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Annual Report 2001-2002

The Labor and Employment Law Section experienced another year of providing quality service to its members. The first of five continuing education programs that the section sponsored or co-sponsored during the year was held during the September 12, 2001, Annual Meeting of the State Bar. Although attendance was substantially reduced because of the events of September 11, those present benefited from presentations on new development in Michigan employment law by Daniel J. Bretz; pre-dispute agreements to arbitrate statutory claims after Circuit City Stores, Inc. v. Adams, by David A. Rhem; privately facilitated settlement conferences, by Karen Smith Kienbaum, Hon. Daniel R. Deja, and Stuart M. Israel, who also served as moderator. Thereafter, Michigan Supreme Court Justice Robert P. Young, Jr. provided some thoughts on guiding principles that he shares with the Court's majority—respect for limits on constitutional authority, separation of power, and text; erudite decision writing and decision making; and a desire to leave each area of law clearer than before the court's opinion—and suggestions on how advocates can better assist the court during oral argument. David B. Calzone, Joseph A. Ritok, Jr., and David Khorey organized the annual meeting program.

During the business portion of the meeting, Arthur J. Przybylowicz was presented with a plaque in recognition of his outstanding service as section chair during 2000-2001. Unanimously elected as officers were: Roy L. Roulhac, chair; Andrea Roumell Dickson, vice-chair; David E. Khorey, secretary; and James M. Moore, treasurer. Yasmin J. Abdul-Karim and Daniel J. Bretz were elected to the council and joined Joseph A. Barker, David B. Calzone, Jeffrey S. Donahue, Deborah L. Gordon, David A. Kotzian, Michael K. Lee, Michael P. Long, Joseph A. Ritok, Jr., Jeffrey S. Rueble, and Reginald M. Turner. Arthur R. Przybylowicz, the outgoing chair, served as an ex-officio council member.

On October 18, 2001, the Bernard Gottfried Memorial Labor Law Symposium was held at Wayne State University. As in past years, the section continued its co-sponsorship of the program and facilitated the attendance of twenty-seven students specializing in labor and employment from all of the Michigan law schools and the University of Toledo School of Law.

The mid-winter meeting of the section, by far the most well-attended section activity, was again held at the Ypsilanti Marriott at Eagle Crest. This year's January 25-26, 2002, event was organized by Andrea Roumell Dickson, David B. Calzone, David E. Khorey, and Michael K. Lee. During dinner, the section presented its sixth Distinguished Service Award to James E. Tobin of Miller Canfield Paddock & Stone to recognize his more than 50 years of outstanding service and professionalism in the practice of labor and employment law. Awards were also presented to Lawnotes editor Stuart M. Israel and associate editor John G. Adam for their outstanding contribution to the section and its membership through the publication of the section's quarterly newsletter. Former City of Detroit Mayor Dennis Archer was the dinner speaker. The education component of the mid-winter meeting featured National Labor Relations Board, the Michigan Employment Relations Commission, and Equal Employment Opportunity Commission updates; employment issues after 9/11; and strategies in prosecuting and defending employment class actions. Presenters included Stanley C. Moore, III, Dan Bretz, Administrative Law Judge David M. Peltz, Michael L. Pitt, Thomas G. Kienbaum, Dennis M. Devaney, and U.S. Attorney Jeffrey G. Collins.

The section presented its fourth continuing legal education program on April 16-17, 2002, when it co-sponsored the 27th Annual Labor and Employment Law Institute with the Institute of Continuing Legal Education. The section's long-standing partnership with ICLE enabled members to benefit from up-to-date practice pointers and litigation strategies. In addition to updates on EEO cases, the Americans with Disabilities and Family and Medical Leave Acts, and NLRB and MERC law, the program included simultaneous information-filled tracks on traditional labor law and employment law issues. Honorable Arthur J. Tarnow, of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan, presented a thought-provoking luncheon speech during the first day of the Institute. The next day, for the second year, the section sponsored an on-premise lunch that offered attendees an opportunity to network without leaving the conference center.

On May 9-10, 2002, the section continued its co-sponsorship of the Michigan Employment Relations Commission's Public Sector Labor Law Conference. This year's conference, held at Michigan State University's Kellogg Center, provided a unique opportunity for union representatives and labor relations specialists to interact with labor and employment lawyers in an educational setting. The conference's faculty consisted almost entirely of section members.

The section continued its commitment of participating in the State Bar of Michigan's Access to Justice Campaign, which has raised over $2.4 million to improve avenues to justice for Michigan's low-income population with civil needs. The section's $2,500 contribution in 2001 brought its total donation to $5,000 and earned it a spot in the AJC Benefactor's Club. In March, the council approved guidelines for the administration of a section listserv. The listserv provides a vehicle for communication between the section leadership and section members, and among section members themselves about matters related to labor and employment law practice.

December 15, 2002, marks the section's 50th anniversary. Initially organized as the Labor Relations Law Section, it was the first section to be established in Michigan. As part of the section's celebration, the council has nominated its six Distinguished Awards Recipients to receive the Bar's most prestigious awards that will be presented during the annual meeting in Grand Rapids in September. Theodore Sachs, Erwin B. Ellman, and William M. Saxton have been nominated to receive the Roberts P. Hudson Award that recognizes persons whose careers have exemplified the highest ideals of the profession and who have made significant contributions to the community, state, and/or nation. James E. Tobin, Theodore J. Saint Antoine, and George T. Roumell, Jr. are the nominees for the Champion of Justice Award, which is given for extraordinary individual accomplishments or devotion to a cause. The council and a committee of past presidents are continuing to explore other ways to celebrate the section's 50th anniversary and to document and preserve the role of Michigan lawyers in the development of labor and employment law history.

The section's success during this Bar year was made possible by the service of a dedicated and committed council and by members with a demonstrated interest in moving the section forward. I extend sincere thanks to all of them for contributing their time and talent. For me, the opportunity to serve as section chair has been an experience that I will always cherish.

Roy L. Roulhac, Chair

     

 

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