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April 19, 2023

ABA Business Law Section to tackle crypto, ESG at hybrid meeting in Seattle April 27-29

CHICAGO, April 19, 2023Business law professionals from around the world will focus on a variety of business hot topics, including the collapse of Silicon Valley and Signature banks, crypto currency and ESG issues, in Seattle in a three-day hybrid spring meeting of the American Bar Association Business Law Section.

Business Law Section Hybrid Spring Meeting 2023
Sponsored by the ABA Business Law Section

Thursday-Saturday, April 27-29 (all times PDT)

Hyatt Regency Seattle
808 Howell St.
Seattle, Washington

More than 230 speakers and over 50 programs developed by business law experts with interactive Q&A opportunities, in addition to committee and subcommittee meetings and other activities, will be offered, including a “Fireside Chat” with lawyer and Seattle University President Eduardo M. Peñalver from 4-5 p.m. on Thursday in Room 301 Ashnola, Level 3.

With business, regulatory and public interest focused on both the world of crypto currency and corporate environmental, social and governance (ESG) policies and issues, multiple programs will focus on each area, including these related to crypto currencies:

  • “Mergers & Acquisitions in the Fintech and Crypto Asset Sectors” — This panel will explore legal and regulatory considerations that surround mergers and acquisitions in the fintech and crypto asset sectors.
    Thursday, 4-5:30 p.m., Columbia A, Level 
  • Crypto, Digital Assets and Enforcement Risks and Considerations — Panelists will discuss the enforcement risks that financial institutions face with crypto and digital assets, as well as what federal and state financial regulators are targeting.
    Friday, 8-9:30 a.m., Columbia D, Level 3
  • “The UCC, Crypto and Bankruptcy”— This program will explore the treatment of crypto currency under the Uniform Commercial Code (UCC), as well as the treatment of account holders under the UCC and bankruptcy laws.
    Friday, 8-9:30 a.m., Columbia C, Level 3
  • “Blockchain, Smart Contracts, Crypto and Web 3.0 for Business Lawyers: Understanding the Technology and Key Legal Issues” — This international showcase program will feature expert panelists, who will delve into the key business and litigation risks that organizations face as they embrace these new technologies.
    Friday, noon-1:30 p.m., Columbia A, Level 3
  • “Crypto Regulation Heat Map: Where Are We Now and What's Next?”— This program will cover substantive areas within the fintech industry and crypto financial services (centralized and decentralized finance) and will look at the current state and future of crypto regulation.
    Friday, 4-5 p.m., Columbia A, Level 3

While ESG has been a concept for nearly 20 years, there is a growing backlash, including within some state governments, that it has overly influenced corporate decision-making. At least three panels will cover ESG issues, including:

  • “ESG Considerations for PE Investments” — Some private equity and venture capital funds are focusing on companies that satisfy certain ESG investment criteria. This session will address the legal issues related to managing ESG issues across portfolio companies.
    Thursday,8-9:30 a.m., Columbia D, Level 3
  • “The ESG Backlash: Politics and Shareholder Primacy” — Panelists will focus on how to reconcile evolving and conflicting domestic and international legislation and litigation regarding a host of topics and review so-called “anti-woke” divestiture conflicts in several states.
    Thursday, noon-1:30 p.m., Columbia C, Level 3
  • Creative Philanthropy: Impact (ESG) Investing, Donor Advised Funds, Program Related Investments and More” This program will explore the latest trends in philanthropic impact investing; the use of donor-advised funds and program and mission related investments; and ESG investing.
    Saturday, 10-11:30 a.m., Room 302 Beckler, Level 3

Other highlights include these timely programs on banking, political trends and artificial intelligence (AI):

  • “The Collapse of Silicon Valley Bank and Signature Bank: What it Means for the Financial Ecosystem? — The collapse of these banks came as a shock to many, and its repercussions have played out across the markets. Panelists will explore implications for banking, lending and venture capital and whether other institutions are at risk.
    Thursday, noon-1:30 p.m., Columbia A, Level 3
  • “Politics in the Board Room” — The panel will analyze political currents running through today’s boardrooms in unprecedented ways, and how companies are facing pressure to take positions on a variety of political and social justice issues not directly related to their businesses.
    Thursday, 8-9:30 a.m., Room 301 Ashnola, Level 3
  • “Today, Tomorrow or Never: Ethical, Legal and Business Considerations for ChatGPT, Bard, Dall-E and Similar Generative AI” — Generative AI products include text from ChatGPT and Bard, imagery from Dall-E, video generators, avatars, music production and software code generation. The program focuses on the rapid introduction of generative AI in consumer and business products and its important legal and ethical implications.
    Thursday, 2-3:30 p.m., Room 301 Ashnola, Level 3

The full conference brochure, including the schedule, is here, and a list of speakers and their bios are here.

Media are welcome to attend either in-person or virtually but must register in advance by 3 p.m. EDT (noon PDT), Wednesday, April 26, by emailing [email protected].

The ABA is the largest voluntary association of lawyers in the world. As the national voice of the legal profession, the ABA works to improve the administration of justice, promotes programs that assist lawyers and judges in their work, accredits law schools, provides continuing legal education, and works to build public understanding around the world of the importance of the rule of law.