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The New York Court of Appeals is seeking comments on a proposed skills requirement for prospective lawyers.  The Task Force on Experiential Learning and Admission to the Bar has proposed five separate paths that will allow applicants for admission to the bar to demonstrate that they have fulfilled the skills competency requirement. Pathways 1 and 2 require certification by the law school that the applicant has fulfilled the requirement through the law school skills curriculum or practice-based experiential coursework. Pathway 3 allows applicants who have successfully completed the Pro Bono Scholars Program to satisfy the skills requirement. Pathways 4 and 5 were designed for applicants who did not have plentiful opportunities for skills training during their law study.

Persons or organizations wishing to comment on this proposal should e-mail their submissions to attorneyadmissions@nycourts.gov or write to: Margaret Wood, Court Attorney for Professional Matters, Court of Appeals Hall, 20 Eagle Street, Albany, NY 12207. Submissions will be accepted until 5 p.m. on November 9, 2015. All public comments will be treated as available for disclosure under the Freedom of Information Law, and are subject to publication by the Office of Court Administration. The issuance of a proposal for public comment should not be interpreted as an endorsement of that proposal by the Court of Appeals.

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WNYC, New York’s public radio station, has run a series of reports about a subject that has dominated national news in recent years. Titled “NYPD Bruised,” the reports began in July, 2014, following the death of Eric Garner during his arrest in Staten Island for allegedly selling loose cigarettes. Reports in the past few days have discussed problems surrounding the secrecy of records of police misconduct in New York. The October 15, 2015, broadcast is titled “New York Leads in Shielding Police Misconduct,” and includes a survey of ease of access to police records across the country. A segment broadcast on October 14, “When a Cop’s Right to Privacy Undermines Our Right to a Fair Trial,” features an interview with Professor Bennett Gershman, commenting on the difficulty of getting prosecutors to investigate and disclose records of past misconduct by police officers who testify as witnesses in criminal trials. Prof. Gershman says that district attorneys often act like ostriches:

He’s burying his head in the sand. He’s not looking for something that might be right in front of him, might be very easy to locate. This may very well be willful blindness on the part of the prosecution because they want to be able to prosecute their cases effectively.

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Our CongrPretrial2atulations go to the Pace 2015 Pretrial Competition Team that competed in the Eighth Annual, National Pretrial Advocacy Competition in Gulfport, Florida, October 9-11. The competition was established by Stetson University College of Law. This year’s competition problem involved a dispute between the plaintiff, an athletic apparel company, and the defendant, an investigative journalist, who wrote a slanderous report about the company. Malini Dhanraj (3L), Ashley Kersting (3L), Eve Lincoln (3L), and Elizabeth Wanyo (2L) represented Pace Law School at the competition. Malini and Elizabeth represented the plaintiff, Over-Armor, Inc. Ashley and Eve represented the defendant, journalist Nellie Kickwood. The team was coached by Pace Law Professor Eylan Schulman.

In the first round, Pace faced off against Chapman University School of Law. Later that afternoon in the second round, Pace competed against Nova Southeastern University College of Law. Next day in the third round, Pace competed against the host school, Stetson University College of Law. Competition judges then made a tough cut from 16 teams to only 4 teams that would advance to final rounds. The team and Coach Schulman proudly represented Pace Law School in this competition.

Congratulations to Malini, Ashley, Eve and Elizabeth on a strong performance!

Magna CartaPace Law School is hosting the exhibit, Magna Carta:  Enduring Legacy 1215-2015, from October 13-26, 2015.  The purpose of the exhibit, which was coordinated by the American Bar Association and the Law Library of Congress, is to educate the public about Magna Carta and explore its legacy.  We are grateful to our co-sponsor, the New York State Judicial Institute, for allowing us to mount the exhibit in its facility on the Pace campus.  The exhibit will be open to the public from 9:00-5:00, Monday through Friday.

A number of law schools have hosted this traveling exhibit which commemorates the 800th anniversary of the sealing of Magna Carta.  Curated by the Law Library of Congress, the exhibit includes sixteen banners which display images of Magna Carta, other documents, illustrations, and political cartoons which were gathered from the rare book collections of the Library of Congress.   The accompanying video describes some of the materials depicted in the exhibit and explains their significance.  To complement the exhibit, the library has mounted two displays on the first floor of Ottinger Hall and one display in the lobby of the Gerber Glass Law Center.  Several lectures and other events have been planned, and a complete list can be found at http://law.pace.edu/magna-carta.  Pace is honored that The Honorable Albert M. Rosenblatt will speak on “Magna Carta:   Alive and Well at 800” on October 20, at 5:00 in the Lecture Hall of the Judicial Institute.   He was an Associate Justice of the New York State Court of Appeals from 1998-2006.

Pace 2015 National Sports Law Negotiation TeamOur Congratulations go to the Pace 2015 National Sports Law Negotiation Team that placed thirteenth overall out of forty teams at the fifth annual National Sports Negotiation Competition (NSLNC) in San Diego, California. The competition was established by the Center for Sports Law & Policy (CSLP) at Thomas Jefferson School of Law. This year’s competition problem involved a sponsorship deal between Red Bull energy drink and a female roller derby league, as well as a dispute between US Women’s National Team goalie Hope Solo and the Women’s Sports Foundation. Melissa Ryan Reitberg (2L) and Steven Stieglitz (3L) represented Pace Law School at the competition. Melissa and Steven represented Red Bull and Hope Solo in the competition. The team was coached by Pace Alumni Dan Masi.

In the first round, Pace faced off against Whittier Law School. After negotiating a favorable contract, Pace advanced to the second round along with Florida A&M Law School. The team and coaches were honored to have the opportunity to represent Pace Law School in this competition and to explore the beautiful city of San Diego.

Congratulations to Melissa and Steven for a great performance!

Congratulations to the prize winners for our 2015 Pace Law Library orientation scavenger hunt!  All of the winners have been notified via email and can claim their prizes at the Circulation Desk in the Law Library.  Please present your Pace ID when you come in to pick it up.

Thank you to everyone who participated in this year’s scavenger hunt.

$25 Amazon Gift Card (donated by Pace Law Library)

  • Danny Amaisse
  • Danielle Catinella

$25 Amazon Gift Card (donated by Lexis)

  • Kevin Almonte
  • Gloria Okirie

Questions and Answers Study Aid (donated by Lexis)

  • Augusleen Chanson
  • Amanda Fiorilla
  • Ryan Memoli
  • Sarah Schmer

$10 Starbucks Gift Card (donated by Bloomberg BNA)

  • Michael Calabrese
  • Daniel Stalter
  • James Virga


On August 5, the SEC approved a final “pay ratio” rule requiring large public companies to disclose the ratio of chief executives’ pay to the median pay of employees. Companies will have to report the ratio every three years, in registration statements, proxy and information statements, and annual reports. The Dodd-Frank Act of 2010 mandated the rule, but there was substantial resistance to it from corporate interest groups that claimed it would necessitate complex accounting changes and be too costly. To accommodate companies with fewer resources, the rule exempts smaller reporting companies, emerging growth companies, foreign private issuers, MJDS filers, and registered investment companies. The rule, which will take effect in 2017 (disclosures will not begin until 2018) is intended to provide valuable information to investors and shareholders in evaluating whether executive pay is excessive.

Related Reading:

SEC Adopts Rule for Pay Ratio Disclosure,” SEC Press Release, Aug. 5, 2015.

SEC’s New Pay Ratio Disclosure Rule Explained,” Richard C. Shea, The National Law Review, Aug. 11, 2015.

Editorial, “A Long Time Coming, Sunlight on the Executive Pay Gap,” The N.Y. Times, Aug. 6, 2015.

A recent press release from the National Association for Law Placement (NALP.org) states that “the overall employment rate for the Class of 2014 was 86.7% of graduates for whom employment status was known, the first year that the rate has increased since 2007.” The number of graduates who reported that they were working in short-term and/or part-time jobs also declined, and the percentage of graduates who reported “jobs that were full-time, long-term, and bar passage required jumped three full percentage points, to 62%, up from an historic low of just 57% for the Class of 2011.” The national median salary for 2014 graduates was $63,000, a slight increase over the previous year’s rate of $62,467. There are even predictions that there will be more jobs than law graduates by 2017 – let’s dream big!

Related Reading:

Shrinking Number of Law Graduates Boosts Employment Rate for Class of 2014, Deborah Cassens Weiss, ABA Journal, July 30, 2015.

POST WRITTEN BY: Cassandra Castellano (J.D. expected ’17, Pace Law School) & Lucie Olejnikova

Pace Law School hosted its Annual Louis V. Fasulo Moot Court Competition for the 2015 January Class on July 8, 2015. About 40 lawyers and judges participated in judging this exciting competition. The students were prepared and delivered an exciting evening of well-reasoned and persuasively delivered legal arguments.

The students argued the merits of the case of People v. Foster, No. 1423-15 (Sup. Ct. N.Y. Co. Apr. 15, 2015), authored by Professor Peter Widulski. Professors Vicky Gannon, Tamar Gribetz, Gail Whittemore, and Peter Widulski worked with the students throughout their summer semester and prepared them for their presentations. The panels of judges, many of whom were Pace alumni, challenged our students with great line of questioning. Our students rose to the occasion and received high praises and great feedback from the judges.

top16croppedThe comradery, intensity, and enthusiasm of the students provided for a wonderful competition. After the preliminary rounds, the top 15 students - Chanel Clinton, Stephanie Correa, Gianna Del Grippo, Katherine Ehrlich, Steven Filosa, Justin Grant, Brittany Hanley, Patricia Lam, Vito Marzano, Jonathan Poling, Daniel Rodriguez, Dennis Salzbrunn, Conor Strong, Mark Uzorka and Scott Wenzel - competed for top oralist. As the evening moved on, Katherine Ehrlich, Steven Filosa, Justin Grant, Vito Marzano, Daniel Rodriguez, Conor Strong, Mark Uzorka and Scott Wenzel met head to head in an exciting top 8 semi-final round, making it a difficult job for the judges to pick the finalists.

top4smallVito Marzano, Conor Strong, Mark Uzorka and Scott Wenzel prevailed and earned their spot in top 4. Vito Marzano won the overall competition as Best Advocate, Conor Strong won second place and Mark Uzorka won third place. All three students received generous Pieper Bar Review gift certificates, as an acknowledgement of their accomplishment.

Thank you to Loretta Musial, Prof. Louis Fasulo, Catherine Peña (’15), the 1L Legal Skills Writing and Research faculty for preparing and supporting the students, Dean Yassky, Chartwell Food Services and of course our volunteer judges. Special thanks also to the Advocacy Honor Board for running the competition: Cassandra Castellano, Brianne Cunningham, Washington Paul Alvarez, Vittoria Fiorenza, Michael Giordano, Hanna Shoshany and Michael Pesin-Virovets.

Congratulations to Vito Marzano, Conor Strong, Mark Uzorka, and Scott Wenzel on this wonderful achievement! 

The Superior Court of California, County of San Francisco, issued an opinion on an appeal of a Labor Commission decision in Uber Technologies, Inc. v. Berwick, CGC 15-546378. The plaintiff, Barbara Berwick, maintained she was an employee of Uber, and was therefore owed reimbursement for expenses incurred and wages earned between July 15 and September 15, 2014. Uber claimed that it is merely a technological platform, that it provided only the ability for the passengers and the drivers to facilitate a private transaction, and that its drivers are independent contractors.

In order to determine whether Ms. Berwick was an employee of Uber or an independent contractor, the court analyzed the written agreement between Ms. Berwick and Uber and the circumstances of her employment according to a list of factors from S. G. Borello & Sons, Inc. v. Dep’t of Indus. Relations, 769 P.2d 399 (Cal. 1989). It found that Uber controlled every aspect of its operation. It did background checks on its drivers, required that drivers provide personal banking and residence information, along with social security numbers, and that drivers maintain their cars according to industry standards. Ms. Berwick’s car and her labor were her only assets. The court held

[a]side from her car, Plaintiff had no investment in the business. Defendants provided the iPhone application, which was essential to the work. But for Defendants’ intellectual property, Plaintiff would not have been able to perform the work. In light of the above, Plaintiff was Defendants’ employee.

Ms. Berwick was awarded $4,152.20 in expenses and interest. Uber has appealed the decision, and its officials issued a statement, saying that the “ruling is non-binding and applies to a single driver.”

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