J. Reuben Clark Law Society

New York Attorney General Speaks to JRCLS, BYUPAS Chapters

Eric Schneiderman had three goals when he became the New York Attorney General.  He reported on those goals at a joint meeting of the J. Reuben Clark Law Society and BYU Political Affairs Society in New York City on June 20th.

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman (L) with Elder Jeffrey Olson (R), Photo Credit: Matthew Squires
After an introduction from Elder Jeffrey Olson, Mr. Schneiderman discussed his efforts to (1) build and maintain the best public law firm in the country, (2) make New York competitive in the global economy, and (3) promote the constitutional goal of equal justice under the law.  In accomplishing these goals, he said “you have to help the good guys while you go after the bad guys.” 
In helping “the good guys,” New York has made sought to make it easier to run non-profit organizations and recruit board members.  The Attorney General’s office has also worked with large banks in New York to provide relief for struggling home owner’s after the market crash in 2008. 
Among “the good guys” are the numerous victims of theft across the country, particularly cell phone theft.  Many people are assaulted or even killed for their smart phones.  Schneiderman and San Francisco District Attorney George Gascón worked with Google and Microsoft to promote the installation of a “kill switch” in their smart phones.  The kill switch enables the cell phone owner to render the phone inoperable, if stolen.  A report from the Secure Our Smartphones Initiative showed that when Apple installed a kill switch in their iPhones, “robberies and grand larcenies involving iPhones plummeted.”  

Attendees L to R: Allison Davies, Jane Wilson Mitchell, Lindsey and Clarence Jackson, and Lindsay Ashby, Photo Credit: Megan Needham
The Attorney General also discussed his office’s Religious Rights Initiative, which focuses on making it easier for religious employees to be open about their religious devotion and observances, especially when such observances require accommodations.  Mr. Schneiderman’s office has been successful in negotiating settlements with numerous hospitals and other firms that had not been compliant with the law in providing religious accommodations to their employees.  The Attorney General’s office also offers to review religious rights training materials drafted by companies and provides public education services regarding religious rights.  Mr. Schneiderman said, “My right to practice my religion freely depends on your right to practice your religion freely.”  He invited all in the audience to attend his synagogue with him on the Upper West Side.

L to R: Ron Ahrens, Matthew Poulter, Matthew Squires, Eric Schneiderman, Christopher Moon, and Todd Mortensen

By Megan Woodhouse Needham

Posted: September 5, 2014