Saturday, June 25, 2016

   Wednesday | Thursday | Friday

7:30–9:00 a.m.

Registration & Continental Breakfast

9:00–10:15 a.m.



Best Practices For Taking & Defending Depositions
Moderator/Speaker: David L. Lee
Speakers: Kathleen M. Cahill & Renuka V. Jain
Depositions set the stage for success or failure at trial. Geared for new attorneys, veteran NELA practitioners will share best practices and techniques to gather information, secure admissions, refresh memory, impeach witnesses, and confirm theories that set the foundation for successful motions, persuasive settlement tactics, and more effective and efficient trial presentations. They also will discuss how to prepare your client for deposition, deal with objections, and cope with obstreperous counsel, and teach you when and how to make proper objections and instruct your client/witness not to answer.

Nuts & Bolts

Winning Strategies When Your Client Is Forced To Arbitrate
Moderator/Speaker: Kathryn Burkett Dickson
Speakers: The Honorable Elaine Gordon, Shannon Liss-Riordan & Paul J. Lukas
The U.S. Supreme Court has spoken and more and more employees are being forced to arbitrate workplace disputes. Our panel of experts will discuss recent case law and NLRB developments that may affect whether and how your clients’ claims are arbitrated; when and if you should fight arbitration; and how to maximize the aspects of arbitration that can benefit your clients. They will address issues that arise when your client is sent to arbitration, such as what you can accomplish in court before arbitration, how to select an arbitrator, navigating the arbitration process, and the differences between litigating in an arbitral forum and in court.

Trial Advocacy


If You Want To Defeat Summary Judgment Or Win At Trial, Think Like A Journalist
Speakers: Dennis E. Egan & Chip Muller
This session will examine how the best employee rights advocates often use journalists’ best practices to advance their clients’ interests and win in court. Dennis Egan, a former newspaper reporter, and Chip Muller, a former television reporter, will share how reporters’ professional habits can be deadly weapons in the employment lawyer’s toolbox. You will learn how to write clearly and simply for maximum impact; start with your “best stuff first” to grab the attention of judge or jury; use pictures, graphs, and sound to tell your client’s story; apply storytelling devices such as repetition, foreshadowing, and humanizing to make judges and juries care about your client; and how to dive deep into facts and documents, and interview witnesses to create a robust factual record and understanding of your case.

Wage & Hour

Who Is An Employer & Who Is An Employee?
Moderator: Rachel M. Bien
Speakers: James Kan, Peter Sung Ohr & Douglas M. Werman
The fissured workplace is making it increasingly difficult to identify who is the employee and who is the employer in wage and hour litigation and other employment litigation. This presentation will address the state of the law under the FLSA, state wage and hour laws, and the NLRA, which contains a recently clarified definition of “joint employer” that is very favorable to our clients. It will focus on discovery and litigation strategies for pursuing claims based on a variety of different business models that include subcontractors, independent contractors, interns, volunteers, labor brokers, temporary staffing, franchises, and third-party managers. Our panelists will also discuss how joint employment can help to find insurance coverage, to avoid uncollectible judgments, and to improve settlement opportunities.

California Employment Law


Overcoming The Harris Defense
Moderator/Speaker: Barbara E. Figari
Speakers: Craig T. Byrnes & Kelly A. Knight
It has been over three years since the California Supreme Court adopted a burden-shifting framework for Fair Employment and Housing Act claims in Harris v. City of Santa Monica, which included the damages-eliminating “same decision” defense. Our panelists will review how the Harris framework has informed their litigation strategies and altered their tactics at different stages in a case, and share best practices for representing workers under the new standard. They will also analyze the strengths and weaknesses of the existing California Civil Instructions regarding the “same decision” defense, and suggest ways for crafting and presenting instructions in ways that will maximize your ability to recover all of the damages to which your client is entitled.


Ethical Pitfalls For Plaintiffs’ Employment Lawyers
Moderator/Speaker: David L. Kern
Speakers: Carla D. Brown & Gary Savine
It is important to understand that even the most talented and diligent attorneys make mistakes. As such, it is imperative to learn the common hazards that exist in day-to-day practice. NELA’s ethics experts will teach you about the common traps and equip you with skills and strategies on how to avoid them. They will examine specific high-risk areas related to substantive competence, handling of client property, and the wellness-discipline connection. In addition, they will address what to do when named in a disciplinary complaint; how adopting the elements of professionalism helps ward off disciplinary exposure; issues that arise in multiple client representation; and the need to show restraint and act professionally on social media.

10:45 a.m.–12:15 p.m.

The Year In Review: Significant Developments In Employment Law
Moderator: Matthew C. Koski
Speakers: Professor Eric Schnapper & Richard T. Seymour
The 2016 Annual Convention will close with Professor Schnapper and Mr. Seymour discussing the employment cases decided by the U.S. Supreme Court during its 2015–2016 term, significant legislative and state law developments, as well as emerging issues in plaintiffs’ employment law.

 12:15 p.m.

Convention Adjourns: Closing Remarks By Paul H. Tobias

   Wednesday | Thursday | Friday

* Invited but not confirmed.

Program subject to change without notice.