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Current Developments in Federal Civil Practice 2019

Speaker(s): Hon. Cheryl L. Pollak, Hon. George B. Daniels, Hon. James L. Cott, Hon. Vincent L. Briccetti, Jacob Hollinger, Jerome G. Snider, Jonathan L. Frank, Lauren E. Aguiar, R Jason Straight, Stephen Cha-Kim, Zoe Salzman
Recorded on: Feb. 8, 2019
PLI Program #: 249737

Hon. George B. Daniels was appointed to the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York on February 24, 2000.  With the support of both New York Senators Daniel Patrick Moynihan and Charles E. Schumer, Judge Daniels was nominated by President Clinton for the Federal bench on August 6, 1999.

Judge Daniels is a 1971 graduate of Suffield Academy.  He received his Bachelor of Arts degree in American Studies from Yale University in 1975.  He obtained law degree in 1978 from the University of California, Berkeley, Boalt Hall School of Law. He has been admitted to practice law as a member of the New York, California, New Jersey, and District of Columbia Bars.

Judge Daniels began his legal career in 1978 as a criminal defense attorney for the Legal Aid Society of  New York.  In 1980, he clerked for Chief Justice Rose E. Bird, of the California Supreme Court.  From 1981 - 1983, he was a litigation associate with the New York Law firm of Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom.  He served as a federal prosecutor with the office of the United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York from 1983 - 1989.

In 1989, Judge Daniels was appointed a Judge of the Criminal Court of the City of New York by Mayor Edward I. Koch.  In 1990, Judge Daniels stepped down from the bench to serve as Counsel to the Mayor of the City of New York David N. Dinkins.  In 1993, Judge Daniels was re-appointed a Judge of the Criminal Court of the City of New York by Mayor David N. Dinkins.  In 1995, Judge Daniels was elected a Justice of the Supreme Court of the State of New York.

Judge Daniels is an adjunct professor of law at Brooklyn Law School.  He has also served as a trial advocacy instructor at the United States Attorney General’s Advocacy Institute, Hofstra Law School, Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, the National Institute for Trial Advocacy, the United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda in Tanzania, for lawyers and magistrates in Liberia, and has taught intellectual property to Judges from the South African region in Namibia.  He was a co- author of Greenberg, Marcus, et al., New York Criminal Law [West Publishing Co.,1996]

Judge Daniels currently serves as a committee member of the Cyrus Vance Center for International Justice Initiatives of the New York City Bar Association.  He is also a member of the Franklin H. Williams Judicial Commission on Minorities of the New York State Unified Court System, and a member of the Suffield Academy Board of Trustees. He is a former Vice President of the New York City Bar Association and served on the Board of Directors of the New York City Bar Fund.

Hon. James L. Cott became a United States Magistrate Judge for the Southern District of New York in March, 2010.  Immediately prior to his appointment to the bench, Magistrate Judge Cott served as the Chief of the Civil Division in the United States Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York from 2003 to 2010.  A graduate of Harvard College and Northeastern University School of Law, Judge Cott has also served as a law clerk to the late Vincent L. Broderick, United States District Judge for the Southern District of New York, and for 13 years was an Assistant United States Attorney in the Civil Division of the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York, serving as Chief of the Office's Civil Rights Unit from 1991 to 1996 and as a Deputy Chief of the Civil Division from 1996 to 2000.  From 2001 to 2003, Judge Cott was the Associate Director of Litigation at the NAACP Legal Defense & Educational Fund.  Judge Cott has taught at New York University School of Law and at Fordham Law School, and participates annually in the Practising Law Institute's course on Current Developments in Federal Civil Practice.  He has also co-taught a master class on constitutional law at the Academy for Teachers, and participates annually in the Second Circuit’s Teachers Summer Institute on Civic Education.

Stephen Cha-Kim has been an Assistant U.S. Attorney in the Southern District of New York since 2015. He represents the federal government and its agencies before the U.S. District, Bankruptcy, and Circuit Courts in a range of affirmative and defensive civil litigation, including financial fraud, healthcare fraud, civil rights, environmental, tax, regulatory, tort, national security, and international law matters. He began his legal career as a Skadden Fellow at Make the Road New York, a community-based organization, providing direct legal services to Spanish-speaking immigrant workers. He subsequently clerked for U.S. Magistrate Judge James L. Cott of the S.D.N.Y. and U.S. District Judge Edmond E. Chang of the Northern District of Illinois.

Stephen also serves as an Adjunct Professor at NYU School of Law, where he co-teaches a clinical seminar on government civil litigation, and at Fordham University School of Law, where he teaches legal writing and research. Stephen is a graduate of the University of Chicago, Cambridge University, and Harvard Law School.   

Vincent L. Briccetti was appointed a United States District Judge for the Southern District of New York by President Barack Obama in 2011.

Judge Briccetti is a graduate of Columbia College and Fordham Law School.  At Fordham, he was Articles Editor of the Law Review.  He later served as a law clerk to Judge John M. Cannella of the Southern District of New York and as an Assistant United States Attorney in the Southern District.  As an AUSA, he served as Deputy Chief Appellate Attorney and received the Director’s Award for Superior Performance from the Executive Office of United States Attorneys.

In 1992, Judge Briccetti founded his own law firm in White Plains, the focus of which was criminal defense.  He has lectured at numerous professional conferences on various subjects, including criminal law and procedure, federal civil practice, the federal Sentencing Guidelines, the representation of controversial clients, ethics, and the “art” of cross-examination.  Judge Briccetti is also an Adjunct Professor at Fordham Law School, where he teaches a course on federal sentencing law.  

In 2011, the New York State Bar Association awarded Judge Briccetti its David S. Michaels Award for Courageous Efforts in Promoting Integrity of the Criminal Justice System. 

Zoe Salzman is an experienced trial attorney.  She has tried commercial and civil rights cases before juries in both federal and state courts.  She has also argued appeals in both the Second Circuit Court of Appeals and the First Department Appellate Division.

Ms. Salzman’s diverse practice at the firm includes representing people, companies, and not-for-profit organizations in challenges in many fields, including employment discrimination; sexual harassment; sexual assault; Child Victims Act abuse; wrongful conviction; police and prison abuse; tort and contract disputes; partnership disputes; housing discrimination; constitutional litigation; developmental disability discrimination; and school bullying. 

She also represents lawyers, executives in all fields, employees, and companies in internal investigations and the negotiation of employment, severance, and separation agreements.

Ms. Salzman specializes in representing victims in #MeToo cases with claims for sexual harassment, assault, or abuse. In 2019, Ms. Salzman argued and won a landmark victory in the First Department Appellate Division that rape and sexual assault are necessarily motivated at least in part by animus towards the victim’s gender, and therefore prohibited by the New York City Victims of Gender-Motivated Violence Protection Law. Many of Ms. Salzman’s other cases in this field have been resolved in high-value confidential settlements or litigated in confidential arbitrations.

Ms. Salzman regularly teaches and speaks on panels hosted by the Practising Law Institute (PLI), the National Employment Lawyers Association/New York, New York University School of Law, and other institutions and law schools.

Prior to joining the firm in 2010, Ms. Salzman clerked for the Hon. Sterling Johnson, Jr. in the Eastern District of New York and worked with the International Human Rights Clinic at NYU School of Law.  Ms. Salzman graduated magna cum laude from NYU School of Law in 2007.

Jerome Snider joined Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP in 1977 after graduating with honors from the University of Pennsylvania Law School and clerking for Chief Judge David N. Edelstein in the Southern District of New York.  At Davis Polk, Jerry was a litigation partner from 1983 to 2006 in the firm’s New York and District of Columbia offices, and Litigation Department Practice Group Co-Coordinator from 2000 to 2005. 

In 2006, Jerry became Davis Polk’s first General Counsel, serving in that role until 2013, when he became the firm’s Professional Responsibility Counsel.  He is a member of the bars of New York, the District of Columbia, and various federal trial and appellate courts.

Jerry is co-author of Corporate Privileges and Confidential Information (Law Journal Press), and is also co-author of “Professional Liability” in Business and Commercial Litigation in Federal Courts (West Group and ABA).  He is a member of the NY State Bar Association Committee on Standards of Attorney Conduct (“COSAC”).  He previously served on the New York City Bar Association Professional Ethics Committee, its Professional Responsibility Committee and its Professional Discipline Committee.

From 2013 - 2018, Jerry taught Professional Responsibility as Adjunct Professor of Law or Lecturer-in-Law at Columbia Law School, New York University School of Law and Fordham University School of Law.


Jonathan L. Frank joined Skadden in 1999 after years as an executive assistant district attorney, special prosecutor and homicide prosecutor in Brooklyn, N.Y. As a prosecutor, Mr. Frank successfully tried numerous high-profile murder cases and was nationally recognized for his work.

Mr. Frank, likewise, has been nationally recognized for his commercial litigation work at Skadden, being listed in Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers For Business where he is described as “wicked smart.” He also is named as a Leading Lawyer in the Legal 500 U.S. His practice at Skadden is focused on a variety of complex commercial disputes, including real estate, bankruptcy and securities litigations, as well as related white collar criminal matters, emphasizing the creation and execution of litigation strategies and tactics; trial, international and U.S. arbitral proceedings; the assessment of claims; and settlement negotiations. He has acted as counsel in numerous high-profile business litigations and arbitrations.

Among other matters, Mr. Frank co-led the bankruptcy trial team that successfully secured a complete victory on behalf of NextEra Energy, Inc. against the Adelphia Recovery Trust in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court against fraudulent transfer action, and then secured an affirmance, based on a de novo review, in the Southern District Court of New York. Employing a novel argument that combined analysis of two traditionally independent concepts — solvency and access to capital — the team convinced both courts that the plaintiff failed to carry its burden of establishing that Adelphia was insolvent or would have been unable to raise adequate financing to continue its operations at the time of the alleged fraudulent transfer, notwithstanding the undisputed facts that Adelphia (i) had committed $400 million of financial fraud; (ii) exceeded the permissible leverage ratios in its loan documents; and (iii) had no unencumbered assets.

Mr. Frank was a lead member of the trial team that won a defendant’s verdict on all claims in favor of DaimlerChrysler AG against Tracinda Corporation, owned by Kirk Kerkorian. The trial in the U.S. District Court of Delaware involved securities fraud claims of more than $1 billion, making it the largest securities case ever tried in federal court. The National Law Journal awarded the team the “2005 Top Defense Win of the Year.”

Judge Pollak became Chief Magistrate Judge for the Eastern District of New York in February 2020 after serving as a United States Magistrate Judge for the Eastern District of New York since November 1, 1995. She graduated magna cum laude from Princeton University in 1975 and received her J.D. degree from the University of Chicago Law School in 1978, where she was Articles and Book Review Editor of the University of Chicago Law Review. Following graduation from law school, Judge Pollak served as a law clerk to the Honorable William H. Timbers on the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. Thereafter, from 1979 to 1986, she was an associate at Davis Polk & Wardwell in New York.

In August 1986, Judge Pollak became an Assistant United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, where she served as Chief of the Narcotics/OCDETF Unit from 1991 to 1994, and Deputy Chief of the Criminal Division from 1994 to 1995.  She also served as International Affairs and National Security Coordinator for the United States Attorney's Office. She remained at the United States Attorney's Office until her appointment as a Magistrate Judge in November 1995.

Judge Pollak is a member of the American Bar Association and the Association of the Bar of the City of New York, where she has served as a member of the Federal Courts Committee, the Committee on Women in the Legal Profession, and the Criminal Law Committee.  She is Chair of the Criminal Justice Act Panel Committee of the Eastern District and has also served as a member of the Eastern District Advisory Committee on Civil Practice and Rules.  Judge Pollak has also served as a Master in the Inns of Court for the Federal Bar Council.  She has also participated in Moot Court, mock trial and trial advocacy programs at Columbia, NYU, Cardozo, St. John’s, Brooklyn and New York Law Schools.  She is also a Program Judge for the Special Options Services program, an alternative to incarceration program for youthful defendants. 


Lauren E. Aguiar is a Partner in the Complex Litigation and Trials group at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP, where she represents clients in federal and state court business litigation. Her diverse practice focuses on complex, high-profile cases and trials involving a wide range of  commercial  matters  including  breach  of  contract, M&A, fraud, fiduciary, employment, trust & estate, copyright, false advertising, trade secret, and class action litigation. Ms. Aguiar is the Chairperson of the Skadden Foundation, which runs the Skadden Fellowship Program. She serves on the Board of Directors and the Executive Committee of New York Lawyers for the Public Interest. She also is a member of the Board of Directors and the Executive Committee of Covenant House International, a shelter in the U.S. and Central America for homeless and trafficked youth. She serves on the advisory board of the Access to Justice Lab at Harvard Law School. Ms. Aguiar received her B.A. magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa from Connecticut College, and her J.D. from New York University School of Law, where she was the Managing Editor of the Annual Survey of American Law. She is recognized as a stand-out in her field, including as a leading lawyer in general commercial litigation by Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business; Best Lawyers (2018- 2020); Latin America Corporate Counsel Association (as a leading practitioner); Super Lawyers (Top 50 Women Lawyers in NY Metro 2019-2020); and Crain's Notable Women in Law (2021). She is a Fellow in the Litigation Counsel of America (a peer selected group). She speaks and writes frequently on issues related to civil litigation and trial practice, including at the Practicing Law Institute, the New York State Bar Association, and the New York City Bar.

R Jason Straight is a Senior Managing Director and Chief Privacy Officer at Ankura, based in the New York Office.  Jason is a leader in the cybersecurity and privacy consulting practice and oversees Ankura’s internal data privacy program.  He has extensive experience managing complex cybersecurity investigations and data breach events in a wide variety of industries involving a range of threat actors including malicious insiders, organized criminal operations and state sponsored groups.  In addition, Jason has overseen and led large data risk and privacy compliance consulting matters for global companies facing regulatory challenges arising from the General Data Protection Regulation, the California Consumer Privacy Act, HIPAA, federal and state financial services regulations and other frameworks.  Jason also founded and led a Gartner-recognized Managed Detection and Response business providing continuous network security monitoring and threat detection to companies in the financial services, healthcare, manufacturing, legal and technology sectors.  Jason has also served as the Chief Privacy Officer for an international technology services firm.

Jacob Hollinger practices environmental and energy law at McDermott Will & Emery LLP in New York.  He is a graduate of Swarthmore College and New York University School of Law and a former Motions Law Clerk for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.  Jacob began his legal career as a commercial litigator at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP.  He then spent nearly ten years as a government environmental enforcement attorney, first with the New York State Attorney General’s Office and then with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.  Jacob joined McDermott from the U.S. EPA in August 2013.

Jacob’s practice at McDermott focuses on environmental and energy-related investigations, enforcement actions, litigation and compliance.  He is admitted to practice in New York and the District of Columbia, and before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia and the U.S. District Courts for the Southern, Eastern and Western Districts of New York.