May 2015 Archives

Spring 2015

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Message From the Editors

Dear Young Lawyers Section Members:

Welcome to the Spring Issue of Electronically In Touch, the e-publication of the NYSBA Young Lawyers Section. Here in New York City we have been taking advantage of the incredible weather by catching up with colleagues at networking events and educational programs. The NYSBA offers events throughout the state to help members facilitate career development and community involvement. We encourage you take advantage of these opportunities.

In this issue of Electronically In Touch, we say good-bye to our current Chair, Sarah Gold and commend her for the outstanding job she has done with the YLS. In June we will welcome the new Executive Committee, lead by Erica Hines as Chair. We also cover the 2015 Trial Academy program held at Cornell Law School and this year's Civic Prize contest. Liaison reports from the Commercial and Federal Litigation Section and the Municipal Law Section are also included. Additionally, we have an article discussing the importance of mentorship in the legal community by Robert W. Berbenich.

Electronically In Touch is a member driven publication and as such 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 articles by the 28th of each month to Kara Buonanno at and Tyear Middleton at

The Officers of YLS and the Editors of Electronically In Touch also wish to make clear that the thoughts and opinions expressed in the articles that follow are those of the respective authors alone, and do not represent the opinions of the NYSBA Young Lawyers Section, or its Officers or Executive Committee.

Kara Buonanno, Esq.
Editor-in-Chief, Electronically In Touch

Tyear Middleton, Esq.
Managing Editor, Electronically In Touch

Message from the Chair

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How did May sneak up on us so quickly? Waiting for Spring to spring will do that to you. Sadly, this will be my final message as Chair of the Young Lawyers Section, as my term comes to an end with this month. Never fear, the Section is in great hands with our new Chair, Erica Hines as well as her fellow officers Erin Flynn, John Christopher, and Terrence Tarver. With many thanks to all of our wonderful Executive Committee members, our faithful readers, and last but not certainly least our Staff Liaison Tiffany Bardwell. Her tireless efforts on behalf of our Section make what we do here possible, and there are not enough chocolates in the world to tell her how much we appreciate her.

We are deep in preparations for our Summer District events, Supreme Court admission in DC, and the Fall meeting in Albany. We'd love to have you join us. Keep reading here for some of those upcoming events. Let me leave you with this final thought from President John F. Kennedy: "Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future."

Sarah Gold, Esq.
Young Lawyers Section Chair, 2014-2015

Trial Academy 2015 - A Huge Success

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We just concluded another successful Trial Academy! This was our 6th annual Trial Academy, held at Cornell Law School from March 29th through April 2nd. Over 60 attendees came to learn trial techniques and skills from some of the finest attorneys and Judges from throughout New York State. The course is divided into two sections. In the morning, there was a lecture on a trial skill, including jury selection, opening and closing statements and direct and cross examination. In the afternoon, the attendees broke up into smaller groups with a team leader and various faculty, where they were able to practice the skills that they were learning. The team leaders and faculty provided the students with helpful hints and tips on how to improve their trial skills. It was another amazing year! If you have not already been a part of this once in a lifetime experience, then consider registering for next year's Trial Academy, which will take place at Cornell Law School from March 30th through April 3rd. We hope to see you there!

Lisa R. Schoenfeld, Esq.

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The YLS would like to thank the following sponsors for their support:


Corporate Sponsors
USI Affinity
Deitz Court Reporting

Family Law Section

Business Law Section
Torts, Insurance & Compensation Law Section
Trial Lawyers Section
Young Lawyers Section

Corporate Counsel Section
Criminal Justice Section
Labor and Employment Law Section

Commercial and Federal Litigation Section
General Practice Section
Intellectual Property Law Section

Additional Support Provided by:
Law Office of Alena Shautsova,
Raiser & Kenniff

Events Overview

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Antitrust and YLS Spring Fling Held at Bookmarks in New York City

The Antitrust Section and the Young Lawyers Section sponsored a cocktail party to celebrate the new season at Bookmarks, the rooftop terrace in the Library Hotel in New York City. Colleagues from law firms, academia and enforcement agencies attended.



Young Lawyers Section Fall Meeting
November 6, 2015
Bar Center
One Elk Street
Albany, NY 12207
9 am - 1 pm

All are welcome to attend. For more information about the Young Lawyers Section, please contact Tiffany Bardwell at

Third Annual Civics Prize Contest

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By Lauren E. Sharkey and Erica M. Hines, Co-Chairs of the Young Lawyer's Section Civics Prize Committee

The Young Lawyers Section (YLS) and Law Youth and Citizenship Committee (LYC) held the third annual Civics Poster and Essay Contest, which invited participation of 11th and 12th graders from schools within twenty-nine counties within the 3rd, 4th, 5th, and 9th Judicial Districts of New York State.

The contest was established to serve as a platform to enhance students' understanding of U.S. government through their creative participation in the poster and/or essay contest with cash prizes for first, second, and third place, funded by YLS and LYC. For poster submissions, students must feature the American Flag, all three branches of government, and address at least one issue concerning the U.S. Constitution. For the essay submissions, students must discuss what the American Flag stands for, include all three branches of government, and address at least one issue concerning the U.S. Constitution.

In November 2014, over five hundred schools within the participating Judicial Districts were asked to distribute Contest Requirements & Enrollment Forms to eligible 11th and 12th graders. Students were asked to return their poster and/or essay submissions to their respective schools by February 2, 2015. The schools are also encouraged to share this information with non-school organizations and home school teachers. Prior to submitting the posters and essays to the Civics Prize Committee, school officials use the Contest Judging Rubric to grade the submissions. Each school is asked to choose one winning poster and one winning essay, and to forward the winners, along with the completed enrollment forms, to YLS.

The YLS Civics Prize Committee reviewed the submissions and determined this year's winners. For well written, outstanding essay submissions, 1st Prize: Samantha Lee of Albany County; 2nd Prize: Michael Lin of Orange County; and 3rd Prize: Ronnie Holmes of Onondaga County. For creative, exceptional poster submissions, 1st Prize: Cheyenne Salisbury of Schoharie County; 2nd Prize: Fernando Caraballo of Albany County; and 3rd Prize: Juliana Joyce of Herkimer County.

The YLS Civics Prize Committee hopes to continue to host this contest and would like to expand it to other counties and Judicial Districts of New York State. The contest is heavily dependent on each school's participation, which we welcome and encourage. For more information about the Contest, please feel free to contact the Committee Co-Chairs at and

Commercial and Federal Litigation Update

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by Benjamin Blum and Erica Weisgerber

Past Events:

The Commercial & Federal Litigation Section's Annual Meeting was held on January 28, 2015 at the New York Hilton. The event was well attended despite the winter weather, with over 350 in attendance for the annual luncheon. The recipient of the the Stanley H. Fuld Award for Outstanding Contributions to Commercial Law and Litigation was the Honarable A. Gail Prudenti, the Chief Administrative Judge of the State of New York. This award was presented by the Honarable Lawrence K. Marks, the First Deputy Chief Administrative Judge. As part of the annual luncheon, there was a celebration of the of United States District Courts for the Southern and Eastern Districts of New York, in recognition of the 225th and 150th anniversaries respectively. During this special celebration, there was a special presentation to and remarks by Chief Judge Loretta A. Preska (SDNY) and Chief Judge Carol Bagley Amon (EDNY)

The meeting included two CLEs. The first panel, which was led by Peter Pizzi led a discussion about Prosecution and Defense of Data Breach Litigation, of particular interest given the major data breaches such the Target Credit Card data breach.. The second panel focused on observations and challenges involved in presenting Complex Financial Transactions at trial. Commercial Division Justice Marcy Friedman (New York County) was joined by District Judge Paul Engelmayer (SDNY) and New York practitioners in discussing various ways to present these complex ideas to both the finder of fact and to the Court as well.

On April 1st, the Section held its "Smooth Moves Event" at Lincoln Center in New York City - a career development CLE and networking program for attorneys of color, including young attorneys. The topic was "The Business of Lawyering: Understanding Your Clients' Language and Managing Your Practice Ethically and Efficiently"

The CLE was followed with a Networking reception and award presentations, including presentation of the Section's Hon. George Bundy Smith Pioneer Award to the Honorable Denny Chin of the Second Circuit Court of Appeals and presentation of the Section's Minority Law Student Summer Fellowship.

Upcoming Events

Commercial & Federal Litigation Section Spring Meeting
Join your colleagues for the Commercial & Federal Litigation Section Spring Meeting weekend at The Sagamore Hotel on Lake George, New York on May 15-17, 2015. In addition to the opportunity to mingle with state and federal judges and litigators, the weekend offers a variety of CLE opportunities. Please check the ComFed page on the NYSBA website for additional details in the coming month!

Benefits of Section Membership

Mentoring Program: The Section has an active mentoring program which provides young attorneys (0-9 years in practice) the opportunity to build one-on-one relationships with seasoned practitioners (10 years and more) for the purpose of opening new avenues for professional development. During the past few years, the mentors/mentees have been involved in a variety of Section events, have met individually with members of the judiciary, have attended baseball games, and had a private tour of the Manhattan Supreme Court.
Committees: The Section has more than thirty committees and encourages young lawyers to join these committees, with varied different committees from the Commercial Division Committee to the Social Media Committee. All attorneys can take a look at to take a look at the many different committees. Kindly contact Beth Gould from the State Bar at if you have any questions about committees or would like to join any committees.
Twitter!: The Section has a Twitter handle: @NYSBAComFed. All attorneys and especially young lawyers should use this handle to discuss issues and to stay up to date on the latest ComFed news and current issues in New York State commercial litigation, including the effects of the sequestration on our federal court system.
If you have any questions about CommFed, do not hesitate to contact us at or contact Beth Gould at

Municipal Law Section Update

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by Jason Horowitz

In southeastern New York, especially on Long Island, there are a host of municipalities in a small geographical area. Because of new developments relating to tax credits and emergency preparedness, the idea of municipal cooperation and sharing of resources has significantly developed and brought about conversations among municipalities.

First, the Governor recently enacted legislation commonly known as the Property Tax Freeze Credit. This credit generally applies to homeowners with a total house hold income of $500,000 or less. From a municipal standpoint, the tax credit program requires local governments to comply with certain requirements. In the first year of the program, the local government must adopt a budget in compliance with the legislation commonly known as New York State Tax Cap. In the second year of the program, not only must the local government comply with the New York State Tax Cap, they must submit a Government Efficiency Plan by June 1, 2015. Essentially, the "efficiency plan" requires that the local government satisfy a savings requirement of at least 1% for three (3) years. It is this "efficiency plan" that will require discussions among municipalities about sharing of resources.

Recently, Newsday, in a series of articles starting in or around December 2014, detailed meetings between Mayors of different Villages on Long Island relating to the newly enacted tax credit. These meetings have brought about significant discussion relating to the sharing of resources and the Government Efficiency Plan. It will be interesting to follow the end result of how each local government weighs the needs of its residents and the resources it provides for the purposes of the tax credit and the Government Efficiency Plan.

Second, while not as closely followed, the New York State Homeland Security and Emergency Services, a few years back, introduced the Intrastate Mutual Aid Program ("IMAP"). According to the New York State Homeland Security and Emergency Services, "IMAP is a resource-sharing mechanism created in Section 29-h of the New York State Executive Law that allows local governments to share resources during a declared local state of emergency." Essentially, the IMAP program was introduced to allow municipalities to seamlessly share resources during a declared emergency. Those municipalities who choose to participate in the program are allowed to share resources, during a declared emergency, without having to comply with the general requirements relating to local legislative or governing body approval. This allows the municipalities to share resources, when needed, in a timely fashion. While adopted in 2010, because of significant weather related events over the last several years, this program may become even more relevant in the near future.

Each of these programs, while for a different purpose, allow municipalities to engage other municipalities in an effort to share resources. Because of the significant focus by the public on taxes and emergency preparedness, this is an issue that will continue to grow and allow for discussion among municipal officials.

Mentorship: A Must-Have for the Young Lawyer

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by Robert W. Berbenich

The most important resource I found in transitioning from law school to the practice of law as a young attorney was the support and guidance of more experienced lawyers. By the time I passed the bar exam and was admitted as an attorney, I possessed a great deal of general knowledge and skills, but I obviously did not have all the practical skills and real-world knowledge necessary to succeed. The mentor-mentee relationships I have developed over the course of my short career have contributed greatly to my overall professional development. My hope in this brief article is to stress that having mentors is of paramount importance -- and that as members of the NYSBA, we have access to plenty of resources that can help us find and nurture such relationships.

From my own experience, one piece of advice I can give is to foster and develop relationships with the people around you, because you never know when you'll meet someone who may add greatly to your professional life. There is one gentleman who played a particularly profound impact in shaping my career early on, and now that I think back, I met him through just a chance encounter. I am fortunate, though, to have worked with a number of knowledgeable and experienced men and women who always made themselves available, gave me sound advice, and answered more than a handful of questions for me about the day-to-day practice of law.

In terms of establishing mentor-mentee relationships, and the impact these relationships can have on our development as lawyers, there are a number of great articles talking about the impact mentorship can have on young attorneys. For example, in "Mentoring Helps Attorneys at all Levels Advance their Careers," Alex Vorro writes eloquently about the impact mentorship can have on the careers of both young and more experienced attorneys and the rewarding relationships that result from the process. Further, in "Mentoring: It's a Team Sport," Sarah Petersen writes about how mentors and mentees come together, the overall development of the relationships, the importance of holding each other accountable, and the potential of an overall team approach to mentorship. These two articles are only a small sampling of the information available on the benefits of mentorship and how to go about making those lasting connections.

Additionally, many NYSBA sections have their own mentorship programs that will help you form relationships and develop your skills within a particular practice area. For example, the General Practice Section launched an innovative new mentoring program called GP Law Connect. The Labor and Employment Law Section also maintains its own mentoring program and provides great information about how to get involved. The Commercial and Federal Litigation Section maintains a mentorship program that was inaugurated in 2010 and continues to grow and develop. Spend some time on the NYSBA website and investigate some of the many different sections and practice areas you may be interested in, and you'll find that getting involved with an established mentorship program in your practice area is easier than you think.

While we take the time to develop these personal mentor-mentee relationships, we can all find virtual mentorship and guidance at the click of a mouse. We all have access to an ever-expanding online database of CLE programs, legal seminars, podcasts, and a variety of other recourses as well. NYSBA, for example, has a vast online library of video and audio CLE programs available in many different practice areas. Thus, while many of us might not yet have active mentor-mentee relationships established, in the meantime we all do have the resources available to find great information from knowledgeable people inside the legal community. Plus, the more education we get under our belts, the more attractive we will be as young lawyers to potential mentors.

In addition to seeking out mentors of our own, we can also act as mentors ourselves to the many law students eager to learn more about what awaits them after law school. Our own Young Lawyers Section of the NYSBA has an established relationship with Cardozo Law School, where our members are paired with law students to help offer them advice and guidance while also introducing them to NYSBA. The Young Lawyers Section is also looking to take the success we have had at Cardozo and spread the program to other schools as well. For more information about how you can get involved, please contact Erica Hines at

The bottom line is this: None of us can make it completely on our own. Establishing a career as a young attorney -- especially a career that is set up for long-term success -- requires the support and know-how that only a veteran can provide. Hopefully some of the resources listed above will help you continue to develop beneficial mentor-mentee relationships and inspire you to get involved with the Young Lawyers Section's mentorship program, where you can return the favor and help mentor law students looking to establish mentor-mentee relationships of their own.

Robert W. Berbenich, an associate in Goldberg Segalla's Garden City office, practices civil litigation with a focus on general liability matters, including those involving construction, personal injury, premises liability, and transportation litigation. Robert's previous experience includes working in a civil litigation law firm specializing in high-exposure, multimillion-dollar catastrophic accident cases. There, he was involved in all aspects of litigation, from intake through verdict and appeal. Robert can be reached at

Join The Young Lawyers Section

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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, just one of the Section's mentoring initiatives. The Section publishes Electronically In Touch and Perspective. Plus,­ law students may now join the Section and get a jump start on their careers.

Join YLS


Are you interested in volunteering for a Section Committee? Please email Tiffany Bardwell at and Tina Rothaupt at and indicate the committees you wish to join.


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Electronically In Touch is the electronic news-publication of the NYSBA Young Lawyers Section (YLS). It is a member driven publication, encouraging YLS members to write articles, and as such we would welcome submissions from members on any relevant topic, including practice tips, substantive legal articles, case updates, work/life advice, and information regarding upcoming meetings and events. Please submit articles to Kara Buonanno at and Tyear Middleton at, no later than the 28th of the month.

About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries from May 2015 listed from newest to oldest.

March 2015 is the previous archive.

June 2015 is the next archive.

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