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Meet the Commercial Division Judges of Nassau and Suffolk Counties

CLE 2016

Photo (Left to Right): Hon. C. Randall Hinrichs, Laurel R. Kretzing, Kevin Schlosser, Hon. Elizabeth H. Emerson, Harvey Besunder, Hon. Stephen A. Bucaria, Hon. James C. Hudson, Hon. Jerry Garguilo, Hon. Timothy S. Driscoll, Hon. Vito M. DeStefano

On June 21, 2016, the New York State Bar Association’s Federal & Commercial Litigation Section presented “An Evening with the Commercial Division Justices”.  The CLE event was jointly organized by the Commercial Division Committee of the Suffolk County Bar Association and the Commercial Litigation Committee of the Nassau County Bar Association.

Present at the event were all six Commercial Division Justices of Nassau and Suffolk Counties – Justices Hon. Stephen A. Bucaria, Hon. Vito M. DeStefano,,Hon. Timothy S. Driscoll, Hon. Elizabeth H. Emerson, Hon. Jerry Garguilo and Hon. James C. Hudson.

The discussion was moderated by Harvey Besunder, a partner at Bracken Margolin Besunder LLP and Co-Chair of the Commercial Division Committee of the Suffolk County Bar Association, and Kevin Schlosser, a partner at Meyer, Suozzi, English & Klein, P.C. and Chair of the Commercial Litigation Committee of the Nassau County Bar Association. The “Meet and Greet” concluded with a lively panel discussion: A Year in Retrospect. The New Commercial Division Rules and other current commercial litigation topics from the Judges’ Perspective followed by a dedicated Question and Answer session with the Judges.

In 2014 the Executive Committee of the Suffolk County Bar Association formed a new committee specifically for the purpose of working with the Commercial Division Justices and litigators. Since Nassau and Suffolk Counties have been aligned over the years in the practice of law, it was decided that the committee should be comprised of lawyers from both counties. The impetus for this initiative was the fact that Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman had created the Commercial Division Advisory Council in 2013, charged with the task of implementing the recommendations made by the task force chaired by former Chief Judge Judith Kaye. That Council has made a series of recommendations (many of which have already been adopted) to enhance the efficiency of the Commercial Division and to make it appealing for businesses to bring their litigation in the State Courts of New York. The Suffolk Bar group was to monitor the changes, discuss the workability with the judges, and inform the practicing lawyers.  Since Justice Elizabeth Emerson was on the original taskforce and Harvey Besunder is a member of the Council, they were appointed as co-chairs of the committee.

The program was “sold out” — there were 180 Long Island lawyers who attended and hopefully became more knowledgeable as to the new rules, how each judge views them and would implement them in their own parts. Based on the popularity of the program, it is the intention of the Bar Associations to offer similar seminars in the future so that the Bar can be apprised of the changes, the judges’ outlook and help make the Commercial Division more efficient and appealing to litigants and attorneys.

Each of the judges was supportive of continuing coordinated efforts between the bench and the Bar to foster the timely and cost-efficient resolution of business disputes and to enhance the Commercial Division as a preferred forum for the business community.