Leaven,JessicaBy Jessica E. Leaven

As I was preparing my first comments as chair, this tune kept coming to my mind. “To everything – turn, turn, turn – there is a season – turn, turn, turn.” Maybe it’s because the summer is ending and the kids are going back to school. Or maybe it’s because it’s blueberry season in the mountains, and going blueberry picking with my family always marks the end of summer and beginning of fall. It could be because during this election season, I’ve too often thought of the lines “a time for love, a time for hate, a time for peace, I swear it’s not too late.” Either way, it’s time to welcome everyone to the new bar year for the Labor & Employment Section, and it’s my turn to be our chair.

I’m very excited and honored to serve as chair of the Labor & Employment Section this year. It was my pleasure working closely with our immediate past chair, Grant Osborne, over the past year, and I am grateful to have the assistance of our section’s new officers, Vice Chair Margaret Manos, Secretary Michael Kornbluth, and Treasurer Melanie Tuttle, and committee leadership this year. We have big plans for our section this year, and I would like to use this comment as an opportunity to let you know about some changes we have made to the section’s newsletter, the wonderful lineup for the annual CLE and social events planned for this October in Asheville, and the push to develop podcasts for our section.

As you can see from this  newsletter, we have transitioned from a traditional newsletter format to a blog format. We voted to make this change at our last council meeting, and we are committed to the blog format through the end of the bar year. We hope that this new format will allow us to offer our members a weekly newsletter including timely articles, links to recent cases, legislative updates, the work of our section and its members, and other content that is of interest to our section. Of course, we’ll be more effective in accomplishing our goal to produce a more timely, informative newsletter with your help.

This year’s Newsletter Committee co-chairs, Sean Herrmann, Michael Kornbluth, Michael McKnight, Joseph Murray, and Sabrina Presnell Rockoff, are each planning to rotate responsibility for publishing the weekly newsletter. They are actively seeking authors to write articles and suggestions for topics on a weekly basis. If you are willing to write a short article or have ideas for topics, please let them know. They are also still working with NCBA staff member Amber Nimocks on the details related to our section’s newsletter, and any member suggestions are welcome and appreciated. If you are interested in contributing your time and energy to assist with article generation and editing, please consider joining the Newsletter Committee. It’s going to take an all hands on deck approach to make this transition successful, and we are confident that with your help and participation, it will be a success.

The upcoming 32nd Annual North Carolina/South Carolina Labor & Employment Law Program will be held Oct. 28–29 in Asheville. If you have not already registered for the event, I hope that you will do so. Click here to register. In addition to the annual Supreme Court, 4th Circuit, North Carolina and South Carolina, FLSA, NLRB, and EEOC Updates, topics include a panel of federal district court judges providing us with their view of employment law from the bench, a presentation on qui tam and whistleblower laws, a panel discussion about NLRA issues for non-union lawyers, LGBT issues, mediation, changes to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure governing discovery, and criminal implications of trade secret misappropriation.

Ann Anderson and Griff Morgan are this year’s CLE Committee co-chairs. They both assisted last year’s CLE co-chairs in developing the upcoming program, and they will be working with the South Carolina Employment and Labor Law Section to plan the annual CLE in South Carolina in October 2017. If you would like to speak on a particular topic, or suggest a presentation, please let them know.

We recently held our section’s first social networking event of the year in Winston-Salem following our council meeting, and we are planning to hold two more events in conjunction with the annual CLE in Asheville:  a networking social on Oct. 27, and a networking reception on Oct. 28. Leslie Lasher, Mary-Ann Leon, and Jerry Walters are our Membership Committee co-chairs this year. Please stay tuned for more information from them about other social events for members across the state. They will also include articles featuring the work of our individual section members in our weekly newsletter.

It’s also my pleasure to introduce the attorneys who have graciously volunteered to lead our other committees this year. Faith Herndon, Laura Wetsch, and Jonathan Yarbrough are this year’s Legislative Committee co-chairs for the section. They will be monitoring and coordinating any response to potential legislation affecting employment law in the upcoming bar year. This has been a challenging task over the last few years, and we are very appreciative of their efforts to keep us all informed. They will also include legislative updates in our weekly newsletter when the General Assembly is in session.

Richard Klein and Melanie Tuttle are this year’s Ethics Committee co-chairs, and they will be monitoring and coordinating any response to ethics proposals from the State Bar, along with updating our membership via our weekly newsletter. Morgan Bryant and Andy McVey are our Pro Bono Committee co-chairs this year, and they will be coordinating our section’s involvement in the annual Justice 4ALL event, as well as organizing additional pro bono activities for our section members. Grant Osborne will be working with William Oden to generate audio podcasts this year, which will make communication with our section members and others more interactive. Please let them know if you are interested in producing a podcast.

Finally, I personally want to extend my sincerest thanks and appreciation to Julianne Dambro, assistant director of Sections and Divisions, NCBA, for all her guidance, patience, and hard work in keeping our section on track.

I hope you have all had a relaxing and enjoyable summer, with at least a vacation or two, and that I will see you in the fall in Asheville for the annual CLE, social events, and changing of the leaves.