Nora Macey, Barbara Brown (current Chair of the section), Brad Hoffman (staff directory of the section)

Nora Macey, Barbara Brown (current Chair of the section), Brad Hoffman (staff directory of the section)

Sunday bright and early, the Council Meeting began with a discussion of the leadership skills training program.  The goal of the leadership skills training as I mentioned is to provide an introduction to the Section and its activities to people who have demonstrated a significant interest in the activities of the Section.  This engendered a long discussion – including the details of the leadership training, who should be involved, and the next step.  We next considered a proposal by the ABA Standing Committee on Ethics and Professional Responsibility on lawyer screening.  The question was whether our Section should take a position on the proposed rule.  The conflict is between client confidentiality and lawyer mobility.  23 states have passed a version of the rule.  It addresses whether when a lawyer is moving from one firm to another, a client be able to block the move.  Currently, the rule requires client consent and would impute disqualification to the entire firm.   

 

 

 

Another topic of discussion at that morning’s meeting was the Government Fellows Program and how that’s been operating.  Joel D’Alba and the members of his subcommittee surveyed a number of the government fellows who had been invited to serve on various committees of the Section.  They asked them about their experiences and how we might make the Government Fellows Program more rewarding to them as well as what we might do to encourage fellows to continue to remain active in the Section after their service as a fellow ended.  We also talked about the Section’s need for more people to write flashes (the e-flashes that are sent out on recent cases or legislation of interest to the Section), and new ways to market the Section, perhaps including Facebook and blogging.  We heard a report from the Law Student Outreach Program which pairs speakers from both the plaintiff union and management side to go out to law schools and talk with students about opportunities in labor and employment law.  Unfortunately, there’s been a drop in the number of those programs because the folks who were committed to going to the law schools have either moved on or have been unable to continue.  This prompted a discussion about the need to recruit additional people to participate in that program.  Chair woman Brown mentioned a few dates at the end of the meeting including the fall council meeting on November 7-8 in Washington, DC, held concurrently with the annual CLE meeting which will meet from November 4-8; the ABA annual meeting in 2009 is July 30-August 4 in Chicago; and the date for the 2010 labor CLE is November 3-6, but a site has not yet been selected.  That was pretty much the gist of the morning session on Sunday and after that it was time for me to hop in a cab and head to the airport.   

Chief Justice Rhys S. Hodge, U.S. Virgin Islands, and Chief Judge Robert Bell, of Maryland

Chief Justice Rhys S. Hodge, U.S. Virgin Islands, and Chief Judge Robert Bell, of Maryland

The next stop was Phoenix and the 38th Annual ABA Deans’ Workshop which was a joint session with the conference of Chief Justices of the U.S. Territories.  The first person I ran into, after checking in to my hotel room and heading down to the reception, was our very own Chief Justice Jim Hannah.  Justice Hannah introduced me to Chief Justice Rhys S. Hodge, U.S. Virgin Islands, and Chief Judge Robert Bell of Maryland.

The conference, held at the Hyatt Regency Scottsdale Resort and Spa in Scottsdale, Arizona, was planned by Dean Gail Agrawal of Kansas School of Law and Dean Kent Syverud of Washington School of Law.  The meeting was to run this way – on Monday, the morning session was a session of Chief Justices and deans focusing on several issues of joint interest.  After the morning session there would be a joint luncheon with a distinguished speaker, Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, sponsored by LSAC.  Immediately after that, the deans would reconvene in the traditional setting of the Deans’ Workshop. 

The Deans’ Workshop is designed to be a candid off the record exchange of views and expressions among the deans of ABA approved law schools.  But, as I mentioned earlier, that evening it opened with a reception for all the attendees at the conference. 

Group photo after dinner

Group photo after dinner

The deans of color gathered at Elements at Sanctuary Camelback Mountain.  The deans who attended the dinner that evening included Dean Athornia Steele from Nova, myself, Dean Don Lewis from Hamline, Dean Freddie Pitcher from Southern University Law Center, Dean JoAnne Epps from Temple, Dean John White from UNLV, Dean Linda Ammons from Widener, Dean Peter Alexander from SIU, Dean Jim Chen from Louisville, Dean Beto Juarez from Denver, Dan Bernstein who is CEO of LSAC, and Dean McKen Carrington of Texas Southern.  Elements was a lovely setting that looked out over the city from the mountains.  The food was fantastic.  Thanks very much to Dan Bernstein of LSAC for picking up the tab.  Though I forgot to take notes on what I had, I would highly recommend the restaurant.   

As I noted in last year’s blog, when the deans of color gather, we have a fun, warm time filled with frivolity, friendship and kinship.  It’s a wonderful event.  It’s even hard to really explain the strength of the bond between us and how much we enjoy gathering together.  It’s one of the events that I always look forward to whether it’s held in conjunction with the AALS or the ABA Deans’ Meeting.  I rode to the dinner with Dean Linda Ammons and Dean JoAnne Epps.  Dean Ammons had a rental car, and the three of us drove over together and basically laughed all the way there and back.  The other thing that happens during these dinners is that we support each other and share stories and just have a good time.  It was great to meet Dean Epps.  I hadn’t met her before but had sent her a note welcoming her to the club when she was appointed dean, so it was good to be able to put a face with the name.

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