As the fog rolled in and the sound of a lonely trumpet drifted through the air, I ducked inside a hotel on Mission Street. It was Thursday. The hotel was not too far from the lamb chops at John’s Grill and just a few blocks away from Spade and Archer’s old office on the fifth floor of the Hunter-Dulin Building. I guess it would be just Spade there now. If he was still alive. It was a nice hotel, big spaces, bright lights. It was the kind of place nice people went for nice conventions. And indeed, that’s why I was there. I checked the slip of paper in my hand. This was it, the location of the National Employment Lawyers Association’s annual convention. I pulled my fedora lower down on my face. I had places to be.
Last week, our firm went to the National Employment Lawyers Association’s annual convention in San Francisco. It was the first in-person convention in two years. As a plaintiff’s employment lawyer, it is certainly one of the highlights of my year. The convention itself is around two and half days of lectures and presentations on all things employment law related. There are sessions on tons of things like causation standards, trial techniques, and negotiation. Lawyers and law professors from all across the country come to the convention. It is wonderful to meet so many people doing the same thing and who want to help you grow as an attorney fighting for your clients’ rights.
It is always deeply inspiring and this year was no different. For example, on the first day of the convention we heard from plaintiffs who successfully brought cases against Tesla and Amazon for race discrimination, and another plaintiff who sued a state university for sexual assault. And that was just before lunch! Then we heard from the person who helped form the first ever union of Amazon workers in the United States. All of the speakers and the presentations give you hope for the future and energize you for the rest of the year.
Every year, I learn something new and become a better attorney for it. Every year, after attending two and half days of presentations, I am always eager to get back to the office so that I can try those new things. Going to the convention and attending the presentations definitely enables me to better represent my clients in their cases. Whether it’s a different technique for noticing and taking depositions, or a different way of seeking discovery from a company, my toolbox always expands after attending a NELA convention.
It is not all work, though. We also had a chance to do some sightseeing around the city, go to a baseball game, and a hike in Muir Woods. Some lucky people—ok, just me—saw some of the places mentioned in the book and movie, The Maltese Falcon, which turned out to be right around the hotel. It was my first time in San Francisco, and I would definitely return.
As I have been writing this blog, I have been trying to think of some way to end it in a noir-ish fashion befitting Fog City or Baghdad by the Bay, but I haven’t come up with anything. The problem is that noir is too cynical, too jaded, even hopeless to end this blog post with because I feel inspired to get back out there and fight for my clients’ rights. And I will, right after I see a guy about a certain bird. It’s uh, the stuff dreams are made of.