Steven C. Krane; updated rules on lawyer conduct; 53

By Bruce Weber
New York Times / July 2, 2010

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NEW YORK — Steven C. Krane, who was the youngest president of the New York State Bar Association and a specialist on legal ethics, died June 22 in Manhattan. He was 53 and had homes in Manhattan and Pound Ridge, N.Y.

The cause was a heart attack, said David A. Lewis, a lawyer at the firm Proskauer Rose, where Mr. Krane was a partner and general counsel.

Mr. Krane, a past chairman of the American Bar Association’s Standing Committee on Ethics and Professional Responsibility, concentrated on representing lawyers and law firms in matters of professional liability and providing counsel on issues of client-lawyer privilege, a lawyer’s duties to clients, conflicts of interest, and other areas where propriety can be ambiguous.

He taught legal ethics at Columbia Law School. As chairman of the state bar association’s Committee on Standards of Attorney Conduct, he was instrumental in updating the rules regulating lawyers’ conduct.

The reformulated rules, which brought the New York bar into closer alignment with that of other states, went into effect in 2009. They included changes made necessary by new technology.

The previous code, for example, did not address an occasion in which a lawyer inadvertently sends an e-mail to opposing counsel that discloses proprietary information. Is the lawyer who receives the e-mail required to disclose that he has received it? Is he then required to return it or destroy it? Is he permitted to use the information in it?

The new rules make clear that the lawyer who receives the e-mail must notify the sender but that he is not responsible for any further remedial action.

Steven Charles Krane was born in Far Rockaway, Queens, and he grew up in Hewlett, on Long Island. His father, Harry, worked for the New York City school system. He graduated from Stony Brook University, and New York University School of Law. He joined Proskauer Rose in 1981 and was made a partner in 1989. From 1984-85, he was clerk to former Chief Judge Judith S. Kaye, then an associate judge on the State Court of Appeals.

Mr. Krane was elected president of the state bar association in 2001, when he was 44. In the post, he coordinated the efforts of lawyers to provide legal help to the families of those killed or injured in the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, and he established a program providing grants to help public-interest lawyers repay their law school loans.

Mr. Krane leaves his father, who lives in Boynton Beach, Fla.; a sister, Margery Kashman of Woodmere, N.Y.; his wife, Faith, whom he met when she was a legal assistant at Proskauer Rose and married in 1983; a daughter, Elizabeth; and a son, Cameron.