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Ethics and Conflicts of Interest in Law Practice 2019


Speaker(s): Debra Kobrin Levy, Ellen L. Hayes, James Q. Walker, Jennifer A. Paradise, Katie M. Lachter
Recorded on: Aug. 6, 2019
PLI Program #: 252445

Ellen Hayes is a seasoned finance lawyer with 20+ years of experience as a partner at two top tier international law firms. She currently leads a team in New York responsible for advising Linklaters LLP on risk management issues related to the Americas and U.S. lawyers worldwide, including professional responsibility issues. She has diverse experience leading multi-lawyer teams in complex and sophisticated transactions, including for leading international investment banks. Prior to joining Linklaters LLP Ellen was a partner in Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer US LLP’s New York office.  Earlier in her career she was Principal Counsel at International Finance Corporation and a partner at the Toronto law firm Torys LLP. Ellen has been recognized in Legal 500 and the IFLR as a leading structured finance lawyer. Ellen is qualified in New York, England & Wales and Ontario, Canada. She is a past member of the New York City Bar Committee on Professional Responsibility and is a regular speaker on ethics and legal opinions issues.


James Walker concentrates in government investigations and enforcement proceedings, complex commercial litigation, professional liability and legal ethics.  Mr. Walker represents companies and senior executives in investigations of potential violations of the securities laws, and law firms and lawyers in litigations and proceedings involving investigations of criminal, regulatory and/or professional misconduct claims.  Mr. Walker is the Chair of the New York County Lawyer’s Association Professional Ethics Committee.  He has served on the New York City Bar’s Professional Discipline, Professional and Judicial Ethics, Professional Responsibility, and Securities Regulation Committees, and on the New York State Bar Association Committee on Professional Ethics, where he has been a member since 1996.  Mr. Walker frequently lecturers on legal ethics, internal investigations and corporate governance, and has published articles addressing on attorney-client privilege, professional ethics, and issues arising under the securities laws.  Mr. Walker also serves as General Counsel to Richards Kibbe & Orbe LLP.


Jennifer Paradise is General Counsel of White & Case LLP. As such, she advises the Firm's lawyers on issues relating to professional responsibility, manages the Firm’s Compliance and New Business Teams, and is a member of the Firm's Global Risk Management Committee.

Prior to joining White & Case, Ms. Paradise practiced in the litigation department at another leading firm where she litigated matters on behalf of financial service and communications industry clients.

Ms. Paradise is a former member of the American Bar Association's Standing Committee on Ethics and Professional Responsibility and of the Committee on Professional Responsibility of the Association of the Bar of the City of New York. She frequently lectures on issues pertaining to professional responsibility and teaches Ethics and Professionalism at Fordham Law School.

Ms. Paradise is a graduate of Columbia Law School where she was an Editor of the Columbia Law Review and a Stone and Kent Scholar. Ms. Paradise clerked for the Honorable Nina Gershon, United States District Court Judge for the Eastern District of New York from 2002-2003.


Katie Lachter is the Firm’s associate general counsel. Based in the New York office, Katie counsels the Firm’s lawyers on matters of professional responsibility and cross-jurisdictional and compliance issues in support of the Firm’s commitment to excellent client service.

Katie is also a member of the Law Firm Practice Group and advises lawyers, law firms and in-house legal departments on risk management and the laws and regulations governing lawyers.

Katie is a frequent writer and speaker on issues relating to legal ethics. She is a lecturer-in-law at Columbia Law School, where she teaches professional responsibility. She is also on the faculty of the Practising Law Institute and Lawline.com. She co-authored Risk Management Survival Tools for Law Firms, third edition, published by the ABA Law Practice Division in 2016. She is also the co-author of a chapter entitled "The Practical Case for Civility," in Essential Qualities of the Professional Lawyer, published by the ABA Standing Committee on Professionalism in 2013, and has co-authored numerous articles on ethics and professional responsibility for the New York Law Journal and Bloomberg Law Reports. Katie is a past secretary of the New York City Bar Association Committee on Professional Ethics and a current member of the Association of Professional Responsibility Lawyers, the New York Women’s Bar Association Ethics Committee, and the New York State Committee on Standards of Attorney Conduct.

Katie was named a 2012 Distinguished Legal Writing Award winner by the Burton Awards for Legal Achievement. She was also the recipient of the Legal Aid Society’s 2009 Pro Bono Publico award. Katie was designated a "Rising Star" in Super Lawyers’ New York Metro edition in 2014, and named a "Super Lawyer" in the 2015 edition.


Debra Kobrin Levy serves as the Associate General Counsel of White & Case LLP based in the New York office. As such, she advises the Firm's lawyers on issues relating to professional responsibility.  She also oversees the Firm’s Compliance Department and assists in implementing training programs on a variety of legal and ethical issues throughout the Firm.

Prior to joining White & Case in 2016, Debra practiced for 10 years at a boutique mid-town law firm. Her practice involved complex commercial litigation, labor and employment litigation and counseling, and assisting with trademark and copyright monitoring and filings. As a commercial litigator, Debra was involved in a broad range of cases, litigating commercial contract disputes, fraud claims, fiduciary duty claims, and trademark infringement matters.

As an employment law practitioner, Debra counseled and defended clients responding to various charges of discrimination brought for alleged violations of federal, state, and city discrimination laws.  She has also handled litigation involving wage and hour violations.

Debra is a trained mediator, and has served on the Southern District of New York's mediation panel since 2011.  Additionally, Debra has served as a member of the New York City Bar Committee on Professional Responsibility since April 2019.

Ms. Levy is a graduate of Fordham Law School and also holds a Masters Degree in Clinical Social Work from Fordham University Graduate School of Social Service.