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Pre-Conference Session
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From Subpoena to the Witness Stand: The Good, the Bad and the Scary Unknown of Testifying About Your Investigation

You get served with a deposition subpoena regarding an investigation you completed two or three years ago. The name of the complainant sounds vaguely familiar, but you remember nothing about the investigation. What do you do first? Who do you call? How do you prepare? This lively session will help you understand the goals of the complainant's/plaintiff's attorney as they seek to attack your findings and written report, determining who represents your interests, handling the subpoena, appropriate language for your engagement letter, the impact of your credibility findings, bias allegations and tips for conducting a defensible investigation. Our presenters include plaintiff and defense counsel and experienced investigators who survived deposition and trial.

Speakers

Jean Hyams

Jean Hyams

Jean Hyams prosecutes employment civil rights lawsuits with the Bay Area firm Levy Vinick Burrell Hyams LLP. She also cultivates strong co-counsel relationships with colleagues at other firms, including stepping in as eleventh-hour trial counsel. Ms. Hyams currently serves as President of the 1300-member strong California Employment Lawyers Association. In addition to litigation, Ms. Hyams maintains a mediation practice and accepts cases privately and through the U. S. District Court for Northern California's ADR Program. A longtime leader in the field, Ms. Hyams has been named to the "Top 50 Women Lawyers" list by Northern California Super Lawyers for eight of the past nine years. She frequently speaks on trial skills, employment law, ADR, and other topics throughout California, including at seminars organized by the State Bar Labor and Employment Section, CELA, Consumer Attorneys of California, Consumer Attorneys Association of Los Angeles, Bar Association of San Francisco, and CEB. Prior to becoming an attorney, Ms. Hyams spent a number of interesting years in the high technology field, including reporting directly to Oracle Corporation's CEO, Larry Ellison, and in management positions with Oracle and Hewlett-Packard. Ms. Hyams believes that employers who institute good management practices can put a stop to workplace discrimination, retaliation and harassment. When they don't, it is the job of employment lawyers to hold employers accountable for the damage and devastation employees suffer because their civil rights are violated.


Tracey Merwise

Tracey Merwise

Tracey Merwise is a Partner in the national employment law firm of Jackson Lewis PC. Since 1995, Ms. Merwise has focused exclusively on employment advice and counsel, training, compliance and litigation, helping employers de-escalate difficult employment situations and proactively manage employment issues. 

Ms. Merwise is certified as a third-party Mediator to mediate litigated and pre-litigation disputes, and as a Workplace Conflict Mediator. She also conducts independent workplace investigations. Ms. Merwise is a member of the EEOC’s Pro Bono Mediation Panel, the Association of Workplace Investigators, the Association for Dispute Resolution of Northern California, and Bay Area Women Neutrals.

For more information, please see Ms. Merwise’s LinkedIn profile at: www.linkedin.com/in/traceymerwise/


Robyn Anuhea Sembenini

Robyn Anuhea Sembenini

Robyn Anuhea Sembenini, Manager EEO and HR National Functions Investigations at Kaiser Foundation Health Plan, Inc. leads a talented team of internal investigators who conduct workplace investigations affecting the more than 100,000 individuals employed by the entities referred to as Kaiser Permanente, in locations across the U.S. Robyn and her team address complex workplace issues arising in a broad range of settings, from patient care facilities to specialized functions such as sales, IT and finance, as well as at the executive level. She and her team strive to conduct thorough investigations in a manner that minimizes disruption to the work environment, supports Kaiser Permanente policies and Principles of Responsibility, and fosters a positive work environment for those who are charged with helping others to Thrive!

Ms. Sembenini first became involved in workplace investigations while an attorney with the United States Postal Service, and she has been in investigations functions at Kaiser since 2008. She is a graduate of the University of Hawaii and U.C. Hastings College of the Law.


Julie Yanow

Julie Yanow

Julie Yanow has practiced exclusively in the area of employment and labor law for thirty years. She founded EquiLaw in 2003 in order to focus on workplace investigations and training. Ms. Yanow has conducted many hundreds of investigations and has trained and/or coached thousands of employees across the spectrum of workplaces regarding topics such as the prevention of harassment, discrimination, and retaliation, and the art of conducting workplace investigations. She serves as an expert witness for plaintiff and defense counsel regarding workplace issues and is a trained Title IX sexual assault investigator.

Ms. Yanow is a Phi Beta Kappa, magna cum laude graduate of the University of California, Berkeley. She received her J.D. from the University of California, Los Angeles. For the Los Angeles County Bar Association (LACBA) she serves as Secretary of the Labor and Employment Law Section. Ms. Yanow is a Charter Member of the Association of Workplace Investigators (AWI), for which she has served on the Board of Directors. She earned a workplace investigator certificate through AWI’s inaugural national Training Institute in 2012, was invited to be a faculty member for the 2013 Institute, and served as Chair of the 2014 Institute.