Friday, June 24, 2016

   Wednesday | Thursday | Saturday

7:00 a.m.

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

7:00–9:00 a.m.

Registration & Continental Breakfast

9:00–10:15 a.m.

Using The Restatement Of Employment Law To Your Client’s Advantage
Moderator/Speaker: Joseph D. Garrison
Speakers: Alice W. Ballard, Professor Samuel Estreicher, Professor Michael C. Harper & Cliff Palefsky
The first Restatement of Employment Law was published in mid-2015. Like other Restatements, it should have significant influence with the courts, both state and federal, when they apply common law principles. Our panel includes two of the four Reporters, the Chief Reporter Professor Samuel Estreicher, and the Reporter writing on the existence of the employment relationship as well as employment torts, Professor Michael Harper. We plan to highlight those sections of the Restatement that are most beneficial to NELA lawyers, as well as brainstorm how unsettled questions in the common law can be answered to your client’s benefit.

10:45 a.m.–12:00 p.m.

CONCURRENT SESSIONS

Discovery

Taking Rule 30(b)(6) Corporate Depositions: Strategies For Success
Moderator/Speaker: Walt Auvil
Speakers: Cyrus Mehri & Robert L. Schug
A popular topic on The NELA Exchange, 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.

Nuts & Bolts

Advocating For The Rights Of LGBT Employees
Moderator/Speaker: Teresa S. Renaker
Speakers: Ria Tabacco Mar, Jacob Richards & Julie Wilensky
With the U.S. Supreme Court’s decisions on marriage equality in United States v. Windsor and Obergefell v. Hodges, it is easy to overlook the existence of widespread and continuing discrimination against LGBT workers. While recent developments in the EEOC and federal courts have clarified the scope of Title VII’s protections for LGBT individuals, not all employers are subject to federal laws prohibiting discrimination. Join a panel of experienced practitioners to discuss the current state of LGBT rights in the workplace, including recent developments in Title VII law, pension and health benefits issues affecting employees with same-sex spouses, and issues relating to transgender health care exclusions.

Trial Advocacy

How To Win Harassment, Discrimination & Punitive Damage Claims Without An HR Expert
Moderator/Speaker: Nancy Bornn
Speakers: Scott R. Ames & Amy Oppenheimer
Having an HR expert testify as to the standard of care is a well-established method for proving a claim that the employer failed to take reasonable steps to prevent, correct, and remedy harassment or discrimination—and showing the employer’s lack of care may provide the basis for punitive damages. Not every case warrants the expense, however, and in others, a judge might erroneously exclude the expert. Our speakers will discuss how to win these claims without an HR expert. They will provide you with a detailed outline of each of the elements required to meet the existing standard of care relating to (1) creating, communicating, and implementing anti-harassment/discrimination policies; (2) training employees and supervisors; (3) developing and implementing effective complaint procedures; (4) conducting proper investigations; and (5) taking appropriate remedial actions. The outline can be used as a template for the deposition of the employer’s HR personnel, as the basis for special jury instructions, and/or as a checklist for your HR expert. A mock cross-examination of the employer’s HR personnel through the use of the outline will be presented.

Wage & Hour

Hot Topics In Wage & Hour Law
Moderator/Speaker: Christine E. Webber
Speakers: David Borgen, Richard J. Burch & Catherine K. Ruckelshaus
Hear from expert practitioners about the latest developments in wage and hour law including the proposed white collar regulations, the newly implemented home care regulations, the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent ruling in Tyson v. Bouaphakeo, issues with settlements and the scope of releases in class and collective actions, the latest on what to include in calculating the regular rate, decisions on the defense bar’s attempt to bar recovery in off-the-clock cases with a “see no overtime, hear no overtime, pay no overtime” position, and more.

California Employment Law

Winning Pre- And Post-Trial Motions
Moderator/Speaker: Jayme L. Walker
Speaker: Darci E. Burrell & Valerie T. McGinty
Carefully developing and implementing a strategy regarding pre- and post-trial motions is essential to maximize both your chances of winning at trial and preserving every aspect of your victory when you prevail. Our presenters will discuss strategy and tactics regarding: (1) motions in limine; (2) opposing motions for new trial and JNOV; and (3) motions for attorney fees. In doing so, they will describe the specific substantive and timing requirements for each type of motion, suggest best practices, and provide a compendium of examples.

 

Recent Developments In Representing Federal Employees: EEOC’s Management Directive 110
Moderator/Speaker: Joseph V. Kaplan
Speakers: Cathy A. Harris & Victor Voloshin
In August 2015, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) issued its new Management Directive 110, which complements the EEOC’s federal sector regulations (29 CFRR part 1614), by spelling out in great detail each party’s obligations in the EEO process, requirements of the investigation, investigators’ authority, judges’ authority, the role of the agency representative and so forth. The MD-110 is mandatory guidance, the violations of which can lead to sanctions. Some new changes clarify that the Responsible Management Official cannot be the agency’s Settlement Official, and contain controversial provisions regarding the role of agency counsel in the investigation process (Chp. 1, IVD. Separation of EEO Complaint Program from Agency’s Defensive Function). This session is a must for federal employee rights practitioners!

11:30 a.m.–12:45 p.m

Box Lunch
Box lunch is available to Convention registrants only.


NELA Members Forum
Join NELA President Alicia K. Haynes, the NELA Executive Board, and NELA Staff to learn about the exciting new initiatives and programs of the largest plaintiffs’ employment law firm on the planet! We will talk about how you can get involved with NELA’s Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Initiative, Amicus Program, continuing legal education seminars and webinars, and in advancing our legislative and public policy priorities. You will also learn about the newest features of The NELA Exchange to maximize the power of one of NELA’s most popular member benefits.


NELA Committee & Practice Group Meetings
Convention participants are welcome to attend the committee and practice group meetings of their choice. Please check the bulletin board at the Registration Desk for other meetings.


Feedback Wanted: EEOC's Online System For Intake & Charges
Speakers: Martin Ebel, Director Field Management Programs, EEOC & Cathy Ventrell-Monsees, Senior Counsel to the Chair, EEOC
The EEOC is developing online systems to improve its service to individuals with complaints of discrimination in the private sector. The EEOC invites NELA members to provide feedback on an online self-assessment to help individuals understand if they have a charge of discrimination and schedule an intake appointment with the agency. The EEOC is also developing a system to digitally communicate with charging parties who have filed charges and welcomes NELA members input to the design and features of this system.

2:00–3:15 p.m.

CONCURRENT SESSIONS

Discovery

ESI On The Offense: Holding Defendants' Feet To The Fire
Moderator: Sonal Bhatia
Speakers: Jeff Kerr & Trang Q. Tran
This session provides a big picture view of the new world of employment law in an age of smart phones, social media, email communications, cyber hacks, and more. Our speakers will explore the many ways that employment law is affected by technology and provide specific tips for handling technology-based issues. They also will discuss the leading case law in this area, where we should and should not fight discovery requests, and then delve into real world logistics. You will learn about the best practices for downloading, reviewing, and producing social media and other electronic communications, determining whether it can be done in-house, by the client or requires outside help, and the costs associated with the same.

Nuts & Bolts

There’s No Smoking Gun: Proving Discrimination & Retaliation By Pretext
Moderator/Speaker: Patricia A. Barasch
Speakers: Susan M. Coler & Professor Michael L. Foreman
In the absence of direct or obvious evidence, many types of employer conduct can establish an intent to discriminate or retaliate. Learn how plaintiffs can win these cases through pretextual evidence alone and how to challenge employers’ defenses. Our speakers will provide a review of how courts analyze the various kinds of pretext and where the case law is headed on this critical battleground topic.

Trial Advocacy

Jury Selection For Employment Cases
Moderator/Speaker: Andrew Dwyer
Speakers: Sonia Chopra & Harry Plotkin
This presentation is aimed at an intermediate to advanced audience. A veteran NELA trial lawyer will be joined by two nationally renowned jury consultants to discuss juror research; preparation for jury selection; drafting effective voir dire; laying the foundation for “for cause” challenges; responding to “for cause” challenges and allegations of juror bias; use of peremptory challenges; Batson challenges; and identifying “good” and “bad” jurors for employment cases.

Wage & Hour

Co-Counseling & Cooperating With Other Plaintiffs’ Lawyers (Or Playing Nice In The Sandbox)
Moderator: Justin M. Swartz
Speakers: J. Derek Braziel, Gilda A. Hernandez & Douglas M. Werman
Working with other plaintiffs’ lawyers can be rewarding, profitable, and challenging—all at the same time. The speakers on this panel have worked with each other and with other plaintiffs’ lawyers and have lived to talk about it. They will address tactical and logistical issues that arise when plaintiffs’ counsel work together as co-counsel or work alongside each other in parallel litigation. The panel will explore some of the thornier issues that arise in co-counsel relationships, including drafting co-counsel agreements, determining who is in charge, assigning work, sharing information, paying costs, dealing with media, handling future cases, and (of course) dividing fees, among others. In addition, the panel will discuss issues that arise when plaintiffs’ counsel prosecute claims in related cases in the same or different courts, including coordination and transfer (in MDLs or otherwise), discovery coordination, and mediation. Audience participation is encouraged.

California Employment Law

Delivering Dynamic Opening & Closing Statements
Moderator: J. Bernard Alexander, III
Speakers: Kathleen L. Bogas, Lawrance A. Bohm, Alicia K. Haynes & Arash Homampour
A diverse mix of highly-experienced practitioners will discuss ways to craft and deliver energetic and persuasive opening and closing statements. Each of our seasoned advocates will present on a different underlying subject matter, and will share their tips and tactics for engaging your next jury effectively.

 

Mediating Your Way To Success
Mediators: Lynne S. Bassis & Mark S. Rudy
Plaintiff: Karen E. Pointer | Plaintiff’s Counsel: Toni J. Jaramilla
Defendant: Tony R. Skogen | Defense Counsel: Lester L. Jones
Learn effective strategies and gain insights for mediation—and get a behind-the-scenes look at what plaintiff and defense lawyers are discussing—through a simulated mediation presented by veteran mediators and practitioners

3:45–5:00 p.m.

CONCURRENT SESSIONS

Discovery

The Key Discovery Battles In Employment Law Litigation
Moderator/Speaker: James H. Kaster
Speakers: Katherine L. Butler & Michael R. Fox
From timeliness of response to social media issues to “past bad acts” to preservation of electronic information, this session focuses on the biggest issues plaintiff and defense lawyers debate in nearly every litigation battle. Our panel will discuss the best arguments on both sides of these discovery fights as well as the actual outcomes in cases they have handled.

Nuts & Bolts

Accommodating Religious Beliefs & Practices In The Workplace
Moderator: Charles E. Guerrier
Speakers: Amy L. Coopman, Jennifer S. Goldstein & Todd R. McFarland
This presentation offers practical guidance on religious accommodation questions employees often face: whether an employer may consider customer preferences, what triggers the obligation to reasonably accommodate, what questions an employer may and may not ask, whether a seniority system overrides a religious accommodation request, and when an accommodation may pose an undue hardship on the employer’s operations. Included within the discussion is an overview of the EEOC’s new technical assistance on Religious Garb and Grooming in the Workplace along with recent decisions on this topic.

Wage & Hour

FLSA Basics: Exemptions Galore & Much, Much More!
Moderator: Rachhana T. Srey
Speakers: Todd F. Jackson, Troy L. Kessler & Jahan C. Sagafi
Just dipping your big toe in the FLSA pool? Want to get your whole foot, maybe even your whole body, in the water, but may need to learn a bit more? This panel of dedicated FLSA practitioners will cover the basics in terms of substantive FLSA issues, including lesser known exemptions, what constitutes compensable hours worked under the FLSA, and a variety of regulated rate and damages issues. They will also provide practical tips for how to conduct a proper intake for an FLSA case.

California Employment Law

Age Discrimination In Focus
Speakers: J. Gary Gwilliam & Daniel B. Kohrman
As more Americans will be working longer into their older years, the need for robust enforcement of both state and federal age discrimination laws is more important than ever. A number of positive results in cases arising under both California and federal law provide encouragement that the courts can provide an effective means of recourse when workers are targeted, individually or collectively, because of their age. Our presenters will share their experiences successfully litigating individual and class age claims under the Fair Employment and Housing Act in Anderton v. Bass Underwriters and Andrews v. Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, as well as favorable rulings on behalf of older workers in collective actions arising under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act and the Older Workers Benefit Protection Act in McLeod v. General Mills and Villareal v. R.J. Reynolds. Our panelists will discuss what can be learned to help practitioners better advocate on behalf of an aging workforce.

 

Deferred Compensation Issues In Negotiating Severance Agreements
Moderator/Speaker: Wayne N. Outten
Speakers: Margo Hasselman, Susan P. Serota & David Weiner
Deferred compensation (e.g., restricted stock, stock options, and other equity-based interests) present special issues when negotiating severance agreements. Our panelists will discuss techniques for protecting and maximizing the value of such interests, such as achieving accelerated or continued vesting and/or value in lieu of such interests. Hear from experts on negotiation strategies, valuation of such interests, and tax traps in separation agreements (IRC Section 409A and more). Special attention will be given to these issues as they relate to start-up companies.

 

Successfully Representing Undocumented Workers In Employment Litigation
Moderator/Speaker: Nieves Bolanos
Speakers: Justin D. Cummins & Christopher Ho
This presentation will explore the effects of immigration status on employment litigation and offer practical techniques to represent undocumented workers successfully. Topics include methods for assessing the immigration-related risks of litigation and counseling undocumented plaintiffs about those risks without exaggerating them; strategies for keeping immigration status out of the litigation; managing litigation, discovery, and proof issues; winning protective orders barring discovery of immigration status and educating judges on how to handle this issue properly; retaliation against plaintiffs still employed by the defendant; using the USDOL-ICE Memorandum of Understanding to your client’s advantage; and concerns that arise in structuring settlements for undocumented workers and paying out litigation proceeds.

7:30–11:00 p.m.

NELA’s Annual Gala Fundraiser | Lights, Camera, Action!
With hundreds of plaintiffs’ employment lawyers from across the country gathering in Los Angeles for #NELA16, NELA will devote this year’s Annual Gala Fundraiser to a festive celebration of the remarkable talents, steadfast commitment, and undeniable passion of the members of our NELA family. Lights, Camera, Action! will feature “The #NELA16 Talent Show,” along with karaoke, music, dancing, and dessert. Proceeds from Lights, Camera, Action! will advance equality and justice in the American workplace by fueling NELA’s Amicus, Judicial Nominations, and Legislative & Public Policy Programs,