Skip to main content

Employment Law Institute 2021


Speaker(s): Allyson L. Belovin, Amira Day Dallafior, Amy L. Bess, Cara E. Greene, Charlotte A. Burrows, Christopher B. Wilkinson, Corie Pauling, Erin M. Connell, Gracie C. Wright, Hon. Faith S. Hochberg, Hon. Katharine H. Parker, Hon. Loretta A. Preska, James D. Esseks, James J. Sullivan, Jr., Jeff Nowak, Jenny R. Yang, Jessica Kastin, Jill L. Rosenberg, Jonathan Ben-Asher, Joseph K. Mulherin, Josh Kosman, Keisha-Ann G. Gray, Kelly M. Dermody, Laura S. Schnell, Louis P. DiLorenzo, Melissa R. Gold, Melissa S. Woods, Michele R. Fisher, Patrick J. Boyd, Robert S. Whitman, Sandi F. Dubin, Sara E. Elder, Si Aydiner, Tyler Maulsby, Valdi Licul, Vicki R. Walcott-Edim
Recorded on: Oct. 12, 2021
PLI Program #: 306782

Erin M. Connell, Co-chair of Orrick's EEO & OFCCP Compliance Group and Pay Equity Task Force, represents employers in high stakes employment litigation and is an expert in equal employment opportunity law, pay equity, and OFCCP compliance.

Erin's practice covers all aspects of employment law. She defends employers in class actions and other complex cases, as well as in systemic investigations and audits by the EEOC, OFCCP, and the California DFEH. Erin has led dozens of internal pay equity analyses and is a trusted advisor for several of the nation's most prominent employers on developing areas of employment law, including DEI, OFCCP compliance, pay equity, and issues stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Erin also is an accomplished trial lawyer. She has tried several cases before juries and in arbitration, and has obtained numerous defense summary judgment rulings and other favorable resolutions in state and federal court. Erin led the trial team that obtained a complete dismissal for Oracle in OFCCP v. Oracle, the largest pay equity case ever brought by OFCCP, which garnered national media attention and earned Erin recognition as a Litigator of the Week by the American Lawyer and a 2021 Employment MVP by Law360.

Erin is currently the management chair of the ABA Equal Employment Opportunity Committee. She is also a faculty member with the Institute for Workplace Equality (IWE), and frequently speaks on California and national employment law issues, including for IWE, the ABA, the Practicing Law Institute (PLI) and the American Employment Legal Council (AELC). She has published numerous articles on employment law in publications around the country, including the ABA Journal of Law & Employment Law. She also provides employment law training and conducts internal investigations on employment-related matters.

 

 


Allyson L. Belovin has devoted her career to protecting and advancing the rights of working people by representing labor unions and individuals in all aspects of labor and employment law. She litigates cases in state and federal courts as well as at the National Labor Relations Board, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the New York State Division of Human Rights, the New York City Human Rights Commission and other agencies. She uses skill and insight to help clients navigate discipline and contract interpretation cases in American Arbitration Association and JAMS hearings and has substantial experience negotiating collective bargaining agreements covering thousands of workers. Allyson represents unions in a wide range of industries, including health care, utilities, cultural organizations, legal services, sports, maritime, education, and postal service. She also represents unions and candidates in union officer elections and other internal matters. Allyson’s representation of individual clients includes the litigation of discrimination claims under a variety of federal, state and local laws, including race and sex discrimination claims, equal pay claims, disability claims, and first amendment claims, as well as wage and hour work and freelancer representation. She also represents executives, professionals and other white collar employees in negotiating hiring and separation agreements, including covenants not to compete, confidentiality restrictions and non-solicitation clauses.

Allyson is a chapter editor of the seminal labor law publication, The Developing Labor Law, and has been on the Board of Editors of the well-known treatise How To Take A Case Before The NLRB. She is the co-chair of the NYSBA Labor & Employment Section’s Labor Relations Committee, a member of the Advisory Board of the Center for Labor and Employment Law at NYU Law School, a former Board member of the AFL-CIO’s Lawyers Coordinating Committee, and an active member of the ABA’s Committee on the Development of the Law Under the NLRA,. Allyson has authored papers and presented on panels for the ABA, the NYSBA, the AFL-CIO LCC and the Cornell School of Industrial and Labor Relations on various subjects, including NLRA developments, labor arbitration practices, deposition techniques in labor cases, successorship and the labor law implications of corporate restructuring, and joint employer status under the NLRA. Allyson also conducts training sessions for union organizers and rank-and-file activists on a variety of issues including harassment prevention, fair pay practices, grievance handling, and arbitrations.


Charlotte A. Burrows was designated by President Biden as Chair of the EEOC on Jan. 20, 2021.  She was initially nominated to serve as a Commissioner of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) in 2014.  The U.S. Senate later unanimously confirmed her to a second term ending in 2023.

Chair Burrows has advocated for strong civil rights protections and robust cooperation between the Commission, employers, and employees to advance equal opportunity in the workplace.  She seeks to enhance the Commission's enforcement of all laws within its jurisdiction, focusing in particular on initiatives to combat harassment, foster pay equity, and advance diversity and inclusion.  While at the Commission, she has worked to increase the agency's outreach to Native Americans, vulnerable immigrant and migrant communities, and other traditionally underserved populations.  In addition, Chair Burrows is particularly interested in the impact of technology and big data on civil rights and employee privacy.

Prior to her appointment to the EEOC, Chair Burrows served as Associate Deputy Attorney General at the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), where she worked on a broad range of civil and criminal matters, including employment litigation, voting rights, combatting racial profiling, and implementing the Violence Against Women Act, among others.

Chair Burrows previously served as General Counsel for Civil and Constitutional Rights to Senator Edward M. Kennedy on the Senate Judiciary Committee and later on the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions.  During her time on Capitol Hill, she worked on a variety of legislative initiatives, including the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009 and the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act of 2008.

Chair Burrows also held several roles in the Civil Rights Division's Employment Litigation Section at DOJ, including Deputy Chief of the Section.  There, she represented the United States in all phases of civil litigation, including trial, to enforce Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Earlier in her career, she served as a judicial clerk on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit and was an associate at Debevoise & Plimpton, LLP.

Chair Burrows received an A.B. from Princeton University and a J.D. from Yale Law School.


Amira Day Dallafior currently serves as Assistant General Counsel, Global Labor & Employment at Pinterest, Inc. leading the team covering Pinterest’s U.S. and global labor and employment law matters.  Prior to that Amira worked at Facebook, Inc. for over seven years, most recently as Associate General Counsel, Labor & Employment covering its Global Marketing and Sales organization.  Amira also worked as Managing Associate at Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP before going in-house.  Amira received her J.D. from the University of California Berkeley School of Law and her B.A. from the University of California, Los Angeles.

 


Amy L. Bess is the immediate past Chair of the Labor and Employment practice area at Vedder Price and currently serves as Chair of the group’s DC practice. She also recently completed a three-year term of service on 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 is an author and frequent speaker on a variety of employment topics, most notably on the impact of the #MeToo movement and anti-harassment laws and best practices that organizations should undertake to prevent and resolve harassment concerns. She is regularly quoted in the media on these and related topics.

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.

The Legal 500 United States guide recommended Ms. Bess in the Labor and Employment—Labor and Employment Litigation category in 2014. Since 2018 the Legal 500 United States guide recommended her in the Labor and Employment Disputes (including collective actions): Defense and Labor and in 2021 was editorially recommended in the Employment Labor-Management Relations category. Ms. Bess also has been listed in Washingtonian Magazine’s “Best Lawyers” edition (December 2011, 2013, 2015, 2017 and 2020) in the category “Employment Defense.” She has been selected for inclusion since 2012 in Washington DC Super Lawyers in the category “Employment Litigation Defense.” In 2013, Ms. Bess also was listed in Expert Guides to World’s Leading Lawyers— Labour and Employment.

Ms. Bess is actively involved in a number of nonprofit and charitable organizations. She is a board member and serves as general counsel for Everybody Wins!, a charity in the District focusing on promoting children's literacy. She is also a member of the board of the District of Columbia Coalition Against Domestic Violence. In 2019 she was awarded the “Tom Nees Award for Exceptional Service” by Community of Hope, a nonprofit organization pursuing a mission to aid low income families experiencing homelessness and struggling with health care needs, in recognition of her long-standing, deeply impactful service to the women, men and children who turn to Community of Hope for help.


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; 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.

Ms. Greene received her B.A. in political studies from Gordon College, where she was an A.J. Gordon Scholar. She received her J.D. from Fordham University School of Law.


Chris Wilkinson maintains a broad litigation and advice practice in labor and employment, wage-and-hour, federal contractor compliance, equal pay, government relations, and administrative law. He represents multinational employers, advising and counseling on the full range of employment and compliance matters arising out of federal and state laws.

Chris’ current practice focuses on counseling employers and litigating pay equity matters arising out of federal and state claims. He helps clients navigate large-scale government investigations and litigation arising out of discrimination, retaliation, whistleblower, and other enforcement matters. He also investigates highly sensitive matters at the executive level, ensures legal compliance in diversity and inclusion efforts, and strategizes regarding labor and employment risks arising out of the COVID-19 pandemic.

As the former associate solicitor for civil rights and labor management for the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), Chris led the legal division responsible for the regulatory, policy, and enforcement matters for seven DOL agencies including the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs, Civil Rights Center, and Office of Labor Management Standards. In that senior executive role, Chris counseled the DOL on equal employment opportunity, enforcement, regulatory and policy initiatives and advised on a wide range of constitutional and statutory matters in federal courts including the U.S. Supreme Court. In addition to equal employment opportunity matters, Chris led union election and reporting enforcement work, counseled on transit labor certification matters, and advised on appellate matters related to labor union practices.

As a trial attorney and former counsel for Civil Rights Programs in the DOL’s San Francisco region, Chris litigated numerous complex class wage-and-hour, class discrimination, health and safety, and Sarbanes-Oxley and other whistleblower matters.

Chris serves as the president of the board of governors of the Washington Latin Public Charter School.


Corie Pauling is TIAA’s Senior Vice President, Chief Inclusion & Diversity Officer and Head of Corporate Social Responsibility. Corie has extensive experience in strategy development, board interface, EEO policy, training/learning, I&D data analytics/metrics, supplier diversity, pay and performance equity, talent acquisition and engagement, employee/business resource groups, federal contractor compliance and workplace investigations. She also leads the TIAA enterprise’s Corporate Social Responsibility function, which last year led over 230 volunteer projects, 10K employee volunteers and $11M in corporate and workforce giving, globally. 

An engaged civic leader and also a competitive 13-time marathoner, Corie was incredibly honored to receive the 2021 Elite 100 Black Women Leaders award by Diversity Woman Magazine, named on the 2020 list of North America’s Most Influential D&I Leaders by Hive Learning and also a 2019 Black Enterprise Most Powerful Women in Corporate Diversity and, very meaningfully, a TIAA Working Mother of the Year in conjunction with the national publication Working Mother and a recipient of the Young Civic Leader Award by the Thurgood Marshall College Fund. 

Corie holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Industrial and Operations Engineering from the University of Michigan and also a Juris Doctor from Northwestern University School of Law.


Gracie C. Wright is Counsel in the IBM Human Resources Law Group (HRLG) at Corporate Headquarters where she supports global HR and serves as HRLG support for the Global Business Services business unit – IBM’s consulting arm. She is responsible for protecting the IBM brand through sound legal advice and creative solutions on a wide range of employment-related issues including recruitment, hiring, performance management, restructuring, and DE&I. Gracie also serves as the HRLG CHQ privacy focal for data privacy and compliance matters. Prior to joining IBM, Gracie practiced employment and complex commercial litigation at firms in the New York metro area.


James D. Esseks is Director of the ACLU LGBTQ & HIV Project. The ACLU works to ensure equal treatment of LGBTQ people and people living with HIV through litigation, legislative lobbying, policy advocacy, organizing, and public education nationwide.

James has been counsel in Bostock v. Clayton County, Ga., in which the Supreme Court ruled that anti-LGBTQ discrimination in the workplace is unlawful; 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 LGBTQ 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-transgender bills in the states and to fight the use of religion as an excuse to harm LGBTQ 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.


James Sullivan is the co-chair of Cozen O’Connor’s OSHA-Workplace Safety Practice. Prior to re-joining the firm earlier this year, Jim served as the chairman of the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. Jim was first appointed by President Trump to fill the remaining portion of a vacancy on the commission in May 2017 and was later appointed by the president as chairman of the agency and confirmed by the U.S. Senate in July 2019. As chairman, Jim was in charge of an independent, quasi-judicial federal agency that is not part of OSHA or the U.S. Department of Labor and conducts trials and appeals over litigation brought by the U.S. Department of Labor against employers. During Jim’s tenure on the commission, he participated in several landmark decisions including cases involving OSHA’s Process Safety Management Standard and OSHA’s use of the statute’s “General Duty Clause” in prosecuting cases against employers involving workplace violence, heat stress, and other workplace hazards. Prior to his service with the commission, Jim had a distinguished career in private practice for nearly four decades in labor and employment and workplace safety and health law working with clients in a wide range of industries.


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.


Jenny R. Yang joined the OFCCP as its Director on January 20, 2021. In the Obama-Biden Administration, from 2013-2018, she served as Chair, Vice-Chair, and Commissioner of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), after unanimous Senate confirmation. She led efforts to tackle systemic discrimination, including enhancing the EEOC’s annual data collection to include employer reporting of pay data and initiated the Select Task Force on the Study of Harassment in the Workplace. She led comprehensive investments in agency-wide technology, launching new digital systems to expand access to the public.

After her service on the EEOC, as a Senior Fellow at the Urban Institute, Ms. Yang worked to revitalize anti-discrimination laws to better protect workers as structural and technological changes transform work. In addition, as a strategic partner with Working IDEAL, Ms. Yang assisted employers in preventing harassment and promoting equality of opportunity in hiring, pay and promotion through the design of employment practices. Prior to joining the EEOC, Ms. Yang spent a decade representing workers in complex nationwide employment discrimination class actions and wage and hour collective actions as a partner at Cohen Milstein. Before that, she served as a Senior Trial Attorney with the U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, Employment Litigation Section. She began her career at the National Employment Law Project as a fellow advocating for the workplace rights of garment workers. After law school, she clerked for the late Judge Edmund V. Ludwig, of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. She is a graduate of Cornell University and New York University School of Law, where she was a Root-Tilden Public Interest Scholar.


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 and Global as a Band 1 leading employment lawyer. Ms. Rosenberg is the firm-wide Partner in Charge of Pro Bono Programs and serves on the firm’s Personnel Development and Risk Management Committees.   She is the Chair 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.  He 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,  one of the Best Lawyers in America and in the New York Area, and in Lawdragon 500 and Benchmark Litigation.   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, Law 360 and the National Law Journal.

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.


Josh Kosman has been covering the financial industry for twenty-five years.

He has since 2009 been a reporter for the New York Post covering a wide range of topics including mergers, private equity, and sports business. He formerly started the North American office for mergermarket, and also is a former senior writer for The Deal.

Kosman wrote the 2009 Penguin expose "The Buyout of America: How Private Equity is Destroying Jobs and Killing the American Economy". President Obama reportedly used the chapter on Mitt Romney as the basis for his attacks on the Republican Presidential Candidate's business record.


Judge Parker was sworn into office on November 4, 2016.  She received a B.A. degree, cum laude, from Duke University in 1989.  In 1992, she received her J.D., cum laude, from Fordham University School of Law, where she was elected to the Order of the Coif.  She was a Notes & Articles Editor for the Fordham Law Review.

From November 2000 through October 2016 she was a partner at Proskauer Rose LLP where she practiced labor and employment law and chaired several practice groups including Employment Law Counseling and Training and Government Regulatory Relations and Affirmative Action.  She was associated with the Proskauer firm from October 1993 through October 2000 as an associate. While at Proskauer, she had an active litigation career in cases involving the full gamut of federal, state and local employment laws. She also litigated cases involving fair housing, civil rights, non-compete, contract and employee benefits disputes.

While at Proskauer, Katharine was elected to be a Fellow of The College of Labor and Employment Lawyers and consistently honored in various listings such as Best Lawyers in America and New York Super Lawyers.

Judge Parker clerked for the Honorable Warren W. Eginton in the U.S. District Court for the District of Connecticut prior to joining Proskauer.

Judge Parker has been actively involved with the NYC Bar Association during her career, and has chaired both the Disability Law and Employment Committees.  Judge Parker is also involved in pro bono and charitable causes, including the Michael J. Fox Foundation and Girl Be Heard.  She was a recipient of the Fairy Godmother Award from Girl Be Heard and the Jeremy Epstein Award for Pro Bono Service from the NYC Bar Association.


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.


Kelly M. Dermody is Managing Partner of the San Francisco office of Lieff, Cabraser, Heimann & Bernstein, LLP.  She represents sex abuse survivors and employees in class, collective, and #metoo actions. She is the current Chair of the ABA Section on Labor & Employment Law and serves on the American Bar Association’s Diversity & Inclusion Advisory Council.  In 2012, she served as President of the Bar Association of San Francisco. She is a member of the College of Labor and Employment Lawyers and the American Law Institute. In 2019, she received the ABA’s Margaret Brent Women Lawyers of Achievement Award.  Kelly received her B.A. degree magna cum laude from Harvard University and J.D. degree from Berkeley Law School.


Louis P. DiLorenzo has practiced labor and employment law for more than 40 years and is managing member of the firm's New York City office.

Louis represents employers and management in all aspects of labor and employment law. His areas of experience include collective bargaining, workplace investigations, NLRB proceedings, labor audits, supervisory training, wage and hour issues, arbitration, jury trials in both state and federal courts, wage incentive plans, OFCCP audits and proceedings, employment litigation before the EEOC and the Human Rights Division and alternative dispute resolution techniques. Louis also serves several insurance companies as panel counsel (e.g., AIG and Chubb) with respect to employment litigation matters. From 2002-2004, he served as General Counsel and Secretary to Agway, Inc., a Fortune 500 Company.

Louis co-authored the FDCC Quarterly article entitled Employers' Settlement Agreements with Departing Employees Under Attack, Vol. 57, No. 3, Spring 2007. He also co-authored a complete guide for business managers and HR professionals written in plain English entitled, What Every Business Manager and HR Professional Should Know About ... Federal Labor and Employment Laws and a two volume treatise entitled Corporate Counseling (1988) and was a contributing author to Public Sector Labor Law (1988). Louis is also on the editorial board of the two volume treatise entitled New York Civil Practice Before Trial (2001). He has authored and co-authored numerous articles on various labor and employment law topics. Louis' published articles include: "Enforcing Employer-Employee Arbitration Agreements After Circuit City", 18 Fordham University Law Journal 27 (2001); "Forging a Strategy to Combat Sympathy Strikes", 29 Syracuse Law Review 847 (1978); "Mid Term Bargaining Over Unit Work Transfers", 45 CCH Labor Law Journal No. 7 (1994); "The Growing Menace: Violence in the Workplace", 67 New York State Bar Journal 1 (Jan. 1995); "Civility and Professionalism", 68 New York State Bar Journal No. 1 (Jan. 1996); "Workers' Compensation Discrimination in New York: Is It Really LoDolce Vita?", 32 New York State Bar Journal 220 (June 1982); "Employer Liability for Sexual Harassment After Ellerth and Faragher", 6 Duke University of Gender Law & Policy No. 1 (1999); two articles on Title IX and Intercollegiate Athletics, 6 Journal of College and University Law 61 (1980); "Screening Applicants for a Safer Workplace", HR Magazine, p. 55 (March 1995); "After-Acquired Evidence in Employment Discrimination Cases", 19 New York State Bar Association Labor and Employment Law Newsletter No. 2 (1994); and "Employer's Responsibilities Under 1986 Immigration Act and COBRA", The CPA Journal p. 32 (May 1988). In May of 1996 Louis was interviewed extensively in a Forbes Magazine cover story on Sexual Harassment. In their January 2003 issue, the Corporate Legal Times described him as the "Great Negotiator". He was also featured in the United Educator's video entitled "Sexual Harassment in Academia, No Real Winners", and has been quoted in several publications including Business Week.

Louis has been a key speaker at numerous seminars throughout the United States and other countries on a wide variety of Labor and Employment Law topics. In addition, he has lectured to: various university groups, including the College and University Personnel Association; local, state and national SHRM Conferences; and a number of national and regional business associations.


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 for the U.S., Canada and Latin America regions. She also has extensive experience with issues arising from the enforcement of post-employment restrictions and in counseling on employment 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.


Melissa S. Woods joined the firm in 2018 and became a partner in 2020.

Ms. Woods specializes in litigating labor and employment law matters before governmental agencies, and state and federal courts, on behalf of unions and individual employees. She also represents unions in employer bankruptcy proceedings.

Ms. Woods leads the Firm’s sexual harassment prevention practice, where she shares her extensive experience investigating allegations of discrimination and harassment, providing legal and strategic advice on policy matters, and creating and conducting discrimination and harassment prevention training.

In 2019, Ms. Woods was inducted as a fellow of the College of Labor and Employment Lawyers, an organization that recognizes those who have distinguished themselves in the field.

Prior to joining Cohen, Weiss and Simon LLP, Ms. Woods provided advice and counsel on various labor and employment related issues at the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, the Civil Rights Bureau of the NYS Attorney General’s Office, and Meyer, Suozzi, English & Klein. Most recently, Ms. Woods was the Deputy Commissioner and General Counsel at the New York City Commission on Human Rights.

Ms. Woods is a member and former Co-Chair of the Equal Employment Opportunity Committee of the American Bar Association’s Labor and Employment Law Section, former Board Member of the AFL-CIO Lawyers Coordinating Committee and a former Trustee of Wesleyan University.

Ms. Woods graduated with honors from Wesleyan University, and received her law degree from George Washington University School of Law.


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 health care workers, delivery drivers, loan officers, loan processors, retail salespersons, oil and gas workers, assistant managers, branch managers, field service engineers, call center representatives, bus drivers, caretakers, convenience store clerks, exotic dancers, inside sales representatives, restaurant workers, insurance adjusters, property specialists, property managers, installers, service technicians, background investigators, logistics representatives, and road construction laborers. 

Michele is active in several organizations. She is a Co-Chair and faculty member of the Practicing Law Institute’s Wage & Hour Litigation and Compliance conference, and the Co-Chair of the ABA Labor and Employment Law Section’s Annual Conference Planning Committee. She has served as the Co-Chair of the ABA Labor and Employment Law Section’s Federal Labor Standards Legislation Committee, Co-Editor-in-Chief of the ABA Labor and Employment Law Section’s Federal Labor Standards Legislation Committee FLSA Midwinter Report, the Co-Chair of the ABA Labor and Employment Law Section's Revenue and Partnership Development Committee, Track Coordinator for the ABA Labor and Employment Law Section’s annual conference, 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 is a Fellow in the College of Labor and Employment Lawyers, has been named to the Best Lawyers, Super Lawyers, Top Women Attorneys, Lawyers of Distinction, and Rising Star lists repeatedly, is a member of the Top 10 Wage and Hour Lawyers, Top 100 National Trial Lawyers, Top 100 High Stakes Litigators, and LawDragon 500 Leading Plaintiff Employment Lawyers.  Michele volunteers as an attorney for a foster child through the Children's Law Center.  She also created and administers arbitratorrater.com.


Patrick J. Boyd was trained in labor and employment law under the General Counsel at the New York City Board of Education and at the largest labor and employment law defense firm in the country.  In 2005 Patrick founded The Boyd Law Group, PLLC (“BLG”) which has now grown to have several offices and attorneys.

BLG represents individual executives including many industry captains, CEOs, Fortune 100 companies and small businesses in precedent setting and often high-profile labor, employment and education law matters.

Patrick and BLG attorneys have counseled plaintiffs and defendants on the full range of workplace law issues, including claims of wrongful discharge, harassment, wage and hour violations (including class actions) and claim of discrimination under federal, state and local laws. BLG has also represented many executives with whistleblower and securities related actions, and in complex executive severance negotiations.

Patrick also has significant experience with handling traditional labor relations matters including collective bargaining, grievance arbitrations and matters before the National Labor Relations Board.

Frequently featured in the press and prominent publications, Patrick appears often on television including on ABC and Fox News.  He is also frequently quoted or featured in prominent publications including The New York Post, Forbes, The New York Times and The New York Law Journal.

Patrick has been selected as a SuperLawyer every year since 2014, and BLG was listed in the New York Law Journal for one of the largest employment law settlements in New York state for 2016.

Patrick is an active Board member for several local organizations, and is an avid guitar player. He lives in Westchester with his wife, three children, three dogs and one cat.


Rob Whitman is a partner in the Labor & Employment Department with extensive experience representing management in the full range of employment law matters.  He has particular expertise in wage-hour litigation, employment arbitration, discrimination and non-compete matters, and preventive employment counseling.

Mr. Whitman is a Fellow of the College of Labor and Employment Lawyers.  He is also a member of the Advisory Board of the Center for Labor & Employment Law at NYU Law School.  He has been recognized repeatedly as one of the top employment lawyers in Manhattan in polls conducted by New York Super Lawyers.

Mr. Whitman has authored articles on employment law issues for a number of publications, including Corporate Counsel, New York Employment Law & Practice, The New York Law Journal, The Corporate Board and Employment Law Strategist.  He has appeared on CNN, Bloomberg TV and NPR as a commentator on employment law issues and has been quoted frequently in the print media.  Mr. Whitman lectures regularly and leads panel discussions before professional audiences on a variety of labor and employment topics.  He also served as an Editor and Advisory Committee member for Cutting Edge Advances in Resolving Workplace Disputes (CPR, 2014).

Mr. Whitman serves as the Pro Bono Chair in Seyfarth Shaw’s New York office and as a member of the firm’s National Pro Bono Committee.  In 2008, he received the Award for Pro Bono Leadership from Lawyers Alliance for New York in recognition of his pro bono representation of not-for-profit organizations throughout New York City.

After law school, Mr. Whitman was a Law Clerk to the Honorable J. Edward Lumbard of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.  He has also served as a Trial Attorney in the Civil Division of the U.S. Department of Justice and as in-house employment counsel for the U.S. Senate.

Education

  • J.D., University of Michigan, magna cum laude (1989), Order of the Coif; Book Review Editor, Michigan Law Review
  • B.S., Industrial and Labor Relations, Cornell University (1986)


Sandi F. Dubin is Senior University Counsel & 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.


Sara Elder is Vice President, Operations at Sedgwick Claims Management Services, Inc. In this role, she oversees Sedgwick’s Centralized ADA Management Team. Prior to assuming this position, Ms. Elder led the administration of short-term disability, leave, and ADA claims for select client programs. Ms. Elder is also a lecturer on Employment Law at North Park University’s School of Business and Nonprofit Management.

Before joining Sedgwick, Ms. Elder was Divisional Vice President, Associate Relations and Compliance for Sears Holdings Management Corporation. In this and other roles, Ms. Elder oversaw the leave and accommodations management, employee relations, labor relations, associate services, HR policy, HR compliance, and discrimination charge management functions for Sears, Roebuck and Co. and Kmart Corporation and their subsidiary companies.

Ms. Elder also served as 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.


The Honorable Faith S. Hochberg served over 15 years as a federal judge in the District of New Jersey.  In 2015, she founded Hochberg ADR [www.JudgeHochberg.com], based in New York, to serve as a Mediator, Arbitrator, Special Master and Monitor in U.S. and international litigation.  Judge Hochberg has served as a court-appointed Monitor in international cybersecurity cases, and is currently serving as a court-appointed Special Master in many cases in both federal and state courts, including complex multidistrict litigation (MDL cases).

Judge Hochberg is a distinguished neutral admitted to the rosters of the AAA, ICDR, ICC, CPR and FedArb; she is a Fellow of the College of Commercial Arbitrators and a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators [FCIArb]. Her expertise broadly spans many areas of law: patent and other intellectual property litigation and licensing; class actions; corporate contract; insurance; banking & financial institutions; securities; antitrust; trade secrets; pharmaceutical development and licensing; merger and acquisition transactions; partnership disputes, and many more.

Judge Hochberg previously served as The United States Attorney for the District of New Jersey, and prior to that, she was Deputy Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Treasury Department.  She has twice been confirmed by the U.S. Senate.  Judge Hochberg has also spent many years in the private practice of law; as Legal Assistant to the Chairman of the SEC; and as a top official in a bank regulatory agency.

In her community, Judge Hochberg serves on the Advisory Board of the Innovation Center for Law & Technology, at New York Law School. She has been inducted into the Nutley, NJ Hall of Fame.

Judge Hochberg graduated from Harvard Law School, magna cum laude, where she was an Editor of the Harvard Law Review, and earned a B.A., summa cum laude, from Tufts University.  She was elected to Phi Beta Kappa.  She also attended the London School of Economics.

In her few moments of spare time, Judge Hochberg is an artist whose paintings and wearable art have been shown in galleries, boutiques and museum stores.


Tyler Maulsby is a partner in the Litigation, Legal Ethics & Professional Responsibility, and White Collar Defense & Investigations practice groups. He is listed as a 2020 “Rising Star” by Super Lawyers magazine.

Mr. Maulsby represents individuals and entities in a wide range of industries including law, media, entertainment, technology, fashion, and education, non-profit, and government.

Mr. Maulsby currently serves as chair of the New York City Bar Association’s Committee on Professional Ethics and is an adjunct professor at NYU School of Law where he teaches Legal Ethics and Professional Responsibility. He is a director of the Association of Professional Responsibility Lawyers and is a member of the ABA Center for Professional Responsibility, the ABA Standing Committee on Public Protection in the Provision of Legal Services, and the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. He is the managing editor of the Frankfurt Kurnit Professional Responsibility blog and is a co-host of Frankfurt Kurnit’s webcast and podcast series Remotely Ethical.

He is a graduate of NYU’s Gallatin School of Individualized Study (BA) and Tulane Law School (JD). Mr. Maulsby is admitted to practice in New York and New Jersey, the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, as well as the United States District Courts for the Southern and Eastern Districts of New York and the District of New Jersey.


Valdi Licul is a Partner at Wigdor LLP.  Mr. Licul is a highly accomplished civil rights attorney who has devoted his 25-year career to the representation of plaintiffs in employment and anti-discrimination cases.  He has represented numerous plaintiffs in legal matters involving sexual harassment, discrimination based on gender, pregnancy, race, age, national origin, disability, religion and/or sexual orientation, whistleblower retaliation, executive compensation, breach of contract, restrictive covenants, trade secrets, defamation, wage and hour violations and other employment-related disputes. 

A stalwart disability rights advocate, Mr. Licul has represented numerous individuals with disabilities in employment discrimination and civil rights cases in federal and state court, and he has spoken at numerous legal conferences and seminars on disability rights in the workplace and access to justice for people with mental and physical disabilities.  He represents clients from a wide range of industries, including financial services, private equity, accounting, law, healthcare, sports and leisure, media and entertainment, education, real estate, architecture, transportation, telecommunications, fashion and many others. 

Mr. Licul is the Co-chair of the Federal Bar Council’s Employment Litigation Committee and has served on the New York City Bar Association’s Disability Law Committee.  He is also an adjunct professor at Fordham University School of Law, is a member of the Second Circuit’s Pro Bono Panel and has been invited to serve as pro bono counsel in employment mediation matters by the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.

Mr. Licul is a frequent lecturer and speaker on employment-related legal issues.  He is regularly invited to speak at the New York City Bar Association and other leading educational forums on a variety of legal topics, including disability rights in the workplace, reasonable accommodations for employees with mental health disabilities, legal issues in the hiring process, alternative dispute resolution, drafting and negotiating employment agreements and settlement agreements, and other key employment topics. 

Early in his career, Mr. Licul was a member of the Special Litigation and Appeals Unit of the Mental Hygiene Legal Service for the Appellate Division, Second Department, and previously served as a law clerk to the Honorable Lois Bloom, U.S. Magistrate Judge for the Eastern District of New York.

Mr. Licul has been honored as a leading plaintiffs’ employment litigator by Super Lawyers, Martindale-Hubbell and Lawdragon.  He received his J.D. from Brooklyn Law School and his M.A. cum laude from the New York Institute of Technology, where he also received his B.A. with honors.


Vicki Walcott-Edim is Vice President and Senior Managing Counsel, Global Employment Law for Mastercard. She provides strategic direction on the company’s global employment law function and strategic advice and day-to-day guidance on an array of matters to help Mastercard attract and retain top talent. She advises on company initiatives, policies and procedures; compliance with employment laws and regulations; OFCCP requirements; restrictive covenants; diversity and inclusion practices; employee compensation and benefits; corporate restructuring; and immigration. She also manages outside counsel’s representation of Mastercard in litigation and agency proceedings, serves as a resource for Regional Counsel on global employment law issues, and negotiates complex commercial agreements for services, technology, and products Mastercard needs to maintain its competitive edge.

Before joining Mastercard, Vicki served as Senior Counsel, Employment Law with Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s. She advised on a variety of employment issues and claims concerning discrimination, harassment, retaliation, immigration, business reorganizations, leaves of absence, reasonable accommodations, wage-hour issues, and workplace violence. She defended the company in arbitration claims, government investigations, and other proceedings before federal, state, and local regulatory agencies. She regularly conducted training on a variety of employment law topics for Human Resources and other executives.

Vicki began her legal career at Jones Day where she worked as an attorney in the firm’s Labor and Employment practice group. Her experience included individual employment disputes filed in court and subject to arbitration as well as complex class, collective, and multi-plaintiff actions, including pattern or practice cases brought by private plaintiffs and the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. 

She graduated cum laude with a Juris Doctor degree from The Catholic University of America’s Columbus School of Law, where she was an Executive Board Member and Production Editor for the Catholic University Law Review. She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Government from The College of William & Mary.


For nearly 20 years, Jessica Kastin has been advising employers on labor and employment matters with a focus on issues arising under the National Labor Relations Act (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 (Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification), 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 NLRA enjoining the union's unlawful secondary activity targeted at hotels in New York housing workers during the strike.

Jessica is a member of the New York State Bar Association Labor & Employment Section and has worked with Mobilization for Justice (formerly MFY) for more than a decade as part of her pro bono practice.


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, the Honorable John E. Sprizzo Award for commitment to the Rule of Law from St. John’s Law School in 2015, the Distinction in International Law and Affairs Award from the New York State Bar Association in 2017, and the Fordham University President’s Medal in 2018.  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. 


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, sexual harassment, 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.


Si is a partner with Wiese & Aydiner, PLLC, located in Mineola and Manhattan focusing on the defense of attorney discipline matters and personal injury litigation. He was previously a staff attorney with the Attorney Grievance Committee for the First Judicial Department. With the Committee, Si led investigations and prosecutions into hundreds of matters including money laundering, judgment and tax evasion, conflicts of interest, escrow misconduct, neglect, and personal misconduct. Among his notable cases, Si co-led the prosecution into the joint 60 Minutes-Global Witness exposé—viewed by over 9 million people—into New York lawyers aiding offshore money laundering. Before joining the Attorney Grievance Committee, Si was spent 6 years with Queens County’s largest plaintiff’s personal injury firm where he rose to the level of general counsel. While there, he handled all aspects of the firm’s personal injury case load including trials and appeals. As general counsel he represented the firm in all matters including the successful defense and dismissal of multiple mortgage fraud cases directed against the firm from the multi-million dollar theft of its former associate on a theory that banks, as assignees, lacked standing to pursue tort claims. His highlight personal injury case resulted in the Second Department’s 2015 reversal of its long-standing prohibition of driver-passenger conflict waivers, Sacco & Fillas, LLP v. David Broderick, PC. Before joining Queens County's largest firm, Si clerked for the Honorable James E. Gates in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina in Raleigh.