Hello, my name is Glenn Vallach, and I will be your Business Law professor this semester. As this is an online class and we will not be meeting in person on a regular basis, I'd like to tell you a bit about myself so that you can get a feel for who I am and what I do.
I am currently a full-time attorney for United States Aircraft Insurance Group ("USAIG"), which is a national aviation insurer. I work in the Central Claims Office of USAIG in New York City. As an in-house claims attorney for USAIG, I perform a broad scope of legal work in a variety of areas. I analyze and determine coverage for a large number of claims pursuant to policy terms and applicable insurance law. I also provide counsel with respect to a broad spectrum of legal issues, including commercial liability, contract law, general aviation, products liability, international law, personal injury law, premises liability and general litigation. I oversee and coordinate litigations, negotiate claims, communicate with claimants and clients, and administer a wide array of legal advice to a large number of prominent clients.
Prior to working for USAIG, I was an associate attorney for a New York City law firm named McKeegan & Shearer, P.C. for several years. For the most part of my tenure with McKeegan & Shearer, I practiced litigation, which means that I handled active lawsuits from commencement through trial. I litigated several of my own cases, and also assisted the partners of the firm, who were my bosses, with specific projects on their cases. In doing so, I participated in virtually every step of the legal process on a consistent basis - I drafted pleadings, conducted discovery, questioned witnesses at depositions, wrote motions, appeared in court for arguments before judges, negotiated settlements, communicated with clients and tried cases.
Most of the cases that I handled were civil cases, which means that they were private lawsuits between individuals and companies that sought some sort of relief, usually money. This is in contrast to criminal cases, which are brought by government prosecutors, typically called "district attorneys", against individuals alleged to have committed a crime. Criminal cases seek punishment against the defendants for their alleged transgressions. I did perform a small amount of criminal defense work for McKeegan & Shearer, and prior to that, I worked as a law clerk for a DA's office that prosecuted thousands of cases per year.
As a private litigator, I practiced a broad spectrum of legal topics and represented a wide range of clients. I represented insurance companies, corporations, LLCs, airlines, authorized dealers, security companies, construction companies, retail stores, government agencies and private individuals in a variety of matters, including business disputes, contract actions, insurance coverage matters, personal injury cases, international law proceedings, malpractice actions, labor law disputes, criminal matters, and aviation law cases. Though I generally focused on litigation, I also provided insurance companies with coverage opinions and helped clients in re-writing contracts contracts, as needed.
I tell you all of this because, though Business Law is (obviously) very concentrated on the legal aspects of the business sector, it is also somewhat of an introduction to law in general. As college students, I understand that many of you have not had any experience with law up to this point, and I hope that I can give you an interesting and understandable introduction to law, and maybe even a small feel for what it's like to practice law and work in the legal sector. I'd like to take advantage of the fact that I am actually working with a lot of the concepts and lessons that we'll be discussing in this class on a day-to-day basis. Also, if any of you are interested in pursuing a career, or even a minor interest, in law, I'd love to answer your questions and give you as much helpful information as possible to guide you on your way.
To finish my bio here, I have also taught the Legal Environment of Business I and II, which is essentially the same as business law, at Marymount Manhattan College in New York City in 2008 and 2009. I went to Boston College for my undergraduate degree and attended Fordham Law School for my J.D.
I would love to hear about you guys as well, which is why one of your first assignments is to write a bio about yourself. Don't worry, it does not need to be as long or detailed as this!
My Ramapo e-mail is GVallach@Ramapo.edu and my gmail account is GVallach@Gmail.com. Please do not hesitate to contact me with any questions or concerns that you may have. I will be available online, through e-mail, chat, forum and Skype to help with any issues pertaining to the class, and though I am mostly based in New York, I can arrange to travel to Ramapo to help you guys as needed.