When I woke up Sunday, it was pouring rain, which didn’t bode well for our Presidential Showcase CLE presentation. I had my handy dandy Greenwood & Associates (the firm’s former name) umbrella given to me by Reed Greenwood, so I was all set. They are quite nice umbrellas. I managed to only get half soaked climbing into the cab, while closing the umbrella.  My cab driver was pretty bummed out.  He explained that he was a telecommunications engineer who had been laid off and had to resort to driving a cab.  He’d gotten a late start that day because his wife didn’t feel good.  He talked about all the different things he’d done to search for jobs, and his frustration with being turned down after interviewing.  I asked about headhunters and he said that he felt they were all looking for someone younger. Talking with him about his predicament added to the dreariness of the morning. I tried to think creatively of places he might apply and he thanked me for listening and offering suggestions. When we pulled up to the convention center, I pointed to the door and he drove on the sidewalk right up to the entrance.  This did not at all please the uniformed officer stationed outside, so I explained that it was my fault. The woman who staged the buses said “You’re wearing red, so you think you can do anything.” “Umm, no mam, I guess I wasn’t clear.”  She sort of harrumphed at me and walked away. “Well, that’s a cheery start to the day,” I thought.

  Our panel started at 10:30, and it wasn’t yet 10:00, so the first order of business was to locate a cup of coffee.  I went over to a guy in a non-descript uniform and asked where I might purchase a cup of coffee. “Go upstairs to the top, then go across the bridge to the other side and you’ll find something over there.” “Uh, ok, thanks.” Y’all, it was really creepy up there.  It was dreary, cavernous and empty.  I walked for a while, and didn’t see any coffee, so I gave up.  When I got to the main floor I asked again at the desk. They pointed across the driveway and towards the street (about two blocks—in pouring rain, mind you) towards a Subway. “Subway? How’s the coffee?  Is it worth going out into the rain?”  “Nah, probably not,” they responded.  Then one of them said, “Hey, come with me.”  We went into what was clearly a staff area and there it was—the elixir of morning. “Here you go.”  It was strong and without the fixing’s, but I was very grateful, and my fellow panelist, jealous.

Our session was well attended, even given the rain. Both the incoming and outgoing chair of the LEL Section were there, (no pressure) Gordy Kirsher and Rick Seymour, as well as Bill Mock, a friend and FB buddy from John Marshall Law School, and Harvey Nathan, a section member who’s a mediator and arbitrator.  Our topic, Investigating and Forgetting on the Web, was a popular one. As moderator, I had the easy job. My fellow panelists and their topics were:  Douglas Dexter, Social Media Policies for the New Digital Age: New Issues for Employers, Roy Heenan, Investigating and Forgetting on the Web: Privacy Law and Social Media in the Employment Context—The Canadian Perspective, Hanan Kolko, The Intersection of 21st Century Social Media and the 20th Century National Labor Relations Act, Lauren E. Schwartzreich, The Internet is Written in Ink: Workplace Liabilities & Litigation Hurdles in the Age of Web 2.0. We didn’t cover nearly as much material as we’d planned, but I think that was ok, it was more important to have the give and take with the audience’s questions—and there were a lot of them.

After meeting and visiting with a few members of the audience, it was time to scoot to the Margaret Brent Awards.  I’ve written about this luncheon in the blog before.  (One aside, the menu this time was unusual, at least to me. Each plate has a large piece of chicken and salmon with several salads, and there were cupcakes (yay) for dessert). The awards were established by the ABA Commission on Women in the Profession in 1991, to recognize and celebrate the accomplishments of women lawyers who have excelled in their field and have paved the way to success for other women lawyers.  If you ever have an opportunity to attend this event—go! Who was Margaret Brent? Here’s a brief bio from the ABA Commission on Women in the Profession website:

Margaret Brent was the first woman lawyer in America, arriving in the colonies in 1638. She was a master negotiator, an accomplished litigator, and a respected leader. Brent was involved in 124 court cases over eight years and won every one. In 1648, she formally demanded a “vote and voice” in the Maryland Assembly, which the governor denied. Over 250 years later, Harper’s magazine noted: “By this action, Margaret Brent undoubtedly placed herself as the first woman in America to make a stand for the rights of her sex.”

The women who receive “Maggies” are truly amazing. The speeches given by the winners are the best part of the ceremony.  They are funny, poignant, pointed and powerful.  Rather than babble on about this year’s recipients I’ll let their achievement speak for themselves.  Their bios are linked here: Margaret Bent Award Winners.

 After an inspiring lunch I went back to the hotel to pack, work on a few blog posts and read. Sadly, I’d left my umbrella in the meeting room and it was gone when I returned.  It was still pouring rain late that evening when I went out to get a bite to eat.  Right around the corner from the hotel was a restaurant named Jack Astor. I’m sure you can figure out what the locals called it.  It had a fairly extensive menu, and live music that night.  The singer was performing Sexual Healing when I was seated. I started laughing because it sounded like he was singing, “Let’s make love tonight, cuz I can’t do it right.”  Maybe it had been a long day, but that was funny.  My barbecued chicken sandwich came with sweet potato fries and was just fine.  The rain had lightened when I returned to the hotel to call it a night.