2022 Gala

On Friday, July 1, NELA honored three inspiring advocates for their commitment to the cause of justice for workers.

Joseph D. Garrison

It is impossible to overstate the significance of the contributions Joe Garrison has made to NELA and the field of plaintiffs’ employment law throughout his career. Joe served on the NELA Board for 15 years, including three years as President (1994–1996). As a longstanding member of the Annual Convention Committee, he plays a leadership role in ensuring that NELA’s CLE programs fulfill the needs of workers’ rights attorneys, while meeting the highest standards of excellence. Joe is NELA’s representative to the Federal Rules Advisory Committee, and as an elected member of the American Law Institute, was substantially involved in drafting the Restatement (Third) of Employment Law, published in 2014. As the senior partner of Garrison, Levin-Epstein, Fitzgerald & Pirrotti, PC, the firm he founded in New Haven in 1977, Joe has received nearly every award and honor available to a trial lawyer and increasingly focuses his current practice on mediation and arbitration.

Victoria W. Ni

We are proud to honor Vicky Ni for her distinguished leadership within the NELA community and in recognition of the contributions she has made to workplace justice as a public interest lawyer. During her 12-year tenure on the NELA Board, she took on key leadership roles, serving both as Treasurer (2012–2015) and Vice President (2015–2018). Vicky was the Co-Chair of the Amicus Advisory Council for nine years, guiding NELA in deciding which amicus briefs would best further NELA’s priorities and have the greatest impact in advancing the law. For more than 20 years, she has worked at Public Justice, a national public interest advocacy organization, where she has held senior roles including Managing Attorney, Deputy Director, and her current position as Director of Finance and Administration. Vicky has also litigated a wide range of cases focused on protecting and ensuring the rights of consumers, workers, victims, and individuals with disabilities; free speech; and equal opportunity for women in athletics and in the workplace.

Menaka N. Fernando

NELA is delighted to present our second annual Spotlight Award, which recognizes a NELA leader who represents our future, to Menaka N. Fernando, a partner in the San Francisco office of Outten & Golden LLP. Her dedication to justice and leadership in advancing workers’ rights in California have been and will continue to be essential to NELA’s mission. She is a member of the Executive Board of the California Employment Lawyers Association (CELA) and Co-Chair of CELA’s Legislative Committee. A policy crusader, Menaka regularly lobbies and testifies before the California legislature to improve the state’s employment laws. She also serves on the boards of Open Door Legal, which strives to eradicate poverty through universal access to legal aid, and the Stand Up For Workers Political Action Committee, which seeks to elect Congressional candidates who prioritize workers’ rights.

Thank you to our incredible sponsors for strengthening NELA’s presence in Washington DC and building our power to shape the future of employment law across the United States.

Champions of Justice


NELA Community Leaders

Founder’s Circle

President’s Cabinet



Accountability Ignited/Paula Brantner
Arizona Employment Lawyers Association (AzELA)
Bantle & Levy, LLP
Law Offices of Scot D. Bernstein, A Professional Corporation
Betz + Blevins
Blanchard & Walker PLLC
Buchanan Angeli Altschul & Sullivan LLP
Cashdan & Kane, PLLC
Center For Employment Law
V. James DeSimone Law
Deutsch Atkins & Kleinfeldt, PC
Dow Golub Remels & Gilbreath, PLLC
Eisenberg & Schnell, LLP
Empower Legal Group LLC
Bruce A. Fredrickson & Kristin K. Fredrickson
Gardner Employment Law
Karla Gilbride
Gordon Law Group, LLP
Green Savits, LLC
Halunen Law
Hammons, Hurst & Associates
Holland & Associates, PC
Houk Law Firm, PLLC
Hynes & Kreuser, SC

Toni Jaramilla, A Professional Law Corporation
Law Office of Deborah H. Karpatkin
Matt Koski
Law Office of David Lichtenstein, LLC
Law Office Of Guy D. Loranger
Maine Employee Rights Group
Murray, Plumb and Murray
Ogborn Mihm, LLP
Patricia A. Podolec, Attorney at Law
Pontikes Law, LLC
Ray Legal Group, LLC
Mark Risk, PC
Schwartz Perry & Heller
Seldon Bofinger & Associates, PC
Skelton, Taintor & Abbott
Sud Law PC
Geraldine Sumter
Trytosettle.com® by Nancy Richards-Sto
White & Quinlan, LLCwer
Thomas A. Warren Law Offices, PL
Zipin, Amster & Greenberg, LLC


Aiello Law
Apollo Law
Kelly Applegate Law
Bennett & Belfort, PC
Richard K. Blundell Law Firm
Brown & Curry, LLC
Employee & Labor Law Group of Kansas City, LLC
Patrick M. Flynn, PC
Jamie S. Franklin, C-K Law Group—The Law Offices of Chicago-Kent
Frumkin & Hunter Law PC
Gasiorek, Morgan, Greco, McCauley & Kotzian
Gaul and Dumont
Golden Law, LLC
Charles E. Guerrier
Mark Hanna
Hommel Law Firm
Horne Daller LLC
Law Office of Susan E. Jewell
Dan Kohrman
Dolores Y. Leal

Chet Levitt Fund for Employment Law
Maine Employment Lawyers Association
Law Offices of Glen D. Mangum
Marsili Mediation Inc.
Massachusetts Employment Lawyers Association
McKinney Law Firm, PC
Robert E. McKnight
Messing, Rudavsky & Weliky PC
Nareeya Nalivka & JP Nalivka
The Noble Law
Law Office of Robert S. Notzon
Orsini Law LLC
Nina T. Pirrotti
Kathryn S. Piscitelli
Gregory A. Rich
Scott Law Firm PPLCPLLC
Strindberg Scholnick Birch Hallam Harstad Thorne
Swain Law, LLC
Pedro Valverde In Honor of Rick Seymour
Venick Austin & Rosen, PLLC
Cathy Ventrell-Monsees
Ashley O. Westby & Sean McKee
Zalkind Duncan & Bernstein LLP
Zuckerman Law


Allen Law Firm
Bracker & Marcus LLC
Deats Durst & Owen PLLC
Brian East
Law Firm of Rosalind Fink
Elizabeth Jubin Fujiwara
Law Office of Lenore C. Garon, PLLC
Law Office of Steven Granberg, PA
Kontnik | Cohen, LLC
Robert B. Landry, III, PLC
Lubin & Enoch, PC
Merrick Law Firm LLC
Law Offices of Richard J. Murray
Schorr & Associates, PC
Stuckey & Garrigan Law Offices, PLLC
Steve Wilson Firm

As of July 3, 2022