Big Ideas, Big Tree
What to expect at CLM New York
By Eric Gilkey
CLM New York takes place on Nov. 30 and features educational sessions that focus on coverage litigation, extra-contractual exposures, diversity and inclusion training—and one killer holiday party. We spoke with Claire Rush, a member of CLM’s Diversity & Inclusion Committee, to find out what attendees can look forward to.
What kind of impression will your committee’s work make on attendees?
Diversity and inclusion are core founding principles of CLM. The mission of the Diversity & Inclusion Committee is to promote the alignment of these goals with the practices of our members and fellows. We operate in a service industry and need to continually work to better reflect and represent our customer base. Studies show that companies and law firms that successfully attract, engage, and retain diverse talent perform better organizationally and financially. The cutting-edge practices advanced by the diverse speakers at CLM New York are a testament to the innovative solutions that cognitive and cultural diversity produce.
You’re presenting on the topic entitled, “Claims and Litigation Strategies for Identifying and Defusing Bias in High Stakes Litigation.” What do you hope attendees take away from it?
Implicit bias comes in many different and insidious forms and can radically impact the perception and outcome of an otherwise seemingly straightforward case. Anti-government and anti-corporate biases are the most common obstacles that risk managers and lawyers face when assessing and defending high-stakes commercial litigation. Racial, ethnic, religious, gender, geographical, and sexual differences among the parties, jurors, and attorneys also can radically alter the outcome of a case. The takeaway from our roundtable will be that a more diverse and inclusive claims and litigation team will be better equipped to recognize and combat implicit bias and, thus, better serve our clients’ business interests.
What other topics at CLM New York caught your eye?
I am very curious about how the autonomous car, the ever-expanding sharing economy, and the legalization of marijuana are going to change our society at large and the insurance industry in particular, so I am hoping to attend the CLM roundtables that will address these developing areas of law. As a practicing trial attorney, I am also interested in the sessions that will discuss best practices for preparing expert witnesses and defeating the “reptile.”
Your career spans public and private law work. Are there any lessons you learned from your work at the Metropolitan Transportation Authority or New York County that stick with you today?
My champion and sponsor at New York City Transit always told me that the most important attribute a lawyer possesses is her reputation for honesty. I have taken this admonition to heart. My business partner and I believe that our reputation for integrity has allowed us to forge lines of communication with even the most difficult adversaries. The ability to simply pick up the phone and speak frankly to plaintiffs’ counsel has facilitated our ability to either resolve or identify our ultimate resolution strategy early in the litigation cycle, thereby benefiting our clients.
CLM’s holiday party is being held after the conference, which I hear is the hottest ticket in town. What can you tell us about it?
Adam Potter throws the best parties, and CLM’s holiday event is simply the highlight of the year. There is no place like New York during the holidays. The decorations at Rockefeller Center are absolutely magical whether you are a visitor or a jaded, born-and-bred New Yorker like myself. The party allows me to reconnect with the many friends I have made at CLM, and I always look forward to seeing Cathy Gicker’s holiday outfits!