July 2018 Archives

Welcome to the July 2018 Issue of Electronically In Touch

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We are pleased to submit the July 2018 issue of Electronically In Touch. This issue consists of informative articles on how to overcome career inertia, lessons learned in practice from a family law attorney, upcoming events put on by the New York State Bar Association, updates from the Antitrust Law Section and the Entertainment, Arts & Sports Law Section, and a spotlight on Young Lawyers Section member and Chairperson-elect Lauren Sharkey.

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 articles to Justin Batten, Esq. at jwb413@nyu.edu.

Crushing Career Inertia

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By: Ruchama L. Cohen, Esq.

This June marks three years since I graduated from law school. This means that I write this message as a third-year associate, much to my own disbelief.

I love my job - a blessing I don't underestimate, since most attorneys I know can't say the same. But, I've also been recently struck with some mild career inertia, and that ever-present imposter syndrome that never fails to rear its ugly head on occasion. Almost every day, some variation of the same thought crosses my mind: shouldn't a third-year associate be far more competent and flawless than I am?

For several months now, I've questioned whether I want to be doing my current job forever, whether I'm developing professionally or just operating on autopilot, why I'm still making what some would consider entry-level mistakes, and why the girl that my family and friends know as an organizer par excellence continuously struggles to systematize my eighty-plus case load at work.

After some reflection, I came up with the following rules for myself to make me a more confident practitioner, and to allow my workload to flow better:

1. Always calendar everything first. As soon as I get an email bounce from the court, the relevant deadline is saved in my calendar, regardless of how many "more important" tasks are pressing on me. Without a streamlined calendar that's easily visible on one screen, I'm dead in the water.

2. Before each court conference, review the judge's individual rules and the factual and procedural background to the case. I once appeared at an initial conference confident that I was prepared to explain the case to the judge and present an appropriate discovery schedule. It turned out I was not as prepared as I thought I was when the judge asked me why the case had been filed in the Southern District of New York, rather than the Eastern District of New York. Trust me, you don't want to be the lawyer who can't explain to a federal judge that the venue was selected based on the corporate headquarters, rather than the main area of business operations.

3. Be polite, civil and accommodating. There are no exceptions to this rule. It will never expire and it has no statute of limitations. Never object to a request for an adjournment unless it will prejudice your client's rights. There's absolutely no doubt that one day you will need the same favor, and you won't want to find that bridge already burned on that day.

4. Keep educating yourself on substantive law. Familiarize yourself with precedent, decisions, orders, regulations, or pending legislation every day. Bar Association journals and digests are great places to start. If the material is not related to your practice area, more power to you. It's just one more way you can expand your horizons and become a more complete practitioner. I work in civil litigation, and I recently enjoyed an incisive analysis by the New York Times Magazine on expanding the statute of limitations for sexual assault.

5. Keep educating yourself - not necessarily on substantive law. Embrace the fact that your practice will be greatly enhanced - and perhaps made most successful - by your soft skills. Foreign language is one such skill. For my part, most of my clients are native Spanish speakers, but I never learned Spanish. So a few months ago, I downloaded Duolingo, a language-learning app, and took some time to play around with it. Although my Spanish is nowhere near the 35% fluency that Duolingo claims it is, my vocabulary has improved exponentially, and I love seeing that my clients appreciate it when I throw in an unexpected phrase or two in their mother tongue.

I'm not saying that I have all the answers. I don't even know if any other third-year shares my struggle. But I wanted to relay the habits that I'm using to refine my practice, because I know that I will be a better lawyer just for going through the motions. After all, as Justice Cardozo said: "In the end the great truth will have been learned that the quest is greater than what is sought, the effort finer than the prize... [and] the victory cheap and hollow were it not for the rigor of the game."

Ruchama L. Cohen is a third-year associate at a small litigation firm. She focuses her practice on employment law, personal injury cases, and contract disputes. She holds a J.D. from the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, and a B.A. summa cum laude from Touro College. In her free time, Ruchama enjoys reading, attending the ballet, and practicing Krav Maga.

Lessons from a Family Divorce Lawyer

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By Joseph H. Nivin, Esq.

As a family law attorney, people often ask me whether I've learned lessons about how to make marriage work.

They are asking the wrong question. The decision to get divorced is a personal decision that anybody can end up making. The more important question is: If you decide to split from your spouse, what will the divorce look like? Will it be financially and emotionally devastating? Or will you be able to move on, heartbroken but otherwise intact, and capable of co-parenting your children with your ex? If you follow the lessons listed below, then you are far more likely to fall into the second category.

Disclaimer: The suggestions in this article do not apply to cases where there is serious domestic violence, child abuse, serious neglect, or parental alienation.

1. Be a support, not a weight around your spouse's ankles. The nastiest divorces involve custody battles. The last thing that you want is for your spouse to ask her attorney, "Why's he interested in the kids all of a sudden?" Start being involved now.

2. You don't have to defend every single point in every single argument. The only way to reduce fees in your divorce is to come to an agreement on as many issues as possible. If you fight over everything, then your divorce will be very expensive. If you pick your battles, then you will save both money and energy.

3. Just because it's legal doesn't mean it's right. During hotly contested custody cases, clients often ask me, "Do I have the right to do X?" This often leads to the following response from me: "There's no law against it, but. . ." The client may listen, and save him or herself a lot of angst. Or the client may interrupt and say, "All I want to know is whether I have the right to. . ." That client isn't doing him or herself any favors.
Example: Don't have your new significant other sleep in the same house as your children without talking to your ex first, just because it's not illegal.

4. You can't impose rules on children when you're fighting with the other parent. Children can be raised with rules even when the parents don't like each other. However, if the parents are constantly trying to undermine each other, then it's impossible. No matter what, be on the same page when it comes to expectations of your children. Make sure that your kids know it.

5. Don't screw around with the money. If you think you're smart enough to hide money before your divorce, you can bet that your ex's divorce attorney will be smarter. If you cry poverty, the Court won't believe you, even when (not if) your crying becomes real.

Example: It's not a good idea to tell your boss to take you off the books just in time for your divorce.

6. If you're self-employed, be Dudley-Do-Right. Every divorce attorney knows how to discredit a business owner's self-reported income. Make sure that everything paid out of your business account has a legitimate business purpose. Keep track of what you pay yourself, and report that "actual" personal income when you fill out court documents. Do the same on your tax returns, as they will be exchanged during your divorce.

7. If you think you might be getting divorced, do your taxes. If you're in the middle of getting divorced, do your taxes. Your finances can't be a mystery when you're getting divorced. For self-employed people, see #6.

8. Don't be underhanded with your children. You're going to get caught. Even if you walk out of court thinking that you've proven me wrong, just wait. Karma is real. Don't try to provoke your spouse to act crazy and then start recording. Don't interrogate your children and record them making allegations. People who do these things never turn out well.

9. Both you and your spouse will always have influence when it comes to your children's upbringing. The exceptions are extreme: if your spouse abandons the children, goes to prison for a long period of time, or is severely abusive or neglectful. Even the best lawyer can't just "tell the judge" to send the kids to your family every year for Christmas. Neither you nor your ex will get to "call the shots."

10. Put common sense before fairness. Yes, in a court of law, there should be fairness. However, when there is a choice between the two, then common sense takes priority. These issues arise when deciding who is responsible for picking up and dropping off children for exchanges between the parents. When making these arrangements, parents are well-advised to focus on what makes the most sense, and not insist upon sacrificing logic just to split the burden 50/50.

Nobody can guarantee the future on their wedding day. However, if you're getting divorced, then follow these simple rules. You're much more likely to come out okay in the end.

Mr. Nivin is a solo practitioner with offices in Forest Hills, Queens and midtown Manhattan. He received his juris doctorate from Brooklyn Law School. He worked for the Administration for Children's Services for three years before opening his practice in 2010. He served on the Queens Family Court Assigned Counsel/Attorneys for Children Panel from March 2011 to August 2017, and has served on the Appellate Panel since May 2014. He is a member of the Family Law and Young Lawyers Sections of the New York State Bar Association.

Entertainment, Arts, and Sports Law (EASL) Section Update

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By: R.J. Coleman, EASL Liaison

EASL is very young-lawyer-friendly, and we would love to have more young lawyer participants! Please join our Section and take advantage of all the great opportunities for learning, networking, online sharing, and fun!

EASL is trying to make its online community more active and accessible, so that it is an even more helpful resource for members. To this end, Christine Lauture, a member of the Young Lawyers Section and Co-Liaison to the EASL, recently suggested making the online content searchable (as far as accessing a teaser of postings), while requiring someone to be an EASL member to view the entire posting or participate.

EASL has had several interesting programs lately, including a trip to "Hello, Dolly" on Broadway. EASL is looking to do more interesting programs, including those without a CLE component. Upcoming programs include:

  • On July 10, 2018, from 5:00 PM to 7:00 PM, there will be a special artist home studio visit and discussion with Heide Hatry. It will take place at Heide Hatry's Studio, 101 West 86th Street, #1D, New York, NY 10008. Registration is available on the EASL Home Page.
  • On July 26, 2018, from 12:00 PM to 2:00 PM, there will be a brown bag luncheon on design protection, practice, and pitfalls. It will take place at Fross Zelnick Lehrman & Zissu, P.C., 4 Times Square, 17th Floor, New York, NY 10036. Registration is available on the EASL Home Page.

How I Practice

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Lauren Sharkey, Esq.
Cioffi Slezak Wildgrube
Schenectady, NY

By: Brandon Vogel

1. What are your areas of practice?
Estate planning, trust and estate administration, elder law, real estate transactions, business formation and transactions, and guardianships.

2. Describe a typical day for you?
Typically, I check my calendar, emails, and review/update my "to-do" list for the day to prioritize what needs to get done first. I usually have one or two meetings scheduled, either with clients or internal meetings. Once a week, the attorneys in my firm meet to review our calendars and important deadlines, which keeps us on task and able to provide coverage. We also have department meetings to review files and legal updates or share practice points. Lately, I have also been going home for lunch to spend time with my one-year old daughter!

3. Where do you practice? Do you have a stand-alone office or home office?
I practice at a law office in Schenectady.

4. What are your must-have tech tools/apps?
I use Outlook and PracticeMaster to manage my calendar and task lists. I also utilize Lexis Advance and HotDocs on a regular basis for legal research and forms.

5. How do you market your practice? How do you find new clients?
My firm advertises in various publications and sponsors community events. On a personal level, I market my practice and get new clients through participation in community boards, NYSBA leadership, and client referrals.

6. When and where do you interact with other attorneys?
Through NYSBA, Schenectady County Bar Association, and at the office (I work with eight other attorneys).

7. How do you stay informed with legal news/developments?
NYSBA Communities, Elder Law and Special Needs Law Executive Committee Meetings, ABA YLD newsletter, NPR, and NYTimes.com.

Antitrust Law Section Update

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By: Cagla Boylu, Antitrust Law Liason

On May 21, 2018, NYSBA's Antitrust Section and Young Lawyers Section co-hosted its yearly Spring Fling cocktail party for antitrust lawyers at Bookmarks in New York City. The reception was very-well attended and presented a great opportunity for antitrust lawyers and other young lawyers to network!

The Antitrust Section has formed the Donnelly Act Review Committee to work on ideas on how to modernize the Donnelly Act including ideas concerning the statute of limitations, investigatory powers and sanctions. Please reach out to Cagla Boylu at cb3016@columbia.edu if you have an interest in participating.

Please save the date and stay tuned for more information for the following programs:

  • The Antitrust Section's next William Howard Taft Lecture will be held on Friday, September 14, 2018 at the Penn Club of New York (30 West 44th Street, New York, New York). Please stay tuned for further details. Last year, the Antitrust Section hosted its inaugural William Howard Taft Lecture. The lecture was on "The Rule of Reason in the Post-Actavis World" and addressed the rule of reason as applied to reverse payment ("pay-for-delay") settlement agreements since the Supreme Court's ruling in FTC v. Actavis in 2013.
  • The Antitrust Section will organize its second Antitrust Trial Training Program on September 24-26, 2018. The Antitrust Section will offer scholarships to permit attendance. This intensive 3-day hands-on program is geared toward young lawyers with an antitrust background who wish to improve their litigation and trial advocacy skills. Participants attend lectures on various aspects of trial techniques and then put their learning into practice by examining live witnesses and economic experts, presenting evidence, and making oral arguments. One-on-one critiques will be provided of the students' videotaped efforts by a faculty made up of NYSBA Antitrust Law Section Executive Committee members and other leading antitrust practitioners. More information will be available this summer.

Upcoming Recommended Events

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July 10, 2018

Special Artist Home Studio Visit & Discussion with Heidi Hatry - This event is limited to a small group of people who will be invited into the artist's home in New York City to discuss mortality and memory as the artist discusses a collection of portraits painted in human ash. This is a different and interesting event sponsored by the International Law and Fine Arts Committees of the Entertainment, Art, and Sports Law Section.

Cost: Tickets are $20.
Time: 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm


July 12, 2018

Commercial Division Lunch Series - Onondaga County - This event takes place in Syracuse. It will feature Onondaga County Presiding Commercial Division Justice Hon. Deborah H. Karalunas and Hon. Donald A. Greenwood.

Cost: This event is free for members.
Time: 12:00 pm to 1:30 pm


July 26-29, 2018

Real Property Law Summer Meeting - This CLE gives participants the opportunity to earn up to 8.0 MCLE Credits including one Diversity and Inclusion credit. It takes place in Connecticut.

Cost: $550 for members, $650 for non-members, $275 for first time NYSBA section attendees. There are special reduced rates for non-attorney family members including children's rates.


July 31, 2018

Attorneys Day at Nationals Park - This event takes place at Nationals Park in Washington DC. Family and friends welcome. The Nationals will be playing against the New York Mets.

Cost: $77. Includes a $15 to spend on food and beverage at the Team Store.
Game Time 7:05 pm


A full list of all New York State Bar Association Events can be found at www.nysba.org.

Brand New Members of the Young Lawyers Section

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Please join me in welcoming the following new members to the Young Lawyers Section!

May 2018:

Julia Bahms, Esq.

Miranda Dixon Bullard, Esq.

Paul Gerard Cividanes, Esq.

Kyle David Coogan, Esq.

Jennifer Beth Davidson, Esq.

Nicole Della Maggiore

Ryan David Hersh, Esq.

Jessica Ashley Julich, Esq.

Robert H. King, Esq.

Rachel Klein

Lisa Wang Lachowicz, Esq.

Derek Carter Murray, Esq.

Jonah J. Nelson, Esq.

Katarzyna Oleszek, Esq.

Grace E Park, Esq.

Maiaklovsky Preval, Esq.

Olivia M. Scofield, Esq.

Fangyuan Song

Spencer Soucy

Katherine Ann Stewart, Esq.

Vadim Jeffrey Bychok, Esq.

Andrew Jay Fuller, Esq.

Stavroula Kalogerogiannis, Esq.

Ivan Klyauzov, Esq.

Isabel D. Knott, Esq.

Jerry Lynch, Esq.

Jacqueline Eady Pitt, Esq.

Rachel Elisabeth Raimondi, Esq.

Colleen Shea, Esq.

Katherine Laxton Tandler, Esq.

Victoria Tarasova, Esq.

Elizabeth Anne Thomas, Esq.

Noreena Kathleen Chaudari, Esq.

Anita Diana Delgosha, Esq.

Rohmah Ashraf Javed, Esq.

Erik Anders Palm, Esq.

Saron Berne

Amelia Courtney Hritz, Esq.

Caroline Lauren Myrdek, Esq.

Zachary Cosmo Osinski, Esq.

Kayla Ann Drickel, Esq.

John E. Minnick, Jr., Esq.

Christopher M. Przespo, Esq.

Richard Thomas Rogers, Esq.

Erin Kathleen Rozewicz, Esq.

Rachel Michelle Zucker, Esq.

Daniel Ernest Davies, Esq.

Mengmeng Hu

Mairead Catherine Twohig, Esq.

Camille Neze Anidi, Esq.

Maren Eisenmesser

Bradley D. Ferber

Michael Steven Grant, Esq.

Audrey Ayanna Mars, Esq.

Sherwin Figueroa Safir, Esq.

John Robert Sepulveda, Esq.

Carly Alexis Sommers, Esq.

Kyle Dominick Street, Esq.

Jonathan Michael Weinberg, Esq.

Anthony John Zangrillo, Esq.

Lauren Ashley Brangman, Esq.

Melissa Capobianco

Angelina F. Dalia, Esq.

Panida Anna Pollawit, Esq.

Angela Ruffini, Esq.

Yakov Yusupov

Lauren Gillian Barrett, Esq.

Armine Esther Black, Esq.

H. Onno Chekemian, Esq.

Alexandra Mary Coglianese, Esq.

Jewelita A. Gant Henderson

Margaret Angeline Gauntt, Esq.

Alyssa Marie Giordano, Esq.

Robert Glenn

Misha Mayonie Logan, Esq.

Joseph Alexander Lopez, Esq.

Dominik E. Maida

Thomas M. McHugh, Esq.

Kristine M. Modica, Esq.

Zohar Moshe Nevo, Esq.

Philip Flemming Theodore Pacelli, IV, Esq.

Donna Lauren Rudnicki, Esq.

Bryan Sanchez

Hillary Susan Smith, Esq.

James C. Spencer, Esq.

Courtney Thompson

Total New Members:

Thanks to everyone for making this a great Section!

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, 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


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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.

About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries from July 2018 listed from newest to oldest.

June 2018 is the previous archive.

August 2018 is the next archive.

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