Meeting of the State Association of Disciplinary Attorneys
N E W S Additional Information:
New York State Frederick Miller
Lawyers Fund for Client Protection Executive Director & Counsel
(800) 442-3863

Albany, N.Y. (June 11, 1997) Proposals to reform the practice of law in the Empire State will top the agenda of the spring meeting of the State Association of Disciplinary Attorneys.

The Association is a statewide group of court prosecutors who are responsible for enforcing the Lawyer's Code of Professional Responsibility in New York State. In eight regional offices, they provide professional staff to the attorney grievance committees of the four Appellate Divisions of the Supreme Court, and investigate complaints of professional misconduct.

The New York Lawyers Fund for Client Protection is hosting the conference, which will be held at the Roaring Brook Conference Center in Warren County on June 12 and 13. The Lawyers Fund is a lawyer-financed state agency which reimburses law clients for the misuse of their money and property in the practice of law.

Special conference guests include the chairs of attorney grievance committees, who are practicing attorneys who assist the courts in the field of professional discipline pro bono publico, representatives of the State Commission on Judicial Conduct and the State Office of Court Administration.

Charles Joseph Hynes, District Attorney of Kings County, is the conference's keynote speaker. A Trustee of the Lawyer's Fund since 1982, Hynes is a former Special State Prosecutor, New York City Fire Commissioner, law school teacher and author.

Hynes currently serves as the New York State Director for the National District Attorney's Association, and the Chair of the Executive Committee of the New York State District Attorney's Association. Hynes will speak to the group on confidentiality in lawyer discipline proceedings.

The session will open with remarks by Associate Justice Karen K. Peters of the Appellate Division in Albany. Judge Peters will represent the Chief Administrative Judge of the Courts and brief the conference on the implementation of reforms recommended by the Committee on the Profession and the Courts.

Called the "Craco Committee" in honor of its chair, Manhattan attorney Louis A. Craco, the blue-ribbon panel of judges and lawyers was appointed by Chief Judge Judith S. Kaye to recommend improvements in legal procedures and lawyer regulation.

Numerous reforms proposed by the Craco Committee have been approved tentatively by the State's judicial leaders, and have been released for comment by judges, lawyers and the public. They include programs to require post-law school legal education, attorney advertising, the creation of a legal ethics institute, the arbitration of disputes involving legal fees, and sanctions for frivolous conduct in litigation.

Attorney David Gruenberg of Troy, Senior Counsel for the New York State Senate Judiciary Committee, will discuss pending proposals before the State Legislature to curtail confidentiality in judicial and attorney disciplinary proceedings.

Friday's session will include a discussion of the need for court rules dealing with ethical and related issues in mass disaster situations as, for example, the loss of life that occurred in the crash of TWA Flight 800.

Panelists include John T. Berry of the Florida Bar Association who will share his experiences in dealing with the Valuejet airlines crash in the Florida Everglades; Lt. Col. Gary Abe of the National Transportation Safety Board of Washington, D.C.; and and Mineola attorney Louis J. Castellano, Jr., who chaired the New York State Bar Association's Emergency Support Committee in connection with the TWA Flight 800 disaster.

The session will conclude with a discussion of proposals by the New York State Bar Association to amend the Lawyer's Code of Professional Responsibility, most importantly in the area of solicitation of law clients. Panelists include officials of the New York State Bar Association: Manhattan attorney Steven C. Krane, and Peter Coffey of Schenectady.