Skip to main content

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

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.


James C. Francis IV is a Distinguished Lecturer at CUNY Law School, where he teaches Civil Procedure, Federal Courts, Constitutional Torts, and Electronic Discovery.  Previously, he was a United States Magistrate Judge in the Southern District of New York from 1985 to 2017 and served as Chief Magistrate Judge from 1998 to 2000.  Judge Francis graduated summa cum laude from Yale College in 1974, where he was a member of Phi Beta Kappa.  He received his juris doctor degree from the Yale Law School in 1978 and a masters degree in public policy from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University in the same year.  Following graduation from law school, Judge Francis clerked for the Honorable Robert L. Carter in the Southern District of New York.  He then joined the Civil Appeals and Law Reform Unit of the Legal Aid Society where he conducted impact litigation in the areas of housing and education and served as director of the Disability Rights Unit until his appointment to the bench.  From 2003 until 2017, Judge Francis was an Adjunct Professor at the Fordham University School of Law.    He has served on the Legal Assistance, Federal Courts, Disability Rights, and Professional Responsibility Committees of the New York City Bar Association and the Federal Judiciary Committee of the New York State Bar Association.  Judge Francis lectures frequently on electronic discovery, employment litigation, constitutional torts, legal ethics, and pretrial practice.  


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 partner in Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP’s Litigation Department.  She most recently served as a U.S. District Judge for the Southern District of New York and was the former Deputy Assistant Attorney General in the Antitrust Division of the U.S. Department of Justice.  During her tenure on the bench, Ms. Forrest presided over a diverse range of matters.  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. 

Over the course of her career, Ms. Forrest has been regarded as a leader in legal issues relating to technology, including the digital environment, big data and artificial intelligence.  She regularly speaks on these issues and has a forthcoming book entitled When Machines Can be Judge, Jury and Executioner: Artificial Intelligence and the Law.  Ms. Forrest is a regular technology columnist for the New York Law Journal (“NYLJ”), and she recently authored a chapter on emerging issues in copyright law and artificial intelligence in The Law of Artificial Intelligence and Smart Machines.  Last year, she gave the Brace Memorial Lecture on Artificial Intelligence, sponsored by the Copyright Society of the U.S.A., at Fordham Law School.

Ms. Forrest was born in New York, New York.  She received a B.A. with honors from Wesleyan University and a J.D. from NYU School of Law, where she is an Adjunct Professor of Law and co-teaches a course on Quantitative Methods and the Law.  Ms. Forrest first joined Cravath as a summer associate in 1989, became an associate in 1990 and a partner in 1998.  She rejoined Cravath in September 2018.


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 Feldman focuses his practice on white collar criminal litigation and securities enforcement matters. He represents companies and individuals accused 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. 

Skilled as both a defense attorney and a prosecutor, Mr. Feldman has extensive experience in public corruption prosecutions, business crime matters, art and cultural object related crimes, health care fraud cases, and cases arising under the federal securities laws.  

Prior to joining private practice, 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.


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; 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 executives and employees in negotiating severance and separation agreements.

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.