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Event Details

Advantages of Mediating Trusts, Estates & Adult Guardian

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Monday, June 23, 2014
9:00 AM - 1:15 PM Eastern Daylight Time


Monday, June 23, 2014 | 9:00 A.M. to 1:15 P.M.

Cardozo Law School
Moot Court Room | 1st Floor
55 5th Ave | New York, NY  10003

NYSBA Members: $75.00 | Non-NYSBA Members: $120.00
This program qualifies for  3.5 MCLE Credits in Skills this program is not transitional and therefore does not qualify for newly admitted attorneys

Mediation of disputes involving trusts, estates and adult guardianship matters has started to become increasingly popular due to the varied benefits that dispute resolution processes provide. Mediation has long been widely accepted in many practice areas, and its use in Surrogate’s Court for wills, trusts and estate matters, and in Supreme Court for adult guardianship matters (Mental Hygiene Law Article 81) as well as for inter vivos trusts is gaining traction. It has started to develop in those areas because of mediation’s many advantages over litigation.
The movement towards mediation is a reflection of its unique utility and benefit in this context. Disputes in these areas generally involve emotionally charged interpersonal relations; the disputing parties quite frequently being siblings and other close relatives. Mediation can be more suited than litigation to resolving these interpersonal matters, providing a more intimate setting and allowing for creative solutions. For these reasons, mediation is a valuable tool that should not be overlooked.
A distinguished panel of recognized mediators, litigators, trusts, estates and elder law practitioners, and judges will reveal mediation’s benefits and advantages and demonstrate why mediation’s time has come upon us for those practicing in these areas.

This program will be of particular interest to trusts and estates attorneys and elder law attorneys who litigate in the Surrogate’s Court and Supreme Courts dealing with wills, trusts, estates and guardianship disputes, and those who are confronted with these disputes in their planning practice. These attorneys may be seeking better utilization of their time and efforts. They will gain an understanding of the advantages mediation offers over litigation, including time and cost efficiencies, active and meaningful client participation, and the potential for tailored resolutions, which leads to “client satisfaction”.

The program will also be of interest and beneficial to those in the mediation field who are seeking to utilize their experience, background and training in mediation to expand into additional areas of application.
Topics include: benefits of mediation; models for mediation in Surrogate’s Court; mediation’s potential; practical examples and practice skills in conducting a mediation; comments from trusts and estates practitioners; and questions relating to the mediation process.
Two mediation role plays will be demonstrated – a will contest dispute, and a guardianship dispute.
This program is being sponsored by the New York State Bar Association’s Dispute Resolution Section and is Co-Sponsored by the Trusts and Estates Law Section and the Elder Law and Special Needs Section.

Program Co-Chairs: Leona Beane, Esq., and Robert Steele, Esq.
Panelists and Speakers:

Hon. James D. Pagones, Surrogate, Surrogate’s Court, Dutchess County
Leona Beane, Esq., Arbitrator and Mediator, and Trusts, Estates and Guardianship Attorney 
Gail Davis, Esq., Mediator 
Elizabeth Donlon, Esq., Trusts and Estates and Elder Law Attorney 
Gary B. Freidman, Esq., Partner, Greenfield Stein & Senior, LLP, Former Chair, NYSBA Trusts and Estates Section 
Stephen J. Grable, Esq., Trusts and Estates Attorney, Hahn & Hessen LLP; Adjunct Professor of Law, Fordham Law School and Seton Hall Law School 
Antonia J. Martinez, Esq., Trusts and Estates and Elder Law Attorney 
Eric Penzer, Esq., Partner, Farrell Fritz, PC, Trusts and Estates Attorney 
Robert D. Steele, Esq., Trusts and Estates Attorney and Mediator, Chair of Trusts and Estates Department at Wolf Haldenstein Adler Freeman & Herz, LLP 
Daniel Weitz, Esq., State-wide Coordinator of Alternative Dispute Resolution, New York State Court System 
Pauline Yeung-Ha, Esq., Partner, Grimaldi & Yeung, LLP, Elder Law Attorney


8:40 A.M. - 9:00 A.M.             Registration (coffee and tea provided)
9:00 A.M. - 9:10 A.M.             Introduction
                                                      Speaker: Robert D. Steele 
9:10 A.M. - 9:40 A.M.             Challenges of Mediating High Conflict Family Disputes - Cognitive and Emotional Barriers to Resolution
                                                      Speaker: Daniel Weitz
9:40 A.M. - 10:10 A.M.          How Mediation Differs from Adversarial Proceedings -
Benefits of Mediation The Mediation Process -
                                                      Speakers: Robert D. Steele (Moderator), Leona Beane, Stephen J. Grable
10:10 A.M. - 10:40 A.M.       Different Mediation Programs and Models for Use in Surrogate’s Court and Supreme Court Litigation
                                                      Speakers: Leona Beane (Moderator), Surrogate James D. Pagones, Gail Davis - Pilot Mediation Program
10:40 A.M. - 11:10 A.M.         Role Play 1: Betty Murphy Estate
                                                      Speakers:Daniel Weitz, (Moderator), Elizabeth Donlon, Gary B. Freidman, Robert D. Steele, Pauline Yeung-Ha
11:10 A.M. - 11:25 A.M.         Break - (coffee and soda provided)
11:25 A.M. - 11:50 A.M.         What Types of Disputes are More Amenable to Mediation - A Discussion Among Trusts, Estates and Guardianship Attorneys and the Court
                                                       Speakers: Robert D. Steele (Moderator), Surrogate James D. Pagones, Gary B. Freidman, Stephen J. Grable, Antonia J. Martinez, Eric Penzer, Pauline Yeung-Ha
11:50 A.M. - 12:20 P.M.         Role Play 2: Uncle Henry’s Guardianship Proceeding
                                                        Speakers: Leona Beane, Elizabeth Donlon, Stephen J. Grable, Antonia J. Martinez, Eric Penzer
12:20 P.M. - 12:50 P.M.         Round Table: Speaker Summations
                                                       Speakers: Leona Beane (Moderator), Surrogate James D. Pagones, Gail Davis, Elizabeth Donlon, Gary B. Freidman, Stephen J. Grable, Antonia J. Martinez, Eric Penzer, Robert D. Steele, Daniel Weitz, Pauline Yeung-Ha
12:50 P.M. - 1:15 P.M.            Feedback on Role Plays and Questions from Audience        

 For Questions about the program: Beth Gould at bgould@nysba.org

To register over the phone please contact our State Bar Service Center at 1-800-582-2452


Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law
Moot Court Room (1st Floor)
New York, NY 10003
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