Convention Highlights

Connect Build Advance
The Annual Convention is an exceptional opportunity to charge your batteries, sharpen your skills, and expand your network of colleagues—all of which are more important than ever.

The opening plenary session, “Connect • Build • Advance: Honoring Courageous Plaintiffs,” will bring to life stories from three ground-breaking cases involving plaintiffs who stood up to their employers and held their ground in the face of im- mense adversity, not only to vindicate their own rights, but to improve the lives of others.

In addition to honoring our Courageous Plaintiffs, the Convention will feature plenary sessions on “#MeToo: Hot Topics And Emerging Trends In Harassment Litigation,” “Don’t Be Afraid To Lose,” and the indispensable “Year In Review: Significant Developments In Employment Law.” Dedicated program tracks on Pre-Trial Litigation & Trial Advocacy, Wage & Hour Law, Employment Law 101, and Sixth & Seventh Circuit Law will help you identify sessions that are directly relevant to your practice.


2018 Annual Convention Keynote Speaker Dolores Huerta Dolores_Huerta_cropped.jpg
President and Founder, Dolores Huerta Foundation
Co-Founder, United Farm Workers of America
Thursday, June 28
12:15–1:45 p.m.

NELA is privileged to welcome Dolores Huerta, President and Founder of the Dolores Huerta Foundation, and Co-Founder of the United Farm Workers of America, as this year’s Annual Convention Keynote Speaker.

Dolores Huerta is a labor leader and community organizer. She has worked for civil rights and social justice for over 50 years. In 1962 she and Cesar Chavez founded the United Farm Workers union. She served as vice-president and played a critical role in many of the union’s accomplishments for four decades. In 2002, she received the Puffin/Nation $100,000 prize for Creative Citizenship, which she used to establish the Dolores Huerta Foundation (DHF). DHF is connecting groundbreak- ing community-based organizing to state and national movements to register and educate voters; advocate for education reform; bring about infrastructure improvements in low-income communities; advocate for greater equality for the LGBT community; and create strong leadership development. She has received numerous awards, including The Eleanor Roosevelt Human Rights Award from President Bill Clinton in 1998, and in 2012 the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian honor in the United States, was bestowed on Dolores by President Barack Obama.

Becoming The Change: From Law Student To Employee Advocate
Wednesday, June 28
5:00–6:15 p.m.

Law students and recent law graduates are invited to join NELA and The Employee Rights Advocacy Institute For Law & Policy for an engaging and interactive discussion on how a career in plaintiff-side employment law offers a unique and meaningful way for new lawyers to use their skills to drive progressive social change.

NELA Law Student Panel

President's Welcome Reception
Wednesday, June 27
6:30–8:00 p.m.

Convention participants are invited to join NELA President James H. Kaster, the NELA Executive Board, and the 2018 Annual Convention Committee for an informal gathering to celebrate 33 years of employee rights advocacy, renew friendships, and make new ones. First-time Convention participants are especially encouraged to attend.

The President's Welcome Reception is generously co-sponsored by AARP Foundation Litigation.

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Connect • Build • Advance: Honoring Courageous Plaintiffs
Annual Convention Opening Plenary
Thursday, June 28
9:30 a.m.

The opening plenary session, “Connect • Build • Advance: Honoring Courageous Plaintiffs,” will bring to life the stories of three remarkable individuals, Jane Meyer, Reginald “Ray” Moore, and Taronica White, who stood up to their employers and held their ground in the face of immense adversity, not only to vindicate their own rights, but to improve the lives of others as well.

Jane Meyer wins $1.43M in case against Iowa

A Secret Service Agent’s Path From Recruitment to Bias Lawsuit

Women working in male prisons face harassment from inmates and co-workers

Tobias 5K Run
Friday, June 29
7:00 a.m.

Join the early risers for the Tobias 5K Run. Meet NELA Founder Paul H. Tobias in the hotel lobby and take a run through downtown Chicago before the morning plenary.



Celebrating Our Voices For Change
2018 Gala Fundraiser
Friday, June 29
7:30–11:00 p.m.

Celebrating Our Voices For Change, NELA's 2018 Annual Gala Fundraiser, will feature remarks by Terry O’Neill, NELA’s new Executive Director, who will present our award to the National Women’s Law Center (NWLC) for its leadership role in the #MeToo Movement.

Convention Ambassadors

Help Welcome New Convention Attendees!

We are looking for volunteers to serve as Ambassadors for 2018 Annual Convention attendees who may be new to NELA and/or the Annual Convention. As an Ambassador, your very important role is to make your partner feel welcomed and connected to the NELA Family and to give them an initial point of contact for the Annual Convention.
  • Prior to the Convention, make contact with your partner to introduce yourself and answer questions.
  • At the Convention, introduce your partner to other NELA members, check-in with them to make sure they are doing well, and most importantly, have fun!
To volunteer to be an Ambassador, please contact Colleen Goodin or Karen Maoki.

Learn The Ropes From A Pro!

If you are new to NELA and/or the Annual Convention, let “Convention Alumni” welcome you to the Convention, answer your questions, and introduce you to other NELA Convention participants. When registering, please check the box that says “I would like to be paired with a NELA Convention Ambassador” and NELA will do the rest. If you have questions about the Ambassador Program, please contact Colleen Goodin or Karen Maoki.