ABA Forum on Franchising – Your “Backstage Pass” to Leadership!

Vol. 15 No. 4

By

Jamila Granger is with Krispy Kreme Doughnuts, Inc.; Alan R. Greenfield is with Greenberg Traurig, LLP; and Rebekah Prince is with Eisner Kahan & Gorry.

As the 35th Annual Forum on Franchising in Los Angeles draws near, we receive more and more questions from franchise lawyers (young and old alike) about getting more involved in the Forum and becoming a part of the Forum’s leadership. Before we explore opportunities for involvement, it may be helpful to describe the Forum leadership structure, as well as what the Forum calls “the Pathways to Leadership.”

The Forum is led by the Governing Committee, which includes the Forum Chair, Immediate Past Forum Chair, and twelve At-Large Members. At-Large Members are nominated annually on a staggered basis by the Nominating Committee, and then voted on by the Forum membership at the annual Forum Business Meeting. The Nominating Committee attempts to include representatives from different geographic regions, as well as diverse and varied practices and perspectives each year. The Nominating Committee is chaired by the Immediate Past Forum Chair and members of the Nominating Committee are appointed by the Forum Chair.

In addition to the Forum Chair, the Immediate Past Chair and the At-Large Members, the following people also attend Governing Committee meetings: Editor-in-Chief of the Franchise Law Journal; Editor-in-Chief of The Franchise Lawyer; ABA Young Lawyers Division (YLD) Liaison; Director of the Corporate Counsel Division; Director of the Litigation and Dispute Resolution Division (LADR); and Director of the International Franchise and Distribution Division (IFDI). Except for the YLD Liaison, who is appointed by the YLD, each Director or Editor is appointed by the Forum Chair. The Forum Chair reviews recommendations from outgoing Directors and Editors in making appointments. Each Division is run by a six-member steering committee. Each publication has a staff of associate editors. Division committee members and associate editors are appointed by the Forum Chair in consultation with Division Directors and the Editor-in-Chief of each publication.

Each Editor-in-Chief and At-Large Member serves for a three-year term. Each Division Director and the YLD Liaison serves for a two-year term.

At-Large Members of the Governing Committee are selected by the Chair to serve as officers within the Governing Committee. Those positions include: Diversity Officer, Finance Officer, Technology Officer, Marketing Officer, Membership Officer, Publications Officer, Web Master, Women’s Caucus Liaison and Program Officer. Most of the appointed officers work with a committee of volunteers to further the Forum’s initiatives in various areas.

Please see chart below.

The Forum’s Bylaws and a comprehensive list of the current Forum leadership also can be found at the front of the Annual Member Directory. For additional information regarding the Forum, visit our website.

To be considered for Forum leadership, Forum members must make significant contributions to the Forum. While there are a variety of ways to get involved, the key is to take the initiative to volunteer and then follow through on that offer. For example, current Governing Committee member and Diversity Officer Leslie Curran volunteered to be a part of the technology committee, helped establish and organize the annual community service event, participated in the Women’s Caucus and served on the Young Lawyers’ Committee, all before being selected as the YLD Liaison in 2007. Leslie has also written for the Franchise Law Journal and The Franchise Lawyer, and spoken at the annual Forum. Similarly, current Forum Chair Joe Fittante became the YLD Liaison to the Governing Committee in 2003, where he instituted the now famous “pub crawl” networking event at the Forum for young lawyers. Both during and after his tenure as the YLD Liaison, Joe authored and contributed to several articles for forum publications, participated in the annual community service event, volunteered as a “Friend of the Forum” and spoke at the annual Forum. Reach out to Forum leaders to discuss their path to leadership!

In summary, we encourage you to explore the various opportunities for getting involved! The editors of the Franchise Law Journal and The Franchise Lawyer are always looking for authors, and writing for a forum publication is typically a prerequisite for being given a speaking opportunity and for any role in Forum leadership. In addition, you can contribute as an author, co-author or editor for one of the Forum’s monographs. You also can volunteer to speak at a teleconference, at Fundamentals on the Road or at another Forum program. Further, you should suggest topics for the annual Forum meeting. Contact the Division Directors to find out when there will be openings on the steering committees and whether there are special projects in the works that you might be able to help with (such as the community service event, Women’s Caucus Breakfast, IFDI Breakfast or Newcomers’ Event).

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