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Convention Highlights

With forty sessions and five program tracks to choose from, you can tailor your experience to the topics that matter most to you. #NELA16 will feature plenary sessions on “Implicit Bias In The Courtroom,” “Litigating Under The New Discovery Rules,” “The Restatement Of Employment Law,” and the annual “Year In Review: Significant Developments In Employment Law.” Additional substantive and practical skills presentations will be delivered in dedicated tracks on Discovery, Nuts & Bolts, Trial Advocacy, and Wage & Hour Law. Cutting-edge issues will be addressed throughout the Convention, including pregnancy discrimination after Young v. UPS, employment rights of LGBT individuals, defeating summary judgment, representing undocumented workers, accommodating religious beliefs and practices in the workplace, the new EEOC management directive affecting federal employees, and workplace investigations, among many others.

Created in partnership with the California Employment Lawyers Association (CELA), the Convention will also feature a California Employment Law track to explore the latest developments in California law, strategic intersections with federal law, and trial practice tips from experts in California and beyond.


President's Welcome Reception
Wednesday, June 22
6:30–8:00 p.m.

Convention participants are invited to join NELA President Alicia K. Haynes, the NELA Executive Board, and the 2016 Annual Convention Committee for an informal gathering to celebrate 31 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 and the California Employment Lawyers Association.



2016 Annual Convention Keynote Speaker
The Honorable Carlton W. Reeves
Thursday, June 23
12:15–1:45 p.m.

“The judiciary enforces individual rights against the tyranny of the majority. It does not matter how political the issue; how reviled the individual; or how vocal, politically savvy, and passionate the majority. That is its duty under Article III of the United States Constitution.”

—The Honorable Carlton W. Reeves, Campaign for Southern Equality v. Bryant (2014)

NELA is privileged to welcome The Honorable Carlton W. Reeves to #NELA16 as our Keynote Speaker. Judge Reeves was nominated by President Barack Obama to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi on April 28, 2010 and received his commission on December 20, 2010. Among Judge Reeves’ notable cases is United States of America v. Dylan Wade Butler et al., involving hate crimes that resulted in the brutal death of an African-American man at the hands of three young white men, for which Judge Reeves delivered a sobering speech from the bench that captured America’s continuing struggle with racism. In Campaign for Southern Equality v. Bryant, Judge Reeves overturned Mississippi’s ban on same-sex marriage admonishing that, “The courts do not wait out the political process when constitutional rights are being violated, especially when the political process caused the constitutional violations in the first place.” Prior to joining the federal bench, Judge Reeves served as Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Civil Division for the Southern District of Mississippi, rising to the position of Chief of the Civil Division. In addition, he was a partner at Pigott Reeves Johnson, PA in Jackson, MS, and clerked for the Mississippi Supreme Court. Judge Reeves has taught at Jackson State and Mississippi College School of Law. He has served on numerous boards and commissions including the ACLU of Mississippi, Mississippi Workers Center for Human Rights, Mississippi Center for Justice, Mississippi Access to Justice Commission, Mississippi Center for Legal Services, and the Mississippi Capital Defense Resource Center. Judge Reeves is the recipient of many honors and awards, including the Magnolia Bar’s highest honor, the R. Jess Brown Award, the Mississippi Bar’s Curtis E. Coker Access to Justice Award, and the Hinds County Bar’s Pro Bono Award.

Breaking Into The Field: A How-To Guide For Aspiring Workers’ Rights Advocates
Thursday, June 23
1:30–7:30 p.m.
$10 Current law students and recent graduates of sponsoring law schools
$45 Law students and recent graduates of non-sponsoring law schools

Los Angeles area law students and recent graduates who are studying for the bar examination are invited to participate in the National Employment Lawyers Association’s (NELA’s) 2016 Annual Convention for an afternoon of learning, networking, and tips for success for becoming a workers’ rights advocate.

This program is sponsored by the National Employment Lawyers Association and The Employee Rights Advocacy Institute For Law & Policy. Find out more.


Tobias 5K Run
Friday, June 24
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 L.A. before the morning plenary.

Lights, Camera, Action!
2016 Gala Fundraiser
Friday, June 24
7:30–11:00 p.m.
Westin Bonaventure Hotel & Suites

Featuring The #NELA16 Talent Show With Karaoke, Music, Dancing & Dessert

Gala LogoLights!
With hundreds of plaintiffs’ employment lawyers from across the country gathering in Los Angeles for #NELA16, NELA will devote Friday evening, June 24, 2016, to a festive celebration of the remarkable talents, steadfast commitment, and undeniable passion of the members of our NELA family.

You are the focus of Lights, Camera, Action! The #NELA16 Talent Show is an opportunity for NELA members and our guests to share their gifts in a relaxed and fun environment with a highly supportive audience.

We welcome your support of Lights, Camera, Action! As a sponsor of NELA’s 2016 Annual Gala Fundraiser, you will play a vital role in strengthening NELA’s voice in our nation’s capital and courtrooms across the country. Get the details.
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Comments From NELA’s 2015 Annual Convention Participants

This was an incredible Convention. Great faculty with lots of energy.

I learned so much at this Convention. For instance, I can now go back and re-work each case with more confidence and focus.

Great experience for a new lawyer. Now I know what I don’t know.

As usual, great and energizing, and I walked away with some action items for many of my cases, as well as great folks to speak with about them!

Keep doing what you’re doing—I found so many of the sessions spot on about issues I’m dealing with at work.
2016 Annual Convention Committee

J. Bernard Alexander, III
Nieves Bolanos
Subhashini Bollini

Kelly Brandon
Terisa E. Chaw
Joseph D. Garrison
Charles E. Guerrier
Matthew C. Koski
David L. Lee
Karen Maoki
Michelle Matheson
Trang Q. Tran