Sunday, October 18, 2009

Baer Receives First Rudnick Award for Contributions to Franchise Law

This posting was written by John W. Arden.

The ABA Forum on Franchising on October 15 presented the inaugural Lewis G. Rudnick Award to John R. F. Baer in recognition of his contributions to the development of the Forum and franchise law as a discipline. Baer is a partner in the Chicago office of Sonnenschein Nath & Rosenthal, LLP.

The “lifetime achievement award” was created in remembrance of Lewis Rudnick, who died on January 24, 2009, at age 73. Recognized by the Forum as “one of the true giants of the franchise bar,” Rudnick was a founder of the Forum and its second chair (1981-1983). He helped establish the Franchise Law Journal, the Forum’s quarterly publication. As senior partner of Rudnick & Wolfe (currently DLA Piper), Rudnick trained several generations of some of America’s leading franchise lawyers.

“Most important, Lew was a kind man and consummate gentleman, who treated everyone with respect and demonstrated the personal qualities to which all lawyers should aspire,” said Edward Wood Dunham, immediate past chair of the Forum, in announcing the creation of the award.

The Rudnick Award is intended to honor members of the Forum who, over the course of distinguished careers as franchise lawyers, have made substantial contributions to the development of the Forum and to franchise law as a discipline, while comporting themselves in accordance with Lew Rudnick's high standards of professionalism, decency, and collegiality.

In presenting the first Rudnick Award, new Forum Chair Ron Gardner cited Baer’s thousands of hours of work for the Forum as a frequent speaker, author of more than a dozen Franchise Law Journal articles, editor of the Franchise Lawyer newsletter, associate editor of the Franchise Law Journal, member of the governing committee, and publications officer.

He is the chair of the Illinois Attorney General’s Franchise Advisory Board and editor of the CCH Sales Representative Law Guide, Gardner said. In addition, Baer is currently Vice Chair of the International Franchising Committee of the International Bar Association’s International Sales, Franchising and Product Law Section and formerly vice president of the Franchising Committee of Union Internationale des Avocats.

Baer has mentored many leading franchise lawyers during his long career in the field—and did all these things “with a smile,” Gardner said.

The presentation occurred during the opening session of the main program of the 32nd annual meeting of the Forum on Franchising, held in Toronto on October 14-16.

Additional Awards

Gardner referred to three additional annual awards, intended to recognize franchise lawyers at earlier stages in their careers, to encourage young and/or diverse practitioners to become and remain involved in the Forum, and to help them identify pathways to Forum leadership.

Those three awards are: (1) Chair's Award for Substantial Written Work or Presentation; (2) Chair's Future Leader Award; and (3) Chair's Explorers Award.

These awards will be presented for the first time at next year’s annual meeting, to be held October 13-15, 2009, at The Hotel Del Coronado, Coronado, California.

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