On Friday, November 13, 2015, the Labor & Employment Law Committee of the Asian American Bar Association of New York (AABANY) hosted Mark Gaston Pearce, Chairman of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) for a discussion on his life and career path – his perspective and path to policy maker. Spearheaded by Joane Wong (Founding Member of the Labor & Employment Law Committee) and David Mou (Vice Chair of Labor & Employment Law Committee), the event was co sponsored by the Labor & Employment Law Section of the New York State Bar Association (NYSBA), Metropolitan Black Bar Association (MBBA), and the Murphy Institute – CUNY. It was held at the offices of Outten & Golden LLP, who generously provided space and support services for the event.
Drawing an audience of over 75 on a Friday night was no easy feat, and those that attended heard an intimate conversation as Chairman Pearce shared stories of his experiences as an undergrad at Cornell University and State University of New York at Buffalo Law School. After law school, he worked at the NLRB for 15 years until he had an offer at age 40 to go into private practice. He described the challenges and risk of leaving his comfort zone and jumping into private practice, where he eventually was a founding partner of a labor and employment firm. When President Obama was looking to fill slots in the NRLB, Chairman Pearce had an opportunity to rejoin the Federal government, coming full circle in his career. He also answered tough questions about implicit bias and diversity issues in the legal profession. All in all, it was a wonderful night of networking among the different co-sponsors, and a good time was had by all.
Photos and write up by Chris M. Kwok, Labor & Employment Law Committee Co-Chair.