By Peter Rukin, Rukin Hyland
It has been said that “for everything there is a season.” Well, for 42 years, winter has been the season for the Labor and Employment Section’s Yosemite Conference. The Yosemite Conference is the Section’s flagship event, bringing together lawyers representing management, labor, employees, the public sector—as well as judges and neutrals—for two days of mind-expanding CLE and camaraderie.
What makes the Yosemite Conference unique? Certainly, Yosemite Park’s natural beauty—more breathtaking in winter than any other season—has something to do with it. The majestic backdrop will lower the blood pressure of even the most “type A” lawyer by several points. Nature walks around Mirror Lake, hikes to Yosemite Falls, ice skating, sipping hot chocolate around a roaring fire at the Majestic (Ahwahnee) Hotel, and skiing at Badger Pass are just some of the activities available before, after, or between panel sessions.
The Yosemite Conference is also marked by a special collegiality worth treasuring. For four decades, Bay Area labor and employment lawyers have taken a time-out from daily legal combat and spent a weekend each year off the grid with colleagues from the other side of the bar. This annual time together with legal adversaries and their families has contributed in no small measure to a Bay Area labor and employment bar more civil, cooperative, and engaged than its counterparts around the country. It is harder to demonize an opposing counsel once your five year olds have built a snow fort together!
Finally, there is the CLE. The Conference’s reputation and location draws thought-leading practitioners and academics together for high-level and interactive discussions around issues affecting our practice and the law. Recent presenters have included: Judge Marsha Berzon on Justice Brennan’s labor and employment legacy; Michael Lotito and Professor Catherine Fisk on legislative priorities in the Trump Administration; Lori Andrus, Mariko Yoshihara (CELA’s legislative director) and Jeanna Steele (Sunrun’s in house employment counsel) on the Fair Pay Act; and Nayantara Mehta (National Employment Law Project) and Neil Perry (Oracle Corporation) on the benefits and pitfalls of background checks.
You never know who will be special guests at our conference. One recent year, the entire NLRB was in attendance. Judges, Ambassadors, and Cabinet Members are among those who have given Conference attendees off the record, behind the scenes perspectives on the great issues of the day.
The Conference also has a renewed focus on programming that newer lawyers and Barristers members may find useful. For example, last year’s programming included a Barristers-led panel on civility for new practitioners.
This Year’s conference is February 9-10, 2018 and includes panels on the following topics:
- Labor and Employment Developments in the Trump Administration (featuring EEOC Commissioner Jenny Yang, recent NLRB General Counsel Richard F. Griffin Jr., and Danielle Ochs)
- Harassment and Mores in the 21st Century Workplace (with Therese Lawless, Rico Rosales, and Twitter’s Mary Hansbury)
- Mediation Ethics (with Judy Keyes, Mark Rudy and Alan Berkowitz)
- Section 7 rights in the modern workplace (with Wilma Liebman, the Honorable John True (Ret.) and Fred Alvarez)
- Advanced PAGA (with Cynthia Rice and Stephen Taeusch)
The Yosemite Conference occupies a special place in the hearts of Section members. Join us February 9-10, 2018 to find out why. We look forward to seeing you there!
About the author
Peter Rukin is Chair of BASF’s Labor and Employment Section. He represents employees in EEO, whistleblower, and wage and hour matters at the San Francisco firm of Rukin Hyland.