Issue: February 2019

Chair's Column

I have come to understand that all times of the year are exciting times for the Section, but Midwinter Meeting season is always special!  Our Standing Committees have long been the driving force of our Section, and the Midwinter Meetings provide each Committee with an opportunity to bring their members together, learn from and network with one another and interact with high level government officials.  I can also personally attest that Midwinter Meetings are a great place to form lifetime friendships.

Six excellent Midwinter Meetings have already taken place since the beginning of the year.    Visit the pages linked below to view program materials for each of these meetings:

Seven more Midwinter Meetings will take place over the next three months.  Visit the links below to view the program agendas and other meeting details. 

Occupational Safety and Health Law
March 6-8
San Juan, Puerto Rico

Railway and Airline Labor and Employment Law
March 6-8
New Orleans, Louisiana

Federal Sector Labor and Employment Law
March 11-12
Washington, DC

Workers' Compensation
March 14-16
Coral Gables, Florida

Employment Rights and Responsibilities
March 19-23
Las Vegas, Nevada

Equal Employment Opportunity
April 3-6
Coral Gables, Florida

Technology in the Practice and Workplace
April 10-12
Chicago, Illinois

International Labor and Employment Law
May 5-9
Buenos Aires, Argentina

If you have not already done so, I urge you to attend at least one of our Midwinter Meetings, it is unquestionably the best way to become engaged with the work of our great Section.

I am also pleased to announce that the Section is now accepting applications for our next Leadership Development Program (“LDP”) which will take place in Chicago from July 17–19, 2019. The LDP provides a pathway for leadership within the Section by offering training in leadership skills to a select group of Section members and then engaging them in a wide range of Section activities. The Section encourages applications from active Section members as well as Section members who have been active in other bar organizations and want to get involved with our Section. Diversity and inclusion is a key component of the curriculum, as well as effective mentoring relationships, communication skills, conflict resolution, emotional intelligence and self-assessment. The application period will close on April 12, 2019..

We are also accepting applications for our 2nd Trial Institute, which will take place in Chicago on September 19–22, 2019. This year’s Trial Institute will be co-sponsored once again by Chicago Kent Law School and the National Employment Law Council (NELC), a minority bar association comprised of prominent management side L&E lawyers. Over the course of three days, a faculty of judges and top L&E attorneys from across the country will teach participants the nuts and bolts of trial preparation and trial techniques through a combination of lectures, breakout sessions and hands on demonstrations. On the final day, participants will try a case from start to finish before actual federal judges in federal courtrooms in Chicago. Throughout the Institute, participants will receive extensive feedback from the faculty, coaches and real judges.  On January [add dates], 2019, we completed the National Finals of our 15th Annual Law Student Trial Advocacy Competition, which also took place in the federal courthouse in New Orleans.   Congratulations St. Thomas University, which prevailed in the final round over UCLA!  I would like to extend my deepest appreciation to Howard Shapiro and Matt McCluer, Co-Chairs of our National Finals in New Orleans and a very special thanks to the Honorable Nanette J. Brown, Chief Judge of the Eastern District of Louisiana, who presided over our final round.  An article that appears in this issue of the FLASH provides a more detailed account of this year’s Competition, which I hope will inspire you to sign up to be a judge or evaluator in the 16th Annual Competition.

We continue to plan for the implementation of the ABA’s New Membership Model (“NMM”), which will radically reduce dues for newer lawyers beginning on September 1, 2019. Indeed, lawyers who have been in practice for fewer than five years will see their annual dues slashed from $450 to $75 per year! Annual dues will then gradually increase by $75 to $100 every five years of practice thereafter.  Dues for government lawyers and small firm lawyers will be capped at $150 per year.  I am excited about the opportunities that the NMM will provide to recruit newer lawyers to the Section, and I am inspired by the work already being done on this initiative by our Section’s membership committees (Outreach to Young Lawyers, Member Services, Membership Development, Outreach to Government Lawyers, Outreach to Law Students, and Social Media Committees).  Indeed, they have already worked together to develop an action plan for rolling out the NMM  to newer lawyers and identifying ways to make our Section even more relevant to young lawyers. Among other things, they have significantly stepped up our presence on social media, particularly Twitter and LinkedIn—so please start following our Twitter handle @abalel and visit our LinkedIn page to track the latest Section news!

As you can see, the first two months of 2019 have been action packed for the Section, and we have a lot of exciting events on the docket!  I hope to see many of you at Midwinter Meetings in the coming months!