Commercial Federal Litigation Section Officers

Robert N. Holtzman, Chair

Robert N. Holtzman is chair of the Commercial and Federal Litigation Section of the New York State Bar Association.

Mr. Holtzman is a partner in Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel LLP in New York, where he represents employers in employment law and executive compensation matters and is co-chair of the firm’s Executive Compensation practice. He counsels employers regarding the full range of legal and business issues that touch upon or concern the employment relationship, including advisory matters and the design and conduct of manager and employee training, and, when disputes arise, represents employers in federal courts, state courts, and arbitration. Mr. Holtzman also advises and represents companies and executives in connection with the design, implementation, drafting and negotiation of executive compensation arrangements, and he regularly represents buyers, sellers and management teams in connection with mergers and acquisitions, and other transactions.

A summa cum laude graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, Mr. Holtzman earned his law degree from Columbia Law School, where he was a Harlan Fiske Stone Scholar and an Editor of the Columbia Law Review.

Laurel R. Kretzing, CHAIR-ELECT

Laurel R. Kretzing is a partner in the Firm's Litigation Practice Group, where she represents both private and public entities, and its Construction and Appellate practice groups. She concentrates her practice in commercial litigation, civil rights, employment law, land use, environmental law and construction law. She has substantial trial and appellate experience litigating complex matters in both the state and federal courts and has lectured on construction law topics.

Ms. Kretzing received her Juris Doctor from Hofstra University School of Law and her Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Pennsylvania State University. From 1986 to 1989 Ms. Kretzing served as a Deputy County Attorney in the Nassau County Attorney's Office where she handled tax certiorari, construction, municipal litigation and environmental matters. She also served as Chairperson of the Nassau County Recycling Task Force from 1988 to 1989.

In addition to her experience as a Deputy Nassau County Attorney, Ms. Kretzing served as Assistant Village Attorney for the Village of Northport and represented the Village in a wide variety of litigation matters including Article 78 proceedings, employee disciplinary proceedings, land use and construction litigation. Ms. Kretzing has also successfully represented numerous towns and villages in Civil Rights and 42 U.S.C. §1983 actions brought in the federal courts. In addition to her litigation practice, Ms. Kretzing is experienced in advising clients on all aspects of public bidding, procurement law, prevailing wage law and the administration of construction projects.

She was a recipient of the 2003 Pro Bono Attorney of the Year Award presented by Touro College Jacob D. Fuchsberg Law Center and was named to the Long Island Business News List of Who’s Who in Women in Professional Services for 2009 and Top 50 Most Influential Woman in 2011. She was named to the Maurice A. Deane School of Law at Hofstra University's Long Island Top Women in Law for 2016. In addition, Ms. Kretzing was named to the 2014, 2015, and 2016 New York Metro area Super Lawyers list. She received the recognition in the practice area of business ligation.  The Super Lawyers list is issued by Thomson Reuters.  A description of the selection methodology can be found at http://www.superlawyers.com/about/selection_process.html

Ms. Kretzing is a member of the Nassau County Bar Association, the Nassau County Women's Bar Association, the Suffolk County Bar Association (commercial division committee), the New York State Bar Association serving as the Nassau/Suffolk District Leader for the Commercial & Federal Litigation Section from 2014 -2017 and the American Bar Association. Ms. Kretzing also serves as a Town of Huntington Park Steward.

Ms. Kretzing is admitted to practice in New York as well as before the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit and the United States District Courts for the Southern and Eastern Districts of New York. Her practice areas include municipal, litigation, land use and zoning, construction, and appellate.



Section Delegates to the NYSBA House of Delegates: 

TRacee E. Davis:

Tracee is a Partner in ZEK’s litigation group where she specializes in representing clients in a wide variety of complex business and commercial matters, including financial services litigation, class action litigation, complex real estate, and business divorce litigation.

Among her notable accomplishments as a litigator at ZEK, Tracee has:

  • Successfully defended numerous financial institutions, winning dismissal of a complex letter of credit action and a variety of consumer financing class actions alleging FDCPA, FCRA, TILA, RESPA and New York GBL fraud violations brought in New YorkState and Federal Courts.
  • Successfully defended a prominent real estate brokerage client, winning summary judgment dismissal of claims involving commercial tort, breach of fiduciary duty and breach of contract claims brought in New York State Court, Commercial Division.
  • Successfully represented a former condominium complex developer/owner, winning summary judgment dismissal of a complex action brought by the condominium association to recover for outstanding tax certificates.
  • Successfully represented the New York State Liquidation Bureau in recovery of damages against a large insurance claims adjuster for mismanagement of insurance claim and breach of contract.
  • Successfully represented LLC members and partners in litigation and arbitration of matters involving separation and dissolution of business, including winning sanctions in the form of attorneys’ fees.
  • Represented a leading ATM service provider in commencing a derivative action in seeking the dissolution of a long-standing business relationship.
  • Successfully defended financial institutions in Surrogate’s Court in a variety of consumer banking and guardianship matters.

As an effective business litigator with a unique and highly specialized knowledge of the judicial process, Tracee acts as a consultant to local and out of state attorneys actively engaged in litigation in New York State Courts.

Prior to joining ZEK, Tracee was Principal Court Attorney to Justice Charles Edward Ramos of the New York State Supreme Court, Commercial Division in Manhattan. During her five years as Principal Court Attorney, she assisted in managing the disposition of more than 400 complex commercial cases. She also was an Adjunct Professor of Law at New York Law School. Before that, Tracee served as a Senior Court Attorney in the Law Department of the New York State Supreme Court, Civil Term in New YorkCounty.

Elected by fellow members of the commercial bar, Tracee served as Chair of the highly-distinguished 2,300 lawyer Commercial and Federal Litigation Section of the New York State Bar Association.  Thereafter, Tracee was appointed by Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman to serve as a member of the statewide Commercial Division Advisory Council.  As part of her service on the Council, Tracee was one of the principal architects of the new accelerated adjudication procedures and adoption of proportionality in discovery in the New York State Supreme Court Commercial Division rules.  Tracee also served as a member of the Chief Judge’s Task Force on Commercial Litigation in the 21st Century.

Based upon her tested leadership skills, Tracee was twice selected to act as Panel Administrator of the New York County Democratic Committee’s Independent Judicial Screening Panel (Civil Court 2004 and Supreme Court 2013) in reviewing candidates for countywide judicial vacancies.

Tracee is a frequent speaker on topics involving commercial litigation.  She was invited to lectured before the New York Commercial Division Justices at The Institute on Complex Commercial Litigation for New York State.  She was also invited to lecture on class actions before the Appellate Division Justices of New York State Courts at the Third Annual Joint Seminar for Appellate Division Justices.

Tracee also was selected as one of the five-member American Bar Association delegation of U.S. judges and lawyers who presented lectures to Cambodian judges at the Royal Academy of Judicial Professionals in Cambodia on the importance of specialized commercial courts and court-annexed mediation.

In her spare time, Tracee is an avid runner and outdoor adventurer.

MITCH KATZ

Mr. Katz is a shareholder in Menter, Rudin & Trivelpiece, P.C., a member of the firm's Board of Directors and manager of its Litigation practice group. Mr. Katz handles complex commercial litigation in federal and state courts, in matters involving creditors' rights, lender liability defense, limited liability companies and partnerships, contract disputes, employers' rights under non-competition and confidentiality agreements, and contested commercial foreclosure actions.  He has tried cases to juries and judges, argued before appellate courts and presented matters to arbitrators and mediators. As a business litigator, his work includes problem solving activities including negotiating settlement agreements in the context of the business disputes he handles. Mr. Katz also provides litigation support to the firm's Business Restructuring and Bankruptcy practice group in complex matters arising under and in connection with cases filed under Chapter 11 of the Bankruptcy Code.

In February, 2013 he was named to the permanent Commercial Division Advisory Council by Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman of the State of New York. The purpose of the Council is to ensure that New York State resolves commercial disputes in ways that benefit the business community and the state’s economy.

He is also Vice President of the CNY Region of the Northern District of New York Federal Court Bar Association having previously served as its Secretary and as co-chair of its committee on Continuing Legal Education.  Mr. Katz is also a member of the Board of Directors of the Volunteer Lawyers Project of Onondaga County, Inc.


JAMES M. WICKS:

James M. Wicks is a partner concentrating in business and commercial litigation. Mr. Wicks represents large and small businesses, financial institutions and individuals in federal and state trial courts, as well as in arbitrations, involving a variety of commercial, technology, real estate, insurance, contracts, banking issues, business torts, business dissolutions and breakups, franchise litigation, corporate governance and derivative and class actions. He has represented developers and landowners in connection with real estate disputes, including sale/leaseback disputes, environmental cleanup actions, foreclosures, broker disputes, boundary and adverse possession disputes. He also counsels and litigates issues involving attorneys and ethics.