5th Annual New York Legal Education Conference | May 09, 2019


Gordon & Rees attorneys and distinguished guest speakers will present a full day of stimulating and timely legal education on Thursday, May 9 focusing on cutting-edge trends, case law and recent verdicts. Attendees will be able to earn up to 5.0 CLE & CE credits, including 2.0 ethics credits. The conference concludes with a cocktail reception, providing an additional opportunity for attendees to interact and engage with fellow attendees.


CLE credit will be provided in Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Florida, and California. CE credit will be provided in New York, Texas, and Florida.

Keynote Speaker

Catherine A. Sanderson, PhD
Manwell Family Professor of Life Sciences (Psychology)

Catherine A. Sanderson, PhD



Joelle Underwood

Thursday, May 09, 2019
8:30 AM - 6:00 PM

Convene Conference Center
32 Old Slip
New York, NY 10005


Catherine A. Sanderson, PhD
Manwell Family Professor of Life Sciences (Psychology)

Catherine A. Sanderson, PhD



8:30 AM - 9:30 AM

9:30 AM - 10:30 AM

This session will delve into the overlay between traditional ethical perils and technology, and provide an insightful exploration of both problems and solutions in this arena.  The topics to be covered will include, among others: how the digital age has impacted the ethical obligations of attorneys in competently representing their clients; inadvertent disclosures during e-discovery; obtaining personal information from wearables and other personal devices; the propriety of recording conversations; hazards of utilizing cloud-based sites; dangers from metadata and other embedded phenomena; use of social media - under false pretexts or otherwise - to gather information regarding parties, witnesses and jurors; and ethical boundaries for using electronic means to “spy” on the opposing side. 

Dion Cominos / Managing Partner, GRSM
Linda Moroney / Partner, GRSM

10:40 AM - 11:40 AM

During this panel presentation, we will discuss our Top Five “Hot Button” Issues evolving in employment law in 2019 and recap the biggest changes in employment law in 2018. Our speakers will provide cutting edge advice so that well-informed employment decisions can be made to avoid the expense and uncertainty of litigation. We will also address new litigation trends identified in employment law and provide insightful advice on how to develop best practices to avoid liability.

Michael Bruno / Partner, GRSM 
Debra Ellwood Meppen / Partner, GRSM 
Gina Haggerty Lindell / Partner, GRSM 

During this panel, speakers will discuss recent case law developments and trends to be aware of in insurance coverage, including coverage conditions, Coverages A and B, claims-made policies, interpleader, bad faith experts, reimbursement of defense costs, and damages.

Jennifer Arnett-Roehrich / Partner, GRSM 
Dennis Brown / Partner, GRSM 
Matthew Foy / Partner, GRSM 

When evaluating professional liability claims there is a temptation to focus too much on evaluating liability, defenses to liability, and causation, while ignoring the “Money, Money, Money” side of the evaluation known as damages. This myopic approach can lead to catastrophic results at trial. During this interactive session, our panelists will focus on the important element of damages with a new twist on how to understand the latest damages theories, how to spot the crucial issues that will be litigated, and how to defend against the latest damages theories to prevent the runaway verdict at trial. The panelists will discuss both the damages theories and the current defenses to damages, including speculation, mitigation, the economic loss rule, and Daubert challenges, just to name a few.  Finally, the discussion will focus on some very practical tips for claims professionals and lawyers in the timely evaluation and defense of damages claims.  

Bob Bragalone / Partner, GRSM 
Franz Hardy / Partner, GRSM 
John Palmeri / Partner, GRSM 

11:45 AM - 12:45 PM

This talk presents both surprising and not-so-surprising information on the science behind happiness. What role do money, marriage, friends, children, weather, age, and social media play in making us feel happier? Is happiness stable over time? How can happiness be increased? Dr. Catherine Sanderson will describe cutting-edge research from the field of positive psychology on the factors that do (and do not) predict happiness, and provide participants with practical (and relatively easy!) ways to increase their own psychological well-being.

Catherine A. Sanderson is the Manwell Family Professor of Life Sciences (Psychology) at Amherst College.

Her research has received grant funding from the National Science Foundation and the National Institute of Health. Professor Sanderson has published over 25 journal articles and book chapters in addition to four college textbooks, middle school and high school health textbooks, and a trade book on parenting. Her latest trade book, The Positive Shift, examines how mindset influences happiness, health, and even how long we live. In 2012, she was named one of the country's top 300 professors by the Princeton Review. 

1:00 PM - 2:00 PM

As construction continues to thrive across the country, so do claims involving various aspects of construction, including catastrophic injuries and environmentally friendly building. This program will discuss recent trends in construction law, how they affect companies, insurers, and attorneys alike and how we can all better prepare to deal with them.

Keith Cramer / Partner, GRSM 
Thomas Cronin / Partner, GRSM 
Julie Bardacke Haddon / Partner, GRSM 
Matthew Hawk / Partner, GRSM 

This panel will provide an overview of the rapidly-changing legal landscape with respect to privacy and cyber security laws, and the latest case law relating to coverage for data breach incidents and other cybersecurity-related incidents. An industry expert will also predict what the greatest risks for companies and insurance companies will be in the coming year.

Andy Castricone / Partner, GRSM 
Christina Vander Werf / Partner, GRSM 

This presentation will cover how to handle mass tort and products liability claims on issues applicable to the defense of products related claims.  The course will cover four main topics:


  1. The importance of the plaintiff’s deposition;
  2. Updates on the Opioid litigation and the breadth of lawsuits resulting therefrom;
  3. Updates and unique problems resulting from difficult jurisdictions;
  4. Evaluating and attacking high exposure damages claims. 

Nancy Erfle / Partner, GRSM 
Cullen Guilmartin / Partner, GRSM 
James Lowery / Partner, GRSM 
Benjamin Morton / Partner, GRSM 

2:10 PM - 3:10 PM

During this panel presentation, we will discuss how the #metoo movement has not only created but continues to influence far-reaching and permanent change for employers in the conduct of their business, but also for lawyers and employers finding themselves in litigation concerning sexual harassment or gender discrimination in the workplace. Our speakers will survey changes in the law and impacts in the courtroom now that the initial #metoo wave has receded.

Laura De Santos / Partner, GRSM 
Michael Laurenson / Partner, GRSM 
Michael Lucey / Partner, GRSM 
Chad Shultz / Partner, GRSM 

This panel will discuss resolution strategies and approaches at mediations and settlement conferences.

These topics include:

  1. Overall mediation and settlement strategies for environmental and toxic tort cases
  2. Strategies to resolve environmental cases with insurance and/or coverage issues
  3. Strategies to resolve toxic tort cases where causation is hotly contested

Erik DiMarco / Partner, GRSM 
Michael Pietrykowski / Partner, GRSM 
Kristin Reyna DeHart / Partner, GRSM 
Edward Slaughter / Partner, GRSM 
Virginia Squitieri / Partner, GRSM 

Panel members will discuss developments in the health care realm, with a particular focus on how technological advancement, changes in our social policies, and renewed analyses of our health care system have impacted potential liability for health care practitioners and their affiliated institutions. Panelists will use real-world examples to illustrate litigation trends, and will discuss best practices in meeting current, and future, challenges.

Michelle Allan / Partner, GRSM 
Jonathan Blakley / Partner, GRSM 
Amie Golen / Partner, GRSM 
Thomas Quinn / Partner, GRSM 

3:20 PM - 4:20 PM

This course is a game show-themed ethics session presenting recent and common ethical issues and quandaries. The format allows attendees to vote and provide real-time, anonymous feedback by way of an application on their smart phones. The multiple choice format and interaction with attendees offers an educational, engaging, and entertaining review of important ethical situations.

Mercedes Colwin / Partner, GRSM 
Roger Mansukhani / Partner, GRSM 
Brandon Saxon / Partner, GRSM 
Peter Siachos / Partner, GRSM 

4:20 PM - 6:00 PM