Mercedes Colwin

Partner

  • Office Contact Info
  • Biography

    Mercedes Colwin, a highly successful trial attorney, is the founding partner of Gordon & Rees’ New York City Office.  She handles a wide variety of litigation, including employment law, commercial litigation, class actions, products liability, professional liability, wage and hour class actions, civil rights violations and criminal law.

    Ms. Colwin has defended thousands of cases throughout the country to a favorable result and won over ninety percent of her numerous trials and arbitrations.  She regularly litigates business disputes and defends corporations and executives of Fortune 500 companies accused of wrongdoing, including claims of sexual misconduct. 

    Prior to private practice, Ms. Colwin served as an Administrative Law Judge for the New York State Division of Human Rights.  During these nine years of service, while a partner at a major regional New York law firm, she presided over three thousand cases brought under federal and state discrimination laws.

    Ms. Colwin has received several significant honors.  Forbes Business American Airlines named Ms. Colwin one of the six most influential women in America.  The list includes dignitaries such as former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright.  Notre Dame Law School presented Ms. Colwin with the prestigious Graciela Olivarez Award for outstanding achievement as a leading Hispanic lawyer of the highest ethical and moral standards.  Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor received the same award.  MultiCultural Law magazine also profiled Ms. Colwin in a Leadership Interview titled, Reaching Back to Diversify the Legal Professional. Human Resources Magazine named Ms. Colwin as one of the Nation’s Most Powerful Rising Employment Attorneys. 

    Widely regarded as one of the top national legal analysts on the Fox News Network, she regularly appears on the network to discuss critical national legal issues.

    Admissions

    New York
    U.S. District Courts, New York
    U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit
    U.S. Supreme Court 

    Memberships

    DRI-The Voice of the Defense Bar
    Professional Liability Underwriting Society
    New York State Bar Association
    American Bar Association
    National Association of Insurance Women
    New York County Lawyers Association
    The Federation of Defense & Corporate Counsel
    Council on Litigation Management

  • Practice Areas
  • Publications & Presentations

    Videos

    Presentations

    • Co-Chair and Moderator, Discussing the Use of Quotas to Increase the Numbers of Women in C-Suite Positions and Boards, Fourth Annual Women in Insurance Leadership ExecuSummit, Uncasville, Connecticut (March 2020)
    • Hot Button Issues and New Developments in Employment Litigation, Gordon & Rees Legal Education Conference, Chicago (October 2019)
    • What Insurers and Their Counsel Need to Know, Bad Faith Traps, and a Review of Ethical Issues, Gordon & Rees Legal Education Conference, New York and Hartford (May 2019)
    • Panelist, Employment Practices Liability Breakfast Symposium, New Jersey (November 2018)
    • Panelist, Bridging Humanity Debate, 2018 Global Meeting of the Women's Forum for the Economy and Society, Paris, France (November 2018)
    • #METOO – Navigating Sexual Harassment Claims in the Aftermath of Weinstein, Gordon & Rees Legal Education Conference, New York and Hartford (May 2018)
    • Co-Chair and Moderator, Building Your Brand Both Inside and Beyond Your Organization, Second Annual Women in Insurance Leadership ExecuSummit, Uncasville, Connecticut (April 2018)
    • Moderator, LGBT - Status of Sexual Orientation as a Protected Class and Protections for Gender Expression and Gender Identity, Fourth Annual Employment Practices Liability Insurance ExecuSummit, Orlando, Florida (April 2018)
    • Panelist, The Corporate Culture Effect, 2018 PLUS D&O Symposium, New York (January 2018)
    • Co-Chair, American Conference Institute's 26th National Conference on Employment Practices Liability Insurance, New York (January 2018)
    • Moderator, Wage and Hour Update: Impact of the change in administration, new policies and the recent litigation developments, 13th Annual Employment Practices Liability Insurance ExecuSummit Conference, Connecticut (September 2017)
    • Moderator, Regulatory Update: Global Upheaval, Annual Advisen Executive Risk Insights Conference, New York, New York (September 2017)
    • Moderator, How to Prevent a Title IX Lawsuit - Preventative Measures Universities Can Take, 2nd Annual Title IX ExecuSummit Conference, Connecticut (July 2017)
    • Moderator, Proven Strategies for Litigating the Latest Misclassification Claims - What Are Plaintiffs' Counsel Capitalizing On in These Cases, Best Practices for Avoiding and Defending Against These Claims, and Lessons Learned from Someone Who Has Litigated to a Hung Jury or Judgment, American Conference Institute’s 30th National Forum on Wage & Hour Claims and Class Actions (June 2017)
    • Moderator, The Art of the Deal – Best Practices for Settling Management Liability Cases, PLUS Management & Professional Liability Symposium, Chicago, Illinois (April 2017)
    • Co-Chair and Moderator, American Conference Institute’s 25th National Conference on Employment Practices Liability Insurance (January 2017)
    • Co-Chair and Moderator, American Conference Institute’s 8th Annual Forum on Defending and Managing Employment Discrimination Litigation (July 2016)
    • Co-Chair and Moderator, How to Litigate a High Profile Title IX Case and Harness the Jury of Public Opinion, Inagural Title IX ExecuSummit Conference, Connecticut (July 2016)
    • Moderator, American Conference Institute’s 2nd Annual Networking & Leadership Forum for Women Leaders in Insurance Defense, Claims and Compliance (July 2016)
    • Moderator, Positioning Yourself for the C-Suite and Board Roles, IICF Women in Insurance Conference Series,  (June 2016)
    • Moderator, 2016 CLM Annual Conference, Employment Practices liability Insurance – Twenty Years at A Glance, (April 2016)
    • Moderator, RIMS 2016 Annual Conference & Exhibition, The Affordable Care Act and Same-Sex Marriage: Implications Under Your EPL Program, (April 2016)
    • Co-Chair, American Conference Institute’s 24th National Conference on Employment Practices Liability Insurance (January 2016)
    • Moderator, TWEET, POST, LINK: The Use of Social Media at Trial, 2015 DRI Professional Liability Seminar, DRI-The Voice of the Defense Bar, New York City (December 2015)
    • Panelist, Employment Hot Topics for In-House Counsel, Fourth Corporate Counsel Institute, New York State Bar Association, New York City (October 2015)
    • Panelist, EPLI Spotlight, 2015 Executive Risk Insights Conference, New York (September 2015)
    • Co-Chair, American Conference Institute’s Summer Installment of the National Conference on Employment Practice Liability Insurance (July 2015)
    • Panelist, New Americans & The Changing Face of Discrimination, 2015 National Conference on Equal Employment Opportunity Law, American Bar Association, Miami Beach, FL (April 2015)
    • Moderator, EPLI Trends: What Claims Trends Should We Expect in 2015 & Beyond, 10th Annual National Employment Practices Liability Insurance ExecuSummit, Connecticut (April 2015)
    • Co-Chair, American Conference Institute's 22nd National Conference on Employment Practice Liability Insurance (March 2015)
    • Panelist, Legalized Marijuana: Will the PL Insurance Industry Inhale?, PLUS International Conference, Nevada (November 2014)
    • Moderator, Whistleblowers: How to Contain the Damage and Best Practices for Defending the Claim, 9th Annual National Employment Practices Liability Insurance ExecuSummit, Connecticut (October 2014)
    • Panelist, The Paparazzi!!, ACLI Compliance & Legal Sections Annual Meeting (July 2014)
    • When Employees Meet, Greet and Tweet in Cyberspace: Social Media in the Workplace, Gordon & Rees National Employment Law Webinar Series (June 2014)
    • Co-Chair, American Conference Institute’s 21st National Conference on Employment Practices Liability Insurance (June 2014)
    • Developing Effective EEO Programs in Challenging Environments, Federal EEO and Civil Rights Council roundtable, Washington, D.C. (June 2014)
    • Panelist, Premier Session 2: Under Pressure – Effective Leaders Make Decisions in Difficult Situations, Claims & Litigation Management Alliance 2014 Annual Conference (April 2014)
    • Moderator, Clients’ Expectations for the Future, Federation of Defense & Corporate Counsel 2014 Winter Meeting (March 2014)
    • Co-Chair, 20th National Employment Practices Liability Insurance Conference (January 2014)
    • Panelist, Paparazzi!!, ABA 40th Annual TIPS Mid-Winter Symposium on Insurance and Employee Benefits (January 2014)
    • Moderator, RU Looking at My Cookies? Sexual Harassment in the Age of Technology, PLUS International Conference (November 2013)
    • PLUS Foundation Women's Leadership Network- Carla Harris Interview (October 2013)
    • Moderator,  The State of Harassment Litigation 2013, 8th  Annual National Employment Practices Liability Insurance ExecuSummit, Connecticut (October 2013)
    • Moderator, The Young and The Restless, FDCC, New York, New York (October 2013)
    • Moderator, Webinar EPL Issues for Private Companies: Managing a Shifting Risk Landscape, (Advisen, August 2013)
    • Moderator, The Evolution of EPLI Policies: Views from the Brokers, Carriers and In-House Labor and Employment Counsel, American Conference Institute, California  (June 2013)
    • Moderator, When Do You Say Too Much? Confronting Ethical Issues Raised by Communications with the Media, DRI-The Voice of the Defense Bar (May 2013)
    • Moderator, Social Media, Being Wrong When You’re Right, IACP U.S. Regional Conference, New York City (May 2013)
    • Webinar interview with Maurice R. "Hank" Greenberg, chairman and CEO of Starr Insurance Holdings Inc. and author of the new book "The AIG Story." (Advisen, April 2013)
    • Co-Chair and Moderator, Best Practices for Social Media Implications in Wage and Hour, Hiring Decisions and Adverse Employment Decisions, American Conference Institute, 18th Annual EPLI Conference, New York, New York (January 2013)
    • Panelist, Best Practices for Social Media Implications in Wage and Hour, Hiring Decisions and Adverse Employment Decisions, American Conference Institute, 18th Annual EPLI Conference, New York, New York (January 2013)
    • Panelist, EPLI Litigation: When the EEOC Comes Calling! 2012 Plus International Conference, Chicago, Illinois (November 2012)
    • Panelist, The Hidden Employment Landmines!  2012 International Association of Claim Professionals Conference, Orlando, Florida (October 2012)
    • Panelist, The Workplace of the Future, 2012 Aon's Risk Summit, Chicago, Illinois (October 2012)
    • Panelist, Is There a Glass Ceiling?  Insiders' Perspective to Rising to the Top! PLUS Southern CA Women's Leadership Event, Santa Monica, California (September 2012)
    • Panelist, Emerging Issues in Employment Claims for Private Companies and Nonprofits, 2012 Advisen's Management Liability Insights Conference, New York, New York (September 2012)
    • Panelist, Agency Initiatives and Enforcement: The Government Is Busy – and Why Employers Should Care, FDCC Annual Meeting, Whistler, British Columbia (July 2012)
    • Speaker, Marsh WEBB, Women's Executive Business-to-Business Event, Marsh Insurance, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (June 2012)
    • Speaker, Harnessing the Media in High Profile Cases, John Street Insurance Club, New York, New York ( June 2012)
    • Panelist, Managing the Workplace of the Future, Trends, Liabilities, and Risk Management-Strategies of Consulting Firms, AON Insurance, New York, New York (June 2012)
    • Speaker, Controlling the Headlines: How to Manage Your Case in the Media, DRI, Miami Beach, Florida (June 2012)
    • Panelist, Claims Handling: Best Practices, Practical Considerations & Legal Developments, Chartis Insurance, Berkley Heights, New Jersey ( May 2012)
    • Speaker, Borders and Fences: Who Gets to be an American?, Chartis Insurance (May 2012)
    • Panelist, Inside Employment Practice Litigation: Spotlight on the Issues, University Risk Management Insurance Association Conference, Boston, Massachusetts (April 2012)
    • Panelist, On Trial: Inside a Sexual Harassment Lawsuit, The Risk Management Society, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (April 2012)
    • Panelist, Life of an Employment Lawsuit, Chartis Winter Summit Event, Stowe, Vermont (March 2012)
    • Panelist, Borders and Fences: Immigration and its Impact on Employment and Civil Rights, FDCC Winter Meeting, Phoenix, Arizona (February 2012)
    • Speaker, Significant Cases, Trends and Defenses in 2011/2012, Zurich Insurance, New York, New York (January 2012)
    • Panelist, The Cyber World of EPLI: Social Media and Cyber Bullying in the Workplace. American Conference Institute, 17th Annual EPLI Conference, New York, New York (January 2012)
    • Speaker, Ethics Presentation-2012 Navigating the Ethics Rules as In House Counsel, Atlanta, Georgia (January 2012)
    • Panelist, EPLI Litigation: One Degree of Separation Between Employees' Use of Social Networking and Employers' Exposures? 2011 Plus International Conference, San Diego, California (November 2011)
    • Panelist, Employment Hot Topics for In-House Counsel, New York State Bar Association, Fourth Corporate Counsel Institute, New York City (October 2011)
    • Industry Leaders' Panel, Professional Liability, PLUS University at St. John's University, New York, New York (October 2011)
    • Panelist, How to Work with the Media-Tips for Success, American Bar Association,Tort Trial & Insurance Practice Teaching Academy, Toronto, Canada (August 2011)
    • Panelist, Taming the Town Crier-Litigation and the Media, The Federation of Defense & Corporate Counsel 2011 Annual Meeting, Williamsburg, Virginia (July 2011)
    • Significant Cases,Trends and Defenses in 2010/2011, Simsbury, Connecticut (May 2011)
    • Panelist, Sex, Lies & Videotapes: Cyber Bullying Issues in a Digital World, 2011 Professional Risk Symposium: EPL, E&O and Fiduciary, Professional Liability Underwriting Society Conference, Chicago, IL (March 2011)
    • Panelist, The Federation of Defense & Corporate Counsel 2011 Winter Meeting, “Beware: The Hidden Dangers in Employment”, Indian Wells, California (February 2011)
    • Panelist, Accessing and Preparing for New and Emerging Federal and State Legislation, Regulations, and Initiatives Affecting Employment Practices, American Conference Institute's Employment Practices Liability Insurance 16th Annual Conference (January 2011)
    • Watch Out! Hidden Risks of Employment Discrimination Claims, PLUS International Conference, San Antonio, Texas (November 2010)
    • Anatomy of a Mediation, CHUBB Insurance, Simsbury, Connecticut (July 2010)
    • Sex, Lies, and Videotape: Cyber Liability Issues in a Digital World
      Annual Conference of the Federation of Defense & Corporate Counsel (July 2010)
    • Life of an Employment Lawsuit, Chartis Insurance Mock Trial, Philadelphia, PA (April 2010)
    • The Impact of the Media on the Courtroom, Lawyers & Litigants – Panel Title: Defending a Damages Claim, The Council on Litigation Management, 2010 Annual Conference, Ponte Vedra Beach, FL (March 2010)
    • How Can High Unemployment and the Expansion of Employee Rights Create More Claims, New York, NY (February 2010)
    • Reductions in Force: Conducting a RIF in a Manner That Will Minimize Both Exposure To Risk and the Potential for Negative Press Expert Strategies and Key Insights for Minimizing Risk, Defending Against the Newest EPL Claims, and Reducing Litigation Costs, American Conference Institute, New York, NY (January 2010)
    • Life of an Employment Lawsuit, Chartis Insurance Mock Trial, Garden City, NY (January 2010)
    • Lawyers on Hire – Ethical Challenges For Insurance Lawyers, Insurance Coverage & Practice Symposium, The Voice of the Defense Bar, New York, NY (December 2009)
    • Panelist, The Impact of the Media on Legal Reform, Lawyers for Civil Justice, New York, NY (December 2009)
    • Panelist, Advising Corporations in the Electronic Age, The Interplay Between Legal & Public Relations Ramifications, NYS Bar Association – Third Corporate Counsel, New York, NY (November 2009)
    • Ethics Presentation – 2009 Navigating the Ethics Rules as In House Counsel, New York, NY (November 2009)
    • Panelist, Do High Unemployment and Expansion of Employees Rights = More Claims, 22nd International Professional Liability Underwriting Society Conference, Chicago, IL (November 2009)
    • Ageism – Age As a Factor In Disparate Impact and Disparate Treatment Claims, Employment Law Seminar, The Voice of the Defense Bar, Orlando, FL (April 2009)
    • Panelist, The Economic Downturn and EPL Claims - What to Expect in 2009, New York, NY (March 2009)
    • The Current State of Employment Law – Critical Issues & Best Practices
      New York, NY (February 2009)
    • Panelist, A New Administration, A New Legal Landscape, Recent & Prospective Changes to Federal & Employment Law – Seminar, New York, NY (February 2009)
    • New Employment Law & Developments Training, New York, NY (February 2009)
    • Panelist, The Art of Mediation, How ADR Masters Prepare and Win, Federation of Defense Counsel Corporation, Kaui, HI (February 2009)
    • The Current State of Employment Law in 2009, Simsbury, CT (January 2009)
    • Panelist, The Defense Perspective, The 14th Annual Conference on Employment Practices Liability Insurance, New York, NY (January 2009)
    • Employment and Asbestos Seminar, Utica, NY (December 2008)
    • 3rd Annual National Employment Practices Liability Insurance ExecuSummit, New York, NY (September 2008)
    • Ethical Obligations and the Tripartite Relationship Presentation, Chicago, IL (September 2008)
    • Mediation Presentation, New York, NY (September 2008)
    • Keynote Speaker, National Association Insurance Women Luncheon
      Dallas, TX (May 2008)
    • Panelist, EPLI Class Actions: Class Actions Aren’t Just For Big Companies Anymore, Professional Risk Symposium, EPLI & E&O Fiduciary, Professional Liability Underwriting Society, Atlanta, GA (May 2008)
    • TIPS Counsel re: Media in Las Vegas, American Bar Association Seminar, Las Vegas, NV (May 2008)
    • Harassment Seminar before American Business Group, New York, NY (February 2008)
    • Reducing Liability & Damage Awards in Discrimination Cases
      Employment Practices Liability Insurance Conference, New York, NY (January 2008)
    • ALE Negotiation Seminar, New York, NY (November 2007)
    • Panelist, EPLI Issues in Risk Management, Marsh, New York, New York (October 2007)
    • The Current State of Employment Law 2007, Second Corporate Counsel Institute, New York, NY (October 2007)
    • American Bar Association Litigation Seminar, San Francisco, CA (August 2007)
    • Panelist, New Age of Litigation-Catastrophic Loss, E-Discovery, Hi-Def Video, Tort Reform and More, The Future is Now: The Perils of E-Discovery, Federation of Defense Counsel Corporation Presentation, Sun Valley, ID (July 2007)
    • Discrimination at a Glance: Trends & Significant Rulings in Discrimination Cases, Employment Practices Liability Insurance Conference, ExecuSummit (January 2007)
    • An Audit of Your Human Resources Department and Employment Practices: Are You Protecting Your Business Effectively, Lorimar, New York, NY (August 2006)
    • Panelist, Employment Practices Loss Prevention Seminar, Richmond, VA (July 2006)
    • Panelist, Making a Case for Women in the Legal Profession: A Call to Action, Gordon & Rees Diversity Roundtable, San Francisco, CA (March 2006)
    • Sexual Harassment & Discrimination, The “Crimes” of the Century, New York, NY (January 2006)
    • Panelist, Avoiding The Employment Class Action, National Union Law School for Managers, Boston, MA (September 2005)
    • Trends & Developments In Employment Claims Litigation, American Conference Institute (December 2003)
    • Common Sense In Common Times, New York, NY (October 2002)
    • Managing the Borderline Performer - Protecting Corporate Interests
      Managing People Workshops (March 2002)
    • The Current State of Employment Law: Sex, Sickness & Striking Back (2002)
    • Insights From The Bench: What Judges Consider To Be Winning Arguments on EPL Litigation, American Conference Institute, New York, NY (January 2002)
    • A Judges Perspective - Sexual Harassment & Discrimination Seminar, North Eastern Subcontractors Association
    • A View From The Bench, American Conference Institute, New York, NY (January 2001)
    • The Recent Developments In Disability, Sexual Harassment & Retaliation
      Professional Liability In the 21st Century – Sex, Sickness & Striking Back (October 2000)
    • Hot Topics In Employment Law, New York, NY (March 2000)
    • Working Towards Equal Opportunity: Recent Developments In Employment Practices, New York, New York (March 2000)
    • Process Prevention & Resolution: What Every Business Person Should Know, American Corporate Counsel Association (February 1998)
     
  • Education

    Education

    J.D., Brooklyn Law School

    B.A., English, New York University

    Honors

    “Six Most Influential Women in America,” Forbes Business American Airlines

    Graciela Olivarez Award for outstanding achievement as a leading Hispanic lawyer, Notre Dame Law School

    "Alumni Achievement Award," The Brooklyn Law School Latin American Law Students Association

  • Languages
    • Spanish