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Trial Evidence 2019

Speaker(s): Benjamin R. Allee, Hon. James C. Francis IV (Ret.), Hon. Judith J. Gische, Hon. Katherine B. Forrest (fmr.), Kathy S. Marks, Sarah Jo Hamilton, Seymour W. James, Jr., Steven D. Feldman, Zoe Salzman
Recorded on: Dec. 9, 2019
PLI Program #: 249907

Judge James C. Francis IV is currently a Mediator, Arbitrator, and Special Master affiliated with JAMS.

From 1985-2017, he served as a United States Magistrate Judge in the Southern District of New York. During his tenure, Judge Francis was responsible for conducting pretrial proceedings, mediating settlements, and presiding over trial in thousands of cases.

After stepping down from the bench in 2017, Judge Francis served as distinguished lecturer at the CUNY School of Law, where he taught Civil Procedure, Evidence, Electronic Discovery, Constitutional Torts, and Federal Courts. 

In addition to receiving his juris doctor degree from the Yale Law School, he has a masters degree in public policy from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. Following graduation from law school, Judge Francis clerked for the Honorable Robert L. Carter in the Southern District of New York. After his clerkship, Judge Francis served an attorney with the impact litigation unit of the Legal Aid Society of New York. There, he litigated class actions and test cases in the areas of housing and education. He also established the Disability Rights Unit to provide legal services for persons with physical and mental disabilities.   

Benjamin Allee is a partner at Yankwitt LLP in White Plains, New York.  He represents clients in connection with criminal investigations and prosecutions, and in civil litigation. 

Previously, Ben served for ten years as an Assistant United States Attorney in the Criminal Division of the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York.  He completed his service as Deputy Chief of the White Plains Division, where he supervised more than twenty AUSAs handling all federal criminal prosecutions in the Hudson Valley.

Prior to serving as an AUSA, Ben worked at Davis Polk & Wardwell in New York City.  Ben also served as a law clerk to Honorable Peter K. Leisure, United States District Judge of the Southern District of New York, and Honorable Pierre N. Level, United States Circuit Judge of the Second Circuit Court of Appeals. 

Ben graduated from SUNY Geneseo with majors in English and Philosophy, and from Fordham Law School, where he was Editor-in-Chief of the Fordham Law Review and first in his class.

Justice Judith J. Gische currently serves as an Associate Justice in the New York State Appellate Division, First Judicial Department.  She was appointed in October 2012. 

Justice Gische began her judicial career in 1990, when she was appointed to serve as a Housing Court Judge in Kings County. She was then elected to the Civil Court in the City of New York in 1994 and reelected in 2004.  She was appointed an acting Supreme Court Justice in 1997.  She was elected to the Supreme Court for a term beginning 2009.   Among other assignments, Justice Gische presided over dedicated matrimonial parts in both the Bronx and New York County for seven years and subsequently presided over an IAS Civil Part in New York County for eight years.

Prior to her election to the bench, Justice Gische was a Judicial Clerk in the Appellate Division, Third Department from 1980 to 1982 and a senior attorney at Richenthal, Abrams & Moss from 1982 to 1990.  From 1990 to 1993, she served as a Judge in the Housing Part of the Civil Court of the City of New York in Brooklyn.

In 1977 Justice Gische received her undergraduate degree with honors from the State University of New York at Buffalo.  She went on to receive her law degree from SUNY Buffalo in 1980.

Justice Gische is a member of Chief Judge Janet DiFiore’s Advisory Committee on Evidence.  She is a member of the Committee on Pattern Jury Instructions Association of the State of New York.  She also serves on the Dean’s Advisory Committee of her alma mater, UB Law School. She was Adjunct Professor for ten years at New York Law School and has been a featured lecturer on numerous occasions for varied professional associations.  She has published a number of articles on housing, custody and guardianship issues.  She is also a co-author of chapter 6 of the Judges Bench Book.  In addition, Justice Gische is also a member of various bar associations.  

Katherine B. Forrest is a former U.S. District Judge for the Southern District of New York and former Deputy Assistant Attorney General in the Antitrust Division of the U.S. Department of Justice, whose litigation practice as a partner at Cravath has a significant focus on high tech issues, including those related to artificial intelligence, the digital environment and big data. She regularly speaks, writes and advises clients on the intersection between law and technology 

Ms. Forrest is a regular technology columnist for the New York Law Journal. Her article "The Holographic Judge" was the recipient of The Burton Awards' 2020 "Law360 Distinguished Legal Writing Award," and she has a forthcoming book on artificial intelligence and justice issues. Ms. Forrest recently authored a chapter on emerging issues in copyright law and artificial intelligence in The Law of Artificial Intelligence and Smart Machines and has presented multiple times to the New York State Judicial Institute relating to Artificial Intelligence. She is an Adjunct Professor of Law at NYU Law School co-teaching a course on Quantitative Methods and the Law.

During her tenure on the bench, Ms. Forrest presided over a diverse range of matters, including several thousand criminal and civil cases and over 100 trials, and authored more than 1,000 opinions. She has significant experience in complex litigation (including in the areas of antitrust, pharmaceutical, financial services, toxic tort, intellectual property and significant employment matters), as well as criminal matters and investigations. Ms. Forrest has been recognized as a leading lawyer by numerous professional publications, including The American Lawyer, Benchmark Litigation, Chambers USA, Global Competition Review, IP Law & Business, Law360, Lawdragon and The Legal 500 US.

Ms. Forrest received a B.A. with honors from Wesleyan University in 1986, and a J.D. from NYU School of Law in 1990.

Kathy S. Marks is a partner in the White Plains, New York office of Yankwitt LLP, where she represents whistleblowers and serves as trial counsel in a wide variety of commercial cases, with a specialty in health care issues and government investigations.

Kathy is also an experienced mediator and mediation practitioner, having served as a volunteer mediator for the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York for more than 20 years.

Kathy graduated magna cum laude from Georgetown University Law Center in 1985.  After working in private practice, Kathy served as an Assistant United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York for more than 15 years, including serving as Chief of the Immigration Unit and Deputy Chief of Appeals, and as Counsel to the New York State Medicaid Fraud Control Unit for three years, before joining Yankwitt LLP in 2010.

Sarah Jo Hamilton was a partner in the firm SCALISE & HAMILTON LLP in Scarsdale, New York from 2007 until 2019.  She is currently of counsel to the firm, which focuses its practice on the representation of professionals (lawyers, judges, accountants, doctors, dentists, pharmacists, social workers, and government employees) in professional responsibility and ethics matters, and white-collar criminal matters. Before entering private practice in 2007, Ms. Hamilton served as Secretary to the Committee on Character and Fitness and First Deputy Chief Counsel to the Disciplinary Committee for the First Judicial Department.

Ms. Hamilton received a Juris Doctor from St. John’s University Law School and a BSFS from Georgetown University.

Ms. Hamilton served on the Commission on Statewide Attorney Discipline which issued its Report and Recommendations in 2015.  Ms. Hamilton is also actively involved in several bar associations; New York State Bar Association where she is the former Chair of the Committee on Professional Discipline; New York City Bar Association; New York County Lawyers Association where she is Director of the NYCLA Ethics Institute, a member of the Ethics Committee and he Public Policy & Action Committee; Women’s Bar Association of the State of New York; and the Orange County Bar and Sullivan County Bar Associations. 

Ms. Hamilton has coordinated and/or lectured in Bridge the Gap and Continuing Legal Education programs for the Appellate Division, First Department; the New York County Lawyers Association; the New York State Bar Association; the New York City Bar Association, Womens’ Bar Association, LawLine, the Practicing Lawyers Institute and Bloomberg.  She has also lectured at many of the New York are law schools including Fordham and Columbia Universities.

Seymour W. James, Jr. is a partner focusing on criminal defense and civil rights litigation at the law firm of Barket Epstein Kearon Aldea and LoTurco. He is the former Attorney-in-Chief of The Legal Aid Society in New York City where he was responsible for the overall operation of the Society’s Civil, Criminal and Juvenile Rights practices. Mr. James began his career as a staff attorney with The Legal Aid Society and prior to serving as Attorney-in-Chief held various supervisory positions in the Criminal Defense Practice, including city-wide Attorney-in-Charge.

A leader of the organized bar, Mr. James is a Past President of the New York State Bar Association and the Queens County Bar Association and currently serves in the American Bar Association’s House of Delegates. He previously served as a member of the ABA’s Standing Committee on the Federal Judiciary.  He has served on important State and City commissions including the Chief Judge’s Justice Task Force, the Permanent Sentencing Commission, and the Independent Commission on New York City Criminal Justice and Incarceration Reform.

Mr. James is a past member of the Departmental Disciplinary Committee for the Appellate Division, 1st Judicial Department, where he served as a committee panel chair  and is currently a member of the Committees on Character & Fitness for the Appellate Division, 2nd Judicial Department.  

Mr. James is a graduate of Brown University and Boston University School of Law.

Steven D. Feldman guides in-house counsel and individuals in critical government inquiries and crises in the white collar and securities enforcement arenas.  He aids companies and individuals in criminal and regulatory investigations, criminal prosecutions and enforcement proceedings, and other high stakes litigation.

A former federal prosecutor, Steve is experienced advising clients to overcome accusations of business crimes, public corruption, securities law violations and fraudulent practices by the U.S. Attorneys’ Offices, State Attorneys General, District Attorneys’ Offices, U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, and the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission. Mr. Feldman has extensive experience in public corruption investigations and prosecutions, art and cultural object related crimes, health care fraud cases, and cases arising under the securities laws.  In criminal and regulatory matters, he works with broker-dealers, stockbrokers, hedge funds, investment advisors and corporate executives.  In some of his most important victories, Mr. Feldman has convinced criminal authorities not to prosecute his clients for alleged wrongdoing. When prosecutions go forward, he is an experienced federal court trial attorney prevailing in numerous jury trials.

Mr. Feldman also works with companies and in-house counsel to conduct internal investigations and represents individual executives in corporate internal investigations. 

Mr. Feldman spearheaded the creation of the Murphy & McGonigle iPhone and Android app, M&M Defend, which provides guidelines to arm individuals and companies with resources for critical law enforcement encounters. It can be downloaded by visiting the iTunes app store, here, and the Google Play store, here.

Mr. Feldman spent more than six years as an Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York in Manhattan.  During his last four years as a federal criminal prosecutor, he served on the office’s Securities and Commodities Fraud Task Force.

Steve has been recognized by Martindale-Hubbell with its AV Preeminent ranking, the peer-rated highest level of professional excellence. He has been selected by Super Lawyers as a Top Rated White Collar Crimes Attorney in New York, N.Y. every year since 2010.

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.