Matter of 2225 46th St., LLC v. Hahralampopoulos, 1/17/2017 (Dufficy, J.)

Real Property; Equity; Strict Liability; RPAPL §881

By: Carolina Boutureira | Staff Writer

Plaintiff wished to complete a demolition to construct a new building. In order to perform the demolition, Plaintiff needed to encroach on eighteen adjoining properties owned by Defendants. Continue reading

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How Bar Association Membership Can Help Law Students Ignite Their Professional Passion

By: Daniel K. Wiig | In-House Counsel to Municipal Credit Union

Recently, a well-known and long-standing media personality came up in conversation with a friend.  “Why is she still working?” asked the friend, who further noted the personality’s long tenure in broadcasting and likely wealth accumulation.  “She doesn’t need to work anymore,” concluded the comment.

“Well, I don’t think she really is working,” responded me.

That does seem to be the golden egg for our professional lives: to find that which engages the inner passion, so the manner in which one earns a living is not listless and consumed with an ever-pining for the weekend, but rather filed with the joy and enthusiasm of a child entering an amusement park.

Finding that joy seems to evade the majority of professionals.  In order to avoid falling into this pool, law students should make it a mission to find what stirs the soul early in their law school career so to pave the path for a rewarding and fulfilling career.  To be sure, for some, finding this is achieved by simply pursuing what comes naturally without much forethought.  Enjoying a good debate or arguing for a cause may organically lead to a career as litigator.  Those who relish in managing projects may be drawn to a career as a corporate lawyer.  But how do you drill deeper?  In what areas should you litigate?  Personal Injury?  Employment matters?  And what projects should you put together?  The next great technology merger or luxury golf course?

There are many options available for students willing to fan the flames to ignite their professional passion.  To be sure, upper-level elective courses, internships, externships, clinics, and part time jobs all can aide students in this pursuit.  But an invaluable asset in a student’s arsenal to help navigate the legal profession and find that fervor is membership in a bar association.

Joining a committee can help students become engaged in the issues currently affecting a particular practice area.  In so doing, a student can ascertain if they wish to spend the life of a career concerned with said subject matter.  Moreover, joining a committee often serves as the catalyst for forming career-long professional relationships, even friendships, with fellow committee members.  Consequently, these new-found friends and acquaintances can provide an insider’s view on the realities of practicing within a given area.

Programming is also useful.  Of particular interest here are the myriad of programs designed to expose students and attorneys to specific practice areas and those that address discrete issues within certain areas Here, students can hear from leaders in a given field, and ascertain whether they wish to spend the next 40 plus years dealing with these and similar issues germane to the subject area.

Finally, networking programs should not be discounted.  While usually associated with socializing, networking events can be the catalyst for those with common bonds, such as membership in a bar association, to form professional alliances.  And, as with the relationships formed through committee engagement, such alliances can blossom into one of mentor-mentee, with the student gaining valuable insight into a practice area.

Bar Associations provide numerous opportunities for law students, not only during the embryonic stages of their careers, but throughout its entire trajectory.  Students should take advantage of all that membership has to offer to help forge a meaningful and satisfactory career in the law.

 

Daniel K. Wiig is In-House Counsel to Municipal Credit Union, where he is involved in the day-to-day management of the legal affairs of the $2 billion + financial institution.  Dan is also an Adjunct Law Professor at St. John’s University School of Law.  He presently serves as a Director of the NYCLA Foundation.

Reprinted with permission from the New York County Lawyers Association Law Blog.

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Discussion with Presiding Justice of the Queens County Commercial Division: Justice Marguerite A. Grays 

By: Anastasia Galstian | Staff Writer

Introduction

On Wednesday, March 1, 2017, I had the pleasure of meeting and interviewing Justice Marguerite A. Grays (“Justice Grays”) to discuss her path to the Commercial Division and to solicit advice for individuals seeking to enter the commercial field.   Continue reading

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Law Student Perspectives: Practical Advice for Law Students

By: Daniel K. Wiig | In-House Counsel to Municipal Credit Union

There has been much talk as of late about the relationship of law schools vis-à-vis the practice of law and, perhaps more bluntly, the ability for students to obtain meaningful employment as attorneys post graduation. Indeed, the statistics emanating from some quarters paint a dire image of an increasingly smaller number of recent grads who are able to secure a job requiring a juris doctorate. It also appears that more and more newly minted attorneys, in response to the difficult job market, are opting to hang their own shingle, which poses a different set of issues, namely, despite the degree and bar passage, are these individuals truly qualified to practice law? Consequently, this raises the question as to whether law schools should be designed as incubators to train students to perform legal work. Moreover, in a tight job market, what additional steps should law students take to increase their chances of securing employment?

To be sure, a law student needs to develop roots in theory about, for example, a contract formation and the manner in which an individual obtains the “bundle of rights” before she/he can engage in the practicalities of drafting a contract or prosecuting a trademark infringement matter. And this interplay of theory and practice has long been a reality at the majority, if not all of, the nation’s law schools. Many schools offer a myriad of clinical programs concentrating in areas such as civil rights, securities laws, consumer debt, and elder law, which provide students with “real-world,” hands-on experience. Additionally, there are numerous courses that assist students in honing specific skills. Courses with a particular focus on, for example, corporate governance, contract drafting, and the intricacies of electronic discovery are at many students’ disposal. To this end, at St. John’s University School of Law, I teach a course focused on New York’s Commercial Division, where, using a fact pattern of a commercial dispute, the students discuss strategy, draft pleadings, motions, discovery demands, and argue a motion – in sum, emulating the life cycle of a commercial case.

And this leads me to my first piece of practical advice for law students: enroll in these clinics/courses. Whatever area of the law that you are drawn to, register for those associated clinics and courses that will help you sharpen the necessary skills to “hit the ground running” in your chosen arena. Apply for the clinic where you will work beside a professor/practitioner to assist under-represented individuals in prosecuting claims for alleged civil rights violations. Enlist in the course where you will actually draft agreements, which, consequently, can serve as the runway for your career as a corporate attorney. The benefits of incorporating these into your law school curriculum are plentiful. The experience that you gain through this practical training will enable you to contribute something more on your first post-graduate job than simply following guidance from your superior(s). Through the clinic(s) or practical-skills course(s), you will likely encounter some of the same issues that you will eventually confront when you enter the full-time work force, and can approach those latter tasks not as a neophyte, but as someone with a certain degree of “know how”. Additionally, during the interview process, you would have the potential to share “war stories” with your interviewer, based on your experiences, and form the bond all interviewees hope to forge with the interviewer.

The other piece of practical advice involves a single word that installs utter fear in many law students: Network. I cannot emphasize enough the enormous dividends that you can earn through community engagement – specifically by taking on a leadership role. By participating in community affairs, notably through bar associations, you can cultivate career-long professional relationships with persons whom you may not otherwise encounter. I chose my words carefully here by specifying leadership. Too often, I have seen law students and lawyers attend events with the belief that somehow their mere presence, sipping a cocktail, or engaging in light banter will translate into a job, client referral, plum appointment, or whatever pot of gold they hope to seize at the end of the rainbow. While the sponsoring organization greatly appreciates, and candidly needs, your participation in these events, it is that next step – flexing your leadership muscle – which separates the wheat from the chaff.

The New York City Bar Association (the “City Bar”) is the perfect organization to assist you with this endeavor. With over 160 committees covering a spectrum of disciplines and a countless number of programs offered each year, there is ample opportunity for you to contribute something measurable and meaningful to the broader legal community, and simultaneously enhance your curriculum vitae. Whether you organize an event or co-author an amicus brief, you can demonstrate your intelligence and ability to successfully complete an assigned task. We tend to associate positive traits with people whom we view positively. As such, your active, dedicated participation will leave a positive impression on your fellow members – law firm partners, corporate counsel, judges, and prosecutors – from which only good things can follow. The legal job market is tough for new grads. But the truth of the matter is that it was never terribly easy. Historically, a relatively small number of grads obtain their post-graduate position prior to graduation, with an even smaller number securing employment through the on-campus interviewing or “OCI” program. In order to compete effectively, you should utilize all means at your disposal, as discussed herein, to thoroughly prepare yourself for the challenges that lie ahead. There is an old saying, “it is not what you know, but who you know.” I believe a more accurate iteration of that adage is that honing your craft, and cultivating a wide range of professional contacts, can be your recipe for success.

 

Daniel K. Wiig is In-House Counsel to Municipal Credit Union, where he is involved in the day-to-day management of the legal affairs of the $2 billion + financial institution. Dan is also an Adjunct Law Professor at St. John’s University School of Law, where he teaches a course entitled, “Litigation in New York’s Commercial Division”, and is a faculty advisor to the “Commercial Division Online Law Report”, a student-run blog focused on cases and issues stemming from New York’s Commercial Division. He presently serves on the New York City Bar Association’s Council on Judicial Administration and Law Students Perspectives Committee. He is also a New York County Delegate to the Judiciary Committee.

Reprinted with permission from the New York City Bar Association, Law Student Perspectives Newsletter, August 2016.

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An Interview with Ralph Carter

By: Gregory Brown | Staff Writer

Introduction

On March 2, 2017, Staffer Gregory Brown had the opportunity to conduct a phone interview with Ralph Carter, an Associate in the Trial Practice Group at Duane Morris LLP.  Mr. Carter offered his insight on the Commercial Division and what it takes to be a successful commercial litigator. Continue reading

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Fakiris v. Gusmar Enters. LLC, et al., Index No. 14652/14, 11/21/2016 (Ritholtz, J.)

Summary Judgment; Fiduciary Duty; Judicial Dissolution; Temporary Receivership

By: James Clarke | Staff Writer

Plaintiff Marina Fakiris (“Marina”), her brother Defendant Kostas Fakiris (“Kostas”), and their late father Peter Fakiris (“Peter”) formed Defendant Gusmar Enterprises, LLC (“Gusmar”), a real estate company. Continue reading

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Adopting the Attitude of a Servant to Succeed—An Interview with Judge DeStefano

By: Katherine Sullivan | Staff Writer

Introduction

On Tuesday, March 7, 2017, Staffer Katherine met with Justice Vito M. DeStefano (“Judge DeStefano”) of the Commercial Division of Supreme Court, Nassau County to discuss his background, experience in the Commercial Division, and his advice for new lawyers entering the legal field. Continue reading

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Saska v. Metropolitan Museum of Art, Index No. 650775/2013 11/10/16 (Kornreich, J.)

Preliminary Approval to Settlement Agreements; Class Action; Opposition Papers; CPLR § 908  

By Amanda Tersigni | Staff Writer

In 1870, the New York State Legislature (“the Legislature”), by and through its Parks Department, constructed an educational corporation, surrounding the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s (“the Museum”) to showcase art work and encourage and develop the study of fine arts. Continue reading

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Making Lemonade Out of Lemons: An Interview with Nathan Noh, Esq.

By: Christopher Arcitio | Editor-in-Chief

Introduction

On Sunday, March 5, 2017, Staffer Christopher Arcitio met with Nathan K. Noh, Esq., Associate at Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison to discuss his background in the legal profession and his interests in the law. Continue reading

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11-01 36 Avenue LLC v. Shehzad Quamar a/k/a Qyanar Shehzad, Roma Shukla a/k/a Shukla Roma, and Paul Stamatelatos, as Escrow Agent, Index No. 704865/2016, 11/28/2016 (Ritholtz, J.)

Time is of the essence clause; Breach of contract; Specific performance; Venue; Notice

By: Diana Ricaurte | Staff Writer

On or about December 17, 2015, Plaintiff buyer and Defendant seller entered into a contract for the sale of a commercial property. Subsequently, the parties discussed a closing date, and Plaintiff proffered a down payment. When Plaintiff ran a title search on the subject property, he discovered judgments and violations against the property. Continue reading

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