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Employment Law Institute 2019


Speaker(s): Aimee B. Florin, Amy L. Bess, Cara E. Greene, Chai R. Feldblum, Charles W. Fournier, Christopher A. D'Angelo, Christopher B. Wilkinson, Corie Pauling, Debra S. Katz, Elizabeth N. Hall, Geoffrey A. Mort, H. Sandra Bang, Hanan B. Kolko, Hon. Barbara Moses, Hon. Lois Bloom, Hon. Loretta A. Preska, James D. Esseks, Jamie Kohen, Jason C. Schwartz, Jeff Nowak, Jeremiah Iadevaia, Jessica Golden Cortes, Jessica Kastin, Jill L. Rosenberg, Jonathan Ben-Asher, Joseph K. Mulherin, Keisha-Ann G. Gray, Laura S. Schnell, Melissa R. Gold, Michele R. Fisher, Robert J. O'Hara, Robert S. Whitman, Sandi F. Dubin, Sara E. Elder, Stephen J. Malone, Teri Wilford Wood, Thomas E. Spahn, Zachary D. Fasman
Recorded on: Oct. 15, 2019
PLI Program #: 254306

Amy L. Bess is the Chair of Vedder Price’s global Labor and Employment practice group and a Member of the Firm’s Board of Directors.  Her employment litigation experience includes the representation of employers before U.S. state and federal courts and administrative agencies, defending against claims of race, sex, disability and age discrimination; sexual harassment; whistleblower retaliation; restrictive-covenant disputes; wrongful termination; and wage and hour violations. She regularly counsels clients in all of these areas, drafts and negotiates employment and severance agreements, conducts on-site workplace investigations, presents training seminars and speaks to employer groups on avoiding workplace problems. Ms. Bess also has experience advising clients regarding their public accommodation obligations under Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act and representing clients in litigation involving related claims.

Ms. Bess has extensive first-chair bench trial, jury trial and arbitration experience. She also is experienced in the defense of complex class action litigation, including wage and hour collective actions and pattern or practice litigation brought by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.  Recently, Ms. Bess has published and spoken extensively and conducted trainings and investigations for employers on sexual harassment issues in connection with the #MeToo movement.

 

 


Barbara Moses was sworn in as a United States Magistrate Judge for the Southern District of New York on December 23, 2015.

Judge Moses graduated from Dartmouth College in 1978, magna cum laude, and from Harvard Law School in 1982, cum laude. Between college and law school she worked as a radio reporter in New England. After receiving her law degree, Judge Moses clerked for Chief Judge Vincent L. McKusick of the Maine Supreme Judicial Court. She then joined the San Francisco office of Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe, where she became a litigation partner in 1990. In 1992, Judge Moses moved to Orrick’s New York office, and in 2002 she joined the New York firm now known as Morvillo, Abramowitz, Grand, Iason & Anello, where she continued to practice in the field of securities and business litigation.

From 2009 through 2011, in addition to her private practice, Judge Moses taught a full-year, first-year course in Lawyering at NYU Law School. From 2011 through 2015 she directed the Constitutional and Civil Rights Litigation Clinic at Seton Hall Law School, where she also taught Professional Responsibility.

Judge Moses has been a director of the New York County Lawyers’ Association since 2007. From 2013 to 2014 she served as NYCLA’s 59th President, and from 2004 to 2006 she chaired the NYCLA Federal Courts Committee, which honored her with the David Y. Hinshaw Award in 2015. Judge Moses is also a member of the American Bar Association, the New York State Bar Association, and the American Law Institute.


Cara E. Greene is a partner at Outten & Golden LLP in New York, where she represents employees and partners in litigation and negotiation in all areas of employment law, including executive and professional contracts and compensation; lawyers as clients; discrimination class actions; whistleblowing and retaliation; sexual harassment; discrimination based on gender, race, disability, pregnancy, and family responsibilities; and restrictive covenants.

In addition to reviewing and negotiating employment contracts and compensation guarantees, as well as severance agreements and other exit arrangements, Ms. Greene has litigated both individual and class action cases – including cases involving sex harassment, pay inequality, discrimination, retaliation, and unpaid compensation – on behalf of a variety of employees including highly compensated professionals, low-wage hourly workers, and employees in the financial services industry.

She is former chair of the New York State Bar Association’s Labor and Employment Law Section, and is an active member of the American Bar Association’s Labor and Employment Law Section (Employment Rights and Ethics and Professional Responsibilities Committees); the National Employment Lawyers Association and its New York affiliate, and the New York City Bar Association. Ms. Greene is a frequent speaker on employment law issues.


Chai R. Feldblum is a Partner and Director of Workplace Culture Consulting at Morgan Lewis.  In that role, she helps companies and organizations create safe, respectful, and inclusive workplaces, focusing on preventing and responding to workplace harassment. Chai served as a Commissioner of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) from 2010 to 2019.  At the EEOC, Chai pioneered work in covering LGBT people under existing sex discrimination laws, expanding employment opportunities for people with disabilities, developing methods for preventing workplace harassment, and doing strategic planning and upgrading of systems for the EEOC.  Prior to serving at the EEOC, Chai was a law professor at Georgetown Law School for eighteen years, where she created and directed a Federal Legislation Clinic.  The Clinic served non-profit clients including Catholic Charities USA and various disability rights clients.  Chai served as the lead drafter and negotiator of the Americans Disabilities Act of 1990 and the ADA Amendments Act of 2008.  From 1991 through 2002, Chai was also involved in a range of legislative efforts to protect LGBT people from discrimination. Chai attended Barnard College and Harvard Law School, and clerked for Judge Frank Coffin on the First Circuit Court of Appeals and Justice Harry Blackmun on the U.S. Supreme Court. 


Charles Fournier’s practice focuses on internal investigations; workforce restructurings; policy development and implementation; design and delivery of training programs; the workforce aspects of acquisitions, dispositions, and integrations; the early identification and resolution of employment disputes; and, when necessary, litigation of those disputes in arbitration and at the trial and appellate level.   

Mr. Fournier joined Curley, Hurtgen & Johnsrud after 17 years as Senior Vice President of Employment Law for NBCUniversal, where he led a team of attorneys responsible for all employment law matters for NBC, Universal Studios, Telemundo, their owned cable networks and television stations, and related news, entertainment, and digital media businesses throughout the world.  Mr. Fournier and his team provided employment law support for the acquisitions and integrations of Universal Studios, DreamWorks Animation, Telemundo, Bravo, Oxygen, and a number of other cable networks and television stations, as well as NBCUniversal’s 2011 acquisition by Comcast.  Mr. Fournier and his team designed and implemented the first company-wide alternative dispute resolution program among the major studios and television networks, one that has been copied by other Fortune 100 companies.  Mr. Fournier also helped guide NBCUniversal’s development of one of the earliest and most successful workplace diversity programs in the entertainment industry. 

Before joining NBCUniversal, Mr. Fournier was in private practice in New York City, first with Webster & Sheffield and more recently as a partner in the New York office of O’Melveny & Myers.  Mr. Fournier is a graduate of Yale Law School, where he was an editor of The Yale Law Journal.  He then clerked for Judge Robert Sprecher of the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit in Chicago.  Mr. Fournier also holds a Masters Degree in Anglo-American Legal History from Yale University and a Bachelors Degree in History and Music from Trinity University.  He has been a guest lecturer at the New York University School of Law and Baruch College of the City University of New York, and he is a frequent speaker and panelist for bar and industry groups.  


Chris Wilkinson’s practice focuses on policy, regulatory and enforcement matters facing employers in their interactions with the government.  As a former senior executive in the United States Department of Labor, Chris assists employers in labor and employment, Pay Equity, health and safety, government relations and administrative law matters.

Chris most recently served as Associate Solicitor in the Department of Labor. In that role, Chris was a senior legal advisor to the Solicitor of Labor and served as the civil rights and labor management lawyer for the Department of Labor providing advice on regulatory, policy and enforcement matters for seven DOL agencies including the Department’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs, Civil Rights Center and Office of Labor Management Standards.

Chris counseled the Department on a broad array of regulatory and policy initiatives and advised on a wide range of constitutional and statutory matters in federal courts including the Supreme Court of the United States. In addition to EEO matters, Chris led the Solicitor Office’s union election and reporting enforcement work, counseled on transit labor certification matters and advised on appellate matters related to labor union practices.

Chris also has significant litigation experience having served as trial attorney and then Counsel for Civil Rights Programs in the Department’s San Francisco region. In those roles, he litigated a number of complex class wage-and-hour, class discrimination, health and safety citations, ERISA enforcement and Sarbanes-Oxley and other whistleblower matters.

Chris is an active member of the America Bar Association, having presented on numerous federal contractor compliance, Pay Equity, LBGT and compensation discrimination topics at the ABA Conference on Equal Employment Law.


Debra Katz is a founding partner of Katz, Marshall & Banks, LLP, where she concentrates her practice on employment discrimination, sexual harassment, whistleblower, and Title IX matters.  She has developed extensive litigation experience in federal and local courts and has achieved significant courtroom successes in a number of high-profile cases. She has been recognized as "Civil Rights Lawyer of the Year" for Washington, D.C. by The Best Lawyers© In America for 2018, and as a “Titan of the Plaintiffs Bar” by Law360. Ms. Katz has also been called “The feared attorney of the #MeToo moment” by the Washington Post, and a “Leading #MeToo Lawyer” by Washingtonian magazine.


Elizabeth N. Hall is a Shareholder in Vedder Price’s Labor and Employment practice group and serves as the Chicago office chair of the firm's women's affinity group, WAVES (Women at Vedder Empowering Success). 

Ms. Hall represents a wide range of employers before state and federal courts and administrative agencies, as well as in arbitral forums, defending them against various claims, including single plaintiff and class allegations of employment discrimination, failure to accommodate disabilities, sexual harassment, wrongful and retaliatory discharge, breach of contract and violations of the FMLA and wage and hour laws. Ms. Hall has successfully argued procedural and employment discrimination issues in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit.

A significant portion of Ms. Hall’s daily practice involves providing practical advice to employers regarding risk management; effective employee discipline and discharge; conducting workplace investigations; accommodating disabilities and pregnancy; workplace violence; managing leaves of absence and complying with FMLA and state leave requirements; workforce reductions; drafting and reviewing employment, recruitment and staffing agreements; policy and handbook development; wage and hour compliance; and state and federal employment laws. She frequently trains clients and employer groups on many of these topics.  Ms. Hall also has extensive experience drafting and negotiating severance, settlement and conciliation agreements on behalf of her clients.

In 2017 and 2018, Ms. Hall was recommended by The Legal 500 United States for the Labor and Employment Disputes (including collective actions): Defense category. In 2018, she was named to the Crain’s Custom Media “Chicago Notable Women Lawyers” list. She also was selected as an Emerging Lawyer, an affiliate of Leading Lawyers, from 2015 to 2019. From 2010 to 2015, Ms. Hall was selected for inclusion as an Illinois Rising Star, and Super Lawyers named her one of the “Top Women Attorneys in Illinois” in the “Rising Star” category in 2013 and 2014.


Geoffrey Mort is of Counsel to Kraus & Zuchlewski LLP, where he represents individual employees and specializes in employment discrimination litigation as well as separation and employment agreements.  He previously served as an Assistant Corporation Counsel in the New York City Corporation Counsel’s Office and as an Assistant Circuit Executive for the United States Second Circuit.  Mr. Mort has extensive litigation experience, primarily in the Federal Courts, and has tried numerous cases to verdict or bench decision.  In addition, he has conducted arbitrations before the American Arbitration Association, FINRA and the New York Stock Exchange.  Mr. Mort is admitted to practice in New York and Colorado, as well as in the U.S. Second Circuit and Southern, Northern and Eastern Districts of New York.  He is a Fellow of the College of Labor and Employment Lawyers, and also is a regular contributor to the “Outside Counsel” column in the New York Law Journal.

Additionally, Mr. Mort is co-chair of the Workplace Rights and Responsibilities Committee and a member of the Executive Committee of the New York State Bar Association (“NYSBA”) Section on Labor and Employment Law, as well as NYSBA’s Committee on Cannabis Law. He has spoken at NYSBA annual meetings, Labor and Employment Law Section Fall meetings, and conferences of the National Employment Lawyers Association/New York. Mr. Mort also is a member of the New York City Bar Association and the American Bar Association, where he is a member of the Employee Rights and Responsibilities Committee. He graduated from Brooklyn Law School, where he was Commentaries Editor of the Law Review, and magna cum laude from the University of Denver.


Hanan B. Kolko joined Cohen, Weiss and Simon LLP in March 2019.

Mr. Kolko practices in the area of labor and employment law.  He represents labor unions in federal and state court litigation, arbitration proceedings, administrative proceedings before various regulatory agencies, and in collective bargaining.  Mr. Kolko also advises unions and their leaders on internal union governance, the investigation and handling of sexual harassment claims, and internal union elections.  He has represented unions in a wide variety of industries including publishing, media, education, health care, law enforcement, transportation, and manufacturing.

Prior to joining Cohen, Weiss and Simon LLP, Mr. Kolko was a partner at two major union-side firms in New York City, and began his career as a lawyer as an associate at union-side firms in Cleveland, Ohio and Detroit, Michigan.  While in law school, Mr. Kolko was a law clerk for the United Auto Workers.  His first experience working with unions was while he was in college, where he was an intern for the Rochester, New York PATCO local.  He is a graduate of the Cornell University School of Industrial and Labor Relations and a cum laude graduate of the University of Michigan Law School, where he received the Book Award for the highest grade in his labor law class.

Mr. Kolko is a former co-chair of the American Bar Association’s Section on Labor and Employment Law Committee on Technology in the Workplace, and is an Advisory Board Member of Cornell University’s School of Industrial and Labor Relations.  He has given continuing legal education presentations on a wide variety of labor law topics to groups including the AFL-CIO Lawyers Coordinating Committee, the American Bar Association’s Section on Labor and Employment Law Committee on Technology in the Workplace, and the Practicing Law Institute.  He has been named a Super Lawyer for Employment and Labor Law on the New York Metro Annual Lists of Super Lawyers from 2015-2018.

Mr. Kolko also represents clients in the cannabis industry.  He advises these clients in areas including licensing applications, regulatory compliance, internal investigations, and in litigations. He has lectured extensively on cannabis law issues, giving presentations on issues including legal ethics and the representation of cannabis clients, bankruptcy and the cannabis industry, the current state of legal affairs in the cannabis industry, RICO claims against cannabis industry participants, and the New York State Compassionate Care Act.


James D. Esseks is Director of the ACLU Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender & HIV Project. He oversees litigation, legislative lobbying, policy advocacy, organizing, and public education around the country that seeks to ensure equal treatment of LGBT people and people living with HIV. James is counsel in R.G. & G.R. Harris Funeral Homes, Inc. v. EEOC and Aimee Stephens, and Altitude Express, Inc. v. Zarda, in which the United States Supreme Court is considering whether anti-LGBT discrimination is a form of sex discrimination that violates Title VII. 

Previously, James was counsel in Obergefell v. Hodges, the case that won the freedom to marry nationwide; in United States v. Windsor, the challenge to the federal Defense of Marriage Act; in Gavin Grimm v. Gloucester County School Board, about whether a Virginia school board can bar a boy from the common restrooms because he is transgender; in Masterpiece Cakeshop, Ltd. v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission, about whether a business open to the public can turn away LGBT customers based on its religious or artistic objections; and in successful challenges to bans on adoption and foster parenting by lesbians and gay men in Arkansas, Florida, and Missouri. James and the ACLU have also worked extensively to fight the recent spate of anti-LGBT and specifically anti-transgender bills in the states and to fight the use of religion as an excuse to harm LGBT people.

Prior to joining the ACLU in 2001, James was a partner at Vladeck, Waldman, Elias & Engelhard, PC. He graduated from Yale College and Harvard Law School, where he was editor-in-chief of the Harvard Civil Rights-Civil Liberties Law Review. James clerked for the Honorable Robert L. Carter, United States District Judge for the Southern District of New York, and the Honorable James R. Browning, United States Circuit Judge for the Ninth Circuit.


Jamie Kohen is an in-house employment lawyer serving as Managing Director, Associate General Counsel at JPMorgan Chase Bank. Jamie manages a team of lawyers and other professionals who provide strategic advice, handle employment litigation, and support the firm’s human resources, immigration, employee benefits and executive compensation functions.

Jamie previously worked at Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP and the firm f/k/a Cooley Godward LLP.  Jamie also was part-time adjunct faculty member of Villanova University, where she taught an employment law seminar for Graduate Studies in Human Resources Development.  She clerked for the Honorable William Alsup of the US District Court for the Northern District of California. Jamie graduated from Harvard Law School and Cornell University with Bachelor of Science in Human Development & Family Studies. 

Jamie has been a Regional Board Member of the ADL (Anti-Defamation League) for almost fifteen years, and is also a member of AWARE (Assisting Women through Action, Resources & Education), a nonprofit accelerator that partners with organizations supporting women.  She lives in Manhattan with her husband two daughters.

 


Jason C. Schwartz is a litigation partner in the Washington, D.C. office of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, co-chair of the Labor & Employment Practice Group, and General Counsel of the law firm.  He was named one of the top five “MVPs” in employment law for 2016 and 2012, awarded by Law360 to “attorneys whose achievements in major litigation or transactions have set a new standard for accomplishment in corporate law.”  Jason was recently profiled in The National Law Journal when it recognized our Washington, D.C. Labor & Employment Practice as L&E Litigation Department of the Year for three years in a row (2019, 2018 and 2017).  The Labor & Employment Practice Group he co-heads was also named a Labor & Employment Management Firm of the Year for 2019 by Benchmark Litigation and an Employment Practice Group of the Year for 2018 and 2011-16 by Law360.

Jason’s practice includes sensitive workplace investigations, high-profile trade secret and non-compete matters, wage-hour and discrimination class actions, Sarbanes-Oxley and other whistleblower protection claims, executive and other significant employment disputes, labor union controversies, and workplace safety litigation.  In 2017, Am Law Litigation Daily named him Litigator of the Week for his win in an independent contractor misclassification/wage-and-hour class action.  Jason is a Fellow of the College of Labor & Employment Lawyers and has been recognized as a Top Lawyer in Employment Defense by Washingtonian Magazine; a Labor & Employment Star by Benchmark Litigation; in the Best Lawyers in America in the Employment Law-Management category; on the Top 100 list of the Nation’s Most Powerful Employment Attorneys by Human Resource Executive magazine; as a Super Lawyer by Washington, D.C. Super Lawyers; and as a Leading Lawyer in Labor & Employment Disputes by The Legal 500 US.  In addition, he has been recognized in Labor & Employment by Chambers USA.

 


Jeff Nowak is a shareholder for Littler Mendelson, P.C., the world’s largest employment practice representing employers. Jeff has decades of experience advising and litigating on behalf of employers on a wide range of complex employment law matters so they can run the most profitable business and efficient operations without being side-tracked by discrimination claims, strikes or other workplace issues.

Jeff is a recognized leader on FMLA and ADA issues, helping employers develop comprehensive strategies to achieve compliance with employee leave and accommodation issues. Jeff is lauded by clients for his ability to bring a practical approach and unflappable demeanor to the most sensitive and difficult situations, always with an eye on the client’s business and operational objectives. Given his experience in leave management and workplace accommodations, Jeff regularly counsels and litigates on behalf of some of the country’s largest and diverse employers on these critical employment issues.

Jeff is the author of the highly regarded FMLA Insights (www.fmlainsights.com) blog, which has earned him entry into the ABA Journal’s Blogger Hall of Fame. He also is a highly-sought after speaker on FMLA/ADA issues, most notably serving on the faculty of the National Employment Law Institute (NELI) and a frequent speaker for the Disability Management Employer Coalition (DMEC).

In addition to practicing law, Jeff also is heavily involved in his community. Jeff has served as an elected Village Trustee for the Village of LaGrange, Illinois, and on the board of directors for Marist High School, a Catholic college-preparatory school on Chicago’s southwest side and his alma mater. A self-proclaimed baseball fanatic, avid White Sox fan and former high school/semi-pro baseball umpire, Jeff recently became president of the La Grange Little League, fulfilling a dream that rivals his daytime job.

Jeff earned his J.D. from the Indiana University Maurer School of Law, and his B.A. in political science from Indiana University, where he served as student body president.


Jeremiah Iadevaia is a partner at Vladeck, Raskin & Clark, P.C., where he practices employment law.  Jeremiah has advised and litigated on behalf of employees in all areas of employment law, including discrimination, retaliation, and whistleblower claims, disputes related to breach of contract and restrictive covenants, and wage and hour violations.  Before joining the Vladeck firm, Jeremiah clerked for the Honorable Debra Freeman in the Southern District of New York.  Jeremiah is a 2006 graduate of Northeastern University School of Law.  He was a member of the New York City Bar Association's Labor and Employment Law Committee between 2013 and 2018, has lectured on employment matters for a variety of organizations, and has been named a New York Metro Rising Stars honoree (2017-2019).   


Jessica Golden Cortes is a partner in the Labor & Employment Practice Group of Davis & Gilbert.  Ms. Cortes regularly counsels and litigates in all areas and aspects of employment law. She investigates discrimination and retaliation complaints and advises clients on hiring, terminations, reductions in force, restrictive covenants, wage and hour issues, federal and state family and medical leave laws, employment policies specifically including the impact of social media in employment, handbooks, and employment and separation agreements. Ms. Cortes is known by clients for her ability to simultaneously analyze legal, practical and business-related factors inherent in each employee matter, and to devise creative solutions that also minimize client burden and cost. She regularly conducts “respect in the workplace,” “manager best practices” and “unconscious bias” trainings for clients all over the country, including for both for-profit and non-profit clients.

Ms. Cortes has been recognized by The Legal 500 United States in the area of labor and employment: workplace and employment counseling area for six consecutive years (2013-2018) and has also been recognized as a leading lawyer for labor & employment law by Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business. In addition, she has been selected as a Rising Star by New York Metro Super Lawyer (2013-2016) and as a winner in the Esquire Industry Practice category for SmartCEO’s 2015 CPA & ESQ Awards.


Jessica Kastin has more than 15 years of experience advising employers on labor and employment matters with a focus on issues arising under the NLRA. She regularly handles collective bargaining negotiations, union elections and representation proceedings, unfair labor practice charges, grievance arbitrations, and strike preparation and injunctions. Jessica also has a robust transactional practice and frequently advises on high-value corporate mergers, acquisitions, and divestitures. In addition, she frequently counsels on matters such as reductions in force, the WARN Act, New York State Labor Law, negotiation of employment and separation agreements, discrimination charges, and labor issues arising in bankruptcy.

Jessica's recent experience includes representing clients such as ABM, EagleTree Capital, General Electric, Goode Partners, J.F. Lehman, LORD Corporation, and Verizon in transactions involving complex labor and employment issues. She also frequently serves as a lead advisor with respect to collective bargaining negotiations during which she works closely with clients on identifying and achieving critical business objectives in various industries. Notably, in 2016, Jessica represented Verizon in connection with a seven-week strike involving approximately 36,000 employees. In addition to providing strategic collective bargaining advice, she obtained a rare injunction under Section 10(l) of the National Labor Relations Act enjoining the union's unlawful secondary activity targeted at hotels in New York housing workers during the strike.


Jill L. Rosenberg, an employment partner at Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP in New York, is a nationally recognized employment litigator and counselor.  Ms. Rosenberg has significant experience defending and advising employers in discrimination, sexual harassment, whistleblowing, wrongful discharge, affirmative action, wage-and-hour and traditional labor matters.  She handles complex individual cases, as well as class actions and systemic government investigations.  She represents a broad range of companies, with a focus on employers in the securities industry, banks and financial institutions, accounting firms and law firms. 

Ms. Rosenberg also has particular expertise in the representation of nonprofit entities, including colleges, universities, hospitals, foundations and cultural institutions.  She frequently speaks on employment law issues for employer and bar association groups. 

Ms. Rosenberg has been recognized by Chambers USA as a leading employment lawyer. Ms. Rosenberg is the firm-wide Partner in Charge of Pro Bono Programs and serves on the firm’s Personnel Development, Risk Management and Diversity Committees.  She currently serves as the Co-Chair of the Diversity and Leadership Committee of the New York State Bar Association Labor and Employment Law Section.  She is a member of the Board of Directors of New York Legal Assistance Group, a legal services organization serving New Yorkers in need. 

Ms. Rosenberg graduated from Princeton University, and earned her J.D. from The University of Chicago Law School.


Jonathan Ben-Asher is a partner in Ritz Clark & Ben-Asher LLP in New York.  He represents executives, professionals and other employees in employment disputes, including those involving employment contracts, executive compensation, whistleblowing, retaliation and employment discrimination.  He also has particular expertise in disputes concerning executive compensation in the financial services sector, Sarbanes-Oxley whistleblowing cases, and cases under the False Claims (Qui Tam) Act and Dodd-Frank Act. 

Jonathan is former Chair of the New York State Bar Association’s Labor and Employment Section (2013-14).  He has also held numerous leadership positions in the ABA Section of Labor and Employment Law, in which he is a member of the Section's governing Council.  He has been Chair of the Section's CLE / Meetings and Institutes Committee; Employee Chair of the Section’s Employment Rights and Responsibilities Committee; Employee Chair of the Section’s Sixth Annual CLE Conference (2012); and Employee Chair of the Employment Rights and Responsibilities Committee’s Contracts and Executive Compensation Subcommittee.

Jonathan was formerly Vice President of the National Employment Lawyers Association / New York, and a member of its Executive Board.  He is a member of the Advisory Board of the New York University School of Law Center for Labor and Employment Law. Jonathan is a fellow of the College of Labor and Employment Lawyers. 

He is AV rated by Martindale-Hubbell, and has repeatedly been named as a New York Super Lawyer and one of the Best Lawyers in America and in the New York Area.   He is a frequent speaker on employment law issues for professional groups, including the American Bar Association, New York State Bar Association, New York City Bar Association, the Workshop on Employment Law for Federal Judges of the NYU School of Law Center for Labor and Employment Law, and the Practising Law Institute. He has been quoted on employment law issues in the New York Times, the National Law Journal and the American Lawyer.

He received his J.D. from New York University School of Law (1980) and his B.A. from Columbia University (1974).


Joseph K. Mulherin focuses his practice on employment class action litigation, with a focus on defending employers against wage-and-hour and employment discrimination lawsuits. Joseph has successfully defended clients from a wide variety of industries, including health services, banking, finance, retail, manufacturing, hospitality, staffing, technology, logistics and construction.

Joseph also has deep experience representing employers in federal and state governmental agency matters, including investigations by the US Department of Labor and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, as well as their state counterpart agencies.

Leveraging his intricate knowledge of the law and extensive litigation experience, Joseph regularly counsels clients on best employment policies and practices and mitigation strategies. His advice takes into account not only the requirements of the law, but clients’ unique business needs and potential exposure.

Joseph frequently advises on wage-and-hour policies and practices relating to employee overtime classification, timekeeping, rounding, meal and rest periods, travel time, donning and doffing, on-call time and handheld devices. He also has considerable experience advising clients on discipline and termination decisions, leave laws, independent-contractor classification, wage payment and vacation laws, commissions and bonuses, and web accessibility for disabled individuals.

Joseph is a highly-regarded writer and speaker on a broad range of employment law topics.


Judge Preska was appointed United States District Judge for the Southern District of New York on August 12, 1992 and entered duty on September 18, 1992.  She served as Chief Judge of that Court from June 1, 2009 to May 31, 2016.  Judge Preska received a B.A. from the College of St. Rose in Albany, New York in 1970, a J.D. from Fordham University School of Law in 1973, and an LL.M. in Trade Regulation from New York University Law School in 1978. 

Following graduation from Fordham, Judge Preska was an associate at Cahill Gordon & Reindel LLP and an associate and, beginning in January 1983, a partner at Hertzog, Calamari & Gleason until her induction as a United States District Judge in September 1992.  Judge Preska was nominated to the Second Circuit Court of Appeals in September 2008.  She received the Louis J. Lefkowitz Public Service Alumni Award from Fordham University School of Law in 1992 and served several terms as a Vice President on the Board of Directors of the Fordham Law Alumni Association.  The Fordham Law Alumni Association awarded her its Medal of Achievement in 1998.  She received a Doctorate of Humane Letters, honoris causa, from the College of St. Rose, Albany, New York, in 1998, the Edward J. Weinfeld Award from the New York County Lawyers Association Federal Courts Committee for Excellence in the Administration of Justice in 2001, the Charles Carroll Award from the Catholic Lawyers Guild in 2004, the Stanley H. Fuld Award for outstanding contributions to the development of commercial law and jurisprudence in New York State from the Commercial and Federal Litigation Section of the New York State Bar Association in 2009, the President’s Special Award from the New York Women’s Bar Association in 2011, the Barbara Jordan Outstanding Public Service Award from Phi Alpha Delta Law Fraternity International in 2012, the Women in Business Law Lifetime Achievement Award in 2013, the Boris Kostelanetz President’s Medal from the New York County Lawyers Association in 2014, the James Madison Award from the New York City Lawyers Chapter of the Federalist Society in 2014, and the Honorable John E. Sprizzo Award for commitment to the Rule of Law from St. John’s Law School in 2015.  She has lectured at Securities Industry Association Legal & Compliance Division, the International Bar Association, and numerous other venues, and was a contributing author to Federal Civil Practice published by the New York State Bar Association in 1989.

Judge Preska is a member of the Federal Bar Association, the Federal Bar Council, the New York County Lawyers Association, and the New York State Bar Association.  She has served as a member of the Committee on Federal-State Jurisdiction of the Judicial Conference of the United States, as chair of the Benchbook Advisory Committee, the Board of Directors of the Federal Judicial Center, and currently serves on the New York Federal-State Judicial Council.  Judge Preska has also served on the Advisory Board of the New York Chapter of the Federalist Society and, from 2001-2009, on the New York Regional Panel for the Selection of White House Fellows.  Judge Preska has also served as a Trustee of Fordham University. 


Keisha-Ann G. Gray is a partner in the Labor & Employment Department in the New York office of Proskauer Rose LLP, specializing in employment litigation and arbitration. She serves as the co-head of the Policies, Handbooks & Training Practice Group at Proskauer. As a seasoned trial counsel and litigator, Keisha-Ann draws from her experiences in the courtroom before juries to help inform her clients, including many Fortune 500 companies, on issues pertinent to employment law and complaint prevention.

Keisha-Ann graduated cum laude from the University of Pennsylvania in 1995. She received a J.D. from New York University School of Law in 1998. Prior to joining Proskauer in 2007, Keisha-Ann was an Assistant U.S. Attorney in the Eastern District of New York and a former federal law clerk, having served two years in the Chambers of the Honorable Jaime Pieras Jr., Senior Judge in the District Court for the District of Puerto Rico.

Keisha-Ann has been recognized by The Legal 500 US, The Network Journal, The New York Law Journal’s Rising Stars and YWCA of New York’s Academy of Women Leaders as a leading labor and employment attorney. Additionally, Keisha-Ann frequently speaks and writes on trial practice and employment discrimination defense matters; she is the resident Legal Clinic Columnist for Human Resources Executive Online Magazine and a contributor to the SHRM Blog. Keisha-Ann is also a member of the Board of Directors of Practicing Attorneys for Law Students “Pals,” which enhances the careers of minority law students.


Lois Bloom was sworn in as a United States Magistrate Judge for the Eastern District of New York on May 18, 2001.  She was reappointed for her third term on the Brooklyn bench in May 2017.  Before her appointment in the Eastern District, Magistrate Judge Bloom served as Senior Staff Attorney in the Pro Se Office of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York for 13 years.  Judge Bloom has spoken on Access to Justice, Federal Civil Practice, Employment Discrimination, Habeas Corpus and Civil Rights issues at numerous conferences.  She also trained new Magistrate Judges as part of the Federal Judicial Center’s annual orientation for newly appointed judges for over a decade.


Melissa R. Gold is a Managing Director and Associate General Counsel at BNY Mellon. She is the Americas Head of Employment law for BNY Mellon. Her practice includes a wide variety of employment law issues involving employment litigation/charges/demand letters and counseling. She also has extensive experience with issues arising from the enforcement of post-employment restrictions and in counseling on merger, sale and acquisition related issues through company mergers and acquisitions.

Before joining BNY Mellon, Melissa was part of the JP Morgan Chase Legal Department for over 25 years and was a member of the HR Law Group with responsibility for various businesses and the Latin America region. She was also actively involved in JPMorgan’s Legal Diversity and Pro Bono Fellowship committees, co-chairing a number of initiatives.

Melissa received a J.D. from the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law in New York City and received a B.A. from Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut, where she majored in Economics. She has been admitted to practice before the New York and New Jersey State Bars, the Federal District Courts for New Jersey and the Southern and Eastern Districts of New York, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit and the U.S. Supreme Court.

Melissa is a member of the Executive Committee, Federal Bar Council Inns of Court, and also a member of the Federal Bar Foundation Board of Directors. She further serves as a member of the Board of Directors of Mobilization for Justice (formerly MFY Legal Services), which provides free legal assistance to residents of New York City on a wide range of civil legal issues, prioritizing services to vulnerable and under-served populations. She is a member of the YWCA’s Academy of Women Achievers and a recipient of President Bush’s Volunteer Service Award in recognition of her 100 hours of community service.


Michele Fisher is a managing partner at Nichols Kaster, PLLP, and the Chair of the Firm’s Business Development and Marketing Groups, which originate class and collective actions and market the firm.  She has dedicated her career to litigating wage and hour cases in an aggressive, creative, and strategic manner. She is one of the leaders of a practice group that has been described as a "powerhouse" for mass wage and hour litigation and arbitration.  Michele has the experience, resources, and staff to take on any company regardless of size.  She has handled several jury trials and arbitrations in her fight for employee rights and prides herself on the firm's reputation as a leader in national wage and hour class and collective action litigation. Michele has litigated hundreds of class and collective actions involving positions such as home health aides, loan officers, retail salespersons, oil and gas workers, assistant managers, field service engineers, call center representatives, exotic dancers, inside sales representatives, restaurant workers, insurance adjusters, property specialists, property managers, installers, service technicians, and road construction laborers.  Michele is active in several organizations. She is the Co-Chair and a faculty member of the Practicing Law Institute’s Wage & Hour Litigation and Compliance conference, the Co-Chair of the ABA Labor and Employment Law Section’s Federal Labor Standards Legislation Committee, the Co-Chair of the ABA Labor and Employment Law Section's Revenue and Partnership Development Committee, and a wage and hour track coordinator for the ABA Labor and Employment Law Section’s annual conference.  She has also served as the Co-Editor-in-Chief of the ABA Labor and Employment Law Section’s Federal Labor Standards Legislation Committee FLSA Midwinter Report, an editorial board member for BNA’s the Fair Labor Standards Act Treatise, and a chapter editor for BNA’s Wage and Hour Laws: A State-by-State Survey. She has been named to the Best Lawyers, Super Lawyers, Top Women Attorneys, and Rising Star lists repeatedly, is a member of the Top 100 National Trial Lawyers, and Top 10 Wage and Hour Lawyers, and has been named a Lawyer of Distinction.  Michele volunteers as an attorney for a foster child through the Children's Law Center.

 

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Robert J. O’Hara* is a Member of the Firm in the Employment, Labor & Workforce Management practice, in the New York office of Epstein Becker Green. His practice focuses on employment law counseling and litigation as well as human resources counseling, compliance, and training.

Mr. O’Hara’s experience includes:

  • Conducting and overseeing workplace investigations (including sexual harassment, bribery, the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, product quality, supply chain theft, and malfeasance of every kind), executive terminations, and government audits
  • Representing employers in federal and state trial and appellate courts in matters involving breach of employment contracts, alleged wage and hour violations, alleged wrongful terminations, harassment and discrimination claims, and other employment law issues
  • Successfully defending more than 300 compliance audits by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs and Wage and Hour Division
  • Advising employers on all facets of the employment relationship, from pre-employment considerations and hiring to terminations and post-employment restrictions
  • Counseling employers with respect to the avoidance of employment-related disputes, employee discipline, leaves of absence, accommodation requests, and termination of employment (including voluntary and involuntary reductions in force)
  • Identifying and solving the unique labor and employment law issues faced by multinational companies operating in various legal regimes, and implementing global programs to ensure that compliance requirements are met
  • Conducting workplace training for employees, managers, and human resources personnel

Immediately before joining Epstein Becker Green, Mr. O’Hara was an Assistant General Counsel and Senior Vice President of Member Engagement for a nonprofit employer association dedicated to helping its members manage workplace compliance requirements and risks. Prior to that, for 18 years, Mr. O’Hara managed employment law and compliance for a Fortune 50 company with 225,000 employees operating in more than 150 countries. During that time, he was also a significant contributor to U.S. Congress-directed negotiations on Americans with Disabilities Act amendments and Section 503 disability regulations.

Earlier in his professional career, Mr. O’Hara spent 13 years at the National Security Agency in a number of intelligence analyst and management positions, including as Senior Intelligence Analyst for the National Security Council at the White House, and had assignments in the Pentagon supporting the Secretary of Defense and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. He also clerked for the Assistant General Counsel for Administrative and General Law at the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of General Counsel.

*Admitted in Connecticut and the District of Columbia; not admitted in New York.

 


Sandi F. Dubin is Associate General Counsel and Director of Labor Relations for New York University.  Sandi represents the University in labor and employment matters, including collective bargaining with the University’s bargaining units, labor arbitrations, unfair labor practice charges filed with the National Labor Relations Board, employment discrimination litigation and administrative agency charges.  Sandi has an active counseling practice, working closely with University administration, Human Resources and management, providing advice on all aspects of domestic employment and traditional labor law.

Prior to joining New York University in 2011, Sandi briefly served as Assistant General Counsel in the legal department of Jefferies & Company, focusing on employment matters.  Sandi was previously in private practice as an associate in the Employment Law Department of Paul Hastings LLP, where she represented employers in discrimination, harassment, wage and hour and other employment-related matters in federal and state courts, as well as before various administrative agencies.  Sandi also represented employers in traditional labor matters, including collective bargaining and in proceedings before the National Labor Relations Board.  Prior to joining Paul Hastings, Sandi was an associate in the Litigation Department, Labor and Employment Group at Herrick, Feinstein LLP.

Sandi received her J.D. from the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, magna cum laude, where she was a member of the Moot Court Honor Society, received the Jacob Burns Medal and Best Advocacy Writing Award, and graduated Order of the Coif.  She received her B.A. from the University of Pennsylvania, cum laude

Sandi is a member of the New York and New Jersey Bars, and is a member of the National Association of College and University Attorneys.


Sandra Bang is the Chief Diversity & Talent Strategy Officer at the international law firm, Shearman & Sterling LLP, and leads the diversity and inclusion, professional development, legal recruitment, and partner and counsel services teams and initiatives.  Originally from Canada, Sandra began her career in the legal industry as a litigation lawyer both in private law firms as well as in government. Her passion for talent management and career coaching led her from practicing law to managing and developing lawyers, which she has been doing for over 17 years at several different law firms in Canada and the US. Sandra has shared her expertise and experiences by participating as a speaker and panelist at various conferences and panels hosted by, among others, the New York City Bar Association, the Professional Development Consortium, the Professional Development Institute, the Association for Legal Career Professionals, the Center for Talent Innovation and various law schools.  Sandra is a certified executive coach, having completed the Advanced Coaching Intensive program at Columbia University.  She has also served as the Vice-Chair and board member for Girls Write Now, a not-for-profit organization based in New York City.


Sara Elder is Assistant Vice President, Operations for Sedgwick Claims Management Services, Inc. In this role, she oversees disability, leave, and accommodation claims management for designated client companies. Ms. Elder is also a lecturer on Employment Law at North Park University’s School of Business and Nonprofit Management.

Previously, Ms. Elder was Divisional Vice President, Associate Relations and Compliance for Sears Holdings Management Corporation. While there, she oversaw the leave and accommodations management, employee relations, labor relations, HR policy, HR compliance, and discrimination charge management functions for Sears, Roebuck and Co. and Kmart Corporation.

Prior to joining human resources, Ms. Elder was Assistant General Counsel, Complex Litigation for Sears, Roebuck and Co., with a focus on class action and commercial litigation, and employment practices. She joined Sears following eight years of private practice, concentrating in the areas of commercial litigation, employment practices, and creditors’ rights.

Ms. Elder has frequently presented and trained on the issues of leave and accommodations management. In 2012, Ms. Elder was named one of the “Top 100 Under 50 Diverse Executive & Emerging Leaders” by Diversity MBA Magazine.

Ms. Elder graduated from DePaul University College of Law, where she was editor-in-chief of the DePaul Business Law Journal, and received her undergraduate degree in history and sociology from Washington University in St. Louis summa cum laude.


Stephen J. Malone joined Fox Corporation in September 2019 as Vice President, Legal, Employment & Corporate Affairs.  Based in New York, he provides employment law advice and counsel to a variety of businesses in the Fox portfolio.  In addition, he assists with mergers & acquisitions, executive compensation, and corporate governance.

Previously, Malone was Vice President, Employment Law at NBCUniversal until August 2019.  He advised the organization on equal employment opportunity, avoiding harassment and retaliation claims, leaves of absence, and labor & employment issues in acquisitions and divestitures.  Malone also led companywide initiatives on wage/hour compliance and proper engagement of independent contractors.  In addition, he delivered hundreds of live training seminars for the cast and crew of television shows and motion pictures across North America, educating several thousand employees annually on maintaining a respectful and safe work environment.  

After graduation from Northwestern University and the University of Virginia School of Law, he began his practice with Winston & Strawn’s Chicago and New York offices.  Steve also practiced with Proskauer Rose in NYC before going in-house at NBCUniversal in 2003.          


Teri Wilford Wood is Of Counsel in the New York, New York office of Jackson Lewis P.C. Her practice focuses on representing employers in global workplace law matters, including preventive advice and counseling.

At Jackson Lewis, Ms. Wood focuses primarily on international employment issues, corporate governance and investigations, workplace training and restrictive covenants worldwide. She is a member of the Corporate Governance and Internal Investigations Practice Group and the Non-Competes and Protection Against Unfair Competition Practice Group.

Previously, Ms. Wood was chief global labor and employment counsel advising Fortune 100 technology and financial services corporations worldwide. In this role, Ms. Wood served as Associate General Counsel of International Business Machines Corporation (IBM) for most of her two-plus decade IBM career. In this position and previously as Managing Counsel of American Express Company, she had responsibility for employment, labor, immigration, pension, benefits and executive compensation law.

Ms. Wood has also served as a member of IBM’s retirement plans Investment Committee, served as legal counsel to the plans fiduciary committee and was Co-Chair of the Law Department Education Committee. While at American Express Company, Ms. Wood served on the Supervisory Committee of the Federal Credit Union and acted as its General Counsel.

Prior to her time as in-house counsel, Ms. Wood was an Administrative Judge for the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and, earlier was an associate at a national law firm, both based in New York City.

Ms. Wood has served on the Board of Directors of the Association of Corporate Counsel, Greater New York Chapter, and is a past President of the Association’s New York Chapter and Chair of its Employment Law Committee. She has also served as a member of the Board of Governors of Washburn University School of Law and is currently a member of the law school’s Transactional Law Center. In addition to membership in the Association of Corporate Counsel, Ms. Wood co-founded the Westchester-Fairfield Counsel Roundtable and has served as Co-Chair of the ACC Westchester-Fairfield Employment Law Committee. She is also a member of the New York State Bar Association.

Ms. Wood volunteers with the Lupus Research Alliance on its Executive Leadership Council. She also serves as a pro bono attorney through the firm’s Pro Bono Partnership. She holds an “AV Preeminent” rating with Martindale-Hubbell, and is a previous recipient of the Association of Corporate Counsel’s Distinguished Service Award.

Ms. Wood is a frequent speaker for both domestic and international programs including Practicing Law Institute, Chief Litigation Officers Summit, Center for International Studies (Salzburg, Austria), NYU, Fordham Law School, ALI-ABA Wage and Hour Seminars, HR Conference Board, Association of Corporate Counsel.

Ms. Wood earned her B.A. in 1972 from the University of Missouri, and her J.D. in 1978 from Washburn University School of Law. In 2019, Washburn University named Ms. Wood an honorary Doctor of Law for her contributions to Washburn University School of Law and the legal profession.


WORK EXPERIENCE

Currently Chris heads up the Labor, Employment, Benefits and Workers Compensation Group as Associate General Counsel at Con Edison in New York City.  He has spent the bulk of his career as a management-side labor and employment lawyer since 1985, with large firm and small firm experience.  His work experience has been two-fold.  There has always been a heavy focus on compliance, advising clients in all facets of this practice area (i.e. federal, state and local discrimination laws, FLSA, FMLA, NLRA, WARN, EPPA, employment contracts, executive compensation, restrictive covenants, severance agreements, reductions in force, whistleblower laws, collective bargaining negotiations), in a variety of factual situations from pre-employment through discipline and/or discharge.  Twenty years ago, Chris collaborated with a partner on the creation of a workplace EEO and harassment training presentation which is regularly updated; the presentation has been given, either alone or with a co-presenter, to numerous clients on a regular basis over the last twenty years. 

Chris is also a seasoned litigator, having represented clients in state and federal court, and before state and federal administrative agencies, in hundreds of discrimination cases.  He has been first or second chair at approximately 25 bench trials or administrative hearings and one jury trial, and first chair at over 100 labor arbitrations.  Having an active litigation practice has helped immeasurably in developing the necessary insight and analytical skill to successfully advise clients on compliance issues. 

Chris has also been active on the Volunteer Mediation Panel for the Southern District of New York since 2000, and over the past five to seven years handled 40 to 50 mediations, covering employment law, wage and hour litigation, commercial contract issues and Section 1983 cases.  He was on the District’s Mediation Advisory Committee from 2015-2018, and joined the Eastern District Panel in 2018.

Chris speaks and writes regularly on employment law issues.  He is active in leadership roles in professional associations and not-for-profit organizations, having recently been inducted as a fellow in to the College of Labor and Employment Lawyers, and selected as Chair of the Labor and Employment Law Section of the New York State Bar Association, with a term to begin in June 2020.


Zach Fasman is a nationally recognized labor and employment lawyer who has shifted roles—from advocate to neutral. Zach participated in hundreds of mediations as an advocate and has trained as a mediator at the Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution at Pepperdine Law School, at the New York City Bar Association, the New York Peace Institute and the National Employment Law Institute. He mediates disputes in this field as well as commercial and community disputes.

Zach brings to the neutral role extensive experience and knowledge of labor and employment law gained through a lengthy career in this field. He began his career as a traditional labor lawyer at Seyfarth Shaw in Chicago, negotiating labor contracts and trying arbitration cases. He has extensive experience in labor arbitration, having tried hundreds of arbitrations and handled scores of arbitration related cases in the courts, including the issue of class action procedures in labor arbitration. He also has extensive experience before the National Labor Relations Board and has litigated many complex labor cases in the courts on issues including federal preemption, successorship, civil RICO and labor-antitrust law. His career included two successful arguments before the United States Supreme Court, Golden State Transit Corp. v City of Los Angeles, 475 U.S. 608 (1986) and Golden State Transit Corp. v City of Los Angeles, 493 U.S. 103 (1989). He also has written numerous amicus curiae briefs to the Supreme Court on labor and employment law issues.

Zach has extensive experience in employment discrimination law, having served as national Co-Chair of the employment discrimination law practice while at Paul Hastings, where he was a partner for many years. Zach has litigated hundreds of employment law cases ranging from nationwide class actions to jury trials of individual discrimination claims. He has testified on many occasions before the U.S. Congress and the EEOC on labor and employment law issues and worked extensively with Congress and the White House on the Americans with Disabilities and the Civil Rights Act of 1991.

Zach devoted his practice exclusively to labor and employment law. He has been recognized as a leading practitioner for many years. He has repeatedly earned a "Band One" ranking in Chambers USA and Chambers Global (recently became a “Senior Statesman”) and is a long-time Fellow of the College of Labor and Employment Lawyers. He continues to teach employment law to members of the federal judiciary through the Federal Judicial Center and New York University Law School and has been a guest lecturer at various law schools on topics including appellate advocacy, employment discrimination, labor law, and legal ethics. He has published many articles in the New York Law Journal and has written three books on labor and employment law.


A leader at TIAA since 2006, Corie Pauling became the organization’s Senior Vice President, Chief Inclusion & Diversity Officer in July 2018.  Corie was instrumental in the launch of the D&I function at TIAA over ten years ago and served as a primary legal and business advisor and thought leader in this area since that time.  In her prior role, Corie held the position of Senior Director, Associate General Counsel in the Employment, Benefits & Labor Law Group, in which she provided counseling, training, risk assessment and other support to TIAA’s executives, its prior CDIOs and other Human Resources leaders and also business managers on a broad range of workforce issues, and she also managed employment litigation nationally.  In the D&I space, she has extensive experience in strategy development, board interface, equal employment opportunity best practices, policy development, training/learning, metrics, data analysis and reporting, external partnerships and sourcing, pay equity, global workforce compliance, talent acquisition, workforce development, employee resource groups, culture surveys, federal contractor compliance and workplace investigations.  She also now leads the enterprise’s nationwide and award-winning Corporate Social Responsibility function, which last year led over 650 community service projects through 15,000 employee volunteers.  Having partnered with nearly every area in the TIAA organization over her tenure, Corie also led the Culture Action Team for TIAA’s Advocacy & Oversight area from 2016 through 2018. 

A former shareholder with the international employment law firm Littler Mendelson, P.C. and also Ferguson Stein Chambers in Charlotte, Corie’s experience includes counseling financial services institutions and other Fortune 500 companies as well as representing individual employees in employment and civil rights litigation.  She has significant trial and appellate experience on civil rights matters.  Having presented before the American Bar Association, the National Bar Association, the North Carolina Bar Association, the National Association of Diversity Officers in Higher Education, the Practicing Law Institute, the Society of Human Resources Management and other organizations, Corie frequently speaks at programs on emerging employment law, diversity and inclusion developments.

An engaged civic leader and also a competitive 11-time marathoner, Corie was incredibly honored to be named on the list of 2019 Black Enterprise Most Powerful Women in Corporate Diversity and also to be recognized as a TIAA Working Mother of the Year in conjunction with the national magazine Working Mother and recipient of the Young Civic Leader Award by the Thurgood Marshall College Fund. She is a graduate of Charlotte’s groundbreaking Leadership Development Institute. Corie has also served on the Board of Governors of the North Carolina Bar Association (NCBA) and as chairperson of the NCBA’s 500-attorney Labor and Employment Law Section.  Among other leadership posts, she also served as a committee chair of the Board of Directors for the Levine Museum of the New South, a member of Charlotte’s Arts & Science Council Advisory Committee and a co-chair of the Mecklenburg County Bar’s Diversity and Inclusion Committee.  As also an avid “late bloomer” runner, she is thrilled to have run the Boston Marathon for the first time in 2018 and is training now to qualify for the 2020 running.


Aimee joined Eastdil Secured as its General Counsel in March 2020, with a focus on Employment Law, Human Resources, Recruiting, Diversity and Inclusion and Talent Management.  Headquartered in New York with offices across the country and expanding around the globe, Eastdil Secured is the premier real estate investment banking company in the United States and has long been recognized as the dominant force in commercial real estate and investment banking by private investors and institutions alike.

Prior to joining Eastdil Secured, from 2010-2020, Aimee was Associate General Counsel in the Employment Law Group, Office of the General Counsel, at Citi, supporting businesses within the Institutional Clients Group.  In that role, Aimee provided employment law advice and support to Banking, Capital Markets Origination and Advisory, Research, Investor Services, Equities, Municipals, Treasury & Trade Solutions, Recruiting and Campus Recruiting.  Aimee assisted her business and Human Resources partners by providing timely, practical and effective counsel while managing legal risk for the Firm.

Prior to joining Citi, from 1995-2010, Aimee was a member of the Employment Law Department at Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe in NY, the last 4 years as a partner.  She received her BA in Economics from Boston University, magna cum laude, and her JD from the University of Virginia.  She lives in Scarsdale, NY with her husband Mike, her son Max, daughter Abigail, and their two dogs, Belle and Apple.


For three decades, employers of all sizes have looked to Rob to handle their toughest and most sensitive employment law matters.  He has helped companies defend these cases successfully, as well as avoid claims before they are filed. These include wage-and-hour lawsuits, discrimination claims, post-employment restrictive covenant disputes, and day-to-day compliance issues.

Rob understands that there is no "one size fits all" approach to the defense and avoidance of employment claims. Some clients need to defend cases to the end, while others desire an early or creative resolution. Some want a conservative approach to avoid litigation, while others draw clear lines and send strong messages—even if that raises the stakes for future litigation. Most employers fall into some or all of these camps at one time or another, depending on the particular matter. Rob's strength is that he listens to his clients, always taking time to understand their legal goals and business challenges. The result is a client-focused approach designed to achieve the company's objectives in each matter efficiently and effectively.

Rob has a diverse legal background. He spent the first part of his career working in all three branches of the federal government—as a federal appellate law clerk, a trial attorney with the US Department of Justice, and in-house employment counsel for the US Senate. He has spent the remainder working with private sector clients, large and small across a wide variety of industries, in a host of employment law matters.

Rob is national Co-Chair of Seyfarth’s Financial Services Practice Group and has particular experience in arbitrations before FINRA and AAA, defending broker-dealers and industry employers against claims alleging discrimination, forfeiture of deferred compensation, wrongful termination, and other theories of liability.

He has also represented companies in scores of wage-and-hour class/collective actions in courts around the country in matters with enormous potential exposure in unpaid wages, statutory damages, civil penalties, prejudgment interest, and attorneys' fees. He serves as co-chair of the Wage and Hour Committee of the New York State Bar Association’s Labor & Employment Section.

Rob has also served as employment law counsel to numerous not-for-profit organizations in the New York metro area. He oversees the pro bono efforts in Seyfarth’s New York office and serves on the firm’s national Pro Bono Committee.


Thomas E. Spahn practices as a commercial litigator with McGuireWoods in Tysons Corner, Virginia.  Tom was selected as the 2013 and the 2020 metro-Washington DC "Lawyer of the Year" for "Bet the Company Litigation" by The Best Lawyers in America (Woodward/White, Inc.).  In 2018, Virginia Lawyers Weekly selected him for inclusion in the inaugural Virginia Lawyers Hall of Fame.  Tom has served on the ABA Standing Committee on Ethics and Professional Responsibility, and is a Member of the American Law Institute and a Fellow of the American Bar Foundation.  He has spoken at over 1,900 CLE programs throughout the U.S. and in several foreign countries.  Through links on his website bio, Tom has made available to the public:  his summaries of over 1,600 Virginia and ABA legal ethics opinions, organized by topic; a 300 page summary of his two-volume 1,500 page book on the attorney-client privilege and work product doctrine; over 950 weekly email alerts about privilege and work product cases; materials for over 40 ethics programs on numerous topics, totaling about 10,000 pages of analysis.  Tom graduated magna cum laude from Yale University and received his J.D. from Yale Law School. 


Laura S. Schnell, a member of the firm of Eisenberg & Schnell LLP, has practiced employment law in New York City on behalf of employees for over thirty years.  She is a 1980 graduate of Dartmouth College and a 1983 graduate of the University of Chicago Law School and served as a law clerk for the Honorable Jack B. Weinstein in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York from 1983 to 1984.  Ms. Schnell represents employees in all aspects of employment law and has extensive employment discrimination, non-compete and employment contract litigation experience as well as financial industry arbitration experience.  She has served on numerous bar committees and is a frequent speaker on issues involving employment litigation, arbitration and mediation.  She has been a Best Lawyers and Super Lawyers recognized attorney since 2006 and was named the New York Best Lawyer of the Year, Employment Law-Individual for 2012 and again for 2017.