July 2010 - The OCBA Employment and Labor Law Section

by Julie Schisler

The Orange County Bar Association Employment and Labor Law Section’s goal is to provide informative and educational programs for employment and labor law practitioners on both the plaintiff and defense side, as well as networking opportunities for its members.

Julie Schisler currently chairs along with Chair-Elect Frank Pray.

The section normally meets at the Radisson Hotel near John Wayne Airport for lunch the second Monday of each month. A typical section meeting includes a handout of the past month’s key employment law case updates, as well as a summary from a plaintiff and a defense practitioner of the key published decisions issued the prior month. That is followed by a one-hour program on a topic of interest to the section.

Past topics have included: the elimination of gender bias in the legal field (with specialty CLE credit); key employment law updates on cases and legislative developments in 2009; recent developments in wage and hour class actions; ethics issues for employment lawyers, including courtroom conduct and attorney/client privilege; tips for mediating employment disputes, privacy issues surrounding new media in the workplace; effective summary judgment motions; and, the new electronic discovery rules. In May, there was a joint meeting with the Bankruptcy and Commercial Law Section discussing issues that arise when the Bankruptcy and Employment laws collide.

There are a number of interesting topics planned for this year, including:

  • July 12 Understanding Key Employment Practices Liability Insurance (“EPLI” and Other Insurance Issues including tips for obtaining maximum coverage;
  • August 9 What Employment Lawyers Need to Know About Immigration Law;
  • September 13 Key Trial Techniques for Effective Jury Selection (featuring a mock voir dire)
  • October 11 TBA;
  • November 8 Litigating Employment Actions.

Speakers include local judges and practitioners who are experts in the areas presented. The section encourages its members to submit ideas for topics and speakers for future events.

Programs often feature a panel of individuals providing perspectives from the plaintiff side, the defense side, and the judicial perspective. Meetings are typically attended by plaintiff and defense practitioners, as well as mediators and judges.

In December 2009, the section hosted a holiday party at JT Schmidt’s with free food, drinks and fabulous opportunity prizes for all of its members. There was a terrific turnout and it was a fabulous time! The section also facilitated a food drive for Second Harvest Food Bank and collected over 165 pounds of food at the holiday party. The section plans to have another fantastic holiday party this year.

In light of the great success in collecting food at the holiday party, and the extreme need of food banks throughout the year, the section now facilitates a food drive for Second Harvest at each of its section meetings. Those who participate in the food drive receive opportunity drawing tickets. Sarnoff Court Reporters donates prizes for the opportunity drawings, such as a movie night package with four movie tickets and popcorn and drink coupons, as well as a variety of other goodies.

In addition, this year, the section has added a listserv that allows all of the members to communicate easily electronically for those who are interested in participating.

Being a member of the section is a great way to keep up with the latest developments in employment law, get your CLE (including specialty CLE) credits, and interact with mediators, judges, and employment law practitioners on a regular basis.


Julie Schisler concentrates her practice in defending and counseling employers on California and federal employment laws.