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James Altman has successfully tried cases and arbitrations and argued appeals in a wide variety of civil cases across the country.  In addition to general commercial matters, Mr. Altman has concentrated a substantial portion of his time on issues of professional liability and legal ethics and the representation of foreign entities and individuals in domestic litigation.

Civic Involvement & Honors

    • Brooklyn Law School – Adjunct Professor of Law, 1996-1998
    • Member of the Departmental Disciplinary Committee of the First Judicial Department, January 1, 2009 - December 31, 2014
    • Arbitrator on the Commercial Panel of the American Arbitration Association, November 2009 to date
    • Mediator on the Mediation Panel appointed by the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, September 2011 to date
    • Pro bono representation in political asylum cases of persons from Nepal, Tibet, Iran, and Iraq
    • Arbitrator on the Commercial Panel of the American Arbitration Association, November 2009 to date
    • Mediator on the Mediation Panel appointed by the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, September 2011 to date
    • Pro bono representation in political asylum cases of persons from Nepal, Tibet, Iran, and Iraq
    • Pro bono representation in political asylum cases of persons from Nepal, Tibet, Iran, and Iraq
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Professional Affiliations

    • New York State Bar Association – Committee on Professional Ethics, 1999- 2007, 2014-2016; Chair, Committee on Attorney Professionalism, 2002-2008, Member, Committee on Attorney Professionalism, 1994-2016; Special Committee to Review Mandatory CLE, 1998-2005
    • The Association of the Bar of the City of New York – Committee on Professional and Judicial Ethics, 1994-1997
    • American Bar Association – Committee on Labor and Employment Law; Labor and Antitrust Law Subcommittee, Co-chairman, 1985-1988
    • The Association of the Bar of the City of New York – Committee on Professional and Judicial Ethics, 1994-1997
    • American Bar Association – Committee on Labor and Employment Law; Labor and Antitrust Law Subcommittee, Co-chairman, 1985-1988
    • American Bar Association – Committee on Labor and Employment Law; Labor and Antitrust Law Subcommittee, Co-chairman, 1985-1988
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Representative Experience

  • Successful defense of Russian businessman in multi-million dollar garnishment special proceeding, Gliklad v. Deripaska, 2017 N.Y. Misc. LEXIS 1499 (Sup. Ct. N.Y. Co. April 25, 2017)
  • Successful defense of a subordinate mezzanine lender of the Las Vegas Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in lawsuits to enjoin its UCC foreclosure by its borrowers, the mortgage lender and a senior mezzanine lender, Brookfield Financial, LLC v. NRFC HRH Holdings, LLC, Index No. 650284/2011 (Sup. Ct. N.Y. Co. 2011), and HRHH Gaming Junior Mezz, LLC. v. NRFC HRH Holdings, LLC, Index No. 650273/11 (Sup. Ct. N.Y. Co. 2011);
  • Successful representation of an adult son in a family dispute about an elderly matriarch's competency as to an estate worth hundreds of millions of dollars, Dorothy D. Park, et al. v. a Fortune 50 financial services company, et al., Index No. 2010-1030, Adelaide Park Gomer v. Roy H. Park, Jr., Index No. 2010-1041, and In re Adelaide Park Gomer, Index No. 2010-1075 (Tomkins Co. 2010);
  • Successful defense of a lender against tort and employment contract claims asserted in a jury trial by the owners of a health care company, Lawrence M. Buchwalter, et al. v. Bridge Healthcare Finance, LLC, et. al., No. BER-L-6618-07 (Bergen Co. 2010);
  • Successful representation of an English law firm in an adversary proceeding brought by a Chapter 7 bankruptcy trustee to void and recover fraudulent transfers, In re Alphastar Ins. Group, Ltd., Adv. Pro. No. 06-01524 (SMB) (Bankr.S.D.N.Y.);
  • Obtained $32.5 million in settlement from corporate officers and directors of a bankrupt Bermuda company based upon breaches of fiduciary duty and bankruptcy law, In re Asia Global Crossing, No. 02 B 15749 (SMB), et seq., (Bankr.S.D.N.Y.);
  • Dismissal of complaint against foreign bank corporation under the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act, Allstate Ins. Co. v. Banco Do Estado Rio Grande Do Sul, 2004 WL 1398437 (S.D.N.Y. 2004);
  • Confirmation and enforcement of international arbitration on behalf of Islamic foreign investment vehicle against foreign corporation, see Westbury Holdings Inc. v. MFAI (Jersey) Ltd, et al., Index No. 600418/03 (S.Ct.N.Y.Co.);
  • Representation of corporation in accounting malpractice and fraud claim against Big 5 accounting firm, In re Cendent Corporation Securities Litigation, 139 F. Supp.2d 585 (D.N.J. 2001);
  • Successful defense of a municipality against a regulatory takings challenge to a zoning ordinance, Bonnie Briar Syndicate, Inc., v. Town of Mamaronek, 699 N.Y.S.2d 721 (Ct. App. 1999);
  • Judgment for $15 million against conspirators in fraudulent investment scheme, see Codapro Corp. v. Wilson, et al.,1997 F.Supp. 322 (E.D.N.Y. 1998); Cleft-of-the-Rock Foundation v. Wilson, 992 F.Supp. 574 (E.D.N.Y. 1998);
  • Obtain pre-judgment attachment of New York bank account of Venezuelan real estate developer as security for payment in connection with Venezuelan litigation, Carlos Godoy, C.A. v. Ciudad Comercial Porlamar, C.C.P., C.A., Index No. 604768/98 (S.Ct.N.Y.Co.);
  • Victory in a three-week, $90 million RICO jury trial and the subsequent appeal, see Riverwoods Chappaqua Corp. v. Marine Midland Bank, 30 F.3d 339 (2d Cir.1994);
  • Successful defense of corporate officer in stockholder derivative suit, In re American Express Co. Shareholder Litigation, 840 F. Supp. 180 (S.D.N.Y. 1993);
  • An appellate victory over the Federal Election Commission in FEC v. Sailors’ Union of the Pacific, 828 F.2d 502 (9th Cir. 1987).

Mr. Altman has developed both a broad and deep understanding about the professional obligations of lawyers as the result of his chairmanship of the New York State Bar Association’s Committee on Attorney Professionalism, his active tenure on the professional ethics committees of that Association and of the City Bar, his teaching as an adjunct professor at the Brooklyn Law School, and his regular columns on ethics in the New York Law Journal.  He has represented or sued lawyers in malpractice cases, fraud cases, RICO actions, ERISA actions, sanction cases, professional disciplinary proceedings, and disqualification motions. He is often consulted by lawyers for his ethical advice and opinions about lawyers’ professional obligations and liabilities and has served as an expert witness on such issues.

Mr. Altman also has experience in representing foreign entities, such as banks, private equity funds, airlines and other corporations, sued or suing in this country.  He has represented such entities in pre-judgment attachment proceedings, international arbitrations, post-arbitration enforcement proceedings, and commercial lawsuits.  He has defended foreign entities and individuals using attacks on personal and quasi-in–rem jurisdiction, the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act, and conflict of laws.

Publications

  • "Ethical Limits on Sharing Client-Confidential Information with the Client's Other Professionals," Environmental Regulation 2012: Hot Topics, Commercial Implications and Management Strategies 513, 2012
  • "Respecting Someone Else's Confidential Information," New York State Bar Association Journal, Vol. 85, No. 4, 20, 2012
  • "Model Rule 4.4(b) Should Be Amended," American Bar Association - The Journal of The Professional Lawyer, Vol. 21, No. 1, 16, 2011 
  • "Ethical Limits on Discussing Client Confidential Information with the Client's Other Professionals," Environmental Regulation 2011: Managing in the Face of Rapid Change 479, 2011
  • "Inadvertent Disclosure and Rule 4.4(b)'s Erosion of Attorney Professionalism," New York State Bar Association Journal, Vol. 82, No. 9, 20, 2010
  • "A Longtime Litigator," Attorney Professionalism Forum, New York State Bar Journal, Vol. 81, No. 7, 48, 2009
  • "Solicitous About Solicitation," Attorney Professionalism Forum, New York State Bar Journal, Vol. 79, No. 1, 48, 2007
  • "Wondering About a Wise Guy," Attorney Professionalism Forum, New York State Bar Journal, Vol. 76, No. 5, 27, 2004
  • "Which Ethics Rules Govern," New York Law Journal, April 11, 2003
  • "Ethicist with an Ethical Dilemma," Attorney Professionalism Forum, New York State Bar Journal, Vol. 75, No. 3, 44, 2003 
  • "Considering the ABA’s 1908 Canons of Ethics," 71 Fordham L. Rev. 2395, 2003
  • "An Associate’s Duty to Supervise Non-Lawyers," New York Law Journal, Oct. 11, 2002
  • "Professional Obligations of Lawyers-to-Be," New York Law Journal, Jan. 11, 2002
  • "Providing Services for Pro Se Litigants," New York Law Journal, Sept. 7, 2001
  • "Buying a Law Practice," New York Law Journal, May 18, 2001
  • "A Young Lawyer’s Nightmare," New York Law Journal, Feb. 16, 2001
  • "Clarifying Your Client’s Identity," New York Law Journal, Dec. 10, 2000
  • "Ethical Problems Caused By Job Searches," New York Law Journal, Oct. 20, 2000
  • "The Secret About Secrets," New York Law Journal, July 14, 2000
  • "Handling Disputes With Supervisors," New York Law Journal, April 14, 2000
  • "Associate Whistle Blowing," New York Law Journal, Sept. 10, 1999
  • Book Review, " The Practice of Justice," by William H. Simon, New York Law Journal, July 24, 1998
  • Book Review, "Beyond All Reason: The Radical Assault on Truth in American Law," by Daniel A. Farber and Suzanna Sherry, New York Law Journal, Feb. 3, 1998
  • Book Review, "Legal Reasoning and Political Conflict," by Cass R. Sunstein, New York Law Journal, June 7, 1996
  • "Trouble with the Bottom Line," New York State Bar Journal, Vol. 68, No. 7, 6, 1996
  • Book Review, "My Life as a Radical Lawyer," by William M. Kuntsler, New York Law Journal, Jan. 24, 1995
  • "Witness Preparation Conflicts," 22 Litigation 38, 1995
  • "Modern Litigators and Lawyer Statesmen," 103 Yale Law Journal 1031, 1994
  • Book Review, "The Lost Lawyer," by Anthony T. Kronman, New York Law Journal, Nov. 30, 1993
  • "Antitrust: A New Tool for Organized Labor," 114 University of Pennsylvania Law Review 127, 1982
  • "Implementing a Civil Rights Injunction: A Case Study of NAACP v. Brennan," 78 Columbia Law Review 738, 1978

Speaking Engagements

  • "Ethically Creating and Maintaining an Electronic Identity in Your Practice," NYSBA, December 15, 2016
  • "Preparing and Presenting Effective Testimony Within The Ethical Rules," National Employment Lawyers' Association/NY, May 13, 2016
  • Moderator of Panel, "Brandeis and Lawyering," Touro College, Jacob D. Fuchsberg Law Center, March 31, 2016
  • "Legal Ethics for Environmental Lawyers," PLI, June 12, 2015
  • Panelist, "The Ethics of Inadvertent Disclosure and Informal Discovery," ABA Section of Labor and Employment Law, November 7, 2014
  • "Privilege and Confidentiality as to Employee Emails on an Employer's Computer System," Terex Corporation, September 16, 2014
  • "The Attorney-Client Relationship in the Context of Corporate Transactions," Bryan Cave Corporate Lawyers, May 14, 2014
  • "Privilege and Confidentiality as to Employee Emails on an Employer's Computer System," Sears Corporation, April 23, 2014
  • "Privilege and Confidentiality as to Employee Email Ethical Limits on Discussing Client Confidential Information with the Client's Retained Professionals," PLI Program on Environmental Regulation, March 29, 2012 and February 9, 2011
  • "Avoiding Ethical Dilemmas in Day-to-Day Practice," NYSBA, December 12, 2011
  • "In-House Legal Privilege: What You Need To Know," Starwood, March 9, 2011