Commercial and Federal Litigation Section

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    Annual Meeting 2017
  • Bench Bar 5
    Evening at Thurgood Marshall Courthouse with the Second Circuit January 24, 2016
  • CLE Programs and Events
    • January 24, 2017: Evening at Thurgood Marshall with the Second Circuit


      January 24, 2017
      5:00 p.m. - 7:30 p.m. 

      Cost to Attend:
      $35 for NYSBA Members
      $45 for Non-NYSBA Members
      $25 for Attorneys Admitted 10 Years or Less

      Register Online Now
      The New York State Bar Association’s Commercial & Federal Litigation Section invites its members, the Young Lawyers Section and others, including younger members of the New York Bar to meet the Judges of the Second Circuit the evening before its Annual Meeting and the awarding of the Stanley H. Fuld Award to the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.
      There will be tours of selected spaces at the courthouse.  Second Circuit Chief Judge Robert A. Katzmann, Southern District Judge P. Kevin Castel and NYSBA President Claire Gutekunst will speak.
      Cocktails and hors d'oeuvres will be served. 

      To Register over the phone please contact the State Bar Service Center at 1-800-582-2452. For questions: Beth Gould at

      This event is co-sponsored by the Commercial and Federal Litigation Section and the Young Lawyers Section. 

    • Commercial and Federal Litigation Section Annual Meeting Program


      Wednesday, January 25, 2017 9:00 AM
      9:00 AM - 12:00 PM
      Total MCLE Credits: 3.00 (Professional Practice 1.00, Ethics 2.00)

      Register Here or Download The Registration Form Here.


      Under New York's MCLE rule, this program has been approved for up to 3.0 credit hours (2.0 credits in Ethics and 1.0 in Areas of Professional Practice). This program will NOT qualify for credit for newly-admitted attorneys because it is not a basic practical skills program. 

      9:00-9:10 a.m. -  INTRODUCTIONS
      SECTION CHAIR                       
      Mark A. Berman, Esq.,   Ganfer & Shore, LLP, New York City

      Robert N. Holtzman, Esq., Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel LLP, New York City 

      9:10-10:50 a.m.        
      Current Ethics Issues in Commercial Litigation (2 credits in Ethics)

      Practitioners face ethical issues on a daily basis in litigating commercial disputes.  We have assembled a panel comprising practicing lawyers, a sitting judge, and a professor of legal ethics to discuss recent developments affecting litigation of commercial disputes in New York, including privilege issues arising in the context of litigation concerning the scope of the common-interest 
      doctrine following the decision of the Court of Appeals in Ambac Assurance Corp. v. Countrywide Home Loans Inc., privilege issues implicated in internal investigations by corporate counsel, transfer of the privilege in mergers and acquisitions, the use of law firm general counsel, and other developments.

      Ellen Yaroshefsky, Esq., Howard Lichtenstein Distinguished Professor of Legal Ethics and
      Executive Director of the Monroe H. Freedman Institute for the Study of Legal Ethics, Hofstra Law School , Uniondale

      Hon. Timothy S. Driscoll, Justice of the Supreme Court of the State of New York, Commercial Division, Nassau County 
      Danielle C. Lesser, Esq., Morrison Cohen LLP, New York City
      Michael S. Ross, Esq., Law Offices of Michael S. Ross, New York City
      Vincent J. Syracuse, Esq., Tanenbaum Helpern Syracuse & Hirschtritt  LLP, New York City

      11:05-11:55 a.m.      
      Appellate Attacks on Arbitration Awards  (1 credit in Areas of Professional Practice)  One of the primary arguments in favor of arbitration is the (at least theoretical) finality of the process.  This panel will discuss approaches used by parties seeking to overturn arbitration awards both in court and through arbitration appeal panels.  Topics addressed will include discussion of the scope of permitted review under the Federal Arbitration Act and New York’s Civil Practice Law and Rules, the use of appellate arbitration panels, and the impact these standards have on the arbitration process and the timely and efficient resolution of disputes through arbitration.

      Hon. Rosemary S. Pooler, United States Circuit Judge, United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, Syracuse 

      Hon. O. Peter Sherwood, Acting Justice of the Supreme Court of  the State of New York, Commercial Division, New York County
      Louis P. DiLorenzo, Esq., Bond Schoeneck & King, New York City
      Lea Haber Kuck, Esq., Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP, New York City
      Jeanne C. Miller, Esq., JAMS, New York City

      12:00 – 12:30 p.m.  
      COCKTAIL RECEPTION – Petit Trianon Ballroom Foyer, 3rd floor             

      12:30 – 2:00 p.m.     
      LUNCHEON – Trianon Ballroom, 3rd Floor


      Award Recipient                                
      United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit

      Award Acceptance
      Hon. Robert A. Katzmann, Chief United States Circuit Judge United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit          
      Award Presenter
      Hon. Janet DiFiore, Chief Judge of the Court of Appeals and of the State of New York          

      Discounts and Scholarships: New York State Bar Association members and non-members may apply for a discount or scholarship to attend this program, based on financial hardship. This discount applies to the educational portion of the program only. Under this policy, any member of our Association or non-member who has a genuine basis for their hardship, if approved, can receive a discount or scholarship, depending on the circumstances. Request for discounts or scholarships must be received prior to January 13th, 2017. For more details, please contact Lori Nicoll in writing at New York State Bar Association, One Elk Street, Albany, New York 12207 or

      Accommodations for Persons with Disabilities:  NYSBA welcomes participation by individuals with disabilities. NYSBA is committed to complying with all applicable laws that prohibit discrimination against individuals on the basis of disability in the full and equal enjoyment of its goods, services, programs, activities, facilities, privileges, advantages, or accommodations. To request auxiliary aids or services or if you have any questions regarding accessibility, please contact Lori Nicoll at 518-487-5563.

      For overnight room accommodations, please call the New York Hilton Midtown at 1-800-445-8667 and identify yourself as a member of the New York State Bar Association. Room rates are $260.00 per night plus taxes for single and double occupancy.  Reservations must be made by Monday, December 16, 2016. You also can reserve your overnight room on the web at

      For questions about this specific program, please contact Lori Nicoll at 518-487-5563. For registration questions only, please call the Member Resource Center at 800-582-2452. Fax registration form to 518-463-5993.

    • Commercial and Federal Litigation Section Lunch at Annual Meeting

      Cocktail Reception 
      12:15 p.m. – 12:45 p.m. 
      Petit Trianon Ballroom Foyer, 3rd Floor

      12:45 p.m – 2:15 p.m.
      Trianon Ballroom, 3rd Floor

      To purchase a table at the luncheon download luncheon table reservation form.

    • February 16, 2017: Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) Immigration Webcast

      Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) Immigration Webcast
      February 16, 2017
      12:15 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. 

      CLE Live Webcast |  New York City | 2.0 MCLE

    • March 13, 2017: Joint Commercial and Federal Litigation Section and Dispute Resolution Section program held at Fordham Law School

      New York State Bar Association Joint Program of Commercial and Federal Litigation Section And Dispute Resolution Section

      Cross-Fertilization of Best Practices Recommendations by ComFed and the DR Section for Improving Dispute Resolution in the Courts and in Arbitration

      Fordham Law School
      | Costantino RM 2-02 | 150 W 62nd St | New York, NY 10023

      March 13, 2017

      7.5 CLE credits in professional practice, this program qualifies for newly admitted attorneys.



      8:00-9:00 a.m. - Registration and Continental Breakfast

      9:00-9:15 a.m. - Welcome and Introductions

      Speakers: Charles J. Moxley, Jr., Program Co-Chair, Jeffrey T. Zaino, Program Co-Chair and Dean John D. Feerick

      9:15-10:55 a.m. - What the Litigation World Has Been Doing to Improve the Courts—and What the Arbitration World Can Learn from Those Effort
      This Panel will focus on a discussion of recent reports of ComFed and of the State Bar generally on how to improve the administration of justice in the courts—and then will focus on a discussion about what the arbitration world can learn from these efforts in order to improve the administration of justice in arbitration.
      Charles J. Moxley, Jr.
      ComFed Presenters: Jonathan D. Lupkin,   Paul D. Sarkozi, David H. Tennant  
      DR Section Commentators:
      William L.D. Barrett, Sasha Carbone, Abigail Pessen

      10:55-11:05 a.m. - Break

      11:05-12:45 p.m. - What the Arbitration World Has Been Doing to Improve Arbitration—and What the Courts Can Learn from Those Efforts
      This panel will focus on the flip side of panel 1:  It will present a discussion of the various reports and efforts of the Dispute Resolution Section and of other parts of the arbitration world to improve commercial arbitration and particularly to make it more expeditious and economical—and then will turn to the subject of what the courts can learn from these efforts by the arbitration world to aid the courts to improve the handling of individual cases in the courts.
      Moderator: Jeffrey T. Zaino
      DR Section Presenters: Hon. Ariel E. Belen (Ret., JAMS),  Edna Sussman, John H. Wilkinson     
      ComFed Commentators: Steven C. Bennett, Ignatius Grande, James M. Wicks

      12:45-1:40 p.m. - LUNCH

      1:45-3:00 p.m.- Electronic Discovery—The Current State of Play as to the Scope of Electronic Discovery in the Courts and in Arbitration: What the Rules Say and What is Actually Happening
      This panel will focus on the current rules as to electronic discovery, as applied in the courts and in arbitration.  The particular focus will be on both the rules themselves and how they tend to be applied in the courts and in arbitration generally.
      Moderator: Steven Skulnik
      ComFed Presenters:   Maura R. Grossman, Hon. Shira A. Scheindlin (Ret.), Hon. Ira B. Warshawsky (Ret.)                                                   
      DR Section Presenters:
      Sherman W. Kahn, Daniel F. Kolb, Richard L. Mattiaccio

      3:00-3:15 a.m. -Break

      3:15-4:15 p.m. - Search for a Solution—How the Arbitration World and the Courts Can Keep ESI Within the Limits of Proportionality, Efficiency and Economy
      This panel will take the discussion of Panel 3 one step further:  It will involve a discussion not only of how electronic discovery is handled today in the courts and in arbitration, but also of how we can improve the handling of such discovery, both in the courts and in arbitration, in order to deliver more expeditious and economical justice in both forums.
      Moderator: Charles J. Moxley, Jr.
      Speakers: Hon. Carolyn E. Demarest, Hon. Ron J. Hedges (Ret.), Hon. Frank Maas (Ret.), Carla Miller, Aníbal Martin Sabater

      4:15-5:15 p.m. - What the Institutions Can Do to Foster the Objective of Expeditious and Economical Dispute Resolution in Arbitration and in the Courts
      This panel will attempt to pull together the entire day’s discussion, from the perspective of arbitration providers and the courts, as to what steps can be taken by those institutions to improve the administration of justice in commercial cases in both types of forums.
      Moderator: Rekha Rangachari
      Speakers: Rocío Digón, Helena Tavares Erickson, Clara Flebus, Luis M. Martinez, Matthew York

      5:15-5:45 p.m. Closing Comments/Final Wrap-Up
      Speakers: Rekha Rangachari, Program Co-Chair and Steven Skulnik, Program Co-Chair, Mark C. Zauderer

      5:45-7:00 p.m. Wine and Cheese Reception  

    • March 30, 2017: Legal Ethics in the Digital Age: Practical Strategies for Using Technology Ethically in Your Practice


      March 30, 2017
      9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. 
      Executive Conference Center | 1601 Broadway | NYC

      CLE Program and Live Webcast  

      Renowned speakers on ethics, social media and electronic discovery. Learn the ins and outs of protecting privilege in electronic communications. Speakers will also cover managing records in the cloud and organizing client fi les. A panel discussion on the do’s and don’ts of attorney social media use and advice to clients. 4.0 MCLE Credits in Ethics. 

      Co-Sponsored by the Commercial and Federal Litigation Section, the Committee on Continuing Legal Education and the Law Practice Management Committee.

    • May 4-May 5, 2017: Commercial Litigation Academy 2017


      Thursday, May 4, through Friday, May 5, 2017 
      9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. (each day) 
      NY Society of Security Analysts | 1140 Broadway | NYC  

      CLE Program and Webcast 

      An extraordinary panel of distinguished and well-known commercial litigators and judges will take you step by step through federal and state commercial litigation practice.

      The Commercial Litigation Academy provides attorneys with one full year of required MCLE credits (16.0 credits, 7.0 in professional practice, 6.0 in skills and 3.0 in ethics.) This program qualifies for newly admitted attorneys.

  • Recent News & Events

    Report Issued: Pilot ADR Project

    Issued by the Civil Practice Law & Rules Committee 

    A Message from the Chair

    It is a privilege and honor to have been elected Chair of the Commercial and Federal Litigation Section, following in the steps of great icons of the New York State Commercial Bar. The Section’s membership has increased over the past year and the Section is a vibrant and robust organization of terrific commercial litigators. We are the bar organization of choice for attorneys who practice business litigation in our State and Federal Courts, and we will continue to add value to our members and offer the best programming available in the State.

    The Fuld Award Goes to the Second Circuit
    The Section has great plans for the next year. We are excited and proud to announce that the entire Second Circuit Court of Appeals will be presented with the Section’s 2017 Stanley H. Fuld Award at our Annual Meeting in January 2017. The award recognizes outstanding contributions to the development of commercial law and jurisprudence in New York. The Second Circuit’s accomplishments in advancing commercial law in New York State, throughout this country and the world are wellrecognized. With this award, it is only appropriate that the Annual Meeting’s CLE programming will include a panel addressing federal appellate issues. In addition to honoring the Second Circuit in this manner, the Section also will be sponsoring an additional event with the Second Circuit associated with the Fuld Award. The Section is honored to be participating in celebrating the Second Circuit’s 125th anniversary with the presentation of the Fuld award, and looks forward to the opportunity to strengthen its ties with the Second Circuit and the Federal Judges in each of the Districts in New York.

    The Section’s Women’s Initiative
    The Section just established a new award, the first time in over ten years that one has been created. It is called The Shira A. Scheindlin Award for Excellence in the Courtroom in honor of the Section’s former Chair, who served with distinction as a United States District Judge for the Southern District of New York from September 1994 through April 2016. The Section will present this award annually in November, around the date when women received the right to vote in New York State in 1917, to a woman who has distinguished herself in the courtroom in either the Federal or State Courts in New York and who has shown a commitment to mentoring young attorneys in the legal community. 

    The awardee will be Carrie Cohen, now of Morrison & Foerster, who this year successfully prosecuted Sheldon Silver as an Assistant United States Attorney and who served as Section Chair in 2007-2008. The award will be presented on November 14th in the ceremonial courtroom in the Southern District of New York’s Federal Courthouse.

    The November program will also initiate a new Section scholarship funded through the New York Bar Foundation to be awarded to junior female attorneys, which covers the cost of their registration to the Section’s 2017 Commercial Litigation Academy. The goal of this new scholarship is to prepare women to serve as first chair in business litigation trials. The awardees will be called Kaye Scholars in honor of the Honorable Judith S. Kaye, the State’s former Chief Judge. The program will have, among other components, a CLE trial practice program and its participants will include female former chairs of the Section as well as young rising women attorneys. Additional programming seeking to increase the number of women in the courtroom is also intended this year.

    CLEs and Our Cutting Edge Reports

    Already scheduled for September 29 is a groundbreaking Section four credit CLE program entitled Legal Ethics in the Digital Age that draws upon members of our Electronic Discovery, Ethics and Professionalism and Social Media committees as well a member of the Executive Committee of the New York State Bar. The Section is also working on putting together a joint CLE with the Dispute Resolution Section on eDiscovery and arbitration.

    The Section intends to continue to lead the nation in issuing reports concerning our new digital world. The Electronic Discovery Committee will debut its Third Edition of Best Practices in eDiscovery in New York State and Federal Courts this fall. The Social Media Committee also intends to issue its Third Version of Social Media Ethics Guidelines next spring. The Second Version of the Social Media Ethics Guidelines already leads the nation on the issue and is highlighted on the State Bar’s homepage.

    Meeting Chief Judge DiFiore, and the Section’s Executive Meetings Continue to Travel the State

    We have always invited State and Federal Judges to speak at our monthly Executive Committee meetings concerning current issues, but this coming year we are extremely proud to kick off the year in September with Chief Judge Janet DiFiore speaking to our Section’s Executive Committee. As for our monthly Executive Committee meetings, continuing the initiative of holding meetings throughout the State, we anticipate travelling out of New York City three times during the next year and will seek to have these meetings held at upstate Federal Courthouses. By having our Executive Committee meetings at Federal Courthouses, we hope to forge closer ties to the Federal District Judges throughout our State, as well as to their law clerks and local practitioners, who will be able to see first-hand the benefits of joining our Section. 

    Membership Diversity—Seeking to Add Diversity, Youth and Law Students to the Section

    As part of our membership initiative, the officers of the Section intend to speak with law students at law schools around the State to encourage them to join our Section. To that end, the Section has created a video promoting the benefits of joining the Section which will be shown to students during our visits. The Section also intends to work with local upstate bar associations to create a diversity program with the goal of increasing the diversity of the Section statewide. The Section is going to work with local bar associations, having already reached out to the Asian American Bar Association to explore symbiotic relationships with the Section. In addition, the Section this year created a formal Kids Club at our Spring Meeting in Cooperstown in order to encourage Section members who have young children to attend our meeting. I will seek to make this a permanent addition to our programming with the goal of extending our reach to our membership who have not typically attended our Spring Meetings.

    The Section will continue to focus its efforts on educating the business community of the benefits of litigating in New York by continuing our support of finding new ways to make litigating in our New York State and Federal Courts more efficient and cost effective. We have the best and brightest attorneys as members of our Section, and it is their creative ideas that have assisted the Bench and Bar in seeking to achieve this objective. This will be an exciting year, and the Section is committed to providing value to its members through CLEs, programming, reports and the mentoring of young attorneys. We are always open to ideas, so please feel free to contact me at if you would like to share with me your thoughts regarding how we can continue to grow and improve.

    Mark Arthur Berman


    December 2016
    December 6, 2016 (special meeting of the EC) 
    November 2016
    October 2016

    September 2016
    June 2016

    May 2016
    April 2016
    March 2016
    February 2016 
    January 2016
    December 2015
    November 2015

    Join the Section!

  • 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.
    Read Now>


    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.
    Read Now>

  • Commercial Division Video

    The Commercial Division Advisory Council has produced a new version of its short film about the Commercial Division of the New York State Supreme Court. The film features eleven General Counsel of major corporations speaking about the Commercial Division. 

    The film portrays some of the recent improvements to the Commercial Division’s rules, procedures, and operations which have been designed to be responsive to the needs and concerns of the business community. The ultimate goal of these changes is to make the business litigation process in New York more cost‑effective, predictable, and expeditious, and to thereby provide a more hospitable and attractive environment for business litigation in New York State.

    See the video here: