Convention Highlights

Be Inspired 

The opening plenary session, “‘Be The Change: Honoring Courageous Plaintiffs,” will bring to life the stories of three remarkable individuals 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.

Be Informed

In addition to honoring our Courageous Plaintiffs, the Convention will feature plenary sessions on “Let’s Get To Work! Defending & Advancing Employee Rights,” “Because ‘Cause’ Matters: Causation Under Federal & State Employment Discrimination Laws,” and the indispensable “Year In Review: Significant Developments In Employment Law.” Dedicated program tracks on Discovery, Trial Advocacy, Representing Vulnerable & Underserved Workers, and for New Lawyers (and lawyers new to the practice of plaintiffs’ employment law) will help you identify sessions that are directly relevant to your practice.

Beyond the program tracks, other cutting-edge substantive law and practical skills presentations will cover a diverse range of topics, including defeating summary judgment, creative settlement terms, maximizing damages, national origin discrimination, defining employment relationships in the 21st century, and many others.

Be The Change

Together with NELA, your advocacy—each client, each case, and each fight for equality—is amplified by the over 4,000 NELA and Affiliate members who share your passion for justice. We hope to see you in San Antonio to Be The Change that will build a stronger future for workers across the country.

Social Justice Lawyering: From Law Student To Employee Advocate

Wednesday, June 21
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.

This presentation is co-sponsored by The Employee Rights Advocacy Institute For Law & Policy, Haynes & Haynes, PC; King & Greisen, LLP; Law Offices of David L. Lee; Salawdeh Law Office, LLC. Schall & Barasch, LLC; and Webster & Fredrickson, PLLC.

NELA Law Student Panel

President's Welcome Reception

Wednesday, June 21
6:30–8:00 p.m.

Convention participants are invited to join NELA President Alicia K. Haynes, the NELA Executive Board, and the 2017 Annual Convention Committee for an informal gathering to celebrate 32 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 Texas Employment Lawyers Association.


Be The Change: Honoring Courageous Plaintiffs

Annual Convention Opening Plenary
Thursday, June 22
9:30 a.m.
The opening plenary session, “Be The Change: Honoring Courageous Plaintiffs,” will bring to life the stories of three remarkable individuals, Juan Alonzo-Miranda, Yosif Bakhit, and Gretchen Carlson, 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.

Courageous Plaintiffs

2017 Annual Convention Keynote Speaker

Kevin H. SharpThe Honorable Kevin H. Sharp
Thursday, June 22
12:15–1:45 p.m.

NELA is privileged to welcome the Honorable Kevin H. Sharp to this year’s Annual Convention. A former NELA member, Judge Sharp was nominated on November 17, 2010 by President Barack Obama for the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee. He was confirmed by Congress on May 2, 2011 by a vote of 89–0. Judge Sharp will leave the bench this April to return to his roots as a plaintiffs’ employment lawyer to head the Nashville office of Sanford Heisler LLP, one of the nation’s preeminent civil rights and public interest law firm.

Tobias 5K Run

Friday, June 23
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 along the famous San Antonio River Walk before the morning plenary.

Simply The Best

2017 Gala Fundraiser
Friday, June 23
7:30–11:00 p.m.
San Antonio Marriott Rivercenter

Please join the NELA and Institute family for an unforgettable farewell celebration honoring NELA's Executive Director Terisa E. Chaw, who will retire in July 2017, at NELA’s Annual Gala Fundraiser, Simply The Best. After dinner on your own, we will gather for dessert to say thank you and good-bye to NELA’s leader and inspiration. Simply The Best will feature a brief program recognizing Teri’s achievements followed by a night of live music and dancing featuring the Bad Funky Bones, San Antonio’s renowned Motown, Soul, and Funk Band.
Paul and Teri

Convention Ambassadors

Help Welcome New Convention Attendees!

We are looking for volunteers to serve as Ambassadors for 2017 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!
Convention Ambassador details and checklist.
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.
Comments From NELA’s 2016 Annual Convention Participants

This was my first NELA event. I enjoyed it and learned a lot.

Best NELA Convention so far. I had a great time and look forward to an awesome Convention next year.

Great materials by the speakers for my sessions. Great job done by all.

It is invaluable to have all the materials, especially for the concurrent sessions that I wasn’t able to attend.
2017 Annual Convention Committee

Kelly Brandon
Daniel B. Kohrman
Susan D. Motley

Bryce W. Ashby
Terisa E. Chaw
Joseph D. Garrison
Karla Gilbride
Charles E. Guerrier
Matthew C. Koski
Matthew Lango
Karen Maoki
Rachhana T. Srey

New Lawyers Track Subcommittee
Bryce W. Ashby
Terisa E. Chaw
Charles E. Guerrier
Matthew Lango
Susan D. Motley

Representing Vulnerable & Underserved Workers Track Subcommittee
Rachel M. Bien
Justin D. Cummins
Brendan Donelon
Gilda “Jill” Hernandez
Laura L. Ho
Daniel A Katz
David L. Kern
Matthew C. Koski
Rachhana T. Srey
Meredith Stewart
Justin M. Swartz
Marni Willenson