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Puerto Rico Disaster Relief

Speaker(s): Aaron Scheinwald, Melissa C. Rodriguez, Peter A. Halprin, William Friedman
Recorded on: Oct. 27, 2017
PLI Program #: 232347

Melissa C. Rodriguez advises clients on the full spectrum of labor and employment law matters. This includes single-plaintiff, class, and collective action litigation (both wage and hour and discrimination claims); wage and hour and other employment counseling; traditional labor work. In her litigation practice, she represents employers in individual, class, and collective action litigation, and in administrative agency actions concerning federal and state labor and employment statutes. Her clients hail from sectors including the retail, airline, transportation, food services and ?nancial services industries.

In her litigation practice, Melissa handles all aspects of a dispute. She presents oral arguments to US federal and state courts (including jury trials), and second-chaired a multiplaintiff litigation in federal court. She has defended employers as ?rst- and second-chair in forums such as the American Arbitration Association, and the National Association of Securities Dealers Inc. (now known as the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, or FINRA). She also represents employers under investigation by administrative agencies, including the US Department of Labor, the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), and local and state agencies.

Melissa has experience with a host of federal and state labor and employment statutes. These include Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), the Older Workers Bene?t Protection Act, the Equal Pay Act, the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), the Railway Labor Act, New York State and New York City Human Rights Laws, the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), New York Labor Law, and the Sarbanes-Oxley Act.

In addition to her litigation background, Melissa has advised clients with respect to compliance with the requirements of the FLSA and state law wage and hour requirements. Melissa also has conducted a number of comprehensive internal wage and hour audits to assist clients in properly classifying workers as employees or independent contractors or exempt or nonexempt employees and to revise other wage and hour practices as necessary. She has also represented clients in federal and state Department of Labor audits and negotiated favorable settlements of violations.

Clients also turn to Melissa for counseling on harassment claims, the accommodation of employee disabilities, employee disciplinary issues, and termination decisions. She leads internal investigations into harassment and discrimination claims, and provides harassment and diversity training.

Melissa also routinely counsels employers with operations in Puerto Rico and represents employers in federal litigation and administrative matters in Puerto Rico.

While in law school, Melissa externed with Judge Sonia Sotomayor at the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.


Recipient, 2003 Sanctuary for Families Award for Excellence in Pro Bono Advocacy

Listed, inMotion Commitment to Justice Award (2009)

Kent Scholar, Columbia University, 1999-2000, 2000-2001

Stone Scholar, Columbia University, 1998-1999


  • New York
  • U.S. Courts of Appeals for the Second and Fourth Circuits
  • U.S. District Courts for the Northern, Southern, and Eastern Districts of New York
  • U.S. District Court for the District of Connecticut
  • U.S. District Court for the District of Puerto Rico


  • Columbia Law School, 2001, J.D.
  • Yale University, 1998, B.A., Magna Cum Laude, With Honors




Peter A. Halprin is an attorney in Anderson Kill’s New York office. Mr. Halprin’s practice concentrates in commercial litigation and insurance recovery, exclusively on behalf of policyholders. Mr. Halprin also acts as counsel for U.S. and foreign companies in domestic and international arbitrations (including London and Bermuda Form arbitrations).  Mr. Halprin advised and represented numerous clients in property insurance disputes following Superstorm Sandy.

Mr. Halprin is a 2009 graduate of Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, and received a Postgraduate Distance Learning Diploma in International Commercial Arbitration from the Queen Mary School of Law, University of London.

Mr. Halprin is an Adjunct Professor of Law and Coach of the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law Willem’s C. Vis International Commercial Arbitration Moot Team.

Since 2013, Mr. Halprin has been recognized by Super Lawyers as a New York Metro Rising Star for Insurance Coverage.

William Friedman is the Acting Director of the New York Legal Assistance Group (NYLAG)’s Storm Response Unit, which provides comprehensive legal services for victims of Superstorm Sandy. During the storm recovery process, he has advocated for clients across multiple practice areas, including landlord-tenant, foreclosure, consumer, insurance, and benefit programs. Prior to joining NYLAG, William practiced landlord-tenant and foreclosure defense litigation at Nassau-Suffolk Legal Services. He earned his J.D. from St. John’s University School of Law and his B.A. from Muhlenberg College.

Aaron is a Coordinating Attorney in the New York Legal Assistance Group (NYLAG)’s Storm Response Unit. He was previously a staff attorney with the Mobile Legal Help Center, and worked alongside the Storm Response Unit with Hurricane Sandy victims.  Traveling across New York City and Long Island, Aaron meets with potential clients and advises them on various storm-related legal issues, including FEMA IHP assistance, homeowner’s and flood insurance claims, and post-Sandy homeowner assistance programs.  Prior to working at NYLAG, Aaron volunteered at MFY Legal Services and interned at the United Nation Development Programme’s Bureau of Development Policy: HIV-AIDS Unit, the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development’s Section 8 Appeals Unit, and Fordham University School of Law’s Interdisciplinary Center for Family and Child Advocacy.  Aaron is a graduate of Fordham University School of Law and the University of California at Berkeley.