2023 DRI Employment and Labor Law Seminar

May 3–5, 2023 | New Orleans, Louisiana

Interviewer interviewing an interviewee

Engage with Industry Insiders and Leading Practitioners!

Join us in the Big Easy as we reconnect at DRI’s 46th annual Employment and Labor Law Seminar. The nation’s best employment law seminar brings together leading management-side employment and labor attorneys, in-house counsel, human resources professionals, and EPLI representatives from throughout the U.S. and Canada. Always intensely practical and accompanied by helpful written materials, this seminar is indispensable for experienced practitioners as well as those who are just getting started in labor and employment law. Don’t miss this opportunity to learn from some of the best practitioners and professionals in the labor and employment arena.

View registration information here.

What You Will Learn:

  • How implementing compliant employment policies and practices can positively impact company culture and create a strong, diverse, and inclusive workplace.
  • Best practices to prevent and respond to workplace violence.
  • Insights regarding cannabis in the workplace, including best practices for employers relating to drug testing and accommodating an employee’s cannabis use.
  • How to spot and manage common immigration and tax issues in employment law.
  • Practical insights from sitting federal court judges about creating a good record for trial and appeal.
  • Pragmatic tips for conducting effective workplace investigations – from Facebook’s Director of Company Investigations.

Expand Your Network By:

  • Meeting with members of the Employment Law Committee, the Cannabis Law Committee, and the Drug and Medical Device Committee.
  • Attending dine-arounds with colleagues from all over the U.S. and Canada.
  • Getting involved with the Committee behind the scenes by attending the business meeting and joining our steering committee.
  • Getting paired with veteran Committee members as part of our Ambassador Program (First-timers only).

Panel Counsel Meetings with Major Companies
Take advantage of the opportunity to engage with key industry companies* including:

  • The Cincinnati Insurance Company

*Subject to change

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Thank You to DRI's Employment and Labor Law Committee Leadership

Diane Krebs
Diane Krebs
Program Chair
David Renner
David Renner
Program Vice Chair
Gordon Hill
S. Gordon Hill
Committee Chair
Helen Holden
Helen Holden
Committee Vice Chair
Mark Fahleson
Mark Fahleson
Law Institute

Join the Employment and Labor Law Committee

Registration Information

Register Now

  Member Pricing Non-Member Pricing
Regular Registration* $1,395 $1,695
Group Registration (Non-Sponsored)** $995/person $995/person
Government Government members will receive the applicable government rate for the seminar upon login. If the government rate does not appear after logging in, please call DRI directly at (312) 795-1101 to receive the discounted rate. Invoices can be sent after purchase upon request.

*If your membership recently lapsed, please renew your membership prior to registering to ensure you receive your discounted member rate. If you would like to join DRI to receive the member pricing and see the benefits of becoming a member, click here to go to the Application page.

**Group registration is for registering 4 or more attendees, members and non-members. There is one free registration with every 10 registrations. You must lock in the rate three weeks prior to the seminar. If you want to register for the group pricing, please send an email to rstiner@dri.org (online registration is not available for this offering).

Networking Events

Premier Networking Reception | Creole Queen
Sponsored by: Barnes & Thornburg LLP, Dechert LLP, Faegre Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP, Greenberg Traurig LLP, Irwin Fritchie Urquhart & Moore LLC, Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough LLP, Nutter McClennen & Fish LLP, Tucker Ellis LLP, Ulmer& Berne LLP, Venable LLP

Date: Wednesday, May 3 from 6:00–8:00 p.m.
Pricing: Free when you register for the seminar (Guest tickets $100 each, available at check-out. A limited number of guest tickets may be available on site for $125 each.)
Location: Creole Queen, 1 Poydras St., New Orleans, LA

Join the Cannabis Law, Employment and Labor Law, and the Drug and Medical Device committees for a networking event as we savor a taste of New Orleans aboard the Paddlewheeler Creole Queen! Even though the Creole Queen would have been right at home among the steamboats of 1850's New Orleans, passengers of that era could never have conceived of a paddle wheeler with her luxury, comfort, and safety.

Please note the boat will stay dockside for continuous boarding and will offer light appetizers and beverages. The entrance to the Creole Queen is at the Poydras Street dock at Spanish Plaza, located behind the Hilton New Orleans Riverside Hotel.

Agenda with Speakers

*Schedule and Speakers subject to change

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Wednesday, May 3, 2023

Time (Central) Program Location
9:15 a.m. DRI Cares Event

Click here for more details on Bayou District Foundation.

12:00 p.m. Registration
2:00 p.m. DEI: How Company Culture Shapes Labor & Employment Initiatives and Legal HR Compliance

In 2021, we heard about the Great Resignation, and in 2022, it was Quiet Quitting. Several experts have pointed to company culture as a driving reason for these trends. This session will explore how implementing policies and practices consistent with applicable employment law can positively impact company culture, with a focus on ways in which advice from in-house and outside employment counsel can contribute to strong, diverse, and inclusive workplaces.

Randi Winter, Spencer Fane, Minneapolis, MN

Heather Hamilton, T-Mobile, Overland Park, KS
Nona Lee, Truth DEI, Phoenix, AZ
3:00 p.m. Preventing and Effectively Dealing with Workplace Violence

The specter of workplace violence is a concern for employers of all sizes. While only select instances receive wide attention, each year an average of nearly 2 million U.S. workers report having been a victim of workplace violence. A panel of experienced advisors and counsel will discuss what efforts can be taken to assess and reduce the risk of workplace violence, what plans should be in place for the immediate response to an incident, and how best to control repercussions to an employer following an instance of workplace violence.

Carol Harding, Earp Cohn P.C., Cherry Hill, NJ

Andrew Baer, Fisher Phillips, New Orleans, LA
Gerald Krisa, R+L Carriers, Wilmington, OH

4:00 p.m. The State of Cannabis in the Workplace (Joint Session with the Cannabis Committee Seminar)

For the past decade, the United States has experienced a “Green Wave” of states legalizing cannabis, resulting in 39 states and the District of Columbia legalizing cannabis for adult use, medicinal use, or both. This has greatly impacted employers in three areas: (1) employers governed by federal law, under which cannabis is still illegal; (2) accommodating medicinal use; and (3) how to address an employee’s off-duty use. This interactive session will be divided into three parts. First, there will be a brief overview of cannabis and THC and how they affect the human body. Second, we will focus on the states’ cannabis legislation and the conflict for employers that are governed in part under federal law but are in states that have legalized cannabis use. Finally, you will hear guidance and best practices for employers relating to drug testing and accommodating an employee’s cannabis use.

Sarah Turner, Gordon Rees Scully Mansukhani, Seattle, WA

5:00 p.m. Jump Start Your Seminar Networking Experience

Whether you’re a new member, non-member, seasoned attendee, or in-house counsel, join committee leaders and your fellow attendees to learn how to make the most of your networking opportunities this week.

6:00 p.m. Premier Networking Reception | Creole Queen
Sponsored by: Barnes & Thornburg LLP, Dechert LLP, Faegre Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP, Greenberg Traurig LLP, Irwin Fritchie Urquhart & Moore LLC, Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough LLP, Nutter McClennen & Fish LLP, Tucker Ellis LLP, Ulmer& Berne LLP, Venable LLP

Click here for details.

8:00 p.m. Dine-Arounds

Join colleagues and friends at selected restaurants for dinner (on your own).

Thursday, May 4, 2023

Time (Central) Program Location
7:00 a.m. DRI for Life – Scenic Run/Walk Along Mississippi River Riverwalk

Join us for a beautiful scenic run/walk from the hotel on New Orleans’ Riverwalk along the Mississippi River. This 2-mile trek at your own pace provides a pastoral break from the urban elements through Woldenberg Park, and includes scenic highlights such as Jackson Square and numerous outdoor sculptures and monuments. We will meet in the hotel lobby at 7:00 a.m.
8:00 a.m. Registration and Coffee Service
8:30 a.m. Coffee & Conversations

The early bird gets the most out of this networking session. Get to know fellow early risers in the group over a cup of coffee. Rise, shine, caffeinate and connect!
9:00 a.m. Welcome and Introductions

Mark A. Fahleson, Remboldt Ludtke, LLP, Lincoln, NE
Diane Krebs, Jackson Lewis, P.C., Melville, NY

9:10 a.m. The Year in Review: Annual Discrimination and Retaliation Law Update

He’s back again! One of the annual conference highlights, Al Latham returns to update everyone on the key discrimination and retaliation court opinions from the last year. Bring a copy of his materials and be ready to take notes, as this fast-paced session will help every defense lawyer in their briefing in the coming year.

Al Latham, Paul Hastings LLP, Los Angeles, CA
10:20 a.m. Coffee Break

10:30 a.m. Don’t Save Damages for Last

Employment lawyers equip their clients to make well-informed decisions about case valuation, settlement strategy, and discovery plans when they analyze potential damage exposure early in the life cycle of a matter. In addition to an overview of the types of damages available and the impact of statutory caps, we’ll hear from an expert witness about when to bring in an expert and how to get the most value out of him/her. We’ll also examine what claims adjusters need to know and how to leverage insurance coverage to resolve a matter favorably.

Sandy Morris, Valentine Austriaco & Bueschel P.C., Chicago, IL
Dr. Abby Clay Turner, Charles River Associates, Tallahassee, FL

11:30 a.m. Easing Minds: Addressing Mental Health and Accommodation Issues Head On

Employee mental health has become a key consideration for many businesses and their counsel, particularly in light of the global pandemic. This interactive session will explore various employee mental health and reasonable accommodation issues that employers face on a regular basis. Our esteemed presenters will share best practices for employers and lessons learned to help you navigate mental health and accommodation questions to support the needs of the business, support the needs of employees, and create a more inclusive workplace—all while complying with discrimination laws.

Reggie Belcher, Turner Padget, Columbia, SC

Drew Cashatt, American Airlines, Fort Worth, TX
Matt Pesnell, Koch Companies/Georgia Pacific, LLC, Atlanta, GA

12:30 p.m. DRI Networking Lunch

Join the Drug and Medical Device Committee seminar attendees for lunch and networking opportunities that are second to none.

1:30 p.m. Litigation Workshop: An Off-The-Record Discussion About The Record At Trial And On Appeal

Creating a good record for a trial, as well as for use in the event of an appeal, is a critical task for any litigator, but it's not easy to achieve. Important issues in developing the record can include motions in limine, objections during trial, motions for judgment as a matter of law, and objections to jury charges. Please join us for a conversation with Judge Cory T. Wilson of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit and Judge Donna Phillips Currault of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana about this vital topic. Judges Wilson and Currault will provide unique insight from their experience on their strategy for creating an effective record for trial and appeal.

Robert C. Lockwood, Wilmer & Lee, P.A., Huntsville, AL

The Honorable Cory Wilson, Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals
The Honorable Donna Phillips Currault, United States Magistrate Judge, New Orleans, LA

2:30 p.m. Roundtable #1: How to Handle Pro Se Cases

Yes, management-side attorneys may sometimes dislike having to engage with opposing counsel – but that’s nothing compared to having a pro se plaintiff on the other side who is unknowledgeable in law and procedure but wholly convinced of the correctness of their position without any balancing or objective voice providing them guidance. Join this roundtable session to share and learn ideas with and from your fellow attendees on techniques for dealing with the unique issues arising out of pro se cases, including discovery, settlement, and overall cooperation.

Michael Henthorne, Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart, P.C., Columbia, SC

3:30 p.m. Niche Issues All Employment Attorneys Should Know

This two-part session on specialty issues for employment lawyers is not to be missed.

Part 1: I-9 is not a Highway – Navigating the Rapidly Changing Roadmap of Immigration Law for Employment Attorneys

This session will include a discussion on trends in business/employment immigration, including: (1) what is a work visa and when is it needed; (2) I-9s and E-Verify: what employers and their attorneys must know; (3) I-9 audits and Social Security “no match” letters: tips to help lawyers and their clients prepare and respond; and (4) recruitment and hiring hazards: do I have to sponsor? Can I hire only U.S. citizens?

Nicola Ai Ling Prall, Jackson Lewis P.C., Raleigh, NC 

Part 2: Tax Primer for Employment Attorneys

This session will delve into common tax issues facing employment attorneys, including: (1) allocation of settlements in employment cases between wages, non-wage damages, and attorneys’ fees, and risks to employers if not done properly; (2) deductibility of settlement payments in sexual harassment cases depending on confidentiality; (3) IRS Section 409A, addressing how to spot potential deferred compensation and tax issues when drafting agreements to help avoid costly tax penalties; and (4) tax issues related to deceased employees and former employees.

Stacey Austin, Wang Austin LLC, Chicago, IL

4:30 p.m. Committee Business Meeting
6:00 p.m. Networking/Cocktail Hour
7:30 p.m. Dine-Arounds

Join colleagues and friends at selected restaurants for dinner (on your own).

Friday, May 5, 2023

Time (Central) Program Location
8:00 a.m. Registration and Coffee Service
9:00 a.m. Welcome and Announcements

David E. Renner, FisherBroyles, LLP, Pittsburgh, PA
9:10 a.m. Roundtable #2: Disarming “Litigation Terrorists”

You may not have heard the phrase before, but most likely you have encountered a “litigation terrorist” – opposing attorneys who deliberately create chaos in litigation. This is a growing trend in litigation and can manifest itself in countless ways: e.g., promulgating outrageous and overwhelming discovery demands; delaying production of discovery responses via ongoing frivolous objections; engaging in repeated allegations of unethical behavior; early morning and late-night service of documents due on earlier dates; repeated emails on Sundays and holidays; an overwhelming number of phone calls; serial lawsuit and motion filings; etc. Join this roundtable session to share and learn ideas with and from your fellow attendees on how to combat and disarm these litigation terrorists.

Sarah Sloan Batson, Nexsen Pruet, LLC, Greenville, SC
10:10 a.m. Coffee Break
10:25 a.m. If You Smell Smoke, Look For the Fire: Workplace Investigations

Harassment, discrimination, retaliation, and wrongful termination cases can take root – or be rooted out early – depending on the employer’s ability to conduct an efficient and through investigation. Meta/Facebook’s Director of Company Investigations, together with outside counsel investigators, will walk through best practices for investigating employee complaints, including what needs to be done long before the complaint is made. This fireside chat will provide pragmatic tips that can–and should–be used by every employer, large or small.

Chat Leader
Dessi Day, Greene & Roberts, San Diego, CA

David Bowman, Meta, Inc., Boston, MA
Tara Paulson, Rembolt Ludtke LLP, Lincoln, NE
Jocelyn Cuttino, Morgan Lewis, Washington, DC
11:25 a.m. Top Ten Ethical Issues in Employment Law Cases

Ethical issues abound in the context of employment and labor disputes. This session will educate employment attorneys on common ethical situations in employment cases and how to resolve them. Attendees will learn about emerging issues in ethics and professional responsibility while using scenarios drawn from real cases to develop strategies to respond effectively. Topics will include: maintaining attorney-client privilege while investigating and responding to an EEOC charge; strategies for implementing joint-defense agreements; addressing conflicts between the interests of an employer-client and employee-witnesses in employment litigation; and more.

Melissa Lessell, Deutsch Kerrigan LLP, New Orleans, LA

12:25 p.m. Adjourn

Headquarters Hotel Information

A limited number of discounted hotel rooms have been made available at the Hilton New Orleans Riverside, Two Poydras St, New Orleans, LA 70130. Take advantage of the group rate of $284.00 Single/Double in one of two ways:

The hotel block is limited, and rooms and rates are available on a first-come, first-served basis. You must make reservations by April 4, 2023, to be eligible for the hotel’s group rate. Requests for reservations made after April 4 are subject to room and rate availability.

CLE Information

Earn up to 12.25 hours of continuing legal education (CLE) hours, including one (1) hour of Ethics from this seminar.

Employment and Labor Law CLE by State


DRI's Employment and Labor Law Seminar is proudly sponsored by:

Hill Ward Henderson Attorneys at Law
MCL MacMain Connell & Leinhauser
Spencer Fane
Spilman Thomas & Battle Williams Kastner

Thank you to our Official Supporter: TBD

If you would like to contact DRI about seminar sponsorship opportunities, including pricing, or to reserve a spot, please go to Advertising and Sponsorship.

DRI Cares

Bayou District Foundation

Bayou District Foundation logo

Please join the Employment and Labor Law (ELL) Committee for its DRI Cares event on Wednesday, May 3rd. Our off-site event will support the Bayou District Foundation that offers a holistic community revitalization model to help break the cycle of poverty by providing quality education and access to affordable housing, healthcare, fresh groceries and community programming for under-served children and families. The ELL seminar attendees will help prepare bags through the Blessings in a Backpack program that provides food on the weekends for school-aged children across America who might otherwise go hungry.

  • If you are interested in participating on Wednesday morning, please contact Michael Henthorne.
  • If you are unable to attend this event, you can submit a donation online to the DRI Foundation (see below). The DRI Foundation will donate any raised funds to the Bayou District Foundation/Blessings in a Backpack.

We appreciate your support of this great cause!

To donate online:

  1. Click the "Donate" button or scan the QR code below.
  2. If you have an account with DRI, log in. Use the same login that you registered for this seminar.
  3. If you do not have an account with DRI, create a guest account.
  4. Select from one of the gift amounts or set your own amount. The default value is $100.
  5. Select "Employment and Labor Law" from "My SLC/Region" dropdown box.
  6. Click “Submit Donation.”
  7. The page will refresh. Click “View Cart” to checkout.
  8. Enter your credit card information and click “Submit Order” once all required information is entered.


Substantive Law Committee QR Code Foundation Contributions


NEW in 2023 – 4 Additional On-Demand Programs Included With Every Seminar!

CLE Credit will be sought from every state requiring CLE hours in elimination of bias/diversity and inclusion, ethics, substance abuse/mental health and law practice management. The CLE grid will provide updated information concerning hours that have been approved by each jurisdiction and for which credits. For states not requiring these special credits, general education credits will be sought.

View On-Demand Library

Diversity/Elimination of Bias in the Profession

Invisible or Mixed-Visible Diversity – Combatting Bias

Often diversity programs and initiatives are focused on visible traits such as gender or race, but bias exists related to sexual orientation, gender identity, and some disabilities that are not readily visible to the eye. This panel will discuss how to address these biases and to create an environment where those with invisible or mixed-visible diversity can operate at the highest level.

Stacy Douglas, Everett Dorey LLP, Irvine, CA
Gary Howard, Bradley, Birmingham, AL
Ronna Kinsella, Glassman Wyatt Tuttle & Cox PC, Memphis, TN

Law Practice Management Credit

Succession Planning: Failing to Plan is a Plan to Fail

Succession planning is considered one of the most pressing issues facing not only law firms but also clients. Senior partners are working into their golden years and can sometimes be reluctant to engage in a succession plan, but clients want to know that there is a plan for the transition of their work without interruption. Join us to learn:

  1. the importance of succession planning for the benefit both the law firm and its clients;
  2. how succession planning impacts retention and continuity of the firm and client relationships;
  3. how to approach the subject with senior attorneys; and
  4. strategies for implementing a successful succession plan.

Marie E. Chafe, Conn Kavanaugh, Boston, MA
Matthew Cairns, Textron Inc., Providence, RI
Elizabeth M. Brotten, Foley & Mansfield PLLP, Minneapolis, MN
Meade Hartfield, Bradley Arant, Birmingham, AL


Technology, Ethics & Remote Work: What You Need to Know Now

The Rules of Professional Conduct regarding competence and diligence require all lawyers to keep abreast of changes in technology. This webinar will provide you with tips and information on new issues related to technology and the practice of law, including the challenges of the remote work environment. You will learn the ethics and professionalism considerations when using technology in your practice and your ethical duties when it comes to “keeping abreast of changes” in technology.

Amber Garcia, Deutsch Kerrigan LLP, New Orleans, LA
Alyssa Johnson, Barron & Newberger PC, Milwaukee, WI
Clare Roubion, Louisiana Legal Ethics, LLC, Lafayette, LA

Mental Health & Attorney Wellness

Lessons for Lawyers from the Science of Well Being

This presentation will focus on the practical steps that we can take as individuals to improve well-being, drawing on recent research from cognitive science and beginning with the preface that happiness can be learned and applied. Specifically, we will provide an evidence-based arsenal of practical tools that lawyers can apply in their own lives to improve their well-being.

Emma Ross, Goldman Ismail Tomaselli Brennan & Baum, Chicago, IL
Shayna Cook, Goldman Ismail Tomaselli Brennan & Baum, Chicago, IL

Other Information

If you have any questions or concerns regarding DRI programs, please contact DRI Customer Service at 312.795.1101 or custservice@dri.org.