Following their successful outreach effort with Southern University Law Center at last year's Midwinter Meeting, a group of Employee Benefits Committee members took time to visit the University of San Diego Law School and held a panel discussion on careers in employee benefits law.
Employee Benefits Committee members M'Alyssa Mecenas of Seyfarth Shaw from Los Angeles, California, Michelle Roberts of Springer & Roberts from Alameda, California, along with Ali Khawar of the U.S. Department of Labor's Employee Benefits Security Administration and John Harney of O'Donoghue & O'Donoghue LLP, both from Washington, D.C., met with USD Law School students and spoke about the breadth of the employee benefits practice from a Management, Plaintiff, Government, and Union perspective. Students heard how ERISA impacts other areas of the law including labor and employment law, family law, trust and estates, and health law, and learned the merits of government service as well as the varied legal sectors where attorneys with an understanding of ERISA secure employment.
USD Students were very engaged and interested in everything from the benefits claim process to government service. Panelists discussed their career paths, current work, and the challenges of balancing work and personal life. The Labor and Employment Law Section helped underwrite this diversity effort by providing transportation, lunch, and raffle prizes in the form of flash drives with the LEL logo and a copy of the Employee Benefits Law treatise with supplement. The panelists also wish to acknowledge the work of Denise Clark of Clark Law Group PLLC of Washington, D.C. who helped organize the panel and secure funding and support for the Committee's effort.
The success of this effort has encouraged the Employee Benefits Committee to make law student outreach a permanent part of its Midwinter Meetings with a focus on reaching out to minority students. Committee members intend to organize similar panel discussions for minority law students in Las Vegas for the Committee's next Midwinter Meeting scheduled in February 2015.