Warmest year end greetings from sunny Northern California where we are basking in December sunshine. Our skies are mostly clear and bright blue now that the long wildfire season is over. Who knows...it may even rain someday out here.
We are more than glad to ring out the old year. As I detailed in our first ever Virtual Induction Celebration last month, it was an interesting and challenging year to serve as President of the College. I feel strongly that the College rose to these challenges and had a successful year. I am equally glad to see 2020 in the rearview mirror and await 2021 eagerly. First and foremost, I look forward to my vaccine! I look forward to the new federal government’s initiatives that will reshape labor and employment law. I look forward to a peaceful and orderly transition of power to new College President Alan Symonette, who I am confident will do an outstanding job in the year to come. He will be supported in this work by new Governors Ted Borromeo, Diane King, Cynthia Sass, and Rod Tanner, who were elected to the Board of Governors during our November meeting. Alan will also have the help of our newly elected Treasurer, Lori Ecker.
I want to also announce that, in one of my last acts as your President, I appointed Pete Zinober (FL) to head our 25th Anniversary Celebration Committee. As you may recall, we deferred our celebration this year due to the pandemic, but we anticipate a gala event with many surprises on November 13, 2021 at The Beverly Hilton (Los Angeles). Please plan to attend and to support this year-long celebration. Pete is in the process of filling out the Committee now. Most of the proceeds from the attendant fundraising will support our Video History Project. We have a new film heading toward completion (pending final funding) that will focus on the 1968 strike of Memphis Sanitation Workers (to see trailer click here). As before, many thanks to former College Presidents Maurice Wexler and John Higgins and Board of Governor Member Cynthia Nance for spearheading this project.
The new year also brings a new induction cycle. So, I am also looking forward to vetting and then welcoming the Class of 2021. This project literally requires the participation of all our Fellows. We need you to nominate the most civil and most outstanding labor and employment lawyers you know. We particularly request that you help us in making the College as diverse as we can. I know that you know outstanding lawyers from every constituency in the College, but I am especially keen, as always, to see you come forward with nominations from among the ranks of those who have dedicated twenty or more years representing workers as plaintiffs’ and unions’ counsel. In addition, we ask you to make a mental survey of your peers and come forward with nominations of diverse lawyers from every demographic in our community. Applications are due on February 1, 2021. Forms and details on the process are available on our website (click here).
On the topic of diversity, I would be remiss if I were to omit highlighting the outstanding CLE webinars that the College rolled out during the pandemic, many of them at the initiative of Fellow Darrell Gay. It is only fitting that, in this year of reckoning with systemic racism, the final online program was: The New Urgency of Diversity in Employment: Navigating the Rise of BLM Concerns and the Pushback from Some Quarters. As an attendee, I want to thank Darrell and the other panelists for a thoughtful and robust discussion of these issues (and also Seyfarth Shaw for providing CLE credits). As our new Law School Civility Class curriculum also notes, efforts directed towards diversity and inclusion may be considered a critical component of civility.
In conclusion, I want to thank you all for allowing me to serve as the President of the College this past year. It has been an honor and a privilege. The focus that serving as President of an organization that fosters civility while advocating for clients in the workplace has forced me to “up my game” and try to be a better version of myself. I turn over leadership of the College with confidence in its future. I look forward to seeing you at College events around the country in the year ahead. Rarely can we be so pleased to say: Happy New Year. Stay safe. Wash your hands. Wear your masks. And really, take a hike...it is the optimal way to social distance.
Well, it was definitely one for the books! An induction ceremony like no other. While we had visions of a spectacular in-person gala at The Beverly Hilton, to honor the Class of 2020 and the 25th anniversary of the College, we had to pivot to a virtual celebration as it became clear that the pandemic would not cooperate. Our new Fellows were encouraged to mark the special occasion of their induction with family and friends, something they might not have been able to do in Beverly Hills. Certificates and program books were mailed in advance in addition to a commemorative stole with the College insignia displayed.
We are now turning our sights to the 2021 celebration which will hopefully be just as spectacular and memorable. Mark your calendars for November 13, 2021!! In the meantime, congratulations again to the Class of 2020. You will forever hold the unique designation of the only virtual induction ever performed by the College!!
Past President John Higgins and his wife Fellow Rosemary Pye join the festivities.
Anna Wermuth taking the oath.
Flowers and champagne for Amy Moor Gaylord
Michele Fisher joins the toast.
And Michele Fisher enjoying the College libation with her daughters!
Virtual happy hours were the ‘go-to’ event for 2020 and the College joined the band wagon! Whether those were held on the same day as the November 14th induction ceremony, a Halloween reception in October or a holiday happening in December, Fellows have been reaching out to our newest members to make them feel welcome and connected. Photos below are from several that took place just before the virtual induction. Regional Happy Hours have also been taking place and a few are scheduled into the new year. The photo immediately below was from a celebration of 31 people just before the induction, including new inductees Pamela C. Jeffrey and Wendell V. Shepherd, and Fellows Gwynne A. Wilcox, Samantha Dulaney, Mark Gaston Pearce, Daniel J. Ratner, Melissa Woods and Patrick M. Flynn. The pre-induction event was both a national and international gathering of family, friends and colleagues joining from New York, New Jersey, Illinois, California, Texas, The Netherlands and Burkina Faso. A good time was had by all and everyone loved the CLEL signature drink (recipe included above)!
Fellows Sarah Kelly, Joe Tilson, Jeremy Glenn, Marty Wickliff, Susan Eisenberg, Barry Kearney and Michael Hanlon welcome their Cozen O’Connor partners Tom Giotto and Anna Wermuth during their Zoom reception on November 14. (below)
Board Members getting ready for the virtual Induction. (below)
1st row, L to R: Susan Wan, David Borgen, Harold Datz and Steve Pepe 2nd row, L to R: Lisa Moss, Alan Symonette, Arlene Steinfield and Meredith Gramann (Writing Comp Winner) 3rd row, L to R: Vicki Lafer Abrahamson, John Runyan and Bob Dohrmann
A panel of distinguished and diverse judges, neutrals and practitioners explored how issues of diversity and inclusion impact the legal profession during the November 14th webinar. Moderated by new Fellow, J. Bernard Alexander, the panel addressed whether civility is enough and what can be done to impact the under representation of women, people of color, and LGBTQ+ professionals on partnership track at major law firms, on the bench, and among the elite ranks of neutrals. Speakers included Honorable William Bedsworth (CA Court of Appeal for the 4th District); Honorable Fernando Olguin (US District Court for the Central District of CA); Fellow Daniel Bonnett, Martin & Bonnett, PLLC; Marta Fernandez, Jeffers Mangels Butler & Mitchell, LLP; Rene Mochkatel, Allred Maroko & Goldberg; Jesús E. Quiñonez, Legal Director California Teachers’ Association and Angela Reddock-Wright, The Reddock Law Group. Ninety minutes of discussion focused on exploring how external events, such as civil rights and justice movements, impact the dialogue. Thank you to Davis Wright Tremaine for sponsoring the CLE credits provided to attendees.
An email with information on nominating a candidate for the Class of 2021 has been sent out to all Fellows which provided detailed instructions and guidance if you intend on submitting an application for a deserving attorney. These instructions should be read in their entirety and shared with the candidate as well.
A few changes were made this year and as such you should be sure that the forms you use are dated 8/15/20 (in lower right hand corner). Any forms dated earlier will need to be redone. Other changes include:
Each nominator must complete his/her own Part A Nominator form as well as the statement (question no. 8).
Nominees will need to identify the practice area for each reference, specifically those who are adversaries. NOTE: Nominators who are adversaries do not qualify as one of the two required adversary references, and should not be listed as such.
Nominee and Nominator forms now include language confirming that the application has been reviewed by all parties for completeness and thoroughness (see signature block on forms).
If you will be nominating an in-house counsel attorney, please contact Susan Wan for the appropriate Advocate form.
A link to the information on the College website is included below as well as the requisite forms that must be completed: Part A - Nominator Form and Part B - Nominee Form. If you are nominating a neutral, please use Part B - Neutral. If you are nominating a law professor, please use Part B – Law Professor. If you have any questions, please contact Susan Wan.
It’s time to make sure your directory entry is correct and accurate! Fellows are being emailed with a request that you review your directory listing. Simply reply with any changes to Jen Motley no later than January 3, 2021.
It is important that we have current information for all Fellows, particularly working email addresses (for those who have one available). We are planning a big induction celebration next November in Beverly Hills and will be sharing information and updates throughout the year leading up to the gala event which will honor the Class of 2021 as well as commemorate the College’s 25th (plus 1) anniversary. Having current contact information for all Fellows will be extremely important!
THERE IS NO NEED TO RESPOND IF EVERYTHING IS CORRECT
Papers for the CLEL/ABA Section of Labor & Employment Law’s 2020-2021 Writing Competition for Law Students are now being accepted. Fellows who are adjunct professors at accredited law schools are encouraged to distribute and promote this wonderful opportunity with their students. And while we know that classes are not being held in the traditional sense during the COVID pandemic, we also recognize that now more than ever, students will be looking for possible ways to supplement their income and their connections as they head toward graduation. View the complete announcement and rules for this year’s competition by clicking here. You, and your students, can also view previous winning submissions on the CLEL website. Entries should address aspects of public or private sector labor and/or employment law relevant to the American labor and employment bar. Prizes awarded by the College of Labor and Employment Lawyers include: First Place: $3000, Second Place: $1000, Third Place: $500. The first-place article will also be considered for publication in the ABA Journal of Labor & Employment Law, and its author will be a guest at the annual CLE program of the ABA Section of Labor and Employment Law and honored at the Annual Induction Dinner of the College of Labor and Employment Lawyers. Deadline for papers is June 15, 2021. Please contact Susan Wan if you have any questions.
The Board of Governors would like to thank and acknowledge the following Fellows and firms for their generous contributions to the Stephen E. Tallent Video History Project over the past year. As we work to finish the next documentary on the 1968 Memphis Sanitation Strike, your support is even more vital. You can view a clip of the project and are encouraged to consider a tax-deductible donation before the end of the year by clicking here.
Supervising Producers ($750 and Up):
Baker & Hostetler LLP Norman Brand Constangy, Brooks, Smith & Prophete, LLP Cozen O’Connor Mark S. Dichter Franczek PC Holly Ann Georgell
Goldblatt Partners LLP John Higgins Jr. and Rosemary Pye Morgan Lewis & Bockius LLP George Nicolau (deceased) Mark D. Risk Seyfarth Shaw LLP Pearl Zuchlewski and Kraus & Zuchlewski, LLP
Consulting Producers ($250 to $749):
Abato Rubenstein and Abato Howard Bernstein (in memory of James Ferber) Robert Boisvert David Borgen Nancy Bornn Jeffrey Bosley Cashdan Cane Lynne Deitch Denise J. Knecht Co. LPA Samantha Dulaney Charles Fischbach Karl Fritton Frumkin & Hunter LLP Jill Goldy Genie Harrison Wendy Kahn Barry J. Kearney Troy Kessler, Kessler Matura Diane King, King Greisen Levy Ratner
Martin Malin Jacqueline McNair Joseph Lisa Moss Cynthia Nance Mario Barrera, Norton Rose Fulbright US LLP Joseph Paller Stephen Pepe Pontikes Law Marcella Reed, MFR Law Group Thomas Riley Jon H. Rosen Segal Roitman, LLP Sherin and Lodgen W.V. Bernie Siebert, Sherman & Howard Evan Spelfogel, Phillips Nizer LLP Theodore J. St. Antoine Arlene Switzer Steinfield Alan Symonette The Sharp Firm Vorys Sater Seymour and Pease LLP
Alice and Maurice Wexler
Coordinating Producers (Up to $249):
Paula Ardelean George Baab Susan Benton Deborah Brown Frank Brown Sheila Cole Roberto Corrada Joel D’Alba Maria Greco Danaher Patrick Deady Lonny Dolin Robert Dohrmann Joseph Garrison John Gierak Kay Hodge John Irving Eric Joss Jean Kamp C. Matthew Keen Homer LaRue
Sang-yul Lee Wilma Liebman Charisse Lillie Brian Malsberger Gary Messing Luella Nelson Sheldon Pincus Thomas Piskorski Michael Posner Howard Rosen George Roumell John Sands Donald Sapir Leticia Saucedo Victor Schachter Jason Schwartz Don Slesnick Fern Steiner John Stout Steven Swirsky
• Congratulations to Fellow Bob Dohrmann who was named the 2020 recipient of the Arvid Anderson Award, the ABA’s top honor for public sector labor attorneys in recognition of a career spent shaping the practice of public sector labor law. This award is bestowed upon “attorneys, whether publicly or privately employed, who have devoted substantially their entire careers to the advancement and development of public sector labor and employment law at the state and local level.”
• Fellow Don Slesnick was inducted into the State of Florida's Veterans Hall of Fame which took place during a virtual ceremony on November 11th. The Hall of Fame was established in 2013 to recognize and honor military veterans who, through their works and lives during or after the military service, have made a significant contribution to the State of Florida. There are approximately 1.5 million vets in Florida of which just over one hundred have been inducted to the Hall of Fame. Of the twenty new inductees this year, Don was the only veteran from Miami-Dade County. Congratulations Don and thank you for your service!
• Fellows Don Slesnick and Greg Hearing were two of four authors on an article recently published in the November/December 2020 edition of The Florida Bar Journal. The article, titled “Social Media and the Progressive Limitations on Public Sector Employees’ First Amendment Right to Free Speech” focuses on how the work place for public sector employees is being affected by recent US Supreme Court decisions regarding the protection of their free speech. A copy of the article can be found here.
• Fellow and Past President John Runyan will become Chair of the State Bar of Michigan’s Labor and Employment Law Section as of January 1, 2021. The LEL Section will also be implementing a mentorship program based on the State Bar of Georgia’s Mentorship Academy, which was started by Fellows Jay Rollins and Bert Brannen.
• Fellow Charles O. Thompson has joined the Board of Directors for the Bar Association of San Francisco. The BASF is a nonprofit membership organization consisting of attorneys, law students and legal professionals based in San Francisco Bay area. Chuck will serve a three-year term on the board, beginning January 1, 2021.
• Fellow Anna Wermuth was recently named to the 2020 list of Chicago's "Notable Women in Law" by Crain's Chicago Business, recognizing Anna for her professional, as well as her civic and charitable contributions. This marks the third time in the last four years Anna has been recognized by the magazine. In 2017, she was named to Crain's inaugural list of Chicago's "Most Influential Women Lawyers" and in 2018 she was named as one of the city's "Most Notable Women Lawyers". In addition, Anna was highlighted in a recent "Member Monday" column by the Women's Bar Association of Illinois (WBAI).
The College mourns the recent passing of Fellow Stephen Moldof.
Stephen Moldof was inducted a Fellow of the College in the Class of 1997. A labor lawyer who practiced for 48 years with Cohen Weiss and Simon in New York City, Steve succumbed to glioblastoma in early November. The following tribute, written by his wife Michaele Noble, appeared in the New York Times. May his memory be a blessing.
Stephen B. Moldof, lost his heroic battle with glioblastoma on November 9, 2020, but his will to live, sense of humor cherished by all who knew him, and love for his son, Luke, and wife, Michaele (“Mike”) Noble, remained unvanquished. Steve practiced labor law with Cohen, Weiss and Simon in New York City for 48 years and was a senior partner. He represented labor unions whose members included airline flight attendants and pilots, seamen, professors, nurses, and transit workers. Steve argued and won cases in numerous federal district and appeals courts and in the U.S. Supreme Court, many of which resulted in landmark decisions on behalf of unions. He earned his law degree from Harvard University and his undergraduate degree from the Cornell University School of Industrial and Labor Relations. Active in the American Bar Association’s Labor and Employment Law Section, Steve was slated to become the section’s chair elect until his illness deferred that honor. Steve often participated as a panel chair and speaker in legal conferences in the U.S. and throughout the world. He was a charter member of the College of Labor and Employment Lawyers. His early interests included vegetable gardening, cooking, and sports (especially basketball and baseball, both of which he played and closely followed in the news). His passion for travel, walking, listening to jazz, and sharing good bottles of wine and delicious dining with family and friends endured. He will be sorely missed by his sister Hedda Segal, close cousin Susan Rubin, law-school confidante Rick Mezan, and too-many-to-name caring relatives, dear friends, and admiring colleagues around the world. But we know who we are and how much Steve meant to us. So, let’s all raise a glass of wine and toast an extraordinarily kind, funny, and thoughtful man who left us much too soon.
Members of the College strive to promote achievement, advancement and excellence in the practice of labor and employment law. Mr. Moldof distinguished himself as a leader in the field, and the College was proud to have been able to call him a Fellow.
Fellows are encouraged to include the College logo on their website or as part of their email signature block. Two different formats are available for download - .jpg or .eps. Please contact Susan Wan if you would like a logo file in a different format.