Gary Trachten - Partner
Gary Trachten, a founding partner in 1986, has a practice concentrating on employment law and commercial litigation. Providing both transactional and dispute resolution services, he regularly represents inter-dealer brokers, traders, portfolio managers, investment bankers, corporate officers, physicians, sales persons, middle managers and other employees. His business clients, for commercial as well as employment matters, have included companies in the fashion apparel, hospitality, banking, cosmetics, music production, restaurant franchisor, flavor and fragrance, building products and other industries. He has earned the respect of his peers in the legal community, who have given him the highest possible rating for his legal abilities and adherence to ethical standard, rating him AV® Preeminent™ Peer Review RatedSM in Martindale-Hubbell®. He has also been awarded Thomson Reuters Super Lawyers® status for the New York metro area every year in 2010 - 2017.
Navigating the clashes that arise from real or perceived rights and responsibilities
In view of the inherent tensions between certain employee and employer interests, it is not surprising that disputes about each other’s workplace rights and responsibilities often arise – and sometimes flare into emotionally charged conflicts. For an employee, a job usually provides much more than just the crucial income with which to pay his mortgage, fund her children’s college education, and invest in a plan for a secure retirement. It also provides “psychic income” as it informs the employee’s identity, sense of self-worth, confidence, and the esteem in which he or she is held by family and community. Being unfairly evaluated, passed over for advancement opportunities, demoted, or terminated are all, to varying degrees, truly traumatic events. For an employer, whether its raison d’être is to make a profit for its invested owners or to serve a not-for-profit or public purpose, success depends in no small part on its management’s retaining broad, flexible authority to efficiently exercise honest business judgments, and having a reliable, loyal, cooperative, productive and not-too-costly workforce. With so much at stake, it is to be expected that each will, with all too subjective a perspective, guard its rights and scrutinize the other for whether it is meeting its responsibilities – and that someone will sometimes overreach.
Sometimes conflicts arise by accident from poor communication or an innocent failure to appreciate the perspective of the other. However, at other times, the failures are the product of one or the other’s prejudice or bias or being too quick to jump to conclusions that the full set of relevant facts do not support. Conflicts also arise from agenda-driven refusals to be concerned with someone else’s circumstances or legal rights. Individual managers can have personal agendas and antipathies so their conduct does not invariably serve their employers’ legitimate goals within the rules. Employers sometimes look to circumvent legal obligations that they regard as imposing too-high costs. So, too, employees can have illegitimate agendas, be dishonestly opportunistic, or lack the capacity to perceive themselves or their job performances for what they are, and how they are honestly perceived by others.
Whether wearing the hat of counselor, negotiator or litigator, Mr. Trachten never loses sight of all of the conflicting interests and complexities at play. He is forthright in his analyses and advice to his employee and employer clients – unconcerned with whether his message may not sit well. When negotiating employment, termination, settlement or other commercial agreements, his style is to be credible: forward leaning, but not overreaching – finding ways to insure protection of his client’s expectations while fairly addressing the legitimate concerns of the party across the table. As a litigator, he is aggressive, credible, creative in crafting legal arguments, thorough and practical. And he is careful always to reach for and don the right hat at the right time.
Expanding expertise and perspective
Mr. Trachten has with considerable frequency presented continuing legal education talks and papers about wrongful termination claims, tax issues in employment cases, use of experts, representation of highly paid employees, negotiating employment and consultation agreements, and other topics. He has made these presentations to audiences of lawyers and judges through the Practicing Law Institute; New York University Law School; National Employment Lawyers Association, and the American, New York County, New York City and New Rochelle Bar Associations. His preparation of these presentations and his interactions with theses audiences contribute to Mr. Trachten’s staying on top of legal developments and having a broad and growing perspective on the legal and practical issues that arise in his practice.
As co-editor (2005 -2009) of The New York Employee Advocate, a publication of the New York affiliate of the National Employment Lawyers Association, Mr. Trachten has written many articles, including pieces on severance offers, substantive and procedural contractual protections against dismissal without just cause, and corporate officer indemnity rights under New York’s Business Corporation Law.
Community and political leader
Mr. Trachten has long been actively involved in his New Rochelle and Westchester County community. He has served as a volunteer arbitrator for the New Rochelle City Court, as a member of the Board of United Way of New Rochelle, and a member of the Mayor’s Davids Island Task Force. He has been a member of the Board of the Westchester Jewish Council since 2008, has served on its Executive Committee from 2011-2015, and currently is the Chair of its Westchester Jewish Music & Arts Festival. He currently serves on the Executive Committee of the Board of Hillels of Westchester, which serves four college campuses. In the political arena, Mr. Trachten has been a Vice Chair and Council District Leader of, respectively, his political party’s county and local committees. He has also served as a trained volunteer poll watcher in national (out of state) and local elections.