April 20, 2016

Inside Business Law (Apr. 2016)

This month’s “Inside Business Law” provides a recap of the 2016 Business Law Section Spring Meeting in Montréal, Quebec, Canada, a highlight on the Jean Allard Glass Cutter Award, overviews of the five most in-demand CLE programs from the Spring Meeting, and a reminder for the 2016 Business Law Section Annual Meeting to be held in Boston, Massachusetts, from September 8–10, 2016. 

The 2016 Business Law Section Spring Meeting

The 2016 Business Law Section Spring Meeting exceeded all expectations. The city of Montréal, Quebec, Canada, welcomed nearly 1,275 attendees from over 20 different countries for the 2016 Business Law Section Spring Meeting. The exquisite Fairmont Queen Elizabeth, Montréal, and Hotel Bonaventure Montréal served as the stage for CLE programs covering topics ranging from “Skirting the Snares of Intellectual Property in International Transactions” to “The Emerging Cashless Society” to “Diversity & Inclusion: Your Clients Care and This is Why You Should Too!” to “NexGen White-Collar: Where are the Law, Business and Ethics Headed?” to “Don't Forget Insolvency Issues When Lawyering Deals” to “Corporate Structures, Instruments and Other Things to Know When Representing Entrepreneurs.” 

Attendees had the opportunity to kick start their day with an organized run or walk through picturesque Montréal with the Business Law Health Club or lively discussions with the Business Breakfast Club, the First-Timer Club, and Pro Bono Committee. With more than 79 CLE programs, 52 full committee business meetings and 239 subcommittee business meetings to choose from, there was no shortage of opportunities to collaborate and network with business law attorneys from around the globe. All told, nearly 590 speakers lent their time and expertise to the advancement of the Business Law Section Spring Meeting. The Section Luncheon was highlighted by a keynote address by Calin Rovinescu, President and CEO of Air Canada, chairman of the Star Alliance Chief Executive Board, a member of the board of governors of the International Air Transport Association, and a member of the board of directors of the Business Council of Canada. The Luncheon was also highlighted by the presentation of the Jean Allard Glass Cutter Award, the National Public Service Award, and the Mendes Hershman Student Writing Contest awards. Set in Old Montréal at historic Marché Bonsecours, one of Canada’s finest heritage buildings, the Section Dinner was an elegant evening of wonderful cuisine, dancing, and live entertainment. 

The Jean Allard Glass Cutter Award 

The Jean Allard Glass Cutter Award is presented annually at the Business Law Section Spring Meeting to an exceptional woman business lawyer who has made significant contributions to the profession and the Business Law Section. The award is named for Jean Allard, the first woman to chair the Business Law Section. This year’s award was presented to Sylvia Chin, a partner in the New York office of White & Case LLP. As Chair William B. Rosenberg highlighted in his remarks, Sylvia epitomizes everything the Jean Allard Glass Cutter Award stands for including: making significant contributions to the profession and the Business Law Section; achieving professional excellence in her field and demonstrating a dedication to the work of the Business Law Section; and working to advance opportunities for other women in the profession and the Business Law Section. Sylvia is the current Chair of the Business Law Section’s Diversity and Inclusion Committee, a member of the ABA Center for Racial and Ethnic Diversity, a past Chair of the Legal Opinions Committee’s Cross-Border Subcommittee, and a member of the Securitization and Structured Finance Committee and Project Finance and Development Committee. Sylvia is a nationally recognized lawyer in corporate and commercial financing, with a focus on asset-based financing transactions; a distinguished member of the American Law Institute, the American College of Commercial Finance Lawyers and the Tribar Opinion Committee; and a recipient of many diversity awards including CLEO Legacy Diversity Award, 2008, the NAPABA Northeast Region Trailblazer Award, 1999, and Leonard F. Manning Achievement Award from Fordham Law Review, 1999. She is also adjunct associate professor at Fordham University School of Law, where she teaches Secured Transactions and Drafting and Negotiating Contracts. 

For more information regarding the Jean Allard Glass Cutter Award and the National Public Service Award and the Mendes Hershman Student Writing Contest awards, which were also presented at the Business Law Section Spring Meeting, please visit the following links:

The 2016 Business Law Section Spring Meeting Program Materials Library

Those unable to attend the Spring Meeting and those who would like to enjoy even more Spring Meeting programming can access the written materials now and audio recordings shortly from Committee-sponsored CLE programs in the Program Materials Library. Overviews of the five most in-demand CLE programs are presented below: 

Is Fair Lending Enforcement Fair For All? 

In this program, presented by Consumer Financial Services Committee and the Banking Law Committee, chaired by Ralph Wutscher, facilitated by John Ropiequet and moderated by John Chiles, Marsha Courchane, Karla Gilbride, Brian Kreiswirth and Jean Noonan examined the U.S. Supreme Court’s Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs v. The Inclusive Communities Project, Inc. decision and its impact on disparate-impact claims under the Fair Housing Act and the Equal Credit Opportunity Act. Of particular emphasis during this CLE program were the significant limitations applied by the Supreme Court in finding that disparate-impact claims are cognizable under the Fair Housing Act and the extension of The Inclusive Communities Project, Inc. decision to the Equal Credit Opportunity Act. 

Recent Developments in the Debt Collection and Loan Servicing Space” 

Against the backdrop of recent Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and state injunctive actions taken in response to debt collection and loan servicing practices, the Consumer Financial Services Committee, Federal and State Trade Practices Subcommittee and Debt Collection Practices and Bankruptcy Subcommittee hosted a program co-chaired by Katherine Armstrong, Lucy Morris and Nicholas Smyth and facilitated by Caren Enloe during which a panel of federal and state regulators and in-house counsel offered their perspectives on the soon-to-be-released Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act outline of proposals for a debt collection rulemaking. The panel was composed of Thomas James of the Illinois Attorney General’s Office, Christopher Koegel of the Bureau of Consumer Protection, Thomas Pahl of the Office of Regulations of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and Christian Parker of Cavalry Portfolio Services, LLC. Among the highlights of this program were the panelist’s comments on the Federal Trade Commission’s recent Debt Collection Dialogues. 

From Enron to Volkswagen: The Critical Importance of Governance, Culture, Compliance and Ethics” 

While a lot has happened since the Enron scandal of 2000 and 2001, recent revelations by Volkswagen of its installation of emissions control software which operated only during testing and the fraudulent reporting of compliance with emission control standards serve as a recent reminder of the critical importance of effective organizational governance and a culture of compliance and ethics. Sponsored by the Corporate Governance Committee and chaired by John Stout and moderated by Holly Gregory, speakers Robert Bostrom, Charles M. Elson, E. Christopher Johnson and Roland Trope use the recent events at Volkswagen as a case study of sticky situations facing General Counsel and the tactics that can be used to foster an ethical culture and combat “mettle fatigue” – “the slow irreversible corrosion of charter.” The speakers emphasized the importance of board composition, the design and appropriateness of appropriate compensation incentives, the alignment of shareholder interests and the implementation and operation of a functional compliance system in creating an organizational culture that promotes integrity, transparency and financial success. 

Economic Sanctions Enforcement in an Evolving Environment” 

President Barack Obama’s historic visit to Cuba in March 2016 is just one of many recent events that epitomize the ever evolving reality of economic sanctions. Sponsored by the Banking Law Committee and the Consumer Financial Services Committee and co-sponsored by the International Business Law Committee, this program, which was co-chaired by John Geiringer and Eric Johnson and facilitated by Thomas Pinder, featured presentations by Ilya Shulman and Baruch Weiss from inside counsel’s and outside counsel’s, respectively, perspectives on the world events shaping economic sanctions regimes, the enforcement of economic sanction regimes against financial institutions and the measures that can be taken to help cope with this unpredictable regulatory landscape. The program examined the current relations between the United States and Iran, Cuba, Russia, the Crimea region, North Korea, and Burma. 

Update of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act – Does the Federal Communications Commission Really Want Your Client to Use a Rotary Phone?

Peter Gilbert and David Stein co-chaired a panel discussion sponsored by the Consumer Financial Services Committee by David Anthony, Douglas Smith, and Michael Janson that offered attendees the opportunity to hear from outside counsel, inside counsel and regulators on the evolving landscape and high risk exposure present under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act. The discussion considered recent key litigation trends and rulings as well as the regulatory and enforcement activity undertaken by the Federal Communications Commission. The panel took a deep dive into the Federal Communications Commission’s Omnibus Declaratory Ruling and Order (FCC 15-72) released on July 10, 2015, its dissenting opinions and the litigation that challenged the Order. 

2016 Annual Meeting

Mark your calendars and start gearing up for the Business Law Section 2016 Annual Meeting, which will be held in Boston, Massachusetts, from September 8–10, 2016, at the Boston Marriott Copley Place and the Westin Copley Place, Boston. The Annual Meeting will offer attendees the opportunity to participate in premier CLE programs, find their niche with practice-specific committee meetings, and network with business law professionals from around the world.

We can’t wait to see you in Boston! 

BLS Trivia Answer: Our current chair William B. Rosenberg, senior partner in the Montréal office of Stikeman Elliott, is the first and only non-U.S. lawyer to serve as chair of the ABA Business Law Section to date. He is active within the Section’s Mergers and Acquisitions Committee, including having contributed as a member of the editorial group of the ABA’s Model Stock Purchase Agreement with Commentary (Second Edition). He is also former editor-in-chief of The Business Lawyer, an ABA publication and the premier business law journal in the United States. Mr. Rosenberg is a member of the Quebec Bar Association, the Canadian Bar Association, the American Bar Association, and the Fellows of the American Bar Association.

BLS Trivia Answer: With more than 6,100,000 native French speakers according to a 2011 census, Montréal is the second largest French speaking city in the world, by number of first language speakers. Parlez-vous français?