Lancman, a practicing trial lawyer, said his experience and expertise would benefit the state and his district, which covers parts of Whitestone, Flushing, Briarwood and Richmond Hill. The Judiciary Committee oversees most of the legislation affecting the state judicial system and much of that affecting civil practice in the courts. The committee reviews measures on domestic relations and child support, protection of domestic violence victims, trusts and estates, guardians for incapacitated persons, lien law, general obligations law, civil practice law, the uniform commercial code, and certain aspects of real property and landlord/tenant law.In an interview at the TimesLedger offices in August before he was elected to his first term in the Assembly, Lancman said he saw no conflict of interest in maintaining ties to his law practice while serving in the Legislature. "Everybody who goes to Albany has a background. I don't think it's any more conflict for me to go up there as a trial lawyer vs. somebody who's a tenant advocate and living in a rent-stabilized apartment or someone with kids in college voting on [tuition assistance]," he said. All proposed amendments to the New York State Constitution are reviewed by the Judiciary Committee, even if they originate in another committee. The committee works with the Office of Court Administration on matters involving court facilities, the Judiciary budget, and employee relations."The concept of a conflict of interest is very precise," Lancman said Tuesday in a telephone interview. "There are rules about certain cases I can't try, but as long as you're within the guidelines I don't think there are any more opportunity for conflicts of interest." He said that for legislators to be able to vote disinterestedly on all issues is a near impossibility. "At some point everybody would have to recuse himself" if that were not the case, he said. "If something I'm voting on has a generalized statewide impact, it's not a conflict of interest" even if the vote would also benefit him, Lancman said. The state Assembly public information office said that two subsections of public officers law govern certain dealings of lawyers and prohibit them from representing clients before a state agency, but a spokesman said he did not know of any Assembly members who had ever needed to recuse themselves.Reach reporter Alex Christodoulides by e-mail at news@times
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