Tuesday, October 19, 2010

ABA Forum on Franchising Is “Healthy and Stable,” Says Chair

This posting was written by John W. Arden.

The American Bar Association Forum on Franchising remains “healthy and stable,” in spite of the nation’s economic woes and the ABA’s overall loss of membership, said Forum Chair Ronald K. Gardner during an October 15 “State of the Forum” address.

The group’s membership is down about two percent this year, a smaller decrease than experienced by the ABA overall. Attendance at last week’s annual meeting was up significantly from the 2009 meeting.

Last year, 650 attended the annual meeting in Toronto, nearly 200 fewer than the near-record number of 836 who attended the 2008 meeting in Austin. This year’s meeting, held at the Hotel Del Coronado near San Diego, rebounded to draw 746.

Financially, the Forum is “extraordinarily strong,” due to the efforts of Finance Officer Harris J. Chernow and his predecessors, said Gardner, managing partner of Dady and Gardner P.A. in Minneapolis.

“In the next couple of years, we hope to return to steady membership growth,” he said.

During the annual business meeting, the group elected new officers and governing committee members by adopting—by unanimous voice vote—the report and recommendation of the nominating committee.

Joseph J. Fittante, Jr. of Larkin Hoffman Daly & Lindgren Ltd. will serve as chair of the group from 2011 to 2013. Other members of the Governing Committee will be Kerry Bundy of Faegre & Benson (2011 to 2014); Eric Karp of Witmer Karp Warner & Ryan LLP (2011 to 2014); Kathy Kotel of Carlson Restaurant Worldwide (2011 to 2013); James Goneia of Aamco (2011 to 2013); Diane Green-Kelly of Reed Smith (2011 to 2013); and Michael Lindsey of Paul Hastings (2011 to 2013).

Highlights of the annual meeting included a plenary session entitled “Strategic and Tactical Decision-Making: What Do Your Peers Think of Your Decisions,” led by Kerry L. Bundy, Dr. Melissa M. Gomez, Harris Chernow, and Joseph Schumacher, and the Annual Franchise and Distribution Developments session, presented by Bethany L. Appleby and William K. Whitner.

Program co-chairs were Deb Coldwell of Hayes & Boone LLP and Kathy Kotel of Carlson Restaurants Worldwide, Inc.

The 2011 annual meeting is scheduled for October 18-21 at the Baltimore Marriott Waterfront Hotel in Baltimore. The program chairs will be Michael Lindsey and Karen Satterlee.

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