Sections & Committees

Commercial and Federal Litigation Section

Trial Practice  Webinar Series

Best practice guidelines from the bench and bar.   

This series is free to Commercial and Federal Litigation Section members. Not a Member? Join Here 

Each webinar will run from: 12:30 p.m. - 1:30 p.m.

This is for information only; no CLE credit will be given.


Wednesday, July 11, 2018: Evidentiary Questions and Preserving Issues for Appeal 
The last installment of the seven-part webinar series on trial practice in the Commercial Division is entitled "Evidentiary Questions and Preserving Issues for Appeal."  This program will cover the major evidentiary issues that arise in commercial cases, raising and preserving those issues for appeal through in limine motions, objections at trial, bench conferences, bench briefs, post-trial motions, the notice of appeal and accompanying appellate submissions.  Through our dynamic panel, this program will provide practitioners with a unique opportunity to obtain insights from the bench, the bar, and an expert appellate consultant.  Speakers:  Hon. Leonard B. Austin, Appellate Division, Second Department; David Tennant, Nixon Peabody; Anthony Harwood, Harwood Law PLLC; Vincent Wiscovitch, Counsel Press.

Past webinars in this series:

Wednesday, April 18, 2018: Getting Ready for Trial
This is the first in a seven-part webinar series on trial practice in the Commercial Division. “Getting Ready for Trial” will cover the nuts and bolts of preparing for trial, from organizing trial materials; preparing pre-trial submissions like joint pre-trial orders and stipulations of facts and law; to using demonstratives to present evidence to witnesses and the Court.  Perfect for anyone, whether you are preparing for your first trial or your 100th. Speakers: Hon. Andrea Masley, New York Supreme Court; Michael L. Chartan, Esq., M. Salman Ravala, Esq., Criscione Ravala, LLP,  Melissa Yang, Esq.,Rakower Law PLLC

Thursday, May 3, 2018: Jury Selection, Jury Charges and Verdict Forms
The second in the seven-part webinar series on trial practice in the Commercial Division is entitled “Jury Selection, Jury Charges and Verdict Forms.” This program will cover the ins and outs of preparing for and conducting voir dire, the use of jury consultants, strategies for jury selection, and best practices regarding jury charges and verdict forms. Through our dynamic panel, this program will provide practitioners with a unique opportunity to obtain insights from the bench, the bar, and an expert jury consultant. Speakers: Hon. Timothy Driscoll, New York Supreme Court, Nassau County Commercial Division; Harold K. Gordon, Jones Day; Rebecca M. Fuentes, R&D Strategic Solutions LLC; Natasha Shishov, Jaspan Schlesinger LLP.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018: Openings and Closings 
This program  will provide practitioners with a unique opportunity to obtain insights from Bench and Bar on how to craft and  present effective opening statements and closing arguments, including what to say and what not to say, avoiding and addressing objections, and the use of exhibits and evidence during openings and closings.  Our panel  is comprised of experienced  practitioners and a dynamic Commercial Division judge.  Moderator: Samuel Rubin, Goodwin Procter LLP;  Panelists:  Hon. Elizabeth H. Emerson, New York Supreme Court Suffolk County Commercial Division; Lauren J. Wachtler, Phillips Nizer LLP; Shawn J.  Rabin, Susman Godfrey LLP.   

Wednesday, May 30, 2018:  Questioning Witnesses
This fourth in the seven-part webinar series on trial practice in the Commercial Division will address direct and cross examination of witnesses.  Ever wonder how best to organize direct testimony for a logical and compelling presentation?  Or how to effectively control a witness during cross-examination?  Do you want to hear how an attorney’s demeanor with a witness can impact the judge or jury?  These questions and more will be answered by our panel of seasoned practitioners and a “view from the bench.”  This is a program not to be missed.
:  Craig S. Kesch, Flemming Zulack Williamson Zauderer LLP.  Speakers:  Hon. Melissa A. Crane, Supreme Court, Civil Branch, New York County; Carrie H. Cohen, Morrison & Foerster LLP; Michael C. Rakower, Rakower Law PLLC. 

Wednesday, June 13, 2018: Experts
Please join us for the next webinar in our trial practice series, where we explore best practices relating to expert testimony at trial. We will cover taking advantage of the jury's short attention span, getting your expert accepted by the court as an expert, preparing your expert for trial, and the role of the expert report at trial. Speakers: Hon. Jerry Garguilo, Commercial Division Suffolk County; Mark Mancher, Jackson Lewis, P.C.; Ronald MinkoffFrankfurt Kurnit Klein & Selz PC; and Helene Hechtkopf, Hoguet Newman Regal & Kenney, LLP. 

Wednesday, June 27, 2018: Technology in the Courtroom and Trial Demonstratives 
In this sixth panel on trial practice in the Commercial Division, the program will cover the creative, effective and ethical use of technology and demonstratives, in the courtroom, such as the use of static and interactive  graphs, charts, animation and video deposition replays that link to documents   Hear from a judge, a technologist and a practitioner how to best harness the powers of technology in the courtroom starting from motions to dismiss, going to motions for summary judgment, and then at trial.  Speakers:  Hon Alan D. Scheinkman, Presiding Justice, Appellate Division, Second Department; Steve Hess, Legal Images; Alexander D. Widell, Moritt Hock & Hamroff LLP.  Moderator:  Mark A. Berman, Ganfer & Shore, LLP 


Register online for the entire series or a particular session.  

To register over the phone please contact our Member Resource Center at 1-800-582-2452 

For questions contact Lori Nicoll at 

July 12, 2018: Commercial Division Lunch Series - Onondaga County with Presiding Justice 
Hon. Deborah H. Karalunas and Hon. Donald A. Greenwood

Thursday, July 12, 2018
12:00 p.m. – 1:30 p.m.

Bond, Schoeneck & King, PLLC
One Lincoln Center
Syracuse, NY  13202


View Flyer 

Join the Commercial and Federal Litigation Section for Lunch with Presiding Justice Hon. Deborah H. Karalunas and 
Hon. Donald A. Greenwood

Lunch will be provided . This event is free but advance registration is required.

To register over the phone: Member Resource Center 1-800-582-2452

Privacy Law: Developments Impacting Social Media Presence Management for Businesses 
Wednesday, September 26 | 12:00 p.m. - 1:30 p.m. | Webinar  

Imagining the Internet of Things: Regulatory and Legal Challenges to Integrating our Society 
Tuesday, October 30th | 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. | Live Program 
Dentons | 1221 Sixth Avenue | NYC   

"Out With the Old": How to Properly Dispose of Unnecessary, Obsolete, Unreliable or Inaccessible Electronic Data 
Tuesday, October 30th | 1:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. | Live Program 
Dentons | 1221 Sixth Avenue | NYC 

Legal Ethics in the Digital Age 
Thursday, November 1st | 9:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. | Live Program 
Dentons | 1221 Sixth Avenue | NYC  

The GDPR Comes to America 

Thursday, November 1st | 2:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. | Live Program 
Dentons | 1221 Sixth Avenue | NYC   

How to Deal With New Technology - Practical Guidance for Companies and their Lawyers 

Friday, November 2nd | 9:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. | Live Program 
Dentons | 1221 Sixth Avenue | NYC   

The "Electronic Employee": Challenges Posed by Social Media and Other Electronic Data 
Friday, November 2nd | 1:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. | Live Program 
Dentons | 1221 Sixth Avenue | NYC  


Sponsored by the Committee on Continuing Legal Education, the Committee on Technology and the Legal Profession, and the Commercial and Federal Litigation Section of the New York State Bar Association.

Thursday, October 4, 2018
5:30 p.m. - 7:30 p.m.
Live CLE Program 

Maurice A. Deane School of Law at Hofstra University
Room 205
121 Hofstra University
Hempstead, NY 11549


Social media networks such as LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook are indispensable tools used by legal professionals and those with whom they communicate. Particularly, in conjunction with the increased use of mobile technologies in the legal profession, social media platforms have transformed the ways in which lawyers communicate.  As use of social media by lawyers and clients continues to grow and as social media networks proliferate and become more sophisticated, so too do the ethical and litigation issues facing lawyers. Preservation, collection and production of social media are critical to a litigator's toolkit, and this CLE include a robust discussion of these issues.  The program will also address disciplinary complaints based on an attorneys’ improper use of digital information.  The updated 2017 version of the Social Media Ethics Guidelines authored by the Commercial and Federal Litigation Section of the New York State Bar Association will serve as the foundation of the program.

1.5 MCLE Credits: 1.5 Ethics

NYSBA Member: $50 | Non-Member: $75

Section Member: $25

Program Topics

  1. Attorney Competence
  2. Preservation, Collection and Preservation of Social Media
  3. Review and Use of Evidence from Social Media
  4. Attorney Advertising
  5. Furnishing Legal Advice through Social Media
  6. Researching Jurors and Reporting Juror Misconduct
  7. Violation of Ethical Rules:  Social Media and the Disciplinary Process

Program Faculty

Mark A. Berman, Esq., Ganfer & Shore, LLP

Michael Cardello, III, Esq., Moritt Hock & Hamroff LLP

Kathryn Carney Cole, Esq., Farrell Fritz, P.C.

Hon. Randall T. Eng (Ret.), Meyer, Suozzi, English & Klein, P.C.

Hon. Steven I. Locke, United States District Court, E.D.N.Y.

Prof. Ellen Yaroshefsky, Maurice A. Deane School of Law at Hofstra University



The American Bar Association (ABA) House of Delegates Monday unanimously approved a resolution affirming that women attorneys remain considerably underrepresented in courtrooms and in Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR), and outlined steps that can be taken by the judiciary, law firms, clients and ADR providers to address this disparity.

The measure is based on a New York State Bar Association (NYSBA) report entitled If Not Now, When? Achieving Equality for Women Attorneys in the Courtroom and in ADR, and was presented to the ABA by NYSBA President Sharon Stern Gerstman.

The report was compiled by the NYSBA Commercial & Federal Litigation Section’s Task Force on Women’s Initiatives, and was approved by NYSBA’s House of Delegates in November 2017. It encourages law firms, members of the judiciary, corporate clients, and alternative dispute resolution providers to provide women lawyers with opportunities to gain trial experience, participate in the courtroom and all aspects of litigation, and be selected as neutrals in ADR.

The ABA action was part of its Midyear Meeting in Vancouver, British Columbia.

“The approval by the ABA of this groundbreaking report underscores the importance of ensuring that women and diverse voices are empowered and able to play an active role throughout the judicial and dispute resolution process,” Gerstman said. “This is an issue of fundamental fairness and justice, and with agreement regarding the scope of the problem, we can now work together most effectively to address it.”

Gerstman noted that the ABA measure approved on Monday suggests specific actions, including encouraging judges to ensure that women lawyers have equal opportunities to participate in the courtroom, calling on corporate clients to work with outside counsel to facilitate the participation of women attorneys in all aspects of litigation and calling on corporate counsel to work with ADR providers to encourage the selection of women attorneys as neutrals.

The report is based on the first-ever observational study of women attorneys in the courtroom. It reveals that female attorneys comprise about 25 percent of attorneys in lead counsel roles in courtrooms statewide.

The study took place from Sept. 1 through Dec. 31, 2016. Approximately 2,800 questionnaires were completed and returned by judges in participating courts, including the New York Court of Appeals, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals, two of the four federal district courts, all four appellate divisions, and commercial divisions in supreme courts in counties from Suffolk to Onondaga and Erie. Three of the leading ADR providers in the state also participated.

The NYSBA Task Force on Women’s Initiatives is co-chaired by NYSBA Past President Bernice K. Leber of New York City (Arent Fox), retired U.S. District Court Judge Shira Scheindlin of New York City (Stroock & Stroock & Lavan and JAMS); former Assistant U.S. Attorney Carrie H. Cohen of New York City (Morrison & Foerster); Tracee E. Davis of New York City (Zeichner, Ellman & Krause); Sharon M. Porcellio of Buffalo (Bond, Schoeneck & King); Lesley F. Rosenthal of New York City (Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts); and Lauren J. Wachtler of New York City (Phillips Nizer LLP). All are former chairs of NYSBA’s Commercial & Federal Litigation Section.


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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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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: