Carol E. Heckman - Harter Secrest & Emery LLP
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Carol E. Heckman

Listed in Best Lawyers since 2013

Carol Heckman is a former Magistrate Judge with over 37 years of experience as a trial and appellate lawyer. Prior to joining the firm in 2000, she served for eight years as a Magistrate Judge in the Western District of New York, where she was selected to sit on the Federal Judicial Conference's Education Committee for Magistrate Judges and as an Officer in the Federal Magistrate Judges Association. Prior to going on the bench, Carol was a trial partner in two firms in Buffalo, and also served as a trial attorney with the U.S. Department of Justice in Washington, as Assistant U.S. Attorney in Buffalo, and as a law clerk for the Hon. John T. Curtin, then Chief Judge of the Western District of New York. Her practice spanned a broad range of areas, including white collar criminal investigations and trials, constitutional claims, employment law, patent litigation and commercial litigation. More recently, Carol has primarily represented Fortune 500 companies and a sovereign Native American tribe in a variety of commercial and business disputes. She has tried numerous cases both as a lawyer and as a judge. Recent accomplishments include:

  • Defending challenges to proxy statements of publicly held companies.
  • Representing a Native American nation in complex cases involving gaming and state taxation.
  • Representing a variety of businesses in connection with government investigations under the False Claims Act & other statutes. The businesses include government contractors, Section 8 housing providers, medical providers, and veterinary practices.
  • Representing insurance companies in forced placed coverage litigation.
  • Obtaining summary judgment in favor of a stock photography house in a multi-million-dollar suit for lost images.
  • Successfully defending Erie County in protracted and complex litigation involving the county budget.
  • Obtaining a TRO for a bank against 80 departing bankers who used confidential information to assist a competitor, and many other unfair competition cases.
  • Obtaining a multi-million-dollar settlement for a demolition contractor who was wrongfully terminated by the state of New York.
  • Successfully defending employment discrimination lawsuits in the Western District of New York and on appeal to the Second Circuit Court of Appeals on behalf of an urban school district.

Carol also has significant training and experience as a mediator and has trained federal judges in mediation techniques. She is admitted to both the Panel of Mediators and the Panel of Arbitrators of the American Arbitration Association, as well as the Western District of New York Panel of Mediators. Successful mediations include the entire range of federal court cases, including high stakes business disputes, employment disputes of all kinds, environmental claims, products liability & other tort claims, securities claims, patent claims & §1983 claims.

Additional Information

Court Admissions — All state and federal courts in New York State
  • All state courts in Colorado
  • United States Court of Appeals for the Second, Fourth, Fifth and Tenth Circuit
  • United States Supreme Court
  • Lawrence UniversityBA 1974Cornell Law SchoolJ.D. 1977
    The Burchfield-Penney Art CenterErie County Bar AssociationNew York State Bar AssociationFederal Magistrate Judges AssociationCornell Law Review

    Client Comments

    "Carol is one of the very best outside counsel I have had the privilege to work with in my 30-year career. She is dedicated and tireless in assisting her clients."

    -G. William Myers
    Kimball Corporation

    Office Location

    50 Fountain Plaza, Suite 1000
    Buffalo, NY 14202
    United States

    Lawyer of the Year Awards

    2015 Lawyer of the Year in Mediation of the Buffalo Metro Area
    Carol E. Heckman has earned a Lawyer of the Year award for 2015!

    Practice Areas

    Appellate Practice
    Commercial Litigation