Exploring New Rule Changes in Commercial Disputes

January 27, 2016

Reprinted with permission from New York Law Journal, January 25, 2016 edition. 

The Commercial and Federal Litigation Section
continues to play a leadership role
in the many facets of commercial disputes.
Through programming, initiatives and our
Section reports, we are working hard toward
making litigating commercial disputes more
efficient here in New York, to maintain the reputation
of our courts, both federal and state, as
leaders in the commercial and business world.

We have conducted statewide Bench and Bar
programs—Long Island, Westchester, Queens,
Rochester, Syracuse, Buffalo and Albany—to
help better educate commercial litigators on
the many new rule changes in the Commercial
Division. With the help of the Commercial Division
Justices throughout the state, we have
had successful interactive panel discussions
between the bench and bar to explore these
new rule changes. Not only have these programs
helped educate, but they continue to
foster cooperation and collegiality among the
judges and practitioners, all of which helps
more efficient litigation of commercial cases.

But that’s not all! As most know, there are
also new and significant rule changes this year
to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. Our
Federal Practice Committee is busily planning
a similar program to highlight those changes
as they apply to business litigation.

This year, the Section also developed Social
Media Guidelines, through our Social Media
Committee led by Mark Berman and Ignatius
Grande, which have gained national attention.
We continue to devote much attention to these
Guidelines and recently our Section issued a
report on social media jury instructions which
we hope will help guide the courts. As a result,
our State Bar has become a leader in this area.

For the Section’s Annual Meeting, we are
proud to bestow the Stanley H. Fuld Award
on the Hon. Sheila Abdus-Salaam, Associate
Judge of the Court of Appeals for the State of
New York, for her outstanding contributions
to commercial law and litigation. Judge Abdus-
Salaam, having served on trial and appellate
courts, has made important rulings on key commercial
issues involving insurance, contract
and fiduciary duty issues, and epitomizes what
the Award stands for.

We have planned three diverse, and exciting
programs for the Annual Meeting. We start
the morning off with a program on the “psychology
of perception,” which will explore
the question, “What do arbitrators, judges
and jurors hear?” Our Vice Chair Mitch Katz
has assembled leading experts in psychology
and trial advocacy—Richard Waites, J.D. Ph.D.,
Attorney & Chief Trial Psychologist, The Advocates;
Valerie P. Hans, Ph.D., Professor of Law,
Cornell Law School; Julie E. Howe, Ph.D. of J.
Howe Consulting—to discuss the psychological
factors at play in winning arguments, and how
to develop a powerful story for your case. The
panel will be moderated by James McGuire of

The second program follows up on one of our
key initiatives this year—exploring the imbalance
of gender diversity at the trial counsel table in commercial cases.

A group of former women chairs of the
Section will discuss how men and women
can work together to achieve equal opportunities
and visibility for women among their
peers and in the courtroom and boardroom. The discussion, moderated by Carla M. Miller,
will focus on providing practical advice,
insight and diverse perspectives. The All-Star
line-up includes: Hon. Shira A. Scheindlin,
U.S. District Judge, Southern District of New
York; Lauren J. Wachtler of Mitchell, Silberberg
& Knupp; Lesley Rosenthal, VP General
Counsel & Secretary of Lincoln Center for
the Performing Arts in New York; Tracee E.
Davis of Zeichner, Ellman & Krause; Bernice K.
Leber of Arent Fox; Sharon M. Porcellio of Bond,
Schoeneck & King; and Carrie H. Cohen, Assistant
U.S. Attorney, Southern District of New
York, Criminal Division.

Our final program is on choosing the right
venue: state or federal court. Although there
have been many programs in the past on
choosing your venue, this is a “must see” in
light of the significant rule changes in both
state and federal court that appear to make
practice in both very similar. What are the
remaining differences? The panel will be moderated
by Robert L. Haig of Kelley, Drye &
Warren and will include the Hon. Deborah
H. Karalunas, Onondaga County Supreme
Court; Hon. Timothy S. Driscoll, Nassau
County Supreme Court; Hon. Jeffrey K. Oing,
New York County Supreme Court; Hon. Mae
A. D’Agostino, U.S. District Judge, Northern
District of New York; Hon. Margo K. Brodie,
U.S. District Judge, Eastern District of New
York; and Hon. P. Kevin Castel, U.S. District
Judge, Southern District of New York.

Keep an eye out for announcements for our
Spring Meeting, which this year will be held in
Cooperstown May 13-15, 2016!

James M. Wicks is a partner of Farrell Fritz, P.C.

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  • Related Practice Areas: Commercial Litigation
  • Featured Attorneys: James M. Wicks
  • Publications: New York Law Journal