Thursday, June 26

   Wednesday | Friday | Saturday

7:00–9:00 a.m.

Registration & Continental Breakfast

8:30–8:45 a.m.

Welcome Address By The Honorable Elizabeth Warren

8:45–9:30 a.m.

Roll Call Of The States & Opening Remarks
Paul H. Tobias, NELA Founder, David L. Lee, NELA President & Terisa E. Chaw, NELA Executive Director

9:30–11:00 a.m.

Celebrating The Civil Rights Act Of 1964: Courage | Challenge | Change
Moderator: David L. Lee 
Honorees: Percy Green, Ellen Mendelsohn, Joseph Oncale & Sheila White Parrish
Advocates: Nicholas Canaday III, Donald A. Donati & Dennis E. Egan
In celebration of the 50th anniversary of the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, NELA is privileged to honor courageous men and women who stepped forward to bring landmark Title VII cases that have defined employee rights advocacy for a generation. Our honorees blazed the trail toward equality and justice in the American workplace, reminding us of the strides we have made and the work that remains to be done in securing equal employment opportunity for all.

This presentation is co-sponsored by The Employee Rights Advocacy Institute For Law & Policy, NELA's charitable public interest organization.

11:15 a.m.–12:15 p.m.

Effectively Representing Low-Wage Workers
Moderator/Speaker: Justin D. Cummins
Speakers: Miguel Keberlein, Audrey Richardson & Marni Willenson
Low-wage workers across the country are clocking out and rising up to assert their rights and demand higher pay. The economics of their cases, however, make it difficult for them to find legal representation when their rights are violated, especially in light of the costly scorched-earth tactics that employers aggressively pursue in these cases. Our advocates will share practical strategies and tips to minimize your risk in representing this significant component of the labor force and to maximize recovery for your clients. They will address navigating cultural and language issues, abusive discovery, when to consider multi-plaintiff cases and class actions, and how to do this economically through non-profit, worker center, and law firm partnerships.

12:15–1:45 p.m.

Annual Luncheon & Keynote Address By The Honorable Nathaniel R. Jones
NELA is privileged to welcome Judge Nathaniel R. Jones as our keynote speaker for this year’s Annual Convention. Judge Jones was appointed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit by President Jimmy Carter in 1979, and he retired from the court in 2002. Prior to joining the court, Judge Jones was the general counsel of the NAACP, a position he held from 1969 to 1979. An internationally renowned civil rights activist, Judge Jones played an important role in furthering the abolition of apartheid in South Africa. The drafters of South Africa’s new constitution and laws consulted him, and he conferred with Nelson Mandela upon Mandela’s release from 27 years of imprisonment. Following his retirement from the Court of Appeals, Judge Jones became Of Counsel with Blank Rome LLP in Cincinnati, OH.

The Annual Luncheon is included in the registration fee for Convention registrants only. Guest tickets may be purchased separately during registration, at the on-site Registration Desk, or at the door.


2:00–3:15 p.m.

CONCURRENT SESSIONS

Discovery

Requests For Production Of Databases: Documents v. Data
Moderator/Speaker: Jeff Kerr
Speakers: Craig D. Ball & Christine E. Webber
Most information created and stored by businesses is maintained in databases, such as customer/client relations management systems, email systems, time entry data, audit trails, and web forms used by human resource departments. The information in the databases may be reduced to documentary form, but it may not be stored in that way. One question raised is can a responsive "document" be discoverable if it doesn’t exist, but instead must be created? This session will address the challenge of getting relevant evidence out of databases in a form that can be useful at trial. Advanced e-discovery subject matter will include current database structures and uses, the terminology unique to databases, the role of metadata and audit trails, and techniques for obtaining database content in discovery and reducing relevant content to functional exhibits at trial. 

Emerging Issues

Protecting The Plaintiff: Best Practices
Moderator/Speaker: Chip Muller
Speakers: Cheryl B. Legare & Claudia A. Reis
In almost every case we take we can face the same range of attacks from defense counsel: subpoenas for mental health records, subpoenas of prior and subsequent employers’ records, confidentiality stipulations, deposition tactics, settlement agreement provisions, and so forth. These are issues that cut across geography, statutes, and causes of action. Join our panelists for this interactive presentation to explore common areas of assault by defense counsel, your standard of care as plaintiffs’ employment lawyers, and how you can proactively anticipate and neutralize such tactics in protecting your clients.

Nuts & Bolts

Working With Experts: What Lawyers Do Wrong (Or Occasionally Right)
Moderator/Speaker: Michael D. Lieder
Speakers: William T. Bielby, Paula Greisen & Kathleen K. Lundquist
Join this practical presentation for a discussion on effectively working with experts. Topics include choosing and approaching an expert, working with the expert on discovery for the expert’s report and drafting it, defending an expert witness at deposition or trial, and cross-examining an expert at a deposition or trial.

Wage & Hour Law

Keeping The Heat On Employers In FLSA Cases
Moderator/Speaker: Laura L. Ho
Speakers: Katherine M. Kimpel, Rachanna T. Srey & Justin M. Swartz
Now that the first wave of wage and hour enforcement litigation is over, our wage and hour practitioners will focus on issues arising in smaller scale cases, state laws, arbitrations, and as of yet unexplored areas. This dynamic panel will brainstorm on new approaches to enforcing wage and hour protections despite the spate of bad law and growing hostility in the courts.

 

Discovery Of Comparator Evidence
Moderator/Speaker: Joshua R. Goodbaum
Speakers: Professor Scott A. Moss & Sarah E. Siskind
It has become more and more difficult to obtain comparator evidence from employers for individual and even class-wide comparisons. Yet comparative evidence remains some of the most convincing evidence that plaintiff's attorneys can present to convince a jury that discrimination was the motivating factor in the adverse treatment of their clients. Nor is the importance of comparator evidence limited to discrimination cases. In contract cases, plaintiff’s attorneys may be able to use "comparator" evidence to prove the meaning of disputed contractual terms. For example, can we use the employer’s failure to terminate another employee under that employee's "cause" contract provision to show that our client’s alleged misconduct did not constitute "cause" under her contract? Our panelists will offer tips for drafting effective interrogatories and requests for production of documents to obtain comparator evidence, and suggest creative ways to gain admission of this often dispositive comparative evidence. They also will examine the current state of the law and review arguments that convince judges to order the release of comparator evidence.

 

Ethical Issues In Representing Multiple Plaintiffs
Moderator/Speaker: Kirsten G. Scott
Speakers: Barry Goldstein & Kalpana Kotagal
Ethical rules contemplate that a lawyer may represent multiple clients in the same lawsuit. The rules provide that multiple representation is permitted if the lawyer reasonably believes that she will be able to represent each client competently and diligently, the representation does not involve asserting a claim for one client against another client, and each client gives informed consent, confirmed in writing. Our experts will review both the benefits and challenges of representing multiple parties with an emphasis on issues that arise in employment litigation. Topics include retainer agreements, handling conflicts, confidentiality, and settlement.

3:45–5:00 p.m.

CONCURRENT SESSIONS

Emerging Issues

Employment Rights & Protections In The Wake Of The Supreme Court’s DOMA Decision
Moderator/Speaker: Nina Wasow
Speakers: Darrel Scott Jackson & Janson Wu
On the final day of its 2012 term, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in United States v. Windsor that Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) was unconstitutional. The ruling paved the way for same-sex couples, married in states that allow or recognize their marriage, to enjoy more than 1,000 federal rights and protections. Some of those protections include private sector workplace rights for married same-sex couples, requiring employers to evaluate their policies to determine which workplace benefits and protections must be extended to them. Our speakers will examine the panoply of federal workplace laws that are affected by Windsor, and provide strategies to protect your clients' rights.

Nuts & Bolts

Return To Work—If You Can! How To Use The ADA & Rehabilitation Act To Your Client’s Advantage
Moderator: Melissa Pierre-Louis
Speakers: Elizabeth Grossman, Glen D. Savits & Michael C. Subit
A great many employees run into trouble when they return to work—or try to do so—after an illness, injury, or other accident; the onset of a new disability; the flare-up of a chronic disability; or a pregnancy. What protections do the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 afford under various circumstances? This intermediate-level session will survey key disability discrimination principles, cases, and strategies in this especially difficult context.

Trial Advocacy

Settlement & Trial Through The Use Of Technology
Speakers: Howard B. Lenow & Todd M. Schneider
This practical show and tell presentation will suggest and recommend an amazing variety of affordable and easy to understand applications for laptops and iPads. Pretrial apps range from organizers to scanners to transcript managers and legal research. Trial aids include apps for jury selection/observation, presentation of evidence, trial notebooks, visualizing depositions for the jury and white boards for drawing, all the way up to sophisticated cameras and speakers that can give you a system for visualizing evidence throughout the trial. Many of these apps are free or cost no more than five dollars, and most of them are extraordinarily portable!

 

Class Actions After Dukes & Genesis HealthCare Corp.: The Ongoing Attack On Representative Testimony In Class Actions
Moderator: Roberta L. Steele 
Speakers: Philip J. Gordon, Judith L. Spanier & Mark R. Thierman
Does it take a class of clones to win class certification after Dukes v. Wal-Mart? In Farmer v. DirectSat USA, LLC, a federal court decertified a class of cable installation and service technicians, finding their claims for unpaid work were too varied and individual to permit class treatment. The district court had certified state law wage claims as a Rule 23 class, but the defendants later moved for decertification, and the court decertified the class. The appellate court affirmed, stating that to extrapolate from the experiences of the "representative" witnesses would require that all class members did the same amount of work, working the same amount of overtime, and were paid the same wage. This case contributes to the growing body of case law following Dukes finding representative testimony inadequate to support class certification, which will mark a seismic shift in U.S. wage and hour law if it holds. Our speakers also will examine Genesis HealthCare Corp. v. Symczyk and explain how to challenge a Rule 68 offer of judgment following Genesis, which held that an FLSA collective action is rendered moot if the defense makes an offer of judgment in the full amount of the representative plaintiff’s individual claim.

 

Successful Strategies To Collect Judgments & Preventing Employers From Dissipating Assets
Moderator/Speaker: Linda M. Correia
Speakers: Arlene F. Boop & Daniel A. Katz
Sometimes in the course of negotiations or litigation, defendants will pursue the strategy of trying to make themselves "judgment proof." They will do this by declaring bankruptcy, threatening to declare bankruptcy, attempting to hide assets, or transferring them to other companies that often continue as the same business. Our panelists will explore ways to combat these tactics and maximize your potential for collecting judgments. Among the topics to be addressed are successor liability, strategies to prevent an employer from dissipating assets, and pursuing collection of judgments or settlements when a defendant files for bankruptcy.

 

Mediation: Dos And Don’ts From The Experts
Moderator/Speaker: Ellen J. Messing
Speakers: Mark L. Irvings, Amy L. Lieberman & Robert J. Truhlar
This interactive discussion with skilled and experienced mediators will offer frank, behind-the-curtain advice about what plaintiffs' lawyers handle well (and not so well) in mediations. In addition, they will share their "top 10" tips about what we can do better in formulating demands and counter offers, interacting with our clients, addressing the delicate issue of attorneys’ fees issues in mediation, and handling our working relationship with the mediator.

6:00–7:00 p.m.

Annual Reception
Annual Reception is included in the registration fee for Registrants only. Guest tickets may be purchased separately.

    Wednesday | Friday | Saturday
  Program subject to change without notice.