Trial Lawyers Section
Save the Date! The Trial Lawyers Section Virtual Summer Meeting will take place on August 12th! More details to come!
Become an Early Sponsor of the Summer Meeting!
The Trial Lawyers Section of the New York State Bar Association is pleased to welcome Section members and visitors. Among the resources available at this site is a comprehensive listing of links relevant to the Section, information concerning the National Trial Competition Region 2 for law students that is sponsored by the Trial Lawyers Section, information concerning scholarships made available by the TLS to new attorneys who demonstrate a commitment to diversity, and upcoming networking and CLE events. Members of the Section are invited to share ideas and seek opinions in the Trial Lawyers Section online community.
We encourage you to get more involved with the section. There is an opportunity to assist in the writing of articles, in the planning and participation of networking and programming events, and assisting the Executive Committee in accomplishing the Trial Lawyers Section mission to bring together for furtherance of their mutual interests such members of the New York State Bar Association as are interested in the problems of the trial lawyer and other branches of the law relating to trial practice and procedure. To get involved contact any member of the Executive Committee or staff liaison Gina Bartosiewicz.
The Executive Committee of the Trial Lawyers is comprised of 4 Officers, Section Delegates to the NYSBA House of Delegates, former section chairs, and two representatives from each Judicial District in the State.
The Trial Lawyers Section engages in many activities, including a CLE program put together with the Torts, Insurance and Compensation Law section during the NYSBA Annual Meeting. The Section also has an annual summer meeting with additional CLE provided and an opportunity to enjoy a fun location and networking opportunities.
To maintain our activities in the years ahead, we need you to become more involved in the Trial Lawyers Section, to go beyond attending a few of our conferences.
The Trial Lawyers Section hosts events to provide new attorneys and diverse attorneys an opportunity to hear from a panel of judges and experienced attorneys regarding bar association membership and provide support to all trial attorneys and law students through involvement in the New York State Bar Association and the promotion of high professional standards and courtesy. The section won the Section Diversity Champion Awards in the 2012 and the 2013 NYSBA Diversity Challenges for these efforts. For more information or to get involved, consider joining our Section’s Diversity Committee.
Contact the Trial Lawyers Section Liaison
To learn more about this Section, please contact Gina Bartosiewicz
Please do not contact the Section liaison with a request for legal advice or an attorney referral. You can instead visit our ‘Public Resources’ or ‘Lawyer Referral Service’ page for this type of request.
William S. Friedlander, Esq.
Friedlander & Mosher, P.C. Ithaca, NY
Bill currently serves as Chair of the Trial Lawyer Section of the New York State Bar Association. He is also a member of the NYSBA Task Force for Nursing Home and Long Term Care and Cochair of its Nursing Home Sub-committee. He is a charter member of the American Association for Justice President’s Club and has served as past Chair of the Small Firm Solo Practitioner and Family Law sections of the American Association for Justice. He has also Chaired the AAJ Firearms and Ammunition Litigation Group and the School Violence Litigation Group.
Bill is a founder and former member of the Board of Directors of the New York Academy of Trial Lawyers and former member of the Board of Directors of the New York State Trial Lawyers Association and is a past President of his local Bar Association.
He also serves on the Board of Directors of the New York Nursing Home Litigation Group, which he helped form in 2005. He has published many articles in national legal magazines and has lectured throughout the United States on numerous legal topics.
NYSBA has created comprehensive author guidelines, with information regarding our reprint policy, style guidelines, and obtaining MCLE Author Credits.
Trial Lawyers Section Committee
- Appellate Practice Committee (Trial Lawyers)
- Arbitration And ADR Committee (Trial Lawyers)
- Bankruptcy Committee (Trial Lawyers)
- CLE Committee (Trial Lawyers)
- Commercial Collections Committee (Trial Lawyers)
- Construction And Labor Law Committee (Trial Lawyers)
- Criminal Law Committee (Trial Lawyers)
- Diversity Committee (Trial Lawyers)
- Employment Law Committee (Trial Lawyers)
- Ethics And Professionalism Committee (Trial Lawyers)
- Executive Committee (Trial Lawyers)
- Family Law Committee (Trial Lawyers)
- Federal Committee (Trial Lawyers)
- Immigration Law Committee (Trial Lawyers)
- International Law (Trial Lawyers)
- Judicial Administration Committee (Trial Lawyers)
- Landlord Tenant Committee (Trial Lawyers)
- Law Student Committee (Trial Lawyers)
- Legal Affairs Committee (Trial Lawyers)
- Legislation Committee (Trial Lawyers)
- Medical Malpractice Committee (Trial Lawyers)
- Membership Committee (Trial Lawyers)
- Motor Vehicle Law Committee (Trial Lawyers)
- No Fault Law Committee (Trial Lawyers)
- Nursing Home Litigation Committee (Trial Lawyers)
- Pro-Bono/Community Relations Committee (Trial Lawyers)
- Real Property/Premises Liability Law Committee (Trial Lawyers)
- Trial Advocacy Committee (Trial Lawyers)
- Trial Evidence Committee (Trial Lawyers)
- Tribal Nation Collaboration Committee (Trial Lawyers)
- Workers Compensation Committee (Trial Lawyers)
- Young Lawyers Committee (Trial Lawyers)
Three New Trial Section Awards for 2021
The NYSBA Trial Lawyers Section presents three new awards for outstanding service to the bar and the community. These award categories represent the many different aspects of the legal and judicial system. Nominations are welcomed by everyone, not just members of the Trial Lawyers Section.
Congratulations to our winners! Please join us for a virtual inaugural awards luncheon on June 21st – register for this free event here!
Betty D. Friedlander Award for Trial Excellence
2021 Award Winner: Cynthia LaFave, Esq. (LaFave, Wein & Frament, PLLC)
The Betty D. Friedlander Award for Trial Excellence was created by the Trial Lawyers Section to honor the pioneering career of Betty Friedlander, one of the first female trial lawyers in upstate New York.
To qualify, applicants should: have practiced substantially as a trial lawyer in state (or federal) courts in upstate New York (outside New York City); and exhibited excellence in cultivation and use of trial skills, in, inter alia, courtroom practice, case preparation, client and collegial relations, litigation strategy and ethics; and demonstrated commitment to excellence in trial practice, for example, by professional engagement, writing, advocacy, teaching or mentoring.
Cynthia has spent her career as an advocate for those who have found their lives adversely affected by injuries due to some other person or entity’s negligence. Her practice now includes only catastrophic injury cases and sexual abuse cases. She is passionate about her career and always takes to heart the needs of her clients. She is an active and prominent attorney who practices in the capital region and 32 counties surrounding it.
Cynthia has received many verdicts and settlements in seven figures. In 1996 she received the highest personal injury verdict for the entire United States, the sum was $94,500,000.00.
Honors and Awards:
- Named a Super Lawyer since the inception of the honor in 2007 and continues to receive this honor each and every year since then.
- Named a Top 100 Lawyer in 2010 and every year since then.
- Received the Wiedemann Wysocki Citation of Excellence from the American Association for Justice
- Appeared on many news shows, and highlighted numerous times in print and other media, including Eye to Eye with Connie Chung
- In 2021 is being presented with the first Betty Friedlander Award of Excellence from the NYSBA Trial Lawyers Section
- Named a Pioneering Woman Lawyer for the New York State Pioneering Women Lawyer Oral History Project, by the Gender Fairness Committee of the Third Judicial District, Chaired by Hon. Rachel Kretser (ret.), and highlighted in a podcast about Cynthia LaFave’s Life and Career
- Member of Board of Directors of Mohawk Hudson Humane Society from 2012 to 2021, Chair of Board of Directors 2017-2021
- Member (2016-2019); Chair Albany County Democratic Committee, Judicial Qualifications Committee (2016-2017)
- Member NYS Magistrate’s Association 1984 to the present
- Town of New Scotland Town Justice 1984-1988
- Continuous lecturing for Continuing Legal Education for the American Association for Justice; American Trial Lawyers Association; New York State Bar Association; Capital Region Bar Association; New York State Trial Lawyer’s Associations; New York State Academy of Trial Lawyers and others
- Outstanding Student Leadership Award, SUNY Brockport, 1978
Bar & Professional Activity:
- Past President of the NYS Trial Lawyers Association, Capital Region Affiliate
- Past Vice President for the NYS Academy of Trial Lawyers, Third Judicial Department
- Member of the Board of Directors of the NYS Trial Lawyers since 1996 to the present
- Past Delegate for the NYS Bar Association
- Member, American Association for Justice
- Member, NYS Magistrate’s Association
- Member American Board of Trial Advocates
- Member Capital Region Trial Lawyers Association
Cynthia is the proud Mom of Hannah, Seth, Susanne and Sorawit. Besides her children, she loves and shares her life with her horses, dogs and donkeys. Her hobbies include hiking, swimming, cooking, dancing and listening to music.
Peter C. Kopff Trial Advocacy Award
2021 Award Winner: Kevin Hunt, Esq. (Gale Gale & Hunt, LLC)
The Peter C. Kopff Trial Advocacy Award was created by the Trial Lawyers Section to recognize the professional career of a trial lawyer in private practice that embodies the highest ideals of the Trial Lawyers Section.
To qualify, applicants should have: practiced as a trial lawyer in private practice in New York State; and demonstrated successful efforts in providing high quality education, training, teaching, or mentoring.; and exhibited excellence in trial advocacy and/or judicial service in the courtroom and demonstrated integrity and ethics; and demonstrated a commitment to diversity and inclusion in the legal profession.
Kevin T. Hunt is partner in the law firm of Gale Gale & Hunt, LLC of Syracuse, NY. During his 30 year career, he has conducted hundreds of civil trial matters, with over 60 to verdict. Another part of his practice is spent defending medical providers and other professionals in licensure matters involving the New York State Office of Professional Medical Conduct and the Office of Professional Discipline. Mr. Hunt received his Juris Doctor in 1991 from the Syracuse University College of Law and graduated from Washington & Lee University with a B.A. in Economics in 1988.
In 2014, Kevin was inducted as a Fellow in the American College of Trial Lawyers (ACTL). He now serves as a member of the ACTL Upstate New York Committee. He has also been recognized as a Super Lawyer in the field of Professional Liability Defense every year since 2010 and was selected by his peers for The Best Lawyers of America for his work in Personal Injury Litigation-Defendants.
Kevin frequently lectures on issues related to medical malpractice litigation at the Grand Rounds at Crouse Hospital, the LeMoyne College Physician’s Assistant and Nurse Practitioner Programs, the New York State Bar Association and the National Business Institute. He has also published articles on issues related to medical malpractice litigation including HIPAA, the Good Samaritan Law, tort reform and expert testimony.
Kevin is admitted to practice in New York State, the United States District Court, Northern and Western Districts of New York, and the Western District of New York, Bankruptcy Court. He is a member of the Northern District of New York Federal Court Bar Association, the New York State Bar Association, the Onondaga County Bar Association and the New York State Academy of Trial Lawyers.
Kevin is a current or past board member of the Onondaga County Bar Association, the Central New York Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, Syracuse Meals on Wheels and the Town of Onondaga Board of Assessment Review. He helps serve breakfast to the hungry and food insecure every Friday at the Samaritan Center. He resides in Syracuse with his wife Kathleen and their three children.
Justice Irma Vidal Santaella Memorial Award for Excellence in the Courtroom
2021 Award Winner: Chief Judge Janet DiFiore (NYS Office of Court Administration, NYS Court of Appeals, Albany, New York)
The Justice Irma Vidal Santaella Memorial Award for Excellence in the Courtroom was created by the Trial Lawyers Section in honor of the First Puerto Rican/Hispanic Female Judge elected to the New York State Supreme Court.
To qualify, applicants should have: practiced substantially as a trial lawyer in state (or federal) courts in downstate New York; and exhibited excellence in trial advocacy and/or judicial service in the courtroom and demonstrated integrity and ethics; and demonstrated commitment to excellence in trial practice, and /or judicial service by professional engagement and involvement in the community, teaching or mentoring; and demonstrated a commitment to diversity and inclusion in the legal profession.
Janet DiFiore, Chief Judge of the Court of Appeals and of the State of New York, was born in 1955 in Mount Vernon, New York.
She graduated from C.W. Post College, Long Island University (B.A. 1977) and from St. John’s University School of Law (J.D. 1981). She was admitted to the Bar of the State of New York in 1982. Chief Judge DiFiore served as an Assistant District Attorney in the Westchester County District Attorney’s Office from 1981-1987, and from 1994-1998 as Chief of the Office’s Narcotics Bureau. From 1987-1993, Chief Judge DiFiore practiced law with the firm of Goodrich & Bendish. In 1998, she was elected a Judge of the Westchester County Court, presiding over criminal and civil matters and sitting by designation in the Family Court, Surrogate’s Court and Supreme Court. She served as a County Court Judge until 2002, when she was elected a Justice of the New York State Supreme Court.
As a Supreme Court Justice, she served as Supervising Judge of the Criminal Courts of the 9th Judicial District. In 2005, Chief Judge DiFiore resigned from the bench and was elected Westchester County District Attorney. She served in this position from 2006-2016. On December 1, 2015, Governor Andrew Cuomo nominated her to the position of Chief Judge of the Court of Appeals and the State of New York. On January 21, 2016, her nomination was confirmed by the New York State Senate.
Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg Vanguard Award
This award is presented to a Trial Attorney who has made extraordinary efforts in addressing and raising awareness about issues of equity, diversity, and inclusion.
National Trial Competition
For the past 40 years, the Trial Lawyers Section of the New York State Bar Association has had the privilege of hosting the New York Regional Round of the National Trial Competition, the country’s oldest and most prestigious mock trial competition for law students. The mission of the NTC is to “encourage and strengthen students’ advocacy skills through quality competition and valuable interaction with members of the bench and bar. The program is designed to expose law students to the nature of trial practice and to serve as a supplement to their education.”
TRIAL LAWYERS LEGAL LINKS OF INTEREST
New York Court of Appeals Links
- Cornell’s Legal Information Institute’s NY Court of Appeals page
- NY Court of Appeals procedural outline
- Certification by Second Circuit handbook
- New York State Court of Appeals
Criminal Law Resources
- Criminal Jury Instructions
- Search Warrant Manual
- List of Registerable Sex Offenses
- Summary of NY Court of Appeals pending criminal cases
Legal Research Resources
- Article 78 Primer
- New York Legal Research Guide
- New York Legislative History Tutorial
- Searchable Database of2d Department Appellate Briefs
- Caselaw Access Project API – Official US court cases published in books from 1658 to 2018 from the Harvard Law Library; free for public use