American Legal Cases: Lawyers Examine the Talmudic Angle


by S. Olidort - NEW YORK CITY

April 10, 2003

NEW YORK CITY--What rights does a non-custodial parent have, according to Jewish law? How does Jewish law evaluate the damages caused by an incurred physical or emotional injury? These and similar questions were addressed yesterday at Chabad of Midtown’s Continuing Legal Education seminar-- American Cases and Talmudic Law IV: A Comparison of the Ancient Talmudic and Modern Legal Systems.

Continuing Legal Education seminars are part and parcel of being an attorney, and are mandatory courses for lawyers to practice in most states in the U.S. According to Rabbi Yehoshua Metzger, director of Chabad of Midtown, “most lawyers anticipate CLE seminars with about the same degree of enthusiasm as a root canal.” But Chabad’s CLE, made possible through the New York Legal Assistance Group and its executive director Yisroel Schulman, strives to be something more than just a means for attorneys to keep up with credit requirements.

Manette Dennis, an attorney at Ostrager Chong & Flaherty has found that CLE seminars “often tend to be very dry.” But this one, she says, was “fairly priced, and provided a pleasant atmosphere and very interesting speakers.”

“Chabad’s CLE seminars are really informative, and it’s just so nice to attend CLE in a Jewish framework,” says Michelle Greenberg-Kobrin, attorney at Arnold and Porter law firm.

Some 70 attorneys, representing more than a dozen fields of law, attended each of the three consecutive sessions yesterday featuring topics that ranged from “Contested Divorces” to “Tort Awards and Jewish Law” and “The Trial Process in the Judaic Legal System.” Organized by Chabad’s program director Rabbi Noach Heber, the seminar included complimentary lunch and dinner buffets.

“Chabad’s CLE provides a perfect opportunity to get CLE credits while studying Torah,” says Louise Lipman, a senior attorney in the trusts and estates department at Esanu Katsky Korins & Siger, LLP. “It’s great to be able to get the Jewish view on law.”

And participants enjoyed the change of scenery the event provided, offering them insight into fields of law other than their own. “It’s such a breath of fresh air to be able to learn something different at CLE,” said Lipman.

Linda Roth, a medical malpractice attorney found the session on Tort Awards particularly relevant, and both Roth and Lipman appreciated the session on divorce, finding that many aspects overlap with their respective fields.

“Our aim is to present a meaningful, challenging, and informative program that will engage lawyers in Torah study,” says Metzger. As for participants: “It’s unbelievable that we’re getting credit for this!” said one.

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