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Live Event Bridge the Gap

February 2017 Bridge the Gap: What Every Lawyer Should Know

Event Date: February 25, 2017

$ 199 In Stock

Course Information

Time 02/25/2017 09:00AM EST
Difficulty Beginner

Course Description

The law is expansive—no one attorney can know it all! For this program, we've selected topics that are relevant to all attorneys, no matter your specialty or practice area.


This program counts towards NY Bridge the Gap Credit. This one-day program will count as 6 Skills Credits and 3 Ethics Credits for New York Bridge the Gap. 

  • NY Newly Admitted Attorneys: This program will fulfill all 6 live Skills Credits required, as well as 3 Ethics.
  • Seasoned Attorneys: Earn 6 General CLE credits and 3 Ethics. Also, although all of our weekends are entitled Bridge the Gap, lectures cover topics of law designed to increase the scope of efficacy of attorneys with all levels of experience.

Courses for this program include: Legal Writing Skills: The Seven Deadly Sins of Legal Writing; To Hold but Not Have – an Introduction to Drafting Prenuptial Agreements; Pro Bono Perspectives: Best Practices for Matters Serving the Public Good, Wherever You Work; Tips for Successfully Handling Any Deposition; Best Practices for Ethically Managing Legal Spend: Before, During, and After Litigation; and The Grievance Process in New York; What It Is and How to Avoid It.

Technical Assistance: If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact us at

Group Rates: Groups of 4 or more from the same organization, all registering at the same time, for in-person attendance at a Live CLE Program scheduled for presentation at the same site, are entitled to receive a group discount. For further discount information, please contact Lawline Customer Service at (877) 518-0660.


09:00AM - 10:15AM
Legal Writing Skills: The Seven Deadly Sins of Legal Writing
with Theodore Blumberg

If you’re a lawyer you’re a professional writer.

You might spend time on the phone, on Skype, etc. Nevertheless, what most of us do most of our working lives is write—letters, memos, briefs, email, wills, contracts, etc.

But being a professional anything is no guarantee of quality. And the legal profession nurtures terrible prose. Jargon, verbosity, pomposity, opacity, and obliquity have traditionally been hallmarks of what passes for good legal writing. Lawyers who want to become better writers often feel trapped. Why write clear, cogent prose if so few others are doing it? Why flout the industry standard?

No single course can completely overhaul an ingrained writing style that will take time and diligence to unlearn; however, The Seven Deadly Sins of Legal Writing is a hand-to-hand combat course. It will impart skills to help you spot and avoid seven of the most offensive, counterproductive, and frequent faults that affect vast quantities of legal prose. Join attorney Theodore Blumberg to learn not only how to avoid these sinkholes but, just as importantly, how to replace them with good, clear prose that’s vital and cogent. 

10:20AM - 11:35AM
To Hold but Not Have – an Introduction to Drafting Prenuptial Agreements
with Joy Rosenthal and Karen Platt

This course will provide an introduction to prenuptial agreements for practitioners. You will learn from two New York City family law attorneys, Karen M. Platt, Esq. and Joy S. Rosenthal, Esq., who prepare prenuptial agreements for their clients using different approaches.

We will explore what happens if there is no prenuptial agreement in place, how to use prenups creatively while avoiding pitfalls, when prenups are appropriate or recommended, and different processes used for creating them.

11:40AM - 12:55PM
Pro Bono Perspectives: Best Practices for Matters Serving the Public Good, Wherever You Work
with Evan Mandel, Gretchen O. Stertz, Kathrine Russell, Matthew Menendez, and Michael W. Ross

Pro bono work is an important part of any attorney’s practice, whether you work at a large commercial law firm, a smaller private practice, or a non-profit organization. In any of these environments, pro bono practice presents unique challenges and issues that attorneys may not face elsewhere. For example, attorneys taking on a “direct services” pro bono case may find themselves needing to become quickly familiar with a specialized practice area or a specialized court in which they normally do not appear. In impact litigation, attorneys may need to consider conflicts between an individual client’s interests and the greater public good that a case attempts to serve. In cases by smaller firms, an attorney may need to consider the line between pro bono and “low bono” services. And, in any pro bono matter, there may be unique challenges with record-keeping and engagement matters, such as maintaining consistent contact when the client is not being billed for your work.

Legal sources like case law and ethical rules provide useful guidance to attorneys facing these challenges. The experiences of attorneys who have a depth of knowledge about this work are also important to attorneys engaging in a new type of pro bono work for the first time – as well as for those who are more experienced but may have access to the same resources or set of experiences.

This course, moderated by Jenner & Block Pro Bono Committee Co-Chair Michael W. Ross – and featuring speakers from New York University’s Brennan Center for Justice, Brooklyn Defender Services, and the law firm Mandel Bhandari LLP – explores practice issues in pro bono matters from a variety of angles and offers practical, best practices advice on managing a pro bono matter.

12:55PM - 01:30PM

01:30PM - 02:45PM
Tips for Successfully Handling Any Deposition
with Mirna Martinez Santiago and Robert J. Permutt

The deposition is easily the cornerstone of discovery; the one tool in the attorney’s toolbox that will likely elicit the most information for either prosecuting or defending your case. Yet, most attorneys do not know how to effectively handle a deposition.

What is the purpose of a deposition? What is the starting point of preparation for handling a deposition? What should be the attorney’s end-game? Where do most attorneys get tripped up?

This course, presented by attorneys Robert Permutt and Mirna Santiago, answers these questions and many more in a fun, practical and easy-to-follow guide for handling any deposition, whether you are a new attorney or an experienced attorney newly venturing into litigation.

02:50PM - 04:05PM
Best Practices for Ethically Managing Legal Spend: Before, During, and After Litigation
with Lindsay H. Tasher and Samuel L. Tasher

One of the biggest challenges facing today’s corporations and law firms is engaging high quality legal representation in litigation while at the same time, ensuring that the work is carried out by the most cost-effective and reasonable measures in accordance with the Rules of Professional Conduct governing attorney ethics. This course, presented by Wyatt Partners (a corporation that focuses exclusively on the subject of legal fees), addresses today’s hot topics in legal spend management – both from an in-house and outside counsel perspective throughout the entire litigation process. 

From Engagement Agreements, Budgets, and Outside Counsel Billing Guidelines, our speakers will highlight certain best practices for both counsel and client before the litigation process even begins. The program will then focus on communication and case management issues that occur during the litigation, amidst e-discovery, motion practice, expert disclosures, trial, and appeal. Finally, our speakers will explore the benefits of the self-evaluation process (between client and counsel) after the litigation is over.

The program will specifically focus on applicable Rules of Professional Conduct and case law,  as well as the wide foray of experience our speakers have gained serving as fee experts across  the United States and Europe as well as advisors to corporations and law firms with respect to managing legal spend. 

Both law firms and corporations will benefit greatly from such insights  on a timely and evolving topic that affects everyone in today’s legal and business market.

04:10PM - 05:25PM
The Grievance Process in New York; What It Is and How to Avoid It
with Chris McDonough

Ethics courses in law school for the most part fail to explain to students how our profession self regulates. Students do not understand the process by which the grievance committees and the Appellate Divisions address allegations of professional misconduct.

Similarly, law school ethics courses tend to teach theory based upon improbable ethics scenarios, while failing to address the real world errors by which most lawyers actually come before the courts and the committees.

This course will provide an overview of the grievance system in New York; the various levels and types of professional discipline; the most common causes of discipline; and, practical guidance on how lawyers can best protect themselves.


Evan Mandel

MandelBhandari LLP

Evan Mandel is a co-founding member of Mandel Bhandari LLP, a commercial litigation firm that focuses on disputes between $500,000 and $5,000,000. The firm's clients range from Fortune 500 companies to individuals, and it offers innovative billing solutions, including contingency fee, blended fee, and success fee arrangements.

Mr. Mandel has represented many types of clients, including major financial institutions, technology companies, pharmaceutical companies, telecommunications providers, media companies, non-profit and government institutions, as well as individuals. He also has worked on a wide variety of cases including antitrust, contract, employment, fraud, intellectual property, legal malpractice, government investigations, and criminal matters.

Prior to co-founding Mandel Bhandari, Mr. Mandel was a litigator at Patterson Belknap Webb &Tyler and a law clerk for The Honorable Nicholas G. Garaufis, United States District Judge for the Eastern District of New York. Mr. Mandel graduated from Harvard Law School, where he was the Training Director of the Harvard Legal Aid Bureau, and graduated summa cum laude from Duke University.

Joy Rosenthal

Rosenthal Law & Mediation

Joy S. Rosenthal, Esq. founded Rosenthal Law & Mediation in 2006 to help NYC families coping with transitions through divorce and elder mediation; and legal services including prenuptial agreements, collaborative divorce, adoption, and representation in custody and visitation disputes. She also serves as a Trustee, Guardian ad Litem and 17A Guardian in the New York City Surrogates’ Courts.

Before opening her own practice, Joy spent 10 years representing children, youth and parents in New York City’s Family Courts involved in custody, visitation, foster care and adoption cases, as well as in delinquency and PINS cases through her work with the Legal Aid Society’s Juvenile Rights Practice and as a fellow at NYU School of Law’s Family Defense Clinic.

Joy has extensive mediation, negotiation, trial and appellate experience. She has trained colleagues in cultural competence, bias awareness, domestic violence, elder mediation, and alternative dispute resolutions. She has given workshops and presentations for families, mediators, and attorneys.

Joy S. Rosenthal, Esq. graduated from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, receiving a BA in Women’s Studies. She obtained her law degree from the City University of New York School of Law in 1996 and was admitted to the New York State Bar in 1997. She is the former president of the Family & Divorce Mediation Council of Greater New York, and served on its board from 2007-2014.

Karen Platt

Pryor Cashman, LLP

Karen has been actively involved in the litigation and negotiation of all types of family law cases, from divorces to custody matters and post-judgment litigation for 17 years; she is also a trained mediator and collaborative lawyer and is involved in the negotiation of prenuptial and postnuptial agreements. 

Prior to and during law school, Karen was a registered representative for a major financial company where she gained invaluable knowledge about the financial industry. 

Karen received her J.D., magna cum laude, from New York Law School, where she was an evening student and a Chief Notes and Comments Editor for the Journal of Human Rights. She received her B.S. in Psychology, With Distinction, from the Pennsylvania State University, and with Honors as a member of the University Scholar’s Program (now the Schreyer Honors College). 

Karen is a member of the New York City Bar Association, where she sits on the Matrimonial Law Committee and previously sat on the committee for Legal Education and Admission to the Bar. She is also a member of the New York State Bar Association where she sits on the Executive Committee of the Family Law Section and is co-chair of the Amicus Committee, the ABA Section of Family Law, where she is vice-chair of the Marital Property Committee and a member of the CLE committee, and the Women’s Bar Association.

Karen, her husband and their two sons are longtime residents of Hoboken, New Jersey. 

Gretchen O. Stertz

Jenner & Block LLP

Gretchen O. Stertz is an associate in the Litigation Department at Jenner & Block LLP. Ms. Stertz has litigated a variety of matters in state and federal court, and has also participated in both international and domestic arbitration matters. Her work has included disputes regarding unfair competition, copyright protection and licensing, and contract interpretation. She has also advised clients outside of the litigation context on a wide range of issues concerning intellectual property and contract disputes.

In addition to her commercial practice, Ms. Stertz is committed to pro bono work and maintains a robust docket of immigration, family law, and social justice-related matters. Her pro bono representations have included successfully obtaining Special Immigrant Juvenile Status and asylum for immigration clients through proceedings in state and federal forums in New York, as well as the representation of a parent seeking custody of her child in family court. 

Ms. Stertz also co-wrote an amicus brief to the Supreme Court of the United States in the matter of Whole Women’s Health v. Hellerstedt, in which several abortion clinics and physicians successfully challenged improper restrictions the State of Texas sought to impose on health clinics offering pregnancy termination services.

Ms. Stertz joined Jenner & Block after graduating from Columbia Law School in 2014, where she was a Harlan Fiske Stone Scholar and the Executive Editor of the Columbia Journal of Gender and Law. Before that, she completed her undergraduate studies at the University of Michigan, obtaining a Bachelor of Arts with a triple concentration in Linguistics, Spanish, and Political Science and earning High Distinction honors.

Kathrine Russell

Brooklyn Defender Services

Kathrine Russell is a Team Leader in the Immigrant Youth & Communities Project at Brooklyn Defender Services. Ms. Russell joined BDS in July 2014 to lead BDS’s Immigrant Youth Project, now the Immigrant Youth and Communities Project. 

BDS’s Immigrant Youth and Communities Project represents Brooklyn residents seeking a wide range of immigration benefits such as citizenship, lawful permanent residence, Special Immigrant Juvenile Status, special trafficking and victims’ visas, VAWA, TPS, and DACA. Ms. Russell also represents clients in their defense against deportation in non-detained deportation proceedings.

Prior to joining BDS, Ms. Russell spent two years as Pro Bono Coordinating Attorney at the New York office of Kids in Need of Defense (KIND), where she trained and mentored hundreds of attorneys working on cases of children and young people in immigration removal proceedings. Prior to KIND, Ms. Russell spent three years on the U.S.-Mexico border as a children’s attorney at the South Texas Pro Bono Asylum Representation Project (ProBAR) in Harlingen, TX, where she represented detained and non-detained children and young people in immigration court, applications to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, and state court dependency proceedings.

Ms. Russell received her J.D. from the University of Texas School of Law in 2008; after law school, she was an associate at Latham & Watkins in New York, where she worked on a variety of pro bono matters, including several cases of unaccompanied children.

During law school, Ms. Russell was a summer associate at Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld, a law clerk at Texas Community Building with Attorney Resources (Texas C-BAR), and an intake specialist at Texas RioGrande Legal Aid. Ms. Russell received her B.A. in Latin American Studies from Columbia University in 2005.

Matthew Menendez

Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law

Matthew Menendez is Counsel at New York University’s Brennan Center for Justice. Mr. Menendez serves as counsel for the Brennan Center’s Democracy Program, where his work focuses on fair and impartial courts. Prior to joining the Brennan Center, he was a litigator at Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP in New York City. Mr. Menendez attended New York University School of Law as a Dean’s Scholar and graduated in 2007, having served as notes editor of the NYU Environmental Law Journal

He received his Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics and Political Science from Swarthmore College in 1999. After graduating from Swarthmore, he worked in Washington, DC as an aide to Senator John D. Rockefeller IV, where he concentrated on issues including the judiciary, energy, and the environment.

Lindsay H. Tasher

Wyatt Partners

Lindsay H. Tasher is Managing Director at Wyatt Partners, where she focuses her time on attorney fee expert witness work, advising major corporations and law firms on the development of litigation budget programs and billing guidelines, and assessing and evaluating the reasonableness of attorney’s fees in complex litigation in federal and state court throughout the United States. Prior to her work with Wyatt, Lindsay was in private practice in two law firms – one in New York and one in New Jersey. She handled all types of civil litigation, with an emphasis on aviation mass-tort law and wrongful death/personal injury claims against airlines and their insurers. She also gained experience in product liability and asbestos defense litigation, as well as various commercial claims under both New York and Jersey state and federal law, including claims for breach of contract, fraud, negligence, and breach of fiduciary duty.

Lindsay received her undergraduate degree in English from Princeton University in 2000 and her law degree from The George Washington University Law School in 2005. She currently serves on the board of Cancer Hope Network as co-chair of the Marketing Committee and Golf Committees (and, for several years, served as General Counsel), a not-for-profit organization that provides free and one-on-one support to cancer patients and their families.

Lindsay also served several terms on the George Washington University Law School Alumni Association Executive Board of Directors, and currently serves as Chair of the Barrister’s Society.

Chris McDonough

McDonough & McDonough, LLP

Chris McDonough is an attorney who has spent his 25 plus year legal career practicing and educating exclusively in the field of professional ethics. Admitted in 1988 in New York and Colorado he was appointed to the position of Assistant Counsel to the Grievance Committee for the Tenth Judicial District in 1989. During his thirteen years with the Committee he prosecuted numerous attorney disciplinary proceedings, and briefed appeals to the Appellate Divisions, the Court of Appeals and the U.S. Supreme Court. He began the private practice of law in January 2003, with primary offices in Nassau County. He practices throughout New York State and has appeared before all four Appellate Divisions and the Court of Appeals. 

Mr. McDonough’s practice is focused on matters involving attorney and judicial disciplinary defense, character and fitness/admission matters, law school discipline, bar exam issues, and risk management. He is on retainer to a number of law firms, from solo practices to multiple lawyer law firms, to provide professional evaluation and guidance to assist clients in avoiding malpractice and misconduct situations. He has been certified as an expert on professional ethics and the practice of law by various courts throughout the state.

Mr. McDonough has taught as an Adjunct Professor of Ethics. He has authored numerous articles for various law reviews, law journals, and other publications. He is a regular CLE instructor for local law schools, local and regional bar associations, attorney groups, etc. He sits as an Executive Sub-Committee member for the Professional Ethics Committee of the Nassau County Bar Association and is a member of the New York State Bar Association. Select a print and blog articles are available at 

Mirna Martinez Santiago

Acacia Network

MIRNA MARTINEZ SANTIAGO is Deputy Counsel at one of the largest Latino not-for-profit organizations in the United States. Mirna has over 20 years of legal experience, handling a range of matters from torts to professional liability to insurance coverage to regulatory affairs.   

She also created the Girls Rule the Law program to introduce underprivileged and underrepresented middle and high school girls to the law. 

Mirna lectures on an array of topics – with a focus on diversity, inclusion, the elimination of bias and cultural competency – and has published on legal, as well as non-legal subjects.

Mirna has been featured in Latina Magazine and on NBC News speaking about the Afro-Latina experience. 

Robert J. Permutt

Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company

Robert J. Permutt currently serves as a Commercial Zone Practice Group Leader for the Trial Division of Nationwide Insurance. In this capacity, he oversees the Commercial Litigation being handled by Trial Division attorneys in four Northeastern states. Prior to his current role, Robert served as a Lead Assistant General Counsel, supervising a team of attorneys that provided legal support to the Personal Lines Casualty Claims Organization for the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic States. He also individually provided legal support to the New York Personal Lines Casualty Claims Organization. 

Robert graduated from the State University of New York at Albany in 1991, with a Bachelor’s Degree in History. Robert then attended Brooklyn Law School, obtaining a Juris Doctorate in 1996. 

Following his graduation from law school, Robert worked in the Orange County District Attorney’s Office for four years, ending his tenure in the office’s Violent Felony Unit. 

Upon leaving the District Attorney’s Office, Robert worked for two New York State insurance defense law firms, handling a varied case load including products liability, Labor Law, premises liability, municipal liability and automobile liability cases. 

Robert then joined the House Counsel operations for Progressive Insurance Company, handling large loss exposures throughout the Hudson Valley, New York City and Long Island. 

Robert is a frequent presenter at New York CLE programs having presented for the New York State Bar Association, the New York State Judicial Institute and the New York State Board of Law Examiners. 

Robert served on the Executive Committee of the Torts, Insurance and Compensation Law Section of the New York State Bar Association from 2013 to 2016. On January 29, 2014, the Section honored him with the Committee Chairman of the Year award.   

Samuel L. Tasher

Wyatt Partners

Samuel L. Tasher is Managing Director at Wyatt Partners. In this capacity, Samuel provides expert analysis and opinions on the reasonableness of attorneys’ fees in complex litigation around the world, and serves as an advisor to major corporations and law firms on the development and implementation of billing guidelines and other tools to manage their legal spend. Samuel also serves as the General Counsel of Cloud X Partners, LLC (a cloud technology company), for which he manages its legal matters and supervises its outside counsel for litigation and corporate governance. Samuel is also a frequent lecturer on legal ethics and attorneys’ fees around the country. Samuel received his A.B. (cum laude), J.D., and LL.M. from Duke University.

While at Duke, Samuel spent several years working for Duke University’s Athletics Department in various capacities, including the Compliance Office and Legal Department. Samuel spent a summer in the legal department of the New York Yankees. Samuel is licensed to practice law in New York, New Jersey, and the District of Columbia.

Michael W. Ross

Jenner & Block LLP

Michael W. Ross is a litigation partner in Jenner & Block LLP’s Complex Commercial Litigation and Securities Litigation groups. Mr. Ross has experience representing clients in business disputes across an array of substantive legal areas and industries. His experience includes disputes concerning complex commercial contracts, securities law, antitrust, and intellectual property, and his cases have spanned a range of industries, including financial services, media and manufacturing. Mr. Ross has counseled clients at all stages of the litigation process, from pre-litigation counseling through appeals, as well as arbitration and mediation; he also has significant experience in white collar and investigatory matters. In 2014, Mr. Ross was named a “Rising Star” by the New York Law Journal. In 2015 and 2016, Super Lawyers selected him as a Metro Area “Rising Star.”

Mr. Ross also has an active pro bono practice. For years he has represented clients in immigration matters, and he has successfully obtained relief from removal for numerous clients. His pro bono work has also included civil rights litigation and election law matters. He is co-chair of the firm’s Pro Bono Committee in New York and a member of the Pro Bono Executive Committee.

Before joining Jenner & Block, Mr. Ross served as a law clerk for the Honorable Nicholas G. Garaufis, U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York, and for the Honorable Julio M. Fuentes, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. He graduated magna cum laude (Order of the Coif) from the University of Pennsylvania Law School, where he served on the editorial board of the University of Pennsylvania Law Review. He also holds a degree from the University of Oxford (M.St., 2003), and earned his B.A. cum laude at Yale University in 2002.

Theodore Blumberg

Baritz & Colman LLP

An alumnus of the Temple University School of Law and the Bronx District Attorney’s Office, Ted Blumberg specializes in entertainment law and litigation, commercial litigation, employment law, and criminal defense. His book, The Seven Deadly Sins of Legal Writing, the genesis for which was legal writing seminars he taught with his colleague and mentor, Herald Price Fahringer, Esq., is now used in law schools throughout the United States.