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Ethics and Conflicts of Interest in Law Practice 2021


Speaker(s): Debra Kobrin Levy, Ellen L. Hayes, James Q. Walker, Julie A. Turner
Recorded on: Aug. 3, 2021
PLI Program #: 305029

Debra Kobrin Levy serves as the Associate General Counsel and Senior Manager of Compliance of White & Case LLP based in the New York office.  She advises the Firm's lawyers on issues relating to professional responsibility and assists on implementing training programs on a variety of legal and ethical issues throughout the Firm.  She also oversees the Firm’s Compliance Department, monitoring the maintenance and implementation of ethical screens, advising on conflicts relating to lateral hires, and ensuring adherence to Firm policy in a variety of areas.

Prior to joining White & Case in 2016, Debra practiced for 10 years at a boutique mid-town law firm. Her practice involved complex commercial litigation, labor and employment litigation and counseling, and assisting with trademark and copyright monitoring and filings. As a commercial litigator, Debra was involved in a broad range of cases, litigating commercial contract disputes, fraud claims, fiduciary duty claims, and trademark infringement matters.

As an employment law practitioner, Debra counseled and defended clients responding to various charges of discrimination brought for alleged violations of federal, state, and city discrimination laws.  She has also handled litigation involving wage and hour violations.

Debra has served as a member of the New York City Bar Committee on Professional Responsibility since April 2019.

Ms. Levy is a graduate of Fordham Law School and also holds a Masters Degree in Clinical Social Work from Fordham University Graduate School of Social Service.


Ellen Hayes is a seasoned finance lawyer with 20+ years of experience as a partner at two top tier international law firms. She currently leads a team in New York responsible for advising Linklaters LLP on risk management issues related to the Americas and U.S. lawyers worldwide, including professional responsibility issues. She has diverse experience leading multi-lawyer teams in complex and sophisticated transactions, including for leading international investment banks. Prior to joining Linklaters LLP Ellen was a partner in Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer US LLP’s New York office.  Earlier in her career she was Principal Counsel at International Finance Corporation and a partner at the Toronto law firm Torys LLP. Ellen has been recognized in Legal 500 and the IFLR as a leading structured finance lawyer. Ellen is qualified in New York, England & Wales and Ontario, Canada. She is a past member of the New York City Bar Committee on Professional Responsibility and is a regular speaker on ethics and legal opinions issues.


James Walker is a partner in the New York office of Perkins Coie LLP, where he also serves as that office’s Loss Prevention Partner.  He concentrates in government investigations and professional liability. Mr. Walker represents companies and senior executives in government investigations, civil litigation, and employment matters, and defends law firms and lawyers in malpractice claims, disqualification motions and professional conduct advice. Mr. Walker Chairs the New York County Lawyer’s Association Committee on Professional Ethics, is on the Editorial Board of the ABA/BNA Lawyers’ Manual on Professional Conduct and Law360’s Legal Ethics Editorial Advisory Board, and is a member of the New York State Bar Association’s Committee on Standards of Attorney Conduct (COSAC) and Committee on Professional Ethics. He also serves on the New York City Bar’s Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Committee. Mr. Walker frequently lectures and publishes on topics that include internal investigations, technology and legal practice, and professional liability. He received his J.D. from Yale Law School in 1990 and B.S. in Applied Math from Yale College in 1985. 


Ms. Turner advises the firm and its lawyers and personnel on issues involving ethics, firm policies, conflicts, hiring, internal controls, compliance and litigation.

Prior to serving in this role, Ms. Turner practiced in Skadden’s Government Enforcement and White Collar Crime Group, where she conducted internal corporate investigations, advised corporate clients on compliance issues, and represented individual and corporate clients in federal and state criminal and regulatory matters, including those brought by the Department of Justice, the Securities and Exchange Commission, and state attorneys general.

Ms. Turner serves on the boards of The National Center for Access to Justice and The Legal Aid Society’s New Leadership Program. Additionally, she received the 2009 Commitment to Justice Award from inMotion for her pro bono work.