Archives for posts with tag: Samantha Grant

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”



Three times a year the ABA Labor and Employment Law (LEL) Section Council meets to do the business of the Section. I’ve mentioned this before, but for the newcomers, the Section operates on consensus which means that there is balance in perspective in all its administration and programming. There are management, union/employee, and neutral members who work together to get the work of the Section done, and to provide a much richer view of the topics presented at our Continuing Legal Education programs. I serve on the Council as an At-Large member until August, but serve in a continuing role as a Section representative in the ABA House of Delegates, its policy making body.Our LEL Section has three delegates, me (neutral), Keith Frazier (management) and Don Slesnick (labor/employee). What I didn’t know before arriving at the Council meeting is that Section was extremely fortunate to have in attendance the Chair of the House of Delegates, Robert Carlson.

The flight was uneventful, but upon arriving at the Drake Hotel, I realized that I hadn’t eaten all day, so I wandered over to the nearby Cheesecake Factory. My lunch, tamale cakes was actually quite tasty. Image

The Council events began later that evening with a lovely reception at the hotel, followed by dinner at Ditka’s. The Section social events are a great time to catch up with what it going on, personally and professionally in the lives of long time friends and that evening was no exception. It’s always terrific to see Chris & Shellie Hexter, Michael Green, Gail Holtzman, Denise Clark, Samantha Grant, Steve  and Cindy Gordon, Ruben Chapa, and Kelly Dermody among others. I truly value the relationships that have come out of my involvement with the Section.

At the dinner, our current Chair Joel D’Alba recognized the outgoing member of the Council. As my term as an at-large, voting member of the Council ends in August, he presented me with a beautiful bowl in recognition of that service.