Sunday, October 19, 2008

Forum on Franchising Attracts Near-Record Crowd to Thirty-First Annual Meeting

This posting was written by John W. Arden.

Despite the recent economic downturn, a near-record crowd attended the 31st annual meeting of the American Bar Association Forum on Franchising on October 15-17 in Austin, Texas.

The 836 registered attendees made up the second largest group in the history of the Forum on Franchising, ranking only behind last year's attendance of 850, according to the group.

In welcoming remarks, program co-chair Joseph J. Fittante, Jr. of Larkin Hoffman Daly & Lindgren noted the growth of the membership of the group from 181 in 1978 to 2,187 in 2008. He called this year's attendance a "minor miracle" in bad economic times.

During his annual address to members, Forum Chair Edward Wood Dunham of Wiggin and Dana said the "State of the Forum" was "pretty great." He called the attendance figure "an amazing number" and noted that the percentage of participation (more than 38% of membership) is "unprecedented in ABA terms."

Other highlights referenced by Dunham included the continued excellence of the Forum publications, the fact that the group's finances are in "great shape" due in large part to the efforts of Finace Chair Charles Modell, and the new availability of the Franchise Law Journal and Franchise Lawyer newsletter by e-mail.

In addition to paying tribute to meeting co-chairs Fittante and Peter J. Klarfeld of Wiley Rein LLP as well as ABA Forum Director Kelly A. Rodenberg, Dunham recognized the contributions of several Forum officers in their last year in office.

These officers included Deborah S.Coldwell of Hayes and Boone, editor-in-chief of the Franchise Law Journal; Lawrence M. Weinberg of Cassels Brock & Blackwell, Director of the International Franchise and Distribution Division; Karen Satterlee of Starbucks Coffee, Director of the Corporate Counsel Division; David Kaufmann of Kaufmann Feiner Yamin Gilden & Robbins, Governing Comittee member; and Richard L. Kolman of Mail Boxes Etc., technology officer and Government Committee member.

The assembled membership elected Ronald K. Garner of Dady & Garner as incoming Chair for 2009 through 2011; Harris J. Chernow for another term on the Governing Committee for 2009 through 2012; Deborah Coldwell as a new member of the Governing Committee for 2009 through 2012; and Karen Satterlee as new member of the Governing Committee for 2009 through 2012.

The meeting program featured a plenary session on "Making the Pen Mightier than the Sword," by Bryan A. Garner, coauthor with Justice Antonin Scalia of the recent book Making Your Case: The Art of Persuading Judges, and the annual update of judicial and legal developments by David A. Beyer and Natalma M. McKnew.

The Forum will hold its 32nd annual meeting on October 14-16, 2009 in Toronto. Further information about the ABA Forum on Franchising is available from the group's web site.

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