Commercial and Federal Litigation Section

  • 2015 Spring Meeting Carousel
    SAVE THE DATE: SPRING MEETING: MAY 15-17 The Sagamore Resort, Bolton Landing, NY
  • CLE Programs and Events
    • April/May 2015 Ethics & Civility CLE (Section Members Save 15%!)


      Click on the links below to view agenda and faculty lists:

      Friday, April 17, 2015 | Rochester 
      Holiday Inn Rochester Airport | 911 Brooks Avenue | Rochester, NY 14624

      Friday, April 24, 2015 | Albany 
      Shaker Ridge Country Club | 802 Albany Shaker Road | Loudonville, NY 12211

      Friday, April 24, 2015 | Buffalo
      Holiday Inn Amherst | 1881 Niagara Falls Blvd. | Amherst, NY 14228

      Friday, April 24, 2015 | Uniondale, Long Island
      Long Island Marriott | 101 James Doolittle Boulevard | Uniondale, NY 11553

      Friday, May 1, 2015 | New York City & live webcast!
      CUNY Graduate Center | 365 Fifth Avenue | New York, NY 10016

      4.0 MCLE Credits: 4.0 hours in Ethics

      Topics to Be Covered Include:

      • What's New for 2015 on Ethics?
      • Civility in Everyday Lawyering: What are the Basic Lessons to be Learned?
      • Colloquium on Ethics and Civility

      Commercial & Federal Litigation Section Members: $114.75
      (Section Members Save 15% off the NYSBA Member Rate!)
      NYSBA Members: $135
      Non Members: $235 
      Note: Registration fees increase ten days prior to the program date.

    • Commercial and Federal Litigation 2015 Spring Meeting

      Commercial and Federal Litigation Section 2015 Spring Meeting
      May 15-17, 2015
      The Sagamore on Lake George, Bolton Landing, NY

      View Program Agenda (PDF) and Complete Registration Form (PDF) 

      - The Use of Technology in Court 
      - Exploring Attorney Client Privilege Among General Counsel 
      - Attorney Fee Disputes 
      - The Ethics of Outsourcing Legal Services

      NYSBA Member: $600.00
      Non-NYSBA Member: $700.00
      Special Young Lawyer(admitted less than 10 yrs - does not include Gala/Award Dinner): $250.00
      Special Young Lawyer with Gala/Award Dinner: $325.00
      Gala Award Dinner Only: $175.00
      Sponsor Table for Gala Dinner: $1,250.00
      Spouse/Guest: $350.00

      Attendance at this meeting offers up to 6.0 MCLE credit hours: 4.5 credits in Professional Practice and 1.5 credit in Ethics.

      Book your hotel room directly with The Sagamore. Call 866.258.7247.  
      Indicate you are with the New York State Bar Association.  Provide reference Group Code: NYSBAR0515.    Hotel cut-off date is Thursday, April 9th.

      Interested in their spa? Book your appointment by calling 866.384.1944

      For more questions please contact Lori Nicoll at (518) 487-5563 email

    • What Lawyers Need To Know in the Social Media Age


      What Lawyers Need to Know to Practice Law in the Social Media Age
      Wednesday, May 20, 2015
      New York City
      Radisson Martinique on Broadway
      49 West 32nd Street
      New York, NY 10001
      Not able to attend in person?
      A Live Webcast Option is Available on Wednesday, May 20, 2015
      Newly admitted attorneys (less than twenty-four months) must attend the program in person to receive New York MCLE credit.
      Program Description:
      3:00 pm - 4:25 pm: NYSBA Social Media Ethics Guidelines for Attorneys

      Social media has permeated the legal profession. Attorneys use social media to communicate, conduct investigations, research potential jurors, and advertise. There have been a number of ethics opinions and judicial opinions addressing the use of social media by attorneys. The use and possible misuse of social media are topics of increasing importance to the bar as well as to legal support professionals. This program will explore the ethical implications of social media usage and will provide guidance on how attorneys can use social media to advance their practice while complying with their ethical obligations. Because social media is used by attorneys and their staff for a variety of purposes, knowledge of the ethical implications of that use is essential.

      Some of the areas that will be addressed include:
      • Social media and advertising
      • Providing legal advice through social media
      • Using social media to gather evidence
      • Performing juror research through social media

      Mark Berman, Ganfer & Shore
      Ron Hedges, Ron Hedges LLC
      Lori Leskin, Kaye Scholer

      4:35 pm – 6:00 pm: Privacy and Security Issues in New Technologies

      While there is some debate, several courts and commentators have noted that there is no expectation of privacy on social media. As the public increasingly makes use of social media platforms, personal information is also being captured and stored by commercial drones, wearable devices (i.e., Google Glass), and “Internet of Things” devices (i.e., fitbits, thermostats and household and workplace sensors).

      This panel will explore the security ramifications of these new technologies and what control individuals have over the data that (i) they create and (ii) is created or collected about them without their knowledge.

      The panelists will discuss:
      • Law Enforcement access to these new sources of data
      • What can employees expect to be “private” in the workplace?
      • How can companies be prepared to properly store and access all of this new data
      • Can reasonable regulations be put into place?
      • How lawyers can advise their clients on these issues

      Ignatius Grande, Sr. Discovery Counsel, Hughes Hubbard & Reed LLP
      Sofia Rahman, Assoc. GC, Social Media, Privacy and Data Protection, Citigroup Inc.

      NYSBA Commercial and Federal Litigation Section
      NYSBA Committee on Continuing Legal Education
      3.0 MCLE Credits:  3.0 Professional Practice
      - Connect and network with fellow attorneys
      - Enhance your knowledge with Section publications
      -  Save 15% on this program!
      Call (800) 582-2452 and join today!
      Who should attend:
      Attorneys who use Social Media for any purpose. 
      Program Co-Chairs:
      Mark A. Berman, Partner, Ganfer & Shore, LLP, NY, NY
      Ignatius Grande, Senior Discovery Attorney, Hughes Hubbard & Reed LLP, NY, NY
      NYSBA Members: $125
      Non Members: $225
      Note: Registration fees increase ten days prior to the program date.

  • 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


    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.
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    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.
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