Sunday, June 23, 2013

Litigating The Right To Peace: A Successful Program

Martha Schmidt & Roberto Zamora
Saturday Kris and I cleaned our car, then drove to SeaTac to pick up Attorney Roberto Zamora for the CLE "Litigating the Right to Peace" that evening. Everything worked out fine. There was the usual confusion at the airport; for example, we had a UA flight number, but that wasn't shown on the "Arrivals" display; we asked around and finally learned that that flight also had another number, with another airline. Why the display didn't reflect that is a puzzle. We were also directed to two different baggage carousels, first to 9 tnen to 2 and then back to 9 again. Finally Roberto recognized me because I'd email my picture to him (although oddly enough he saw only the back of my head; I suppose there's some recognition issue with head shape or skin tone or something.) He's quite a fine conversationist; we were telling jokes within less than a minute. The three of us drove back to West Seattle and killed some time on Alki, where he could get a nice view of the city. We swapped anecdotes of Seattle and of Costa Rica, and our own pasts; all rather different and yet with enough points of commonality that we could make more jokes. Shortly after noon we met at the Husky Deli with Marti, Nandini and Val from NLG. We got sandwiches and headed for a park along the Sound, correctly figuring that Roberto had been to all sorts of restaurants in fancy places, but not too many picnics along the deep water where we could be entertained by birds instead of Muzak. Eventually Kris and I wandered off home while the rest went into the city for lecture preparations or something. I napped! Then it was off to SU/Law for the event itself and, in all humility, it went very well. When I first arrived, Marti told me that 80 people had pregistered - I though she said 18 but she insisted 80 as in EIGHT-OH - and the paperwork agreed! now that was just attorneys who registered for credit, and did not count the many nonlawyers who came also! Nearly every seat in the lecture hall filled! My role at that point was to be generally helpful as people came in circulating and chatting people up (and regretting that i hadn't brought a couple of posters to tape on the door - nonetheless, and lot of people seemed to find their way in) and then giving a brief introduction. Those Toastmaster classes sure came in handy! Roberto talked for about and hour and took questions until 9PM; it was a measure of the presentation that when the clock stuck 9 and we absolutely had to close the presentation, there were lots of questions and as the crowd moved out to the lobby for the reception, the conversational buzz never flagged. I'm looking forward to the video which Mike McCormick of Talking Stick TV was recording! The reception was also fine; constant conversation in eight or ten clusters. We went right up to closing time - when the staff politely informed us that they had to stop serving alcohol because the license was limited. People gradually filed out, still talking! The next day, Kris and I went to a brunch at the house of one of Marti's friends, and met more nice people. I gave Roberto a 1960's era book of Steinbrenner drawings of Seattle as a souvenir, because frankly he was a lot of fun and I wanted him to have a good impression of our city. All in all, the event went very well and although I have not even hinted at the substantive content (you can get that from the video I'll post when it's available) one very important benefit is that we connected with a lot of interesting people while having a good time. Let's do that more!

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