With more than 40 years of experience as a trial lawyer and judge, Judge Heckman (Ret.) has an active practice as an arbitrator for the American Arbitration Association and conducts arbitrations in most major metropolitan areas with a particular concentration in New York City.  In addition to arbitrations and mediations, Judge Heckman was recently selected as a Fellow to the College of Commercial Arbitrators, an exclusive group of commercial arbitrators representing the best in the United States. Judge Heckman also engages in litigation counseling and trial work for American Indian tribes and a group of business clients, providing representation in government investigations, complex commercial matters, taxation, and gaming.  She has tried numerous cases as a lawyer, a judge, and an arbitrator in a broad range of disputes.

Judge Heckman served as a Magistrate Judge in the Western District of New York for eight years where she was selected to sit on the Federal Judicial Conference’s Education Committee for Magistrate Judges and served as an Officer in the Federal Magistrate Judges Association.  She has also served as a trial attorney with the U.S. Department of Justice in Washington, an Assistant U.S. Attorney in Buffalo, New York, and as a law clerk for Hon. John T. Curtin, former Chief Judge of the Western District of New York.

She has significant training and experience as a mediator and has trained federal judges in mediation techniques. She is admitted to  American Arbitration Association's panel of commercial and employment arbitrators and to their panel of mediators. She is also a certified mediator for the wester district of New York.  Successful mediations include federal court cases, including high stakes business disputes, employment disputes of all kinds, environmental claims, products liability and other tort claims, securities claims, patent claims, and §1983 claims. 

Arbitration experience includes all aspects of executive compensation, complex commercial disputes, employment litigation, FLSA, non-compete agreements, construction cases, ERISA liability and several international cases. 

Judge Heckman is a frequent speaker and panelist at Bar Association meetings and at CLE programs across the state. She also has presented at AAA trainings and programs, and programs sponsored by the College of Commercial Arbitration.

Click here to view Judge Heckman’s AAA commercial arbitrator resume.  
Click here to view Judge Heckman’s arbitrator AAA employment resume.
Click here to view Judge Heckman’s AAA mediation resume.


ADMITTED TO PRACTICE
  • New York
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit
  • U.S. Supreme Court

Education
  • Cornell Law School, J.D., magna cum laude, 1977
  • Lawrence University, B.A., magna cum laude, 1974

Judicial Clerkships
Hon. John T. Curtin, former Chief Judge of the Western District of New York

Professional Associations
  • College of Commercial Arbitrators
    • Education Committee
    • Subcommittee - Best Practices Webinars
  • Bar Association of Erie County
  • New York State Bar Association
    • Commercial Federal Litigation section
    • Dispute Resolution Section 
  • Federal Magistrate Judges Association, Member
  • Federal Courts Law Review (electronic law review associated with the Federal Magistrate Judges Association), First Editor in Chief
  • Cornell Law Review, Editor

Community Involvement
  • Catholic Health Systems, Board of Directors
    • Catholic Health Systems Ministry Services, Board of Directors, Chair
    • Compliance, Nominating and Advocacy Committees  
  • Burchfield-Penney Art Center, Board of Directors and Past Board Chair

Past Activities
  • United States Courts, Education Committee for Magistrate Judges
  • Children’s Hospital of Buffalo, Board of Directors
  • Cradle Beach, Board of Directors
  • American Lung Association, Western New York Chapter, Board of Directors
  • Hauptman-Woodward Medical Research Institute, Inc., Board of Directors

Honors & Awards
  • Buffalo Business First, “Power 125 Women,” 2020
  • Buffalo Business First’s Legal Elite of Western New York, Lifetime Achievement Award (2016)
  • The Best Lawyers in America© (2019-2022)
    • 2015 Mediation “Lawyer of the Year” in Buffalo
  • Upstate New York Super Lawyers® (2011-2021)
  • Business First of Buffalo and Buffalo Law Journal, Legal Elite of WNY (2013)
  • Litigation Counsel of America, Trial Lawyer Honorary Society, Fellow
  • AV Preeminent Peer Review Rated by Martindale-Hubbell
  • Business First of Buffalo/Buffalo Law Journal, Who's Who in Law (2011- 2012)
  • Business First of Buffalo, “Women Who Mean Business” Award, 2005
  • Order of the Coif
  • Second in graduation class at Cornell Law School
  • Fraser Prize (undergraduate award)
  • Phi Beta Kappa
  • Women’s Bar Association of Western New York, Achievement Award, 1992

SPEAKING ENGAGEMENTS 
  • "The Floodgates Open: Managing Mass Arbitrations in the Wake of Epic Systems and Lamps Plus," Commercial Arbitrators, January 18, 2022
  • "Summoning Third Party Witnesses in Arbitration," College of Commercial Arbitrators, July 14, 2021
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