The Guild's National Convention will be held in New Orleans from Wednesday, September 22 through Sunday, September 26, 2010. Each year, members are invited to propose workshops relevant to the Guild's work and current struggles. Approximately 20 workshops will be selected. All committees, chapters, and members are invited to share their expertise and ideas with their colleagues.
Workshops are chosen based on the following factors:
- Significance and timeliness of the subject matter
- Expertise and diversity of proposed presenters
- Complete and timely application
Applications are due by April 1. A limited number of slots will be entertained in the category of "Hot Topics," for which the deadline is May 1. Applicants will be informed of the success of their proposals by April 15 and must provide a final description and list of panelists by May 1. Applicants are responsible for organizing their panels and communicating with their presenters as they receive convention schedule updates. Presenters should expect to pay for their own travel, lodging, and copying expenses. Because we are "greening" the Guild and cutting down on paperwork, we ask that materials be submitted ahead of time so that we can create CDs rather than hand out paper. A very limited amount of diversity funds will be made available through a separate application process during the summer, after workshops are finalized. However, no speakers should count on receiving diversity funds. Generally, eligible applicants will receive partial funding. Presenters who attend the convention only on the day of their workshop are eligible for admission without charge, while presenters who plan to attend a larger part of the convention may do so for half the normal registration fee.
Workshops will be scheduled all day on Friday, September 24 and Saturday, September 25, and on the morning of Sunday, September 26. Presenters should expect their workshops to be scheduled at any time during this period. While the planning committee and host chapter will endeavor to accommodate scheduling requests, they cannot guarantee preferences. If one or more panelists cannot be available during certain periods, please communicate these scheduling needs as quickly as possible. A draft schedule will be circulated to workshop contacts early in May. Early change requests will receive priority, and no changes will be made after June 15, unless a workshop organizer can reach agreement with another workshop independently.
Workshop applicants should keep in mind that many attendees would like to receive CLE credits. To facilitate this, applicants will be asked to provide copies of presenter bios and written materials to attendees at the convention, and one copy to the host chapter by or before the convention.
Diversity Requirements for Workshops and Panels
As you organize your workshop, panel or skills seminar, you should be aware of the longstanding Guild diversity policy in composing such programs. This policy is not some technical requirement that we have passed so it will appear that we do outreach. Rather it is our strong understanding that by including a range of individuals in our workshops it will help us to have better, deeper, stronger program - at the convention and in our work. Where we have not before, it helps us do outreach. Where we have worked with a wide arena of colleagues, it shows that, and tells those people, that we value their opinions and work. We cannot express how strongly we feel that this is an important, but not the only, needed step in doing our work better.
The policy is this:
- Half the program presenters should be women
- Half the program presenters should be people of color
- At least one person on the program should be a legal worker - which is not necessarily the client in a case, but rather a non-lawyer doing legal/political work on the issue
- You should (seek) make a conscious effort to include law students, people with disabilities, and people of all sexual orientation. We particularly note that the Disability Rights Committee can be consulted for suggestions for disabled presenters on a variety of topics and that people with disabilities should not be limited to speaking only on disability rights.
We understand that intended panelists may, for a variety of reasons, not be able to attend and that the result may be the failure to comply with our diversity requirements. However, such problems will not be considered justification for any such failure unless it is demonstrated that the workshop organizers have made a good faith effort to find substitutes who will allow the workshop to meet the requirements. A failure to make a good faith effort can result in the workshop being dropped from the schedule.
When you are asked by the convention committee to specify the program and speakers, you should identify how they fit into the diversity requirements.