Event Location: 
The Mayflower Renaissance Hotel
1127 Connecticut Ave. NW
Washington, DC 20036
The Mayflower Renaissance Hotel, Washington, DC

MWELA’s Annual Conference is an all-day event featuring colleagues, judges, and outside experts on topics concerning all aspects of the plaintiff’s employment practice. Our annual Lawyer of the Year award will also be presented during the conference.

Registration Cost :
2016 MWELA Member Rate: $285*
Non-Member Rate: $385
Non-Profit and Paralegal Rate: $215**
2016 MWELA Student Member Rate: $65*

*You must be logged in to your member account to receive the member rate. Please contact us if you need log in assistance. If you have not yet renewed your membership, renew and register for the conference together here.

**Please contact us to receive the Non-Profit and Paralegal Rate

Annual Conference Sponsors




jmw structured
TD Bank




Welcome and Opening Remarks

8:30 – 8:40 am
MWELA President

What Employment Lawyers Can Learn from Labor Lawyers

8:40 am - 9:40 am
Tom J. Gagliardo, AFGE Local 1923
Al Palewicz, Former Baltimore Regional Attorney, NLRB
Sean Marshall, Baltimore Regional Attorney, NLRB

Add to your employee protection tool kit. Whether working in a union or nonunion setting, employees engaged in protected concerted activity are protected against termination and other forms of retaliation. A panel of two experienced NLRB regional attorneys and a union lawyer discuss what constitutes protected activity, whether employer rules violate the law and whether employer bans on workplace class action arbitration will be struck down by the Supreme Court. Also, what you need to ask and tell clients to meet your ethical obligation to zealously represent them.

How to Maximize Attorney’s Fees in Settlements and Judgments

9:40 am - 10:40 am
Heather White, Partner, The Federal Practice Group
Carla Brown, Charlson Bredehoft Cohen & Brown, P.C.
Michael Amster, Zipin, Amster & Greenberg, LLC

How To Win Harassment, Discrimination & Punitive Damage Claims Without An HR Expert

10:50 am - 12:20 pm
Nancy Bornn, Human Resources Expert and Workplace Investigator
Bruce A. Fredrickson, Webster & Fredrickson, PLLC
David Cashdan, Cashdan & Kane, PLLC

Using an HR expert to testify as to the standard of care is a well-established method for showing that the employer failed to take reasonable steps to prevent, correct, and remedy harassment or discrimination, which also may provide the basis for punitive damages. But not every case warrants the expense of an expert. In other cases, a judge might exclude the expert. This panel will discuss how to win these claims without an HR expert.


12:30 – 1:40pm
MWELA President

Presentation of 2016 MWELA Lawyer of the Year Award

Ethics: The Attorney-Client Relationship from the Beginning to the End (and Beyond)

1:50 pm - 2:50 pm
Hope Todd, DC Bar
Tom Mason, Harris Wiltshire & Grannis LLP

This CLE presentation covers several ethics issues arising from the attorney-client relationship, with an emphasis on those that arise at either the outset of the representation or upon the termination of the representation. The rules governing retainer agreements are discussed, as is the possibility of limiting the scope of the representation and providing “unbundled” legal services. The panel will discuss mandatory and permissive withdrawal as a way of terminating the representation, and how the withdrawal can be accomplished without prejudicing the former client’s interests.

Whistleblower and Rewards Claims: Top 10 New Developments

2:50 pm - 3:50 pm
Lynne Bernabei, Partner, Bernabei & Kabat, PLLC
Richard Renner, Kalijarvi, Chuzi, Newman & Fitch, P.C.
Jason Zuckerman, Zuckerman Law

This program will address recent key developments under whistleblower rewards and protections law, including the following issues:

  • Recent SEC whistleblower awards and the SEC’s focus on combating gag clauses
  • Scope of protected conduct under Sarbanes-Oxley and Dodd-Frank
  • Whistleblower protections for individuals working on government contracts or grants
  • The ARB’s Palmer decision clarifying the burden-shifting framework for whistleblower protection claims

ESI Nuts and Bolts: How to Get the Info You Need in the Form You Need It

4:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Jacob Small, Principal, J. Madison, PLC
David Scher, The Employment Law Group, P.C.
Linda Correia, Correia & Puth

Cocktail Reception

5:00 pm - 6:00 pm

Looking for an Employment Lawyer?

Use MWELA’s Find A Lawyer search, in the left navigation bar. Select a practice area: the search will provide you with 10 names randomly selected from MWELA members who practice in that area and who have paid an additional fee to be listed in the search directory. The search results include the name, address, phone number, email address, website, and practice areas of attorneys who meet your search criteria. Note that more than 10 members may practice in any given area; additional searches may yield additional names.

MWELA does not provide legal advice and is not responsible for the advice or services provided by the attorneys included in the Find a Lawyer search.

Attorneys: MWELA Sustaining Members and Presidents Club Members are included in the Find a Lawyer search. If you wish to upgrade your membership be included in the search, contact info@mwela.org.

Become a MWELA Member

Welcome to the Web site of MWELA — the Metropolitan Washington Employment Lawyers Association. We are about 300 lawyers who represent people in the District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia.

As advocates for employee rights and civil rights, we work to protect the rights and privileges of employees in both the private and public sectors of the Washington metropolitan area workforce. We are dedicated to promoting workplace fairness and the right of employees to work in an environment free of discrimination. MWELA provides assistance, support and resources to members throughout the metropolitan area to attain the highest ideals of practice and encourage the sharing of expertise and skills to best serve our clients.

On our vibrant and active listserve, MWELA members share strategies, tips, and responses to queries regarding both routine and novel employment law issues. The listserve is also available as an on-line searchable database, a powerful research tool.

MWELA holds monthly Brown Bag gatherings featuring presentations on trial strategies and techniques, emerging employment law issues, use of new courtroom technologies, successful litigation efforts, and other matters critical to a successful employment law practice.

Our Moot Court Committee regularly prepares our members for oral argument before appellate courts. MWELA's Amicus Committee produces thoughtful and excellent briefs on important policy matters before the courts of appeals, lending a powerful persuasive voice for the plaintiff and for employees generally. MWELA produces a monthly Newsletter covering member news, victories, and key decisions.

At our all-day Annual Conference, MWELA presents local and federal judges, colleagues, and outside experts on topics concerning all aspects of the plaintiff's employment practice. We also present our annual Lawyer of the Year award.

MWELA maintains an on-line Brief Bank, with ready arguments, briefs, and pleadings. MWELA works toward changes in public policy through the lobbying efforts of our members, to strengthen anti-discrimination and related workplace laws.

MWELA Case Advisory service offers two programs to both MWELA members and non-members. One is a Three-member Clinic Panel, which reviews a lawyer’s case either before it is filed or after it is pending and possibly encountering difficulties. The other is a Single Advisor Legal Consultation where an experienced MWELA attorney provides advice and tips on a particular topic to a less experienced lawyer. Topics may include areas of substantive law and procedure, litigation and trial practice, appeals, settlement agreements, and particular Court and administrative forums with which a lawyer may be unfamiliar. 

NELA MWELA is the local affiliate of the National Employment Lawyers Association (NELA). NELA and its 68 state and local affiliates have more than 3,000 members. We strongly encourage our members to join NELA. For more information, please contact Ms. Colleen Goodin, Membership Director, NELA, (415) 296-7629 (cgoodin@nelahq.org) or go to www.nela.org for an application. MWELA members receive a discount on NELA dues.

MWELA members can access our brief bank, listserve and newsletter archives, board meeting information, and other resources. If you are a lawyer and devote a majority of your employment practice to representing plaintiffs, join us.