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Employment Law Institute 2017


Speaker(s): Amy L. Bess, Cynthia Estlund, David Lopez, Debra S. Katz, Eric Eichenholtz, Eugene Scalia, Hon. John G. Koeltl, James D. Esseks, Jamie Kohen, Jessica Golden Cortes, Jill L. Rosenberg, Joseph K. Mulherin, Kristen J. Mathews, Laura S. Schnell, Marc A. Cohen, M.D., Marisa Randazzo, Ph.D., Melissa R. Gold, Michael A. Curley, Michele R. Fisher, Philip A. Miscimarra, Rashida MacMurray-Abdullah, Robert S. Whitman, Sara E. Elder, Shari Fallek Coats, Stephen P. Sonnenberg, Thomas E. Spahn, Tracy Richelle High, Zachary D. Fasman
Recorded on: Oct. 18, 2017
PLI Program #: 181205

Amy L. Bess is the immediate past Chair of the Labor and Employment practice area at Vedder Price and currently serves as Chair of the group’s DC practice. She also recently completed a three-year term of service on 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 is an author and frequent speaker on a variety of employment topics, most notably on the impact of the #MeToo movement and anti-harassment laws and best practices that organizations should undertake to prevent and resolve harassment concerns. She is regularly quoted in the media on these and related topics.

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.

The Legal 500 United States guide recommended Ms. Bess in the Labor and Employment—Labor and Employment Litigation category in 2014. Since 2018 the Legal 500 United States guide recommended her in the Labor and Employment Disputes (including collective actions): Defense and Labor and in 2021 was editorially recommended in the Employment Labor-Management Relations category. Ms. Bess also has been listed in Washingtonian Magazine’s “Best Lawyers” edition (December 2011, 2013, 2015, 2017 and 2020) in the category “Employment Defense.” She has been selected for inclusion since 2012 in Washington DC Super Lawyers in the category “Employment Litigation Defense.” In 2013, Ms. Bess also was listed in Expert Guides to World’s Leading Lawyers— Labour and Employment.

Ms. Bess is actively involved in a number of nonprofit and charitable organizations. She is a board member and serves as general counsel for Everybody Wins!, a charity in the District focusing on promoting children's literacy. She is also a member of the board of the District of Columbia Coalition Against Domestic Violence. In 2019 she was awarded the “Tom Nees Award for Exceptional Service” by Community of Hope, a nonprofit organization pursuing a mission to aid low income families experiencing homelessness and struggling with health care needs, in recognition of her long-standing, deeply impactful service to the women, men and children who turn to Community of Hope for help.


David Lopez is a Partner at Outten and Golden and the attorney-in-charge at the firm’s Washington, DC office.  Mr. Lopez is Co-chair of the Discrimination & Retaliation Practice Group. Mr. Lopez served as General Counsel of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) from April 8, 2010 until December 9, 2016 – the longest serving General Counsel of the agency.  Mr. Lopez was nominated twice by President Barack Obama and confirmed by the Senate in 2010 and 2014.  Mr. Lopez is the first EEOC field trial attorney to be appointed as the agency's General Counsel.  As General Counsel, Mr. Lopez was in charge of the Commission's litigation program, overseeing the agency's 15 Regional Attorneys and a staff of more than 325 lawyers and legal professionals who conduct or support Commission litigation in district and appellate courts across the country.  He has served at the Commission in various capacities for the past 22 years, including as Supervisory Trial Attorney in the Phoenix District Office and Special Assistant to then-Chairman Gilbert F. Casellas.

Prior to joining the EEOC, Mr. Lopez was a Senior Trial Attorney with the Civil Rights Division, Employment Litigation Section, of the U.S. Department of Justice in Washington, DC. Between 1988 and 1991, Mr. Lopez was an Associate with Spiegel and McDiarmid in Washington, DC.

Mr. Lopez obtained his J.D. from Harvard Law School in 1988 and graduated magna cum laude from Arizona State University in 1985, with a B.S. in Political Science.

Mr. Lopez is admitted to practice in the District of Columbia, as well as the United States Supreme Court, the United States Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit, and the United States Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit.  He is a member of the National Employment Lawyers Association.


Debra Katz is a founding partner of Katz, Marshall & Banks, LLP, where she concentrates her practice on employment discrimination, sexual harassment, whistleblower, and Title IX matters.  She has developed extensive litigation experience in federal and local courts and has achieved significant courtroom successes in a number of high-profile cases. She has been recognized as "Civil Rights Lawyer of the Year" for Washington, D.C. by The Best Lawyers© In America for 2018, and as a “Titan of the Plaintiffs Bar” by Law360. Ms. Katz has also been called “The feared attorney of the #MeToo moment” by the Washington Post, and a “Leading #MeToo Lawyer” by Washingtonian magazine.


Eugene Scalia is a partner in the Washington, D.C. office of Gibson Dunn.  He is Co-Chair of the Firm’s Administrative Law and Regulatory Practice Group and a member of its Labor and Employment Practice Group, which he co-chaired for twelve years. 

Mr. Scalia has a national practice handling a broad range of labor, employment, appellate, and regulatory matters.  He previously served as Solicitor of the U.S. Department of Labor, the Department’s principal legal officer with responsibility for all Labor Department litigation and legal advice on rulemakings.  His success bringing legal challenges to federal agency actions has been widely reported in the legal and popular press. 

In private practice, representative employment matters include:

  • Chamber of Commerce of the U.S.A. v. Dep’t of Labor, 885 F.3d 360 (5th Cir. 2018) – Vacated U.S. Department of Labor’s “fiduciary” rule, among the most controversial regulations ever adopted in the financial services industry.
  • EEOC v. Ford Motor Co., 782 F.3d 753 (6th Cir. 2015) (en banc) – Sixth Circuit decision rejecting EEOC’s position regarding telecommuting as a reasonable accommodation.
  • Hendricks v. UBS Fin. Servs., Inc., 2013 WL 5969888 (5th Cir. 2013) – Favorable Fifth Circuit decisions reversing district court orders that had denied arbitration and had certified ERISA class actions seeking $200 million.
  • NLRB v. The Boeing Company, Case 19-CA-32431 – Represented company in closely-watched case regarding new South Carolina facility.

Mr. Scalia has regularly handled Sarbanes-Oxley “whistleblower” matters since the law’s enactment in 2002, when he played a central role as Labor Solicitor in implementing the Act’s whistleblower provision.  In private practice, his clients have included public companies, audit committees, and officers and directors, including in internal investigations and proceedings before the Department of Labor, administrative law judges, the federal courts, and in arbitration. 

Mr. Scalia’s success challenging federal regulations has been profiled in a Wall Street Journal article titled “Another Scalia Vexes Regulators,” and a BloombergBusinessweek article titled “Suing the Government? Call Scalia.”  He has successfully challenged four different regulations of the Securities and Exchange Commission.  The National Law Journal recognized Mr. Scalia as a “Visionary” for his litigation against financial regulatory agencies, and the Nation magazine has called him a “fearsome litigator.”

Mr. Scalia graduated cum laude from the University of Chicago Law School, where he was editor-in-chief of the Law Review.  From 1992-93 he served as Special Assistant to U.S. Attorney General William P. Barr, receiving the Department’s Edmund J. Randolph Award.  He graduated With Distinction from the University of Virginia in 1985 and was a speechwriter for Education Secretary William J. Bennett before attending law school.  He has been a Lecturer in labor and employment law at the University of Chicago Law.


Honorable John G. Koeltl was appointed United States District Judge for the Southern District of New York on August 11, 1994 and entered on duty on September 9, 1994.  He graduated from Georgetown University with an A.B. degree summa cum laude in 1967 and received a J.D. degree magna cum laude for Harvard Law School in 1971, where he was an editor of the Harvard Law Review.  

From 1971 to 1972, Judge Koeltl was a law clerk to the Hon. Edward Weinfeld, United States District Judge, Southern District of New York and from 1972 to 1973 he was a law clerk to the Hon. Potter Stewart, United States Supreme Court.  He served as an Assistant Special Prosecutor, Watergate Special Prosecution Force, Department of Justice from 1973 to 1974.  In February 1975 he became an Associate with Debevoise & Plimpton until January 1979 when he became a partner with the firm.  He remained at Debevoise & Plimpton until his appointment to the bench in 1994.

Judge Koeltl is a member of the American Bar Association, the American Law Institute, the Association of the Bar of the City of New York, the New York State Bar Association, the New York County Lawyers Association, the Federal Bar Council, the Federal Communications Bar Association, the Fellows of the American Bar Foundation, the American Judicature Society, Phi Beta Kappa Associates, the Supreme Court Historical Society and the Harvard Law School Association of New York.  Judge Koeltl is an Adjunct Professor of Law at New York University School of Law. 

Judge Koeltl is a former member of the Advisory Committee on Civil Rules and the Committee on Court Administration and Case Management of the Judicial Conference of the United States.


James D. Esseks is Director of the ACLU LGBTQ & HIV Project. The ACLU works to ensure equal treatment of LGBTQ people and people living with HIV through litigation, legislative lobbying, policy advocacy, organizing, and public education nationwide.

James has been counsel in Bostock v. Clayton County, Ga., in which the Supreme Court ruled that anti-LGBTQ discrimination in the workplace is unlawful; 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 Gavin Grimm v. Gloucester County School Board, about whether a Virginia school board can bar a boy from the common restrooms because he is transgender; in Masterpiece Cakeshop, Ltd. v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission, about whether a business open to the public can turn away LGBTQ customers based on its religious or artistic objections; and in successful challenges to bans on adoption and foster parenting by lesbians and gay men in Arkansas, Florida, and Missouri. James and the ACLU have also worked extensively to fight the recent spate of anti-transgender bills in the states and to fight the use of religion as an excuse to harm LGBTQ people.

Prior to joining the ACLU in 2001, James was a partner at Vladeck, Waldman, Elias & Engelhard, PC. He graduated from Yale College and Harvard Law School, where he was editor-in-chief of the Harvard Civil Rights-Civil Liberties Law Review. 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 serving as Managing Director, Associate 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 US 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 two daughters.

 


Jessica Golden Cortes is a partner in the Labor + Employment Practice Group of Davis+Gilbert. Ms. Cortes regularly counsels and litigates in all areas and aspects of employment law. She investigates discrimination and retaliation complaints and advises clients on hiring, terminations, reductions in force, restrictive covenants, wage and hour issues, federal and state family and medical leave laws, employment policies specifically including the impact of social media in employment, handbooks, and employment and separation agreements. She regularly conducts “respect in the workplace,” “manager best practices” and “unconscious bias” trainings for clients all over the country, including for both for-profit and non-profit clients.  Most recently, Ms. Cortes has been actively involved in educating clients regarding employee rights and employer obligations and best practices during the COVID-19 pandemic, and in assisting clients in developing post-pandemic, return-to-work safety protocols. 

Ms. Cortes is known by clients for her ability to simultaneously analyze legal, practical and business-related factors inherent in each employee matter, and to devise creative solutions that also minimize client burden and cost. She has been recognized by The Legal 500 United States in the area of labor and employment: workplace and employment counseling area for nine consecutive years (2013-2021). She has also been recognized as a leading lawyer for labor & employment law by Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business (2012-2016) and has been selected as a Super Lawyer (2018-2020) and Rising Star (2013-2016) by New York Metro Super Lawyers. Ms. Cortes was also named a winner in the Esquire Industry Practice category for SmartCEO’s 2015 CPA & ESQ Awards. Ms. Cortes was appointed Chair of the NYC SHRM Legal & Legislative Special Interest Group (SIG) for the 2020-2021 programming year.

Before joining Davis+Gilbert, Ms. Cortes was a litigation attorney at Patterson Belknap Webb & Tyler LLP.


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 and Global as a Band 1 leading employment lawyer. Ms. Rosenberg is the firm-wide Partner in Charge of Pro Bono Programs and serves on the firm’s Personnel Development and Risk Management Committees.   She is the Chair 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.


Joseph K. Mulherin focuses his practice on employment class action litigation, with a focus on defending employers against wage-and-hour and employment discrimination lawsuits. Joseph has successfully defended clients from a wide variety of industries, including health services, banking, finance, retail, manufacturing, hospitality, staffing, technology, logistics and construction.

Joseph also has deep experience representing employers in federal and state governmental agency matters, including investigations by the US Department of Labor and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, as well as their state counterpart agencies.

Leveraging his intricate knowledge of the law and extensive litigation experience, Joseph regularly counsels clients on best employment policies and practices and mitigation strategies. His advice takes into account not only the requirements of the law, but clients’ unique business needs and potential exposure.

Joseph frequently advises on wage-and-hour policies and practices relating to employee overtime classification, timekeeping, rounding, meal and rest periods, travel time, donning and doffing, on-call time and handheld devices. He 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.

Joseph is a highly-regarded writer and speaker on a broad range of employment law topics.


Melissa R. Gold is a Managing Director and Associate General Counsel at BNY Mellon. She is the Americas Head of Employment law for BNY Mellon. Her practice includes a wide variety of employment law issues involving employment litigation/charges/demand letters and counseling for the U.S., Canada and Latin America regions. She also has extensive experience with issues arising from the enforcement of post-employment restrictions and in counseling on employment related issues through company mergers and acquisitions.

Before joining BNY Mellon, Melissa was part of the JP Morgan Chase Legal Department for over 25 years and was a member of the HR Law Group with responsibility for various businesses and the Latin America region. She was also actively involved in JPMorgan’s Legal Diversity and Pro Bono Fellowship committees, co-chairing a number of initiatives.

Melissa received a J.D. from the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law in New York City and received a B.A. from Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut, where she majored in Economics. She has been admitted to practice before the New York and New Jersey State Bars, the Federal District Courts for New Jersey and the Southern and Eastern Districts of New York, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit and the U.S. Supreme Court.

Melissa is a member of the Executive Committee, Federal Bar Council Inns of Court, and also a member of the Federal Bar Foundation Board of Directors. She further serves as a member of the Board of Directors of Mobilization for Justice (formerly MFY Legal Services), which provides free legal assistance to residents of New York City on a wide range of civil legal issues, prioritizing services to vulnerable and under-served populations. She is a member of the YWCA’s Academy of Women Achievers.


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.


Michele Fisher is a managing partner at Nichols Kaster, PLLP, and the Chair of the Firm’s Business Development and Marketing Groups, which originate class and collective actions and market the firm.  She has dedicated her career to litigating wage and hour cases in an aggressive, creative, and strategic manner. She is one of the leaders of a practice group that has been described as a "powerhouse" for mass wage and hour litigation and arbitration. Michele has the experience, resources, and staff to take on any company regardless of size.  She has handled several jury trials and arbitrations in her fight for employee rights and prides herself on the firm's reputation as a leader in national wage and hour class and collective action litigation. Michele has litigated hundreds of class and collective actions involving positions such as health care workers, delivery drivers, loan officers, loan processors, retail salespersons, oil and gas workers, assistant managers, branch managers, field service engineers, call center representatives, bus drivers, caretakers, convenience store clerks, exotic dancers, inside sales representatives, restaurant workers, insurance adjusters, property specialists, property managers, installers, service technicians, background investigators, logistics representatives, and road construction laborers. 

Michele is active in several organizations. She is a Co-Chair and faculty member of the Practicing Law Institute’s Wage & Hour Litigation and Compliance conference, and the Co-Chair of the ABA Labor and Employment Law Section’s Annual Conference Planning Committee. She has served as the Co-Chair of the ABA Labor and Employment Law Section’s Federal Labor Standards Legislation Committee, Co-Editor-in-Chief of the ABA Labor and Employment Law Section’s Federal Labor Standards Legislation Committee FLSA Midwinter Report, the Co-Chair of the ABA Labor and Employment Law Section's Revenue and Partnership Development Committee, Track Coordinator for the ABA Labor and Employment Law Section’s annual conference, an editorial board member for BNA’s the Fair Labor Standards Act Treatise, and a chapter editor for BNA’s Wage and Hour Laws: A State-by-State Survey. She is a Fellow in the College of Labor and Employment Lawyers, has been named to the Best Lawyers, Super Lawyers, Top Women Attorneys, Lawyers of Distinction, and Rising Star lists repeatedly, is a member of the Top 10 Wage and Hour Lawyers, Top 100 National Trial Lawyers, Top 100 High Stakes Litigators, and LawDragon 500 Leading Plaintiff Employment Lawyers.  Michele volunteers as an attorney for a foster child through the Children's Law Center.  She also created and administers arbitratorrater.com.


Philip A. Miscimarra is a partner in the labor and employment law practice of Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP, and is the former Chairman of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB).  He represents clients on a wide range of labor and employment issues, with a focus on labor-management relations and employment litigation. He leads Morgan Lewis’s NLRB special appeals practice and is co-leader of Morgan Lewis Workforce Change, which manages all employment, labor, benefits, and related issues arising from mergers, acquisitions, startups, workforce reductions, and other types of business restructuring. Mr. Miscimarra is also a Senior Fellow at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School and the Wharton Center for Human Resources.

Mr. Miscimarra was named Chairman of the NLRB by President Donald J. Trump on April 24, 2017, after previously serving as Acting Chairman (after January 23, 2017) and as a Board member (commencing August 7, 2013).  Mr. Miscimarra was appointed to the NLRB by President Barack Obama on April 9, 2013 and was approved unanimously by the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions on May 22, 2013. He was confirmed by voice vote in the United States Senate on July 30, 2013 and served in a term that expired on December 16, 2017. 

Mr. Miscimarra is the author or co-author of several books involving labor law issues, including The NLRB and Managerial Discretion: Subcontracting, Relocations, Closings, Sales, Layoffs, and Technological Change (2d ed. 2010) (by Miscimarra, Turner, Friedman, Callahan, Conrad, Lignowski and Scroggins); The NLRB and Secondary Boycotts (3d ed. 2002) (by Miscimarra, Berkowitz, Wiener and Ditelberg); and Government Protection of Employees Involved in Mergers and Acquisitions (1989 and 1997 supp.) (by Northrup and Miscimarra); among other publications. He has also testified about labor and employment law issues in the United States Congress.

Chambers USA named Phil one of the leading lawyers for employment law in the United States from 2004 to 2012, based on the views of clients, peers, and other industry professionals. He has been described as a "fantastic lawyer" and "prolific writer," with clients admiring his "multilayered abilities and business savvy" and his "high level of integrity." Chambers quoted competitors as saying, "Most lawyers pale next to Philip Miscimarra."

Mr. Miscimarra received his Juris Doctor from the University of Pennsylvania Law School; a Master’s in Business Administration from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton Business School; and a Bachelor of Arts degree, summa cum laude, from Duquesne University.

 


Rashida MacMurray-Abdullah has experience in corporate investigations, litigation, compliance, and business consulting covering a broad spectrum of industries. She has over 17 years of professional services and consulting experience advising public and private sector clients in a variety of diverse matters including legal operations and strategy, complex fraud investigations, and dispute resolution.

Rashida’s practice focuses in the areas of construction, forensic accounting, anticorruption, and anti-fraud consulting. She spends considerable time working with corporate legal departments and law firms in delivering solutions responsive to critical business needs. Clients rely on Rashida’s ability to combine technical acumen with innovative thinking to help efficiently assess allegations of wrongdoing, uncover evidence, and calculate economic damages. She has led large engagements managing multiple work streams.

Rashida leverages her unique blend of legal and business skills to help corporate law departments their operations to align with corporate strategy as well as become more strategic business and risk advisors.  She is also involved in the firm’s National Chief Legal Officer (CLO) Next Generation Academy and CFO Transition Labs. In this role, she was a member of the inaugural team tasked with developing the curriculum for corporate legal executives be recognized as the pre-eminent business advisor to their business units. She also facilitates one-day strategy sessions with senior executives transitioning into new c-suite roles. She currently leads Deloitte’s NextGen CLO Peer to Peer Forum in Greater Washington area.

Prior to joining Deloitte FAS, Rashida was an attorney with a national law firm providing construction litigation and dispute services to Fortune 500 companies and public entities. Rashida is admitted to practice law in five jurisdictions, including New York, and the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office as a registered patent attorney. She was recently recognized as one of Deloitte’s Rising Stars at the 47th Harlem YMCA bai Awards Gala. She served as a Charter Trustee for Rutgers University Board of Trustees from 2011 through 2017 where she received her J.D. Rashida also holds a B.S in Architecture and Master of Engineering from the University of Virginia.


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 is Vice President, Operations at Sedgwick Claims Management Services, Inc. In this role, she oversees Sedgwick’s Centralized ADA Management Team. Prior to assuming this position, Ms. Elder led the administration of short-term disability, leave, and ADA claims for select client programs. Ms. Elder is also a lecturer on Employment Law at North Park University’s School of Business and Nonprofit Management.

Before joining Sedgwick, Ms. Elder was Divisional Vice President, Associate Relations and Compliance for Sears Holdings Management Corporation. In this and other roles, Ms. Elder oversaw the leave and accommodations management, employee relations, labor relations, associate services, HR policy, HR compliance, and discrimination charge management functions for Sears, Roebuck and Co. and Kmart Corporation and their subsidiary companies.

Ms. Elder also served as 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. In 2012, Ms. Elder was named 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.


Stephen P. Sonnenberg, Esq. has deep experience in understanding and resolving complex labor and employment disputes. Mr. Sonnenberg’s unique background, which allows him to understand both plaintiff and defendant concerns, comes from the practice of law, experience as a mediator, and prior experience as a psychotherapist. Mr. Sonnenberg is known for his attention to detail, thoughtful approach to emotion-laden disputes, and demeanor conducive to settlement.

Mr. Sonnenberg practiced labor and employment law at the highest levels for 25 years at Paul Hastings, and achieved a prestigious ranking from Chambers USA, within the Labor & Employment band. Leadership roles at the firm included a term as Chair of the New York Employment Law Practice (2014-2017), Vice Chair of the Employment Law Department (International) (2003-2014) and Co-Chair of the Employment Law Department’s national wage and hour law practice (2005-2014). Resident for an equal amount of time in the firm’s Los Angeles and New York offices, Mr. Sonnenberg represented and advised clients in a wide range of employment disputes, including wage and hour class and collective actions, retaliation, wrongful discharge, restrictive covenant, discrimination and harassment lawsuits. He has also overseen and conducted privileged internal investigations in response to complaints of misconduct.

Before practicing law, Mr. Sonnenberg devoted himself to a 15-year career as a clinical social worker in Michigan and California. Mr. Sonnenberg worked in diverse psychiatric settings and community organizations, assisting individuals with a wide range of emotional, vocational and financial challenges, including facilitating the resolution of disputes with family members, employers and other third parties.  Settings included psychiatric hospitals, a community mental health center, and the private practice of psychotherapy working with individuals, couples and families.

Mr. Sonnenberg has mediated numerous matters not only at JAMS but as a member of the Mediation Panels of the U.S. District Court, Southern and Eastern Districts of New York. He has taught employment law to members of the federal judiciary through the Federal Judicial Center, has provided employment law training and advice in a variety of settings, and is an adjunct faculty member at Cardozo Law School.


Zach Fasman is a nationally known labor and employment lawyer who currently is an arbitrator, mediator, and law professor.  He became interested in labor law while at the University of Michigan Law School, where he was the first research assistant to work with Professor (later Circuit Court Judge) Harry T. Edwards. He began his career as a labor lawyer at Seyfarth Shaw in Chicago, practiced for 25 years in Washington at Seyfarth Shaw and later at Paul Hastings, and practiced for an additional 20 years in New York at Paul Hastings and Proskauer Rose. He currently teaches labor law and employment law at New York  University Law School.   

Zach has extensive experience in collective bargaining and before the National Labor Relations Board.  He has tried many complex labor cases before the NLRB and in the courts on labor issues, including federal preemption, successorship, civil RICO, and labor-antitrust law. He successfully argued Golden State Transit Corp. v City of Los Angeles, 475 U.S. 608 (1986) and Golden State Transit Corp. v City of Los Angeles, 493 U.S. 103 (1989) in the Supreme Court.   He has written numerous amicus curiae briefs to the Supreme Court on labor and employment law issues. He has extensive experience in arbitration, having tried hundreds of labor arbitrations, as well as many arbitration cases involving statutory and contractual rights.    

Zach has co-extensive experience in employment discrimination law, having served as national Co-Chair of the employment discrimination law practice at Paul Hastings.  Zach has handled scores of employment law cases ranging from nationwide class and collective actions to individual claims and has tried many employment cases before juries as well as in bench trials. He has spoken and written extensively on labor and employment issues and has testified on many occasions before the U.S. Congress and the EEOC on labor and employment law issues.  He worked extensively with Congress and the White House on the Civil Rights Act of 1991 and the Americans with Disabilities Act, publishing the first book on that statute shortly after its passage.  

Zach devoted his practice exclusively to labor and employment law.  He has been a frequent speaker at the New York University Conference on Labor and continues to teach employment law to members of the federal judiciary through the Federal Judicial Center and New York University Law School, where he is an emeritus member of the Advisory Board of the NYU Center for Labor and Employment Law.  He has lectured at numerous law schools on labor and employment law, appellate advocacy, and legal ethics.  He is a frequent speaker on topics in his field and has written three books and published numerous articles on labor and employment law. 

 

Education

University of Michigan Law School

J.D., 1972, with Honors,

Order of the Coif

Northwestern University,  B.A.,1969

 

Admissions & Qualifications

New York

District of Columbia

Illinois


Dr. Randazzo is a Managing Partner of SIGMA Threat Management Associates and an international expert on threat assessment, targeted violence, and violence prevention.  In addition to her work at SIGMA, she currently serves as Director of Threat Assessment for Georgetown University. 

Previously, Dr. Randazzo served for ten years with the U.S. Secret Service, most recently as the agency's Chief Research Psychologist. Among her various responsibilities, she co-directed the Safe School Initiative, the landmark federal study of school shootings that was conducted jointly by the U.S. Secret Service and U.S. Department of Education.  Dr. Randazzo is an accomplished presenter and instructor on threat assessment investigations, having trained over 15,000 professionals in law enforcement, management, administration, mental health, and the intelligence community throughout the United States, Canada, and the European Union. Her research is used in the federal, state, and local law enforcement communities and has been credited in the media with preventing planned attacks. She is co-author of two leading books on threat assessment: The Handbook for Campus Threat Assessment and   Management   Teams   (2008)   and Implementing Behavioral Threat Assessment on Campus: A Virginia Tech Demonstration Project (2009); both books are referenced as best-practice resources in several federal guides on emergency planning and in an American National Standard. 

Dr. Randazzo has testified before Congress and has been interviewed by major television, radio, and print news outlets, including 60 Minutes, Good Morning America, Nightline, Today, the Early Show, 48 Hours, Dateline NBC, MSNBC, the New York Times, Esquire Magazine, Redbook Magazine, and National Public Radio. She currently serves on the editorial board of the Journal of Threat Assessment & Management.  She has also published under her maiden name, Marisa Reddy.

Dr. Randazzo received her Ph.D. and Master's degree from Princeton University in Social Psychology, and a B.A. in Psychology and Religion from Williams College. Dr. Randazzo was awarded the Williams College Bicentennial Medal for her work in preventing violence and was recently honored as a Distinguished Alumna of the Spence School.


Tracy’s practice focuses on representing financial institutions and other corporations in complex civil litigation, arbitration and mediation proceedings, corporate internal investigations, and labor and employment matters.

She has also represented clients before a wide variety of regulatory and prosecutorial agencies, both at the state
and federal levels, as well as congressional committees and independent examiners appointed by court order.

Tracy is co-chair of the Firm’s Diversity Committee, co-chair of the Women’s Initiative Committee and a hiring partner. She also oversees the Firm’s active networks for minority associates: the Asian Associates Network, the Network of Black and Latino Lawyers and the LGBT Network. She is co-chairwoman of the YWCA-NYC, a vice-chairwoman of the Legal Aid Society, and a member of the board of directors of Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, New York City Bar Justice Center and Partnership for After School Education. She is a member of the Association of Black Women Attorneys and Metropolitan Black Bar Association.


Eric Eichenholtz is currently the Chief of the Labor and Employment Law Division of the New York City Law Department. In this capacity, he oversees a Division of more than 50 attorneys and 15 support staff whose function it is to represent the City of New York and its agencies in a wide variety of litigation related to the City’s role as a municipal employer. Prior to becoming Division Chief, Eric has handled a wide variety of cases, including the representation of the former New York City Council Speaker in a highly publicized lawsuit that alleging improper termination of a City Council aide, a series of cases challenging the New York City Department of Education’s Teaching Fellows program (a program designed to attract teachers to schools), and several discrimination lawsuits against high ranking City officials. Eric has also served as the Co-Chairperson of the Law Department’s Electronic Evidence Committee since 2007. In addition to presenting at PLI, Eric has also presented CLE lectures on Professionalism, Brief Writing, Discovery and Electronic Discovery for the New York City Law Department. Eric has been a guest lecturer at Adelphi University, making presentations on legal research to graduate students taking classes on education and the law. Eric is a member of the New York State Bar Association, and volunteers as a judge for American Bar Association’s National Appellate Competition as well as various college moot court competitions. He also serves as a volunteer small claims arbitrator for the New York County Civil Court.


Thomas E. Spahn practices as a commercial litigator with McGuireWoods in Tysons Corner, Virginia.  Tom was selected as the 2013 and the 2020 metro-Washington DC "Lawyer of the Year" for "Bet the Company Litigation" by The Best Lawyers in America (Woodward/White, Inc.).  In 2018, Virginia Lawyers Weekly selected him for inclusion in the inaugural Virginia Lawyers Hall of Fame.  Tom 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.  He has spoken at over 1,900 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 950 weekly email alerts about privilege and work product cases; materials for over 40 ethics programs on numerous topics, totaling about 10,000 pages of analysis.  Tom graduated magna cum laude from Yale University and received his J.D. from Yale Law School. 


Cynthia Estlund is the Catherine A. Rein Professor at NYU School of Law, and a leading scholar of labor and employment law.  She has written extensively on workplace regulation and governance; freedom of expression and procedural fairness at work; diversity, integration, and affirmative action; and many aspects of collective labor law – mainly in the U.S. but also from a comparative perspective.  Her first book Working Together: How Workplace Bonds Strengthen a Diverse Democracy (Oxford Univ. Press, 2003), argues that workplace diversity, coupled with the cooperation and sociability that work entails, has important implications for democratic theory and for labor and employment law.  Her book, Regoverning the Workplace: From Self-Regulation to Co-Regulation (Yale Univ. Press, 2010), chronicles the decline of collective bargaining, the rise of employment law, and current trends in regulatory practice that suggest a potential path toward better and more participatory workplace governance.  Her next book, A New Deal for China’s Workers? (under contract; Harvard Univ. Press), is about reform and its limits in the wake of rising labor unrest in China.

Estlund got her B.A. (summa cum laude) from Lawrence University, and her J.D. from Yale Law School.  After clerking for Judge Patricia M. Wald on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, Estlund practiced law for several years, primarily at the labor law firm of Bredhoff & Kaiser in D.C.  She taught at the University of Texas School of Law and Columbia Law School before moving to New York University School of Law in 2006.


Kristen J. Mathews is the head of Proskauer’s Privacy & Cybersecurity Group. She focuses her practice   on technology, e-commerce and media-related transactions and advice, with concentrations in the areas of data privacy, data security, direct marketing and online advertising.  She regularly advises clients on a wide range of matters, including privacy and data security compliance, responding to data security breach incidents, transactions involving data, preparing privacy and data security policies, data profiling, behavioral marketing, financial privacy, children’s privacy, international privacy, health care privacy, identity theft prevention, geolocational privacy, mobile marketing, social networking, payment card data security and telematics. Kristen is the editor of Proskauer’s Privacy Law Blog at  www.proskaueronprivacy.com, the Proskauer on Privacy treatise published by the Practicing Law Institute, and the chair of Proskauer’s annual “Proskauer on Privacy” conference. She is accredited by the IAPP as  a Certified Information Privacy Professional (“CIPP”).


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, sexual harassment, 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.


Dr. Cohen is an Associate Clinical Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA.  He has particular expertise in the range of reactions that occur in response to life events and trauma, having clinical experience as a psychiatrist that includes treatment of combat and non-combat veterans within the Department of Veterans Affairs for over 10 years.  He has conducted over 750 forensic evaluations related to a variety of legal matters involving disability, employment issues, the effect of mental illness on daily function, the presence and/or absence of mental illness, sanity, competency, dangerousness, and mental health treatment.  Dr. Cohen completed his undergraduate and graduate coursework at UCLA before obtaining his medical degree from the Keck School of Medicine at the University of Southern California.  After completing psychiatric training at the UCLA San Fernando Psychiatry Residency Training Program, Dr. Cohen completed a fellowship in the subspecialty of forensic psychiatry.