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  • Jul 01, 2020Mediator’s Tips for Successful Virtual Mediation

    More than ever, attorneys must now utilize creative and efficient alternatives to traditional litigation when assisting clients with legal disputes. Virtual mediation seems to have become the “new normal,” so if you have one scheduled, here are some tips:

    Virtual Mediation Tips

    • Learn the technology
      • Loading Zoom onto your phone or computer is easy
        • Give it a test run with your family and/or officemates
      • Make sure the client has loaded Zoom and has a stable source of WIFI
      • Ask mediator for a run-through
      • Make sure no one records the mediation
    • Backup plans
      • Have two phones available
      • Get everyone’s phone numbers
    • Do not schedule mediation unless you are ready to settle
      • If your client who is the defendant says, “there’s no way I’m going to pay any money,” don’t go to mediation
    • The parties and all decision-makers must be present
      • Joint sessions vs. private sessions
    • Memos should be done well in advance and should be shared with the other side with plenty of time for evaluation of your claim
      • Pictures
      • Medical reports (not every piece of paper generated by the hospital)
      • Relevant portions of deposition transcripts (not the tiny print ones)
    • Negotiations
      • Prepare your client for a long day and they will feel insulted at times
      • Don’t quit or lose your cool (this can be tedious at times)
      • Don’t make outrageous demands
      • Don’t make dinner plans or plane reservations
      • Bring other work
      • Do keep talking and no ultimatums

    This article was written by the Hon. Emil Giordano (Ret.), a Member of law firm Norris McLaughlin, P.A., and Co-Chair of its Litigation Practice Group. A printable version is available to download here.

    If you have any questions about this article or any related matter, please feel free to contact him at egiordano@norris-law.com. For more topics related to COVID-19, visit our Coronavirus Thought Leadership Connection.

    The information contained in this post may not reflect the most current developments, as the subject matter is extremely fluid and constantly changing. Please continue to monitor this site for ongoing developments. This article provides information about current legal developments of mediation in the area of litigation and alternative dispute resolution. The information contained in this article should not be construed as legal advice and readers should not act upon such without professional counsel. Copyright © 2020 Norris McLaughlin, P.A.

    About Norris McLaughlin

    As well as representing our clients during commercial and civil disputes, our attorneys often serve as independent arbitrators and mediators. They are experienced in handling disputes for matters involving attorney ethics and fees, banking, corporate dissolutions, deadlocks and acquisitions, energy, environmental, estates, health care, information technology, insurance, intellectual property, labor and employment, matrimonial, products liability, and utility issues. We also offer innovative services in case consultation and complex case management.

    Posted in: Alternative Dispute Resolution, Hon. Emil Giordano (Ret.), Litigation |

  • Mar 11, 2020Norris McLaughlin Welcomes New Litigation Associate Akshar Patel

    The law firm of Norris McLaughlin, P.A., is pleased to welcome Akshar U. Patel to its New Jersey office as an Associate in the Litigation Practice Group.

    “We are thrilled to have Akshar join our team. We look forward to seeing him grow and succeed with us. His excellent experience, dedication, and passion will benefit our clients,” said Daniel R. Guadalupe, who co-chairs the Litigation Practice Group with David C. Roberts, Saleem Mawji, and the Honorable Emil Giordano (Ret.).

    About Akshar Patel

    Patel concentrates his practice in the area of commercial litigation disputes. He handles leasing and commercial litigation, focusing on commercial landlord disputes and secured transactions before state and federal courts. Patel frequently engages in motion practice and argues summary judgment and discovery motions before the New Jersey Superior Court.

    In addition, Patel manages all aspects of discovery, including drafting requests and responses, performing document review, conducting depositions, and preparing witnesses for depositions. He is experienced in conducting client intakes, drafting correspondence to clients and opposing counsel, and drafting and filing complaints and answers.

    Prior to joining Norris McLaughlin, Patel was an intern at the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of New Jersey where he drafted trial motions, performed legal research, and contributed to trial preparation. He also interned in the Office of Public Engagement at the White House where he assisted in drafting and preparing research and public policy memorandums.

    As a young professional, Patel is dedicated to giving back to his community. He is a member of the South Asian Bar Association and an active advocate for the Rescue Mission of Trenton. Patel speaks Gujarati, Arabic, and Spanish.

    Patel received his J.D. from Seton Hall University School of Law in 2018, where he was Executive Editor of the Seton Hall Legislative Journal, a member of the Seton Hall Law Mock Trial Board, and part of the Equal Justice Clinic for the Seton Hall Center for Social Justice. He received his B.A. from George Washington University in 2013.

    About the Norris McLaughlin Litigation Practice

    The Norris McLaughlin litigation attorneys represent individual and business clients in a wide variety of industries and personal matters in state and federal courts in the United States as well as in domestic and international arbitrations through the firm’s participation in domestic and international legal networks. The group’s reflection our the firm’s core values through reasonableness and efficiency, technical and industry-specific experience, knowledge of courts and judges, and trial and appellate experience, combined with the strengths and skills of the firm’s Business Law Practice Group, have earned the loyalty and respect of clients, peers, and the community for over six decades.

    Posted in: Akshar U. Patel, Litigation, News | Tags: ,

  • Feb 24, 2020Norris McLaughlin Welcomes Two New Members to Pennsylvania Office

    The Pennsylvania office of law firm Norris McLaughlin, P.A., is pleased to welcome Christopher R. Gray and the Honorable Rebecca L. Warren (Ret.) as Members of the firm. Gray joins both the Tax, Trust, and Estates Practice Group and the Business Law Practice Group, while Warren will be a part of the Labor & Employment, Litigation, and Business Law Practice Groups.

    “We are grateful to have these two established attorneys join our team and look forward to enhancing our multiple practices at Norris McLaughlin. Our clients will benefit from the additional experience Chris and Rebecca are bringing,” said S. Graham Simmons, III, Administrative Partner of the firm’s Pennsylvania office.

    About Christopher Gray

    Gray focuses his practice in the areas of estate planning, estate administration, and income tax planning.

    In addition, Gray is experienced in corporate matters, business transactions, non–profit issues, health care governance, elder law, and general litigation. He represents high net-worth clients and their businesses in developing estate, gift, income tax, and succession planning strategies.

    Prior to joining Norris McLaughlin, Gray has worked both in private practice and with a financial strategies company advising affluent private clients on business investments, multigenerational estate preservation, and wealth planning.

    A long-time resident of Pennsylvania, Gray is a past officer of the Lehigh Valley Estate Planning Council, and currently serves on the Northampton Community College Foundation Board of Directors, where he is also Chair of its Planned Giving Committee.

    With 25 years of experience, Gray frequently presents on tax law and initiatives, estate planning tools and techniques, and asset protection.

    Gray received his J.D. from Thomas M. Cooley Law School, cum laude, in 1993 and his B.A. from Franklin and Marshall College in 1987. He also earned his LL.M. in Taxation from Georgetown University Law Center in 1994.

    “Our Practice Group has witnessed recent and robust growth. We are delighted to welcome Attorney Gray to join our Team at this auspicious time. Chris is a fine asset to our firm and to our clients,” said Judith A. Harris, Co-Chair of the Tax, Trust, and Estates Practice Group.

    About Rebecca Warren

    Warren devotes her practice to labor and employment, business and corporate matters, and general liability litigation.

    As a former in-house corporate attorney and having counseled businesses for over 25 years, Warren is acutely aware of the unique and varied legal needs of business clients. She has created thousands of customized legal documents for corporations, partnerships, LLCs, and sole proprietors. Warren is also well-versed in providing legal strategy and guidance regarding daily business issues and concerns ranging from employment matters to third-party disputes.

    As a former prosecutor, Warren is well-positioned to counsel clients in crisis management, internal and governmental investigations, and regulatory and business compliance. She has represented prominent clients in high-stakes and multi-million-dollar cases at the county, state, and federal levels in multiple states.

    In addition, Warren has extensive experience in insurance defense, white-collar crime, election law, health care, commercial law, estate practice and administration, family law, and real estate.

    Warren handles all aspects of litigation for her clients, having appeared in court on thousands of hearings, proceedings, arbitrations, jury and non-jury trials, and appeals. She was formerly appointed Solicitor for various non-profit organizations and government agencies and had regularly served as a county Arbitration panel member and Chairperson.

    Prior to joining Norris McLaughlin, Warren founded a multi-county law firm and real estate closing company and was a partner in a Philadelphia firm.

    Warren was elected as the first female District Attorney of Montour County by a 3:1 margin. In that role, she designed and implemented an intensive, personalized victim rights program; created the Multi-Disciplinary Investigative Team for child abuse cases to minimize trauma for minor victims; and collaborated with agencies to provide services and treatment for offenders.

    Warren received her J.D. from The Dickinson School of Law in 1991 and her B.A. with honors from Bloomsburg University in 1988.

    “We are excited to see growth within the firm and I am proud to be able to extend our team’s reach in Pennsylvania by adding Rebecca’s many years of experience. Having her in-house perspective, as well as her service as a District Attorney, will be a great addition to our group,” said Patrick T. Collins, Chair of the Labor & Employment Practice Group.

    Posted in: Business Law, Christopher R. Gray, Elder Care & Special Needs Law, Estate Planning & Administration, Hon. Rebecca L. Warren (Ret.), Labor & Employment, Litigation, News, Taxation | Tags: , , , , , , ,

  • Jan 02, 2020Norris McLaughlin Promotes Litigators Nick Duston, Amy Kruzel, and Jessica Palmer to Members of the Firm

    Norris McLaughlin, P.A., a full-service, mid-sized regional law firm of 130+ attorneys with main offices in Bridgewater, NJ; New York, NY; and Allentown, PA, is pleased to announce the promotion of three associates to Members of the firm. The promotions for Nicholas A. Duston, Amy L. Kruzel, and Jessica L. Palmer are effective January 1, 2020, and follow the firm’s announcement earlier this month that four associates joined the firm, building upon the firm’s unique position to represent middle-market companies, Fortune 500 corporations, and individuals across a number of legal practices.

    John N. Vanarthos, Chairman of the firm, said, “Norris McLaughlin is growing, and we are further strengthening our ability to provide a range of legal services to businesses and families in New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania. As rising leaders in the firm, Amy, Jessica, and Nick will diligently counsel clients and maintain the firm’s values in our commitment to our clients and our communities.”

    “I have had the pleasure of working with Amy, Jessica, and Nick, and I can attest to their exemplary litigation skills and dedication to their clients,” added David C. Roberts, who co-chairs the Litigation Practice Group along with the Honorable Emil Giordano (Ret.)Daniel R. Guadalupe and Saleem Mawji.

    About the New Members

    Nick Duston

    Since joining Norris McLaughlin in 2014 in the firm’s Bridgewater office, Duston has focused his practice on complex commercial disputes involving business owners, their managers, and their employees.

    With significant litigation experience in the state and federal courts of New Jersey and New York, Duston handles cases related to fraud and breaches of fiduciary duty, employee theft of trade secrets, diversion of corporate opportunities, and breaches of restrictive covenants or non-compete obligations. He is adept at unwinding complex fact patterns arising from complicated financial instruments, multi-entity business structures, and large amounts of electronically stored information. He also represents clients in arbitrations with the American Arbitration Association and the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority.

    Duston’s practice also includes white-collar criminal matters, such as conducting internal investigations or defending companies and individuals during internal or government investigations into alleged securities fraud, money laundering, and other financial crimes. He has also handled many matters at the intersection of white-collar and civil litigation. Duston regularly handles issues relating to government seizure of property, particularly on behalf of secured lenders, including defense against civil and criminal asset forfeiture, as well as civil rights litigation when the government seizes property without due process or in violation of other constitutionally-protected rights.

    Duston earned his J.D. from Columbia University School of Law in 2010 and his B.A., magna cum laude, from Boston University in 2007.

    Amy Kruzel

    As a Member of the firm’s Matrimonial & Family Law Group in the Allentown office, Kruzel works closely with clients on all aspects of matrimonial law including divorce, custody, support, and prenuptial and postnuptial agreements. With more than 12 years of experience, Kruzel is a compassionate and assertive advisor, representing clients in all stages of divorce, including post-judgment litigation. She serves as a mediator in divorce, custody, and support matters, and has presented oral argument in the Superior Court of Pennsylvania, Eastern District.

    Active in the Lehigh Valley community, Kruzel serves on the Executive Leadership Board of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, volunteers at the legal clinic at the Bradbury Sullivan LGBT Community Center; is the Treasurer of the Family Law Section of the Bar Association of Lehigh County; and is on the Advisory Council of the Allentown Branch of the YMCA. She recently was nominated by The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society as the Lehigh Valley Branch’s first-ever All-Star Alumni candidate for the 2020 Man & Woman of the Year Campaign.

    Kruzel joined Norris McLaughlin in 2017. She earned her J.D. from The Pennsylvania State University, Dickinson School of Law, in 2005 and her B.S. from Dickinson College in 2002.

    Jessica Palmer

    Based in the Bridgewater office, Palmer is a litigator and advisor with more than ten years of experience assisting clients with complex commercial and environmental matters.

    As a litigator, Palmer is known for her thoughtful and diligent representation of clients in state and federal courts, as well as before administrative agencies including the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (“NJDEP”) and the United States Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”). Palmer has extensive experience with both federal and state environmental laws, including the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (“CERCLA”), the New Jersey Spill Compensation and Control Act (“Spill Act”), the New Jersey Site Remediation Reform Act (“SRRA”), the Industrial Site Recovery Act (“ISRA”), the Major Hazardous Waste Facility Siting Act, and the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (“RCRA”).

    Palmer also devotes a significant portion of her practice to representing clients in regulatory compliance, permitting, and remediation efforts. She frequently advises clients on issues related to environmental insurance coverage and other cost recovery options. Finally, Palmer has extensive knowledge of the regulations governing licensed site remediation professionals (“LSRPs”).

    Palmer serves as Board Secretary for the Hunterdon County YMCA Board of Trustees. Licensed in New Jersey and New York, she has been selected for inclusion in the General Litigation section of New Jersey Rising Stars every year since 2014. Palmer is also a Barrister with the Justice Stewart G. Pollack Environmental Inn of Court.

    Palmer joined Norris McLaughlin in 2013. She served as a law clerk to the Honorable Robert P. Contillo, P.J.Ch. for the 2009-2010 court term. Palmer earned her J.D. from American University, Washington College of Law in 2009 and her B.A., with honors, from McGill University in 2006.

    Posted in: Amy L. Kruzel, Jessica L. Palmer, Litigation, News, Nicholas A. Duston | Tags: , , ,

  • Dec 05, 2019Norris McLaughlin, Attorneys at Law, Welcomes New Associates to the Firm

    Law firm Norris McLaughlin, P.A., is pleased to welcome three new associates to the firm. Sarah M. Bouskila joins the Litigation Practice Group and Milan Jakubcak joins the Business Law Practice Group.

    “We are excited to have these new hard-working, passionate, and dedicated Associates join Norris McLaughlin. In addition to expanding our attorney-base, we will soon be moving our New York office to Times Square. It’s a very exciting time for Norris McLaughlin right now and we look forward to what the future will bring for us,” said John N. Vanarthos, Chairman of the firm.

    About Sarah Bouskila

    Bouskila focuses her practice on real estate and complex commercial litigation. Her experience includes representation of individuals and corporate clients in a variety of practice areas, such as breach of contract, business torts, fraud, bankruptcy, employment and restrictive covenant disputes, foreclosure litigation, and an array of real estate-related litigation.

    Prior to entering private practice, Bouskila served as a law clerk for the Honorable Jessica R. Mayer in the Appellate Division of the Superior Court of New Jersey.

    While in law school, Bouskila was a Dean’s Merit Scholar and served as an Articles Editor for the Cardozo Public Law, Policy and Ethics Journal. She received her J.D. from Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, cum laude, in 2016 and her B.A., magna cum laude, from City University of New York—Brooklyn College in 2012.

    About Milan Jakubcak

    Jakubcak focuses his practice on all areas of taxation and business law.

    Jakubcak is experienced in preparing tax structure papers and identifying US tax consequences of domestic and cross-border transactions, including the impact of the US tax reform on clients structures and contemplated transactions. He advises private equity and corporate clients on a range of domestic and cross-border transactions, including entity mergers and acquisitions, tax-free corporate reorganizations, Section 351 transactions, and business joint ventures.

    Prior to joining the firm, Jakubcak was Manager in Mergers and Acquisitions Tax practice at KPMG LLP where he focused on providing tax due diligence and structuring advice to his clients.

    Jakubcak received his J.D. from Seton Hall University School of Law in 2014, while he interned with the IRS Office of Chief Counsel and the Honorable Michael A. Shipp, U.S.D.J., for the District of New Jersey. He received his LL.M in Taxation from New York University School of Law in 2019 and his B.A., magna cum laude, from Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, in 2009.

    Posted in: Business Law, Litigation, Milan Jakubcak, News, Sarah M. Bouskila | Tags: , , ,

  • Nov 01, 2019Norris McLaughlin Recognized in U.S. News – Best Lawyers® Best Law Firms For 10th Consecutive Year

    Law firm Norris McLaughlin, P.A., is proud to announce that it has been selected for inclusion in 12 practice areas in the “2020 Best Law Firms” rankings by U.S. News Media Group and Best Lawyers. This marks the 10th consecutive year the firm has earned Metropolitan First-Tier rankings in New Jersey. The firm’s full listing of First Tier rankings is as follows:

    • Arbitration
    • Bankruptcy and Creditor Debtor Rights/Insolvency and Reorganization Law
    • Commercial Litigation
    • Energy Law
    • Environmental Law
    • Family Law Mediation
    • Litigation – Bankruptcy
    • Litigation – Construction
    • Litigation –- Environmental
    • Mediation
    • Product Liability Litigation – Defendants
    • Trusts & Estates Law

    “It’s an honor for the firm to be highly ranked in multiple, diverse practice areas. We are proud of our client relationships and it’s especially rewarding to earn this recognition based largely on their feedback,” said John N. Vanarthos, Chairman of the firm.

    About Best Law Firms

    From the start, the mission of Best Law Firms has been to help guide referring lawyers and clients – from the country’s largest companies needing corporate legal advice to individuals needing a divorce or a will – issues with bet-the-company implications or potentially life-changing results respectively. The U.S. News – Best Lawyers® “Best Law Firms” rankings are based on a rigorous evaluation process that includes the collection of client and lawyer evaluations, peer review from leading attorneys in their fields, and review of additional information provided by law firms as part of the formal submission process. A full listing is posted online at www.usnews.com/bestlawfirms.

    About Norris McLaughlin

    Norris McLaughlin has been serving the New Jersey community and New York metropolitan area since 1953. Once a humble two-man practice on Main Street in Somerville, Norris McLaughlin has become the largest firm in Somerset County and one of the top 20 firms in New Jersey. Throughout its growth, the firm remembers its culture and values. Norris McLaughlin has remained a firm committed to client service, its community, and its employees. The firm and its attorneys have historically been committed to the communities where clients live and do business.

    Clients value a personal level of care, therefore the firm strives for deep, meaningful, people-first relationships with each one. With many of its attorneys selected as The Best Lawyers In America each year, in addition to its active repertoire of speaking engagements and legal publications, Norris McLaughlin possesses large-firm talent in a small-firm setting that allows its attorneys to provide service and value to their clients on a personal level. It is the firm’s goal to accommodate the needs of every client through the use of experience, strategic planning, and common courtesy.

    Norris McLaughlin is a full-service, mid-sized regional law firm of 130+ attorneys with main offices located in Bridgewater, NJ; New York, NY; and Allentown, PA.  For more information, including a full practice area listing and attorney biographies, please visit www.norrismclaughlin.com.

    Posted in: Alternative Dispute Resolution, Bankruptcy & Creditors' Rights, Construction Law, Environmental, Estate Planning & Administration, Litigation, Matrimonial & Family Law, News, Products Liability Defense, Solar Energy | Tags: , ,

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