• virtual2020

Program as of September 23, 2020

*Please note that all times are ET.


Thursday October 22

5:30 pm – 6:30 pm
Virtual Happy Hour
sponsored by Epiq and Huntington National Bank


Friday, October 23

11:00 am – 11:05 am

President’s Welcome

Carlos A. Gonzalez
The Gonzalez Firm, LLC—Atlanta, Georgia


11:05 am – 12:05 pm

MDL Management

Topics include:
Special Master, Magistrate, or Article III Judge—
When Do You Use Who, and How Do You Ensure Good Cost/Benefit?

Early Vetting in Mass Cases: Pros and Cons

MDL Insider Dealing: Problems and Solutions

Prof. Elizabeth Chamblee Burch
Fuller Callaway Chair of Law, University of Georgia School of Law—Athens, Georgia

Chris T. Hellums
Partner, Pittman, Dutton & Hellums, P.C.—Birmingham, Alabama

Hon. R. David Proctor
United States District Court, Northern District of Alabama—Birmingham, Alabama

Paige Sharpe
Partner, Arnold & Porter—Washington, DC

Edgar C. Gentle III
Gentle, Turner, Sexton & Harbison LLC—Hoover, Alabama


12:05 pm – 12:15 pm


12:15 pm – 1:15 pm

Ethics for Special Masters: What Are the Problems and What Are the Rules?
Several of the country’s leading experts in the codes of ethics for lawyers and for judges are working together within ABA committees to figure out what ethical rules govern special masters … and even more importantly, to figure out what ethical rules should cover special masters. In some appointments, a special master is an agent and officer of the court while at the same time having some independent roles and maintaining an active law practice. This unique straddling of judicial and lawyer functions presents difficult ethical quandaries.

We will hear an update about the wonderful work that is progressing to clarify which rules govern special masters, and then we will conduct a working session with representative(s) of this group of experts. In the working session, we will be asked to posit hypothetical fact scenarios that mirror ethical dilemmas we have seen or encountered ourselves in our practices. The experts will help us analyze the ethical implications of those scenarios under the current matrices of rules, and they will take our practical experience as input into the development of future proposed rules. This will be an exciting, interactive session in which we will get real-time feedback about real-life scenarios.

Deborah E. Greenspan
Blank Rome, LLP—Washington, DC

Marla N. Greenstein
Alaska Commission on Judicial Conduct—Anchorage, Alaska

Merril Hirsh, FCIArb
HirshADR PLLC—Washington, D.C.

Megan E. Jones
Hausfeld—San Francisco, California

Randi Ilyse Roth, Esq.
Complex Settlements, PC—St. Paul, Minnesota


1:15 pm – 1:25 pm


1:25 pm – 2:25 pm

Practical Tips for Discovery Special Masters
Presiding over discovery and disclosure disputes is one of the most used forms of special master appointments. This program will provide some practical tips for discovery special masters and invite discussion from the audience of the things that have worked—and not worked—for you.

David M. Tenner
Ridley, McGreevy & Winocur P.C.—Denver, Colorado

Hon. Christopher C. Cross (Ret.)
JAMS—Denver, Colorado

Hon. Frank Maas (Ret.)
JAMS—New York, New York


2:25 pm – 2:40 pm


2:40 pm – 3:40 pm

Current Issues in Mass Tort Cases—Special Masters in the Middle
This panel of experienced litigators (plaintiffs and defense) and a distinguished judge will address topical issues in the world of mass torts. This will be an interactive discussion, addressing issues such as managing class action cases and individual cases in consolidated litigation, the timing of class certification proceedings threshold issues, leadership roles, coordination of discovery, costs, fees, and allocation issues.

Wayne B. Mason
Partner, Faegre Drinker—Dallas, Texas

Corey M. Stern
Levy Konigsberg—New York, New York

Deborah E. Greenspan
Blank Rome, LLP—Washington, D.C.


3:40 pm – 4:40 pm

Update on ABA Guidelines for the Appointment and Use of Special Masters
The ABA’s recently approved Guidelines for the Appointment and Use of Special Masters in Federal and State Civil Litigation promise to change the conversation around the appointment of masters. This panel discusses the ongoing rollout of the Guidelines and the widespread efforts to establish the adoption of the Guidelines throughout the country.

Cary Ichter
Ichter Davis, LLC—Atlanta, Georgia

Merril Hirsh, FCIArb
HirshADR PLLC—Washington, D.C.


4:40 pm – 4:45 pm

Closing Remarks
Carlos A. Gonzalez
The Gonzalez Firm, LLC—Atlanta, Georgia