Letter From The President Of The New Jersey State Bar Association

2011-08-01 01:00

To The Readers Of The Metropolitan Corporate Counsel :

To be certain, joining the ranks of New Jersey's legal profession is no easy task.

It takes at least seven years of higher education. Then hopeful lawyers must pass one of the toughest bar exams in the country.

And recently, the state supreme court added another level when it said attorneys have a professional obligation to keep honing their skills throughout their careers with continuing legal education courses. For the two years leading up to the adoption of mandatory continuing legal education, the New Jersey State Bar Association closely tracked and studied the proposals put forward. The bar urged the court to create a program that would be cost- and time-conscious, and successfully advocated for allowing attorneys to self-report their course credits.

Since then the state's largest lawyers group has positioned itself in many other ways as a resource to New Jersey's attorneys to sharpen their skills and fulfill their educational requirements. After all, under the association's mission statement, the provision of educational opportunities to New Jersey attorneys is a core charge.

In February, the state bar association and its philanthropic organization, the New Jersey State Bar Foundation, announced a new continuing legal education partnership. As part of the alliance, the New Jersey Institute for Continuing Legal Education became an entity of the association this month. This new arrangement provides additional benefits to the association's more than 17,000 members and to the legal community at large - with no interruption to the level of services the institute has provided to the New Jersey bench and bar for almost 50 years. Further, the association's sections and committees will continue to work more closely with the institute to create programming and seminars.

In addition to those gatherings for section and committee members, the state bar association holds two conferences during the year where attorneys from across the legal community can earn continuing legal education credits.

Successful programming and vibrant networking events have made our Annual Meeting and Convention, held each May in Atlantic City, an unqualified success. This year, over 2,000 judges, lawyers, law clerks and law students attended the event, which featured over 65 educational seminars covering everything from individual rights, to developments in electronic discovery, to lessons learned from leaders of diverse backgrounds in the legal community. In just three days, attendees were able to earn up to 12 CLE credits - a full year's worth of required seminars.

While summer vacations are on most people's minds this time of year, the association is already hard at work scheduling educational programs for our signature fall gathering, the Mid-Year Meeting.

In November, the state bar association will host the event in Dublin at The Shelbourne. Attendees will have an opportunity to learn about the differences in the Irish and New Jersey trial experience, healthcare developments, and family law issues, among many other topics.

Keeping abreast of updates and trends in the law is critical to the success of all attorneys, and the state bar association is dedicated to providing opportunities for members and the entire legal community.

Very truly yours,

Susan A. Feeney

Ms. Feeney is a Partner at McCarter & English LLP in Newark.