The morning began with the Council meeting at 9:00 a.m. There was a long agenda. The central focus was the upcoming Labor and Employment Law Conference put on by the section in Denver, Colorado. It’s our 2nd annual CLE Conference and it will be held from September 10-13, 2008. It is a very large conference with several substantive tracks. If you’re a regular bloggie, you will remember I blogged the first one in Philadelphia, last October. It takes a lot of preparation to put on this one program, so there were many conversations around both the programming and the social events. We also received an update on the newsletter during the meeting. It’s awesome and I’ll see if we can link to itMeeting Attendees so you can see it for yourselves. For those of you who are interested in and follow labor and employment law, it’s both timely and informative. There were reports given on the section’s publications, discussions around the budget, and outreach programs to law students and academicians. That gives you a sense of some of the work of the Council.

The Council membership consists of management, employee, union, and at-large members. It operates by consensus which means we don’t take a position unless the various constituencies of the section agree. It seems unwieldily, but it’s really not. It produces very thoughtful opinions. In addition to the voting council members I’ve already described, there are administrative members. They serve on the Equal Opportunity in the LegaMeeting Attendeesl Profession, the Newsletter, the Budget, the CLE, and the Marketing Committees. The section’s standing committees, such as the Ethics and Professional Responsibility Committee which I co-Chair, are more substantive in nature. They are organized around a particular area of labor and employment law. That is probably more than you wanted to know about it, but I thought I would give you a little information about the Council.

After the Council meeting and over lunch I had a chance to spend time with Barbara D’Aquila from Minneapolis. We have both been on the Council for a while and have exchanged pleasantries, but never had a chance to sit down and talk. It was a pleasant visit. There were a group of ladies who invited me to go sailing, but I felt as though I didn’t want to do anything; sitting and getting to know Barb a little bit better quietly seemed much more appealing. One of the benefits of belonging to professOceanaional organizations is the people you meet. Professional associations provide you with an opportunity to learn a lot in terms of professional skills and resources. But more important are the friendships that you can form and the people you get to know. So I spent a nice quiet afternoon getting to know Barb better. I ordered a jerk chicken wrap in a wheat tortilla served with fries for lunch – not so good for Fabulous at Fifty.

After lunch, I went back to the room and checked e-mail. I received a number of phone calls from Arkansas and followed up on all of those before getting ready to go to the Council dinner. For dinner we took a bus to Oceana Restaurant and Wine Bar in St. Thomas. The buses left the hotel at 6:00 p.m. and we arrived at 6:30 p.m. or so. There was a cocktail hour until 7:30 p.m. It was a really good time to catch up with folks who I only get to see two, or maybe three, times a year. Sometimes I have to miss a Council meeting, so I don’t get to see them for long periods of time. FortOceanaunately, this year our Spring Council meeting was a little bit later in the year. Anyway, it was a good time to mingle and catch up with a number of old friends and to meet new people.

During the reception we were served very substantial appetizers, including a beef saté with a honey barbeque glaze, a curried chicken salad on pita bread, conch fritters, eggplant salad (yuck!) on a cracker, and fresh veggie spring rolls. The dinner menu that night consisted of a crab cake with roasted red pepper sauce appetizer; Andalusian Style Gazpacho with fire spiced shrimp salsa; Garden Salad with pears, walnuts, and Gorgonzola vinaigrette; and three entree choices. I chose the Oven Roasted Mahi-Mahi with plantain mash and mango buerre blanc. Some of the folks at my tableOceana selected the Sesame Ginger BBQ Pork Tenderloin with sweet potato-Anna. The vegetarian entree was a Grilled Portobello Mushroom with vegetable cousous and roasted red pepper sauce. The folks who sat with me at dinner were Erin and Steve Moore, Joel D’Alba, Jim Jones, Carl Ver Beek, and Stephen Moldof and his wife Michaela. We had a lovely meal in a beautiful setting looking out at the ocean. One of the highlights of the dinner was when Section Chair Jim LaVaute recognized Pat Slovak, the immediate past Chair, for her leadership. They each shared what it had been like to work together and the many contributions each made. Jim gave Pat a Chicago based print which reflected her Chicago roots.

NightcapAfter their remarks, dessert was served: a mango and apple strudel with cinnamon whipped cream. Then we piled in the buses for the trip back to the hotel. Erin and Steve and I went for a nightcap and ran into several section members who were also out catching the evening breeze. We joined them for a little while, but then we went and found a quiet space and to our delight, Jim LaVaute joined us. He had been awakened by a client and decided to enjoy the evening with us for a little while. Not too long after, we all called it a night. It was a delightful one. I really feel blessed by the friends that I’ve made through my involvement with the ABA, particularly the Labor and Employment Law section. Good friends and a good evening.