NYCLA Northeast Business Law Center



14 Vesey Street, New York, NY 10007



CONTACT: Anita Aboulafia (212) 267-6646, ext. 225,


NYCLA Northeast Business Law Center


August 4, 2006New York, NY – The New York County Lawyers’ Association’s (NYCLA) Northeast Business Law Center was created two years ago, bringing together leaders of the bench and bar, law professors and non-lawyer community leaders to promote ethics, consider business law issues and provide sophisticated business law CLE to the Northeast legal community. The Center is co-administered by Arthur Norman Field, a past president of NYCLA, retired partner at Shearman & Sterling LLP and member of Field Consulting Services, LLC, and Professor Lawrence A. Hamermesh, Chair of the Corporate Law Institute at Delaware Widener University School of Law.


The Center’s Advisory Board has two co-chairs – Hon. Myron Steele, Chief Justice of Delaware, and Robert Smith, Associate Justice of the New York Court of Appeals. Among the Advisory Board’s 60 members are state and federal judges at the trial and appellate levels in New York and Delaware, including the Second and Third Circuits, as well as a judge of the International Trade Court. In addition, Board members include senior partners of major Delaware and New York City firms, as well as firms in Boston and Atlanta. Three former and future Chairs of the ABA Section of Business Law also serve on the Board.


Advisory Board Meetings

Among the topics discussed at the Center’s Advisory Board meetings have been: fiduciary duty, the availability of malpractice D&O and Products Liability Insurance and the Disney case (2005), in which the actions of the directors of The Walt Disney Company were upheld (in the awarding of Hollywood super agent Michael S. Ovitz a $140 million severance package).


At a recent Board meeting held in Wilmington, Delaware, there was a lively discussion on the liability and insurance implications of corporate scandals, which, together with other liability cases such as mass torts, jeopardize the very existence of insurance for companies and their directors and professionals. Many insurers are simply deciding not to write new policies and others are writing them only at substantially increased premiums. The assumption that coverage will be available at affordable rates going forward may no longer be justified, substantially altering the dynamics of corporate litigation and even of business itself.


Speaking at the Spring ’06 Board meeting was fellow Board member Jeffrey M. Smith, co-author (with Ron Mallen) of the five-volume West treatise Legal Malpractice (2006), which is the only treatise on this subject. Mr. Smith is a principal shareholder in the Atlanta firm of Greenberg Traurig, LLP, where his practice emphasizes professional liability litigation and prevention for attorneys, accountants as well as officers and directors.


New York County Lawyers’ Association

The New York County Lawyers’ Association ( was founded in 1908 as the first major bar association in the country that admitted members without regard to race, ethnicity, religion or gender. Since its inception, it has pioneered some of the most far-reaching and tangible reforms in American jurisprudence and has continuously played an active role in legal developments and public policy.


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