Suspect accused of running fake raffle
Areas of Focus | 2008/02/29 03:14
A call to police from a Troy sports bar led to the arrest of a Royal Oak man believed to be involved in an area-wide fraudulent sports raffle sales scheme.

A bar patron apparently realized the man selling raffle tickets purportedly for his 8-year-old son's hockey team might be the same person the Michigan Amateur Hockey Association (MAHA) issued a warning about on its Web site earlier this month.

Officers took Robert Eugene Yontz, 34, into custody shortly after 8 p.m. Saturday at Field of Dreams sports bar, 1090 Rochester Road, Troy.

Yontz was arraigned Monday for larceny by false pretenses second or subsequent offense, a five-year felony. Yontz is held in lieu of a $25,000 cash bond pending a pre-exam conference March 10 in Troy's 52-4 District Court.

Yontz had 60 raffle ticket stubs with the names of 32 people, including two persons who purchased the $5 tickets at Field of Dreams that night, said Troy Police Lt. Gerry Scherlinck . Yontz had $83 on him when arrested, Scherlinck said.

The alleged fraudulent raffle tickets contained a Web site for MAHA which on Feb. 4 warned about a person selling fraudulent tickets claiming they benefit MAHA.

MAHA attorney Steven Stapleton said the scam has been ongoing since December.



February 2008 CA Bar Exam Deadlines
Court News | 2008/02/28 22:05
FEBRUARY 2008 CALIFORNIA BAR EXAMINATION INFORMATION

DATE, TIME, LOCATIONS, FEES AND IMPORTANT DEADLINES
DATE: Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, February 26, 27 and 28, 2008
TIME: Morning and Afternoon on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday.

Important Dates and Deadlines for the February 2008 California Bar Examination

Timely Filing Deadline November 1, 2007
$50 Late Filing Fee November 2, 2007 - November 30, 2007
$250 Late Filing Fee December 1, 2007 - January 15, 2008
Withdrawal Deadline (60% refund - 30 days after timely filing) December 3, 2007
Withdrawal Deadline (30% refund - 45 days after timely filing) December 17, 2007
Final Deadline to Withdraw from Examination (No refund) February 13, 2008
Final Filing Deadline January 15, 2008
Change of Address Deadline January 15, 2008
Examination Type Change Request January 15, 2008 (for Attorney Applicants only)
Test Center Change Request Deadline January 15, 2008
Testing Accommodations Petition Final Filing Deadline January 15, 2008 (Petitions must be complete)
Final Eligibility Deadline February 13, 2008
Proof of Admission (first-time Attorney Applicants) February 13, 2008
Proof of Law Study (first-time Applicant for the General Bar Examination) February 13, 2008


James E. Felman Speaks to Senate on Drugs
Legal Topics | 2008/02/28 00:58
The crack-powder disparity is simply wrong and the time to fix it is now," stated James E. Felman in his remarks on behalf of the American Bar Association before the Senate Judiciary, Subcommittee on Crime and Drugs Subcommittee, earlier today. The ABA is part of a broad consensus that finds disparity in sentences for crack and powder cocaine offenses "unjustifiable and plainly unjust."

The Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1986 enacted the 100-to-1 quantity sentencing disparity between crack and powder cocaine, which are pharmacologically identical drugs.  Reports by the U.S. Sentencing Commission in 2002 and 2007 opposed the sentencing disparity.  In December 2007, the commission – which had in May 2007 voted to adjust downward the sentencing guidelines relative to crack cocaine offenses and had urged Congress to end the 100-1 disparity – voted unanimously to make the guidelines change retroactive.

Felman, co-chair of the ABA Criminal Justice Section Committee on Sentencing, appeared at the hearing, Federal Cocaine Sentencing Laws: Reforming the 100:1 Crack Powder Disparity.  Speaking to the vastness of the disparity, Felman stated, "Crimes involving just five grams of crack, 10 to 50 doses, receive the same five-year mandatory minimum prison sentence as crimes involving 500 grams of powder cocaine, 2,500 to 5,000 doses."

Citing the 2007 Sentencing Commission report, Felman also highlighted the disparity's effect on African Americans, saying that, while African Americans constituted 82 percent of those sentenced under federal crack cocaine laws, "66 percent of those who use crack cocaine are Caucasian or Hispanic." Because of the disparity, "African Americans [spend] substantially more time in federal prisons for drug offenses than Caucasian offenders."

Felman concluded by urging Congress to act to correct the disparity, citing legislation introduced by Sen. Joe Biden, a member of the Judiciary Committee. “Enactment of S.1711 would restore fairness and a sound foundation to federal sentencing policy regarding cocaine offenses by ending the disparate treatment of crack versus cocaine offenses and by refocusing federal policy toward major drug traffickers involved with weapons and violence.”

You may read the full prepared remarks by Mr. Felman http://www.abanet.org/poladv/letters/crimlaw/2008feb12_crackdisparity_t.pdf

For the last ten years, Felman has organized and moderated the Annual National Seminar on the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, which is jointly sponsored by the Federal Bar Association and the United States Sentencing Commission.  In addition to being the co-chair of the Committee on Sentencing of the ABA, Felman also served as former co-chair of the ABA’s Committee on Corrections and Sentencing.

With more than 413,000 members, the American Bar Association is the largest voluntary professional membership organization in the world.  As the national voice of the legal profession, the ABA works to improve the administration of justice, promotes programs that assist lawyers and judges in their work, accredits law schools, provides continuing legal education, and works to build public understanding around the world of the importance of the rule of law.


National Institute on White Collar Crime March 5-7
Legal Business | 2008/02/28 00:54
More  than 1,300 legal practitioners, including judges, state and local prosecutors, law enforcement officials, defense attorneys and members of the academic community will convene in Miami for the 22nd Annual National Institute on White Collar Crime, hosted by the American Bar Association Center for Continuing Legal Education and the ABA Criminal Justice Section. This year’s institute will deliver information on a variety of “white collar crimes,” such as mortgage fraud, health care fraud, money laundering and many others.

This year’s National Institute on White Collar Crime will take place March 5 – 7, with headquarters at the Miami Marriott Biscayne Bay.

The opening program, “White Collar Basics: The Fundamentals,” a National Institute first, will feature information on navigating parallel proceedings, internal investigations, voluntary disclosures, and handling subpoenas and search warrants. Experienced practitioners will lead this discussion that is geared toward new white collar crime practitioners.

Panelists will also be on-hand to explore various aspects of the KPMG case, the largest criminal tax case ever filed. Ronald J. Nessim, co-chair of the ABA Committee on White Collar Crime, will discuss the KPMG case, covering areas such as attorney-client privilege waivers, deferred prosecution agreements and other related proceedings.

In addition, Under Secretary Stuart A. Levey, Terrorism and Financial Intelligence, U.S. Department of the Treasury, will provide the keynote address Thursday, March 6, during the White Collar Crime Committee Luncheon.

Breakout Session Highlights:



Thursday, March 6

“U.S. Sentencing Guidelines: A View from the Bench” offers a judge’s perspective on the changes that have been made since the implementation of the new sentencing guidelines three years ago, 11 a.m.

“Criminal Intellectual Property Rights Enforcement” will consider the various issues that arise in connection with the criminal enforcement of intellectual property rights, including trademarks, copyrights and trade secrets, 11 a.m.

“Public Corruption: The FBI is Cracking Down and What White Collar Practitioners Should Know” will explore various issues that arise in public corruption investigations and trials, 11 a.m.

“Ethical Issues in White Collar Crimes” will include discussion on a wide range of ethical issues that arise in white collar investigations, including limitations on types of evidence, methods of obtaining evidence, contact with represented parties and other issues, 2 p.m.

“Money Laundering and Asset Forfeiture” will review recent developments and consider some of the more effective strategies for use in such cases, 3:45 p.m.



Friday, March 7

“Welcome to the Field of Healthcare Fraud Defense, Where Nothing Is Static and ‘Victory’ Is Hard to Define” will explore the government’s investigation of the pharmaceutical and medical device industries, national chains and other healthcare providers, 11:15 a.m.

“Environmental Crime” will end the conference with discussion of current major prosecutions, the increase in work-place safety investigations and vessel pollution cases, 11:15 a.m.

For more information on the speakers and programs, click here.

National Institutes are known to members of the ABA and the legal profession as high-quality, carefully produced continuing legal education seminars held live at locations throughout the country. These 1-3 day conferences use a combination of lectures and workshops to present valuable information to the legal profession. In addition to the legal instruction offered, they provide a unique networking opportunity for lawyers and faculty who practice in the same or related areas of interest.

With more than 413,000 members, the American Bar Association is the largest voluntary professional membership organization in the world.  As the national voice of the legal profession, the ABA works to improve the administration of justice, promotes programs that assist lawyers and judges in their work, accredits law schools, provides continuing legal education, and works to build public understanding around the world of the importance of the rule of law.


ABA House of Delegates Challenges Old Ways
Legal Topics | 2008/02/28 00:50
In the midst of pitched primary battles and the looming 2008 election,  the American Bar Association House of Delegates challenged the traditional way states handle congressional and legislative redistricting, calling for a new process further removed from the politically charged atmosphere of state legislatures. In a vote by its policy-making body, the ABA urged each state to assign the process to an independent commission, leaving it to the states to configure the commissions and set suitable redistricting criteria.

“The ABA is continually identifying areas where current legal systems are not working, and suggesting sensible approaches for fixing them,” said ABA President William H. Neukom. “The new policy on redistricting reform is an example of the association’s dedication to the rule of law and its efforts to serve the American public.”

The resolution was one of nearly 30 new policy measures passed by the ABA House of Delegates, including two high-profile proposals relating to legal education and admission to the bar.

The House of Delegates concurred with the ABA’s legal education arm in adopting an interpretation of the Standards for Approval of Law Schools concerning law schools’ bar passage rates. The result of more than a year of debate and revision by the Council of the Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar, the interpretation is designed to clarify the various standards by which law schools can comply with ABA standards for minimum bar passage rates.

Additionally, the House adopted a model rule on conditional admission to practice law that offers guidance on bar admission for law students with substance abuse problems or mental illness.  Such students are encouraged to seek proper treatment without fear that it will end their legal careers.

The ABA also spoke out forcefully on the continuing unrest in Pakistan, where many lawyers and judges remain under house arrest. A House resolution expressed solidarity with the Pakistani bar and bench, calling on the president of Pakistan to restore the country’s constitution, reinstate fired judges and justices, and release those wrongly arrested during the state of emergency.

“The constitution which Pervez Musharraf propped up in late December has been stripped of essential provisions, many judges remain under house arrest and protesters remain in jail,” said Neukom. “Without the rule of law, Pakistan is destabilized, more vulnerable to terrorism, and its economy is suffering.  Under these conditions, we are concerned about whether free and fair elections are possible.”

The ABA also established new policy outlining legal approaches to the problem of climate change and environmental threats. The ABA will urge the U.S. government to take a leadership role in addressing climate change, and press federal, state and local governments to better protect and enhance ecosystems when approving new laws, regulations and policies.

Other proposals passed by the House call for strengthened legal representation on behalf of veterans of the U.S. military, special prosecution units to pursue crimes of elder abuse and new efforts by bar associations to assist identity theft victims.

The ABA also addressed cutting-edge areas of the law by endorsing a Model Act that governs assisted reproductive technology, by adopting standards on prosecutorial investigations, and through an amendment to the ABA Model Rules of Professional Conduct. The latter amendment clarifies a prosecutor’s obligation to act on new evidence that makes it reasonably likely that a convicted defendant did not commit the offense for which he was convicted.

Following the action at the Midyear Meeting, watch videos of prominent speakers and events, hear views of members attending and more at the Midyear Meeting Online Web site at http://www.abavideonews.org/ABA496/.

With more than 413,000 members, the American Bar Association is the largest voluntary professional membership organization in the world.  As the national voice of the legal profession, the ABA works to improve the administration of justice, promotes programs that assist lawyers and judges in their work, accredits law schools, provides continuing legal education, and works to build public understanding around the world of the importance of the rule of law.


Advanced Negotiation & Dispute Resolution Seminar
Legal Business | 2008/02/27 21:46
Sponsored by: The Institute of Continuing Legal Education

Cosponsored by: The Alternative DisputeResolution Section of the State Bar of Michigan and the State CourtAdministrative Office, Office of Dispute Resolution

Don't miss the biggest andmost diverse "Must Attend" ADR education, networking, andskill-building event of the year. This award-winning program bringstogether mediators and ADR providers as well as judges and litigatorsfor skill-building, sharing new techniques, exchanging information,networking, and changing the climate in Michigan for ADR.

Thisyear, we're joined by an internationally renowned mediator, mediationtrainer, university professor, and best-selling author MichelleLeBaron, University of British Columbia, Vancouver. Respected,sought-after, and highly regarded by her peers, Professor LeBaron willbe presenting throughout the day. With four tracks, ANDRI offersexciting programs for every segment of the ADR community. OurNegotiation Track offers programming to improve your settlementresults; our Mediation Track offers programming to enhance your skillsand add new techniques to your toolbox; the Arbitration Track will helpyou become a well rounded ADR service provider; and our DomesticRelations Track will provide information, skill-building and trainingfor anyone wanting to focus on the family law side of their work. Mixand match tracks or stay in one all day. You choose. Tailor ANDRI tosuit your individual needs and interests.

Don't miss the returnof the Moosewood case! Compare the caucus techniques and approach ofJon Muth with the plenary techniques and approach of Zena Zumeta. Watchthem each separately mediate the Moosewood dispute but this time the"only" issue is money! If you enjoyed this segment last year, you'lllove it this year!

Speakers
Richard L. Braun, II
Barbara A. Johannessen
Anne Smiley, MA
Carl H. von Ende
8:30 AM - 8:45 AM    

Welcome, Introduction of Moderators, and Update of ADR Section Activities
   

Richard L. Braun, II
Grosse Pointe Park

8:45 AM - 9:05 AM    

Court Filing Trends and ADR Update
   

Douglas A. Van Epps
Director
Office of Dispute Resolution, State Court Administrative Office; Lansing

9:05 AM - 9:55 AM    

KEYNOTE PRESENTATION: Intuition Pearls & Perils - Is Intuition a Resource for Resolving Conflict?
   

   * exploring working definitions of intuition
   * ways of experiencing intuition
   * a decision-making process for discernment
   * advantages and traps of intuition for dispute resolvers

L. Michelle LeBaron
Professor of Law, Director, UBC Program on Dispute Resolution
University of British Columbia; Vancouver, BC

10:00 AM - 11:00 AM    

Negotiation Track: Negotiating with Your Own Client
   

   * dealing with client expectations
   * evaluating the matter
   * establishing a range with the client
   * tips
   * perils

Kathleen L. Bogas
Eisenberg & Bogas PC; Bloomfield Hills

10:00 AM - 11:00 AM    

Mediation Track: Intuition Workshop for General Civil Mediators
   

   * personal and cultural differences
   * intuition and conflict: reconciling differences
   * intuition and creative problem solving

L. Michelle LeBaron
Professor of Law, Director, UBC Program on Dispute Resolution
University of British Columbia; Vancouver, BC

10:00 AM - 11:00 AM    

Arbitration Track: State of the Law in ADR
   

Mary A. Bedikian
MSU College of Law; East Lansing

10:00 AM - 11:00 AM    

Domestic Relations Track: Caucus Strategies for Mediators and Advocates in Domestic Relations Disputes: "Now That We're Alone"
   

Zena D. Zumeta
Mediation Training & Consultation Institute; Ann Arbor

Barbara L. Watry
Barbara L Watry Attorney at Law; Dearborn

11:15 AM - 12:15 PM    

Negotiation Track: Reaching Agreement - A Hands-On Roleplay Exercise
   

Christopher J. Webb, JD
Law & ADR Offices of Christopher J. Webb JD PLC; Farmington Hills

11:15 AM - 12:15 PM    

Mediation Track: Archetypal Lawyer Roles in Mediation - When the Attorney Becomes the Problem
   

   * the inattentive lawyer
   * the lawyer without authority
   * the lawyer who refuses to advise
   * the positional bargainer
   * the lawyer who says "it will never settle"

W. Peter Doren
Sondee Racine & Doren PLC; Traverse City

11:15 AM - 12:15 PM    

Arbitration Track: Med/Arb - A Cautionary Tale: It Ain't As Easy (or Ethical) As It Looks!
   

   * when it arises
   * ethical considerations
   * practical problems
   * consequences
   * examples
   * arb/med

James J. Vlasic
Bodman LLP; Troy

Charles W. Borgsdorf
Hooper Hathaway PC; Ann Arbor

11:15 AM - 12:15 PM    

Domestic Relations Track: Intuition Workshop for Domestic Relations Mediators
   

   * personal and cultural differences
   * intuition and conflict: reconciling differences
   * intuition and creative problem solving

L. Michelle LeBaron
Professor of Law, Director, UBC Program on Dispute Resolution
University of British Columbia; Vancouver, BC

12:15 PM - 1:45 PM    

Lunch on Premises: Dealing with High Emotions in Mediation - And When They Should Cause Concern!
   

Sharon R. Hobbs, Ph.D.
Abbott Road Center for the Family; East Lansing

1:45 PM - 2:45 PM    

Negotiation Track: Bridging Cultural Conflict - Imagining a Culturally Fluent Future
   

   * defining cultural fluency
   * applying cultural fluency
   * working effectively across differences
   * what to do when differences are not visible

L. Michelle LeBaron
Professor of Law, Director, UBC Program on Dispute Resolution
University of British Columbia; Vancouver, BC

1:45 PM - 2:45 PM    

Mediation Track: What We're Doing at the Table: Insurance Industry Tells (Almost) All!
   

   * timing
   * protocol and logistics
   * staffing
   * information sharing
   * mediator selection

Michael W. Puerner
Hastings Mutual Insurance Company; Hastings

Judith K. Simonson
Hastings Mutual Insurance Company; Hastings

Michael M. Ellis
Michigan Municipal Risk Management Authority; Livonia

1:45 PM - 2:45 PM    

Arbitration Track: Customizing Private Arbitration (Part One)
   

   * customizing the process
   * maintaining control
   * holding down costs
   * setting rules
   * expedited hearings
   * protecting the award
   * third-party subpoenas
   * non-cooperating attorneys
   * sanctions

Gene J. Esshaki
Abbott Nicholson Quilter Esshaki & Youngblood PC; Detroit

Carl H. von Ende
Miller Canfield Paddock and Stone PLC; Detroit

1:45 PM - 2:45 PM    

Domestic Relations Track: Collaborative Process: Navigating Your Way Through Conflicting Pressures
   

   * staying on track and moving without a judge in charge
   * being an advocate in a collaborative case

Deborah L. Berecz
Deborah L Berecz PLC; St Joseph

2:50 PM - 3:45 PM    

Negotiation Track: The Science of Settlement: 10 Ideas for Negotiators
   

Barry Goldman
Bloomfield Hills

2:50 PM - 3:45 PM    

Mediation Track: Caucus Strategies for Mediators and Advocates in General Civil Disputes: "Now That We're Alone"
   

   * do you have one?
   * options
   * how flexible are you in your negotiating plan?
   * why you will and won't permit clients to take a role in negotiations
   * mediator objectives

Tracy L. Allen
Bodman LLP; Detroit

I. W. Winsten
Honigman Miller Schwartz and Cohn LLP; Detroit

2:50 PM - 3:45 PM    

Arbitration Track: Customizing Private Arbitration (Part Two)
   

Gene J. Esshaki
Abbott Nicholson Quilter Esshaki & Youngblood PC; Detroit

Carl H. von Ende
Miller Canfield Paddock and Stone PLC; Detroit

2:50 PM - 3:45 PM    

Domestic Relations Track: Implications of Domestic Violence in Your Mediation Practice
   

   * MSU survey results
   * DV protocol
   * facing the issue
   * working with PPOs
   * practice tips

Anne Smiley, MA
Mediation Management Services; Lansing

Monika U. Holzer Sacks
Nichols Sacks Slank Sendelbach & Buiteweg PC; Ann Arbor

4:00 PM - 4:45 PM    

Negotiation Track: The Role of Extreme Honesty in Settling Claims: The University of Michigan Medical Center Experience
   

   * establishing personal and institutional credibility
   * understanding the status quo (negotiation by exploitation of litigation system weaknesses)
   * creating a new status quo by shifting the quality of the discussions
   * avoiding litigation without sacrificing principles
   * using mediation techniques to fast forward in avoidance of the courtroom

Richard C. Boothman
Chief Risk Officer
University of Michigan Health System; Ann Arbor

4:00 PM - 4:45 PM    

Mediation Track: AnotherChapter in the Moosewood Saga: When It's "Only" About the Money!Comparative Techniques and Styles in Mediation (Part One)
   

Zena D. Zumeta
Mediation Training & Consultation Institute; Ann Arbor

Jon R. Muth
Miller Johnson; Grand Rapids

Susan J. Butterwick, JD
Ann Arbor,

4:00 PM - 4:45 PM    

Marketing Track: Artful Leadership in Changing Times - Expanding Practice, Engaging Others
   

   * dispute resolvers as leaders
   * approaches to leadership
   * ways of leveraging and framing leadership

L. Michelle LeBaron
Professor of Law, Director, UBC Program on Dispute Resolution
University of British Columbia; Vancouver, BC

4:00 PM - 4:45 PM    

Domestic Relations Track: Mediating Money at the Table
   

   * relationship to parenting time
   * relationship to the marital home
   * strategies - where to start
   * practice tips

Susan E. Paletz
Susan E Paletz & Associates PC; Bingham Farms

4:50 PM - 5:30 PM    

Negotiation Track: Negotiation Ethics - How Much Can You Lie and Still Retain Your Self-Respect?
   

Stuart M. Israel
Martens Ice Klass Legghio & Israel PC; Royal Oak

4:50 PM - 5:30 PM    

Mediation Track: AnotherChapter in the Moosewood Saga: When It's "Only" About the Money!Comparative Techniques and Styles in Mediation (Part Two)
   

Zena D. Zumeta
Mediation Training & Consultation Institute; Ann Arbor

Jon R. Muth
Miller Johnson; Grand Rapids

Susan J. Butterwick, JD
Ann Arbor,

4:50 PM - 5:30 PM    

Marketing Track: EducatingLawyers and Clients About the Mediation Process - What Every Litigantand Advocate Needs to Know About YOUR Process
   

   * who are you as a mediator?
   * how do you distinguish your process?
   * what can you say to make a difference (and not bore yourself)?
   * tips and practice pointers
   * what can we learn from each other?

Robert E. Lee Wright
Miller Canfield Paddock and Stone PLC; Grand Rapids

4:50 PM - 5:30 PM    

Domestic Relations Track: The Nuts and Bolts of Agreement Drafting
   

Thomas B. Darnton
Darnton Rutzky Dodge & Woloshin; Ann Arbor

Barbara L. Kessler
Kessler Mullkoff & Hooberman; Ann Arbor

5:30 PM - 7:00 PM    

Reception - Sponsored by the ADR Section of the State Bar of Michigan


Brooklyn Bar Assoc. Hosts New Appellate Justices
Legal Business | 2008/02/26 22:51
The Brooklyn legal community will look on with understandable pride on March 19, when the Brooklyn Bar Association, led by President Rose Ann C. Branda, holds a special reception in honor of the newly appointed associate justices of the Appellate Division, Second Department.

Sharing the spotlight when the event gets underway at 5:30 p.m. at 123 Remsen St. will be Associate Justices Ariel E. Belen, Cheryl Chambers and John Leventhal — of Brooklyn — and Randall T. Eng of Queens.

Serving as co-sponsors are the Asian American Bar Association of New York, the Brooklyn Women’s Bar Association, the Hispanic National Bar Association, the Metropolitan Black Bar Association and the Puerto Rican Bar Association.

While there is no charge for the event, due to the “generosity of the co-sponsoring associations,” BBA Executive Director Avery Eli Okin strongly advises that those planning to attend RSVP by mail, call (718) 624-0657 ext. 213 or e-mail him at aokin@brooklynbar.org no later than Friday, March 14.

* * *

Inn President Finkelstein Seeks ‘Newer’ Lawyers
Now in its seventh successful year, the Nathan R. Sobel Kings County American Inn of Court has acquired a reputation for enhancing the quality of legal education and raising the positive profile of the profession. And now Inn officers, led by President Steve Finkelstein, want to do more.

Well-placed sources within the Inn — which continues a tradition established 800 years ago by English Inns of Court — have sent out word that the organization is about to embark on a program calculated to bring in lawyers who are newer to the practice of the law.

One report indicates the Inn may be establishing guidelines with “enhancements which would give special consideration to lawyers who have been admitted for fewer than five years.” This initiative is “in the works” and those interested — especially newer barristers — should contact President Finkelstein and his officers: President Elect Justice Neil Jon Firetog, Counselor Helene Blank, Treasurer Justice Gerard Rosenberg, Secretary Rosario Marquis D’Apice.

* * *
Many of us, especially Baby Boomers and beyond, have deep doubts about the security of the Internet. When our computer demands we supply “Social Security Number,” “Date And Place of Birth” or “Spouse’s Birth Date,” for instance, we invariably hesitate to share this information whether buying airline tickets or paying a magazine subscription bill on-line.

Some of us are fortunate to have children or nieces or nephews who are skilled in these modern cyberspace marvels. And we call on them with shameless regularity. But few parents have the advantage enjoyed by Kings Justice Martin Schneier and wife Rebecca — when they want to know about cutting-edge maximum security for any possible computer entry decisions, all they have to do is call their son, Bruce Schneier. Any concerns they have will be immediately and expertly allayed.

Who is Bruce Schneier? I first learned of his lofty ranking in his field while reading “The Da Vinci Code” a few years back and came across this paragraph: “Da Vinci had been a cryptography pioneer, Sophie knew, although he was seldom given credit. Sophie’s university instructors, while presenting computer encryption methods for securing data, praised modern cryptologists like Zimmerman and Schneier but failed to mention that it was Leonardo who had invented one of the first rudimentary forms of public key encryption centuries ago.”

Aware that the Schneiers had a son who had written articles and books about computers, the Da Vinci book comment ultimately sent us to Google and Wikipedia for Bruce Schneier. The results of the easy search are impressive, to say the least.

At 44, he is now a world-renowned author, regularly appears on National Public Radio to explain his complex area of expertise and is best known perhaps for “Applied Cryptography,” described as a “popular reference work for cryptography.”

He first gained prominence with his 2000 book “Secrets and Lies: Digital Security in a Networked World.” Schneier isn’t afraid of controversy in search of the truth and rocked his technical world when, according to Wikipedia, he denounced his “early success as a naive, mathematical and ivory tower view of what is inherently a people problem.”

In “Applied Cryptography,” he implies that correctly implemented algorithms and technology promise safety and secrecy, and that following security protocol ensures security, regardless of the behavior of others,” according to Wikipedia. While some of this may seem highly academic and theoretical, the same can be said of so much of the discussion swirling around the use and abuse of computer security.

And when NPR and various government agencies have questions on the topic, they don’t hesitate to consult the work of Bruce Schneier which is updated in a new book with Neils Ferguson entitled “Practical Cryptography.”

On the more mundane side, author Schneier and his wife, Karen Cooper, write restaurant reviews for the Minneapolis Star Tribune and other papers in Minnesota where they live. You should also know that Justice Schneier, who just happens to have an entire shelf of his son’s books in his 360 Court St. chambers, and his wife Rebecca, are understandably equally proud of their daughter Arlene Katz, a John Jay College graduate who is likely on her way to a distinguished career in the legal profession.

* * *

RFLA To Hear From Expert On ‘Putin Era’ in Russia
Arthur Gerwin, president of the Respect for Law Association, let it be known that he is particularly “pleased” that international affairs expert Paul M. Joyal will be the guest when the RFLA holds its March 20 Speakers Breakfast at 7:30 a.m. at Mutual of America headquarters, 320 Park Ave. in Manhattan.

Joyal, vice president and managing director of National Strategies Inc., is, according to Pres. Gerwin, “well-versed in the former Soviet Union, Russia in the Putin era [and post] terrorism and counter-terrorism. This [breakfast session] will be a must for all concerned with the mounting sensitivities between Putin’s Russia and the U.S.A.,” writes Gerwin, a retired brigadier general and founder of the RFLA.

Joyal earlier served as a federal law enforcement officer and as director for the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence from 1980 to 1989. In 1998, he represented the Georgian government — which is often at odds with the Putin Administration — before the U.S. Congress as its first lobbyist in this country.

He also served as advisor of the Georgian Parliament’s Security and Defense Committee and is clearly in a position to impart some interesting insights on the “Putin Era” when he appears before the RFLA on March 20.

PRO BONO BARRISTER is a weekly column dedicated to telling about the good that lawyers do. Send your comments or suggestions to this writer care of this newspaper or to COTEYESQ@aol.com.

Notice: Readers seeking legal representation on a Pro Bono Publico basis should not contact this columnist. Rather, they should seek out the Brooklyn Bar Association Volunteer Lawyers Project at (718) 624-3894.


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