September 02, 2019

Spring Meeting 2019 Recap

In March of this year, the BCLC presented four programs at the Spring Meeting in Vancouver, B.C. on March 28-30, 2019.

On Thursday morning, the BCLC presented a two-hour program, “Taming the Gig Economy:  Freelance Isn’t Free.”  The program examined legal and business issues arising from the disintermediation of business and the rise of peer-to-peer businesses, with a focus on independent contractor and regulatory issues.  Judge Randa T rapp of San Diego Superior Court and Meg Milroy of Verizon chaired the program.  Barbara Johnson of BLJohnson Law PLLC in Washington DC moderated.  The panel was comprised of Jennifer Baldocchi of Paul Hastings LLP in Los Angeles, David Woolias of Harris & Co. LLP in Vancouver and Richard Rosenblatt of Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP in Princeton, NJ.

On Thursday afternoon, the Committee presented its Annual Review of Developments in Business and Corporate Litigation, for which over 200 committee members have participated in presenting written materials published in book form.  Bradford Newman of Paul Hastings in Palo Alto and Judge Elihu Berle of California Superior Court, Los Angeles County were co-chairs.  This year’s program focused on four high-profile areas of concern to business litigators: trial practice, international law, business divorce and criminal and enforcement litigation.

The trial practice section featured Chelsea Mikula Tomko of Tucker Ellis LLP in Cleveland, Giovanna Ferrari of Seyfarth Shaw in San Francisco and Judge Berle.  International law was covered by Stephanie Lapierre of Stikeman Elliott in Montreal and Steven Barber of Steptoe & Johnson in Washington DC.  Peter Ladig of Bayard LLP in Wilmington, Delaware, Vanessa Tirandentes of Gould & Ratner LLP in Chicago and Justice Timothy Driscoll of New York Supreme Court, Nassau County, will discuss business divorce issues.  Finally, James Melendres of Snell & Wilmer LLP in Phoenix, Thomas O’Brien of Brown George Ross LLP in Los Angeles and Judge Christopher Yates of Grand Rapids, Michigan addressed criminal and enforcement issues.

Emily Burton of Young, Conaway, Stargatt & Taylor LLP in Wilmington, Delaware, and Stephanie Lapierre of Stikeman Elliott LLP in Montreal co-chaired “Comparing and Contrasting the Role of and Standards for Independent Directors in M&A,” which was presented on Friday morning. The panel examined the critical roles that independent directors have in M&A and the ways that US and Canada laws differ, including: (1) standards for director independence; (2) independent directors’ roles when the company is in play; and (3) the effects of independent directors on judicial review of transactions.  Stephanie Lapierre moderated a panel consisting of Britta Wagner of the British Columbia Investment Management Corporation; Hon. Donald Parsons (ret.), formerly Vice Chancellor of the Delaware Court of Chancery and now at Morris Nichols Arsht & Tunnell in Wilmington; Arthur Kohn of Cleary Gottlieb in New York; and Emily Burton.  

Rounding out the program, BCLC presented on Friday afternoon “Law & Order: Discovery Victims Unit,” a two-hour drama­tization and interactive program presenting a simulated discovery dispute that included points of view from attorneys and clients as well as rulings from judges.  The first hour focused on graduated levels of conduct warranting sanctions from the Rule 26(f) conference through the discovery motions practice, seeking to educate the audience as to what conduct is sanctionable versus conduct that may be obnoxious but falls short of being sanctionable.  The second hour focused on how sanctionable discovery conduct concerning ESI is addressed under the current version of Fed. R. Civ. P. 37(e)(1)-(2) in the pretrial sanctions hearing and during the mock sidebar at trial.    Robert Witte of Strasburger Price in Dallas and Judge Christopher Wilkes of the West Virginia 23rd Circuit Court co-chaired the program.  Robert Witte moderated.  The panelists included business court judges from all over the country:  Judge James Gale of the North Carolina Business Court; Judge Heather Welch of Marion Superior Court in Indianapolis; Judge Louis Bledsoe of the North Carolina Business Court; Judge Christopher Yates of Kent County Circuit Court in Grand Rapids, Michigan; Judge Nancy Allf of the 8th Judicial District Court in Las Vegas, Nevada; Judge Joseph C. Iannazzone of Gwinnet County Superior Court in Lawrenceville, Georgia; Judge Stephen Schuster of Cobb County Superior Court in Marietta, Georgia; Judge Randa Trapp of California Superior Court in San Diego; and Justice Timothy Driscoll of New York Supreme Court in Mineola, New York.

BCLC also cosponsored three programs that other committees are presenting.  “Drafting ADR Clauses for Financial M&A and Joint Venture Disputes” was presented by the Dispute Resolution Committee on Thursday. “Advising Boards & management: Ethical Rules & Professional Liability Risks of Corporate Counsel” was presented by the Director & Officer Liability Committee, also on Thursday. On Thursday afternoon the Young Lawyers Committee presented “Tips from the Trial Bench.”  The Sports Law Committee also presented “Sexual Abuse and Bullying In Sport: Balancing The Rights Of Accused And Accusers” on Saturday morning.