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Employment Law Institute 2016


Speaker(s): Amy L. Bess, Anne C. Vladeck, Cara E. Greene, Debra S. Katz, Erika C. Collins, Hanan B. Kolko, Hon. Chai R. Feldblum, Hon. Denny Chin, Hon. Lois Bloom, Hon. Loretta A. Preska, James D. Esseks, Jamie Kohen, Jill L. Rosenberg, John W. Hamlin, Joseph K. Mulherin, Joseph M. Sellers, Laura S. Schnell, Lee F. Bantle, Lyle S. Zuckerman, Michael A. Curley, Michele R. Fisher, N. Katie Manley, Ned H. Bassen, Robert S. Whitman, Sara E. Elder, Shari Fallek Coats, Theodore O. Rogers, Jr., Thomas E. Spahn, Willis J. Goldsmith, Zachary D. Fasman
Recorded on: Oct. 27, 2016
PLI Program #: 150516

Lyle Zuckerman is the co-leader of the East Coast employment services practice in our New York office. For

over 19 years, he has represented management in all disciplines of labor and employment law. Mr. Zuckerman

defends employment discrimination, class action wage and hour, and breach of contract matters before state

and federal courts and administrative agencies, and in arbitrations before FINRA and the AAA. With respect to

traditional labor law, Mr. Zuckerman counsels employers in union avoidance and represents their interests in

collective bargaining, grievance arbitrations, NLRB proceedings and work stoppages. His experience includes

a broad range of companies and organizations, including employers in media & entertainment companies, the

financial services industry, schools and colleges, retail establishments, and non-profit organizations.

The Legal 500 United States guide recommends Mr. Zuckerman in the Labor and Employment-Labor-

Management Relations category, and Mr. Zuckerman was selected for inclusion in 2011 New York Rising

Stars, and in Super Lawyers in 2012-2014.


Jill L. Rosenberg, an employment partner at Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP in New York, is a nationally recognized employment litigator and counselor.  Ms. Rosenberg has significant experience defending and advising employers in discrimination, sexual harassment, whistleblowing, wrongful discharge, affirmative action, wage-and-hour and traditional labor matters.  She handles complex individual cases, as well as class actions and systemic government investigations.  She represents a broad range of companies, with a focus on employers in the securities industry, banks and financial institutions, accounting firms and law firms.  Ms. Rosenberg also has particular expertise in the representation of nonprofit entities, including colleges, universities, hospitals, foundations and cultural institutions.  She frequently speaks on employment law issues for employer and bar association groups.  Ms. Rosenberg has been recognized by Chambers USA as a leading employment lawyer. Ms. Rosenberg is the firm-wide Partner in Charge of Pro Bono Programs and serves on the firm’s Personnel Development, Risk Management and Diversity Committees.  She currently serves as the Co-Chair of the Diversity and Leadership Committee of the New York State Bar Association Labor and Employment Law Section.  She is the Chairperson of the Board of Directors of New York Legal Assistance Group, a legal services organization serving New Yorkers in need.  Ms. Rosenberg graduated from Princeton University, and earned her J.D. from The University of Chicago Law School.


Amy L. Bess is the Chair of Vedder Price’s global Labor and Employment practice group and a Member of the Firm’s Board of Directors.  Her employment litigation experience includes the representation of employers before U.S. state and federal courts and administrative agencies, defending against claims of race, sex, disability and age discrimination; sexual harassment; whistleblower retaliation; restrictive-covenant disputes; wrongful termination; and wage and hour violations. She regularly counsels clients in all of these areas, drafts and negotiates employment and severance agreements, conducts on-site workplace investigations, presents training seminars and speaks to employer groups on avoiding workplace problems. Ms. Bess also has experience advising clients regarding their public accommodation obligations under Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act and representing clients in litigation involving related claims.

Ms. Bess has extensive first-chair bench trial, jury trial and arbitration experience. She also is experienced in the defense of complex class action litigation, including wage and hour collective actions and pattern or practice litigation brought by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.  Recently, Ms. Bess has published and spoken extensively and conducted trainings and investigations for employers on sexual harassment issues in connection with the #MeToo movement.

 

 


Anne C. Vladeck, a partner at Vladeck, Raskin & Clark, P.C., concentrates on representation of individuals in employment matters, including discrimination, sexual harassment, defamation, and litigation.  She graduated from the University of Pennsylvania (B.A., magna cum laude, 1975) and Columbia Law School (J.D., 1978).  She is an Adjunct Faculty member at Columbia Law School and previously taught at Fordham and Cardozo Law Schools.  She is a trustee of the Federal Bar Foundation (Secretary), on the Executive Committee of the Federal Bar Council Inn of Court (President-Emeritus); Member of Disciplinary Committee, Supreme Court Appellate Division, 1st Department, New York, January 1, 2015 – December 31, 2017, and was formerly a member of the Association of the Bar of the City of New York Professional Discipline Committee.  Anne is a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers. 

Anne has been a speaker for, among others, Practising Law Institute, ALI/ABA, ABA, NYSBA, NYCLA and N.Y.U. Conference on Labor, on employment law and litigation issues.  She received a Woman of Power and Influence Award by NOW-NYC in 2005; Women of Distinction Award by the Labor and Employment Relations Association – New York City Chapter in 2006, and the Equal Opportunity Award by Legal Momentum in 2010.  Named one of top 100 Lawyers in New York and one of top 50 Women Lawyers in New York by New York Super Lawyers 2008, 2009 and 2010; and one of New York Magazine's "Best Lawyers."  Anne has tried several employment cases, including most recently a sexual harassment and retaliation case, Anucha Browne Sanders v. Madison Square Garden, et al.


Cara E. Greene is a partner at Outten & Golden LLP in New York, where she represents employees and partners in litigation and negotiation in all areas of employment law, including executive and professional contracts and compensation; lawyers as clients; discrimination class actions; whistleblowing and retaliation; discrimination based on gender, race, disability, pregnancy, and family responsibilities; and restrictive covenants.

In addition to reviewing and negotiating employment contracts and compensation guarantees, as well as severance agreements and other exit arrangements, Ms. Greene has litigated both individual and class action cases – including cases involving sex harassment, pay inequality, discrimination, retaliation, and unpaid compensation – on behalf of a variety of employees including highly compensated professionals, low-wage hourly workers, and employees in the financial services industry.

She is Chair of the New York State Bar Association’s Labor and Employment Law Section, and is an active member of the American Bar Association’s Labor and Employment Law Section (Employment Rights and Ethics and Professional Responsibilities Committees); the National Employment Lawyers Association and its New York affiliate, and the New York City Bar Association. Ms. Greene is a frequent speaker on employment law issues.

Ms. Greene received her B.A. in political studies from Gordon College, where she was an A.J. Gordon Scholar. She received her J.D. from Fordham University School of Law.


Chai Feldblum began her service as a Commissioner of the Equal Employment Opprorunity Commission in April 2010.  She was confirmed by the Senate for a second term, which will end on July 1, 2018.

During Commissioner Feldbum’s service on the Commission, she has focused on all the employment civil rights issues within the jurisdiction of the EEOC.  She has focused in particular on the employment of people with disabilities, pregnancy accommodation, sexual orientation and transgender discrimination, harassment prevention, the structure and process of the federal sector complaint system and strategic planning for the Commission.

Prior to her appointment to the EEOC, Commissioner Feldblum was a Professor of Law at the Georgetown University Law Center.  She founded the Law Center’s Federal Legislation and Administrative Clinic, which represented a range of organizational clients focused on social justice.  She also founded Workplace Flexibility 2010, a policy enterprise focused on finding common ground between employers and employees on workplace flexibility issues.

Commissioner Feldblum played a leading role in helping to draft and negotiate the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 and the ADA Amendments Act of 2008. She has also worked to advance lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights and was one of the drafters of the original Employment Nondiscrimination Act

Commissioner Feldblum is the first openly lesbian Commissioner of the EEOC and is the fourth person with a disability to serve on the Commission.

Commissioner Feldblum clerked for Judge Frank Coffin of the First Circuit Court of Appeals and for Supreme Court Justice Harry A. Blackmun after receiving her J.D. from Harvard Law School. She received her B.A. degree from Barnard College.


Erika Collins is a partner in the Labor & Employment Law Department and co-head of the International Labor & Employment Law Group. Erika advises and counsels multinational public and private companies on a wide range of cross-border employment and human resources matters throughout the Americas, Europe, Africa and Asia.

Erika represents U.S. and non-U.S. employers in all aspects of company growth and restructuring, from office openings, executive hires and workforce expansions to company downsizing, employment terminations, mass layoffs and office closures. She advises clients on preparing competitive employment packages and agreements, such as separation, expatriate and consulting agreements, that are compliant with local laws, as well as on payroll, benefits and vacation issues. Erika regularly conducts multi-country audits of employment laws and practices in order to provide advice to clients regarding compliance with data privacy, fixed term contracts, outsourcing, and working time and leave regulations among numerous other issues.

Erika has helped numerous companies comply with EU data privacy regulations, as well as other similarly onerous non-US data privacy regulations. She has conducted data privacy training for dozens of employers and her expertise in employee-related data privacy challenges spans the globe.

Additionally, Erika advises employers on sexual harassment and other misconduct allegations. She also is experienced in conducting due diligence on international subsidiaries and advising on applicable business transfer laws and employee transition issues in cross-border M&A transactions.

Erika is the editor of The Employment Law Review (7th Edition), which covers employment laws in 48 countries as well as three cross border chapters on M&A, Global Diversity and Social Media. In addition to authoring numerous articles on international employment topics, Erika is a regular speaker at the International Bar Association and the American Bar Association. Topics on which she has written and spoken recently include: “Cross-Border Transfers of Executives,” “Global Mobility Issues for Multi-Nationals,” “Employment Issues in Cross-Border M&A Transactions,” “The Landscape of Issues in International Employment Law,” “Global Diversity Programs,” “The Intersection of EU Privacy and Anti-Discrimination Laws,” and “Cross-Border Investigations.”

Memberships

International Bar Association (Senior Vice-Chair of the Industrial Relations and Employment Law Committee)

American Bar Association's Section of International Law,
International Employment Law Committee (Former Chair)

Housing + Solutions (Advisory Board Member)

XBHR (Member, Former Board Member)

Awards & Recognition

Chambers USA: New York: Labor & Employment 2007-2016

Best Lawyers in America, Labor and Employment Law 2010-2016

The Legal 500 United States: Labor & Employment: Workplace & Employment Counseling 2013, 2015-2016

Lexology Client Choice Award: Labor & Employment 2016

Euromoney: 2015 Americas Women in Business Law: Best in Labor & Employment

New York Super Lawyers 2007-2015

The International Who’s Who of Management, Labour & Employment Lawyers 2007-2013

Related Practices

International Labor & Employment

Non-Compete & Trade Secrets

Strategic Corporate Planning

Whistleblowing & Retaliation

French & EU Labor and Employment Law

Hiring & Background Checks

Mergers & Acquisitions

Privacy & Data Security

Higher Education

Education

University of California, Davis, School of Law, J.D., 1994

Brown University, A.B., 1988

Admissions & Qualifications

New York

California

District of Columbia


Hanan B. Kolko, a skilled and experienced litigator in labor and employee benefits law, joined Meyer, Suozzi, English & Klein, P.C. in 1999 and became a Member of the firm in 2003. In 2012 and 2013, Mr. Kolko was recognized by New York Super Lawyers. Examples of the wide variety of Mr. Kolko's litigation practice include the successful defense of no-cost, lifetime post-retirement medical benefits for hundreds of retirees and their dependents, the successful collection of monies due to pension funds under the “control group” theory, successful defense of unions against claimed flaws in their election procedures and contract ratification procedures, the successful defense of unions against claimed violations of state and federal age discrimination claims in connection with collectively bargained retirement incentive programs, and the representation of unions and retirees in high profile bankruptcies including the GM, Chrysler, Hostess, New York Post and New York Daily News Chapter 11 cases. In addition, Mr. Kolko has experience litigating cases relating to living wage laws and prevailing wage laws.

In addition to representing union clients before federal and state courts, the National Labor Relations Board and the New York State Public Employment Relations Board, Mr. Kolko has handled hundreds of arbitration cases. Mr. Kolko has helped union clients navigate Department of Labor investigations and has successfully represented union members unfairly accused of breaching union by-laws. Mr. Kolko counsels unions about their rights and obligations on a daily basis.

Mr. Kolko is a past co-chair of the ABA’s Labor and Employment Section’s Committee on Technology and the Workplace. He has spoken on topics relating to the intersection of technology and the workplace at the ABA Annual Meeting and at the Annual Meeting of the ABA’s Labor and Employment Section. He has also spoken on NLRB-related issues in programs sponsored by the College of Labor and Employment Lawyers and Cornell University. Mr. Kolko has taught as an Adjunct Professor for the Cornell University School of Industrial and Labor Relations, in the areas of labor law, public sector labor law, employment discrimination, the law of workplace privacy, arbitration practice, and building trades labor law.

Prior to joining Meyer, Suozzi, from 1994 until 1999, Mr. Kolko was a partner of the law firm of Vladeck, Waldman, Elias & Engelhard.


James D. Esseks is Director of the ACLU Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender & HIV Project. He oversees litigation, legislative lobbying, policy advocacy, organizing, and public education around the country that seeks to ensure equitable treatment of LGBT people and people living with HIV. James is counsel in Masterpiece Cakeshop, Ltd. v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission, presently before the U.S. Supreme Court, about whether a business open to the public can turn away LGBT customers based on its religious or artistic objections. Previously, he was counsel in Obergefell v. Hodges, the case that won the freedom to marry nationwide; in United States v. Windsor, the challenge to the federal Defense of Marriage Act; in Gloucester County School Board v. G.G. (Gavin Grimm), about whether a Virginia school board can bar a boy from the common restrooms because he is transgender; and in successful challenges to bans on adoption and foster parenting by lesbians and gay men in Arkansas, Florida, Nebraska, and Missouri. James and the ACLU have also worked extensively to fight the recent spate of anti-LGBT and specifically anti-transgender bills in the states and to fight the use of religion as an excuse to harm LGBT people.

James graduated from Yale College and Harvard Law School, where he was editor-in-chief of the Harvard Civil Rights-Civil Liberties Law Review. Prior to joining the ACLU in 2001, he was a partner at Vladeck, Waldman, Elias & Engelhard, PC. James clerked for the Honorable Robert L. Carter, United States District Judge for the Southern District of New York, and the Honorable James R. Browning, United States Circuit Judge for the Ninth Circuit.


Jamie Kohen is an in-house employment lawyer, currently Executive Director, Assistant General Counsel at JPMorgan Chase Bank. Jamie manages a team of lawyers and other professionals who provide strategic advice, handle employment litigation, and support the firm’s human resources, immigration, employee benefits and executive compensation functions.

Jamie previously worked at Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP and the firm f/k/a Cooley Godward LLP.  Jamie also was part-time adjunct faculty member of Villanova University, where she taught an employment law seminar for Graduate Studies in Human Resources Development.  She clerked for the Honorable William Alsup of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California. Jamie graduated from Harvard Law School and Cornell University with Bachelor of Science in Human Development & Family Studies. 

Jamie has been a Regional Board Member of the ADL (Anti-Defamation League) for almost fifteen years, and is also a member of AWARE (Assisting Women through Action, Resources & Education), a nonprofit accelerator that partners with organizations supporting women.  She lives in Manhattan with her husband and two daughters.


John Hamlin is Chief Counsel, Employment, Benefits and Governance for Marsh & McLennan Companies, Inc., one of the world’s leading professional services firms with over 60,000 employees in approximately 90 countries.  The firm’s operating companies include Marsh, Mercer, Guy Carpenter, and Oliver Wyman.  Prior to joining Marsh & McLennan, he was Of Counsel with the law firm of Paul, Hastings Janofsky & Walker LLP.  While in private practice, he represented employers in all aspects of labor and employment law, before various state and federal courts and administrative agencies, and provided advice on an array of personnel-related issues.  Mr. Hamlin served as a Law Clerk to the Honorable B. Avant Edenfield, Judge of the United States District Court for the Southern District of Georgia in Savannah.

Mr. Hamlin is a fellow of the College of Labor and Employment Lawyers.  He has published various articles on employment law and has presented at numerous seminars on assorted employment-related topics.  In 2014 he was recognized as one of The Legal 500’s GC Powerlist “Corporate Counsel 100: Rising Stars,” which recognizes leading in-house lawyers for innovation, quality and excellence.  He was selected by the International Law Office and the Association of Corporate Counsel as the recipient of the 2015 ILO Global Counsel Award for Employment Counsel of the Year.  He is the recipient of a 2016 First Chair Award for Top Employment Counsel.   

Mr. Hamlin earned a J.D. with honors from the University of Connecticut School of Law, where he was Editor-in-Chief of the Connecticut Journal of International Law


Joseph K. Mulherin is a Shareholder in Vedder Price’s Labor and Employment practice area.

Mr. Mulherin represents and counsels employers nationwide in an array of complex employment law and related matters.  In the employment arena, Mr. Mulherin has extensive experience defending employers against class action lawsuits, including wage-and-hour and employment discrimination class actions.  Mr. Mulherin has successfully defended clients in a variety of industries, including retail, manufacturing, hospitality, health services, banking, staffing, technology, logistics and construction.

Mr. Mulherin also has significant experience representing employers in federal and state governmental agency investigations, including audits conducted by the United States Department of Labor (USDOL) and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and their state counterpart agencies.

Mr. Mulherin regularly counsels clients on best employment policies and practices.  Mr. Mulherin’s intricate knowledge of the law and litigation experience enables him to advise clients in a holistic manner that considers the requirements of the law, clients’ business needs and potential exposure.  Mr. Mulherin has been praised for his innovative and strategic approach to problem-solving and litigation avoidance.

Mr. Mulherin recently assisted Vedder Price clients in auditing whether, in light of the USDOL’s proposed regulations, employees were correctly classified as exempt from the overtime provisions of federal and state law.  He guided many of these clients in effectively managing the risks of reclassifying large groups of employees.  Additionally, Mr. Mulherin frequently advises clients on their wage-and-hour policies and practices relating to timekeeping, rounding, meal and rest periods, travel time, donning and doffing, on-call time and handheld devices.  He regularly writes and lectures on these and other employment law topics.

Mr. Mulherin also has considerable experience advising clients on discipline and termination decisions, leave laws, independent-contractor classification, wage payment and vacation laws, commissions and bonuses and web accessibility for disabled individuals.

Mr. Mulherin prides himself on providing his clients with practical, creative and cost-effective guidance.


Lee F. Bantle was admitted to the New York State bar in 1984. He became a member of the bar of the U.S. District Court, Southern and Eastern Districts of New York, in 1984. In 1989 he was admitted to the bar of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second and Eleventh Circuits.

Education: University of Minnesota (B.A., Journalism, 1977, magna cum laude; Phi Beta Kappa) University of Minnesota (M.A., Speech-communications, with honors, 1979); New York University (J.D., 1983, Order of the Coif, Law Review).

Clerkship: Law Clerk to the Hon. Edward R. Korman, U.S. District Court Judge in the Eastern District of New York.

Employment: Associated with the law firm of Debevoise & Plimpton from 1983 to 1986. Associated with and then member of the law firm of Beldock Levine & Hoffman LLP from 1987 to 1999. Opened Bantle & Levy LLP on January 1, 2000.

Speaking Engagements: Mr. Bantle regularly speaks at conferences on employment law, including the following:

  • National Employment Lawyer’s Association conference: Conducting Depositions
  • Association of the Bar of the City of New York seminar: The ADA and the FMLA
  • Practicing Law Institute seminar: Sexual Orientation Discrimination
  • New York State Bar Association seminar: Opening and Closing in an ADA Case

Publications: Mr. Bantle has published numerous articles on the subject of employment law. His children’s novel, Diving for the Moon (Simon & Schuster 1995), deals with the impact of HIV infection on a 12-year old boy. His young adult novel, David Inside Out (Henry Holt 2010), deals with a 16-year old boy coming to terms with his sexual identity.

Organizations: Mr. Bantle is a former member of the Board of Directors of the New York chapter of the National Employment Lawyers Association and the former chair of its Judiciary Committee. He has served on the Association of the Bar of the City of New York’s Committee on AIDS and its Committee on Federal Legislation. He has been a cooperating attorney for the Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund.

Lee Bantle also serves as a member of the faculty for NYU’s Annual Workshop on Employment Law for Federal Judges.


Lois Bloom was sworn in as a United States Magistrate Judge for the Eastern District of New York on May 18, 2001.  She is currently serving her third term in the Brooklyn Courthouse.  Before her appointment in the Eastern District, Magistrate Judge Bloom served as Senior Staff Attorney in the Pro Se Office of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York (in Manhattan) for 13 years.  She is a graduate of the State University of New York at Buffalo Law School and the State University of New York at Stony Brook.  Her first job out of law school was representing single room occupancy tenants as a staff attorney at the West Side SRO Law Project, part of the Goddard Riverside Community Center.  Judge Bloom has frequently spoken on Civil Rights issues, Access to Justice, Employment Discrimination, Habeas Corpus and Federal Civil Procedure at numerous conferences.  For over a decade, Judge Bloom also trained new Magistrate Judges from all over the country as part of the Federal Judicial Center’s orientation for newly appointed judges.   


Michael A. Curley is the Managing Partner of Curley, Hurtgen & Johnsrud LLP.  Mr. Curley founded his firm in 2009, and his firm represents employers throughout the country.  Mr. Curley has been recognized by Chambers USA as one of the top labor and employment lawyers in New York (Band One in each of the last several years).  He has also been awarded the Martindale Hubbell AV ranking, and has been recognized by Super Lawyers, Best Lawyers, and numerous other lawyer-recognition services. 

Before founding Curley, Hurtgen & Johnsrud, Mr. Curley was a partner with O’Melveny & Myers (where he started his career and worked for nearly 19 years) and with Morgan, Lewis & Bockius.  Mr. Curley splits his time between New York and Philadelphia, and works out of both cities in addition to traveling nationally to serve his clients’ needs. 

Mr. Curley attended Drexel University, where he graduated with highest honors and played on the Drexel basketball team.  After graduating from Drexel, Mr. Curley attended Villanova Law School, where he was on the Law Review and earned Order of the Coif honors.   

Mr. Curley is a member of the President’s Leadership Council at Drexel University.  He is also a member of the Advisory Board for the Cornell University School of Industrial and Labor Relations.


N. Katie Manley is an Assistant General Counsel and Vice President at Cantor Fitzgerald.  At Cantor Fitzgerald, Katie advises on a variety of labor and employment and related matters, including hiring, discipline, termination, onboarding, compensation, non-solicitation, non-competition, negotiating and drafting employee and independent contractor agreements, wage and hour compliance, accommodations, and workers’ compensation.  Prior to joining Cantor Fitzgerald, Katie served as the Labor and Employment Counsel for Burberry Limited’s Americas region.

Previously, Katie was an employment defense litigator in the Employment Law Department of Paul Hastings LLP.  Her practice involved representing employers in all aspects of labor and employment law before federal and state courts and administrative agencies.  Katie also advised and counseled employers on preventative and risk adverse management practices, including compliance with various federal, state, and local laws.

Katie received her J.D. from Duke University School of Law and her B.A. from The University of Kansas.

Katie is admitted to practice in New York and Georgia.


Ned Bassen is Chair of the Employment & Unfair Competition department of Hughes Hubbard & Reed LLP.  His work is recognized by such publications as Chambers USA, Euromoney’s Guide to the World’s Leading Experts in Labour and Employment, Best Lawyers in America and Super Lawyers.  He is named Best Lawyers’ 2016 New York City Labor Law-Management “Lawyer of the Year.”  He also is included in Human Resource Executive’s The Nation’s Most Powerful Employment Attorneys Top 100 and in Lawdragon’s The Guide to World-Class Employment Lawyers.  Mr. Bassen has been awarded the Burton Award for Legal Achievement, Distinguished Writing Award In Law.  He has co-authored the U.S. chapter of Global Legal Insights-Employment and Labour Law 4th Edition (2015).

The most recent edition of Chambers USA states that “[h]e is noted for his handling of such matters as employment discrimination and trade secret cases.  Observers describe Bassen as ‘litigation savvy’ and note that he possesses ‘very strong negotiation skills’”.  Past editions have made the following comments:  “Sources say that he is ‘very smart, very tenacious, very loyal to his clients and very protective of them.’”  “Interviewees observe that he is an ‘eloquent and logical speaker – it’s almost impossible to disagree with his conclusions.’”   “Clients praise [Mr. Bassen’s] ‘encyclopedic knowledge’ of employment law and his ‘finely tuned instincts and well-balanced judgment.’  His skill in the courtroom does not go unnoted, with sources reporting: ‘He is able to distill facts to their essence and forcefully and effectively argue his client’s position.’”

Mr. Bassen has had an expansive practice for over 40 years.  It ranges from litigating on behalf of and counseling defense contractors, financial institutions, universities and other nonprofit institutions to individuals accused of wrongdoing in connection with employment, including, for example, representation of the principal targets in the well-publicized collapse of the Dewey & LeBoeuf law firm.

Mr. Bassen graduated from Cornell University’s School of Industrial and Labor Relations in 1970 and Cornell Law School in 1973, where he was Note and Comment Editor of the Law Review.


Rob Whitman is a partner in the Labor & Employment Department with extensive experience representing management in the full range of employment law matters.  He has particular expertise in wage-hour litigation, employment arbitration, discrimination and non-compete matters, and preventive employment counseling.

Mr. Whitman is a Fellow of the College of Labor and Employment Lawyers.  He is also a member of the Advisory Board of the Center for Labor & Employment Law at NYU Law School.  He has been recognized repeatedly as one of the top employment lawyers in Manhattan in polls conducted by New York Super Lawyers.

Mr. Whitman has authored articles on employment law issues for a number of publications, including Corporate Counsel, New York Employment Law & Practice, The New York Law Journal, The Corporate Board and Employment Law Strategist.  He has appeared on CNN, Bloomberg TV and NPR as a commentator on employment law issues and has been quoted frequently in the print media.  Mr. Whitman lectures regularly and leads panel discussions before professional audiences on a variety of labor and employment topics.  He also served as an Editor and Advisory Committee member for Cutting Edge Advances in Resolving Workplace Disputes (CPR, 2014).

Mr. Whitman serves as the Pro Bono Chair in Seyfarth Shaw’s New York office and as a member of the firm’s National Pro Bono Committee.  In 2008, he received the Award for Pro Bono Leadership from Lawyers Alliance for New York in recognition of his pro bono representation of not-for-profit organizations throughout New York City.

After law school, Mr. Whitman was a Law Clerk to the Honorable J. Edward Lumbard of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.  He has also served as a Trial Attorney in the Civil Division of the U.S. Department of Justice and as in-house employment counsel for the U.S. Senate.

Education

J.D., University of Michigan, magna cum laude (1989)

Order of the Coif

Book Review Editor, Michigan Law Review

B.S., Industrial and Labor Relations, Cornell University (1986)


Sara Elder was Divisional Vice President, Associate Relations and Compliance for Sears Holdings Management Corporation. In this role, Ms. Elder oversaw the associate relations, labor relations, HR policy, HR compliance, and discrimination charge management functions for Sears, Roebuck and Co. and Kmart Corporation. In addition, she was responsible for Sears, Roebuck and Co.’s and Innovel Solutions, Inc.’s affirmative action programs.  Prior to joining human resources, Ms. Elder was Assistant General Counsel, Complex Litigation for Sears, Roebuck and Co., with a focus on class action and commercial litigation, and employment practices. She joined Sears following eight years of private practice, concentrating in the areas of commercial litigation, employment practices, and creditors’ rights.

Ms. Elder has frequently presented and trained on the issues of leave and accommodations management and was a contributing author to the inaugural issue of the West publication Successful Partnering Between Outside and Inside Counsel (Employment Law Section) (1999-2000 ed.). In 2012, Ms. Elder was named as one of the “Top 100 Under 50 Diverse Executive & Emerging Leaders” by Diversity MBA Magazine.

Ms. Elder graduated from DePaul University College of Law, where she was editor-in-chief of the DePaul Business Law Journal, and received her undergraduate degree in history and sociology from Washington University in St. Louis summa cum laude.


Shari Coats is Deputy General Counsel and a Principal in the Office of General Counsel for Deloitte.  She is a senior advisor on a variety of workplace-related issues, including discrimination, harassment, wrongful discharge, wage and hour, restrictive covenants and trade secrets matters, all with a focus on minimizing risk, preventing litigation, and improving the organization’s internal and external brand.  She works closely with the Talent Organization, Partner Matters, Ethics and Compliance, and other business leaders to establish programs and policies that address regulatory concerns and emerging areas, including social media and data privacy, continuously identifying creative and flexible solutions to current and future Talent challenges.  Shari monitors legislative and other political efforts and manages implementation of changes required as a result new laws and regulations.  She conducts and oversees internal investigations into concerns raised, and she defends Deloitte and manages outside counsel on a multitude of employment-related litigation and administrative matters.

Career Overview

Shari began her practice of law as a general litigator in Houston, Texas, with the law firm now known as Locke Lord LLP.  She moved to New York and joined Proskauer Rose LLP, focusing solely on employment law issues, and she joined Deloitte’s Office of General Counsel in 2002. 

Education, Professional Affiliations & Certifications

Shari is a member of the New York State Bar Association and the Texas Bar Association.  She received her J.D. from the University of Houston Law Center and her B.A. from the University of Texas.


Zachary D. Fasman is a Partner in the Labor & Employment Law Department of Proskauer Rose LLP, resident in the New York office. Zach focuses his practice on representing employers in all aspects of labor and employment law, including labor-management relations, employment litigation and counseling.

Zach has extensive trial and appellate experience in employment litigation, having handled hundreds of employment law cases ranging from nationwide class actions to jury trials of individual discrimination claims. He has argued numerous employment and labor cases in both state and federal appellate courts, including two successful arguments before the United States Supreme Court.

Zach’s labor-management relations practice encompasses advising employers during representation campaigns, collective bargaining, labor arbitrations and all forms of counseling regarding union and employee relations as well as employment at will and related employment issues.  He has negotiated collective bargaining agreements with most major U.S. labor unions and also has substantial experience appearing before the National Labor Relations Board, where he tried the second longest case in NLRB history.  In addition, Zach provides day-to-day counseling and advice to employers on a wide range of issues including complex labor and employment law issues in mergers and acquisitions, the intersection between labor and antitrust law, federal preemption, and the arbitration of statutory claims.

Having practiced in Washington for many years, Zach has testified before the U.S. Congress and the EEOC on multiple occasions and has worked extensively with Congress and the White House, on behalf of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and other organizations, on numerous pieces of legislation.  He is a long time member of the U.S. Chamber’s Labor Relations Committee and has submitted many amicus curiae briefs on behalf of the Chamber and other organizations to the U.S. Supreme Court on labor and employment law issues.

A noted author and sought-after speaker on labor and employment issues, Zach co-chairs the Practicing Law Institute’s Annual Employment Law Institute and has written numerous articles in the New York Law Journal and a wide variety of other publications.  He has repeatedly been ranked in Band One by Chambers USA and Chambers Global and is a long-time Fellow of the College of Labor and Employment Lawyers.  He also is a member of the Advisory Board of New York University Law School’s Center for Labor and Employment Law, teaches employment law to members of the federal judiciary through the Federal Judicial Center, and has been included in every edition of Best Lawyers in America. In 2015, he was selected as one of New York’s Top 100 lawyers and was selected to Lawdragon’s Hall of Fame in Labor Law for career accomplishments.


For more than 40 years, Willis Goldsmith has represented management before state and federal trial and appellate courts in matters arising under the NLRA, Section 301 of Taft-Hartley, ERISA, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, and OSHA, as well as in injunction, breach of contract, and employment cases. He also regularly represents management in collective bargaining and in labor contract administration.

Among his noteworthy matters is Chamber of Commerce v. Brown, which Willis argued before the U.S. Supreme Court. The Court, reversing an en banc decision of the Ninth Circuit, held that a California statute that prevented employers from using state funds to lawfully deter union organizing was preempted by the NLRA, noting federal labor policy favoring employer speech regarding union organizing.

Willis was Partner-in-Charge in New York from 2008 through 2012, when he was required to step down from that position pursuant to the terms of the Partnership Agreement; from 1991 to 2006, he chaired the Firm's Labor & Employment Practice. He is a Fellow of the College of Labor and Employment Lawyers; a Member of the Labor Law Advisory Committee of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce; an Advisor, American Law Institute Restatement of the Law Third Employment Law; a Member of the Advisory Board of the NYU School of Law Center for Labor and Employment Law, the Association of the Bar of the City of New York, and the Labor and Employment Law sections of the New York State Bar Association (Section Secretary, 2013-2014) and of the ABA. He is a Director of the Corporation of Yaddo, the upstate New York artists' retreat, and a Member of the Board of New York Appleseed.


Judge Preska was appointed United States District Judge for the Southern District of New York on August 12, 1992 and entered duty on September 18, 1992.  She served as Chief Judge of that Court from June 1, 2009 to May 31, 2016.  Judge Preska received a B.A. from the College of St. Rose in Albany, New York in 1970, a J.D. from Fordham University School of Law in 1973, and an LL.M. in Trade Regulation from New York University Law School in 1978. 

Following graduation from Fordham, Judge Preska was an associate at Cahill Gordon & Reindel LLP and an associate and, beginning in January 1983, a partner at Hertzog, Calamari & Gleason until her induction as a United States District Judge in September 1992.  Judge Preska was nominated to the Second Circuit Court of Appeals in September 2008.  She received the Louis J. Lefkowitz Public Service Alumni Award from Fordham University School of Law in 1992 and served several terms as a Vice President on the Board of Directors of the Fordham Law Alumni Association.  The Fordham Law Alumni Association awarded her its Medal of Achievement in 1998.  She received a Doctorate of Humane Letters, honoris causa, from the College of St. Rose, Albany, New York, in 1998, the Edward J. Weinfeld Award from the New York County Lawyers Association Federal Courts Committee for Excellence in the Administration of Justice in 2001, the Charles Carroll Award from the Catholic Lawyers Guild in 2004, the Stanley H. Fuld Award for outstanding contributions to the development of commercial law and jurisprudence in New York State from the Commercial and Federal Litigation Section of the New York State Bar Association in 2009, the President’s Special Award from the New York Women’s Bar Association in 2011, the Barbara Jordan Outstanding Public Service Award from Phi Alpha Delta Law Fraternity International in 2012, the Women in Business Law Lifetime Achievement Award in 2013, the Boris Kostelanetz President’s Medal from the New York County Lawyers Association in 2014, the James Madison Award from the New York City Lawyers Chapter of the Federalist Society in 2014, and the Honorable John E. Sprizzo Award for commitment to the Rule of Law from St. John’s Law School in 2015.  She has lectured at Securities Industry Association Legal & Compliance Division, the International Bar Association, and numerous other venues, and was a contributing author to Federal Civil Practice published by the New York State Bar Association in 1989.

Judge Preska is a member of the Federal Bar Association, the Federal Bar Council, the New York County Lawyers Association, and the New York State Bar Association.  She has served as a member of the Committee on Federal-State Jurisdiction of the Judicial Conference of the United States, as chair of the Benchbook Advisory Committee, the Board of Directors of the Federal Judicial Center, and currently serves on the New York Federal-State Judicial Council.  Judge Preska has also served on the Advisory Board of the New York Chapter of the Federalist Society and, from 2001-2009, on the New York Regional Panel for the Selection of White House Fellows.  Judge Preska has also served as a Trustee of Fordham University. 


Recognized as "Civil Rights Lawyer of the Year" for Washington, D.C. by Best Lawyers in America for 2013, as one of the “toughest” employment lawyers in Washington, D.C. by Washingtonian magazine, and as an expert in sexual harassment, employment, and whistleblower law by The New York TimesThe Washington PostTIME magazine and others, Debra S. Katz has been successfully litigating employment discrimination, civil rights, and whistleblower protection cases for over 30 years.

Ms. Katz is a founding partner of Katz, Marshall & Banks, LLP, where she concentrates her practice on employment discrimination, sexual harassment, wrongful discharge, Sarbanes-Oxley, corporate, environmental and other whistleblower retaliation claims, SEC whistleblower tips, and contractual employment disputes. She has developed extensive litigation experience in federal and local courts and has successfully represented dozens of whistleblowers in the nuclear, financial, pharmaceutical and medical-device industries throughout her career.

Ms. Katz serves as Vice Chair on the Board of Directors of the Project on Government Oversight (POGO), a nonpartisan independent government watchdog.  POGO's mission is to strengthen laws and regulations to protect whistleblowers from intimidation and retaliation and to create a more accountable and effective federal government by investigating allegations of government corruption and misconduct. She is a contributing writer for Ms. Magazine, where she writes about legal issues of importance to women.

Ms. Katz received her J.D. degree, cum laude, from the University of Wisconsin Law School. She is a member of the District of Columbia and New York Bar Associations, the Bar of the Supreme Court of the United States and the bars of several federal courts of appeals.


Thomas E. Spahn practices as a commercial litigator with McGuireWoods in Tysons Corner, Virginia.  Tom was selected as the 2013 metro-Washington DC "Lawyer of the Year" for "Bet the Company Litigation" by The Best Lawyers in America (Woodward/White, Inc.).  He has served on the ABA Standing Committee on Ethics and Professional Responsibility, and is a Member of the American Law Institute and a Fellow of the American Bar Foundation.  Tom has written extensively on attorney-client privilege, ethics and other topics, and has spoken at over 1,700 CLE programs throughout the U.S. and in several foreign countries.  Through links on his website bio, Tom has made available to the public:  his summaries of over 1,600 Virginia and ABA legal ethics opinions, organized by topic; a 300 page summary of his two-volume 1,500 page book on the attorney-client privilege and work product doctrine; over 900 weekly email alerts about privilege and work product cases; materials for 40 ethics programs on numerous topics, totaling over 9,000 pages of analysis.  Tom graduated magna cum laude from Yale University and received his J.D. from Yale Law School. 


Denny Chin is a United States Circuit Judge for the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.  He was sworn in on April 26, 2010.  Judge Chin graduated from Princeton University magna cum laude and received his law degree from Fordham Law School.  After clerking for the Honorable Henry F. Werker, United States District Judge for the Southern District of New York, he was associated with the law firm Davis Polk & Wardwell.  He then served as an Assistant United States Attorney in the Southern District of New York, and thereafter he and two of his colleagues from the U.S. Attorney=s Office started a law firm, Campbell, Patrick & Chin.  In 1990, he joined Vladeck, Waldman, Elias & Engelhard, P.C., where he specialized in labor and employment law.  From September 13, 1994, through April 23, 2010, Judge Chin served as a United States District Judge for the Southern District of New York.  He presided over both civil and criminal cases, including cases involving Megan’s Law, the Million Youth March, Al Franken’s use of the phrase “Fair and Balanced” in the title of a book, the Naked Cowboy, the Google Books project, and the United Nations Oil for Food Program.  He also presided over the trial of an Afghan warlord charged with conspiring to import heroin and the guilty plea and sentencing of financier Bernard L. Madoff.  Judge Chin was born in Hong Kong.  He was the first Asian American appointed a United States District Judge outside the Ninth Circuit.


Joseph Sellers is a partner and head of the civil rights and employment practice in Washington, D.C. at the firm of Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll PLLC. Before coming to that firm in 1997, he was the head of the Employment Discrimination Group at the Washington Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs for 16 years. In more 30 years of legal practice, he has served as lead or co-lead counsel in more than 60 civil rights and employment class or collective actions where he has represented workers and others who claim to have been victims of discrimination or other forms of corporate or governmental misconduct. He has tried civil rights class actions to judgment before juries and courts and has argued more than 30 cases before appellate courts, including the U.S. Supreme Court where he argued Wal-Mart Stores v. Dukes. He has taught Professional Responsibility and Employment Discrimination.  He has served as a mediator in a variety of matters.


Laura S. Schnell, a member of the firm of Eisenberg & Schnell LLP, has practiced employment law in New York City on behalf of employees for over thirty years.  She is a 1980 graduate of Dartmouth College and a 1983 graduate of the University of Chicago Law School and served as a law clerk for the Honorable Jack B. Weinstein in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York from 1983 to 1984.  Ms. Schnell represents employees in all aspects of employment law and has extensive employment discrimination, non-compete and employment contract litigation experience as well as financial industry arbitration experience.  She has served on numerous bar committees and is a frequent speaker on issues involving employment litigation, arbitration and mediation.  She has been a Best Lawyers and Super Lawyers recognized attorney since 2006 and was named the New York Best Lawyer of the Year, Employment Law-Individual for 2012 and again for 2017.


Michele R. Fisher is a partner at Nichols Kaster whose practice is primarily dedicated to national wage and hour class and collective action litigation. She has represented over a hundred thousand employees seeking to recover overtime pay, minimum wages and commission payments. She has successfully handled numerous jury trials and arbitrations. She is a member of the firm’s management committee and the chair of its Business Development and Marketing Groups, which originate class and collective actions and market the firm. Michele is a regular speaker at local and national conferences, routinely acts as an author and editor for wage and hour publications, and is active in several organizations. 

Michele is the co-chair and a faculty member of the Practising Law Institute’s Wage & Hour Litigation and Compliance conference, the Co-Chair of the ABA Federal Labor Standards Legislation Committee. She has also served as the Co-Editor-in-Chief of the ABA Federal Labor Standards Legislation Committee’s Midwinter Report, an editorial board member for BNA’s the Fair Labor Standard Act Treatise, and a chapter editor for BNA’s Wage and Hour Laws: A State-by-State Survey. 

Michele has been named to the Super Lawyers, Top Women Attorneys, and Rising Star lists repeatedly, and is a member of the Top 100 National Trial Lawyers, the Top 10 Wage and Hour Trial Lawyers, and a Lawyer of Distinction. Michele provides pro bono representation for the Children’s Law Center.


Mr. Rogers, the managing partner of Sullivan & Cromwell’s Labor and Employment Law Group, is a graduate of Harvard College (magna cum laude, 1976) and Harvard Law School (cum laude, 1979).  He joined Sullivan & Cromwell LLP in 1979, and has been a partner of the Firm since 1987.  He has been named the New York City “Employment Law - Management Lawyer of the Year” for 2017 as well as for 2014 and the 2012 “New York City Labor Law – Management Lawyer of the Year” by The Best Lawyers in America,  and is one of 33 lawyers in the United States named in “Best of the Best USA 2015” as leading labor and employment lawyers.  In 2017 and for each of the prior nine years, he has been named one of the 100 leading management attorneys in the United States by the publication Human Resource Executive in conjunction with Lawdragon; he is also ranked in the top tier in New York among defendant-side employment lawyers in the Chambers USA Guide to America’s Leading Lawyers for Business (available at www.chambersandpartners.com/usa). He is a contributing author to BNA’s Workplace Harassment Law (2012), is a co-author of West Publishing Co.’s Employment Litigation in New York (1996) and Employment Law Deskbook for Human Resources Professionals (2001), and serves as a lecturer on employment law topics to many groups, including the Practising Law Institute's annual Employment Law Institute and the Federal Judicial Center’s annual Workshop on Employment Law for Federal Judges.  He is a Fellow of the College of Labor and Employment Lawyers, a member of the American Law Institute and of the Executive Committee of the New York State Bar Association’s Labor and Employment Law Section, and has served on the Labor and Employment Law Committee of the Association of the Bar of the City of New York.