With the closing of the 2011 Committee Midwinter Meeting season, I would like to point out to our members that Continuing Legal Education (for our own members as well for non-member practitioners) is, in my mind, probably the primary function of our Section. The publication of expert and balanced treatises, in 27 separate publications, is a close second. The budgets for the past two years and the tentative budget for 2012 show that just about sixty per cent of our revenues and expenses are related to providing CLE. This includes our Annual Conference, committee midwinter meetings, our programming at the Annual ABA meeting, and various webinars held throughout the year on new cases and hot topics. Our next major event is the ABA Annual Meeting, August 4-7 in Toronto, Canada. ABA Annual Meeting registration information can be found elsewhere in this issue.
While it is true that we have had less CLE Programming at the ABA Annual Meeting than in prior years since we started holding our own Annual Conference, the programs we have put on have been uniformly excellent and will be again this year. The CLE Committee through Samantha Grant and the Annual Meeting Co-chairs Eric Tate, Stanley Gosch, Beth Terell, and Lisa Kohn have been hard at work on developing a great program for Toronto which takes advantage of the Canadian venue in terms of some speakers and topics. We were pleased that one of our programs was again selected by the ABA to be Showcase Program at the Annual Meeting. Entitled "Investigating and Forgetting on the Web", this Showcase will deal with issues facing all of us. Every month there seems to be a new site, or a new app designed to connect multiple sites and make it easier for users to link to each other and to share personal, biographical, attitudinal information and other resources and media. Employers now mine these sites for information about employees, applicants, and plaintiffs, and many unions use these tools or variants to communicate with their members and potential members. A panel of Canadian and American attorneys will examine the privacy, liability, and other potential problems raised by the constantly-expanding social media universe. The panel will also examine potential solutions, including whether the use of “cleaners,” social media expiration dates and other mechanisms to purge on-line histories could be used to benefit employees or to hamper employers and, if so, what the legal implications would be of using these new technologies.
In addition to the Showcase program, we will have the following programs. A Divided North America: Comparing LGBT Rights in the US and Canada; Calculating Damages in An Employment Case: Strategies for the Canadian and U.S. Litigant; Class Action Litigation After Dukes v. Wal-Mart; Cross-Border Mergers and Acquisitions; Enforceability of Restrictive Covenants in Canada Versus the U.S. In addition we will be having a program focusing on the hot topic of Public Sector Bargaining and the ubiquitous issue of Contracting Out.
I hope you can make plans to join us in Toronto.
Chair, ABA Section of Labor and Employment Law