In The News

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  • June 19, 2018 1:11 PM | Anonymous

    Please sign in and Click Here for information regarding the NOBC 2018 - 2019 budget.  

  • June 15, 2018 7:24 AM | Anonymous

    NATIONAL ORGANIZATION OF BAR COUNSEL
    CANDIDATES FOR ELECTION AS OFFICER OR DIRECTOR
    ANNUAL MEETING
    AUGUST 3, 2018 – CHICAGO, IL

    On Friday, August 3rd, 2018 beginning at approximately 8:30 AM Central Daylight Saving Time, during the business meeting of the NOBC Annual Meeting in Chicago, IL, the NOBC will hold the annual election for Officers (President-Elect, Treasurer and Secretary), and one Director-at-Large (2018-20). The Nominating Committee has submitted the names of candidates whose biographies and nomination statements are posted to the NOBC website. 

    Click here for more information

  • May 01, 2018 7:11 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    It is with great pleasure that I announce that Tracy A. Kepler will be the recipient of the 2018 NOBC President’s Award.

    As we have all seen throughout the many years that Tracy has dedicated her time and considerable talents to NOBC, Tracy has been a tireless advocate for NOBC, our mission, and our primary goal of assisting our Members.  Tracy has also been at the forefront of ensuring that NOBC keeps up with the myriad changes facing the legal profession in general and regulation in particular.  Now, as Director of the Center for Professional Responsibility, Tracy is continuing her hard work on behalf of all of us, faced with considerable challenges that Tracy, in her typical way, is confronting with determination and incredible optimism.

    Tracy’s accomplishments and accolades are far too numerous to list here.  Suffice it to say that Tracy embodies the spirit that underlies the NOBC President’s Award. 

    Please join me in congratulating Tracy, who will be accepting the award in Chicago in August, 2018.  

    Kathleen M. Uston
    President, NOBC


  • October 23, 2017 8:19 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    On August 14, 2017, the National Task Force issued its official report on Lawyer Well-Being.

    Click Here to read the report.


  • May 16, 2017 8:14 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Pursuant to the National Organization of Bar Counsel Bylaws, Article XVII, Section 5, notice is hereby given of proposed amendments to the NOBC Bylaws pertaining to the NOBC ABA Delegate. The text of the proposed amendments can be accessed by clicking here (login required). The petition seeking the amendments has received a majority vote of the NOBC Board of Directors and ratification of the proposed amendments will be sought at the NOBC Business Meeting at the Roosevelt Hotel, New York, NY on Friday, August 11, 2017 beginning at 8:30 a.m. Eastern Standard Time.

  • May 02, 2017 8:08 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    The NOBC has received a request from counsel for the New Mexico Supreme Court and its disciplinary agencies asking that NOBC consider filing an amicus brief in support of a petition for certiorari to the U.S. Supreme Court.  In accordance with the NOBC policy on amicus briefs, the NOBC Amicus Curiae Committee is posting this notice inviting comment on the request, including whether the request meets the standards set forth in the NOBC policy and on any other factors that may bear on the Committee’s recommendation. Click here for more information (must sign-in).

  • March 09, 2017 8:01 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    It is my privilege to announce that James C. Coyle, Colorado Attorney Regulation Counsel, is the recipient of the 2017 NOBC President’s Award. 

    Jim epitomizes all that is best about NOBC: a visionary in domestic and international regulatory issues, a leader in the movement towards proactive attorney regulation, a passionate advocate for attorney wellbeing, a mentor to both new and experienced regulatory counsel in other jurisdictions, a font of ideas for quality programming for NOBC conferences, and an overall recognized leader within the NOBC. He conducts himself at all times with his mantra of “promoting the public interest” as his guiding principle, thereby improving the profession while protecting the public that all attorneys serve. He does so without self-aggrandizement or seeking reward or recognition for his work. He is the consummate team-player and consensus builder. In short, Jim is one class-act.

    Please join me in congratulating Jim. Of course, the official presentation will take place at the NOBC Annual in NYC. In the meantime, I wanted to let you all know the good news. 

    Congratulations Jim. Well-earned and well-deserved.

    Bill 
    William D. Slease 
    2016-17 NOBC President

  • November 16, 2016 7:52 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)


    Pursuant to the National Organization of Bar Counsel Bylaws, Article XVI, Section 5, notice is hereby given of proposed amendments to the NOBC Bylaws to make the Webinar Committee a standing committee of the NOBC.  The proposed amendments can also be accessed on the NOBC website by
     clicking on this linkThe petition seeking the amendments has received a majority vote of the NOBC Board of Directors and ratification of the proposed amendments will be sought at the NOBC Business Meeting at  the Sheraton Vancouver Wall Center on Friday, February 2, 2018 beginning at 8:30 a.m. Pacific Standard Time.

  • October 06, 2016 4:37 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    September 2016 - By: Peter Geraghty, Director, ETHICSearch, ABA Center for Professional Responsibility -

    After more than two years of intensive drafting and negotiation with entities, both from within and outside of the American Bar Association, the ABA Standing Committee on Ethics and Professional Responsibility’s (SCEPR) Resolution 109 regarding a new Rule 8.4(g) Misconduct was adopted on Aug. 8 by the ABA House of Delegates at the ABA Annual Meeting in San Francisco.

    During the House deliberations, SCEPR Chair Myles Lynk delivered the report and Mark Johnson Roberts, chair of the ABA Commission on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity; Wendi S. Lazar, of the ABA Commission on Women in the Profession; Don Bivens, of the ABA Section of Litigation; and Donald D. Slesnick, of the ABA Section of Labor and Employment Law, all rose to speak in favor of the amendment. No one spoke in opposition, and the rule was adopted by a voice vote. A video of the House proceedings is available, click here.

    Currently, 25 jurisdictions have already adopted an anti-discrimination provision in their black letter Rules of Professional Conduct.

    Calling these states a “laboratory” for the development and application of such rules, Lynk, in his comments to the House, stated that it was time for the ABA to adopt its own rule.

    The rule, as adopted, reads as follows:

    It is professional misconduct for a lawyer to: (g) engage in conduct that the lawyer knows or reasonably should know is harassment or discrimination on the basis of race, sex, religion, national origin, ethnicity, disability, age, sexual orientation, gender identity, marital status or socioeconomic status in conduct related to the practice of law. This paragraph does not limit the ability of a lawyer to accept, decline or withdraw from a representation in accordance with Rule 1.16. This paragraph does not preclude legitimate advice or advocacy consistent with these Rules.

    Paragraphs 3 through 5 of the Comment to the rule were also added.

    This rule replaces paragraph [3] of the Comment to Rule 8.4, which read as follows:

    [3] A lawyer who, in the course of representing a client, knowingly manifests by words or conduct, bias or prejudice based upon race, sex, religion, national origin, disability, age, sexual orientation or socioeconomic status, violates paragraph (d) when such actions are prejudicial to the administration of justice. Legitimate advocacy respecting the foregoing factors does not violate paragraph (d). A trial judge’s finding that peremptory challenges were exercised on a discriminatory basis does not alone establish a violation of this rule.

    One of the main reasons for moving the anti-discrimination provisions to the black letter of the rule from the Comment was because the comments to the rule are only guidance, it was felt there was a need for a black letter rule that would be enforceable in disciplinary proceedings. In the words of immediate past ABA President Paulette Brown,

    “The current Model Rules of Professional Conduct (the “Model Rules”), however, do not yet reflect the monumental achievements that have been accomplished to protect clients and the public against harassment and intimidation. The association should now correct this omission. It is in the public’s interest. It is in the profession’s interest. It makes it clear that discrimination, harassment, bias and prejudice do not belong in conduct related to the practice of law.”

    Co-sponsors of the proposal to amend Model Rule 8.4, the Commissions on Women in the Profession, Disability Rights, Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity, Racial and Ethnic Diversity in the Profession, Diversity and Inclusion 360 Commission and the Civil Rights and Social Justice Section, argued that Comment [3] was too limited as it only addressed bias or prejudice when representing a client and only when prejudicial to the administration of justice. The new rule is broader in scope as it prohibits “harassment or discrimination …in conduct that is related to the practice of law.” As the new Comment [4] explains:

    …Conduct related to the practice of law includes representing clients; interacting with witnesses, coworkers, court personnel, lawyers and others while engaged in the practice of law; operating or managing a law firm or law practice; and participating in bar association, business or social activities in connection with the practice of law.

    The Ethics Committee began circulating preliminary discussion drafts of their proposal as early as July 2015, and in response to the numerous comments received made many modifications to the proposed rule and Comment in the days leading up to the Annual Meeting. All of the comments received by SCEPR on the Dec. 22, 2015, draft are available here.

    Some of these modifications include adding a knowledge requirement to the rule. “Knowingly,” “Known” or “Knows” is defined Model Rule 1.0(f) Terminology, reasonably should know is also a defined term and both are used throughout the rules in varying contexts. The knowledge requirement would prevent unintentional violations of the rule. As the report states,

    Taken together, these two standards provide a safeguard for lawyers against overaggressive prosecutions for conduct they could not have known was harassment or discrimination, as well as a safeguard against evasive defenses of conduct that any reasonable lawyer would have known is harassment or discrimination.

    Language was also inserted into new paragraph [5] of the Comment stating that “A trial judge’s finding that peremptory challenges were exercised on a discriminatory basis does not alone establish a violation of this rule.” This sentence otherwise known as the “Batson Sentence” (Batson v. Kentucky, 476 U.S. 79 (1986) (while a defendant is not entitled to have a jury completely or partially composed of people of his own race, the state is not permitted to use its peremptory challenges to automatically exclude potential members of the jury because of their race.), was in the old Comment [3] to Rule 8.4.

    Third, the phrase “legitimate advocacy” was moved from the Comment to the black letter rule, and the word “advice” was also added.

    The full text of Rule 8.4 as amended is available, click here.

  • December 09, 2015 5:36 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    The National Organization of Bar Counsel is pleased to announce that the recipient of the 2016 President’s Award will be David D. Curtin, Chief Disciplinary Counsel, Rhode Island Supreme Court. The annual award will be presented at the NOBC® Mid-Year Meeting in San Diego, during the President’s Reception on February 3, 2016.

    The National Organization of Bar Counsel is pleased to announce that the recipient of the 2016 President’s Award will be David D. Curtin, Chief Disciplinary Counsel, Rhode Island Supreme Court. The annual award will be presented at the NOBC® Mid-Year Meeting in San Diego, during the President’s Reception on February 3, 2016.

    The reasons for honoring Dave are countless. He has been an inestimable resource in the field of lawyer regulation, providing practical solutions to our complex and serious challenges. Whether commenting on the exercise of prosecutorial discretion, evaluating an allocation-of-resources issue, or simply serving as a “reality check,” Dave’s presence and participation in NOBC discourse has consistently provided us with a treasured perspective and valued guidance. I can attest that his advice and counsel always comes with a dose of humor, which serves as a welcome counterweight to the atmosphere of solemnity and pomposity that can sometimes infiltrate the serious business of professional discipline.

    Rather than recount Dave’s impressive list of achievements here, his own NOBC autobiographic blurb will speak for itself:

    David D. Curtin is a modest man, and with good reason. He is a 1984 graduate of Suffolk University School of Law (affectionately known as “Suffolk U” provided that one enunciates clearly.) He has previously been employed as a state prosecutor, a sole practitioner, and as a Deputy City solicitor for the City of Providence. He has been employed in the field of lawyer discipline since 1991, and has been Chief Disciplinary Counsel of the Rhode Island Supreme Court since 1994. He has been an active participant in NOBC programs for several years, and is widely credited with restoring a sense of dignity and decorum to the Current Developments portion of the semiannual meetings.

    Dave is too modest! He directed or served on the Current Developments Team from our Philadelphia Meeting in 2001 until the Orlando Meeting in 2010, and his legacy of setting the tone and providing leadership continues to this day. To put Dave’s longevity in this role in perspective, some comparisons are in order. On average, a rookie in Major League Baseball can expect to play in the majors for 5.6 years.¹ In the National Football League, the Players Association calculates a career length at about 3.3 years.²And in the National Hockey League over half of all NHL players play fewer than 100 games during their career (Regular season in the NHL is 82 games) and for approximately 5 percent of players, their first NHL game is also their last.³

    Many of our members have expressed the desire to speak at the President’s Reception when the award is presented. Since time is limited, we will be unable to accommodate the entirety of this vast outpouring of sentiment during the award ceremony itself. However, we invite any member to share written anecdotes, encomiums, and tributes, which will be compiled into a memory book and presented to Dave along with the President’s Award. Send your written material to Paul.Burgoyne@PaCourts.us.

    All seriousness aside, I want to reiterate that Dave’s contributions to NOBC are legion. But I’d be a thoughtless ingrate if I did not add that his efforts at keeping me sane and focused have redounded to the benefit of NOBC, PA ODC staff, and my family in ways that may never be known.

    pjb

    ¹ http://www.nytimes.com/2007/07/15/sports/baseball/15careers.html?_r=0

    ² http://www.statista.com/statistics/240102/average-player-career-length-in-the-national-football-league/

    ³ http://www.quanthockey.com/Distributions/CareerLengthGP.php

    Special mention to the crack NOBC writing and research staff, without whom there would neither be words nor proper sourcing.

    PAUL J. BURGOYNE
    President, National Organization of Bar Counsel
    1601 Market Street, Suite 3320
    Philadelphia, PA 19103
    Office: 215-560-6296

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