Message From the Chair



By Latika Malkani

Latika Malkani is a partner at Siegel LeWitter Malkani. She represents employees seeking justice and improved conditions in the workplace. Ms. Malkani has helped hundreds of employees establish better working conditions, negotiate severance and post-separation packages, as well as obtain fair and just compensation through enforcement of state and federal laws. She is Chair of the Labor & Employment Law Section’s Executive Committee.

Happy New Year! We made it through 2021!

And what a year 2021 was. For many of us in the employment and labor bar, 2021 began under 2020’s shadow and rose to a crescendo of demanding work, renewed family traditions, and increased engagement in the world outside our homes. For me, this past year brought both delight and stress as I juggled trial preparation, kids coming home from college, and resumed holiday parties and plane flights. It was fun and stimulating in ways I had missed. Still, I’m a little bit relieved I made it thorough, fulfilled, unscathed, and still speaking with all extended family members.

With the holidays in our rear-view mirror and the vast open space that is 2022 ahead, my wish to you is a year filled with professional fulfillment, personal joy, and many interesting moments. Here at the Labor & Employment Law Section, we have a lot of exciting programming and initiatives to start the new year off right.

As many of you know, the core of our Section’s programming is our stellar conferences. Later this month, on January 20-21, join us for our annual New Employment Practitioner Conference. Held over two days, this virtual conference is a must-attend for lawyers new to the practice of labor and employment law and will feature our popular Employment Law 101 session, a webinar that will clarify and explain the world of intersecting leaves of absence, and an ethics and bias session to help you fulfill specialty continuing education. If you are an employment lawyer looking to expand your 2022 practice to related areas, join us for seminars covering the basics of labor law (NLRA compliance) or wage and hour law. Finally, newly added this year is a practical skills course on how to gather and present evidence in the virtual world that appears to be our new-normal for the immediate future.

Later in January, our Section’s Executive Committee will be hard at work behind the scenes, as we participate in the California Lawyers’ Association annual leadership conference and hold our quarterly planning meeting. After nearly two years of communicating solely on screens, this will be our first hybrid meeting, allowing for both remote and in-person attendance. While this is limited to CLA and Section leadership, it serves a dual purpose of allowing us to connect in-person once again and to help us understand the challenges of doing so safely, which will inform our planning for future conferences. I’m approaching this gathering as I approached the holidays, with both excitement at the thought of greeting longtime colleagues and friends, and some trepidation about maintaining safe practices and the possibility that ever-changing circumstances may yet again postpone our gathering.

On a related note, as we plan for future conferences, we are excited to plan our in-person Public Sector Conference this coming Spring on May 6, 2022, in Northern California. In addition, our in-person Annual Meeting is being planned for fall 2022. Details are still being finalized but will be announced soon. Consistent with the policy applicable to all CLA events, we anticipate that proof of vaccination or a recent negative COVID test will be required of all in-person attendees. Our planning committee has pulled together a great line-up of presenters and topics for this conference. Finally, our annual Wage and Hour Conference returns this summer, with dates and more details to follow.

As we work behind the scenes, our Section has developed some extensive programs to promote skills, diversity and equity in our profession.

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