On May 18 a group of legislators, staffers, lobbyists, and even a couple of trial attorneys gathered in the State House for NJCJI’s Legal Reform 101 training.
Assemblymen Jay Webber (R-26) and Gary Schaer (D-36) kicked things off by giving attendees an overview of what is going on in the legislature right now. Both legislators said they would like to see some of NJCJI’s policy ideas come to fruition.
NJCJI president Marcus Rayner then took the floor. He talked about the fundamentals of legal reform – what it is and why it matters in New Jersey. Although legal reform sounds vague and mysterious, it is in essence a collection of everything that impacts when we go to court and how we are treated there. He explained how the legal climate plays an important role in business development since companies want to move to and grow in states where their liability is predictable and the rule of law prevails.
Alida Kass, NJCJI’s chief counsel followed that up with an overview of the red flags we look for in proposed legislation. She also discussed alternatives to litigation we have suggested to improve bills where litigation is only an unintended consequence rather than the centerpiece of the legislation.
Following the New Jersey Supreme Court’s decision in Wadeer v. NJM, where the court delegated its decision-making authority to the civil practice committee rather than deciding some issues in the case itself, NJCJI has received many questions about the court’s committees. In response, Emily Kelchen, NJCJI’s director of public affairs, put together a session on judicial rulemaking for the 101 training. She talked about why the committees exist and how they work.
To wrap things up, Rayner provided an overview of NJCJI’s current legislative agenda.
If your organization would like a briefing on legal reform, or an update on pending court cases and legislation that could expand your liability, please let us know. We would be happy to give a presentation tailored to meet your organization’s needs at one of your upcoming meetings.