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Ethical Approach to Preparing or Coaching the Witness

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The issue of how zealous an attorney can be when preparing a witness for trial continues to be a hot button issue, especially in light of the new New York Rules of Professional Conduct which became effective April 1, 2009. Using an interactive technique and video clips from popular films, the panel of experts discuss the boundaries of proper witness preparation, how much contact or coaching is too much, limits on prosecutor preparation of witnesses, and whether attorneys can compensate witnesses for their time.

Lecturer Bios

Sarah Diane McShea Esq.,

Sarah Diane McShea has practiced in the professional responsibility field since 1980. Her solo law practice is devoted to advising lawyers and law firms on professional responsibility matters. She represents lawyers in disciplinary proceedings; litigates sanctions and disqualification issues; provides ethics and professional advice to lawyers, law firms, government agencies and in-house law departments; represents bar applicants; and serves as an expert witness on professional responsibility issues. McShea is a member of the Editorial Board of the ABA/BNA Lawyers' Manual on Professional Conduct. She is a member of the New York State Bar Association's Committee on Standards of Attorney Conduct and serves on several other bar association professional ethics committees as well. McShea is a contributing editor to The New York Rules of Professional Conduct (Oxford, 2011); a founding member and Past President of the Association of Professional Responsibility Lawyers (APRL) and a Trustee of the New York State Lawyer Assistance Trust. She also teaches professional responsibility as an adjunct professor at Fordham University School of Law and previously was an adjunct at Columbia University School of Law and Brooklyn Law School. She is a former Deputy Chief Counsel to the Departmental Disciplinary Committee in the First Department and former Bureau Chief (Public Corruption) in the Kings County District Attorney's Office. She graduated from Yale College and Boston University School of Law.

Lewis Tesser, Esq.

Lewis Tesser is a senior partner in the New York law firm of Tesser, Ryan & Rochman, LLP, concentrating his practice in litigation and mediation, representing licensed professionals and professional practices, administrative law and commercial law. Lew Tesser is Vice-President of the New York County Lawyers’ Association and Director of its Ethics Institute.

Prior to private practice, Mr. Tesser was an Assistant United States Attorney in the Eastern District of New York. In that capacity, he represented various agencies of the United States government in litigation in the United States District Court and United States Court of Appeals. Mr. Tesser also served as a Judge Advocate in the United States Army where he prosecuted and defended criminal cases and was the chief legal advisor to the Commanding General of the U.S. Army War College, Carlisle, Pennsylvania. He also has served as an Arbitrator for the American Arbitration Association, New York City Civil Court, a Judge for the Environmental Control Board of the City of New York and a lecturer for various Bar Associations and New York area law schools.

Mr. Tesser, who was admitted to practice in 1971, is a 1970 Honors graduate from the National Law Center, George Washington University, a Masters graduate from the Wharton Business School, University of Pennsylvania (l974) and a graduate of the Harvard Law School Program of Instruction for Lawyers. He is a past President of Congregation Sons of Israel, Nyack, NY.

Joseph Aronauer Esq.,

Joe represents numerous financial institutions, including C-III Asset Management, ORIX Capital Markets, and Midland Loan Services. Joe also represents various hedge funds including Black Diamond Capital Management and Fortress Investment Group. Joe has been involved in numerous cases involving real estate finance issues and the purchase and sale of mortgage loans. He has also done a wide range of commercial litigation including securities fraud cases, disputes between partners in closely held businesses and issues concerning valuations of companies and real estate. Joe has also worked with the real estate lawyers in our firm on complex real estate transactions. Joe has extensive trial experience, having conducted numerous jury and non jury trials in federal and state courts and arbitrations in various forums. He has served as chairman of American Arbitration Association arbitration panels and has been appointed as a receiver by the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.

Irwin Rochman Esq.,

Irwin Rochman is a highly experienced trial lawyer who has represented many prominent individuals, unions and businesses in numerous high profile civil and criminal matters. Mr. Rochman, who attended Harvard and Columbia law schools, has served as an Assistant District Attorney in Manhattan and as a New York Special Assistant Attorney General. He was a member of the Mayors’ Committee on Police Community Relations, the Mayors’ Committee on the Judiciary and The Council on Criminal Justice of the City Bar and the Chairman of its Committee on Criminal Courts. He has been for many years an instructor in the Intensive Trial Advocacy Program at Cardozo Law School. He has also been a lecturer on various litigation topics, including an introduction to the American Criminal Justice System for visiting Foreign Judges. Mr. Rochman has tried and argued cases at every level of state and federal courts, including the Supreme Court of the United States.

Herbert Eisenberg Esq.

Herbert Eisenberg’s practice is devoted to representation of employees in all aspects of employment law with a focus on litigation involving employment discrimination, sexual harassment and employment contracts. He has also arbitrated securities industry employment disputes and litigated employee benefit claims under ERISA, fraud claims in the employment context,union democracy matters and has handled both public and private sector union-side collective bargaining matters. Mr. Eisenberg is a frequent speaker at conferences on various aspects of employment law. He has taught employment law as an adjunct professor at New York Law School. He is a member of the Executive Board of the National Employment Lawyers Association. He is most recent past president of the National Employment Lawyers Association, New York Chapter, and was a member of its Executive Board for seventeen years. He is also the Second Circuit Representative on the National Employment Lawyers Association national amicus advisory council. He is former co-chair of the Labor and Employment Law Committee of the New York County Lawyer’s Association. Mr. Eisenberg is a graduate of the State University of New York at Buffalo Law School (1983) and the State University of New York at Binghamton (1979).

Hon. Gerald Lebovits

Gerald Lebovits has been a judge of the New York City Civil Court since 2012. Before that, he was a judge of the New York City Criminal Court from 2011-2012 and the New York City Housing Court from 2001-2010. An adjunct professor at Columbia Law School, Fordham University School of Law, and New York University School of Law, he formerly taught at St. John's University School and at New York Law School. A faculty member of the New York State Judicial Institute, he has taught opinion writing to judges and law clerks since 1993. He has authored the New York State Bar Association Journal's Legal Writer column since 2001 and has written Advanced Judicial Opinion Writing (7th ed. 2004) for the New York State Unified Court System. Judge Lebovits has given CLEs for dozens of bar associations and government organizations. He graduated from the Ottawa (LL.L.), Tulane (M.C.L.), and New York University (LL.M.) law schools.

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