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Employment Discrimination Law & Litigation 2015


Speaker(s): Edward Hernstadt, Hon. J. Paul Oetken, Hon. James C. Francis IV, Hon. Katharine H. Parker, Hon. Lois Bloom, Hon. Sarah Netburn, Ivan D. Smith, Jill L. Rosenberg, Jordan D. Schiffman, Kevin B. Leblang, Laura Kirschstein, Louis Pechman, Mark E. Brossman, Mary Schuette, Milton L. Williams Jr., Pearl Zuchlewski, Susan Ritz, Tanya L. Menton, Tracy Richelle High, Vivien B. Shelanski, Willis J. Goldsmith
Recorded on: Jun. 22, 2015
PLI Program #: 58954

Laura Kirschstein joined T&M in December 2012 and currently serves as Vice President of the Sexual Misconduct Consulting & Investigations (SMCI) division. Under her leadership and management, the division provides consulting, training and investigative services to schools, colleges and universities, professional and collegiate sports teams and leagues, non-profit organizations, businesses and private clients in the areas of sexual assault, abuse, harassment, boundary guidelines and proper investigatory techniques during sexual misconduct cases.
Since joining T&M, Ms. Kirschstein has played an instrumental role in the rapid growth and development of SMCI division which, since its founding by Lisa Friel in 2011, has grown from a one-person division into a robust team of former prosecutors with an expertise in sexual misconduct, domestic violence and child abuse who have worked with dozens of educational institutions, along with businesses, corporations, law firms and athletic organizations throughout the United States. Ms. Kirschstein and her team of experts assist K-12 private and public schools, colleges and universities with all the various issues related to sexual misconduct and other forms of harassment and violence (domestic violence, stalking, harassment, hazing and bullying) that can impact an educational institution. At primary and secondary schools, she and her team conduct outside independent investigations into reported allegations of sexual misconduct and participate in developing and/or revising schools’ harassment policies to include all types of harassment, bullying, hazing, sexual harassment and sexual abuse/assault. She and her team also work with colleges and universities, helping them to integrate the many requirements of Title IX, the Campus SAVE Act, and the guidelines set forth by “The First Report of the White House Task Force to Protect Students from Sexual Assault,” into their policies, procedures, training for staff and education for students. She and her team conduct investigations into allegations of sexual misconduct and sexual violence that have taken place on and off- campus involving a school’s students or staff. In the specific area of athletics, she and her team develop school athletic policies, evaluate and provide recommendations on athletic department handbooks, advise on appropriate training and education for both student-athletes and athletic department staff and deliver training and educational presentations for athletes and athletic department personnel of all school levels.
For businesses and corporations, Ms. Kirschstein and her team develop and conduct evaluations of policies on sexual misconduct in the workplace and prepare and deliver training sessions to employees on this issue. Working in conjunction with law firms, she and her team also conduct investigations into allegations of sexual harassment and abuse.
In March 2013, Ms. Kirschstein was featured in a New York Magazine issue as one of New York’s Women Leaders in the Law. That same year, she was a subject matter expert for The Working Group on Girls panel, "Preventing Exploitation of Girls at Major Events," a part of a collection of parallel events being held concurrently with the United Nations’ Commission on the Status of Women fifty-seventh session.
Prior to joining T&M, Ms. Kirschstein served as the First Assistant Deputy Attorney General of the Organized Crime Task Force of the New York State Attorney General’s Office. In that role, she was responsible for conducting complex multi-defendant and multi-state wiretap investigations that included prostitution-based money laundering rings, automobile theft and exportation rings and traditional organized crime.
Prior to joining the Organized Crime Task Force, Ms. Kirschstein was the Managing Director at an investigations and security firm where she served in both case management and investigative capacities. She specialized in domestic and international corporate investigations for both financial firms and law firms, and she managed and conducted intelligence investigations, due diligence reviews, bank fraud and complex international asset searches.
Ms. Kirschstein began her career at the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office where she worked as a prosecutor for over 13 years. During that time she conducted hundreds of investigations and Grand Jury presentations and developed a wealth of experience in the investigation and prosecution of sex crimes and child abuse cases. She served as an assistant district attorney for ten years until promoted to Deputy Bureau Chief of one of the six trial bureaus where, among her many responsibilities, she supervised the prosecution of felony cases by 50 lawyers in the bureau. As a senior prosecutor in the Sex Crimes Unit, she presented to the Grand Jury the first John Doe indictment in New York State, based solely upon DNA evidence.
In December 2011, Ms. Kirschstein was awarded the Lefkowitz Award by the New York State Attorney General's Office for her work on a long-term investigation into the loan-sharking and bookmaking activities of the Gambino crime family.
Ms. Kirschstein earned her Bachelor of Arts in English and Political Science from Bucknell University, graduating with Honors. She received her Juris Doctor from Temple University School of Law, where she was a Notes and Comments editor of the International and Comparative Law Journal. From 2001 until 2003, she served as an Adjunct Professor in the Criminal Justice Department at Pace University.
Laura Kirschstein joined T&M in December 2012 and currently serves as Vice President of the Sexual Misconduct Consulting & Investigations (SMCI) division. Under her leadership and management, the division provides consulting, training and investigative services to schools, colleges and universities, professional and collegiate sports teams and leagues, non-profit organizations, businesses and private clients in the areas of sexual assault, abuse, harassment, boundary guidelines and proper investigatory techniques during sexual misconduct cases.
Since joining T&M, Ms. Kirschstein has played an instrumental role in the rapid growth and development of SMCI division which, since its founding by Lisa Friel in 2011, has grown from a one-person division into a robust team of former prosecutors with an expertise in sexual misconduct, domestic violence and child abuse who have worked with dozens of educational institutions, along with businesses, corporations, law firms and athletic organizations throughout the United States. Ms. Kirschstein and her team of experts assist K-12 private and public schools, colleges and universities with all the various issues related to sexual misconduct and other forms of harassment and violence (domestic violence, stalking, harassment, hazing and bullying) that can impact an educational institution. At primary and secondary schools, she and her team conduct outside independent investigations into reported allegations of sexual misconduct and participate in developing and/or revising schools’ harassment policies to include all types of harassment, bullying, hazing, sexual harassment and sexual abuse/assault. She and her team also work with colleges and universities, helping them to integrate the many requirements of Title IX, the Campus SAVE Act, and the guidelines set forth by “The First Report of the White House Task Force to Protect Students from Sexual Assault,” into their policies, procedures, training for staff and education for students. She and her team conduct investigations into allegations of sexual misconduct and sexual violence that have taken place on and off- campus involving a school’s students or staff. In the specific area of athletics, she and her team develop school athletic policies, evaluate and provide recommendations on athletic department handbooks, advise on appropriate training and education for both student-athletes and athletic department staff and deliver training and educational presentations for athletes and athletic department personnel of all school levels.
For businesses and corporations, Ms. Kirschstein and her team develop and conduct evaluations of policies on sexual misconduct in the workplace and prepare and deliver training sessions to employees on this issue. Working in conjunction with law firms, she and her team also conduct investigations into allegations of sexual harassment and abuse.
In March 2013, Ms. Kirschstein was featured in a New York Magazine issue as one of New York’s Women Leaders in the Law. That same year, she was a subject matter expert for The Working Group on Girls panel, "Preventing Exploitation of Girls at Major Events," a part of a collection of parallel events being held concurrently with the United Nations’ Commission on the Status of Women fifty-seventh session.
Prior to joining T&M, Ms. Kirschstein served as the First Assistant Deputy Attorney General of the Organized Crime Task Force of the New York State Attorney General’s Office. In that role, she was responsible for conducting complex multi-defendant and multi-state wiretap investigations that included prostitution-based money laundering rings, automobile theft and exportation rings and traditional organized crime.
Prior to joining the Organized Crime Task Force, Ms. Kirschstein was the Managing Director at an investigations and security firm where she served in both case management and investigative capacities. She specialized in domestic and international corporate investigations for both financial firms and law firms, and she managed and conducted intelligence investigations, due diligence reviews, bank fraud and complex international asset searches.
Ms. Kirschstein began her career at the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office where she worked as a prosecutor for over 13 years. During that time she conducted hundreds of investigations and Grand Jury presentations and developed a wealth of experience in the investigation and prosecution of sex crimes and child abuse cases. She served as an assistant district attorney for ten years until promoted to Deputy Bureau Chief of one of the six trial bureaus where, among her many responsibilities, she supervised the prosecution of felony cases by 50 lawyers in the bureau. As a senior prosecutor in the Sex Crimes Unit, she presented to the Grand Jury the first John Doe indictment in New York State, based solely upon DNA evidence.
In December 2011, Ms. Kirschstein was awarded the Lefkowitz Award by the New York State Attorney General's Office for her work on a long-term investigation into the loan-sharking and bookmaking activities of the Gambino crime family.
Ms. Kirschstein earned her Bachelor of Arts in English and Political Science from Bucknell University, graduating with Honors. She received her Juris Doctor from Temple University School of Law, where she was a Notes and Comments editor of the International and Comparative Law Journal. From 2001 until 2003, she served as an Adjunct Professor in the Criminal Justice Department at Pace University.


Tanya L. Menton is Principal Counsel in the Legal Department for The Walt Disney Company. She regularly counsels the Company and its various broadcasting divisions and stations on various employment and commercial matters.  She regularly conducts training and internal investigations and negotiates talent and executive employment agreements.  She also oversees the Company’s compliance with EEO laws, including development of Affirmative Action plans.  Ms. Menton represents the Company before various federal and state administrative agencies and courts and oversees outside litigation.

Previously, Ms. Menton was associated with the law firms of Townley & Updike (New York) and O’Melveny & Myers (Los Angeles) where she represented employers before federal and state courts and administrative agencies.  She is a member of the State Bar of California.  She is also a member of the Labor and Employment and Litigation Sections and Committees of the California, New York State and American Bar Associations.

Ms. Menton is a graduate of Northwestern University School of Law (cum laude) and received her Bachelor of Arts from Northwestern University (magna cum laude).

Contact:         
Tanya L. Menton, Esq.
Principal Counsel
ABC, Inc.
77 West 66th Street
New York, New York 10023
(212) 456-6178 (phone)
(212) 456-6565 (fax)
tanya.l.menton@abc.com 


Edward Hernstadt is an experienced employment attorney with a significant litigation and counseling practice. Ed has successfully tried age, sex and racial discrimination cases before federal and state courts and arbitration panels. His representation also includes negotiating agreements for senior executives in the banking, brokerage, retail, media and advertising industries, and providing advice to employers on how to avoid discrimination claims and how to investigate claims that have arisen. Ed has been honored as both a New York’s "Best Lawyer" in Labor and Employment Law and a New York "Super Lawyer" in Employment Litigation annually since 2007. Ed also has litigated a number of high-profile and complex intellectual property and First Amendment cases, as well as many commercial disputes.

Ed is a Columbia University (B.A.) graduate and received his J.D. from the University of Pennsylvania School of Law (cum laude, Order of the Coif), where he was an Articles Editor of the Law Review. He is a member of the Federal Bar Council American Inn of Court, and was co-Chairman of the Labor Relations and Employment Law Committee of the New York State Bar Association, Commercial and Federal Litigation Section and a former member of the Labor and Employment Law and Trademark Committees of the Bar Association of the City of New York. He has appeared as a legal commentator on MSNBC, CNBC, CNNfn, and National Public Radio.

Prior to launching Hernstadt Atlas PLLC with his late partner David Atlas in early 2008, Ed was a partner with Frankfurt Kurnit Klein & Selz, PC, an associate with Vladeck, Waldman, Elias & Engelhard, PC, and a law clerk for the Honorable Whitman Knapp in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York.


Ivan Smith devotes his practice to labor and employment law and litigation, and entertainment law. He has substantial experience in employment discrimination cases, with particular emphasis in class and multi-plaintiff cases that are both regional and national in scope.

His clients have spanned many industries, including education, healthcare, sports, entertainment, food service, hotel, construction, maintenance, shipping, airline, trucking and engineering, and he has represented them in collective bargaining, contract and grievance arbitrations, litigation pertaining to unfair labor practices and matters before the National Labor Relations Board. In addition, Mr. Smith advises institutions on benefits and pension issues under Taft Hartley and ERISA, as well as advising on welfare plans concerning privacy and data breach issues.

Mr. Smith's entertainment practice include representing Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Grammy- and Emmy-award-winning producers, writers, directors and artists in the music, television and film industries. He has served as general counsel to a number of entertainment companies in these industries. He also represents investors in film and music industries. Mr. Smith also serves as general counsel to various not-for-profit groups.


Professional Background

Mr. Smith joined Hinshaw & Culbertson LLP in October 2013. Previously he was for six years a partner at Lewis Brisbois Bisgaard & Smith LLP, where he was the administrative partner in New York, as well as a co-chair of its entertainment practice, and vice chair of its labor and employment group. He began his legal career at Vladeck, Waldman, Elias & Engelhard, P.C. as an associate in 1989. He became a partner there in 1995, and served as Managing Partner of the firm from 1996 to 2007, when he left to join Lewis Brisbois.

From 1991 to 2009, Mr. Smith served as an adjunct professor for the Cornell University Industrial School of Labor Relations, where he taught courses in labor and employment law, collective bargaining and arbitration.

Mr. Smith is often sought for legal commentary by such publications and programs as Time Magazine, Black Enterprise Magazine and the television program, Court TV. He has been featured on 60 Minutes on CBS News, in a story titled "Southern Exposure."


Professional Affiliations

•              American Bar Association, Member (1991–Present)

•              New York City Bar Association, Member (1993–2007)


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

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

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

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


Jordan D. Schiffman began his career as a litigator at the law firm of Seward & Kissel.  He continued litigating employment matters at the employment law boutique of Roberts & Finger LLP.  At Roberts & Finger, he litigated the first Legal Activities Law case brought under New York's Labor Law §201-d, the facts of which were later converted into an episode of the television program "L.A. Law."  His in-house counsel career began in the employment law group at Metropolitan Life Insurance Company where he stayed until he joined UBS AG as a Director in 2000.  Over time Mr. Schiffman was promoted to Managing Director and headed UBS Investment Bank's U.S. Employment Law team.  After briefly leaving UBS in 2009 to work at MF Global, he returned in 2011 to head UBS' Regional Employment Law team for the Americas, which covers all employment law matters for the entirety of UBS' businesses.

Mr. Schiffman is admitted in New York, Connecticut and as an In-House Counsel in New Jersey, as well as various federal courts.  Mr. Schiffman has also guest lectured on employment law issues at Columbia University Law School. 


Judge Katharine H. Parker was sworn into office as United States Magistrate Judge in the Southern District of New York 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 an equity 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.


Kevin Leblang heads Kramer Levin’s Employment Law department and concentrates exclusively on representing management on employment law litigation and advisory matters.

Mr. Leblang counsels employers on matters ranging from the adoption and application of employee relations policies to the evaluation and minimization of litigation risks of employment decisions. He also represents management clients in litigations before federal and state courts, administrative agencies and arbitrators. Mr. Leblang has extensive experience litigating claims alleging all forms of discrimination, breach of contract and the myriad of tort claims (e.g. defamation, wrongful discharge, negligent hiring or supervision, etc.) arising out of the employment relationship. He also has extensive experience advising and litigating in the rapidly growing field of employee non-competition law.


Louis Pechman practices before federal and state courts and government agencies in all areas of workplace law, including employment discrimination, sex harassment litigation, union-management relations, employment contracts, non-competition agreements, independent contractor issues, and overtime and pay disputes. As a practitioner for over thirty years in the labor and employment field, Mr. Pechman offers both individual employees and employers practical guidance on improving the employment relationship and, where appropriate, terminating that relationship.

Mr. Pechman has been selected by his peers for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America and as a New York Super Lawyer in the area of Labor and Employment Law since 2006.  Mr. Pechman is AV-rated by Martindale-Hubbell and has received a ”Superb” rating from Avvo.  He has also been selected as a Fellow of the American Bar Association, an honorary organization limited to 1% of attorneys who have demonstrated outstanding achievements and dedication to the highest principles of the legal profession.  Mr. Pechman moderates annual programs at the New York County Lawyers’ Association on “How to Handle an Employment Discrimination Case” and “How to Handle a Wage and Hour Case.” 

Mr. Pechman is one of the most experienced practitioners in New York in the fast emerging area of wage and hour law. Over the past decade, he has litigated over 100 federal and state court cases involving claims under the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) and the New York Labor Law. Mr. Pechman is also the founder of waiterpay.com, a site that focuses on the complex wage and hour issues in the New York restaurant industry.  He currently serves as Chair of the Restaurant and Hospitality Law Committee of the New York City Bar Association. Email: pechman@pechmanlaw.com


Mark E. Brossman is co-head of the Employment & Employee Benefits Group at Schulte Roth & Zabel. His areas of concentration include all aspects of ERISA, employment discrimination, labor relations, and related litigation. Mark is well known for his expertise in education law and representation of educational institutions including independent schools, colleges, universities, professional training programs and education-related associations, and has advised educational institutions since graduating from law school. Mark is a frequent public speaker and author. His practice also includes serving as counsel to many large multi-employer and single-employer employee benefit plans; health care institutions, including nursing homes and home care employers; and a wide variety of other clients in industries ranging from banks and financial institutions to textile and furniture to magazine publishing and transportation. He has served as an instructor in the Columbia University Teacher’s College and as a lecturer in the Cornell University ILR School’s Labor Relations Studies Program.

Mark is listed in The Best Lawyers in America and New York Super Lawyers and was recognized by both Human Resource Executive and Lawdragon as one of the 100 most powerful employment attorneys in America and one of the top 10 in ERISA law. Mark received the Cornell University School of Industrial and Labor Relations’ prestigious Judge William B. Groat Alumni Award (for achievement in the field of industrial relations), the Emerald Isle Immigration Center’s Robert Briscoe Award, membership in the Academy of Employee Benefit Authors, and the Lawyers Alliance for New York’s Cornerstone Award (for outstanding pro bono service to New York nonprofit organizations), in addition to being the first recipient of LANY’s Pro Bono Leadership Award. He also is active in several not-for-profit organizations and serves on the Board of Directors of LiveOn NY, the Board of Directors of New York University School of Law’s Center for Labor & Employment Law, the Advisory Council of Cornell University ILR School, the Board of Trustees of Bard College and the Board of Trustees of Montefiore Health System Inc. Mark earned his B.S. in Industrial and Labor Relations from Cornell University in 1975, his J.D. from New York University School of Law in 1978 and an LL.M. in Labor Law from the same institution in 1981.


Paul Oetken was nominated by President Barack Obama to serve as United States District Judge for the Southern District of New York on January 26, 2011.  He was confirmed by the Senate on July 18, 2011.  He graduated from the University of Iowa in 1988 and received a J.D. from Yale Law School in 1991.  Following his graduation from law school, he served as a law clerk to Judge Richard D. Cudahy (U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit) from 1991 to 1992, to Judge Louis F. Oberdorfer (U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia) from 1992 to 1993, and to Justice Harry A. Blackmun (United States Supreme Court) from 1993 to 1994.

Following his clerkships, Judge Oetken worked as an attorney at Jenner & Block in Washington, DC.  He then served as attorney-adviser in the United States Department of Justice Office of Legal Counsel from 1997 to 1999.  In 1999, Judge Oetken joined the White House Counsel’s Office, serving as Associate Counsel to President Bill Clinton until the end of President Clinton’s term in January 2001.  Judge Oetken then worked as an attorney at Debevoise & Plimpton in New York from 2001 to 2004, leaving to become head of litigation at Cablevision Systems Corporation, where he was Senior Vice President and Associate General Counsel until 2011.

Judge Oetken has taught Employment Law as an Adjunct Professor at Fordham Law School and has served on the Media Law Committee of the New York City Bar Association.  He serves as Counselor to the William C. Conner Inn of Court.


Pearl Zuchlewski is a partner in Kraus & Zuchlewski LLP where she primarily represents individual employees.

She is a former Chair of the New York State Bar Association (“NYSBA”) Labor and Employment Law Section and presently serves on the Section’s Executive Committee.  She also is a Section representative to the NYSBA House of Delegates.  In addition, Ms. Zuchlewski is a member of the American Bar Association (“ABA”) Labor and Employment Law Section’s Employee Rights and Responsibilities Committee, the National Employment Lawyers Association and the Association of the Bar in the City of New York (“ABCNY”). 

She has served on the FINRA task force which drafted the FINRA Code of Arbitration provisions for statutory discrimination claims and is former Chair of the FINR’s National Arbitration and Mediation Committee.  Ms. Zuchlewski most recently served as Chair of a FINRA employment task force which reviewed and consolidated the former NASD and NYSE Codes of Arbitration Procedure.

Ms. Zuchlewski has been recognized for several years as among the Best Lawyers in New York and in Superlawyers.  She is a Fellow in the College of Labor and Employment Lawyers and a member of the College’s Board of Governors.  She also is a member of the advisory boards of the New York University Law School Center for Labor and Employment, the Hofstra Law School, CPR Employment Disputes Committee and the New York City Chapter of the Labor and Employment Relations Association; her other professional activities include membership in the Public Investors Arbitration Bar Association.

Ms. Zuchlewski is a frequent speaker on alternative dispute resolution, sexual harassment and other employment related issues at various organizations including the ABA, NYSBA, ABCNY, Practicing Law Institute and New York University Judicial Conferences.  Her articles have appeared in the New York Law Journal, various proceedings of the New York University’s Annual Conferences on Labor, ABA, NYSBA and other publications.


Tracy Richelle High is Deputy Managing Partner of S&C’s Litigation Group, and a member of both the Firm’s Labor and Employment Law Group and Criminal Defense and Investigations practice. Ms. High’s practice focuses on representing financial institutions and other corporations in complex civil litigation, arbitration and mediation proceedings, corporate internal investigations, and labor and employment matters.

Internally, Ms. High serves as co-chair of the Diversity and Women’s Initiative Committees and one of S&C’s hiring partners. Ms. High also oversees S&C’s active networks for minority associates: the Asian Associates Network, the Network of Black & Latino Lawyers and the LGBT Network. Each of these groups is dedicated to enhancing the experience of S&C’s diverse attorneys and championing their retention and advancement by fostering professional development, networking and mentoring opportunities.

Externally, Ms. High is a member of the board of directors of the Legal Aid Society, Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, New York City Bar Justice Center, Partnership for After School Education and YWCA-NYC. She also serves on the Steering Committee of the Kate Stoneman Project, is a Trustee of the Federal Bar Council and Harvard Law School Association, New York City, and is a member of the Association of Black Women Attorneys and Metropolitan Black Bar Association.


Vivien B. Shelanski, Esq. is a mediator and arbitrator at JAMS, where she has resolved hundreds of complex business and employment matters, including family disputes with highly fraught interpersonal dynamics. Before joining JAMS in 1998, she served as Assistant Circuit Executive at the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit and was a litigator at two prominent New York law firms. She has taught at New York University School of Law and served as a Law Clerk to the Hon. Milton Pollack, a United States District Judge in the Southern District of New York.  In addition to serving on the JAMs Board of Directors, she is an elected fellow of the College of Labor and Employment Lawyers and the College of Commercial Arbitrators, and was a co-editor of the 3rd Edition of the College of Commercial Arbitrators Guide to Best Practices in Commercial Arbitration.

She received an AB from Bryn Mawr College, a Ph.D. in philosophy from the University of Chicago, and the JD from New York University School of Law.


Willis Goldsmith represents management in labor and employment law matters including practice before state and federal trial and appellate courts in matters arising under the NLRA, Section 301 of Taft-Hartley, ERISA, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, and OSHA; in injunction, breach of contract, and employment cases; and in collective bargaining and labor contract administration.

Among his noteworthy matters is Chamber of Commerce v. Brown, which Willis argued before the U.S. Supreme Court. The Court, reversing an en banc decision of the Ninth Circuit, held that a California statute that prevented employers from using state funds to lawfully deter union organizing was preempted by the NLRA, noting federal labor policy favoring employer speech regarding union organizing efforts.

Willis was Partner-in-Charge in New York from 2008 through 2012, when he stepped down from that position under the terms of the Partnership Agreement; from 1991 to 2006, he chaired the Firm's Labor & Employment Practice. He has authored numerous articles and participated in many conferences focusing on labor and employment law issues. Willis is a Fellow of the College of Labor and Employment Lawyers; member of the Labor Law Advisory Committee of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce; advisor, American Law Institute Restatement of the Law Third Employment Law; the advisory board of the NYU School of Law Center for Labor and Employment Law; the Association of the Bar of the City of New York; the Labor and Employment Law sections of the New York State Bar Association (Section Secretary 2013-2014); and of the ABA. He is a member of the board of directors of the Legal Aid Society of New York City and of Appleseed's New York Advisory Council.

EXPERIENCE HIGHLIGHTS

New York Philharmonic (Philharmonic Symphony Society of New York, Inc.) collective bargaining negotiations with Local 802, American Federation of Musicians

Verizon Wireless obtains injunctive relief in action seeking to enforce non-disclosure, no-hire, and non-solicitation provisions against future competitor

IBM wins affirmance of dismissal of disability discrimination claims

HONORS & DISTINCTIONS

The Best Lawyers in America — Labor and Employment Law

Chambers USA: America's Leading Business Lawyers (Band 1)

Legal 500 US — Leading Lawyer

Human Resource Executive Magazine: "The 100 Most Powerful Employment Attorneys in America"

Education

New York University (J.D. 1972); Brown University (A.B. 1969)

Bar Admissions

New York; District of Columbia; U.S. Supreme Court; U.S. Courts of Appeals for the Second, Third, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, Seventh, and D.C. Circuits; and U.S. District Courts for the Southern, Eastern, and Northern Districts of New York and District of Columbia


James C. Francis IV has been a United States Magistrate Judge in the Southern District of New York since October 1985 and served as Chief Magistrate Judge from 1998 to 2000.  He graduated summa cum laude from Yale College in 1974, where he was a member of Phi Beta Kappa.  He received his juris doctor degree from the Yale Law School in 1978 and a masters degree in public policy from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University in the same year.  Following graduation from law school, Judge Francis clerked for the Honorable Robert L. Carter in the Southern District of New York.  He then joined the Civil Appeals and Law Reform Unit of the Legal Aid Society where he conducted impact litigation in the areas of housing and education and served as director of the Disability Rights Unit.  He continued in this capacity until his appointment to the bench.  Judge Francis is an Adjunct Professor at the Fordham University School of Law where he teaches Constitutional Torts.    He has served on the Legal Assistance, Federal Courts, Disability Rights, and Professional Responsibility Committees of the New York City Bar Association and the Federal Judiciary Committee of the New York State Bar Association.  Judge Francis lectures frequently on electronic discovery, employment litigation, constitutional torts, legal ethics, and pretrial practice.  His publications include two chapters in Moore’s Federal Practice.


Lois Bloom was sworn in as a United States Magistrate Judge for the Eastern District of New York on May 18, 2001.  Before her appointment in the Eastern District, Magistrate Judge Bloom served as Senior Staff Attorney in the Pro Se Office of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York for 13 years.  She is a graduate of the State University of New York at Buffalo Law School and the State University of New York at Stony Brook.  Her first job out of law school was representing single room occupancy tenants as a staff attorney at the West Side SRO Law Project, part of the Goddard Riverside Community Center.  Judge Bloom has spoken on Civil Rights Issues, Access to Justice, Employment Discrimination, Habeas Corpus and Federal Civil Procedure at numerous conferences.  She also trains new Magistrate Judges as part of the Federal Judicial Center’s orientation for newly appointed judges.


Mary Schuette recently retired as Vice President, Legal Services, responsible for the Labor Relations, Benefits, Workers’ Compensation and General Litigation and Claims areas of the Law Department of the Consolidated Edison Company of New York.   She is currently working as a consultant; she also serves on the board of the Fund for Modern Courts.  She is a graduate of Yale College and the Columbia University School of Law and is admitted to the bar of the State of New York.  She has been admitted to practice in the Supreme Court, the United States Courts of Appeals for the Second, Fifth, Seventh, and Ninth Circuits, and the United States District Courts for the Southern and Eastern Districts of New York.  Prior to joining Con Edison’s Law Department she worked for the National Labor Relations Board.


Milt Williams joined the firm as a partner in January of 2009. Prior to joining the firm, Milt was a Deputy General Counsel and the Chief Compliance Officer at Time Inc. Milt had been at Time since 1997. Before working at Time, Milt was in private practice, and served as an Assistant United States Attorney in the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York. His last assigned unit in the United States Attorney's Office was the Securities and Commodities Fraud Task Force. Prior to becoming a Federal Prosecutor, Milt was an Assistant District Attorney in the New York County District Attorney’s Office. Milt has tried over fifty (50) cases (both civil and criminal) to verdict. He is a graduate of Amherst College and the University of Michigan Law School in Ann Arbor.


Sarah Netburn is a United States Magistrate Judge for the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York. She was sworn in on August 16, 2012. Before taking the bench, she was that Court’s Chief Counsel to the Office of Pro Se Litigation from 2010-2012. Judge Netburn was a partner at Emery Celli Brinckerhoff & Abady LLP in New York. She was graduated from the University of California at Los Angeles School of Law. After law school, Judge Netburn clerked for the Hon. Harry Pregerson on the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. She formerly served on the Board of Directors of The Fortune Society and was the recipient of the Legal Aid Society’s Pro Bono Publico Award in 2004 and 2005. She received her Bachelor of Arts from Brown University.


Susan Ritz has practiced employment law since 1985.  She 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, 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 small 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 is listed in The Best Lawyers in America (20+ years) and Super Lawyers. She is rated AV by Martindale Hubbell and was selected for its 2011 Inaugural Edition of the Bar Register of Preeminent Women Lawyers.  She is 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, ALI-CLE, American Bar Association, Practising Law Institute, New York State 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.