2023 Hartford Legal Education Conference

Tuesday, May 2, 2023 | 8:30AM - 5:30PM EST

Hartford Marriott Downtown | 200 Columbus Blvd, Hartford, CT 06103

Click here to view a map of the location

Hartford 1000x1000 v2-min

Gordon & Rees attorneys and distinguished guest speakers will present a full day of stimulating and timely legal education on Tuesday, May 2 focusing on cutting-edge trends, case law and recent verdicts. Attendees will be able to earn up to 5 CLE & CE credits, including 1.0 ethics credit and 1.0 Diversity, Inclusion & Elimination of Bias credit. The conference concludes with a cocktail reception, providing an additional opportunity for attendees to interact and engage with fellow attendees.

CLE credit will be provided in Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Florida, and California. CE credit will be provided in New York, Texas, and Florida.

Event Program

8:30 - 9:30 AM

Registration and Breakfast
Please register and join us for a light breakfast.

9:30 - 10:30 AM

General Session: Hashtag Ethics: Navigating Social Media Legal Ethics in 2023
This session will focus on the increasing number of ethical issues, challenges, risks, and benefits that arise from the intersection of social media and legal disputes in 2023, and will provide an insightful exploration into the problems and solutions in this arena. The topics covered will include, among others: the use of social media—under false pretexts or otherwise—to gather information regarding parties, witnesses and jurors; the attorney-client privilege and social media; ethical boundaries for using electronic means to “spy” on the opposing side; how social media can impact your litigation; using social media to communicate with class members; drafting an employee social media policy; and admissibility of social media evidence. The session will also cover recent federal guidance and ethics opinions on each of these important issues.

  • Dion Cominos / Partner, GRSM
  • Linda Moroney / Partner, GRSM
  • 10:40 - 11:40 AM

    Employment – Significant Changes and Developments in Employment Litigation for 2023
    During this panel presentation, we will discuss the most significant changes and developments in employment law in 2023 and recap the biggest changes from 2022 and years prior since the pandemic began. Gordon & Rees’ top employment attorneys will provide innovative advice so that well-informed employment decisions can be made to avoid the expense and uncertainty of litigation. We will also address new litigation trends identified in employment law and provide insightful advice on how to develop best practices to avoid liability.

  • Debra Ellwood Meppen / Partner, GRSM
  • Brandon Saxon / Partner, GRSM
  • Heidi Darling / Claims Manager, Beazley
  • Andrea Moffitt / Claim Counsel, Travelers
  • Insurance – Hot Topics in Insurance Coverage Law
    This panel presentation will educate insurance claims professionals, in-house insurance counsel, defense counsel and coverage counsel about hot topics in insurance coverage law, including COVID-19 business interruption coverage, coverage for TCPA claims, and opioid litigation coverage.

  • Daniel Feinberg / Partner, GRSM
  • Matthew Foy / Partner, GRSM
  • Kelly Lippincott / Partner, GRSM
  • Mass Tort and Catastrophic Injury - Defending Mass Torts and Products Liability Lawsuits
    This panel presentation will educate insurance claims professionals handling mass tort and products liability claims on issues applicable to the defense of product-related claims. The course will cover two main topics: science in the courtroom; and updates in the MDL World: the talc litigation, opioid litigation, and baby formula litigation.

  • Nancy Erfle / Partner, GRSM
  • Ann Thornton Field / Partner, GRSM
  • John Robinson / Partner, GRSM
  • Steve Zakrzewski / Partner, GRSM
  • ERISA – Employee Benefit Litigation: What Claims Professionals Need to Know about ERISA Litigation and Why it is Important
    Litigation involving claims for employee benefits can be found in many lawsuits brought by employees. In this session we will provide an overview of the federal laws governing employee benefit claims, the various types of claims that may be preempted by ERISA, and discuss the pros and cons of litigating an ERISA claim.

  • Ronald Alberts / Partner, GRSM
  • Courtney Hill / Partner, GRSM
  • 11:45 AM - 12:45 PM


    1:00 - 2:00 PM

    Cybersecurity – Privacy Gets Personal: Personal Liability for Senior Executives after In re Drizly
    The speakers in this panel will provide an overview of the rapidly-changing legal landscape with respect to privacy and cybersecurity laws focusing on the FTC’s extraordinary ruling in In re Drizly where the Chief Executive Officer was held personally liable not merely at his current company, but at any company he leads thereafter if they engage in certain types of data driven activities. The speakers will also discuss various other developments in state, federal, and global privacy including the new EU-US Data Privacy Framework, several significant changes in California, and the introduction of a new comprehensive privacy law in India, one of the world’s largest economies and the location of captive offshore services divisions for many American companies.

  • Richard Green / Partner, GRSM
  • Misty Marris / Partner, GRSM
  • Joseph Salvo / Partner, GRSM
  • Construction – The Future is Now: Managing Construction Risks and Claims in the Age of Technology
    Over the last several years, the construction industry has launched into the age of technology. For an industry that has been called a dinosaur, the change has been tremendous – with now upwards of 2,100 start-up companies alone bringing new technology to the industry. From the use of virtual reality (“VR”), to building information systems (“BIM”), robotics, and pre-fabrication/modular technology, change is abounding across the industry. With these changes bring new risks and claims that need to be effectively evaluated and managed. These issues impact not only the technology but also the delivery methods and construction methods including the increase in modular and off-site construction. The industry is also continuing to grapple with the best venue for litigating construction-related disputes. The changes in technology have also grown in the industry specifically dealing with Electronically Stored Information (“ESI”) and the legal and practical implications in litigation of construction cases where the documents and trial exhibits can number in the hundreds of thousands of documents. This panel will discuss these changes and how to effectively manage the risk for construction companies, insurers, and attorneys alike.

  • Lisa Cappelluti / Partner, GRSM
  • Allen Estes / Partner, GRSM
  • Angela Richie / Partner, GRSM
  • Environmental & Toxic Tort – Environmental & Toxic Tort Update: Review of Key Issues and Cases
    This panel will educate insurance claims professionals and general counsel handling toxic tort and environmental claims including talc, Prop 65, PFAS/PFOS, benzene, and asbestos. The panelists will explore national trends in filings and verdicts. Topics include the status of key legal issues and court rulings for environmental and toxic tort cases; strategies to identify “new” toxic tort and environmental claims; and strategies to resolve toxic tort cases where causation is hotly contested.

  • Erik DiMarco / Partner, GRSM
  • Stephanie Jones / Partner, GRSM
  • Brian Ledger / Partner, GRSM
  • Michael Pietrykowski / Partner, GRSM
  • Virginia Squitieri / Partner, GRSM
  • 2:10 - 3:10 PM

    Health Care – Health Care Data Breaches Triggering OCR Investigations and Penalty Exposure
    This panel presentation will discuss developments in data breaches in the health care industry, with a particular focus on how to prevent breaches and how to handle a breach when one occurs. Panelists will use real-world claim examples to illustrate the lessons learned in such investigations.

  • Brian Middlebrook / Partner, GRSM
  • Heather Gwinn Pabon / Partner, GRSM
  • Thomas Quinn / Partner, GRSM
  • Employment – Getting to the Finish Line as a Winner: Tools for Successful Case Resolution in 2023
    Employers finding themselves in litigation concerning harassment, discrimination or retaliation in the workplace have a number of decisions to make in defending those claims. This panel of experienced trial litigators will discuss how understanding that litigation is not a transaction can help shape winning strategies for the defense.

  • Laura De Santos / Partner, GRSM (Moderator)
  • Christopher Cato / Partner, GRSM
  • Mercedes Colwin / Partner, GRSM
  • Michael Laurenson / Partner, GRSM
  • Professional Liability – Game of Phones: An Interactive Discussion about the Increasing Risks of Professional Liability Claims
    During this interactive session, our panelists will address the fundamental elements of professional liability claims as applied in recent cases that have set trends that will affect the industry for years. We will take a magnifying glass to what went wrong in cases that had the biggest impact and provide guidance to avoid missteps and litigation landmines.

  • Bob Bragalone / Partner, GRSM
  • John Palmeri / Partner, GRSM
  • Robin Symons / Partner, GRSM
  • 3:20 - 4:20 PM

    General Session: Through the Looking Glass: Ethics & the Elimination of Bias in Legal Representation
    This session will educate attorneys, claims professionals, in house counsel, and human resource managers regarding the ethical pitfalls of unconscious bias in the legal profession, which can lead to harmful discriminatory behavior towards those marginalized and to society at large. We will examine ways to eliminate implicit bias, and to increase diversity and inclusion, in order to better advocate for clients and insureds in the litigation process in accord with the Rules of Professional Conduct (“RPC”) that make it clear that lawyers are “public citizens having special responsibility for the quality of justice.”

  • Franz Hardy / Partner, GRSM
  • Elizabeth Lorell / Partner, GRSM
  • Peter Siachos / Partner, GRSM
  • 4:20 - 5:30 PM

    Cocktail Reception

    Questions? Please Contact:

    Joelle Underwood