Alberto Rodriguez is a Supervising Attorney with the New York City Commission on Human Rights (the “Commission”), where he oversees the investigation and prosecution of employment matters brought under the New York City Human Rights Law. Mr. Rodriguez has litigated a wide range of cases involving employment discrimination, including matters relating to race, color, national origin, caregiver status, immigration or citizenship status, criminal record history, salary history, disability, religion, gender, sexual orientation, sexual harassment, and pregnancy. Mr. Rodriguez was previously a Counsel in the labor & employment group of Seyfarth Shaw LLP and an Assistant Corporation Counsel in the labor & employment division of the New York City Law Department.
Mr. Rodriguez is also a lecturer-in-law at Columbia Law School. Mr. Rodriguez teaches first year law students fundamental skills in brief-writing and oral advocacy.
Mr. Rodriguez regularly authors articles on a range of legal topics ranging from e-discovery practices to diversity and inclusion initiatives in the workplace.
Mr. Rodriguez received his B.A. in political science from Stanford University and his J.D. from Columbia Law School and is fluent in Spanish.
Allan Bloom is a nationally recognized trial lawyer and advisor who represents management in a broad range of employment and labor law matters. As a litigator, Allan has successfully defended a number of the world’s leading companies against claims for unpaid wages, employment discrimination, breach of contract and wrongful discharge, both at the trial and appellate court levels as well as in arbitration. He has secured complete defense verdicts for clients in front of juries, as well as injunctions to protect clients’ confidential information and assets.
As the leader of Proskauer’s Wage and Hour Practice Group, Allan has been a strategic partner to a number of Fortune 500 companies to help them avoid, minimize and manage exposure to wage and hour-related risk. Allan’s views on wage and hour issues have been featured in The New York Times, Forbes, Reuters, Bloomberg and Fortune, among other leading publications. His class-action defense work for clients has saved hundreds of millions of dollars in potential damages.
Allan is regularly called on to advise boards of directors and senior leadership on highly sensitive matters including executive transitions, internal investigations and strategic workforce planning. He also has particular expertise in the financial services industry, where he has litigated and arbitrated cases, including at FINRA and its predecessors, for 25 years.
A prolific author and speaker, Allan was the Editor of the New York State Bar Association’s Labor and Employment Law Journal from 2012 to 2017. He is a member of the NYSBA's House of Delegates, sits on the Executive Committee of the NYSBA's Labor and Employment Law Section, and is a Fellow of the College of Labor and Employment Lawyers.
Allan has been recognized in Chambers USA since 2011 and in Best Lawyers in America since 2010. He is a past recipient of a Cornerstone Award from Lawyers Alliance for New York, for providing outstanding pro bono legal services.
Alli graduated cum laude from Fordham University School of Law and, upon graduating, she joined Proskauer Rose in their Labor & Employment Group. Alli was at Proskauer Rose for two years and her experience included serving as part of the trial team in a gender discrimination litigation before the Southern District of New York and serving as first chair in a labor arbitration matter for the City of New York. She joined Morgan Lewis & Bockius’ Labor and Employment Law Group in 2007, where she worked for 6 years representing and providing advice and counsel to employers on a wide range of issues including discrimination, harassment, retaliation, compensation, and reductions in force, primarily in the financial services industry. During a portion of her time at Morgan Lewis, she was placed on a dedicated assignment at Moody’s Corporation, where she was introduced to the world of in-house legal counsel. She then went in-house to Barclays in the role of Vice President, Employment, Incentives and Pensions. At Barclays, Alli provided employment law advice and guidance to its private wealth management and credit card businesses. Her scope of work spanned across the US and included managing wage and hour litigation and revamping the US compensation structure for financial advisors to align with UK regulatory requirements. She worked at Barclays for 4 years. Alli joined Facebook in September 2017 as its employment lawyer responsible for the North America operations of its global sales and marketing business. Her role at Facebook brought new opportunities, including bringing an FLSA case before the 7th Circuit on interlocutory appeal, providing employment law support for Facebook’s Canadian operations, and partnering closely with employment counsel outside the US on employment law matters that impact the global organization.
Christie is a Founding Partner in Cerasia & Del Rey-Cone LLP. She is recognized as one of the leading labor and employment lawyers of her generation in New York. In 2016, Chambers USA described Christie as "extremely smart" and quoted sources as saying that she "knows the law but is also very business-minded." Chambers also stated that Christie is an "experienced litigator" who also is noted for providing clients with employment counseling and human resources training. In 2015, Chambers noted that Christie is "a very well-rounded attorney, has great experience and covers a broad range of subjects.” Clients also observed that “she's very smart and very practical. She definitely gives me the sense that she's going above and beyond on my cases." While in 2014, Chambers USA noted that clients commend Christie for her ability to"figure out what's really needed and what the most direct line from A to B is, to help you get the result you want in a reasonable manner." Chambers first recognized Christie in 2007, when it named her as the only “Associate to Watch” in New York for labor and employment. In 2012, she was one of Chambers USA’s five finalists for its national “Up and Coming” Female Employment Lawyer of the Year award.
As a full service employment lawyer, Christie represents employees and employers in a broad range of federal and state court litigation and arbitrations, employment counseling, and human resource training. Her litigation experience includes, among other matters, complex discrimination, harassment and retaliation suits, and class/collective wage and hour actions.
Her counseling experience includes terminations, employee classifications (e.g., exempt/non-exempt; independent contractor/employee), whistleblower issues and restrictive covenants. Christie regularly manages internal investigations into employee misconduct and advises clients involved in questions of wrongdoing or the initiating of complaints. She has substantial experience conducting wage/hour and employee classification audits in several industries and preparing human resources policies and handbooks.
Christie also spends time leading employment law training programs on topics such as conducting internal investigations, proper classification of employees, compliance with reasonable accommodation laws, and anti-harassment, anti-discrimination and anti-retaliation policies and best practices. Frequently, employers also hire Christie to conduct independent investigations.
Christie has also added mediation to her practice. After years of participating in "the fight," Christie has learned that, in many instances, resolution is the best and only answer. With that in mind, she has allowed her breadth of representation of both individuals and employers educate her ability to serve as a neutral to bring parties together. Christie mediates cases on both a private and pro bono basis including as a Special Master for the New York Appellate Division - First Department.
Christie has a genuine passion for labor and employment law, and attributes much of her success to being well-mentored both by the federal magistrate judge for whom she clerked after law school and the partners with whom she worked closely as a partner and associate at some of the world’s most prestigious law firms. What Christie most enjoys in her practice is that the nature of employment law involves solving problems for clients and dealing with people in a context of life that, for many, defines them – their livelihood.
Before entering private practice, she clerked for U.S. Magistrate Judge Arlene R. Lindsay of the U. S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York. Christie is admitted to practice in New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania and before the U. S. Court of Appeals for the Second and Third Circuits, all the U. S. District Courts in New York, the U. S. District Court for the District of New Jersey, and the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.
Christie received her law degree from Seton Hall University Law School in 2002, where she was the Notes and Comments Editor for the Constitutional Law Journal, and her undergraduate degree in Sociology and American Studies from Franklin & Marshall College in 1999. Christie now proudly serves as a member of F&M's Alumni Leadership Council.
Christie spends a significant amount of time giving back to her community. Christie serves as President of the PDR Foundation for the Study of Uterine Cancer (a grass roots organization started following her mother's brief, but valiant, battle with cancer). Christie and the PDR Foundation are passionate supporters of the American Cancer Society’s Hope Lodge in New York City, which provides free lodging for cancer patients being treated in New York City. Christie also likes to use the non-legal parts of her brain to teach barre fitness classes for a studio in NYC and work on the podcast that she co-hosts, From Where She Sits. Christie’s life outside of her professional life, passion projects and organizations revolves largely around family and, particularly, cooking big Italian dinners on Sundays -- a tradition she inherited from her mother and embraced.
Devjani is a Shareholder in Littler’s New York office, where she advises management regarding all aspects of the employer-employee relationship. She is a member of Littler’s COVID-19 Task Force and Return to Work Initiative. Prior to joining Littler, Devjani spent almost seven years as the primary in-house employment counsel for a global biotechnology company serving patients in more than 50 countries.
Devjani works with companies of all sizes, from startups to multinational corporations, on a full range of complex workforce challenges, including planning and performing transactional due diligence, workforce integration and business restructuring; building corporate compliance and ethics programs, performing employment practices audits and managing internal investigations; supporting stakeholders in capturing best practices for recruiting, contracting, alternative staffing, performance management, and discipline; and addressing employee requests for flexible work, accommodation and military, medical and family leaves of absence. Devjani is also an experienced employment litigator, and regularly represents management in federal and state courts and agencies.
Devjani received her B.A. in Political Science with distinction from Yale University and her J.D. from Columbia University School of Law, where she was a Harlan Fiske Stone Scholar. She is a regular presenter on employment law topics at the Practising Law Institute, the American Bar Association and in other forums.
Howie's practice includes the representation of management in employment litigation matters before state and federal courts, at trial and appellate levels, as well as federal and state agencies, including the National Labor Relations Board, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Department of Labor, New York State Division of Human Rights, and New Jersey Division on Civil Rights. In this role, Howie has extensive experience defending both single and multi-plaintiff discrimination/harassment cases, class and/or collective actions, as well as lawsuits initiated by the EEOC. He has represented employers in class and collective actions and multi-plaintiff claims involving discrimination/harassment on the basis of age, race, gender, national origin, and other protected classifications as well as whistleblower actions, including under New Jersey’s Conscientious Employee Protection Act. His wage-and-hour experience includes the defense of major class action claims involving meal breaks, rest breaks, misclassification, and work-off-the-clock allegations.
Howie also counsels employers on preventative practices to minimize workplace disputes, including advising employers on issues relating to personnel handbooks and policies, employee relations, internal complaints and investigations, FMLA and ADA issues, as well as other employment issues which employers face routinely. He provides training for attorneys, executives, human resources professionals, and managers on best EEO practices, preventing sexual harassment, and avoiding employment litigation claims. Howie also defends clients in lawsuits arising under Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act and related New York state and New York City disability access laws.
Keisha-Ann G. Gray is a distinguished trial lawyer who has secured significant victories in federal and state courts (jury trial and otherwise) for organizations facing “bet the company”, high-reaching, reputational risk claims. She is also an award-winning partner in Proskauer’s renowned Labor & Employment department. As important social change movements like Black Lives Matter, #MeToo and LGBTQ Pride continue to shape society and businesses, Keisha-Ann is the go-to advisor when addressing issues related to discrimination, harassment and/or lack of diversity.
With 20+ years in practice, Keisha-Ann frequently speaks and trains on employment matters such as litigation/trial practice, conducting effective investigations (the trauma-based approach), Diversity, Equity & Inclusion, and Anti-Discrimination/Anti-Harassment. Her “real talk” style of delivery provides clients with actionable and practical best practice solutions to today’s most challenging workplace issues.
Prior to joining Proskauer, Keisha-Ann served as an Assistant United States Attorney in the Eastern District of New York and federal law clerk in the U.S. District Court for the District of Puerto Rico. The breadth of Keisha-Ann’s experience and background in federal government, coupled with her tenure in private practice as a Big Law partner and employment litigator, gives her the unique ability to meaningfully connect with diverse groups of people. This skill enables her to advocate effectively and successfully (in and out of the courtroom) for her clients. As a result, Keisha-Ann is also frequently called upon to conduct high-profile internal investigations. Because of her unique and varied skill set, clients routinely engage Keisha-Ann to handle their most sensitive matters which, due to her involvement, often successfully result in non-public, confidential resolutions – precisely the mandate required by her clients.
Keisha-Ann also gives back to the community and profession by serving on the Board of the Attorney Grievance Committee for the NY Supreme Court Appellate Division, 1st Judicial Dept., co-Chairing the Federal Bar Council’s Employment Litigation Committee, and mentoring junior female lawyers and junior lawyers of color.
Lauren Farkas is Associate Counsel at The Estée Lauder Companies Inc., where she provides full service global employment law advice and support. Lauren provides advice and counsel to Human Resource professionals and business leaders on all aspects of employment law; oversees and conducts internal investigations; conducts employment law-related trainings for Human Resource professionals; develops policies to ensure compliance with employment laws; and manages employment litigation. As part of her role, she also manages labor and employment-related due diligence in connection with the Company’s M&A activity. Additionally, Lauren also manages the Company’s Global Ethics program.
Prior to joining ELC, Lauren was a partner at Hermes Sargent Bates, LLP in the firm’s Labor and Employment Law Group. Lauren received her law degree from Brooklyn Law School. She earned her Bachelor of Arts from University of Wisconsin, Madison.
Melissa C. Rodriguez advises clients on the full spectrum of labor and employment law matters. This includes single-plaintiff, class, and collective action litigation (both wage and hour and discrimination claims); wage and hour and other employment counseling; traditional labor work. In her litigation practice, she represents employers in individual, class, and collective action litigation, and in administrative agency actions concerning federal and state labor and employment statutes. Her clients hail from sectors including the retail, airline, transportation, food services and financial services industries.
In her litigation practice, Melissa handles all aspects of a dispute. She presents oral arguments to US federal and state courts (including jury trials), and second-chaired a multiplaintiff litigation in federal court. She has defended employers as first- and second-chair in forums such as the American Arbitration Association, and the National Association of Securities Dealers Inc. (now known as the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, or FINRA). She also represents employers under investigation by administrative agencies, including the US Department of Labor, the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), and local and state agencies.
Melissa has experience with a host of federal and state labor and employment statutes. These include Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), the Older Workers Benefit Protection Act, the Equal Pay Act, the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), the Railway Labor Act, New York State and New York City Human Rights Laws, the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), New York Labor Law, and the Sarbanes-Oxley Act.
In addition to her litigation background, Melissa has advised clients with respect to compliance with the requirements of the FLSA and state law wage and hour requirements. Melissa also has conducted a number of comprehensive internal wage and hour audits to assist clients in properly classifying workers as employees or independent contractors or exempt or nonexempt employees and to revise other wage and hour practices as necessary. She has also represented clients in federal and state Department of Labor audits and negotiated favorable settlements of violations.
Clients also turn to Melissa for counseling on harassment claims, the accommodation of employee disabilities, employee disciplinary issues, and termination decisions. She leads internal investigations into harassment and discrimination claims, and provides harassment and diversity training.
Melissa also routinely counsels employers with operations in Puerto Rico and represents employers in federal litigation and administrative matters in Puerto Rico.
Melissa has served as a faculty member at the Fordham Law School Summer Institute teaching an Employment Law course. While in law school, Melissa externed with Judge Sonia Sotomayor at the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.
Columbia Law School, 2001, J.D.
Yale University, 1998, B.A., magna cum laude, with honors
Neil Rosolinsky is Deputy General Counsel, Litigation & Employment for Citizens Financial Group. He leads the litigation and employment functions overseeing all litigation, including employment litigation and contentious regulatory matters. Neil regularly manages outside counsel on CFG’s larger litigation matters and routinely counsels executives across various business lines regarding litigation strategy and employment law matters.
Immediately prior to joining CFG, following its spinoff from RBS via IPO, Neil served as Head of Employment Law for RBS Americas, managing both RBS and CFG employment law teams.
Neil has been named in-house employment counsel of the year, and separately to the Top 100 In-House counsel list, by Legal 500.
Before going in-house in 2008, Neil was with Reed Smith LLP in the firm’s New York office focusing on both employment litigation and counseling as well as commercial litigation.
Neil earned his undergraduate degree from NYU and his law degree from GW.
Nicholas H. Sikon is a partner at Outten & Golden LLP in New York, where he represents employees in litigation and negotiation in all areas of employment law. Mr. Sikon focuses his practice on matters involving compensation and professional contracts, whistleblowers, and individual discrimination and harassment claims. He also advises employees with respect to disability and family and medical leave-related issues. Mr. Sikon is active in both Outten & Golden’s Financial Services Practice Group and its Whistleblower and Retaliation Practice Group. He is also a member of Outten & Golden’s Executive and Professionals and Discrimination and Retaliation Practice Groups.
Prior to joining the firm in August 2015, Mr. Sikon was an associate with a large defense firm, where he represented employers across a wide-spectrum of industries in all aspects of employment law. In this role, he worked with employers across the country, counseling them with respect to complex employment transactions and defending them in litigation in federal and state court. Mr. Sikon also has significant experience representing clients in arbitration matters before FINRA, AAA, and JAMS concerning employment and general commercial litigation disputes.
Mr. Sikon received his J.D. from the George Washington University Law School in 2009, and his B.A. from Macalester College in 2004. He is a member of the Labor and Employment Law Sections of the American Bar Association and the New York State Bar Association, as well as the National Employment Lawyers Association and its New York affiliate NELA/NY.
Raechel L. Adams is a General Attorney in the Office of General Counsel of the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), where she has worked since 1997. After working as a Trial Attorney in the New York District legal unit for twelve years, Ms. Adams was appointed to serve as a Supervisory Trial Attorney in 2012, and Acting Regional Attorney in 2015. In October 2017, Ms. Adams also joined EEOC’s Litigation Management Services, assisting the Office of General Counsel (OGC) in field coordination matters. In November 2020, Ms. Adams left the New York legal unit and began working full time for Litigation Management Services. In this capacity, she is responsible for implementing and improving OGC information systems and guidance materials for the field. Ms. Adams works with EEOC litigators nationwide to facilitate sharing of internal work product, litigation best practices, and institutional knowledge.
Ms. Adams has litigated and supervised litigation of employment discrimination cases for the EEOC throughout New York State, New Jersey and New England, including enforcement actions under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Equal Pay Act, and the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act. Ms. Adams has litigated several notable class and systemic cases during her tenure with the New York District Office, including EEOC v. Morgan Stanley Dean Witter, a pattern-or-practice case involving sex discrimination in pay and promotions, EEOC and the United States v. New York State Department of Correctional Services, an Equal Pay Act case involving a discriminatory policy of switching female employees from paid workers’ compensation to unpaid maternity leave, EEOC v. Bloomberg LP., a global sex/pregnancy pay discrimination case, EEOC v. Carrols Corp., a nationwide sexual harassment case, EEOC v. FAPS, a race discrimination in hiring case, EEOC v. Princeton Healthcare Sys., a fixed-leave policy case filed under the Americans with Disabilities Act, and EEOC v. Day & Zimmermann NPS, an Americans with Disabilities Act retaliation and interference case. Ms. Adams supervised a three-week jury trial in EEOC v. Texas Roadhouse, a nationwide age discrimination in hiring case, which, after the jury deadlocked, resulted in a $12M public settlement.
Ms. Adams graduated from the Columbus School of Law at Catholic University and Washington University in St. Louis.
Reena I. Desai is a partner at Nichols Kaster, PLLP, in the firm’s Minneapolis office. She has dedicated the majority of her career to helping thousands of employees recover unpaid overtime, minimum wages, tips, commissions, and other types of compensation in class and collective actions across the country. Reena has also advocated for employees in cases involving race, age and disability discrimination. She is a frequent speaker at national conferences on topics including wage and hour litigation, electronic discovery issues, and mediation/settlement. Reena serves as a board member for the Minnesota Justice Foundation, a legal non-profit in Minnesota, and has been named a Rising Star by Minnesota Super Lawyers every year since 2014.
Susan Ritz is a partner in the Manhattan law firm of Ritz Clark & Ben-Asher LLP. Ms. Ritz handles all forms of employment-related matters, including advising employees and partners regarding their rights, duties and entitlement to benefits; handling contract, severance agreement and partnership dispute negotiations; and representing employees and partners in negotiations, mediations, administrative proceedings, arbitrations and lawsuits encompassing a full panoply of employment-related issues, with special emphasis on claims of unlawful harassment, retaliation and employment discrimination on the basis of race, sex, gender, national origin, age, disability, religion, marital status, sexual orientation and other protected classes.
Ms. Ritz provides neutral mediation services, and conducts impartial internal investigations on behalf of employers into alleged discriminatory conduct. She also advises non-profits and employers on employment-related issues, reviews and revises Staff Manuals for employers, and represents employers in contract and severance negotiations. She offers harassment and discrimination prevention training to management and employees, as well.
Ms. Ritz has received many accolades, including The Best Lawyers in America (every year beginning 1995), Super Lawyers (every year beginning 2006) and Lawdragon 500. She is rated AV by Martindale Hubbell and was selected for its 2011 Inaugural Edition of the Bar Register of Preeminent Women Lawyers. AVVO.com gives her a rating of ten out of ten. She is also a fellow of the College of Labor and Employment Lawyers and a member of the Litigation Counsel of America. Ms. Ritz has published articles and lectured widely, including for the National Employment Lawyers Association/NY, Practising Law Institute, ALI-CLE, American Bar Association, College of Labor and Employment Lawyers, New York State Bar Association, New York City Bar Association and at CUNY School of Law. She serves as a pro bono mediator for the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York.
Before beginning her law practice, Ms. Ritz served as the law clerk to New York Supreme Court Justice Kristin Booth Glen. Ms. Ritz graduated cum laude from New York University School of Law, where she was a Root-Tilden Scholar and a member of the Order of the Coif. She graduated from Brown University with an Honors B.A. in Ethics and Political Philosophy. Ms. Ritz is admitted to practice in the state and federal courts of the state of New York, the Second Circuit and the United States Supreme Court.
Vanessa Matsis-McCready is an employment lawyer and the Associate General Counsel and Director of Human Resources for Engage PEO, a leading professional employer organization providing HR outsourcing solutions to small and mid-sized businesses across the U.S.
Vanessa leads a team of attorneys and human resource consultants who assist companies across industries with strategic HR and workplace compliance matters including wage and hour, and discrimination and harassment prevention.
Joining the Engage team in 2014 as an Assistant General Counsel and HR Consultant, Vanessa supported Engage clients - primarily in the Northeast - on a variety of complex employment issues. Prior to joining Engage, Vanessa was an employee relations manager at a public utility where she managed employee and labor relations issues for 500+ employees. She also previously handled HR compliance issues for Time Inc., was an associate at the law firm, Kaye Scholer LLP, and served as a law clerk in the Labor and Employment Group of Kane Kessler P.C.
Vanessa earned her Juris Doctor from Fordham University School of Law and was the Notes and Article Editor of the Fordham Law: Intellectual Property, Media and Entertainment Law Journal. She received a Bachelor of Science from Cornell University’s School of Industrial and Labor Relations where she remains an active member of the alumni community serving in a number of roles including Vice President of Student and Young Alumni for the Cornell Association of Class Officers Board, and Director at Large for the Cornell University Council.
William J. Anthony focuses his labor and employment practice on the strategic defense of class, collective, and multi-party actions, including a broad spectrum of federal and state law wage and hour claims. He has successfully defended against class/collective actions alleging misclassification of independent contractors, misclassification of employees, “off the clock” work, failure to properly calculate the regular rate of pay, failure to properly pay tipped employees and similar claims. He also has defended class claims under the Fair Credit Reporting Act and discrimination statutes. In addition, Will represents organizations in single-plaintiff cases alleging discrimination, harassment, wrongful termination, and breach of contract. He has litigated cases in over fifteen states and has trial experience in Connecticut, New Jersey, Tennessee, Pennsylvania, and Montana. His trial experience includes defense of class, collective, and single plaintiff actions before juries, judges, and arbitrators.
Will has extensive experience advising clients on the full range of employment law issues in an effort to avoid litigation. In that respect, Will works with clients to identify and solve potential issues that they may face, develop policies and practices to ensure compliance with federal, state, and local laws. Will also conducts training for executives and managers on effective management skills, discrimination, harassment, and wage and hour laws. He is a frequent speaker on employment law topics in front of a broad range of live and remote audiences.
Will earned his J.D. from Boston University, and his B.A. from Hamilton College. He served as past president of the Connecticut Lawyers Collaborate for Diversity and received the Hartford Business Journal’s 2010 Leadership in Diversity Award.
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, handling employment compliance work on a wide variety of issues, employment law training, and employment litigation.
Chris has 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 on June 1, 2020, he began a one-year term as Chair of the Labor and Employment Law Section of the New York State Bar Association.
Debra L. Raskin graduated from Radcliffe College magna cum laude in 1973 and received her law degree from Yale in 1977. She worked at the Legal Assistance Foundation of Chicago from 1977 to 1981, serving in 1981 as Supervisor of Employment Litigation for that organization. She served as law clerk to Hon. Lee P. Gagliardi of the United States District Court, Southern District of New York from 1982 to 1984. From 1984 to 1986, she served as an Assistant Attorney General of the State of New York in the Civil Rights Bureau. She joined the Vladeck firm in 1986, and became a partner of the firm in October 1988. From 2014 to 2016 Ms. Raskin served as the President of the New York City Bar Association. She is a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers, has taught at Columbia and Fordham Law Schools and has lectured and written on employment law matters for the New York State Bar Association and the Practising Law Institute, among other groups.
Stephen P. Sonnenberg, Esq. has deep experience in understanding and resolving complex labor and employment disputes. Mr. Sonnenberg’s unique background, which allows him to understand both plaintiff and defendant concerns, comes from the practice of law, experience as a mediator, and prior experience as a psychotherapist. Mr. Sonnenberg is known for his attention to detail, thoughtful approach to emotion-laden disputes, and demeanor conducive to settlement.
Mr. Sonnenberg practiced labor and employment law at the highest levels for 25 years at Paul Hastings, a prominent AMLAW 100 firm, and achieved a prestigious ranking from Chambers USA, within the Labor & Employment band. Leadership roles at the firm included a term as Chair of the New York Employment Law Practice (2014-2017), Vice Chair of the Employment Law Department (International) (2003-2014) and Co-Chair of the Employment Law Department’s national wage and hour law practice (2005-2014). Resident for an equal amount of time in the firm’s Los Angeles and New York offices, Mr. Sonnenberg represented and advised clients in a wide range of employment disputes, including wage and hour class and collective actions, retaliation, wrongful discharge, restrictive covenant, discrimination and harassment lawsuits. He has also overseen and conducted privileged internal investigations in response to complaints of misconduct.
Mr. Sonnenberg has mediated numerous matters not only at JAMS but as a member of the Mediation Panels of the U.S. District Court, Southern and Eastern Districts of New York. He has taught employment law to members of the federal judiciary through the Federal Judicial Center, has provided employment law training and advice in a variety of settings, and is an adjunct faculty member at Cardozo Law School.
Before practicing law, Mr. Sonnenberg devoted himself to a 15-year career as a clinical social worker in Michigan and California. Mr. Sonnenberg worked in diverse psychiatric settings and community organizations, assisting individuals with a wide range of emotional, vocational and financial challenges, including facilitating the resolution of disputes with family members, employers and other third parties. Settings included psychiatric hospitals, a community mental health center, and the private practice of psychotherapy working with individuals, couples and families.
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.