NELC Annual Conference


Wednesday, May 1 - Friday, May 3, 2024

[All Times Central]

12:00 pm - 5:00 pm Grand Horizon Foyer - Level 4


1:00 pm - 1:15 pm Grand Horizon ABC - Level 4

Opening Plenary

1:15 pm - 2:30 pm Grand Horizon ABC - Level 4

Employment Law Update

Experienced labor and employment practitioners will provide an update on: (1) recent and pending United States Supreme Court employment law cases; (2) the latest employment-related trends in state and federal legislation, including laws related to anti-discrimination, non-competes, pay transparency and equity, off-duty conduct, and leaves; and (3) recent NLRB developments, including the NLRB’s expansion of the joint employer rule and Section 7 rights under the NLRA. The panelists will participate in an in-depth discussion on what steps employers can take to comply with these new legal developments.

  • Barbara Dunlap, Vice President Legal, Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits
  • Eric Barnum, Partner, Baker Hostetler
  • Natalie Chan, Partner, Sidley Austin
  • Ryan Chapoteau, Principal, Jackson Lewis

2:30 pm - 2:45 pm Grand Horizon D - Level 4

Afternoon Break

2:45 pm - 4:00 pm Grand Horizon ABC - Level 4

Wage And Hour Hot Topics - Newest Trends & Upcoming Issues

Wage-and-hour laws are becoming increasingly state-specific and hyper-technical. This trend has made it progressively harder for employment counselors to track recent developments, implement policy changes, and modify best practices in a timely fashion.

Our panel of experts helps you stay updated by providing an overview of the most noteworthy wage-and-hour developments of the past year. The panel also addresses how employers have reacted to those changes from both the litigation and advisory perspectives. Finally, it analyzes significant issues that may impact employers in the coming months.

  • Travis Sumter, Global Head of Employment Law, NextRoll
  • Leslie K. Eason, Partner, Barnes & Thornburg
  • Patrick Martin, Shareholder, Ogletree Deakins
  • Nick S. Pujji, Partner, Dentons

4:00 pm - 5:15 pm Grand Horizon ABC - Level 4

A.I. In The Law: Is It Revolutionizing The Practice or Simply Creating More Liabilities?

Artificial Intelligence (AI) has been a part of the world and the law for some time now but the emergence of generative AI has the potential to transform the practice of law and create new risks and liabilities for employers and for practicing lawyers. This panel of experienced practitioners will discuss the various types of AI, the impact on businesses and the practice of law, the present and future of AI legislation, and hot-button issues to watch out for in the near future.

  • Miguel Manriquez, Head of Labor & Employment, OpenAI
  • Danielle Ochs, Shareholder, Ogletree Deakins
  • Britney Torres, Shareholder, Littler Mendelson
  • Keith Ybanez, Senior Associate, Husch Blackwell

5:15 pm - 5:45 pm McDonald's HQ - West Loop

Get To Reception

5:45 pm - 7:45 am McDonald's Headquarters: 110 N Carpenter St, Chicago, IL 60607

Welcome Reception

8:00 pm - Your selected restaurant

NELC Dine Arounds

7:00 am - 5:00 pm


7:30 am - 8:30 am

Continental Breakfast

8:30 am - 9:45 am

The World Isn’t Flat, So Be Careful With Those “Global” Strategies

This panel of practitioners spanning four continents will provide an overview of the highly varied employment law landscape outside the U.S. – through the lens of on-the-ground advising to U.S. based multi-nationals. Areas of inquiry may include: specific developments or restrictions in different jurisdictions related to DEI (laws, regulations, reporting); pitfalls of rolling out “global” policies and initiatives based on U.S. law; and reorganizations, redundancies, and restructures in a global economy. The panel will also discuss avenues for developing a global practice, including best practices for fostering relationships with foreign lawyers and their firms.

  • Lindsey Hulse, Sr. Associate General Counsel, Global Head of Employment Law, Gilead Sciences
  • Jilali Maazouz, Partner, McDermott Will & Emery
  • Disha Mohanty, Partner, G&W Legal
  • Juan Carlos Varela, Shareholder, Littler Mendelson

9:45 am - 10:00 am


10:00 am - 11:15 am

Traditional Labor Law Panel (Breakout #1)

  • Frank A. Bear, Senior Counsel, Walgreens Company
  • Wynter Allen, Vice President, Senior Employment Counsel
  • Dean Kpere Daibo, Partner, Traditional Labor Practice Co-Chair, Constangy, Brooks, Smith & Prophete, LLP
  • Alex Dominguez, Neal, Gerber & Eisenberg LLP
  • Eric Mackie, Associate, Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP

10:00 am - 11:15 am

Arbitration Panel (Breakout #2)

  • Eniola Akinrinade, Senior Labor & Employment Counsel, Genesys
  • T. Warren Jackson, Mediator/Arbitrator/Special Master, Signature Resolution
  • Nigel Telman, Partner, Proskauer Rose LLP
  • Marty Wickliff, Member, Cozen O’Connor

11:30 am - 1:00 pm

Lunch Program

1:00 pm - 1:45 pm

Keynote Q&A w/Bruce Jackson

Associate General Counsel and Managing Director for Strategic Partnerships, Microsoft

1:45 pm - 2:05 pm


2:00 pm - 3:30 pm

In-House Counsel Only Breakout Session

2:00 pm - 3:30 pm

Direct & Cross-Examination at Trial: A Practical Experience (Breakout #4)

We all hear about what it’s like to go to trial: the importance of the theory of your case, making an impactful opening statement, and prepping your witnesses for anything and everything. But until you actually put those skills to practice, it’s difficult to know what to expect at trial. This interactive panel session is intended to help give attendees the opportunity to put their skills to the test on a specific part of trial: direct and cross examination. An experienced panel of trial lawyers will do a demonstration and then the audience will be given a short fact pattern to develop a direct and cross examination in small groups. Individuals will then have the opportunity to practice asking the direct and cross examination questions they’ve prepared. The panel will close with reflections on the session.

  • J.T. Wilson III, Member/Partner, Epstein Becker & Green
  • Melvin Felton, Partner, Sanders Roberts
  • Nigel Telman, Partner, Proskauer
  • Nasim Khansari, Associate, Gibson Dunn
  • Tashwanda Pinchback Dixon, Partner, Balch & Bingham

3:30 pm - 3:45 pm

Afternoon Break

3:45 pm - 5:00 pm

DEI Under Siege: Strategies for Navigating the Uncertain Legal Landscape of DEI

    Join us for an insightful and timely panel discussion on the current state of DEI in the legal profession and in the corporate world in light of the recent landmark SCOTUS Harvard University and the University of North Carolina's affirmative action decision. Our panel of legal professionals from academia, law firms and the corporate world will delve into the implications of this decision for lawyers and for employers in the corporate world. We will also explore what the ruling means for recruiting, mentorship, training, retention and other diversity initiatives. Moreover, our panelists will also discuss possible practical tips and recommendations for navigating uncertainty and continue legally promoting inclusion and belonging in the workplace
  • Samantha Kwok-Ting Woo, Interim Associate Dean of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion, Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law
  • Teleicia Dambreville, Director, Senior Counsel, Employment, Burlington Stores, Inc.
  • Barbara Johnson, Founder, BLJohnsonLaw PLLC
  • Michael Thomas, Principal, Jackson Lewis

5:00 pm - 5:45 pm


5:45 pm - 7:45 pm

Thursday Evening Reception

8:00 am - 10:00 am

Continental Breakfast / Hot Topic Roundtable Discussions

At 9:00 a.m. the roundtable discussions will begin. There will be six small group discussions related to substantive labor & employment issues, as well general topics on best practices. Each discussion will be led by two relatively new and promising NELC members - an in-house and an outside counsel. Attendees will have the opportunity to participate in three of these small group discussions. This is not only a great way to become better informed about a topic of interest but also it will enable you to engage with several of your fellow NELC members.

Roundtable Topics:
  • Election Time!!! Regulating both workplace and off-duty speech
  • Hot Practice Area- Labor: How Do I Get Experience in Traditional Labor Law
  • The Government Opponent - (considerations when defending against private v. public plaintiffs)
  • Partnership vs Of Counsel vs. In House (pros and cons)
  • Business Development: What Can NELC Do For You? (How to Build and Leverage a Whisper Network that Shouts Your Name)
  • What I Know Now that I Wish I Knew Then (Career Perspectives)
Roundtable Leaders - In-House Counsel
  • Shirley Akrasih, Manager, Labor Relations, The Walt Disney Company
  • Karl Analo, Counsel, Labor and Employment Counseling and Litigation, Abbott
  • Tolu Babade, Vice President, Assistant General Counsel, JPMorgan Chase
  • Veronica Couzo-Kamenjarin, Counsel, Baxter International Inc.
  • Alexandra Wright, Senior Counsel, Labor & Employment, Cresco Labs
Roundtable Leaders - Outside Counsel
  • Kristalyn Lee, Counsel, Troutman Pepper Hamilton Sanders LLP
  • Eric Mackie, Associate, Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP
  • Kwan Park, Of Counsel, Morrison & Foerster LLP
  • Lehoan (Hahn) Pham, Associate, Littler Mendelson P.C.
  • Par Vafaeenia, Associate, Seyfarth Shaw LLP

10:00 am - 11:30 am

What Side Of The Deal Are You On? Mergers & Acquisitions: Legal & Practical Considerations

  • Fabienne Clermont, Senior Vice President Global Employment Legal, Warner Bros. Discovery, Inc.
  • Kathiana Aurelien, Counsel, Litigation, Willkie Farr & Gallagher
  • M’Alyssa Mecenas, Executive Compensation Attorney, Baker McKenzie
  • Ashley Smith, Deputy General Counsel, Amtrak

11:45 am - 1:00 pm

Friday Lunch

1:00 pm - 1:45 pm

NELC Awards Ceremony

Awards Recipients' Info Coming Soon

1:45 pm - 3:00 pm

Ethics: What Could Go Wrong???

  • Christina Alabi, Senior Corporate Counsel, Global Employment Law and Compliance, Celonis
  • Dennis Duffy, Director, Labor & Employment, Kane Russell Coleman Logan PC
  • Chris Wilkinson, Senior Counsel, Perkins Coie LLP

3:00 pm - 3:30 pm

Closing Plenary

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