NASSAU COUNTY BAR ASSOCATION NEWS
Contact: Valerie Zurblis, Director of Marketing and PR
516-747-4070; vzurblis@nassaubar.org


June 7, 2012
Law Firm Partner Marian Rice Elected  
Nassau County Bar Association’s 110th President

            Mineola, Long Island, NY – Marian C. Rice, a partner and chair of the Attorney Liability Practice Group at L’Abbate, Balkan, Colavita & Contini, L.L.P., Garden City, has been installed as the 110th president of The Nassau County Bar Association (NCBA), the largest suburban bar association in the country, at the Bar’s headquarters in Mineola. Rice replaces Susan Katz Richman, whose one-year term ended May 31, 2012. Rice is the first NCBA President and one of the few attorneys on Long Island who concentrates her law practice on the representation of attorneys and risk management for lawyers. 

            In addition, the following attorneys were installed as NCBA officers to one-year terms: President-Elect Peter J. Mancuso, an assistant district attorney with the Nassau County District Attorney’s Office; 1st Vice President John P. McEntee, partner at Farrell Fritz, P.C.; 2nd Vice President Steven J. Eisman, senior partner at Abrams, Fensterman et al, Lake Success; and Treasurer Martha Krisel, Chief Deputy County Attorney for Special Projects at Office of the Nassau County Attorney; and Secretary Steven G. Leventhal of Leventhal Sliney & Mullaney, LLP, Roslyn.

                                           Serving the Needs of Attorneys and the Community
Rice said during her term she will continue to support NCBA’s long-time commitment to provide legal services and education to the community, including free public seminars, the WE CARE Fund, the charitable arm of NCBA that assists children, the elderly and others in need through countless projects and donations; and the Volunteer Lawyers Project which provides pro bono legal services for the low-income community. She plans to continue her predecessors’ efforts to secure grants to fund the position of Director of Pro Bono Services at NCBA to oversee and coordinate all pro bono services provided to the public by the Bar Association. These include the award-winning Mortgage Foreclosure Pro Bono Project, free legal consultation clinics, joint ventures with the Coalition Against Domestic Violence and the program against human trafficking, as well as BOLD (Bridge Over Language Divides) Program, which provides legal information and guidance in foreign languages.

            Rice will also focus on expanding NCBA’s Lawyer Referral Service to help residents quickly find qualified lawyers for legal representation. In addition, she would like to promote the use of NCBA’s Alternative Dispute Resolution Program to allow attorneys and their clients to use expeditious, time-saving and cost effective means to resolve disputes that might otherwise be litigated in the courts.

            Among
President Rice’s goals during her term is to present initiatives designed to simplify aspects of the practice of law in areas ranging from technology programs to standardization of court procedures to mentoring, ethical issues and internship relationships. She also plans to remain active in addressing proposed legislative statues and rules that affect the practice of law and lawyers’ clients. NCBA is currently reviewing proposals on the affirmations by attorneys in foreclosure actions and mandatory pro bono requirements for new attorneys.   

Stellar Legal Career 

Although Rice primarily represents attorneys in malpractice claims, she is often asked for advice on a wide range of topics that affect lawyers and the practice of law, including risk management, loss prevention, client grievances and ethics. Currently a columnist for the ABA Law Practice Management Journal, Rice has authored materials for numerous publications and newsletters, including the New York Law Journal, the New York State Bar Journal and Nassau Lawyer. She has lectured the Professional Liability Underwriting Society, the ABA Standing Committee on Lawyer’s Professional Liability, the Nassau and Suffolk County Bar Associations, the New York State Bar Association, the New York City Bar and the American Conference Institute, as well as for various law firms, insurers and trade associations.

Marian Rice joined the Nassau County Bar Association in 1980, just after receiving her law degree from St. John’s University School of Law, and has been an active supporter of the Bar ever since. In addition to her 6 years of service on the Executive Board, Rice also served as a Board Director, Chair of the Judiciary and Long Range Planning committees and Editor-in-Chief of the Nassau Lawyer, the official monthly newspaper. She is also a member of Nassau-Suffolk Trial Lawyers and the Suffolk County Bar Association.

On the national and state levels, Rice is currently serving a term as an ABA Presidential appointee to the American Bar Association Standing Committee on Lawyer's Professional Liability and has been Chair of the New York State Bar Association - Committee for Insurance Programs since 2008.  She is also a member of the Professional Liability Underwriting Society, New York State Bar Association - Law Practice Management Committee and the Tort, Insurance and Compensation Law Section; the Defense Association of New York, and the Defense Research Institute. Rice was a NYSBA presidential appointee to the Task Force on Non-Lawyer Ownership and the Special Committee on Legal Specialization in New York.

From 1999 to 2003, Rice administered the Attorney Loss Prevention Hotline Service for the broker responsible for the NYSBA-sponsored professional liability insurer. From 1984 to 2000, she was a Governor-appointed member of the Council for the State University of New York Maritime College at Fort Schuyler.

Originally from Thomaston, Rice now lives in Center Moriches with her husband, Bob Aurigema, and their two dogs.

The Installation Ceremonies at the Nassau Bar’s headquarters in Mineola were sponsored by CBS Insurance Group and Champion Office Suites.

 
December 19, 2011

Nassau County Bar Association Calls for Repeal of
Spousal Support Legislation and Elimination of
Professional License Asset Distribution in Divorce Cases


Mineola, Long Island, NY, December 19, 2011 – In a unanimous vote by the Board of Directors, the Nassau County Bar Association is calling for the repeal of the widely criticized Interim and Post-divorce Spousal Support Statutes that were enacted a year ago by the State Legislature. The NCBA also recommends that final support awards continue to be determined by the courts rather than impose a presumptively set formula that supersedes the court’s discretion.

“These statues were hastily put together, are ineffectual, and need to be repealed,” said Lee Rosenberg, Chair of the NCBA Matrimonial Law Committee. “They increase litigation and make it more difficult to settle divorce cases.”

Rosenberg said that the interim spousal support legislation attempts to eliminate judicial discretion in favor of a “cookie-cutter” formula that does not take real-life circumstances into account. “It takes the discretion out of the hands of the courts and requires use of a mathematical formula. There may also be constitutional questions involved.”

Among the issues that arise under the current law, Rosenberg noted that couples who do not live together before marriage may be penalized; that the law references “adults and in-laws” who do not fall under a spouse’s legal obligation to provide for; and that certain child support issues are already addressed under the child support law, thus the new legislation would “double dip” into child support awards. The legislation also does not consider the payment of household carrying charges and expenses by the payor spouse, nor does it consider domestic violence if the harmed spouse’s is still able to work.

“The law was a last minute amalgam of a temporary support statute and a permanent support statute, resulting in a compete morass, which does not do justice and impedes the court’s ability to expedite decisions on these very important support issues,” Rosenberg continued. “It shifts income on temporary support awards, and it also affects the lesser monied spouse’s ability to be awarded counsel fees. It is presently unfixable and needs to be repealed,” he said.

In addition, the NCBA is calling for the elimination of the concept of “enhanced earning capacity” when determining equitable distribution, but permitting the existence of a spouse’s professional license, degree or certification earned during a marriage to be considered by the court when determining final spousal support awards. The enhanced earnings concept allows the lifetime projected income from a professional license, degree or certification to be valued and distributed as an asset in a divorce case. New York is the only state that recognizes enhanced earning capacity as an asset in a divorce case.

The NCBA forwarded its resolution to state legislative leaders and to the New York State Law Revision Commission, which is reviewing the interim and permanent spousal support legislation and is expected to release its final report by December 31, 2011.

Founded in 1899, the NCBA, with a membership of nearly 6,000 private and public attorneys, judges, legal educators and law students, is the largest suburban bar association in the country. The NCBA demonstrates its commitment to the community by offering a variety of services for the public, including lawyer referral services, senior citizen and mortgage foreclosure clinics, judicial screening, public education programs and support for the Volunteer Lawyers Project, which provides much-needed free legal services for the indigent of Nassau County. WE CARE, the NCBA’s charitable arm, assists children, the elderly and others in need, through countless projects and donations. For more information, call (516) 747-4070 (language translation available), email info@nassaubar.org, or visit www.nassaubar.org.




February 22, 2011

 
 NCBA Creates Task Force
On Future of Nassau Crime Lab
 
Mineola, Long Island, NY – Marc Gann, president of the Nassau County Bar Association, today announced the formation of an unprecedented Nassau County Bar Association Crime Lab Task Force composed of leading criminal defense attorneys and representatives of legal organizations to help determine the future of the Nassau County Crime Lab, which was closed on February 18 resulting from questions involving the credibility of lab tests used in criminal cases.
            “We are genuinely concerned about the lack of credibility of test results from the crime lab and the effect upon past cases in Nassau County courts,” said Gann. “We want to use this opportunity to be a positive influence on the future of the lab as well as to ensure quick resolution of cases that may have been adversely affected. We are in a unique position to help Nassau County create an even better crime lab to guarantee that the rights of all people are protected.”
            The NCBA Crime Lab Task Force will be composed of leading defense attorneys from the Nassau County Bar Association Criminal Law and Procedure Committee, Nassau Legal Aid Society and the Nassau County Criminal Courts Bar Association. The group will be looking at such issues as procedures and policies, timeliness of lab results, content of lab reports, and possible legislation needed to avoid a recurrence of the current situation. “The Task Force will recommend what is needed to reestablish the credibility of the Crime Lab going forward,” Gann noted.
            Gann said that any attorney who thinks a closed case or current client may be affected by past crime lab tests should give the information to the District Attorney’s office. The DA will be notifying any incarcerated people of the situation and remind them of their rights.


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