The main issues we consider for any Forum program or other Forum endeavor are whether it supports our mission to be the preeminent forum for the study and discussion of the legal aspects of franchising and whether it will benefit our membership. We have many exciting things happening in 2014 that do both, and I want to take this opportunity to share them with you.
First, the 2014 Forum will be held October 15–17, in Seattle in the beautiful Pacific Northwest. This year’s co-chairs, Jim Goniea and Will Woods, with help from their friends and colleagues, have developed a truly first-class program. You will see some changes to our programming this year, which you can view by visiting http://www.ambar.org/cuttingedge or by visiting our ABA webpage at http://www.americanbar.org/groups/franchising.html.
This year’s annual meeting begins at noon on Wednesday, October 15, with the Forum’s five-hour, comprehensive, intensive program, Fundamentals of Franchising®. The second intensive program we will offer is Advanced Issues in Mergers and Acquisitions in Franchise Systems. Participants in this intensive will receive the Forum’s newest book, Mergers and Acquisitions of Franchise Companies, Second Edition.
On Thursday, October 16, Amy Cuddy, Assistant Professor in the Negotiation, Organizations & Markets Unit at Harvard Business School, will speak at the plenary about how non-verbal communications influence perceptions and outcomes in negotiation. Our Annual Franchise and Distribution Law Developments plenary program on Friday, October 17, will review the seminal cases from last year.
On Thursday and Friday, there will be 24 workshops exploring current legal and business challenges facing franchising. These workshops range from basic to advanced topics and cover a wide range of subjects, from consumer class actions to the legal complexities of franchising in the health care sector to how to get an international franchise deal done. This year, we are also offering a 25th workshop, a corporate counsel roundtable open exclusively to in-house lawyers. This panel will be led by a tremendous group of in-house lawyers and will be offered only once, so please do not miss it.
We also are looking forward to the social events this year. We will host a welcome reception at the hotel on Wednesday night. But we are offering something new afterwards—an opportunity for random groups of approximately 10 people to dine together at a “Dutch treat” dinner at one of the pre-reserved restaurants in downtown Seattle.
The Thursday evening reception and dinner will be held at the Experience Music Project Museum (the EMP). On Friday night, you can enjoy a dinner at Chihuly Garden and Glass. Later, if you want to see the stunning Seattle skyline from a unique vantage point, you can request tickets to go to the observation deck of the landmark Space Needle, which is only a few steps away from the Chihuly museum.
The Women’s Caucus, Corporate Counsel Division, and Diversity Caucus have planned a thoughtful and fun community service event on Saturday morning. Partnering with Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust, the Forum will pay it forward by planting sapling trees to support reforesting efforts in and around Seattle.
We now are offering our members a free podcast of one of the more highly attended workshops from the 2013 Orlando meeting, Workshop 2: Fundamentals 201: Advanced Drafting of Franchise Agreements. To access the podcast, click on this link: http://www.americanbar.org/groups/franchising/resources/forum_technologytips1.html. If you missed this program in Orlando or just want a refresher on drafting franchise agreements, please watch.
Two new publications merit mention. We recently published Collateral Issues in Franchising: Beyond Registration and Disclosure. This book is designed to fill in the gaps and create a guide to “collateral,” but important, areas of law that franchise lawyers face each day. As you will see from the breadth and depth of the subjects covered—from internet communications to advertising programs to supply chain issues—this book should soon become a “must have” resource for all who practice franchise law.
We are in the last stages of finalizing Mergers & Acquisitions of Franchise Companies, Second Edition. The first edition was published in 1996. In the 18 years since, although many merger and acquisition issues have remained the same, many issues have changed and several new issues have arisen. The second edition addresses them all. You can receive a complimentary copy of this book by attending the second intensive program we plan to offer in Seattle on Wednesday afternoon: Advanced Issues in Mergers and Acquisitions in Franchise Systems.
Please join us in Seattle. We look forward to sharing a latte (or two) with you.