Friday, June 27

   Wednesday | Thursday | Saturday

7:00 a.m.

Tobias 5K Run
Participants are requested to meet in the lobby of the Westin Boston Waterfront Hotel at 6:45 a.m.

7:00–9:00 a.m.

Registration & Continental Breakfast

9:00 a.m.–10:15 a.m.



Taking Rule 30(b)(6) Corporate Depositions: Strategies For Success
Moderator/Speaker: Walt Auvil
Speakers: Cyrus Mehri & Robert L. Schug
The Rule 30 (b)(6) corporate deposition can be a valuable tool for plaintiffs’ employment lawyers. How you prepare for a corporate deposition will directly affect the success of your case. Do you know how to prepare effectively for a corporate deposition, and to maximize this useful discovery tool? Our speakers will review key aspects of Rule 30(b)(6) and what differentiates it from other forms of discovery, considerations when noticing the deposition, selecting the corporate representative for deposition, strategies for successfully taking the deposition, and anticipating defense counsel’s tactics.

Emerging Issues

Social Media, Employer Surveillance & Employee Privacy
Moderator/Speaker: Cynthia N. Sass
Speakers: Catherine Reuben & Mark D. Risk
From demanding social media passwords to installing GPS tracking devices in company vehicles to monitoring off-duty conduct, employers are expanding surveillance of their employees beyond the traditional workplace. How far can an employer’s ability to control employees extend? This presentation will review the current state of the law protecting employee privacy, including credit and background checks, and how the Internet has changed the legal landscape with the proliferation of social media. Issues to be discussed involve evaluating your clients’ credibility, state of mind, and effectiveness as a witness by reviewing their social media accounts; counseling your clients to use social media to their advantage and not using it in a way that will damage their cases, careers, and reputations; and preserving evidence on social media sites.

Trial Advocacy

Do It Yourself! Using In-House Video Equipment For Your Cases
Moderator/Speaker: David G. Webbert
Speakers: Max R. Katler & Chip Muller
Videos are now easy and inexpensive to make, edit, and present. Hear from small firm lawyers who have used the latest technology to video all of their depositions with in-house equipment, saving thousands of dollars on fees to videographers. As the Daily Show proves, prior inconsistent video clips are the most effective form of cross examination. Edit your in-house video to present the best excerpts at settlement conferences and trial, including in opening and closing, case-in-chief, cross, and rebuttal. Video, including of you own client, also makes focus groups and mock trials easier and more useful. It helps clients and you to improve non-verbal communication for deposition and trial. Clients and lawyers benefit greatly from seeing how they look to others; use video for in-house CLE. Videos also show clients (and lawyers) the weaknesses in their cases, helping them make better decisions about settlement. Now is the time to get the video advantage.

Wage & Hour Law

A View From The Other Side: Defense Strategies In Wage & Hour Cases
Moderator/Speaker: Charles S. Kirwan
Speakers: Brett C. Bartlett & Ellen C. Kearns
Join this distinguished panel of management-side lawyers for a friendly and candid discussion on their strategic considerations in defending wage and hour cases, including assessing the merits of a case, exposure analysis, risks at class certification, the use of offers of judgment, defeating misclassification, overtime and off the clock claims, and more.


Exploring The Issue Of Consent In Sexual Harassment Cases
Moderator/Speaker: Cedar P. Carlton
Speakers: Joshua Friedman & Nathan Goldberg
The supervisor asks the young subordinate to dinner. She is excited about the opportunity and everything progresses further than she anticipated. After some time, however, she wants the relationship to end so she finds a lawyer. In the meantime she has written about her experience in social media, told friends, and now feels guilty for her participation. What are the strategies for handling a case of this nature? The panelists will discuss the strategic and practical differences between a client who is still employed and one who has been terminated after breaking off the relationship. How do you approach the client who has feelings of guilt? What damages are available? Do you need experts, and if so, how do you find one?


Issue Spotting & Navigating Claims In Federal Sector Litigation
Moderator/Speaker: Kristin D. Alden
Speakers: Susan E. Jewell & Andrew J. Perlmutter
This session will focus on issue spotting and plotting a path to a successful resolution for federal employee claims. Veteran federal employee rights practitioners will address discrimination, wrongful discharge, whistleblower, and security clearance claims, and provide practice tips on choosing among the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Merit Systems Protection Board, and Office of Special Counsel. They also will examine recent legal developments and significant changes to regulations affecting federal sector workers.

10:45 a.m.–12:00 p.m.



The Ethics Of Discovery
Moderator: Susan E. Babb
Speakers: Paul H. Merry, Professor Paul R. Tremblay & Harvey Weiner
In today’s litigation climate, plaintiffs’ efforts to seek discovery are being resisted as never before. Although the parties in our cases typically have unequal access to information, we routinely have to contend with aggressive opposition to discovery by defendants, while facing a judiciary skeptical of, and frustrated with, the entire discovery process, pending changes to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure regarding discovery, and an increasing trend to sanction plaintiffs’ counsel in employment cases for discovery-related conduct. The panelists will discuss various types of lawyer conduct that can occur during discovery and the ethical issues that may arise, describe the best way to respond to avoid ethical traps and being sanctioned, and how to resolve disputed issues and move the case forward. They also will analyze whether various plaintiff and defense discovery conduct violate ethical rules or judicial norms, and explain why or why not. You will be provided with strategies for educating the judiciary about our cases to help protect plaintiffs’ ability to conduct meaningful, ethical discovery and to rectify unethical behavior by opposing counsel.

Emerging Issues

Let The Sunshine In: How To Avoid Protective Orders, Sealing Orders & Secret Settlements
Moderator/Speaker: Victoria W. Ni
Speakers: The Honorable Joseph F. Anderson, Jr. & Mark Hammons
Much of the civil litigation in this country is taking place in secret, cloaked behind "blanket" protective orders, court sealing orders, and confidential settlements. As a result, wrongdoers are never publicly exposed for their wrongdoing, the public and judiciary develop a perception of employee litigation as largely meritless, and relevant information needed by practitioners to evaluate potential cases properly is unavailable. Our panelists will discuss strategies to oppose overly broad protective orders in discovery, to oppose the sealing of court records, and to resist confidential settlements.

Nuts & Bolts

Settlement Negotiations In Employment Litigation: Practical Strategies & Tips
Moderator/Speaker: Nina T. Pirrotti
Speakers: Michael J. Leech & Pamela A. Smith
When most clients first contact you, they are thinking about filing a lawsuit and eventually going to trial. As we know, most employment cases settle before a lawsuit is filed and well over 95% of cases are resolved before trial. This presentation will provide practical strategies and tips for negotiating settlements. Topics to be explored include when to initiate settlement negotiations; how to initiate settlement negotiations; negotiation tactics and skills to help your clients achieve their desired results; and drafting settlement agreements.

Trial Advocacy

Rules Of The Road: Strategies For Trial
Moderator: Jonathan C. Puth
Speakers: Dennis E. Egan & Patrick Malone
Rules of the Road by Rick Friedman and Patrick Malone is America’s bestselling trial guide on proving liability. Since its original release in 2006, it has helped plaintiffs’ lawyers throughout the country secure significant victories in cases with difficult liability issues. Mr. Malone and Mr. Egan will discuss how to apply Rules of the Road to employment cases, how to troubleshoot your rules, and how to use Rules of the Road to win your next trial.

Wage & Hour

New FLSA Protections For Home Health Care Workers
Moderator/Speaker: Jason J. Rozger
Speakers: Michael D. Felsen & Trevor W. Howell
The home care industry has grown dramatically over the last several decades as more Americans choose to receive long-term care at home instead of in nursing homes or other facilities. Despite this growth and the fact that home health care workers increasingly receive skills training and perform work previously done by trained nurses, they remain among the lowest paid in the service industry. Last year, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division announced a final rule eliminating the Fair Labor Standard Act’s minimum wage and overtime exemption for home care workers employed by home care agencies and other companies. The new regulations, which go into effect on January 1, 2015, also significantly narrow the exemption for home care workers employed directly by the individuals or families receiving home care services. Our panelists will examine the regulations and review current state laws that extend minimum wage and overtime protections to home health care workers.


Medical Leaves: The Overlap Of Disability, FMLA & ERISA Claims
Moderator/Speaker: Brian East
Speakers: Scott M. Pollins & Catha Worthman
This presentation will address how to avoid inconsistent claims and handle long-term and intermittent leaves under the Americans with Disabilities Act, Family and Medical Leave Act, and Employee Retirement Income Security Act. If you bring a claim that a client was unlawfully terminated as a result of his disability, or the employer failed to accommodate his disability, you need to prove that the client was able to work with an accommodation. What considerations are necessary to make sure that you are not unnecessarily interfering with his ERISA or SDI claim that he is unable to work, at least temporarily? Our experts will assess the overlapping issues concerning the ADA, FMLA and ERISA, and how to protect your client’s interests on all fronts.

12:00–1:30 p.m.

Box Lunch


NELA Members Forum: Join The Call To Legislative Action!
Moderator/Speaker: Daniel B. Kohrman, NELA Vice President of Public Policy
Speakers: Bruce A. Fredrickson, Leslie Proll & Julie M. Strandlie, NELA Legislative & Public Policy Director


NELA Committee & Practice Group Meetings

2:00–3:15 p.m.


Emerging Issues

New Frontiers & Emerging Defenses In Retaliation Law
Moderator/Speaker: William R. Tamayo
Speakers: Lori Jodoin & Paul W. Mollica
The U.S. Supreme Court’s decisions in Vance v. Ball State University and Univ. of Tex. Sw. Med Ctr. v. Nassar have made it harder for employees to win claims of retaliation and to give notice to an employer about harassment in the workplace. The decisions could lead to complicated issues regarding notice to a company about retaliation, whether complaints to a non-supervisor will constitute protected activity, and result in more litigation about the actual duties of an individual in order to qualify as a supervisor. This session will examine the current state of the law for retaliation claims under EEO statutes and how plaintiffs must plead and litigate their cases in order to overcome summary judgment. Additionally, the panelists will discuss how the "manager rule," if taken to its logistical extent, will make it more difficult for discrimination plaintiffs to seek help from a supervisor or manager who may suffer retaliation for having reported the violation.

Nuts & Bolts

Building & Managing A Successful (And Low-Stress) Plaintiffs' Employment Law
Moderator: Nancy Richards-Stower
Speakers: Stewart W. Fisher & Michael L. Spekter
Wouldn’t it be nice to feel like you are running your law practice instead of your practice running you? NELA members will share their secrets to help you do well by doing good. They will discuss everything from selecting new clients to managing current ones, ethically and strategically appropriate ways to handle challenging clients, basic principles to build a successful law practice, and time management skills that are sure to produce optimal results.

Trial Advocacy

Winning Jury Instructions
Moderator: Kenneth D. Haynes
Speakers: Christopher P. Lenzo & Beth R. Myers
Our panel of veteran practitioners will share best pattern instructions and jury instructions you need to have in your arsenal to address some of the confounding issues that arise in employment cases: cat’s paw, adverse inference, pretext, and the business judgment rule. They also will explore when you need McDonnell Douglas instructions and whether the employer is always entitled to a Faragher/Ellerth instruction. Bring your own winning jury instructions to share with your fellow employee rights advocates for this interactive session!

Wage & Hour

Tips For Representing Tipped Employees
Moderator/Speaker: John Mays
Speakers: Richard J. Burch & James Kan
In recent years, service industry employees have brought actions to ensure that their employers are not cheating them out of their wages through improper tip pools and service charge distributions. The U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division has taken an aggressive stance against such wage and hour violations, leading to strict rules regarding proper tip pooling and service charge practices. As a result, many businesses with tipped employees face significant legal exposure arising from improper practices relating to the retention and distribution of tips and service charges. NELA’s wage and hour experts will share practical tips and strategies to protect your clients from wage theft in this evolving and complex area of the law.


ERISA On The Map: Recent Developments, Hot Topics & Strategies For Success
Moderator/Speaker: Matthew W.H. Wessler
Speakers: Elizabeth Hunter & Michelle L. Roberts
Veteran ERISA practitioners will provide an overview of recent legal developments and explore hot areas for employees in ERISA litigation, including the standards governing breach of fiduciary duty claims, the scope of ERISA’s mandatory exhaustion requirements, the enforceability of claims for disability overpayments, the current disagreement over the meaning and interpretation of discretionary review clauses, and the state of class actions and arbitration under ERISA. They will share suggestions for handling post-McCutchen and post-Heimeshoff issues, including how to continue to fight ERISA plan liens for both health-related expenses and disability overpayments, as well as how to represent injured employees in recovering health- and disability-related expenses.


Reading The Writing On The Note
Moderator/Speaker: Professor Joan C. Williams
Speakers: Rebecca G. Pontikes & Marya G. Zlatnik, M.D.
Thanks to recent amendments to the Americans with Disabilities Act, pregnant women are now entitled to workplace accommodations for most pregnancy-related medical conditions. A fundamental tool in achieving such accommodations is an effective doctor’s note addressed to the woman’s employer. This presentation will combine legal and medical expertise in explaining how best to craft notes to employers of pregnant women, provide tools that may assist lawyers in advising and assisting their pregnant clients, and offer a synopsis of common pregnancy-related conditions and helpful accommodations. The panelists also will address how legal practitioners can effectively communicate with doctors to achieve positive outcomes for their clients.

3:30–3:45 p.m.

NELA Ethics & Sanctions Committee Presentation

3:45–5:00 p.m.

The New Restatement Of Employment Law: Its Strengths, Weaknesses & Ambiguities
Moderator/Speaker: Joseph  D. Garrison
Speakers: Alice W. Ballard, Wayne N. Outten & Cliff Palefsky
The Restatement of Employment Law will be approved by the American Law Institute’s membership at its May 2014 meeting. NELA members who have been closely involved with the Restatement for the past ten years will provide an overview and analysis of the major features of the Restatement, which is bound to be influential in our state and federal courts. Our insiders will tell you what you need to know about the Restatement so you can use it to your clients’ advantage!

6:00–7:30 p.m.

Annual Dinner
Annual Dinner is included in the registration fee for Registrants only. Guest tickets may be purchased separately. Please note the Annual Dinner precedes NELA's Gala Fundraiser and is a separate event.

8:00–11:30 p.m.

2014 Gala Fundraiser
Equality & Justice: Joining The Call To Action

Join us for NELA’s Annual Gala Fundraiser to support NELA’s advocacy initiatives to advance equality and justice in the American workplace. This year’s honoree is the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. The Gala Fundraiser follows NELA’s Annual Dinner and is a separate event. Tickets for the Gala Fundraiser may be purchased at the Registration Desk or at the door.

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  Program subject to change without notice.