We are pleased to submit the July 2020 issue of Electronically in Touch. This issue consists of articles on basic argument tips for new lawyers, a discussion on the value of mentorship, a look into the 100th anniversary of women's suffrage, and how to make video conferencing work.

This issue also includes our regular column, Why I Belong, which features NYSBA member, Hamutal Ginsburg Lieberman, Esq. and several upcoming virtual events.

Electronically In Touch is a member driven publication. We welcome submissions from members on any relevant topic, including practice tips, substantive legal articles, case updates, work/life balance, and information regarding upcoming meetings and events. Please submit inquiries and articles to Julie T. Houth at jhouth@gmail.com.

We hope you all stay healthy and safe during these unprecedented times.

For Argument's Sake: Basics for the New Lawyer

| No Comments

By Gabriella Ali-Marino, Esq.

My first experience of stating my case in open court as a clinical intern showcased some of the insecurities that I would eventually overcome as a young attorney through practice. A brief look into this experience may provide young lawyers with guidance on managing anxiety about underperformance, feelings of personal responsibility for the outcome of a case, and latent feelings of insignificance spurred by youth and relative inexperience.

In law school, I served as a clinical intern assisting with cases under a Student Practice Order as part of my law school's criminal defense clinic. I had the unique opportunity to argue motions on behalf of criminal defendants, and played an active role in arraignments. The first time I was afforded the opportunity to argue on behalf of a defendant, I had practiced dozens of times in my head what I would say when I got up to the podium that morning.

I sat with my yellow legal pad and stared down at my neat handwriting, and all the facts that I believed were in our client's favor, arranged into a grid, with deeply colored ink pressed into the page from re-writing those facts over and over again. My supervisor stood at the bar, and waved to me. Here we go, I thought to myself. I took a deep breath, walked over, and stood opposite the judge, and adjacent to the Assistant District Attorney (ADA).

After the case caption was read, the judge asked the ADA assigned to that morning's proceedings a few questions about the case, and then it was my turn to speak. I cannot recall what I said, but I remember a heat radiating from my entire body, and afterwards, finally understanding what it meant to "dig your heels in." I became acutely aware of the pressure, which made my feet swell, and felt my high heels pressing hard against the stone floor as I literally and figuratively stood my ground. I had a lot to say and I could hear my supervisor whisper from behind me, "Slow down!" I think I might have. When I had gotten through my well-rehearsed speech, I looked expectantly at the judge, certain that I had made my point, and made it well. The judge turned to the People who looked down at their notes and mumbled something about the handling attorney not being in that day, so he was not able to speak to certain factors that I had mentioned.

Ultimately, the relief I sought was not granted. I was disappointed, but the judge's encouraging words and commendation off the record for my efforts provided some comfort. I remember feeling like I wasn't quite sure how to feel, but everyone around me was smiling, so I took it as a good sign.

Arguments I make in court today look a little different. Currently, I practice civil law and primarily practice in the New York City Supreme Courts. The quick pace of the civil Supreme Courts of New York within the five boroughs of New York City have allowed me to sharpen my ability to handle high-stress conferences while remaining calm and focused on the task at hand. I am far from the nervous young women who stood in criminal court racing though arguments, but it certainly did not happen overnight. Now, my arguments in court are far calmer and more straightforward. I do still dig my heels in, but just for better posture.

Choose Themes Over Speeches

The ability to speak eloquently about the nuances of a particular case is a wonderful thing. It requires having a strong, working understanding of the facts as they have been presented throughout the life of a case. Not every attorney, however, has the time to memorize every single detail of a case, for different practical reasons. Perhaps there has not been significant discovery pertaining to a case or particular issue. Perhaps an attorney is covering an appearance for a colleague and, therefore, has not attended every deposition, or is not as intimately familiar with the details of a case as the handling attorney. Or, perhaps the case is a last-minute assignment. Additionally, one can never be entirely sure of what an adversary is going to say, or what a judge is going to ask. Therefore, rather than memorizing a speech to deliver in court, it is better to become familiar with a few main points, and to deliver them in a responsive manner. Consider keeping a short, three- to five-bullet point list of phrases as signal points. It is better to meet the argument where it is than to focus on points where the judge might already agree with the client, or that an adversary has conceded since drafting his papers.

It is a good idea to keep some notes on hand to bolster points with specific facts when a question is posed about them, or for use in opposition to a point made by opposing counsel, such as key dates, sequences of events, or other factual particularities. The judge will appreciate appropriate responsiveness and the succinctness of delivery, especially when the issue is being addressed for the first time and requires being able to grasp and digest the point quickly. Further, notes will help succinctly address any points the adversary brings up. Those points should be relatively discernable if motion papers were exchanged or if the issue was discussed with counsel at some point prior to addressing it before a judge. I'm usually less concerned about looking down at my notes especially if one of these facts seem to be crucial to the decision-making process at hand but, of course, these points should be easily accessible out of respect for the Court's time, to keep everyone's attention, and to maintain momentum.

"What do you want?"

The quintessential lawyer on television, in the past and sometimes now, is usually depicted as a tall, white male in a well-tailored suit, carrying a briefcase, who is confident and clever, and at times, brooding in character. Even without getting into more detail about this stereotypical television lawyer, this is far from what I look like and I'm sure my queer colleagues and colleagues of color can relate to this feeling of detachment from the "classic" depiction of the lawyer even more so. Fortunately, I have encountered a variety of both male and female attorneys from other ethnicities and walks of life throughout my practice in such a diverse place as New York City, which has quelled my concerns about feeling like I don't belong.

From my experience, the best way to overcome fears about inadequacy is to take command of the facts of the case at hand. Be familiar and be willing to talk through issues that may arise during arguments aloud with a co-worker (similar to a moot court workshop session, or during an informal conversation in a colleague's office, which works just as well). It sounds simple, but in order to be taken seriously, it is better to know the case well. Moreover, it is better to address issues in the office and risk finding problems with your analysis "at practice," than to realize there is a strategic issue on the field when the ball is already sailing through the air.

This principle, of course, applies to having a good understanding of applicable caselaw as well. Many attorneys make well-reasoned, intelligent arguments. Many attorneys also make arguments that completely miss the mark when it comes to getting the ruling they say they want. The difference in either case is in preparation. Knowledge of caselaw application can put a young attorney on similar footing with seasoned, well-prepared adversaries, so that the law can speak for itself, regardless of the stylistic differences in delivery.

One of the best pieces of advice I've received regarding fears about inadequacy came from a colleague of mine, and was delivered early on in my career during the first few months I began making appearances in court for conferences. I stopped by his office for a chat to ask about how to address something in court, and admitted that I was nervous because I was not always sure about how to request certain relief. He said, "What do you want? If you know what you want, just don't stop screaming until you get it." He didn't mean that literally, of course, but the point stands. He continued, "If you don't know who to ask, keep asking until you find the person who needs to hear you." This piece of advice served as a reminder that an attorney's voice is a powerful tool, and that getting what you need is often a matter of persistence.

Taking It On The Chin

In law and in life, it is important to take responsibility for your actions. Attorneys are responsible for many things, including meeting deadlines, making court appearances, and properly reviewing caselaw before using it in a motion. When issues arise, the most prudent course of action is to fix the issue, if possible, and evaluate what happened so that the same mistake is not repeated. An attorney's reputation, including whether one takes responsibly for one's actions or inaction, is everything. Being virtuous in this way, however, does not extend to taking the result of every application, motion, or decision encountered, personally. While it has taken some time to learn this lesson myself, I have come to understand that while being persuasive is part of what lawyers do, no one can control what another person chooses to do. This applies to other lawyers, co-workers, judges, court personnel, and clients. All lawyers can do is find the best supportive caselaw, make well-reasoned arguments based on the facts, and try our best to be diligent.

These aspects of professional development illustrate how consistent perseverance within the learning process, however uncomfortable, can maximize future success. Through daily perseverance, we gather new strategies as we progress, and that's why it is called the "practice" of law.

Gabriella Ali-Marino is a litigation associate at Rutherford & Christie, LLP. She focuses her practice on general civil litigation and appeals, specializing in personal injury claims, including premises liability, vicarious liability, sexual assault, and wrongful death claims. She holds a J.D. from New York Law School and a B.A. in Political Science from Adelphi University. Ms. Ali-Marino is based at the firm's New York office, and practices in both New York and Connecticut.

The Value of Mentorship

| No Comments

By Caitlyn Ryan, Esq.

The benefits of mentorship are vast, both for the person being mentored and the person doing the mentoring. Mentorship is proven to lead to increased job satisfaction, employee inclusion and improved career outcomes, among other things, and can benefit professionals at all stages of their careers. Mentorship is especially beneficial to young lawyers navigating the early years of their careers. This article discusses the benefits of mentorship, the qualities of a great mentor, and ways in which young lawyers can preserve the mentor-mentee relationship, especially amid COVID-19.

I. What is a Mentor, and How Can A Young Lawyer Benefit from Mentorship?

In its simplest form, a mentor is a trusted advisor who uses his or her personal experiences, network and expertise to help guide you in your personal and/or professional development. More than that, however, a mentor is someone who truly sees and understands you, your career, and what you need to advance both professionally and personally. A mentor is able to identify with you without superimposing his or her own values and agenda on you. While many people can provide objectively good advice, a mentor has the ability to provide advice that is good for you.

There are a multitude of types of mentors. For example, a mentor can be older or younger than you, long-term or transient in nature, or entirely unexpected. A mentor can be cold or distant, or a family member or close friend. A mentor can be a sponsor; that is, someone who advocates for you, is personally invested in your achievement and upward mobility, and uses his or her network and influence to connect you to greater opportunities. Regardless of the type of mentor, attributes that all great mentors have in common are the abilities to provide truthful and unsolicited advice, and to take a genuine interest in your development.

While mentorship is beneficial to lawyers across the experience-level spectrum, the benefit it provides to young lawyers is invaluable. Through mentorship, young lawyers can learn the substantive skills required to succeed in their respective practice areas, and can hone the skill of "lawyering". For example, they can learn how to effectively communicate with clients, understand legal ethics, and navigate the internal politics and hierarchies that inevitably pervade the practice of law. Mentors can help young lawyers learn from their mistakes and provide them with both encouragement and "tough love". They can serve as sounding boards and sources of unbiased opinions. Mentors are trusted advisors.

Moreover, mentorship affords young lawyers the opportunity to gain allies and role models. It can help young lawyers build their professional networks and client bases, whether through introductions made by a mentor, or through a mentor's advice and guidance. Perhaps most comforting to young lawyers, mentors can provide a frame of reference for all of the new experiences young lawyers have at the start of their careers.

II. How Can A Young Lawyer Identify a Great Mentor?

A mentor-mentee relationship can develop in a number of ways. For example, it can develop organically (e.g., through working together on a matter or volunteering for the same organization), it can be established through an institutional mentorship program, or it can be expressly sought out by one of the parties. No matter the source of the relationship, a great mentor will possess a number of signature qualities. A great mentor will have the ability to see your strengths (that even you may not be able to recognize), to give you unsolicited but needed advice, to tell you the unbiased truth (even if it is not easy to hear), and understand you and your potential. Further, a great mentor exhibits a sincere desire to help others succeed, and is willing to share his or her personal failures and triumphs as learning tools for others. He or she is willing to commit time to the relationship and will initiate meetings and other interactions. He or she is capable of listening, providing feedback and insight, self-reflecting, and challenging those around him or her. Notably, a mentor does not necessarily need to exemplify the life or career you want. Instead, he or she simply needs to be able to see the person you are and the person you can become.

To be able to identify a great mentor, you will simultaneously need to weed out the bad or false mentors. Signs of a bad or false mentor may include someone who: provides illogical, irrational or generic advice, advice that makes you feel uncomfortable, or advice that would require that you foreclose another opportunity that it important you; does not seem to make the time for you; does not truly understand you and your goals, or simply does not care about your goals; or speaks down to you. Further, what may seem like a great mentor-mentee relationship at the start may not withstand the test of time. If, for example, the relationship morphs into a rivalry, or if a boundary is crossed, it may be time to move on from the relationship.

III. How Can A Young Lawyer Maintain the Mentor-Mentee Relationship, Especially Amid COVID-19?

Like any relationship, a mentor-mentee relationship requires work from both parties. In the age of COVID-19, this can be particularly challenging. This section addresses a few ways in which young lawyers--as mentees--can try to foster and maintain the relationship.

Establish parameters. Mentees (as well as mentors) should clearly communicate their goals and expectations at the start of the relationship so as to enable them to get the most out of the time spent with their mentor. It is equally as, if not more, important to revisit these goals periodically throughout the duration of the relationship, as the parties may find themselves veering off track or in need of updating their goals. While mentorship does not have to be a formal process, clarifying what you hope to accomplish in the context of the relationship is more likely to lead to a successful and longstanding relationship.

Help your mentor help you. While we like to think of mentors as all-knowing and wise, they are not clairvoyant. Therefore, do not be afraid to express your exact needs to your mentor. For example, if your mentor wants to brainstorm ideas, but you already have an idea and just need help with the execution, let him or her know. Help your mentor help you. This concept is especially important in the current environment, where social distancing and remote working have become the norm. While this new reality is certainly an adjustment for all, it may be particularly difficult and isolating for young lawyers, who are still adjusting to the practice of law but are not afforded the opportunity of face-to-face interactions with their colleagues.

Don't be bashful about reaching out. While you certainly do not want to dominate your mentor's time and attention, you should take initiative in scheduling meetings or stopping by his or her office for a brief chat. In the age of COVID-19, this can be accomplished by scheduling a video conference or telephone call, or even by sending a short email or message on LinkedIn or other professional network. Reaching out demonstrates initiative as well as appreciation for your mentor's time and advice.

Be respectful of your mentor's time. As young lawyers in private practice can attest, time is literally money. Therefore, be sure to be punctual and responsive in your dealings with your mentor. Additionally, try to be as flexible as possible with scheduling (and rescheduling) meetings with your mentor. Last minute conference calls or meetings will happen--for both you and your mentor--and deadlines can creep up sooner than expected. Do not get discouraged, but instead try to find another time or method of communication that is suitable for both parties.

Be engaged and prepared. Being prepared, actively listening and participating in conversations, and providing your mentor with appropriate feedback are critical to a successful mentor-mentee relationship. Of course, neither party wants to feel that the relationship is one-sided or that his or her efforts are in vain. Further, neither party wants to devote time and effort to a relationship that does not seem to benefit either one of them. Therefore, in order to get the most out of the mentorship and accomplish your goals, make the relationship a priority.

Keep your mentor informed. If your mentor helps you prepare for a big presentation or client meeting, check in with him or her afterwards to let him or her know how it went. Talk about the things you think you did well and things on which you think you can improve. Not only does this show your mentor that his or her efforts were appreciated, it allows you to continue to build and perfect your skills. Furthermore, in the rapid-pace of our everyday lives, both at and outside of work, it is important to check in with your mentor to keep the relationship alive. This is especially true in the age of COVID-19, where face-to-face interactions are virtually impossible.

Reciprocate. The mentor-mentee relationship should not be a one-way street. Just as your mentor helps you, you should find ways to help your mentor. Whether you provide him or her with feedback to help him or her become an even better mentor, or offer to help him or her with a project, your efforts will be appreciated. Also, try to pay it forward in the future by mentoring others.

While it is easy for young lawyers to get wrapped up in assignments and projects, it is imperative that they not lose sight of the positive impact mentorship can have on their personal and professional development. Mentorship provides young lawyers with an unparalleled opportunity to better themselves and their careers, and to learn from those who have achieved great personal and/or professional success.

Caitlyn M. Ryan, Esq. is an attorney at Moritt Hock & Hamroff LLP, where she concentrates her practice in corporate and health care matters. Her experience includes mergers and acquisitions, early-stage investing, physician affiliations, business divorce, and a wide variety of other general corporate and health care matters. She received her J.D. from the Maurice A. Deane School of Law at Hofstra University and her B.A. from St. Joseph's College.

How to Make Videoconferencing Work For You

| No Comments

By Brandon Vogel

You do not have to like videoconferencing but understanding why you don't can improve your experience.

Carol Schiro Greenwald, PhD, admitted on a recent CLE webinar that she can't decide whether she loves or hates videoconferencing but she explained how to make the experience better and more fun for attorneys.

Human beings think we are smart and savvy, said Greenwald, but our brains do not. "We need people. We need person-to-person contact to counter stress and anxiety. If there was ever a time for stress and anxiety, it is now, right?" she said.

Avoiding 'Zoom Fatigue'

During in-person meetings, Greenwald noted that we pick up implicit, non-verbal communications. You get subtle signals that your co-worker may not agree with your ideas or another co-worker does not want to contribute. "You know when and when not to talk," she said.

In-person meetings increase collegiality and enthusiasm. In videoconferences, we lose 90% of visual cues that make in-person meetings easy to be in and to follow along.

This creates 'Zoom Fatigue.' Greenwald explained that your brain is trying to find the same signals that you are used to in person. People might drink more alcohol on Zoom Happy Hours than in person.

Zoom's "Gallery View" can overwhelm people with too many faces and not enough visible bodies. Seeing your own face is particularly difficult because we are not used to seeing our own faces.

The lack of social cues lead to conversation chaos and social miscommunication. We convey our feelings less honestly than in-person, said Greenwald.

Without a proper focus, we tend to multitask. "We think that because we are watching on the screen, we are being passive," she said. "Because you are not paying attention, you are distracting other people and it cancels out your professional image."

Attendees risk missing an important part of the meeting while multi-masking. She advised attendees to turn off other programs while on a videoconference to avoid distractions.

With people now using videoconferencing for work and personal use, it becomes harder to say no, so it is not uncommon to have multiple videoconferences day and night.

"If you remember nothing else, remember this: everything communicates," said Greenwald. "Everything about you communicates, 93% of communication is non-verbal."

She explained that 55% is body language; tone of voice is second most important at 38%. Just 7% are words. "If there is a disconnect between your body language and your words, your body language always wins."

Once you learn to pay attention to body language, you will have more self-awareness and self-control of how you act in meetings, Greenwald said. This helps attendees see you as a leader.
Have good posture, sit against the back of the chair, but lean forward when communicating online and in-person, she advised.

Dressed for success

Zoom meetings for work are still work, Greenwald reminded attendees. When you get dressed for work, the actions of getting dressed tell your brain that you are preparing for work. Recent studies have suggested that work done in pajamas isn't as good, according to Greenwald.

Being mindful of your area can improve your experience too. Having a cluttered area with personal items on full display can hurt your credibility. Sitting in front of a bookshelf with law books can improve your credibility.

The increasingly-popular Zoom virtual backgrounds should be used only if you have a green screen, Greenwald said. Otherwise, the speaker's head moves as the background moves. Have lighting in front of your face, not behind, she recommended.

Your body language determines a person's three-second judgment about you. It used to be eight seconds but the Internet and social media have sped up the process, Greenwald said. Your smiles and eyes, as well as proximity and feet position, are the most important body language signals.

"Body language is a key component of image," she said. "Image is a powerful component of your brand. Make meetings more emotionally helpful through body language and by being prepared."

By Julie T. Houth, Esq.

The year 2020 marks the 100th anniversary of the passage of the 19th amendment, which guarantees and protects women's constitutional right to vote. Although the passage of the 19th Amendment was a historic step towards women's rights, it was just a start. This monumental step towards women's equality is a chance to revisit and educate the public on the 19th Amendment, while promoting women's right to vote. The American Bar Association (ABA) celebrates the historic centennial milestone in several ways including through its Traveling Exhibit with the theme:

"100 Years After the 19th Amendment: Their Legacy, and Our Future."

Brief Timeline of the Women's Suffrage Movement

The women's suffrage movement forever changed America and expanded representative democracy, inspiring other popular movements for constitutional change and reform.

Honorable M. Margaret McKeown for the Ninth Circuit and the Chair of the ABA Commission on the 19th Amendment eloquently summarizes part of the movement:

"Long before the right was recognized on a national level, which began with an effort launched at Seneca Falls, New York, the western states led the way. In 1870, Wyoming was the first territory to grant women the right to vote and followed on with the first female judicial officer, first female bailiff, and first female jurors. After Wyoming became the first state with women's suffrage in 1890, Colorado, Idaho, and California followed suit."

The women's suffrage movement is sometimes called "the Anthony Amendment" after suffragist Susan B. Anthony because of her prominent role in the movement. Suffragists fought long and hard for the passage of the 19th Amendment and utilized different tools of communication; they often staged costumed themed protest marches, organized church committees, held handmade signs to protest in front of the White House, and published their own newspapers that featured content on the movement. Something worth noting is that suffragists were fearless. On December 16, 1912, around 200 suffragists walked 170 miles through sun, rain, and snow from Manhattan, New York to Albany, New York, a journey that totaled 12 days. Another march in 1913 from New York City to Washington D.C. covered 230 miles in 17 days. By 1915, four million women in the western states were enfranchised.

On June 4, 1919, Congress passed a federal woman suffrage amendment and sent it to the states for ratification. Many states granted women the right to vote in state and local elections in advance of the ratification of the Constitutional amendment. They included Wyoming, Utah, Colorado, Idaho, Washington, California, Oregon, Montana, Arizona, Kansas, Alaska, Illinois, North Dakota, Indiana, Nebraska, Michigan, Arkansas, New York, South Dakota, and Oklahoma. New York's anniversary is June 16, 1919. According to Honorable McKeown, "Today, more than 80 million women are registered to vote."

The 19th Amendment and Beyond: The Search for Equality

On February 10, 2020 at Georgetown University Law Center, an event co-sponsored by the ABA, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Honorable McKeown celebrated the centennial anniversary of the 19th Amendment, which Justice Ginsburg referred to as a "miracle" and "first step towards equal citizenship stature for women." More importantly, Justice Ginsburg holds out hope for another goal of the suffragist movement -- the adoption of the Equal Rights Amendment, which was first introduced in 1923, approved by Congress in 1972, but fell three states short of the required 38 for ratification by an extended 1982 deadline.

The suffrage movement reveals complexity and tensions over race and class that remain part of the ongoing story of the 19th Amendment and its legacies. The nation's lengthy struggle to enshrine women's right to vote in the U.S. Constitution can be used to inform modern day battles to ensure that long ignored communities are guaranteed voting rights and full participation in U.S. democracy. For an opportunity to view the ABA Traveling Exhibit locally and commemorate this historic milestone in our nation's history, check the dates and locations of the traveling exhibit here: https://www.americanbar.org/groups/public_interest/law_library_congress/events/.

This piece was originally published by the San Diego County Bar Association's San Diego Lawyer magazine's Women in the Law May/June 2020 issue and has been modified to fit the State of New York.

Julie T. Houth, Esq., LL.M (Taxation) is a staff attorney for Robbins Geller Rudman & Dowd LLP, a law firm with over 200 lawyers across the nation specializing in complex litigation representing plaintiffs in securities fraud, antitrust, corporate mergers and acquisitions, consumer and insurance fraud, multi-district litigation, and whistleblower protection cases. She is currently an American Bar Association Young Lawyers Fellow for the 2018-2019 term with the GPSolo Division. In addition, she serves as one of the New York State Young Lawyers Delegate to the American Bar Association House of Delegates and is the editor in chief for the NYSBA YLS Electronically In Touch.

Why I Belong

| No Comments

We are launching our new column, Why I Belong, which is a column that features NYSBA YLS members and provides a little background on each member in a Q&A format. If you'd like to be featured in our upcoming issues, please email our editor in chief, Julie T. Houth at jhouth@gmail.com.

Name: Hamutal G. Lieberman

Firm: Zumpano Patricios & Popok, PLLC

Education (undergrad and Law School): University of Illinois: Urbana-Champaign, Pace University School of Law

Areas of practice: Commercial and Employment Litigation

Proudest career moment: Last summer I represented a professional corporation in a business dispute between the partners. My firm represented the majority shareholders who were seeking to expel a toxic and unproductive business partner from the company pursuant to the procedures set forth in the operating agreement. The matter progressed from an action in New York Supreme Court to an arbitration hearing before the AAA. I spent the entire summer preparing for the hearing by pouring over key documents and working with our clients to create a winning strategy. After a five-day hearing, the arbitrator announced that my clients had successfully established that the minority shareholder was properly expelled. My clients were beyond thrilled to be able to put the relationship with the ex-partner behind them. It was one of the most rewarding experiences of my career.

Family: I've been married to my husband, Brad, since August 20, 2017

Birthplace: Jerusalem, Israel

Current area of residence: The Financial District of Manhattan

"If I weren't an attorney, I'd be..." an investigative journalist

"The best thing about being an attorney is..." being able to advocate on behalf of others in their time of need. I chose this profession to help others. Our clients come to us when they are faced with some of the most difficult moments in their lives. It is often personal and scary for them. I love being able to unload some stress and fight to get the best results for a client.

Last vacation: Bahamas right before COVID-19

Favorite Web site: Can I mention an app? The Calm app has kept me sane throughout this pandemic.

Hobbies: Traveling and Working out

Favorite book: So hard to choose! If you haven't read it, I recommend Shoe Dog, the story of Phil Knight's creation of Nike.

Best concert you've ever been to: The Jay-Z and Beyoncé On The Run Tour in 2018

Favorite food: Avocado and goat cheese

Most fun/memorable NYSBA moment or meeting: My most memorable NYSBA moment to date has been the opportunity to present a series of CLEs related to technology in the courtroom. I hope to present another CLE soon.

Do you have a unique skill or special talent nobody knows about? Windsurfing

What one skill has helped you be successful as an attorney, and how could others develop that skill to better their practices? Efficient time management has helped me be successful throughout my career. I find that blocking out certain times of the day (and scheduling it like a true appointment) to work on a certain task helps me work efficiently throughout the day and keeps me organized. However, it is important to keep enough flexibility in your schedule for the unexpected emergency that comes up.

Do you have a mentor? I am lucky to have had several mentors throughout my career including judges, peers, professors and employers. I am honored to have the opportunity to add the Managing Partner of my law firm, Michael Popok, and Senior Partner Mitchell Mandell, from my firm to the list.

What would you most like to be known for? I would like to be known for being a leader who lives by the motto, "be the leader you would follow."

What makes the New York State Bar Association so special/unique? NYSBA is unique in that its leadership is truly invested in providing quality and meaningful programing for its members. It also offers many opportunities for its members (including its young members) to participate on committees, submit written content and present CLEs. It is an organization that will give back to you tenfold what you put in through the professional opportunities and relationships created.

COVID-19 Questions:

Any new hobby or skill that you developed during the lockdown? During quarantine I have developed my cooking skills. I still have a long way to go, but I am proud to say I have mastered the soft-boiled egg!

What is one thing that you will take out of this lockdown and implement in your life? The quarantine has really allowed me to determine what (and who) I can and cannot live without. Everyday you have a choice about how and (with whom) you spend it, so why not fill it with activities and people that make you the best version of yourself?

Career advice for young lawyers? Your reputation is everything in this industry. A reputation takes a lifetime to build and a second to ruin. Keep this in mind every time you are performing a task for your client, representing your law firm at events and even during your "down time." Your work product is also a reflection of you and everything you sign your (or your firm's) name to should be of the

New York to Administer Remote Bar Exam in October 5-6

| No Comments

The New York Court of Appeals has announced that it will administer a one-time emergency remote bar exam on Oct. 5-6.

The announcement comes a week after New York canceled their rescheduled September bar exam to protect the health of thousands of law school graduates who planned to take the test in the midst of the pandemic. The exam is typically administered each July and February.

Candidates registered for the September exam will be automatically registered for the October remote exam, officials said.

According to the Board of Law Examiners, which operates under the auspices of the New York State Court of Appeals, careful consideration will also be given to waiver requests by JD candidates who graduated in 2019 or later, previously took the bar examination in New York and failed no more than two times and who wish to sit for the online examination.

Further, the Board said they will make reasonable efforts to address technological or testing space issues for candidates who promptly seek assistance in advance of the examination.

Scott M. Karson, President of the New York State Bar Association, was pleased with the Court of Appeals' decision to hold a remote October bar exam.

"Chief Judge Janet DiFiore and the New York State Court of Appeals have wisely provided recent law school graduates with a measure of certainty at a time when they face mounting student debt and a slow job market brought on by the coronavirus pandemic," said Karson. "We agree that a remote exam is not a perfect solution, but also concur that the benefits outweigh the potential shortcomings in affording the Class of 2020 with a much-needed path to a law license, which they previously did not have."

DiFiore assembled a working group, chaired by retired Court of Appeals Judge Howard A. Levine, to study the future of the bar exam in New York. As its first undertaking, members of the group were tasked with studying whether immediate, emergency measures were necessary to address the disruption experienced by recent law school graduates due to the pandemic.

The working group ultimately recommended that New York administer the one-time emergency remote testing option to be offered by the National Conference of Bar Examiners on Oct. 5-6.

In a statement, the Court of Appeals acknowledged that there are shortcomings with holding a remote bar exam, including its experimental nature. But the working group, in consultation with technology, security and psychometric experts, discussed proactive measures to ensure broad access, mitigate security risks and establish a reliable grading methodology.

Additionally, the statement said the working group recommended that the Court of Appeals evaluate the wisdom of reciprocity arrangements that would permit candidates to transfer their remote exam scores across jurisdictions.

The working group rejected a temporary diploma privilege option, noting that the bar exam provides critical assurance to the public that admitted attorneys meet minimum competency requirements, emphasizing New York's immense candidate pool as well as the degree of variation in legal curricula across the country.

"The Court commends the working group for its prompt and thoughtful consideration of how best to address the pressing challenges posed by the health crisis and has accepted these recommendations," said the Court of Appeals' statement.

The announcement can be found here: https://www.nycourts.gov/ctapps/

Upcoming Recommended Events and Young Lawyer Opportunities

| No Comments

Upcoming Bridging the Gap CLE Programs

The New York State Bar Association is pleased to offer newly admitted attorneys a two-day Bridging the Gap CLE program. Transitional courses are designed to help newly admitted attorneys develop a foundation in the practical skills, techniques and procedures that are essential to the practice of law.

The Bridging the Gap continuing legal education program offers 16.0 total credits. Newly admitted attorneys can satisfy all of their annual MCLE requirements by attending this two-day program which is ideal for "bridging the gap" between law school and the realities of practicing law in New York State. Experienced attorneys who have an interest in other areas of practice can also attend and benefit from this program by learning practical information from skilled and experienced practitioners.

Newly admitted attorneys must complete at least 16 transitional CLE credit hours in each of the first two years of admission to the Bar. The first set of 16 transitional CLE credit hours must be completed by the first anniversary of admission to the Bar, in the designated categories of credit. The second set of 16 transitional CLE credit hours must be completed between the first and second anniversaries. To receive skills credit, newly admitted attorneys must take accredited transitional CLE courses in traditional live classroom settings, or through attendance at fully interactive video conference locations that have been approved by the CLE Board for use by newly admitted attorneys. For more information about the CLE Rules, please go to www.nycourts.gov/Attorneys/CLE.

Bridging The Gap - August 2020 (Webinar)

Thursday, August 13, 2020 - Friday, August 14, 2020 | 9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.

More information found here: https://nysba.org/events/bridging-the-gap-august-2020-webinar/

Handling The Virtual Hearing - NYSBA Trial Academy Virtual Conference (Webinar)

This presentation will discuss the preparation and handling of virtual hearings. There will be discussion about litigating in the local and county courts during COVID-19. Hear about the different types of hearings that are proceeding and the requirements that are being put on practitioners.

Start Date: July 24, 2020

Start Time: 2:00 PM

End Time: 4:00 PM

Skills Credit(s): 1.0

Total Credit(s): 1.0

Region: Virtual Participation

Member Pricing: $100.00

Non-Member Pricing: $200.00

Registration and more information here: https://nysba.org/events/handling-the-virtual-hearing-nysba-trial-academy-virtual-conference-webinar/

COVID-19 And The NYC Courts: A Discussion With Judge Silver (Webinar)

This event is FREE for Torts, Insurance and Compensation Law Section members as well as Young Lawyers Section members, and all attorneys admitted less than 10 years. Your free registration will reflect upon check-out.

What will the courthouses in New York City look like in the fall of 2020, and beyond? Has the pandemic altered the landscape of the courthouses permanently? Will remote appearances become more common, even when the pandemic is over? Is the Central Compliance Part in Kings County a thing of the past? Hear these answers and more from the Deputy Chief Administrative Judge George Silver.

Start Date: July 30, 2020

Start Time: 4:00 PM

End Time: 5:00 PM

Member Pricing: $20.00

Non-Member Pricing: $40.00

Registration and more information here: https://nysba.org/events/covid-19-and-the-nyc-courts-a-discussion-with-judge-silver-webinar/

COVID-19 And The Upstate Courts: A Discussion With Judge Caruso (Webinar)

This event is FREE for Torts, Insurance and Compensation Law Section members as well as Young Lawyers Section members, and all attorneys admitted less than 10 years. Your free registration will reflect upon check-out.

What will the courthouses in Upstate New York, from Niagara Falls to Troy and on to Mineola and Riverhead and surrounding regions, look like in the Fall of 2020, and beyond? Has the pandemic altered the landscape of the courthouses permanently? Will remote appearances become more common, even when the pandemic is over? Will in person oral arguments on motions become a thing of the past? Hear these answers and more from the Deputy Chief Administrative Judge Vito Caruso.

Start Date: August 4, 2020

Start Time: 4:00 PM

End Time: 5:00 PM

Member Pricing: $20.00

Non-Member Pricing: $40.00

Registration and more information here: https://nysba.org/events/covid-19-and-the-upstate-courts-a-discussion-with-judge-caruso-webinar/

Preparing Your Case File: Evaluating Discovery, Discovery Motions & Subpoenas - NYSBA Trial Academy Virtual Conference (Webinar)

Start Date: September 3, 2020

Start Time: 2:00 PM

End Time: 4:00 PM

Skills Credit(s):1.0

Total Credit(s): 1.0

Region: Virtual Participation

Member Pricing: $100.00

Non-Member Pricing: $200.00

Registration and more information here: https://nysba.org/events/preparing-your-case-file-evaluating-discovery-discovery-motions-subpoenas-nysba-trial-academy-virtual-conference-webinar/

American Bar Association Virtual Annual Meeting - Convening for Justice | July 29 - August 4, 2020

Registration is Open! Registration is complimentary for ABA members and $95 for non-members.

The ABA is here for you. With a fresh, new approach, the Annual Meeting will continue to be the informative and inspiring event that so many of us look forward to each year.

More information including meeting schedule, registration, and CLEs can be found here: https://www.americanbar.org/groups/departments_offices/meetings_travel_dept/annual-meeting/

ABA GPSolo Division's Young Lawyers Committee Speed Networking Event at the ABA Virtual Annual Meeting | Thursday, July 30, 2020 from 11am-12pm CT - SAVE THE DATE!

Please join the ABA GPSolo Division's Young Lawyers Committee for a virtual speed networking event!

The event will consist of four rounds of break out groups of no more than six attorneys. Each break out group will include at least one experienced attorney from the solo, small firm, or general practice area, including military and government.

More details in the near future! For more information, contact gpsolo@americanbar.org or the ABA GPSolo Division's Young Lawyers Committee Chair, Esther Hyun at ehyun20@gmail.com

2021 NYSBA Trial Academy - SAVE THE DATE!

Attend the revitalized 2021 NYSBA Trial Academy, a five-day trial techniques program, for a career changing experience:

-Work with your small group Team Leader to learn critical trial skills
-Attend daily lectures given by distinguished trial attorneys and judges
-Benefit from one-on-one critiques of your performance
-Gain mentors for your professional life, and become part of the invaluable Trial Academy community

In addition to this live program, you will receive access to all 13 webinars detailing virtual trial techniques that you won't find anywhere else. Attend them live or watch the recorded version before the live program in March, 2021.The virtual series includes topics from Expert Testimony to Handling a Virtual Hearing and everything in between.

This is a must-attend event for attorneys navigating the new virtual court system.

Start Date: March 13, 2021
End Date: March 17, 2021
Start Time: 9:00 AM
End Time: 5:00 PM
Areas Of Professional Practice Credit(s): 35.5
Ethics and Professionalism Credit(s): 2.00
Total Credit(s): 37.5
Region: Syracuse

Member Pricing: $1,195.00

Non-Member Pricing: $1,595.00

Registration and more information here: https://nysba.org/events/2021-nysba-trial-academy/


The Young Lawyers Section is proud to sponsor the 2021 admissions program to the United States Supreme Court. You do not need to be a member of the Young Lawyers Section to participate.

The ceremony for admission to the United States Supreme Court is scheduled for Monday, May 3, 2021. Our last Supreme Court admissions program was well-received and filled up very quickly. Save the date for this exciting event. More information will be available in spring 2020.

For more information please contact Tiffany Bardwell at tbardwell@nysba.org.

Join the Young Lawyers Section

| No Comments

Become the voice of newly-admitted and young attorneys in NYSBA. Designed to help make the transition from law school to practice an easier one for newly-admitted attorneys, the Young Lawyers Section connects you with experienced attorneys lending general advice, legal guidance, or expert opinions. Take advantage of educational programs, networking events, and the exclusive Young Lawyers Section Mentor Directory, which is just one of the Section's mentoring initiatives. The Section publishes Electronically In Touch and Perspective. Law students may also join the Section and get a jump start on their careers.


Are you interested in volunteering for a Section Committee? Please email Amy Jasiewicz at ajasiewicz@nysba.org and indicate the committees you wish to join. The Young Lawyers Section has the following committees:

  • Executive Committee
  • Communications Committee
  • Community Service and Pro Bono Committee
  • Diversity Committee
  • Law Student Development Committee
  • Long-Range Planning Committee
  • Membership Committee
  • Mentoring Committee
  • Nominating Committee
  • Perspective Editorial Board


| No Comments

The Officers of YLS and the Editors of Electronically In Touch wish to make clear that the thoughts and opinions expressed in the articles that follow are those of the respective authors and do not necessarily represent the thoughts and opinions of the authors' employers or clients, the New York State Bar Association, Young Lawyers Section, or its Officers or Executive Committee.

Recent Comments

  • Nike Air Max 90 Baratas España: I am not sure where you are getting your info, read more
  • jordan klima: Someone essentially assist to make severely posts I might state. read more
  • エアジョーダン 赤 ハイカット: I've been surfing on-line greater than three hours today, but read more
  • billige nike jordan mid top: I have not checked in here for a while because read more
  • air jordan flight 45: Hello very nice blog!! Man .. Beautiful .. Superb .. read more
  • ナイキ アンダーカバー 通販: Thanks for sharing excellent informations. Your site is very cool. read more
  • Slips Calvin Klein: Great delivery. Outstanding arguments. Keep up the amazing work. read more
  • ナイキ 半袖 パーカー: Very descriptive blog, I loved that a lot. Will there read more

Recent Assets

  • NY & NJ Luncheon after ABA YLD Assembly in Austin.jpg
  • NYSBA Annual Gala 2020.jpg
  • ABA Midyear YLD Assembly - NY Delegates.jpg
  • Laurie Vahey.jpg
  • Formula.JPG
  • Good counsel.png
  • IMG_3767.jpg
  • Spotlight.jpg
  • Award 2.jpg
  • Award 1.jpg