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Online Commercial Mediation and Arbitration Best Practices - The Neutral's and Advocate's Perspectives

Speaker(s): Kyle-Beth Hilfer, Marc O. Sheridan, Russell M Yankwitt, Ruth D. Raisfeld
Recorded on: May. 26, 2021
PLI Program #: 329731


Ruth D. Raisfeld is private mediator and arbitrator with more than 40 years of experience exclusively in the field of labor and employment law. She is a member of the AAA Labor & Employment Arbitration and Mediation Panels, the National Association of Distinguished Neutrals, and a fellow of the College of Labor & Employment Lawyers.

Ruth has mediated hundreds of discrimination cases and wage and hour actions. She has handled cases involving restaurants, apparel manufacturing, luxury brands, mortgage brokerages, financial services companies, insurance agencies, banks, retail chains, car washes, airlines, advertising agencies, health care agencies, hospitals, commercial gardening, cable and dish installation companies, electrical repair, construction, roofing, telecommunications, nursing homes and home health care agencies, etc.

Ruth graduated Cornell University School of Industrial & Labor Relations and Fordham Law School, where she was Commentary Editor of the Law Review. Ruth clerked for Judge William Hughes Mulligan, Second Circuit, U.S. Court of Appeals, was in-house Labor Attorney at New York Telephone, and was an associate and Of Counsel at Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe, and had her own plaintiff’s side practice. Ruth attended Harvard Program of Instruction for Lawyers where she trained as a mediator.

Since the commencement of the Covid-19 Pandemic, Ruth has received a Certificate in On-Line Dispute Resolution from and participated in training programs sponsored by National Association of Distinguished Neutrals, Association of Conflict Resolution, New York State Bar Association and Westchester County Bar Association. Ruth has conducted 2-3 mediations via zoom a week during 2020-2021.




Kyle-Beth Hilfer has over 30 years’ experience advocating for brands as an advertising/marketing and intellectual property law attorney. Ms. Hilfer represents clients in many industries, including consumer products/services, luxury goods, entertainment, media, dietary supplements and food, hospitality,  restaurant, cannabis, e-commerce, sports, advertising, promotions, marketing, and design.

Ms. Hilfer helps clients launch, market, and protect their brands. She works to secure, protect, and license intellectual property portfolios. She also helps clients leverage traditional, digital, and emerging marketplaces. Harnessing her unique understanding of social media, mobile, and digital marketing, Ms. Hilfer regularly advises on the multi-disciplinary legal issues associated with branding and leveraging consumer data. She advises from the concept stage through execution on specific marketing techniques, such as:

  • copy clearance
  • sweepstakes and contests
  • loyalty programs
  • influencer marketing
  • cause marketing
  • autorenewal, free trial, and other continuity and subscription programs
  • user-generated content
  • ·native advertising
  • app development
  • text and email marketing
  • green marketing
  • coupons, gift cards, warranties

Ms. Hilfer guides her clients through the regulatory maze to minimize legal risk. She drafts and negotiates all related contracts and transactional documents to protect her clients’ legal and business interests, with an eye toward avoiding litigation in the future.

Ms. Hilfer has long been an advocate for alternate methods of dispute resolution in all kinds of commercial disputes. She is an experienced arbitrator and mediator for the American Arbitration Association,  the World Intellectual Property Organization, and the City of New York’s Office of Administrative Trials and Hearings Contract Dispute Resolution Board.  She is also a Special Master for the 2d Judicial Department’s Appellate Division in the Supreme Court of the State of New York. Ms. Hilfer has been listed as a SuperLawyer for Media & Advertising.

As an adjunct to her law practice, Ms. Hilfer is on the Board of Editors of Law Journal Newsletters “The Intellectual Property Strategist.” At the Westchester County Bar Association, Ms. Hilfer serves on the Board of Directors and Executive Committee. She also serves as a member of both the Ethics Board for the Town of New Castle and the Westchester Fair Campaign Practices Committee.


Harvard Law School (J.D., cum laude)

Yale College (B.A., summa cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa)

Mr. Sheridan has represented individuals, small businesses, and national and multi-national clients for over twenty years concerning employment discrimination claims, restrictive covenants, reduction in force issues, negotiation of severance agreements, and worker classification/overtime issues.   He has litigated claims under the FLSA, FMLA, ADEA, ADA, Title VII, New York State Human Rights Law, New York City Administrative Code, and the New York Labor Law in state and federal trial and appellate courts.

Mr. Sheridan regularly appears in FINRA and AAA arbitrations on behalf of securities industry professionals regarding unpaid bonuses, promissory notes, and contractual disputes. Mr. Sheridan frequently writes, lectures, and is consulted on employment law developments, including proper hiring practices, sexual harassment prevention, managing employee performance, and attending to leave of absence issues related to disability, pregnancy, and other protected categories.  Mr. Sheridan also trains human resources professionals and business groups and owners in the New York City metropolitan area on using dispute resolution techniques in the workplace. Mr. Sheridan has been quoted frequently on employment law developments including social media issues in the employment context by Bloomberg BNA’s Workforce Strategies and other publications.

Mr. Sheridan is Chair of the Westchester County Bar ADR Committee, a Board Member for Attorneys for Family-Held Enterprises (AFHE), and a member of the Family Firm Institute (FFI). He is also a member of the New York State Bar Association Dispute Resolution and the American Bar Association Dispute Resolution Sections. 

Mr. Sheridan is a panel mediator for the International Institute of Conflict Prevention and Resolution (CPR), an employment discrimination mediator for the United States District Court for the Southern and Eastern Districts of New York, panel mediator for the Supreme Court, Westchester County Commercial Division and Civil Panels, and Westchester County and Bronx County Surrogate’s Court Panels. Mr. Sheridan co-authored the 9th Judicial District Presumptive Mediation Program Rules and the Westchester County Surrogate’s Court Presumptive Mediation Program.  

In addition to his litigation and mediation practice, over the last decade, Mr. Sheridan has become a recognized leader in Civil Collaborative Practice. He is Co-Chair of the Trainers’ Group for the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals (IACP) and the Northeast Regional Director for the Global Collaborative Law Council (GCLC), and lectures and trains lawyers and other professionals on Civil Collaborative Practice domestically and internationally. Below is a sample of his past and upcoming lectures, webinars, and trainings on Civil Collaborative Practice:

In 2009, Mr. Sheridan was interviewed on CBS Internet radio on the benefits of Collaborative Law in the business and employment context.  In October 2011, Mr. Sheridan lectured on utilizing ADR techniques in employment and business disputes for the New York State Bar Association, Dispute Resolution Section, and the IACP at its annual forum.

Mr. Sheridan is also founder of the New York Civil Collaborative Group, which in 2012 completed a CLE video webinar for lawyers through the International Institute of Conflict Prevention and Resolution on using Collaborative Law in employment disputes.

In May 2013, Mr. Sheridan was interviewed in Bloomberg BNA’s Human Resource Report and presented to the Dallas Bar Association’s Collaborative Law and Labor and Employment Law Sections on applying Collaborative Law to workplace disputes.  In November 2013, Mr. Sheridan lectured on Collaborative Law to the New York City Bar Association.

In 2014, Mr. Sheridan lectured on the expansion of Collaborative Law to the Mid-Hudson Society for Human Resource Professionals, the Collaborative Law Association of Southern Pennsylvania, and the New York City Bar Association. He also addressed the New York State Dispute Resolution Association and the Global Collaborative Law Council in Dallas in October 2014 on the use of Collaborative Practice in Domestic and International Employment Disputes. 

In June 2015, Mr. Sheridan conducted a two-day and three-day interdisciplinary Civil Collaborative training in Spanish at the Universidad Carlos III in Madrid and the Universidad International Menendez Pelayo in Santander to members of the Collaborative Law Association in Madrid and Euskadi. Mr. Sheridan spoke on the role of counsel as problem solver at the New York State Dispute Resolution Association 2015 annual meeting.

In 2016, Mr. Sheridan conducted a two-day Civil Collaborative training for the Collaborative Law Association of Southwestern Pennsylvania and addressed the European Collaborative Practice Conference in Amsterdam, Netherlands on building Collaborative Practice beyond divorce.

In 2017, Mr. Sheridan presented on Collaborative Practice for family businesses at the annual Attorneys for Family Held Enterprises conference in Miami, and returned to educate newly-minted lawyers on Collaborative Practice for the NYC Bar’s annual Bridge-the-Gap program. 

In 2018, Mr.  Sheridan conducted a two-day advanced training at the annual GCLC conference in Las Vegas, Nevada. In 2019, he presented to the Nassau and Suffolk County Bar Associations on Civil Collaborative Practice. In 2021, Mr. Sheridan will be conducting an advanced Civil Collaborative Practice training at the annual congress for ENCP. 


Russell Yankwitt founded Yankwitt LLP in 2009, after honing his litigation skills at the premier New York City law firm of Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher and Flom LLP, serving as Assistant United States Attorney in the Southern District of New York, and serving as a federal law clerk to Thomas C. Platt of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York.

Russell litigates commercial matters of all kinds, including contract and partnership disputes, employment and shareholder lawsuits, insurance coverage disputes, ADA litigations, and premises liability cases. He is recognized as Westchester’s go-to litigator and trial attorney, having accrued an enviable track record of trial victories over the past two decades. As a result, Russell is regularly retained by Westchester and New York City law firms to collaborate on their high-stakes trials throughout the state of New York.

Russell’s legal acumen is enhanced by the unyielding client service he demands from himself and every member of his team. He partners with his clients, helping them to minimize their litigation by providing real-world, proven advice and counsel, as well as efficient, cost-effective resolutions if or when litigation arises.

Russell has been recognized for his excellent lawyering and client service with accolades including New York Metro Super Lawyers, Top 100 New York Metro Super Lawyers, Top 25 Westchester County Super Lawyers, Best Lawyers in America©, AV Preeminent Rating™ and Gold Client Champion by Martindale-Hubbell, and the National Law Journal’s Elite Boutique Trailblazers, among others.

An active member of the legal community, Russell serves on numerous boards and committees for leading organizations including the Federal Bar Council, Westchester County Bar Foundation, Westchester County Bar Association, Legal Services of the Hudson Valley, and UJA Federation.