Monday, October 19, 2009

Despite Lower Turnout, ABA Forum on Franchising Is in Good Shape: Chair

This posting was written by John W. Arden.

In spite of sharply lower attendance at the ABA Forum on Franchising’s 32nd annual meeting, the “State of the Forum” is still “very, very good,” according to an October 16 address by Ronald Gardner, new chair of the group.

Attendance at last week’s annual meeting in Toronto was down by nearly 200 from last year’s near-record number—from 836 to 650. Nevertheless, the turnout was better than expected in view of overall economic conditions, said Gardner, managing partner of Dady and Garner in Minneapolis.

Other indicators are all positive, Gardner noted. Membership retention is at or above other ABA units. The Forum continues to be on solid financial footing. And the group has been able to lock in annual meeting facilities at favorable rates through 2013.

In Forum business, the group voted unanimously to amend its bylaws to expand the size of the governing committee from nine to 12 at-large members.

Three nominees were elected unanimously to serve terms on the governing committee. Serving new terms from 2010 through 2013 will be Leslie Curran of Plave Koch PLC in Reston, Virginia; Joseph Fittante of Larkin Hoffman in Minneapolis; and Michael Joblove of Genovese Joblove & Battista in Miami.

The Forum was revisiting the location of its 1989 meeting—the Westin Harbour Castle Hotel in Toronto.

Highlights of the meeting included a plenary session on “Engineering Healthy Franchise Relationships,” led by franchise relationship expert Greg Nathan, and the Annual Franchise and Distribution Developments session, presented by Joel R. Buckberg of Baker Donelson Bearman Caldwell & Berkowitz in Nashville and Jon P. Christiansen of Foley & Lardner LLP in Milwaukee. The annual reception and dinner was held at the Royal Ontario Museum.

Program co-chairs were Kerry Bundy of Faegre & Benson LLP in Minneapolis and Larry Weinberg of Cassels Brock & Blackwell LLP in Toronto.

The 2010 annual meeting is scheduled for October 13-15 at The Hotel Del Coronado in Coronado, California. The program chairs will be Deborah Coldwell of Haynes and Boone LLP in Dallas and Kathy Kotel of Carlson Restaurants Worldwide of Carrollton, Texas.

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