Roll Call by Diana Szochet

The Following Attorneys Were Disbarred By Order Of The Appellate Division, Second Judicial Department:

Gerard M. Tanella, a suspended attorney (January 9, 2013)
Following a disciplinary hearing, the respondent was found guilty of, inter alia, breaching his fiduciary duty; failing to safeguard funds entrusted to him as a fiduciary allowing one or more non-attorneys to exercise control over his law practice; giving false and/or misleading testimony and written answers to the Grievance Committee; engaging in conduct involving dishonesty, deceit, fraud, and/or misrepresentation, which adversely reflects on his fitness to practice law; undertaking representation in a matter that he knew or should have known he was incompetent to handle; neglecting a legal matter entrusted to him; and engaging in conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice, which reflects adversely on his fitness to practice law. Previously, the respondent was suspended from the practice of law by order of the Appellate Division, Second Department dated May 12, 2011, upon a finding that he posed an immediate threat to the public interest based upon his substantial admissions under oath and other uncontroverted evidence of professional misconduct.

Michael Sprei, a suspended attorney (January 30, 2013)
The respondent tendered a resignation wherein he acknowledged that he could not successfully defend himself on the merits against allegations that he converted funds entrusted to him as a fiduciary. Previously, the respondent was suspended from the practice of law by order of the Appellate Division, Second Department dated January 6, 2012, upon a finding that he was guilty of serious professional misconduct immediately threatening the public interest based upon his substantial admissions under oath and other uncontroverted evidence of serious professional misconduct.

David M. Green (February 6, 2013)
The respondent tendered a resignation wherein he acknowledged that he could not successfully defend himself on the merits against allegations that he induced a client to mortgage certain real property and give him the proceeds of that mortgage, under false pretenses, after which he misappropriated same, and that he arranged for another mortgage to be placed on the client’s property, without the client’s knowledge or consent, and misappropriated the proceeds of that mortgage as well.

Christopher George Lazarou (February 6, 2013)
By orders of the Supreme Court of Georgia dated September 19, 2005, and the Supreme Judicial Court for Suffolk County, Massachusetts, entered July 24, 2008, the respondent was disbarred in Georgia and Massachusetts, respectively.  Upon the application of the Grievance Committee pursuant to 22 NYCRR 691.3, to reciprocally discipline the respondent in New York, the respondent was disbarred.

David Allen Linn, (February 6, 2013)
The respondent tendered a resignation wherein he acknowledged that he could not successfully defend himself on the merits against pending charges that he failed to preserve funds in his escrow account; failed to remit said funds to his client; failed to handle an appeal entrusted to him for which he was paid a retainer; misled the client concerning the appeal on numerous occasions; failed to obtain the balance of settlement funds due to a client; and failed to cooperate with the Grievance Committee. The respondent further acknowledged that he would not be able to successfully defend himself on the merits against additional allegations that he converted funds from multiple real estate transactions.

Neal H. Sultzer (March 6, 2013)
The respondent tendered a resignation in which he admitted that he could not successfully defend himself on the merits against pending charges that he engaged in professional misconduct by participating in real estate transactions on behalf of a client when he knew the client was engaging in illegal or fraudulent conduct.

Robert Michael Ibraham (March 13, 2013)
On January 11, 2012, the respondent pleaded guilty in the Supreme Court, Suffolk County, to eight counts of residential mortgage fraud in the second degree, a class C felony in violation of Penal Law Section 190.65(1)(b). Pursuant to Judiciary Law Section 90(4), the respondent was automatically disbarred effective January 11, 2012, based upon his conviction of a felony.

Deborah K. Rice, admitted as Deborah Karen Gerstein (April 10, 2013)
On or about March 26, 2009, the respondent pleaded guilty in the United District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, to two counts of mail fraud, in violation of 18 USC 1341, and one count of wire fraud, in violation of 18 USC 1343, both federal felonies. By order dated April 29, 2010, the Supreme Court of Florida disbarred the respondent, effective January 11, 2010. By Opinion dated March 1, 2010, the Supreme Court of Georgia accepted the respondent’s voluntary surrender of her license to practice law, which was tantamount to disbarment under Georgia State Bar Rule 4-110(f). Both disciplinary actions were predicated upon the respondent’s federal conviction. Upon the Grievance Committee’s application pursuant to 22 NYCRR 691.3 to impose reciprocal discipline, the respondent was disbarred in New York, effective immediately.

Daniel J. Fox, admitted as Daniel James Fox (April 24, 2013)
The respondent tendered a resignation wherein he acknowledged that he could not successfully defend himself on the merits against potential charges predicated upon his temporary suspension from the practice of law in New Jersey.

The Following Attorneys Were Suspended By Order Of The Appellate Division, Second Judicial Department:

Anthony C. Donofrio (January 9, 2013)
Following a disciplinary hearing, the respondent was found guilty of misappropriating and/or failing to preserve funds entrusted to him as a fiduciary. He was suspended from the practice of law for a period of two years, effective February 8, 2013, and continuing until the further order of the Court. By further decision and order of the Court dated March 22, 2013, the effective date of the respondent’s suspension was adjourned until April 22, 2013, solely for the purpose of winding down his practice with respect to existing matters and clients.

Robert A. Macedonio, admitted as Robert Anthony Macedonio, a disbarred attorney (January 9, 2013)
By opinion and order of the Appellate, Second Department dated August 25, 2009, the respondent was disbarred based on his conviction of criminal possession of a controlled substance in the fifth degree, a class D felony in violation of Penal Law Section 220.06(5), and his name was struck from the roll of attorneys and counselors-at-law, effective December 9, 2008. On January 6, 2012, the Honorable James Hudson, County Suffolk County, pursuant to a negotiated plea, granted the respondent’s motion to vacate his felony conviction and accepted in its place a plea to criminal possession of a controlled substance in the seventh degree, a class A misdemeanor in violation of Penal Law Section 220.03. In a decision and order of the Appellate Division dated April 23, 2012, the respondent’s prior disbarment was vacated; the respondent was immediately suspended from the practice of law pursuant Judiciary Law Section 90(4) (f) as a result of his conviction of a serious crime; and a disciplinary proceeding was authorized. Following a hearing, the Appellate Division suspended the respondent from the practice of law for a period of two years, nunc pro tunc to December 9, 2008, and immediately reinstated him.

Kenneth J. Gellerman (January 23, 2013)
The respondent was suspended from the practice of law, pending further order of the Court, upon a finding that he was guilty of professional misconduct immediately threatening the public interest based upon a pattern and practice of converting client funds, and a disciplinary proceeding was authorized.

Raghubir K. Gupta, a disbarred attorney (March 8, 2013)
Motion by the respondent to, inter alia, vacate an opinion and order of the Appellate Division, Second Judicial Department dated June 8, 2010, which struck his name from the roll of attorneys and counselors-at-law, as a result of his felony conviction on October 26, 2009, which conviction was vacated by an amended opinion of the Second Circuit Court of Appeals dated November 8, 2012 (see United States v. Gupta, 699 F3d 682). The respondent’s motion was granted to the extent that the opinion and order dated June 8, 2010, which disbarred him, was vacated, and the Court, on its own motion, the respondent was immediately suspended from the practice of law based on the acts of professional misconduct underlying the criminal allegations, and a disciplinary proceeding was authorized.

Joell Barnett, admitted as Joell Carol Barnett (March 12, 2013)
On November 22, 2011, the respondent pleaded guilty in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York (Buchwald, J.) to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, in violation of 18 USC 1349, and one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and bank fraud, in violation of 18 USC 1349. The respondent was immediately suspended from the practice of law pursuant to Judiciary Law Section 90(4) (f), pending further order of the Appellate Division, as a result of her conviction of a serious crime, and a disciplinary proceeding was authorized.

James G. Carroll (March 13, 2013)
The respondent was immediately suspended from the practice of law, pending further order of the Court, based upon his substantial admissions under oath and other uncontroverted evidence of professional misconduct.

Efrain Ramos, Jr. (March 13, 2013)
The respondent was immediately suspended from the practice of law, pending further order of the Court, based upon his failure to cooperate with the Grievance Committee in its investigation of multiple complaints against him, and a disciplinary proceeding was authorized.

Richard J. Zimmerman (March 27, 2013)
Following a disciplinary hearing, the respondent was found guilty of failing to safeguard escrow funds entrusted to him as a fiduciary, incident to his practice of law; engaging in conduct involving deceit, dishonesty, and misrepresentation; failing to withdraw from representing a client in a transaction in which he knew that continued representation would cause him to engage in deceitful conduct; making false and/or misleading statements to the Grievance Committee; and failing to maintain ledger books or similar records of deposits into and withdrawals from his IOLA accounts. He was suspended from the practice of law for a period of two years, effective April 26, 2013, and continuing until further order of the Court.

Alexander Herman (April 1, 2013)
The respondent was suspended on a voluntary basis pursuant to 22 NYCRR 691.1(c) based on his contention that he suffers from a mental infirmity, until a determination is made by a qualified medical expert as to his capacity to practice law.

Michael Levitis, a suspended attorney (April 10, 2013)
On March 1, 2011, the respondent pleaded guilty in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York (Ross, J.) to one count of making a false statement, in violation of 18 USC 1001 (a) (2), a federal felony. By order of the Appellate Division, Second Department dated January 24, 2012 the respondent was immediately suspended from the practice of law pursuant to Judiciary Law Section 90(4) (f), pending further order of the Appellate Division, based upon his conviction of a serious crime. Following a disciplinary hearing, the respondent was suspended from the practice of law for a period of six months, nunc pro tunc to January 24, 2012, with leave to apply for reinstatement immediately.

Yana Schtindler (April 17, 2013)
Following a disciplinary hearing, the respondent was found guilty of failing to safeguard escrow funds entrusted to her as a fiduciary, incident to her practice of law; failing to maintain a ledger book or similar record of deposits into and withdrawals from her attorney escrow account; knowingly making false and/or misleading statements to the Grievance Committee; improperly conditioning the payment of funds, to which a third party was entitled, upon the withdrawal of the party’s complaint to the Grievance Committee; failing to adequately supervise her paralegal; and improperly authorizing a non-attorney to be a signatory on her escrow account. She was suspended from the practice of law for a period of one year, effective May 17, 2013, and continuing until the further order of the Court.

Derek P. McDowell (April 26, 2013)
The respondent was immediately suspended, pending further proceedings, upon a finding that he posed an immediate threat to the pubic interest based upon his failure to cooperate with the lawful demands of the Grievance Committee.

Neal Stuart Spector (May 13, 2013)
The respondent was immediately suspended from the practice of law, pending further proceedings, upon a finding that he posed an immediate threat to the public interest based upon his failure to cooperate with the Grievance Committee.

Keith D. Erlington, admitted as Keith Dalton Erlington (May 17, 2003)
The respondent was immediately suspended from the practice of law, pending further proceedings, upon a finding that he posed an immediate threat to the public interest based upon  his substantial admissions under oath and other uncontroverted evidence that he committee an act or acts of serious professional misconduct.

Anthony C. D’Onofrio (May 22, 2013)
Upon the respondent’s motion to stay of much of the opinion and order of the Appellate Division dated January 9, 2013 as, inter alia, suspended him from the practice of law for a period of two years, pending determination of his appeal from the opinion and order to the Court of Appeals, the motion was denied as academic in light of the dismissal of the appeal, and the respondent’s suspension from the practice of law was ordered to commence May 23, 2013, and to continue until further order of the Court.

The Following Attorneys Were Publicly Censured By Order Of The Appellate Division, Second Judicial Department:

James N. Hulme, admitted as James Norton Hulme (January 9, 2013)
Following a disciplinary hearing, the respondent was publicly censured upon a finding that he was guilty of engaging in conduct adversely reflecting on his fitness as a lawyer; conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit, or misrepresentation; and conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice.

Robert B. Armstrong, admitted as Robert Britton Armstrong (March 13, 2013)
By Memorandum Order of the Disciplinary Board of the Virginia State Bar, entered June 21, 2010, the respondent was suspended from the practice of law in Virginia for a period of 30 days, as a result of his having pled “no contest” on December 3, 2008, to misdemeanor sexual assault. Upon the Grievance Committee’s application pursuant to 22 NYCRR 6913 to impose reciprocal discipline, the respondent was publicly censured in New York.

Marvin Blakely (April 24, 2013)
Upon the Grievance Committee’s application for reciprocal discipline pursuant to 22 NYCRR 691.3, the respondent was publicly censured in New York based upon his having been reprimanded in New Jersey by order of the New Jersey Supreme Court dated January 25, 2012.

The Following Suspended, Disbarred Or Voluntarily Resigned Attorneys Were Reinstated As Attorneys And Counselors-At-Law By Order Of The Appellate Division, Second Judicial Department:

Barry R. Feerst, admitted as Barry Roy Feerst (January 9, 2013)
William F. Rothman, admitted as William Frederick Rothman (January 9, 2013)
Andrew Bryant Livernois (January 10, 2013 [effective February 4, 2013])
Jeffrey Bettan (January 23, 2013)
Christopher T. Maffia (January 23, 2013)
Shea Elizabeth Fitzekam (January 23, 2013)
Diana M. Vargas, admitted as Diana Monica Vargas (January 23, 2013 [effective February 4, 2013])
Virginia R. Iaquinta-Snigur (March 13, 2013)
Kevin B. Dwyer (March 27, 2013)
Scott B. Feiden, admitted as Scott Bruce Feiden, a suspended attorney (April 24, 2013)
Patricia M. Cavanaugh, admitted as Patricia Marie Cavanaugh, a suspended attorney (May 29, 2013)

© 2013 Brooklyn Bar Association. All rights reserved. Reprinted with permission of the Brooklyn Bar.

Changing Your Name in New York: A Guide for Attorneys and the Self-Represented ― Part II By Gerald Lebovits and Taneem Kabir

Gerald Lebovits is a New York City Civil Court judge and an adjunct professor at Columbia, Fordham, and NYU law schools. Taneem Kabir, an associate attorney at DeToffol & Associates, is admitted to practice in New Jersey and before the United States Patent and Trademark Office. For their research help on all three parts of this article, the authors thank law students Aviva S. Kravitz and Todd M. Neuhaus from Cardozo School of Law and Natalie J. Puzio, an undergraduate at Villanova University.

In this second part of our three-part article on New York’s name-change laws, we discuss how to change someone else’s name and what you must prove to change a name.

Name Change on Another’s Behalf. Name changing on behalf of another usually requires that individual’s consent.

If you are a family member trying to change the name of an adult family member (age 18 or older), follow the steps set forth in the “General Requirements” section below and, in addition, obtain that adult’s written consent. Likewise, if you are the parent of a child and are trying to change that child’s name, you must follow the “General Requirements” below and obtain the other parent’s or step-parent’s written consent and also the child’s written consent if the child is 14-17 years old. If the child is 13 or under, the child need not consent in writing.

The court will deny your name-change petition for a child if the name change does not substantially promote the child’s best interests.1 This “substantial best interest” standard requires the court to consider an entire slew of factors, including the child’s age, maturity, and sense of identity, as well as the effect of proposed name change on the child’s relationship with either parent and the child’s susceptibility to ridicule by peers. 2

In Matter of Kobra, for example, the court denied the parents’ petition for leave to change their nine-year-old daughter’s name because doing so at that “influential pre-teen stage of her personal and social development” when it was “crucial for her to have stability and to maintain a strong sense of self-identity” would make the girl’s life “absolutely miserable and unreasonably venerable to all kinds of probing questions, embarrassment, ridicule, and humiliation” from her peers. 2

If the child is 13-years-old or younger, you do not need the child’s written consent, but you must meet the General Requirements and “substantial best interests of the child” requirement. The court may deny the name you have chosen for your child if you do not properly notify the other parent of the proposed name change. If the non-petitioning parent does not consent to the child’s name change, moreover, the name-change court may consider the withholding of consent as an important factor. 3

Regarding the substantial best-interests standard, changing a 12-year-old child’s last name from that of the natural father to that of a stepfather is in the child’s best interests if the natural father has not seen or financially and emotionally supported the child for many years or if that child’s last name, being different from other step-siblings, causes the child confusion and embarrassment. 4

New York State law offers several ways to satisfy the requirement that the petitioning parent must properly notify the non-petitioning parent of a petition for leave to assume a new name for a child 17 or under. If the other parent lives in New York State, you, as the petitioning parent, must serve the other parent with the child’s name-change petition using a neutral process server.5

If the other parent lives outside New York State, you must send that parent notice by registered mail to a last known address.6 If you cannot find the other parent’s address after diligent investigation, the court will decide how to give appropriate notice to that parent. 7

If a parent successfully petitions to change the parent’s surname, any minor child of that parent may informally assume the changed surname,8 and that parent may register the child for school under the new surname. But unless parental custody rights have been terminated, a noncustodial parent may secure an injunction to prevent the child from using the new surname.9

In Galanter v. Galanter, the parties had minor children together.10 The children resided with their mother. After the father learned that the children were using another last name at school, he quickly filed for injunctive relief (which the court called an “application” and a “petition”) in Supreme Court for an order directing the mother to continue using his last name for the children and to cease and desist from imposing upon the children any other last name. The court ultimately granted his injunction, finding that the mother was not candid about imposing another last name upon the children and that the names invaded and defeated the father’s rights.

If the other parent is properly served with the child’s name-change petition but refuses to consent to it, this process becomes contested. The court will set a date and time for a formal hearing in which you and the nonpetitioning parent must appear and at which you will make your respective arguments about changing the child’s name; witnesses must testify under oath. The court will use as the standard what will substantially promote the child’s best interest.11 It would be wise to seek the help of a competent attorney to represent you at this hearing.

An applicant such as a domestic-violence victim whose personal  safety would be jeopardized  by publishing the proposed new name may ask the court under Civil Rights Law § 64-a(1) to waive the newspaper publication of the parent’s name change or the child’s name change. If the court finds that your safety or your child’s safety would be jeopardized, the court under Civil Rights Law § 64-a(2) may also immediately seal the records of the current name, the changed name, the residential and business addresses of yourself and the child, all telephone numbers, and any other information contained in any court pleading or paper.12 Once these pieces of information are sealed, they can be unsealed only by court order for good cause shown or at your request.13

For example, in Matter of Doe, the mother successfully petitioned to change her name and her infant child’s name without notice to the biological father and without obtaining his consent. According to the Civil Court, New York County, the father had threatened to kill them, and therefore notifying him would have jeopardized both the mother’s and child’s personal safety.14

You are also excused from notifying a spouse serving a life sentence about your child’s name change. That spouse is “civilly” dead and not “living” within the meaning of Civil Rights Law § 62 and therefore has no right to object or to be heard.

If you are a parent of an adult child who suffers from a mental disability, you may petition to change your adult child’s name only if your adult child cannot demonstrate an ability to make that decision on his or her own. In Matter of Individual with a Disability for Leave to Change Her Name, an applicant with a mental disability successfully petitioned to change her name without input from her family or guardian ad litem. The court was satisfied with her ability to make that decision on her own because she was living as independent a life as possible for a person with her disabilities.15 The applicant attended school, participated in a work program, handled her own money, maintained her own bank account, and took public transportation without being accompanied.

III. General Requirements: What You Must Prove
Under Civil Rights Law § 60-65, all name-change applicants petitioning a New York State court must submit the following:
(1) proof of birth information;
(2) criminal records disclosure information;
(3) financial status disclosure information;
(4) reason for changing a name;
(5) the petitioner’s signature;
(6) whether the petitioner has been convicted of a crime or adjudicated a bankrupt;
(7) whether any judgments, liens of record, or actions are pending against the petitioner; if so, the petitioner must sufficiently describe these judgments, liens, and actions in the name-change petition for the court to identify the matter referred to;
(8) whether the petitioner owes any child support or spousal support (called “maintenance” in New York and “alimony” in many other jurisdictions); if so, the petitioner must also disclose in the name change petition (a) whether these child or spousal support obligations have been satisfied or are current; (b) how much child support or spousal maintenance is outstanding at the time of the name-change petition filing; (c) which court issued the order that obligates the petitioner to pay the child or spousal support; and (d) in which county the child-support collections unit is located.16

The judge reviewing the petition has the discretion to accept or reject these documents as proof.
To submit your birth information, you must present with your name-change petition an original or certified copy of your birth certificate. To get a certified copy of your birth certificate if you were born in New York City, go to www.nyc.gov/html/doh/home.html. If you were born outside New York City, go to www.health.ny.gov/vital_records/birth.htm. If you were born outside New York State, you must submit a certified copy of your birth certificate, baptismal certificate, passport, or other legal documents showing the date and place of your birth.17

If you are a petitioner with a criminal record, you must disclose in your name-change petition the details of that record. You can do this by clearly identifying in your petition the nature of your crime(s), the date the conviction(s) were entered, and the name of the court(s) that convicted you. If you are on probation or parole or are serving a sentence as an inmate in a correctional facility for committing various violent felonies,18 you may petition for a name change,19 but you are required to notify the district attorney’s office and courthouses of each county in which you have been convicted when and where the petition will be presented.20 If you have completed your jail sentence, you should contact the court you are petitioning to find out whether you are required to provide a copy of your Certificate of Incarceration or Certificate of Disposition if you have served a felony sentence.21

To disclose your financial status, keep in mind that if you have declared bankruptcy and a court has found you bankrupt, or if any pending judgments, liens, or civil actions are pending against you, you must provide specific details.22 You should contact the court you are petitioning to find out what is necessary, but more is always better so that the judge may make a reasoned decision and so that you will not be accused of withholding information. If you are responsible for child support or spousal maintenance, you must also provide the details listed above in item #8.

To fulfill the affidavit requirement, you must affirm on the “Verification” page of your name-change petition that your petition is true and that if a child’s name is being changed, there is no reasonable objection by anyone, such as the other parent or a guardian, who might reasonably object to the child’s name change and that the child’s name change will substantially promote the child’s best interests.23 The following is an example of a verification:
Todd Neuhaus, being duly sworn, deposes and says: I am the petitioner in the above-mentioned proceeding. I have read the petition and know the contents to be true to my own knowledge, except to those matters alleged on information and belief, and as to those matters I believe them to be true.

To satisfy the signature requirement, you must sign your name-change petition with your current name before a notary public and pay the appropriate notarization fee, if any.24

To explain your reason for changing your name, you may put forward any honest explanation you wish to give, but the court, as we explain below in greater detail, has the discretion to deny your name-change petition if your proposed name will cause fraud, confusion, or offense to common decency and good taste.25

The third part of our three-part article on New York’s name change laws will conclude with where to file, in which court to file, and what happens after you file name-change petitions as well as publication requirements.  Look for it in the next issue of the Queens Bar Bulletin.

1 See Matter of Eberhardt, 83 A.D.3d 116, 121, 920 N.Y.S.2d 216, 219-20 (2d Dep’t 2011) (“Civil Rights Law § 63 authorizes an infant’s name change if there is no reasonable objection to the proposed name, and the interests of the infant will be substantially promoted by the change.”).
2 Matter of Kobra (Hossain), 37 Misc. 3d 1216(A), 961 N.Y.S.2d 358, 2012 N.Y. Slip Op. 52061(U), *5 (Civ. Ct. Kings County 2012). 
3 See Matter of Petras, 123 Misc. 2d 665, 671, 475 N.Y.S.2d 198, 203 (Civ. Ct. Queens County 1984) (“[A]n incarcerated parent should have the right to have his consent, or withholding of consent, carefully considered as an important factor by any court considering a change of name application.”).
4 See Matter of Robinson, 74 Misc. 2d 63, 64, 66, 344 N.Y.S. 2d 147, 148-50 (Civ. Ct. N.Y. County 1972).
5 N.Y. Civ. Rights Law § 62, available at http://www.nycourts.gov/courts/nyc/civil/nc60.shtml#sec61 (last visited Jun. 17, 2013).
6 Id.
7 Id.
8 N.Y. Civ. Rights Law § 64, available at http://www.nycourts.gov/courts/nyc/civil/nc60.shtml#sec64 (last visited July 17, 2013).
9 Karen Hogan, Starting Over: Legal Name Change, Pace Law ― Pace Battered Woman’s Justice Ctr., Vol. 1, Issue 1 (1998), http://law.pace.edu/starting-over-legal-name-change (last visited July 17, 2013).
10 Galanter v. Galanter, 133 N.Y.S.2d 266, 267-68 (Sup. Ct. Kings County 1954).
11 N.Y. Civ. Rights Law § 63 available at http://www.nycourts.gov/courts/nyc/civil/nc60.shtml#sec63 (last visited Jun. 17, 2013); See Matter of DeJesus, 44 Misc. 2d 833, 834, 254 N.Y.S.2d 23, 24 (Civ. Ct. N.Y. County 1964) (“Change of name of minors should be approved or disapproved solely on the basis of the best interest of the minor.”); Matter of Wing, 4 Misc. 2d 840, 841, 157 N.Y.S.2d 333, 335 (Civ. Ct. N.Y. County 1956).
12 N.Y. Civ. Rights Law § 64-a, available at http://www.nycourts.gov/courts/nyc/civil/nc60.shtml#sec61 (last visited July 17, 2013).
13 Id.
14 Matter of Doe, 3 Misc. 3d 648, 649-55, 773 N.Y.S.2d 215, 216-20 (Civ. Ct. N.Y. County 2003).
15 Matter of Individual with a Disability for Leave to Change Her Name, 195 Misc. 2d 497, 498, 760 N.Y.S. 2d 293, 294 (Civ. Ct. Richmond County 2003).
16 N.Y. Civ. Rights Law § 61, available at http://www.nycourts.gov/courts/nyc/civil/nc60.shtml#sec61 (last visited July 17, 2013).
17 N.Y. St. Unified Ct. Sys., N.Y. Civ. Ct., Name Changes, courts.state.ny.us/courts/nyc/civil/namechanges.shtml (last visited July 17, 2013).
18 Id. The additional notice requirement applies if you have been convicted of a “violent felony” defined in N.Y. Penal Law § 70.02,  a felony defined in N.Y. Penal Law Article 125, or any of the following Penal Law sections: 130.25, 130.30, 130.40, 130.45, 135.10, 135.25, 230.30(2), 230.32, 230.05, 230.06, 255.25, 255.26, and 255.27.
19 Matter of Washington, 216 A.D.2d 781, 781, 628 N.Y.S.2d 837, 837-38 (3d Dep’t 1995).
20 N.Y. Civ. Rights Law § 62 available at http://www.nycourts.gov/courts/nyc/civil/nc60.shtml#sec62 (last visited July 17, 2013).
21 N.Y. Courts, Self-Help Ctr., Procedures for Adult Name Change Petition, http://www.nycourts.gov/courts/6jd/forms/SRForms/name_change-adultproced.pdf (last visited July 17, 2013).
22 Id.
23 N.Y. Civ. Rights Law § 63, available at http://www.nycourts.gov/courts/nyc/civil/nc60.shtml#sec63 (last visited July 17, 2013).
24 Sylvia Rivera Law Project, How to Legally Change Your Name in New York City, 2013, http://srlp.org/resources/namechange/ (last visited July 17, 2013).
25 See supra note 3 from Part I of this article, at 314-15 & 332-34 for a more detailed discussion about the case law surrounding the requirement against fraud, confusion, and indecency.

The Rules of Professional Conduct: A Judicial Externship Perspective How Do the Rules of Professional Conduct Apply to a Law Student? By Dina Quondamatteo, Hofstra Law School

A judicial externship gives a law student an opportunity to observe and participate in a wide variety of court proceedings as well as provide a platform for learning and developing a system of professional ethics before entering the work force as a licensed attorney.  Judges use interns in many ways and usually assign tasks that are similar to those that their law clerks perform.  Part of these duties include conducting legal research,  preparing research memoranda for the judge, writing rough drafts of orders and opinions, attending preliminary hearings, talking with attorneys, and attending trial proceedings.  All of these tasks require ethical considerations.  Being directly responsible for these assignments can provide a law student with meaningful lessons for developing professional conduct as an attorney and address ethical and professional issues that may arise.  Therefore, issues relating to ethics and professionalism should apply to law students because although they are not working as licensed attorneys in an official capacity, they are taking on the role of such and should learn and apply the ethical responsibilities and obligations that come with that role.  These responsibilities should be conveyed, implemented, and reinforced by the supervising attorney through the Rules of Professional Conduct.

The New York Rules of Professional Conduct (“New York Rules”, “Rule”, “Rules”) are similar to the American Bar Association (“ABA”) Model Rules of Professional Conduct in that both are categorized by duties owed to the client, the court, and the profession, and disciplinary action for rule-violation.  Duties to the client include confidentiality (Rule 1.6), avoiding conflicts of interest (Rule 1.6 – 1.12), being competent (Rule 1.1), diligence and effectively assisting the client (Rule 1.3), avoiding commingling (Rule 1.15), self-dealing and fee splitting (Rule 7.2), and withdrawing from representation (Rule 1.16).  Rule 3.3 defines the duties to the court which include disclosing legal decisions of adverse authority, proper courtroom demeanor, and disclosing perjurious intentions of a client.  Duties to the profession embrace a vital area that may have an impact on an intern’s work in the court: lawyer misconduct and reporting such professional misconduct (Rule 8.3, 8.4).  Duties to the profession also include legal advertising standard (Rule 7.1), voluntary pro bono services (Rule 6.1), honesty in the Bar admission process (Rulev8.1), and involvement in legal services organizations (Rule 6.3).  There are a few rules related to legal interns that overlap with the duties owed to the client, court, and profession, which may also have an impact on an intern’s work in the court.  They are lawyer’s responsibility for a nonlawyers’ conduct (Rule 5.3), trial publicity (Rule 3.6), confidentiality (Rule1.6), and unauthorized practice of law (Rule5.5).

According to Rule 5.3 of the New York Rules of Professional Conduct and the ABA Model Rules of Professional Conduct, a lawyer is responsible for the ethical behavior of non-lawyers who work in his law firm or practice.  Regarding placement as an intern within the court, the law clerk must ensure that the intern’s conduct is “compatible with the professional obligations” of being a lawyer.  If the law clerk observes the intern engaging in unprofessional conduct or learns that unprofessional conduct has occurred, the law clerk, in his capacity as “supervising attorney,” must take appropriate corrective action.  For example, if an intern attends a social event or goes out for a few drinks and begins telling people about the details of confidential court matters, the law clerk that included the intern in these affairs can be disciplined for violating the ethical obligation of Rule 3.6, “refraining from making extrajudicial statements that should not be publically communicated.”  Even though the law clerk did not make these statements, the unethical conduct of the intern is projected onto the law clerk.  One could say that the law clerk is “vicariously liable” for the conduct of an extern.  Moreover, under New York Rule 5.3.8, if the supervising attorney “knowingly fail[s] to supervise” an intern, he can also be disciplined for violating the ethical responsibility for the conduct of the intern.  This rule in particular could have a strong impact on an intern’s work because they would not receive the guidance or feedback needed in making decisions which could lead to potential ethical dilemmas.  Supervision from the law clerk and school faculty is key in helping law students not only make challenging decisions and to comply with ethical standards, but also to offer practical guidance, critique, and encouragement as they experience, develop, and shape the foundation of their own professional and ethical structure as future attorneys.

Working as an intern for the court raises several questions regarding the Rules of Professional Conduct.  First, do the ethical rules bind students even though they are not yet admitted to the bar?  In other words, are law students in subordinate lawyer roles guided by Rule 5.2?  If so, does Rule 5.5, Unauthorized Practice of Law, apply?  To illustrate, in the case In re Wilkinson, an attorney was sanctioned for violating Louisiana Rules of Professional Conduct for failing to supervise an unlicensed law student employed in his office.  805 So. 2d 142 (La. Jan. 15, 2002).  The Court held that the attorney was responsible for the incorrect legal advice given to his client by the unlicensed law student even though the attorney was not directly responsible for the misinformation. Id at 146.  The Court further found that “A lawyer cannot delegate his professional responsibility to a law student employed in his office . . .The student in all his work must act as agent for the lawyer employing him,  who must supervise his work and be responsible for his good conduct.”  Id. at 147.  Second, what if a law student suspects a violation of the Rules which raise significant questions as to the judge or law clerk’s honesty, work ethic, trustworthiness as per Rule 8.4, Misconduct?  Does the law student report to the school’s supervising professor?  If the student confides in the supervising professor, who happens to be a licensed attorney, is legal advice being offered?  Does Rule 1.6, Confidentiality of Information, kick in exempting him or her from reporting the misconduct as per Rule 8.3, Reporting Professional Misconduct?  Finally, would there be a conflict of interest if the student appears in front of the judge they interned for as an attorney in the future?  How would the student inquire about this potential ethical predicament?  The Rules do not cover all bases, which in my opinion, is the reason why they are known as self-governing rules.