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Ethics and Civility 2018

Friday, April 13, 2018 
| New York State Bar Association
1 Elk Street | Albany, NY 12207

Friday, April 13, 2018 | Genesee Grand Hotel
1060 East Genesee Street | Syracuse, NY 13210

Friday, April 13, 2018 Hyatt Place Buffalo/Amherst
5020 Main Street | Amherst, NY 14226

Friday, April 13, 2018 Melville Marriott
1350 Walt Whitman Road | Melville, L.I., NY 11747

Friday, April 20, 2018 | CUNY Graduate Center
365 Fifth Avenue | New York, NY 10016 | Live & Webcast

4.0 MCLE Credits
4.0 Ethics

Who Should Attend
Attorneys of all levels of experience, across all subject matter disciplines.

What 2017 Attendees Said
>“One of the best CLE programs I have ever attended!”
>“Colloquium was excellent!”
>“Excellent format, lecture and panel!”
>“This 4-point ethics program is great!”


Program Description
 A sound ethical compass and a civil and professional demeanor are the hallmarks of successful and respected attorneys in all areas of practice. This four-hour program will provide attendees with an update on developments in the area of attorney ethics, including the most recent case law. The rules of civility will be discussed, with emphasis on practical pointers for dealing with uncivil adversaries and civility issues within the law firm. The program will conclude with a discussion of real life hypotheticals by a panel of distinguished practitioners and jurists – certain to benefit attorneys in all substantive areas of practice.

Don't miss this opportunity to obtain 4.0 MCLE Ethics credits at this lively and thought-provoking program, which is annually one of NYSBA's best attended CLE seminars.

Program Agenda

8:30 a.m. - 9:00 a.m.      Registration
9:00 a.m. - 9:10 a.m.      Welcome and Introduction
9:10 a.m. - 10:00 a.m.    What's New for 2018 on Ethics?
10:00 a.m. - 10:50 a.m.  Civility in Everyday Lawyering: What are the Basic Lessons to be Learned? 
                                        - The Civility Rules
                                        - The Uncivil Adversary
                                        - Civility vs. Aggressiveness
                                        - Law Firm Civility Issues
10:50 a.m. - 11:00 a.m.  Refreshment Break
11:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.    Colloquium on Ethics and Civility
1:00 p.m.                        Adjournment

Overall Program Chair

Vincent J. Syracuse, Esq. | Tannenbaum Helpern Syracuse & Hirschtritt LLP

Scott N. Fein, Esq. (Chair)
 | Whiteman Osterman & Hanna LLP
Hon. Mae D’Agostino | United States District Court, Northern District of New York 
Bruce D. Feldman, Esq. | NYS Office of the Attorney General
E. Stewart Jones, Esq. | E. Stewart Jones Hacker Murphy
Michael J. Murphy, Esq. | Carter, Conboy, Case, Blackmore, Maloney & Laird, P.C.
Robert T. Schofield, Esq. | Whiteman Osterman & Hanna LLP 

David G. Brock, Esq. (Chair) | Kavinoky Cook, LLP | Buffalo
Howard B. Cohen, Esq. | Gross Shuman Brizdle & Gilfillan, P.C. 
Elizabeth M. Midgley, Esq. | Anspach Law
Roderick J. Quebral, Esq. | Attorney Grievance Committee, Eighth Department
Leonard D. Zaccagnino, Esq. | Shaw & Shaw, P.C. 

Long Island
John M. Brickman, Esq. (Chair) | McLaughlin & Stern LLP 
Andrew J. Luskin, Esq. | McLaughlin & Stern LLP

Nicole Marlow-Jones, Esq. (Chair) | Costello, Cooney & Fearon, PLLC 
Robert A. Barrer, Esq. | Barclay Damon, LLP
Brian J. Butler, Esq. | Bond, Schoeneck & King PLLC
Hon. Thérèse Wiley Dancks | United States Magistrate Judge for the Northern District of New York
Paul G. Ferrara, Esq. | Costello, Cooney & Fearon, PLLC
Mary E. Gasparini, Esq. | Attorney Grievance Committee, Fifth Judicial District
Stephen T. Helmer, Esq. | Mackenzie Hughes LLP
Julian B. Modesti, Esq. | Menter, Rudin & Trivelpiece, P.C.
Kristin Nicoll, Esq. | Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP

Vincent J. Syracuse, Esq. (Chair) | Tannenbaum Helpern Syracuse & Hirschtritt LLP
Hon. Tanya R. Kennedy | New York State Supreme Court, County of New York
Danielle C. Lesser, Esq. | Morrison Cohen LLP 
Hal R. Lieberman, Esq. | Emery Celli Brinckerhoff & Abady LLP 
Hon. Andrea Masley | New York State Supreme Court, County of New York 
Carl Regelmann, Esq. | Tannenbaum Helpern Syracuse & Hirschtritt LLP
Mark C. Zauderer, Esq. | Flemming Zulack Williamson Zauderer LLP 

Program Co-Sponsors
Commercial and Federal Litigation Section
Committee on Attorney Professionalism
Committee on Continuing Legal Education

NYSBA Members $135
Commercial and Federal Litigation Section Members
Non Members $235

Not Able to Attend in Person?
A Live Webcast Option is Available: Friday, April 20, 2018*

If you cannot watch the webcast at the scheduled time and date, the recording will be available to you to access after the presentation date for a 60 day period enabling you to watch on your schedule and earn your MCLE credits.
 *Note: Newly admitted attorneys registered for the webcast must watch the Ethics segment in real-time in order to earn credit.

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Pre-registration Strongly Advised: You can save money and guarantee your seat and course materials by registering early. Registrations received at the door are subject to an additional $15.00 registration fee. Registrations cancelled less than three days from the program date will be assessed a cancellation fee of $25.00.

This session, co-sponsored by the NYSBA Committee on Attorney Professionalism, will consider the enactment of laws regulating corporate behavior, and the scandals leading up to the enactment of these laws, have given rise to an environment in which there is heightened focus on the conduct of lawyers generally. These developments may present a particularly interesting backdrop for attorneys advising on issues arising under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (“ERISA”), and the corresponding provisions of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 (the “Code”), who frequently focus on fiduciary matters as a seminal part of their practice.

Learn more here.


Definitions of attorney professionalism abound; here's one that is worth your consideration. Attorney Professionalism is dedication to service to clients and commitment to promoting respect of the legal system in pursuit of justice and the public good, characterized by ethical conduct, competence, good judgment, integrity and civility .

Of primary importance to anyone practicing law is dedication to service to clients. A self-explanatory concept, service to clients is the foundation of professionalism.

That service must be performed with the recognition that the attorney and client comprise just one aspect of the legal system. Whether you consider adversaries, opposing counsel, fellow practitioners, judges, clerks, partners, government agencies, or legislatures, the faces of the legal system are many. Yet we are all human beings, and our commitment to promoting respect for laws, the processes of the legal system and each other must be a hallmark of our behavior.

In our work to serve our clients while promoting respect for the legal system, we do so in the pursuit of justice and the public good. In the strictly legal sense, justice can mean the "proper administration of laws. . . to render every man his due." (Black's Law Dictionary). But most would agree that justice necessarily implies more than the "rightness" or "wrongness" of a given act, or strict compliance with the black letter of the law. In the larger sense, pursuing justice connotes pursuing a morally "good" end. Attorneys must look beyond the short-term results and consider the consequences of their actions and advice. To conduct oneself in this way will benefit the public at large—and, to do the public good—must include dedication to providing pro bono services for the needy.

How, then, may we exhibit attorney professionalism?

  • By exemplary ethical conduct: aspiring to fulfill the spirit, not just the requirements of the Code of Professional Responsibility;
  • By remaining competent: taking advantage of continuing legal education; keeping abreast of the latest developments in our areas of expertise; mentoring younger attorneys;
  • By showing good judgment: providing good client service by formulating discerning opinions and advice based upon knowledge and experience;
  • By acting with integrity: exhibiting soundness of character, fidelity and honesty;
  • By demonstrating civility: behaving with courtesy and respect.

You will notice that the foregoing discussion contains no mention of making money. Many lawyers are better paid than others who work in other fields. The perception that many lawyers are obsessed with making money, to the detriment of clients, is a stumbling block which stands in the way of the public's acceptance of the reality of attorney professionalism. Change in public perception will have to be incremental, but conduct adhering to the definition of attorney professionalism should bring about that change.

To honor a member of the NYSBA for outstanding professionalism, which is defined as dedication to service to clients and a commitment to promoting respect for the legal system in pursuit of justice and the public good, characterized by exemplary ethical conduct, competence, good judgment, integrity and civility.

Presented by: Committee on Attorney Professionalism

Contact: Melissa O'Clair

Nomination Deadline: October 12, 2018

Date Presented: January 2019 Annual Meeting

Prize Awarded: Steuben glass timepiece

The Committee on Attorney Professionalism administers the annual New York State Bar Association Attorney Professionalism Award. We are now seeking nominations for the Award to be presented during the NYSBA 2019 Annual Meeting in New York. Nominations must be submitted and postmarked no later than October 12, 2018 on the 2019 Nomination Form (PDF).

Here is the Committee’s working definition of attorney professionalism:

Attorney professionalism is dedication to service to clients and a commitment to promoting respect for the legal system in pursuit of justice and the public good, characterized by exemplary ethical conduct, competence, good judgment, integrity and civility.

The Award honors attorneys who evidence the highest attributes of professionalism in the practice of law: attorneys who have labored in “the vineyard” and are especially valued by their clients and their colleagues. Therefore, rather than a lifetime achievement award, this particular honor relates to professionalism in the actual practice of law. Background letters from clients, other attorneys and judges have provided a full picture for the reviewing committee in the past. Your nomination should, as inclusively as possible, specify how the nominee has demonstrated the following attributes:

 a) Dedication to service to clients and always acting in the best interests of the client;

b) Civility: behaving to all with courtesy, consideration and respect;

c) Exemplary ethical conduct: endeavoring at all times to fulfill the spirit, and not just the requirements, of the NY Rules of Professional Conduct;

d) Competence: keeping abreast of the latest developments in his or her area of practice;

e) Good judgment: providing client service consisting of discerning opinions and advice based upon knowledge, experience, moral as well as legal considerations;

f) Mentoring, educating and assisting other attorneys;

g) Integrity: always exhibiting soundness of character, fidelity, honesty and fairness.

Please keep in mind, in considering your nomination, that there are other awards honoring service to bar associations and pro bono activities. In this Attorney Professionalism Award, the New York State Bar Association seeks to honor a person who exemplifies the highest standards of professionalism in the actual practice of law.

Prior award recipients include:

2018 William J. Dreyer, Esq.
2017 E. Stewart Jones, Jr., Esq.
2017 Maryann Saccomando Freedman, Esq.
2016 Norman Resnicow, Esq.
2015 Michelle L. Haskin, Esq.
2014 John S. Marwell, Esq.
2013 John Ferrara, Esq.
2012 Christopher T. McGrath, Esq.
2011 James P. Bessette, Esq.
2010 Mark A. Longo, Esq.
2009 Jill M. Cicero, Esq.
2008 Peter V. Coffey, Esq.
2007 Frank E. Yannelli, Esq.
2006 Terrence M. Connors, Esq.
2005 George J. Nashak, Jr., Esq.
2004 James M. Conboy, Esq.
2003 Anne Reynolds Copps, Esq.
2002 Carlton F. Thompson, Esq.
2001 Lucille A. Fontana, Esq.
2000 Hon. Barry Kamins