At its Annual Meeting on the morning of Jan. 23, the Commercial and Federal Litigation Section will offer CLE programs to (1) help litigators who represent banks, funds, insurers and investors navigate the complex issues raised by financial crisis litigation evolving from the current financial crisis, and (2) prepare for changes to practice that are proposed in Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman’s Task Force on Commercial Litigation for the 21st Century. Afterwards, the section will honor U.S. District Court Judge Jed S. Rakoff with its Stanley H. Fuld Award at its annual luncheon.

Financial Crisis Litigation Panel

In the Financial Crisis Litigation Panel, District Court Judge Victor Marrero and Commercial Division Justice Shirley Werner Kornreich will discuss differences and similarities in the way federal courts and the Commercial Division handle banking, fund and insurance disputes. In-house counsel J. Kevin McCarthy, deputy general counsel at BNY Mellon, and James C. Gange, chief compliance officer at hedge fund Davidson Kempner Capital Management, will explore how the mortgage meltdown, the subsequent credit crunch and the changes in the regulatory environment raise new challenges for financial institutions. Finally, business litigators Hector Gonzalez at Dechert and Benjamin R. Nagin at Sidley Austin will outline some of the tactical and strategic choices they make in choosing whether and how to litigate these disputes in federal and state courts.

Among the topics to be addressed are: (1) how the role of large financial institutions as plaintiffs affects litigation dynamics and resolution; (2) what has caused certain types of claims to succeed and others to fail in mortgage loan litigation; (3) how are Martin Act and state common law claims being handled; and (4) new regulatory risks and issues.

Task Force Panel

The Task Force Panel will be moderated by one of the Task Force’s cochairs, former Chief Judge Judith S. Kaye, and will consist of former Court of Appeals Judge Howard Levine (now at Whiteman Osterman and Hanna in Albany), Robert J. Giuffra Jr. (Sullivan & Cromwell), Mitchell F. Borger (assistant general counsel at Macy’s) and Commercial Division Justice Elizabeth Hazlitt Emerson. Panelists will highlight some of the key reforms being considered, discuss why clients and judges support them, explore how best to represent clients and litigate in the Commercial Division if the reforms are adopted, and discuss how top-notch business litigation practice in New York has already been evolving to incorporate some of the Task Force’s proposals.

Award Luncheon

Finally, after the program, Second Circuit Judge Robert A. Katzmann will present the section’s Stanley H. Fuld Award to Judge Jed S. Rakoff. Over the course of his distinguished career, Judge Rakoff has played a leading role in the development of commercial and securities law—as a federal judge in the Southern District of New York; as Chief of Business and Securities Fraud Prosecutions in the U.S. Attorney’s office in Manhattan; and as a business and securities lawyer in private practice. We look forward to honoring him and hearing his perspectives.

Tracee E. Davis, Chair of the Commercial and Federal Litigation Section, is of counsel at Zeichner Ellman & Krause.