Commercial Federal Litigation Section Officers

Mitch Katz, Chair

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.

Robert N. Holtzman, Chair-Elect

Robert N. Holtzman represents employers in employment law and executive compensation matters and is Co-chair of Kramer Levin’s Executive Compensation practice. 

Mr. Holtzman counsels employers regarding the full range of legal and business issues that touch upon or concern the employment relationship, including advisory matters involving investigations of discrimination and whistleblower complaints, the design and implementation of appropriate policies and practices and employment issues that arise in connection with corporate transactions. He also designs and conducts training of managers and other employees. 

When disputes arise, Mr. Holtzman represents employers in litigation in federal and state court, as well as in administrative proceedings and arbitrations, and in connection with virtually every type of claim that may be asserted by employees – discrimination on the basis of age, race, color, gender, sexual preference, disability and national origin; retaliation; whistleblower claims; claims under the Fair Labor Standards Act and the New York Labor Law; breach of contract; enforcement of restrictive covenants; wrongful discharge; and a wide variety of tort claims. He also has represented employers and senior executives in class action litigations alleging sexual harassment, gender discrimination, pregnancy discrimination and wage and hour violations. 

Mr. Holtzman advises and represents companies and executives in connection with the design, implementation, drafting and negotiation of executive compensation arrangements, including employment, severance/separation, change-in-control, noncompetition, non-solicitation and nondisclosure agreements. He also represents private equity funds and companies in the design and drafting of equity and other incentive compensation arrangements. Mr. Holtzman also regularly represents buyers, sellers and management teams in connection with mergers and acquisitions, and other transactions. 

Among his most notable recent work, Mr. Holtzman represented a Big Four accounting firm in connection with an action commenced by a competitor arising out of its hiring of a team of former employees; Roto-Rooter Services Co. in connection with a class and collective action alleging violations of the wage and hours laws of multiple states; and a prominent financial institution in connection with a claim of gender discrimination and sexual harassment. He also represented a $10 billion hedge fund in connection with the exit of one of its founding partners, and advised an asset manager with more than $25 billion in assets under management in connection with the restructuring of its restrictive covenants and long-term incentive compensation arrangements. 

Laurel R. Kretzing, Vice-Chair

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.

Sandra Rampersaud, Treasurer  

Sandra Rampersaud is Executive Director and Global eDiscovery Counsel for UBS AG.  Sandra is responsible for designing, building and executing the e-discovery functions for the Americas, which she heads, and across APAC and EMEA in collaboration with her counterparts in those regions to support the bank's investigations (internal and government), regulatory responses, dawn raids and civil and criminal litigation matters.  In addition, Sandra advises bank leadership on global e-discovery strategy and risk, and contributes to the development of policies and procedures relating to cross-border data transfers and information governance.

Sandra was previously the Litigation Practice Area Attorney at Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP, where she served as the firm's legal expert on e-discovery, counseling litigations teams and clients on cost-effective and defensible discovery strategies and advocacy for the preservation, collection, review and production of ESI, the remediation of legacy data, and strategic positioning and defense of e-discovery issues before federal regulators and courts, to achieve efficient and successful outcomes in multi-billion dollar domestic and international matters.  Prior to Cravath, Sandra was an associate at Stroock & Stroock & Lavan LLP, where her practice focused on antirust, commodities, securities and energy litigation; Sandra also served a one-year clerkship with Hon. Joan M. Azrack of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York.

Sandra has spoken on discovery and cross-border data privacy issues at a number of presentations.  She is a member of the Sedona Conference's Working Group 1 on Electronic Document Retention and Production and Working Group 6 on International Electronic Information Management, Discovery and Disclosure.  Sandra is a member of the committee and Education Subcommittee for the Seventh Circuit Electronic Discovery Pilot Program, and formerly served as Co-Chair of the NYSBA's Commercial and Federal Litigation Section's Committee on Electronic Discovery.  

Jamie L. Sinclair, Secretary 

Jamie L. Sinclair is an associate at GreenbergTraurig and focuses her practice on real estate operations and real estate litigation. Jamie represents clients in matters involving construction and design defects, title and ownership disputes, and commercial landlord-tenant matters. 

Professional & Community Involvement

  • Secretary, New York State Bar Commercial & Federal Litigation Section
  • New York County Lawyers’ Association
    • Co-Chair, Committee on Women in the Law

Internship

  • Summer Law Clerk, Hon. L. Felipe Restrepo, U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, 2011

Articles, Lectures & Publications

Section Delegates to the NYSBA House of Delegates: 

Mark Berman

Mark Berman is a partner in Ganfer & Shore’s Commercial Litigation Practice.  He also heads the firm’s E-Discovery Counseling practice.


He has extensive experience in representing private and public companies, as well as partnerships and individuals, as plaintiffs and defendants, in complex commercial matters with an emphasis on real estate and securities disputes, electronic discovery conflicts, and complex title insurance issues.


Mr. Berman is experienced in all phases of commercial litigation in both state and federal courts as well as in arbitrations and mediations. He is a seasoned appellate attorney, having argued many cases before both the First and Second Departments. Mr. Berman is also a trained mediator.


Prior to joining Ganfer & Shore, he was an associate in the litigation department at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP and clerked for United States Magistrate Judge Michael L. Orenstein for the Eastern District of New York.


Mr. Berman has written and lectured extensively on electronic discovery and social media issues before the American Bar Association, the New York State Bar Association, the Appellate Divisions of the State of New York and the New York State Judicial Institute. He has been appointed by the Chief Administrative Judge as a member of New York State E-Discovery Working Group advising the New York State Unified Court System.


Mr. Berman is a former 2016-2017 Chair of the Commercial and Federal Litigation Section of the New York State Bar Association and is Chair of' the Bar Association's newly formed Technology and the Legal Profession Committee.  He is also on the Board of Editors of the New York Bar Association Law Journal.


Since 2005, Mr. Berman has authored a column in The New York Law Journal addressing electronic discovery under New York State law. Mr. Berman’s articles have been quoted in both appellate and trial court decisions. All of his articles may be found in the Media section of Ganfer & Shore's website.


Mr. Berman was featured in a two-page interview by The New York Law Journal on relating to his role as co-chair of the Social Media Committee of the Commercial and Litigation Section of the New York State Bar Association

Mr. Berman is rated “AV” by Martindale-Hubbell, the highest level in professional excellence and ethics, and has been selected as a “New York Super Lawyer” annually since 2008.

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.

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.