a little of that 'ally' for the People?

Anonymous said...

Patrick has since moved on... quite a database at his disposal..

Anonymous said...

sweet Patrick... There is a judge in Orange County Goshen New York with connections to OCA..I believe this is her just in case umbrella or more...

Anonymous said...

lawyers know how to do one thing real good - STEAL! and Judges know even better that the lawyers because they have the black robes and they only have friends looking over their shoulders.

Anonymous said...

For Post May 29, 2009 at 8:11 PM are you referring to Judge John K. McGuirk of the Orange County Supreme Court in Goshen New York??
Member, Advisory Committee on Judicial Ethics, OCA, 2004 to 2008.
Since Patrick Lupinetti was until January 2007 ADA for Andrew Cuomos Medicaid Fraud in ROckland COunty, New York.

Connections with CPS- I believe Bernadette E. Lupinetti worked with the Orange County Attorneys' Office which oversees CPS.

I would not call those umbrellas, I would call those tents.

Blog Archive

See Video of Senator John L. Sampson's 1st Hearing on Court 'Ethics' Corruption

The first hearing, held in Albany on June 8, 2009 hearing is on two videos:

               Video of 1st Hearing on Court 'Ethics' Corruption
               The June 8, 2009 hearing is on two videos:
               CLICK HERE TO SEE Part 1
               CLICK HERE TO SEE Part 2
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