NJSBA Board of Trustees Report
November 17, 2023
Note: This does not constitute official minutes
Ethics budget: The Board voted to send the Judiciary a letter on a proposed rate hike of $27 in the annual attorney assessment to fund the Office of Attorney Ethics (OAE). The increase is largely attributable to staff additions at the OAE and an increase in the fringe benefit rate for employees. The NJSBA has long opposed raising the annual assessment, as it would cause financial hardship for many attorneys and law firms in the state. In two years, the assessment has increased nearly 38%. The Supreme Court approved the budget proposal as submitted by the Disciplinary Oversight Committee on Dec. 6.
NJLAP referrals: On a recommendation by the NJSBA Young Lawyers Division and Professional Responsibility Committee, the Board agreed to support amendments that would allow for third-party referrals from the Office of Attorney Ethics to the New Jersey Lawyers Assistance Program (LAP) in any context, not just in the wake of a disciplinary hearing. Allowing third-party referrals would allow LAP to reach out to attorneys whose ethics matter may be related to an underlying mental health, alcohol or substance use disorder and offer assistance. The change would help support attorney wellness in the state, according to the YLD. The Supreme Court authorized the third-party referrals on Dec. 5.
Child support recommendations: The Board voted to send the Judiciary a letter in support of recommendations that address the collection of child support from parents who have children placed in foster or out-of-home care. The letter asks the Judiciary to issue a directive clarifying that child support is not appropriate when it would impede family reunification efforts for children in those situations, among other recommendations.
Legislation: The Board supported the following pending legislation:
A5235 Lampitt / S3627 Vitale – A bill that revises health insurance coverage requirements for infertility treatment.