Commercial and Federal Litigation Section

  • New Horizons in eDiscovery Fall 2014
    NEW HORIZONS IN EDISCOVERY CLE Webcast and Live Program Thursday, September 18, 2014 | 4:00 PM - 7:00 PM
  • Social Media Ethics
    Western New York Live Ethics CLEs (webcast avail.) & Free Social Hours Wednesday, September 10, 2014 and Tuesday, September 16, 2014
  • CLE Programs and Events
    • Commercial and Federal Litigation Section Executive Committee Meetings

      C&FLS Executive Committee Meetings

      Wednesday, June 11 (Kaplan Fox, 850 Third Avenue, NYC)
                 Guest Speaker: Michelle H. Browdy, IBM 

      Wednesday, September 17 (Tannenbaum Helpern, 900 Third Avenue, NYC)
                 Guest Speaker: Justice Vito M. DeStefano, Commercial Division, Nassau County 

      Tuesday, October 7 (Farrell Fritz, 100 Motor Parkway, Hauppauge)
                 Guest Speaker: US Magistrate Judge A. Kathleen Tomlinson, EDNY

      Wednesday, November 5 (Tannenbaum Helpern, 900 Third Avenue, NYC)
                Guest Speaker: US District Judge Kenneth M. Karas, SDNY

      Tuesday, December 9 (Tannenbaum Helpern, 900 Third Avenue, NYC)
                 Guest Speaker: US District Judge J. Paul Oetken, SDNY

      Wednesday, January 14 (Tannenbaum Helpern, 900 Third Avenue, NYC)
                 Guest Speaker: Justice Carolyn E. Demarest, Commercial Division, Kings County

      Tuesday, February 10 (Hinman Straub, 121 State Street, Albany)
                 Guest Speaker: US District Judge Mae A. D’Agostino, NDNY

      Wednesday, March 11 (Tannenbaum Helpern, 900 Third Avenue, NYC)
                Guest Speaker: Associate Judge Sheila Abdus-Salaam, NY Court of Appeals

      Tuesday, April 14 (Nixon Peabody, 1300 Clinton Square, Rochester)
                 Guest Speaker: US District Judge Elizabeth A. Wolford, WDNY 

      Wednesday, May 6 (Tannenbaum Helpern, 900 Third Avenue, NYC)
                 Guest Speaker: TBD   


    • New Horizons in eDiscovery: How New Rules, Cyber-Security and Specialized eDiscovery Counsel are Shaping the Future of eDiscovery

      New Horizons in eDiscovery:  How New Rules, Cyber-Security and Specialized eDiscovery Counsel are Shaping the Future of eDiscovery


      CLE Webcast and Live Program | 3.0 MCLE Credits   

      Co-sponsored by the Commercial and Federal Litigation Section e-Discovery Committee and the Law Practice Management Committee of the New York State Bar Association

      Thursday, September 18, 2014 

      4:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.
      Location TBA

      Register and learn how new rules, cybersecurity and specialized eDiscovery Counsel are shaping the future of eDiscovery.  Featuring an esteemed panel of judges, including Hon. Shira A. Scheindlin, United States District Judge, United States District Court Southern District of New York, Magistrate James C. Francis, IV, Southern District of New York and Hon. Timothy S. Driscoll, Justice of the New York State Supreme Court, Commercial Division, Mineola, and eDiscovery counsel at GE and IBM, this program promises a lively discussion on the current state and impact of new rules and rulemaking efforts.


      $95 Special Rate for Commercial and Federal Litigation Section Members

      $125 NYSBA Members | $250 Non-Members
      (Pre-Registration Required)


      Agenda Topics:   

      FRCP & Commercial Division Rules Update
      Federal and State Court judges well-known for their eDiscovery opinions discuss the current state and impact of new rules and rulemaking efforts

      eDiscovery in Data Breach Cases 

      This panel will explore unique aspects of performing eDiscovery in data breach cases, as well as where such eDiscovery overlaps with terrain more familiar to civil litigators.

      The Role of eDiscovery Counsel 

      Utilization of Special Counsel focused exclusively on eDiscovery has been a rising trend.  This panel of corporate and law firm eDiscovery Counsel will discuss their roles and responsibilities, including how these have changed over time and are likely to change in the future.


      Hon. Shira A. Scheindlin, United States District Judge, United States District Court Southern District of New York
      Magistrate James C. Francis, IV, Southern District of New York
      Hon. Timothy S. Driscoll, Justice of the New York State Supreme Court, Commercial Division, Mineola, NY
      Stacey E. Blaustein, eDiscovery Counsel, IBM Corporation Litigation
      Constance M. Boland, Partner, Nixon Peabody LLP 
      Adam I. Cohen, Principal, EY Forensic Technologies and Discovery Services
      Joseph V. DeMarco, Partner, DeVore & DeMarco, LLP
      Farrah L. Pepper, eDiscovery Counsel, General Electric Company

      REGISTER ONLINE NOW or Call our State Bar Service Center to Register Over the phone: 1-800-582-2452

      For a complete list of upcoming Law Practice Management CLE Programs visit

    • Women on the Move 2014 LPM CLE Program


      $75 Members* | $250 Non-Members

      Women on the Move 2014: Negotiating Your Own Value | Tips from the Front Line

      Wednesday, October 8, 2014 
      CLE Program | 1:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.
      Networking Reception | 5:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m.
      4.0 MCLE Credits

        Women on the Move Brochure


      View the Brochure 

       View the Agenda

      View Speaker Biographies


      Larchmont Shore Club | One Oak Bluff Avenue | Larchmont, NY 10538

      Sponsored by the Committee on Women and the Law, the Law Practice Management Committee, and the Committee on Continuing Legal Education of the New York State Bar Association 
      Program Chairs
      Linda A. Redlisky, Esq.
      Rafferty & Redlisky, LLP
      Pelham, NY
      Debra Vey Voda-Hamilton, Esq.
      Hamilton Law and Mediation, PLLC
      Armonk, NY
      As female attorneys we are asked to juggle our professional and personal lives often for less compensation than our male peers. This CLE program highlights practical skills that have helped other women attorneys successfully navigate the complicated world of negotiating their compensation in the income gender trap. Many women feel social pressures to refrain from asserting themselves in an overtly aggressive manner, yet fear that using softer language will cause them to be perceived as weak and diminish their worth. Learn the tools and tips recommended by a professional negotiator, including methods to evaluate your goals, language selection in negotiations, and other techniques women attorneys have developed to negotiate for themselves. A panel of respected attorneys, both male and female, will explore and debate various means of negotiating, such as in person, e-mail and telephonic, negotiating with the same or different gender, whether or not your style should be tailored to your audience, as well as the ethical issues that arise in the context of negotiating your worth. Join us for an afternoon of learning on how to start the discussion and project your best self-worth when representing yourself.

      12:30 p.m.                Registration

      1:00 - 1:10 p.m.       Welcome and Introduction to the Program

      1:10 2:00 p.m.       Keynote Presentation
                                        Victoria Pynchon, Esq.
                                       Co-founder, She Negotiates Consulting and Training
                                        (1.0 MCLE Credit)
      2:00 2:50 p.m.       Salary & Fee Negotiation - Successes, Pitfalls and the Law
                                        Cara E. Greene, Esq. | Outten & Golden LLP
                                        Alan J. Harris, Esq. | Alan J. Harris, PC
                                        (1.0 MCLE Credit)

      2:50 3:00 p.m.       Break

      3:00 3:50 p.m.       Ethical Considerations in Negotiating Your Value
                                        Deborah A. Scalise, Esq. | Scalise & Hamilton, LLP
                                        Josephine Belli, Esq. | Goldberg Segalla, LLP
                                        (1.0 MCLE Ethics Credit)

      3:50 5:00 p.m.       Panel Discussion and Q&A
                                       (1.0 MCLE Credit)

      5:00 7:00 p.m.       Networking Reception with Section Co-Sponsors

      4.0 MCLE Credits
      (2.0 areas of professional practice, 1.0 skills, 1.0 ethics)

      *$75 Pre-Registration Rate | Valid through September 30, 2014.  Register early to guarantee your seat at the program. Program fee includes refreshments and cocktail reception.


      Co-sponsored by the Business Law Section, the Commercial and Federal Litigation Section, the Corporate Counsel Section, the  Dispute Resolution Section, the Elder Law and Special Needs Section,  Family Law Section, the General Practice Sectionthe Intellectual Property Law Section, the Real Property Law Section, the Senior Lawyers Section, the Torts, Insurance and Compensation Law Section, the Trusts & Estates Law Section of the New York State Bar Association.

      Also co-sponsored by the Women's Bar Association of the State of New York and the following chapters: the Mid-York Chapter of the Women's Bar Association of the State of New York, the Queens Chapter of the Women's Bar Association of the State of New York, and the Westchester Women's Bar Association.


      For questions about this event, please contact Kathy Suchocki, Director, Law Practice Management at (518) 487-5590 or

      To register by phone, please call 1-800-582-2452.



  • Recent News & Events

    Current Section News:

    Panelists Stress Benefits of New York for International Arbitrations

    By Suevon Lee 

    Commercial Litigation Insider

    June 2, 2014

    As New York strives to host international arbitrations in a global marketplace, there are plenty of practical reasons to look to the city as the location of choice, according to panelists who spoke at the New York International Arbitration Center on Thursday.

    Beyond the good restaurants, entertainment and sight-seeing, New York has a designated judge to handle all international arbitration-related matters in Manhattan’s Commercial Division and a year-old, state-of-the-art center where arbitrations can take place, the panelists told a roomful of about 50 attorneys.

    Organized by NYIAC and the Commercial and Federal Litigation Section of the New York State Bar Association, the event reminded New York’s legal community about the viability of this city as a seat when international arbitrations are increasingly heading to Paris, London, Singapore, Geneva and other overseas destinations.

    Moderated by Charles Moxley, Jr., an arbitrator and mediator with MoxleyADR, the panelists included Justice Charles Ramos; Stephen Younger, a partner at Patterson Belknap Webb & Tyler and a NYIAC founding board member; Alexandra Dosman, NYIAC’s executive director; Ted Semaya, a partner at Eaton & Van Winkle; and Gregory Arenson, a partner at Kaplan Fox and outgoing chair of the Comm-Fed section.

    In December, Ramos was designated in the Commercial Division to iron out dispute for parties engaged in international arbitration. The judge said he’s so far had a handful of cases—mostly orders of attachment—but he urged those in the room to bring him more.

    He said international arbitration cases go on his calendar immediately, and since he typically issues decisions from the bench, parties can have “an appealable order once you leave the courthouse.”

    The judge said he does not find arbitration cases to be that complex nor involve thousands of documents—ensuring quick service to  parties. In addition, he reminded the room that designating New York’s Commercial Division at the outset to handle these kinds of disputes guarantees the right to an interlocutory appeal—or appeal of any non-dispositive decision to the appellate court.

    “We’re not distracted by a federal criminal docket,” Ramos said, distinguishing the Commercial Division from the federal courts. “We spit this stuff out.”

    He also observed a few trends about arbitration.

    “I think arbitration is becoming a more important area because so many businesses are insisting on it,” Ramos said. “The bad news is that it’s becoming so expensive and more like litigation.”

    But the judge noted that he and his colleagues in the Commercial Division “rarely” set aside arbitration awards upon a party’s challenge.

    “We really do give the benefit of the doubt to the arbitrator,” he said.

    There is reason for the ramped-up efforts in recent years to market New York as a viable seat for hosting international arbitrations. International dispute resolutions generate up to $2 billion of business for New York each year, said Younger.

    The center, which was founded with the support of 37 law firms and the international and dispute resolution sections of NYSBA, celebrates its one-year anniversary in June. It has hosted 19 arbitrations and two mediations so far, according to Dosman.

    Those who attended Thursday’s panel were encouraged to use the center, which features a large hearing room, breakout rooms, facilities for interpretation and ample lounge space. NYIAC does not administer administrations, only provides space.

    “The idea is to be a user-friendly, client-serviced approach to international arbitration in New York,” Younger said.

    Suevon Lee can be reached at and on Twitter @suevlee. Follow CLI on Twitter @NYComLitInsider.

    Spring Meeting 2014

    The Commercial and Federal Litigation Section recently traveled to Lenox, MA for the Spring Meeting at the Cranwell Resort and Golf Club.  The weekend was filled with Educational programming and time to reconnect with Section members.  See photos from the weekend.

    NYSBA ComFed Social Media Ethics Guidelines In the News
    Attorneys have a new, practical guide to help answer ethical challenges presented by social media.

    The Social Media Committee of NYSBA’s Commercial & Federal Litigation Section released Social Media Ethics Guidelines on March 18, 2014.

    Citing ethics opinions issued by New York bar associations as well as opinions issued from around the country, the Guidelines will help attorneys use social media platforms in common scenarios.

    The Guidelines have five sections: Attorney Advertising; Furnishing Advice Through Social Media; Review and Use of Evidence from Social Media; Ethically Communicating with Clients; and Researching Jurors/Reporting Misconduct.  Each suggests practices with current ethical guidance and provides commentary with additional analysis and practical tips.

    The project was spearheaded by Social Media Committee Co-Chairs Mark A. Berman of Ganfer & Shore and Ignatius A. Grande of Hughes Hubbard & Reed and drafted by members of the Social Media Committee.

    The Guidelines have received positive coverage in the press and from attorneys:

    The Section Presented Its Eighth Annual “Smooth Moves” CLE Program For Attorneys of Color, And Presentation of the Honorable George Bundy Smith Pioneer Award To Esteemed Attorney Kay Crawford Murray

    On April 1, 2014, the Commercial and Federal Litigation Section presented its eighth annual “Smooth Moves” program -- the Section’s premiere diversity event organized to attract attorneys of color to more active participation within the Section.   Since its inception in 2007, Smooth Moves has included both a CLE program and a networking reception, culminating in the presentation of the Section’s Honorable George Bundy Smith Pioneer Award.  The Pioneer Award is given each year to an attorney of color whose career accomplishments exemplify those of the retired Court of Appeals jurist for whom the award is named:  legal excellence, community involvement, and mentoring. 

    The CLE program this year was entitled “Social Media Strategies for Attorneys: Marketing Techniques, Practice Tips and Ethical Quandaries.”   The program, which was moderated by Darrell Gay of Arent Fox, featured an outstanding panel of leading practitioners in the field, ethicists, and United States District Court Judge Margo Brodie.  The panel first highlighted the advantages for lawyers of marshalling social media as part of an integrated marketing strategy, and also addressed the legal issues and ethical challenges associated with the widespread use of such technologies, including discovery considerations and juror selection. 

    The George Bundy Smith Pioneer Award was established by the Section in recognition of Judge Smith’s work in the civil rights movement, and his 30 years of public service in the New York judiciary, including 14 years as an associate judge of the Court of Appeals.   This year’s Pioneer Award was presented to Kay Crawford Murray, formerly the General Counsel to the New York City Department of Juvenile Justice, the position she held since the establishment of the agency in 1979 until her retirement in 2002.  Since the mid 1980’s, Ms. Murray has served on the Committee on Character and Fitness in the Appellate Division, First Department, and has also served as a Trustee for the New York State Bar Foundation.   Ms. Murray has been one of the most respected trailblazers and leaders of the New York bar for decades. 

    Finally, the Section awarded the Commercial Division’s Minority Law Student Fellowship at the event to a first-year law student, who will spend the summer working in the chambers of a Justice Marcie Friedman.  The New York Bar Foundation provides a stipend for the fellowship recipient. Ana Federico, a first year law student at Albany Law School, was selected as this year’s Minority Fellow.  

    2014 Annual Meeting of the Section
    by: James M. Wicks

    The Section’s Annual Meeting held on January 29, 2014 at the New York Hilton was well attended, with over 350 in attendance for the annual luncheon.  The Hon. Jack B. Weinstein proudly presented to the Hon. Shira A. Scheindlin the Stanley H. Fuld Award for Outstanding Contributions to Commercial Law and Litigation. 

    The luncheon followed two lively CLEs, the first of which was an audience interactive discussion of the legal ethics implicated by social media.  Led by Mark Berman, the social media panel answered a series of questions that were posed earlier to the audience.  The audience members responded to the questions using tablets or smartphones, with the results tabulated immediately.  Magistrate Judge Lisa Smith (SDNY), along with practitioners in the area, then explored the issues raised.

    The second panel focused on the interplay between Delaware and New York law in resolving corporate governance disputes.  Vice Chancellor Travis Laster, Delaware Court of Chancery, joined by Appellate Division Justice David Friedman (1st Dep’t), as well as several New York and Delaware practitioners identified some of the key differences in the two states’ approaches to fiduciary duty, indemnification and other corporate governance issues.

    Look for a fuller discussion of the Section's Annual meeting in our Spring Newsletter.

    25th Anniversary Celebration!

    Read more about the 25th Anniversary Celebration that was held on October 23, 2014 at Lincoln Center.

    Join the Section 
  • Com Fed Member Community

    Start using your Commercial and Federal Litigation Law Section Member Community now.

    What are Member Communities?
    The member communities are private, online professional networks, built on the concept of listserves that offer enhanced features such as collaboration tools and document libraries. They offer you a variety of tools to help you connect, network and work collaboratively with fellow NYSBA members. 

    To participate, each member has a profile based on their basic membership information. You can enhance your profile by adding your photo, professional affiliations, volunteer activities and other accomplishments. You have the option to pull information from your LinkedIn profile, or even link to your personal blog or other social media feeds.

    How Can I Use It?
    Seamlessly integrated with, no additional login or password is needed to enter a community. You just need to be a NYSBA member. 

    Just like a listserv, members of a specific community can share information with one another using email. Documents are emailed among members using links as opposed to email attachments, as attachments can be problematic with spam filters or limits on file size. Members can receive community emails as the messages are posted, or in digest form. These resource libraries have no space limitations, accept all file types, and can be organized using folders. Any member of a community can contribute to the library.

    If you are a member of a NYSBA Section, Committee or Task Force, and working to develop a report, white paper, policy change or recommendation, an online community is the perfect forum for you and your colleagues. You have a dedicated space designed to facilitate an efficient and collaborative work effort.

    Start using your Commercial and Federal Litigation Law Section Member Community now.

  • Section Publications

    NY Litigator


    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. Edited by Teresa M. Bennett, Esq., the NYLitigator is published by the Commercial and Federal Litigation Section and distributed to Section Members free of charge.
    Read Now>

    ComFed Newsletter


    The Commercial and Federal Litigation Section Newsletter features updates on Section activities, programs and events; recent legislation; and information about current issues. Edited by Prof. Mark L. Davies, 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>