February 16, 2017

Spring Meeting in New Orleans Highlights Section’s Programming and Networking

Rick Paszkiet

Beignets, CLE, jazz, and a host of networking opportunities will be on display at the Business Law Section’s Spring Meeting in New Orleans on April 5–8.

“I have always enjoyed visiting New Orleans, and I came to learn that the Business Law Section had only once before, in its almost 80-year history, hosted a meeting there,” said William D. Johnson, Chair of the Business Law Section (BLS). “This is a wonderful opportunity to celebrate the rebirth of a great American city.”

Johnston noted that another reason for choosing New Orleans is the rich cultural diversity of the city. He also applauds New Orleanians for their resiliency, optimism, and sense of community.

More than 90 CLE programs are scheduled at the meeting on a wide array of topics, and members may attend any of the Section’s committee and subcommittee meetings. Many receptions and dinners are scheduled to allow the attendee a good mix of learning and networking.

“Besides the programming being top-notch, hands-on, and helpful in a very practical way for business law practitioners,” said Denise Kraft, Co-Chair, BLS New Orleans Host Committee. “There is terrific value in the friendships that develop after years of seeing the same people with the same interests and the further opportunities to develop new friendships at each meeting.”

Johnston and more than a dozen other Section leaders will present practical tips for a successful business law career to students from the Loyola University New Orleans College of Law, Louisiana State University School of Law, Southern University School of Law, and Tulane University Law School. The networking programs will share perspectives about the various practice areas in business law. These programs highlight BLS member expertise and how newer members can become more active in the Section. The deans of each participating law school are members of the New Orleans Host Committee.

The Diversity Networking Reception will kick off the meeting on Wednesday, April 5, at the Hyatt Regency. The Section reception is on Thursday, April 6, at the Hyatt Regency, featuring New Orleans music and cuisine. Committee dinners are scheduled that evening at top dining spots in New Orleans.

The Section dinner will be on Friday, April 7.

“Probably one of the most exciting features of this year’s Spring Meeting is the Section Dinner format. This year the Section leadership under Bill Johnston and the ABA staff have been very creative with the dinner by transforming it into a New Orleans style party at Mardi Gras World,” said Paul J. Masinter, a New Orleans native and Co-Chair of the Host Committee. “The Spring Meeting attendees who go to the dinner will have the option of being transported to the dinner via a Mardi Gras float parade through the Central Business District or, alternatively, taking a shuttle. Once at Mardi Gras World, the attendees will be treated to a fantastic party with one of New Orleans premier musicians—Rockin Dopsie and the Zydeco Twisters—providing the entertainment. The food and refreshments will showcase New Orleans cuisine at its best.”

In addition, guests who stay over the weekend may experience the local free French Quarter Festival.

“New Orleanians are some of the most welcoming people I have ever met,” said Masinter. “Their openness and kindness sets the tone for everything visitors love about New Orleans—the restaurants, music, and festivals are all rooted in the ease with which New Orleans welcomes visitors. I guess that is why we are called the Big Easy.”

And the friendly New Orleans setting is ideal to become more involved with the Section.

“Members of the BLS who regularly attend the BLS in-person meetings are a particularly friendly and helpful group and more than happy to take a new attendee under their wings and introduce them around the old-fashioned way,” said Kraft. “That’s how I started at the BLS in-person meetings many years ago. I didn’t know anyone and just showed up but soon found myself among new friends (now old friends).”

Rick Paszkiet