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COGNISTAR Courses

View the programs by practice areas. When you click on the links below, you will be directed to the applicable site for the programs. Our offerings include:


Employment Law Essentials

 

Whether you are a general practitioner, in-house counsel, or a full-time employment lawyer, this program will provide you with necessary information for your practice. The course provides an in-depth view of the latest developments in core areas of employment law that are rife with traps for the unwary lawyer. Among the topics discussed are parental and medical leaves; minimum wage and overtime rules; and whistleblowing and retaliation. The presenters, some of the New York’s top employment law practitioners, will give you essential tips about how to handle issues that should not be ignored.

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Answers to Everyday Ethical Questions

 

This course addresses how the Rules of Professional Conduct and related decisions, opinions and commentary are applied to concrete situations that confront lawyers in everyday practice. Through the use of ethical hypotheticals the panel discusses a series of ethical conundrums taking into consideration recent case law, ethics opinions, and other developments concerning a range of ethical situations and provide guidance as to how to deal with these situations that can arise in the lawyer's everyday practice. 

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 Ethics for Litigators

 

The presenters of the course examine a variety of issues involving ethics and professional responsibility in the context of a civil litigation practice. An experienced panel of attorneys and Judges discuss recent developments in the law regarding lawyer's ethical considerations, real life tips and strategies, recent disciplinary proceedings, and the ethical issues relating to public interest and/or government attorneys. Other topics addressed include the specific ethical considerations that affect public interest attorneys, the ethical implications of performing investigatory work in other jurisdictions, and a lawyer’s ethical obligations to tell his/her client no, even if it means losing the business.  

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How to Read Financial Statements

 

Understanding how to read financial statements will help you evaluate the financial health of a company, make better business and investing decisions, and help you identify current and potential problems that can save your clients time and money. When properly prepared, financial statements not only tell you a company’s financial history, but provide insight to where a company is going.

The presenters of this course discuss many aspects of the financial statement process including the quality and reliability of financial statements based upon the opinion issued; the importance of the statement of cash flows; balance sheet components; transactions required to be recorded versus disclosed; tax reporting in financial statements and the differences compared to IRS compliance; and looking at valuations and forecasting and whether earnings affect the results. They step through various examples to reinforce the importance of analyzing financial statement ratios when understanding the financial health of a company. 

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 Navigating Issues for Investment Bankers

The presenters of this course look at the increased scrutiny of investment bankers and the rising allegations of aiding and abetting claims against financial advisors. Among the topics discussed are the elements of an aiding and abetting breach of duty and some case law that surrounds these claims.  In addition, the presenters look at the way that companies are valued and provide strategic tips for avoiding the possibility of an aiding and abetting allegation.

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Industry Perspectives: Financial Services, Technology, Pharma, etc.

This course takes an in-depth look at significant legal and business issues arising in mergers and acquisitions, as they pertain to several different industries including the financial services sector, technology, and pharmaceuticals.

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 Copyright Basics

This program covers the basics of copyright law and how to identify and address copyright issues. The presenters provide a thorough discussion about the nature, scope and duration of copyright protection; ownership and transfer of a copyright, including licensing and assignment; and the litigation process, including the standards for infringement, the availability of injunctive and monetary recovery, and available defenses to claims of copyright infringement, including fair use. This program is designed to give you a head start in understanding copyright law, whether you are a newly admitted attorney or a seasoned veteran.   

 

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Legal Protection for New Product Designs: From Mobile Technologies to Fashion

 

Innovative design is essential to ease of use, visual appeal, and effective branding of new products in a wide range of industries, but it has also been a challenge for the industries as well. This program will examine the legal protections that are available for product designs, including design patent, copyright and trade dress protection. The presenters discuss current trends and developments in design patent protection and litigation, including lessons learned from Apple v. Samsung. They provide insight as to how you can emulate successful design protection strategies that have been used in the smartphone wars, and by the automotive and fashion industries, among others.  

 

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Ethical Issues in the Practice of Real Estate: What Every Attorney Must Know When Handling a Transaction 

A vast majority of attorneys, whether in a small or large firm, will be involved in a real estate transaction in the course of their practice. There are a great many ethical pitfalls that one needs to keep in mind when handling a real estate transaction; some of which are more obvious and others are far more difficult to recognize.

The presenters of this course provide an in-depth examination of the day-to-day ethical issues that confront real estate attorneys and the general practitioner. Special attention is given to conflicts of interest, the holding of escrow monies, and title issues.

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Insurance Laws in Bankruptcy Issues

Insurance issues are arising more frequently in bankruptcy proceedings. A debtor’s insurance policies (and the proceeds thereof) often represent the debtor’s most valuable asset. As bankruptcy and insurance law intersect, and sometimes collide, the road can be bumpy. This program offers a roadmap to policyholders, estate creditors, insurance companies and other interested parties who seek to preserve or assert various rights.

Our panelists, comprised of bankruptcy and insurance counsel, as well as industry professionals, will discuss various topics, including: policies/proceeds as "property of the estate" with respect to liability, D&O and E&O policies; bankruptcy proceedings that impact insurance (lift-stay applications; third-party releases; "first day" orders); standing of insurance companies and co-insured rights; the treatment of deductibles/ SIR’s and premium obligations; the enforcement and applicability of certain coverage exclusions; and the use of insurance policies as security interests by third-parties.

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Understanding Impasse in Negotiation and Mediation: How to Prevent, Avoid, and Break Deadlock

Impasse is the point when negotiation breaks down and the parties head for the door, and without some intervention or course change, the deal is dead, the litigation continues, and the negotiation is over. This presenter of this course provides various techniques for recognizing the warning signs of an impending impasse so that minor impediments do not explode into major roadblocks. In addition, you will learn how to diagnose the cause of an impasses which will allow you to choose from among various techniques to resurrect the relationship, continue the negotiation, and reach resolution.

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Taking and Defending Depositions: Strategic Tips and Techniques

 

Litigators know that the deposition is a crucial opportunity to learn about an adversary’s case, a valuable opportunity for discovery for your side of the case, and a way to gain information to use in a potential summary judgment motion or at trial. This course provides insightful tips on how to maximize your effectiveness at taking and defending a deposition. The panelists provide you with unique insights, including, but not limited to, practice tips, ethical issues, and the strategic considerations behind common deposition techniques.

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 Bankruptcy & Insolvency: A Tax Perspective

This course provides an in-depth look at IRS guidance as it pertains to bankruptcy issues, with particular attention to the effective use of NOLs and § 382 limitations; planning for COD; and debt exchange issues.

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Taxable Acquisition Transactions

The Internal Revenue Code has many rules that govern the status of transactions and determine whether or not an acquisition is taxable. This panel features experts in taxable acquisitions discussing how various sections of the Code impact tax strategy; particularly § 336 and § 338.

They're joined by IRS Associate Chief Counsel William Alexander, who provides context for the Codes. The lively discussion centers around the evolution of Code interpretation, the future of § 336(e), and strategies, such as "busting the B." Additional statutes discussed include § 304, § 318, § 331, § 332, § 351 and others.

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Selected Tax Accounting Issues in Mergers and Acquisitions

The presenters of this course take an in-depth look at the latest developments in M&A tax accounting. The presentation reviews Private Letters Rulings, Generic Legal Advice Memoranda, Revenue Procedures, and Bright-Line-Date Rules.

Additional topics include Chief Counsel Advice Memoranda, Go-Shop provisions, Double Dummy transactions, and partially taxable agreements.

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Securities, Arbitration, and Remediation

Recent rule changes and events in financial marketplaces have brought fundamental changes to securities arbitration and mediation. A premier panel of experienced practitioners, including the President of FINRA Dispute Resolution, examines rule changes, recent decisions, and future developments. The panel provides practical suggestions and tested advice on prosecuting and defending securities arbitrations and mediations.

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Business Formations for Small & Emerging Companies

 

Small and emerging business owners must effectively manage the legal aspects of running a business. This course stresses the need for startup operations as well as established small businesses to consult with legal professionals to ensure successful completion of corporate formation, filings and other statutory regulations, as well as legal matters that require knowledge of employment and independent contracting.

The presenters thoroughly cover the New York Articles of Business Corporate Law and Limited Liability Company Law that must be adhered to when starting or running a business, as well as addressing various New York ethics rules that should be heeded when dealing with clients in this area. Whether a business is just starting out or has been operating for years, corporate legal guidance is a necessity in today's small business community.

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Intermediate Concepts in Drafting Contracts

 

For any practitioner who is wishing to further develop their legal drafting skills, this course is a must. Designed to convey fundamental, but often unconsidered, principles, this course will assist both newly admitted and seasoned attorneys with drafting, analyzing, and interpreting contracts. Unlike many other contract-drafting courses, this program focuses on the manner in which concepts are expressed in a contract, rather than the substance of any provision or contract in particular.

The presenter of this course covers a myriad of topics, including a recap of basic concepts; conditional language; language of exception and subordination; the concept of "deemed"; references to time; ambiguities associated with "and", "or", and "and/or"; drafting formulas; attachments to contracts; and legal archaisms, while providing excellent examples to support each topic presented.

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The "How-To" of Successful Motion Practice

The preparation and filing of motions before the court can be a very hard task to do succesfully. In this course, the panel of experts discusses not only the preparation and filing of motions, but they also provide extremely useful information on best practices on behalf of clients, use of the court’s time, and professionalism. The discussion includes observations on how attorneys can better-utilize their time to focus on areas of particular interest to the court. Topics include: Temporary Restraining Orders, Motions to Dismiss, Discovery Motions, Motions to Compel and Motions for Summary Judgment. The panel covers the spectrum of motions from the perspective of the lawyers preparing them, and the judges who hear them.

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Corporate Compliance: Best Practices and Recent Developments

 

Compliance and ethics programs should no longer be considered optional, as they are an important aspect of legal risk management. Government standards on compliance programs have become increasingly stringent and adhering to the standards means having a robust Compliance and Ethics program in place. A panel of esteemed compliance experts examine different aspects of Compliance and Ethics programs and give insightful guidance on how to build a program that will serve the needs of your corporate clients. No matter the size of the company, paying careful attention to corporate compliance and ethics is critical.

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 Brief Writing 101

 

Crafting a first-class brief can be a rather tricky task, but following a step-by-step approach, as presented by a seasoned litigator with extensive experience in brief writing, will have you on your way to writing that perfect, and winning, brief. This unique program offers proven research and drafting tips, including valuable techniques that will help you prepare and polish your document. 

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Ethics & Professionalism: Best Practices for Attorneys

This course features several of the New York City Bar Association's most distinguished ethics experts discussing real-world challenges that are portrayed in video vignettes. Topics include the use of social media; expectations of candor; billable hours; reuse of forms and documents; changing law firms; and honesty in negotiations. The panel takes a real-world look at firms that expect 3,000 hours of billing, retaining clients as you change law firms, and abuses in timekeeping.

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 Employment and Severance Agreements

Tax and employment law often come into play in the area of employment and separation agreements. In the context of employment contracts, ERISA attorneys may encounter unfamiliar employment issues, and employment lawyers may be faced with ERISA concepts that are outside of their regular practice. The presenters of this course provide a thorough overview of the various ERISA, tax and employment law considerations that are commonly associated with employment and severance agreements, giving practical advise for the attorney whose day-to-day expertise does not span all of these areas.

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Wall Street and the FCPA: Private Equity, Mergers, Acquisitions, Joint Ventures and other Business Combinations

This presentation offers insights into recent FCPA actions and strategies being employed by corporations to manage exposure before, during, and after M&A transactions subject to FCPA oversight. Topics include due diligence, developing a risk profile, negotiating diligence into purchase agreements, and acquirer liability. Special attention is paid to A Resource Guide to the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, which was released jointly by the U.S. DOJ and U.S. SEC in November, 2012. The panel also concentrates on lessons learned from recent actions and declinations.

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Representing Individuals in FCPA Civil and Criminal Investigations and Litigation

 

The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act ("FCPA") has become one of the focal points of the Securities Exchange Commission's and the Department of Justice's enforcement programs. Enforcement actions, civil and criminal, are continuing at pace and many times the agencies are going after individuals instead of the Company. The speakers on this panel discuss best practices to use when counseling an individual who has become the target of these investigations and possible litigations.

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Information Security: Establishing Procedures and Preventing Security Incidents

Data is an indispensable and invaluable part of today’s business environment, but there are significant security risks that must be managed. This program will examine information security risks, discuss best practices, analyze the current regulatory landscape and offer key insights on processes to help manage their environments and create a strong information security program.

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