Commercial and Federal Litigation Section

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    Commercial and Federal Litigation Section Annual Meeting Program and Luncheon Wednesday, January 24, 2018
  • CLE Programs and Events
    • November 27, 2017: New York County Commercial Division Bench and Bar Forum



      Monday, November 27, 2017
      5:45 PM - 6:30 PM
      6:30 PM - 7:30 PM

      Foley & Lardner LLP | 90 Park Ave  New York, NY 10016

      1.0 MCLE Credits in Professional Practice this program is not transitional.

      Cost to Attend:
      Attorney's admitted 10 years of less: $40.00
      Commercial and Federal Litigation Section Members: $60 (not a Section Member? Join Today!
      NYSBA Members: $70 
      Non-Members: $80 


      The New York State Bar Association's Commercial & Federal Litigation Section is pleased to present a bench-bar forum entitled: " True Innovation and Efficiency" New York County Commercial Division Justices Discuss the Success of the New Commercial Division Rules."

      The evening will begin with an opportunity to network with Commercial Division Justices and practitioners over snacks and drinks from 5:45 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.  This will be followed by a lively panel discussion discussing lessons to be drawn from the implementation of recent rule-changes and prospects for further innovation. 

      To register over the phone please contact the Member Resource Center at 1-800-582-2452

      For questions: Beth Gould at

    • December 11, 2017: Resolving E-Discovery Disputes Efficiently in Arbitration and in Court


      How do you ensure that claimants and respondents both receive adequate pretrial discovery while still retaining the benefits of arbitration?  What can you do when the judge assigned to your lawsuit is not knowledgeable about e-discovery? Two panels presenting the views of experienced litigators, judges, neutrals, and e-discovery experts will address these and related topics to help you ensure that the discovery phase of your arbitral proceeding or courtroom case is handled effectively and efficiently.

      This timely continuing legal education program will also provide an opportunity for you to raise your own concerns and hear the experts’ suggestions regarding best practices for effective and efficient e-discovery both in arbitration and in court.  There will be a cocktail reception following the program.

      Sponsored by JAMS and the Commercial and Federal Litigation Section of the New York State Bar Association.

      Monday, December 11, 2017
      6:00 P.M. - 7:40 P.M.
      Live Program - Cocktail Reception to Follow

      620 Eighth Avenue, 34th Floor
      New York, NY 10018

      2.0 MCLE Credits: 2.0 Skills


      Panel 1: E-Discovery Issues in Arbitration

      • Hon. Frank Maas (Ret.),  Moderator
      • Prof. Michael Fox, J.D.
      • Steve Younger, Esq. 
      • Roger Maldonado, Esq. 

      This Panel will address the unique issues presented by e-discovery in arbitral settings, such as the effect of streamlined discovery rules, the frequent lack of face-to-face prehearing discovery conferences, and the difficulty of obtaining third-party discovery.  The panel will also provide tips that you can immediately use in your arbitrations.

      Panel 2: Use of Special Masters and E-Discovery Mediators in Connection with Court Litigation

      • Mark Berman, Esq.,  Moderator
      • Maura Grossman, Esq.
      • Hon. Frank Maas (Ret.)
      • Jeremy Feinberg

      This panel will discuss the increasing use of court-appointed special masters and e-discovery mediators in courtroom litigation.  Among the topics the panel will address are:  Use of court resources to resolve e-discovery disputes?  Should you or the court use such an expert and, if so, how?  What are the ground rules for communications between the appointing judge and a special master?  Should sessions with a special master be stenographically recorded?  What can an e-discovery mediator, whether a court employee or privately retained, do to help the parties and how do you find one?

      NYSBA Member: $25.00 | Non-Member: $35.00

      Newly Admitted Attorneys: To receive skills credit, newly admitted attorneys must take accredited transitional CLE courses in traditional live classroom settings that have been approved by the CLE Board for use by newly admitted attorneys.  For more information about the CLE Rules, please go to

      Out of State Accreditation: This program has also been approved for MCLE credit by the State Bar of California, the Pennsylvania Continuing Legal Education Board and the Board of Continuing Legal Education of the State of New Jersey.  If you require MCLE credit in other states, we can provide you a Uniform MCLE Form.

      Partial Credit for Program Segments Not Allowed: Under the New York State Continuing Legal Education Board Regulations and Guidelines, attendees at CLE programs cannot get MCLE credit for a program segment (typically, a lecture or panel, of which there are usually several in a program) unless they are present for the entire segment. Those who arrive late, depart early, or are absent for any portion of the segment WILL NOT receive credit for that program segment.

    • December 13, 2017: Finding and Using Social Media as Evidence: Tips and Ethics


      Wednesday, December 13, 2017
      12:15 PM-1:30 PM

      The Rubin Center for Education | One West Main Street, 5th Floor | Rochester NY

      MCLE Credits: 1.0 Ethics | 0.5 Skills 

      This program is sponsored by the Monroe County Bar Association and the Commercial and Federal Litigation Section of the New York State Bar Association  

      Your clients, employees, witnesses, judges, vendors, experts, consultants and more are on social media. Are you missing information that can ignite an investigation or sink a settlement? Join us as our expert panel discusses the practicalities of obtaining and using social media before and during litigation. Topics covered will include evidentiary issues and recent ethics decisions and ethics resources on using social media to obtain information for a variety of matters. The panelists will also discuss how to ethically mine social media for evidence and how to ethically use social media to research jurors.


      Peter Coons, D4 (moderator) 
      Nicole Black, Esq., Lawyer, Author, & Legal Technology Evangelist at MyCase 
      Michael L. Fox, Esq., Assistant Professor, Mount Saint Mary College & 9th District Vice President, New York State Bar Association 
      Scott Malouf, Esq., Social Media Attorney


    • January 23, 301: Evening at Thurgood Marshall with the Second Circuit

      Foley Square


      The New York State Bar Association’s Commercial & Federal Litigation Section invites its members, the Young Lawyers Section and others, including younger members of the Bar to meet the Judges of the Second Circuit the evening before its Annual Meeting and the awarding for the Stanley H. Fuld Award to the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.

      There will be tours of selected spaces at the courthouse, Second Circuit Chief Judge Robert A. Katzmann, and Mitchell J. Katz, Chair, Commercial & Federal Litigation Section will speak.

      Cocktails and hors d'oeuvres will be served. 

      Tuesday, January 23, 2017
      5:00 PM - 7:30 PM

      Thurgood Marshall U.S. Courthouse
      50 Foley Square
      New York NY 10007

      Cost to Attend: 
      $35 for NYSBA Members
      $45 for Non-NYSBA Members
      $25 for Attorneys Admitted 10 Years or Less


      To register over the phone please contact the Member Resource Center at 1-800-582-2452.

      For questions: Beth Gould at

    • January 24, 2018: Commercial & Federal Litigation Section Annual Meeting Program

      Wednesday, January 24, 2018 9:00 AM
      9:00 AM - 12:00 PM
      Total MCLE Credits: 3.00 (Diversity 1.50, Ethics 1.50)

      Register Here or Download The Registration Form Here.

      View Program Agenda  

      Under New York's MCLE rule, this program has been approved for up to 3.0 credit hours (1.5 credits in Diversity, Inclusion and Elimination of Bias and 1.5 credits in Ethics). This program will NOT qualify for credit for newly-admitted attorneys because it is not a basic practical skills program. 

      9:00-9:10 a.m. -  INTRODUCTIONS
      SECTION CHAIR                       
      Mitchell J. Katz, Esq., Menter, Rudin & Trivelpiece, P.C., Syracuse

      Laurel R. Kretzing, Esq., Jaspan Schlesinger LLP, Garden City

      9:10-10:25 a.m.        
      Implicit Bias and Diversity in the Legal Profession: Exploring Best Practices for Lawyers and Judges 
      (1.5 credits in Diversity, Inclusion and Elimination of Bias)
      This CLE will introduce the topic of implicit bias (from scientific and pragmatic views) and offer considerations for recognizing and addressing biases that involve gender, race, sexual orientation, and age.  These biases can create access and justice barriers or 
      impact hiring, retention, promotion, and evaluation decisions.  In addition, we will discuss business advantages and other positive 
      impacts of diversity in the legal profession.

      Lenora B. Foote, Esq., Executive Assistant to Presiding Justice Gerald J. Whalen, Apellate Division, Fourth Department, Buffalo
      Sheldon K. Smith, Esq., Nixon Peabody, LLP, Buffalo

      10:40-11:55 a.m.      
      Law Firm Cyber Protection: Everything You Need and Want To Know  (1.5 credit in Areas of Professional Practice)This interactive program includes an overview of client and law firm risks, addresses law firm vulnerabilities, and will discuss guidelines and advice for practitioners to be proactive in minimizing vulnerability to cyber-attacks. Panelists will discuss the ways you can recognize scams, spoofing, phishing, malware and viruses while providing you with the practices and procedures available to seek to prevent these risks. Learn about the available cyberliability insurance options and what cyberliability coverage does and does not cover. 

      Panel Chair:                
      Michael S. Ross, Esq., The Law Offices of Michael S. Ross, New York City 

      Greg Cooke, USI Affinity, Philadelphia, PA
      James S. Gkonos, Esq., Saul Ewing Arnstein & Lehr LLP, Philadelphia, PA
      Michael Kraft, Esq., General Counsel, Kraft & Kennedy, Inc., New York City
      Patrick M. Turner, Esq., Vice President, Assistant General Counsel, CBS Law Department, New York City

      This program is co-sponsored with the Committee on Law Practice Management and the Committee on Technology and the Legal Profession.

      12:00 – 12:30 p.m.  
      COCKTAIL RECEPTION – Petit Trianon Ballroom Foyer, 3rd floor             

      12:30 – 2:00 p.m.     
      LUNCHEON – Trianon Ballroom, 3rd Floor

      To purchase a table at the luncheon download luncheon table reservation form


      Award Recipient                                
      Honorable Charles E. Ramos, Justice of the Supreme Court of the State of New York, Senior Commercial Division Justice         
      Award Presenter
      Michael Miller, President-Elect, New York State Bar Association         

      Discounts and Scholarships
      New York State Bar Association members and non-members may apply for a discount or scholarship to attend this program, based on financial hardship. This discount applies to the educational portion of the program only. Under this policy, any member of our Association or non-member who has a genuine basis for their hardship, if approved, can receive a discount or scholarship, depending on the circumstances. Request for discounts or scholarships must be received prior to January 12th, 2018. For more details, please contact Lori Nicoll in writing at New York State Bar Association, One Elk Street, Albany, New York 12207 or

      Accommodations for Persons with Disabilities:  NYSBA welcomes participation by individuals with disabilities. NYSBA is committed to complying with all applicable laws that prohibit discrimination against individuals on the basis of disability in the full and equal enjoyment of its goods, services, programs, activities, facilities, privileges, advantages, or accommodations. To request auxiliary aids or services or if you have any questions regarding accessibility, please contact Lori Nicoll at 518-487-5563.

      For overnight room accommodations, please call the New York Hilton Midtown at 1-800-445-8667 and identify yourself as a member of the New York State Bar Association. The rate will be based on room selection (single/double occupancy) and arrival/departure dates with additional taxes and hotel fees. The discounted rate for January 21st and January 22nd is $179 per night. The discounted rate for January 23rd through January 28th is $229 per night. A rate of $209 will be offered to those with overlapping dates. Reservations must be made before December 15, 2017 by calling the New York Hilton Midtown directly at 800-445-8667 or online at

      For questions about this specific program, please contact Lori Nicoll at 518-487-5563. For registration questions only, please call the Member Resource Center at 800-582-2452. Fax registration form to 518-463-5993.

      Thank You To Our Sponsors

      Counsel Press, Inc.

      Ferraro, Amodio & Zarecki, CPAs

      US Legal Support

    • Save the Date: May 4-6, 2018 Spring Meeting

      The Sagamore Resort on Lake George
      Bolton Landing, NY
      May 4-6, 2018

      Join your colleagues for the weekend in Bolton Landing, NY!

      Nestled among the timeless beauty of the Adirondacks, the Sagamore Resort has welcomed guests to the shores of Bolton Landing for over a century. The resort on Lake George is poised on the southern end of Green Island with captivating views and year-round activities that embrace the natural splendor of the Adirondacks. 

      Breathe in the fresh mountain air on a scenic hike. Enjoy fishing right from their dock or tee off on the Donald Ross-designed 18-hole golf course. Savor the culinary artistry of their award-winning restaurants and lounges. From swimming and tennis to sumptuous spa treatments, this Lake George resort invites you to discover the allure of the Adirondacks at your own pace.

      Join your colleagues this weekend at this family-friendly resort to earn some CLE credits, network and enjoy the beautiful Adirondack mountains and lake. 

      Save the Date and look for more information next Spring.

  • Recent News & Events

    Recent Report Issued: Report of the Commercial and Federal Litigation Section In Support of Repeal of Judiciary Law Section 470


    The New York State Bar Association’s House of Delegates has approved a report that determined women attorneys remain considerably underrepresented in courtrooms across the state as well as in Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR). The report entitled “If Not Now, When? Achieving Equality for Women Attorneys in the Courtroom and in ADR,” was compiled by the Commercial & Federal Litigation Section’s Task Force on Women’s Initiatives.

    The report is based on the first-ever observational study of women attorneys in the courtroom. It reveals that female attorneys comprise about 25 percent of attorneys in lead counsel roles in courtrooms statewide.

    The study took place from Sept. 1, 2016 to Dec. 31, 2016. The New York Court of Appeals, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals, two of the four federal district courts, all four appellate divisions as well as commercial divisions in supreme courts in counties from Suffolk to Onondaga and Erie participated. Three of the leading ADR providers in the state also participated. Approximately 2,800 questionnaires were completed and returned by judges in participating courts.

    “We recognize that more can and should be done to ensure that women and diverse voices are heard and are taking an active part in the judicial and dispute resolution process,” said Past President of the State Bar Association Bernice K. Leber of New York City (Arent Fox), a co-chair of the Task Force.

    “All lawyers and especially women lawyers should have the same chance to speak in court, conduct arbitrations, mediations, and serve as neutrals, as others have enjoyed,” continued Leber. “These are issues of fundamental fairness in our profession.”

    Other task force co-chairs are: retired U.S. District Court Judge Shira Scheindlin of New York City (Stroock & Stroock & Lavan and JAMS); former Assistant U.S. Attorney Carrie H. Cohen of New York City (Morrison & Foerster); Tracee E. Davis of New York City (Zeichner, Ellman & Krause); Sharon M. Porcellio of Buffalo (Bond, Schoeneck & King); Lesley F. Rosenthal of New York City (Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts); and Lauren J. Wachtler of New York City (Mitchell, Silberberg & Knupp). All are former chairs of the Commercial & Federal Litigation Section.

    State Bar President Sharon Stern Gerstman plans to present the report to the American Bar Association’s House of Delegates at its next meeting in February to urge their adoption as its official policy.
    The adoption of the report comes as New York celebrates its suffrage centennial when women won the right to vote Nov. 6, 1917. In honor, the Association’s Committee on Women in the Law has unveiled its exhibition at the State Bar Center entitled “A Centennial Commemoration of Women’s Suffrage and the Achievement of Legal Rights.”

    Additionally, the New York Bar Foundation, the charitable arm of the State Bar Association, has unveiled its portrait of the late Chief Judge Judith S. Kaye. In 1983, Kaye became the first woman to serve on the state’s Court of Appeals. A decade later, she was named Chief Judge. The portrait will hang prominently in the State Bar Center’s Great Hall.
    For a link to the report, as well as the suffrage exhibition and Kaye portrait, please visit


    Seymour W. James, Jr., attorney-in-chief of The Legal Aid Society in New York City, has been recognized with the 2017 Robert L. Haig Award, given by the Commercial and Federal Litigation Section of the New York State Bar Association.

    James heads the nation’s oldest and largest not-for-profit legal services organization, which annually handles 300,000 individual cases and matters. James was first hired by the Legal Aid Society in 1974 and has held various supervisory positions within the organization. He was the first attorney of color appointed as the attorney-in-charge of its criminal practice, the largest public defender group in the country and the main provider of indigent defense in New York City.

    “Mr. James has devoted his life to equal justice and his entire legal career of more than 40 years to ensuring that underserved New Yorkers receive high quality representation,” said Mark Berman of New York City (Ganfer & Shore), chair of the Commercial and Federal Litigation Section. “He is a model for our younger generation of attorneys.”
    James served as president of the New York State Bar Association in 2012-13 and has been active in the State Bar since 1978, including three terms as treasurer and as the vice president for the 11th district. His other activities have included serving on the state Permanent Sentencing Commission, the Moreland Commission to Investigate Public Corruption, the Departmental Disciplinary Committee for the First Judicial Department, and the Committee on Character and Fitness for the Second Judicial Department.

    The Robert L. Haig Award is given each year to a long-standing member of the legal profession who has rendered distinguished public service. Haig, a litigator at Kelley Drye in New York City, was the founder and first chair of the Association’s Commercial and Federal Litigation Section.

    Tracee E. Davis of New York City (Zeichner, Ellman & Krause), a past section chair, presented the award to James during the section’s Spring meeting in Saratoga Springs May 20.


    As the use of social media by attorneys and clients continues to grow, so do the ethics issues facing lawyers. In response, the Commercial and Federal Litigation Section of the New York State Bar Association has updated its Social Media Ethics Guidelines to assist lawyers in understanding these social media challenges.
    “Whether you are a litigator, transactional attorney, in-house counsel or attorney who uses social media to communicate, blog, or solicit business, you should know the risks and benefits of social media use,” said Mark Berman (Ganfer & Shore), chair of the Commercial and Federal Litigation Section. “The latest edition of the Guidelines continues to lead the New York State Bar Association efforts in this regard.”

    First issued in 2014, the third edition of the Guidelines follows the structure of its predecessors, and contains new guidance on attorney advertising, responding to online reviews, and potential conflicts regarding an attorney’s social media posts.

    The new edition reflects and references, both in revised text and footnotes, developments in case law and ethics opinions from around the country. The latest version also aims to help lawyers by providing a new appendix of key social media terms and descriptions of popular social media platforms.

    This updated version of the Guidelines is the first since 2015. The section’s original 2014 version received national recognition and has been cited in ethics opinions of other bar associations. The section’s Social Media Committee is co-chaired by Ronald J. Hedges (Dentons) and Ignatius Grande (Hughes Hubbard & Reed).

    “The original intent of our committee in issuing these Guidelines was to make it easier for attorneys to comply with the various ethics opinions, which have been issued over the past 10
    years addressing social media,” said Grande. “We are proud of the impact that the Guidelines have had not just in New York, but throughout the country.”
    The Guidelines, which are advisory, are available at


    October 2017
    September 2017
    August 2017
    July 2017
    June 2017
    May 2017
    April 2017
    March 2017
    February 2017
    January 2017
    December 2016
    December 6, 2016 (special meeting of the EC) 
    November 2016

    Join the Section!

  • Section Publications


    The NYLitigator features peer-written substantive articles relating to the practice of commercial and federal litigation on various topics, including discovery; mediation; settlements; corporate liability; and due process. Section Reports, written by various Commercial and Federal Litigation Committees, are often featured in each issue. The NYLitigator is published by the Commercial and Federal Litigation Section and distributed to Section Members free of charge.
    Read Now>


    The Commercial and Federal Litigation Section Newsletter features updates on Section activities, programs and events; recent legislation; and information about current issues. The Commercial and Federal Litigation Section Newsletter is published three times per year by the Commercial and Federal Litigation Section and distributed to Section members free of charge.
    Read Now>

  • Commercial Division Video

    The Commercial Division Advisory Council has produced a new version of its short film about the Commercial Division of the New York State Supreme Court. The film features eleven General Counsel of major corporations speaking about the Commercial Division. 

    The film portrays some of the recent improvements to the Commercial Division’s rules, procedures, and operations which have been designed to be responsive to the needs and concerns of the business community. The ultimate goal of these changes is to make the business litigation process in New York more cost‑effective, predictable, and expeditious, and to thereby provide a more hospitable and attractive environment for business litigation in New York State.

    See the video here: