Speakers / Authors:
Katharine H. Parker
Proskauer Rose LLP
Katharine H. Parker is a partner in the Labor and Employment Law Department of Proskauer Rose LLP, and a co-head of the Employment Law Counseling and Government Relations and Contract Compliance Practice Groups. She has extensive experience litigating employment and benefits disputes of all types. Her clients regularly call on her to provide advice on various laws affecting the workplace, and she has counseled numerous companies in the development of Affirmative Action Plans, the planning and execution of reductions-in-force, and a wide range of other workplace issues.
Katharine has conducted management training with regard to EEO and anti-harassment laws, as well as hiring, evaluating, and terminating employees, and has taught classes on glass ceiling issues for Cornell University's extension program and on employment law at the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law. Katharine is active in the New York City Bar Association and recently completed her term as Chair of the Labor and Employment Committee.
Katharine earned her bachelor's degree, cum laude, from Duke University, and her law degree from Fordham Law School, cum laude.
Ritz Clark & Ben-Asher LLP
Susan Ritz is a partner in Ritz Clark & Ben-Asher LLP. She handles all forms of employment-related matters for employees and partners, including advice regarding rights, duties and entitlement to benefits; negotiation of contracts, severance agreements and partnership disputes; and mediations, administrative proceedings, arbitrations and lawsuits, with emphasis on unlawful harassment, retaliation and employment discrimination on the basis of race, sex, national origin, age, disability, religion, marital status, sexual orientation and other protected classes.
Ms. Ritz conducts impartial internal investigations on behalf of employers into alleged discriminatory/harassing conduct and advises non-profits and small employers on employment related issues, including representing them in severance negotiations. She offers harassment and discrimination prevention training to management and employees, as well.
Ms. Ritz graduated cum laude from New York University School of Law in 1983, where she was a Root-Tilden Scholar and a member of the Order of the Coif. She graduated from Brown University in 1978 with an Honors B.A. in Ethics and Political Philosophy.
Margaret L. Watson
McElroy, Deutsch, Mulvaney & Carpenter, LLP
Margaret L. Watson is Of Counsel to McElroy, Deutsch, Mulvaney & Carpenter, LLP in the firm’s Labor and Employment practice group in the New York office. Ms. Watson has more than 20 years litigation experience in employment law, primarily in the areas of discrimination and retaliation claims. She is also well versed in strategic initiatives around diversity in the workplace, affirmative action plans and EEO-1 reporting obligations.
Prior to joining the firm Ms. Watson was with Merrill Lynch & Co., Inc. where she served as a Director and Senior Counsel within the Office of General Counsel’s Employment Law Group overseeing employment law litigation and most recently as the Corporate Ombudsman for Merrill’s Global Wealth Management (GWM) business as well as the Head of GWM’s Strategic Initiatives and Best Practices group within the Office of Diversity, charged with identifying ways to improve GWM’s diversity programs.
She was formerly a partner with the firm of Vladeck, Waldman, Elias & Engelhard, P.C., where she represented employees as plaintiffs in discrimination matterst. She has served as trial counsel in both federal and state courts, as well as in arbitrations before FINRA (formerly NYSE and NASD), AAA and JAMS, and agency actions, including EEOC, NYSDHR, NYCCHR, OSHA and DOL. She is a trained mediator and has served as a trained neutral.
Ms. Watson is a graduate of the Harvard Law School, cum laude, and of Swarthmore College, where she was elected to Phi Beta Kappa. Ms. Watson began her career as a law clerk to the Honorable Whitman Knapp in the Southern District of New York. She is a member of the Bar of the State of New York and is admitted to practice before the United States District Courts for the Southern and Eastern Districts of New York.
Melissa S. Woods
Meyer, Suozzi, English & Klein, P.C.
Melissa S. Woods is Of Counsel to Meyer, Suozzi, English & Klein, P.C., and is part of the Labor and Employment Law practice group. Ms. Woods represents unions and individual members in all aspects federal and state litigation, arbitrations and administrative hearings.
Prior to joining the firm in 2008, Ms. Woods served as a Section Chief in the Civil Rights Bureau of the New York State Office of the Attorney General (“OAG”) where she enforced federal, state and local antidiscrimination laws in a variety of areas including employment.
Before joining the OAG, Ms. Woods was an Assistant Counsel at the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund, Inc. for over eight years. There she litigated more than a dozen complex class action and individual lawsuits around the country—at the trial and appellate levels—in the areas of affirmative action, school desegregation, fair housing, and employment discrimination.
Ms. Woods has extensive experience speaking to lawyers, academics and students on a variety of issues including labor and employment law, affirmative action and higher education. She has been a presenter or lecturer for the American Bar Association, New York City Bar Association, the Lawyers Coordinating Committee of the AFL-CIO, Yale Law School, Columbia University Law School, University of Pennsylvania Law School, Rutgers University School of Law, CUNY School of Law, St. John’s University School of Law, Wesleyan University, the Rainbow/PUSH Coalition, the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, and the Institute for Racial and Environmental Law of Rio de Janeiro.
She received her B.A. in 1994 from Wesleyan University, and her J.D. from George Washington University School of Law in 1998.
Weil Gotshal & Manges, LLP
Aryeh Zuber is an Associate in the Employment Litigation Practice Group of Weil Gotshal & Manges, LLP. He handles all forms of employment-related matters for employers and management, including advising on best employment practices and compliance, severance agreements and mergers and acquisitions, and represents clients in administrative proceedings, arbitrations and lawsuits, with an emphasis on discrimination and wage and hour claims.
Mr. Zuber has co-authored several client memos on employment issues and legislation and has coauthored treatise chapters on employment law developments, including in Lindemann & Kadue,Workplace Harassment Law (BNA 2012) and Public Company Deskbook: Sarbanes-Oxley and Federal Governance Requirements (PLI 2012).
Mr. Zuber serves as the Vice Chairman of the Young Lawyers Division of the UJA Federation of New York. He graduated from the University of Pennsylvania Law School in 2006, where he was an Associate and Comment Editor on the University of Pennsylvania Labor and Employment Journal. He graduated from Yeshiva Shaar Hatorah in 2003 with Honors B.T.L. in Talmudic Law.