Ok, so right up front I have to confess that the title is a play on words. The “ERR” actually refers to the Employment Rights and Responsibilities Committee of the ABA Labor and Employment Law (LEL) Section. That said–what a meeting it was. The Committee’s annual meeting was in New Orleans this year, so you can see where this is going. Ironically, I didn’t want to go when Samantha Grant reached out to me as a potential presenter. The conference was scheduled during a really busy time, right before spring break, and the topic of the panel was, “Law School Rankings and Ensuring a Diverse Attorney Workforce: Is It Just Lip Service?”

When Samantha called I told her that I was frustrated about trying to convince law firms to set aside their pedigree snobbery, so I would pass. But you don’t tell Samantha, “No,” so I found myself headed to New Orleans on a 6:00 a.m. flight to arrive in time for the panel. By the way, after reflection, it’s not a topic I can afford to tire of raising. (To whom much is given…)

The other panelists were Pia Flanagan, John Henderson and Joe West, along with Samantha. Everyone was great to work with while preparing. We had our paper and slides, and were ready to go. In preparation for our talk, we met for lunch, the day of, at a restaurant Joe prearranged for us, Palace Café. We had a private room, in a beautiful setting in which to get down to work–thought we mostly got acquainted and talked about diversity, and life more generally. The meal was great, and the service fantastic. That was the first time I tasted crab meat cheese cake (Yumm! Don’t knock it until you try it). My entree was Andouille crusted, pan-roasted gulf fish with crystal beurre blanc, chive aïoli  and seasonal vegetables. It was tough head o after Joe treated us to such a great meal, but we thanked our gracious hosts and set off for the meeting.

Preparing to take the conference by storm: Pia Flanagan, Joe West and John Henderson

Our panel went well. We began by (once again) making the case for diversity, and then proceeded to deconstruct the U.S. News Rankings, so that folks would understand what goes into them. We were also fortunate to be able to share research from the Minority Corporate Counsel Association entitled, “The Myth of Meritocracy: A Report on the Bridges and Barriers to Success in Large Law Firms.” There was a decent audience for so late in the day, and they were very engaged, which really made the time go by quickly.

That evening Joe planned a dinner for all of us at Emeril’s, which was a perfect way to celebrate a successful panel! Now, we knew that Joe had connections, but we were over the moon when we found out that we were having dinner in the kitchen–a chef’s tasting menu. What follows is a bit of food porn, but can you blame me?

 

Dinner at Emeril’s: John, Samantha,Jami,  Joe & Me.

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Duck, two ways

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Scottish salmon with Andouille pork sausage and potato hash

Photo Mar 16, 8 08 49 PMNeedless to say, we all greatly enjoyed the meal, service and atmosphere. Shout out to Joe for arranging it all. Gentle reader, I ask your indulgence for photos of the courses (which in the blogger’s opinion is  perfectly appropriate for a fantastic meal in New Orleans)

It probably goes without saying that the entire experience was a gastronomic grand slam, with superb service. Writing to share this with you makes me wistful about bring there. It was truly an extraordinary dining experience.

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Barbecued shrimp with rosemary biscuits

And, yes, in it’s true. We did indeed enjoy dessert afterwards. Decadent, yes, but when again will one (this one at least) have dinner–a tasting menu– in the kitchen at Emeril’s? Ah, my friend, life is short and no day promised, so it made perfect sense. No regrets. All in all, it was a might fine way to relax after a long day, experience the best of New Orleans and to celebrate a successful panel.

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Dessert storm

 

The view from the “kitchen table”

 

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