Monday, October 24, 2011

ABA Forum on Franchising “Continues to Be Strong”

This posting was written by John W. Arden.

The American Bar Association Forum on Franchising “continues to be strong, gain membership, and surpass expectations for attendance at annual Forums,” said Forum Chair Joseph J. Fittante during an October 21 “State of the Forum” address at the group's annual meeting.

Attendance at the annual meeting was up nearly 4 percent over last year, drawing 773 to the Marriott Waterfront Hotel in Baltimore. In 2010, 746 attended the annual meeting at the Hotel Del Coronado near San Diego. Last year’s turnout was a huge rebound from the 650 attending the 2009 annual meeting in Toronto.

A highlight of the last year was a survey of membership, which revealed one theme—members’ desire for more opportunities to be involved, said Fittante, a shareholder of Larkin Hoffman Daly & Lindgren in Minneapolis.

The Forum website has more information on opportunities to write for the quarterly Franchise Law Journal and the quarterly Franchise Lawyer newsletter. There are also opportunities to join Forum sub-groups, including the International Franchise and Distribution Division, the Corporate Counsel Division, the Litigation and Alternative Dispute Resolution Division, the Solo and Small Firm Network, the Membership Committee, the Program Committee, the Publications Committee, the Technology Committee, and the Diversity Committee.

Governing Committee Election

During the annual business meeting of the three-day forum, the group elected four new members of the governing committee by adopting—by voice vote—the report and recommendation of the nominating committee.

The new members of the governing committee are Deborah Coldwell of Hayes & Boone in Dallas/Fort Worth; Natalma McKnew of Smith Moore Leatherwood in Greenville, South Carolina; Karen Satterlee of Hilton Worldwide in McLean, Virginia; and Will K. Woods of Baker Botts LLP in Dallas.

Forum Awards

This year, the group did not present its Lewis G. Rudnick Award for substantial contributions to the development of the Forum and to franchise law as a discipline. The “lifetime achievement award” was given to John R.F. Baer in 2009 and to Rupert Barkoff and Andrew Selden in 2010.

The Young Leader Award was presented to Nicole Zellweger for her speaking, writing, and involvement in the Newcomer’s Network and Women’s Caucus. The Chair’s Explorer Award was given to Christian Thompson. The latter award is designed for newcomers to the Forum who have demonstrated an interest in pursuing a career in franchise law.

Highlights of the annual meeting included a plenary session on “Speed Reading People: Techniques to Improve Communications and Enhance Outcomes” and the Annual Franchise and Distribution Development session, presented by Lee J. Plave and Stuart Hershman.

Program co-chairs were Michael K. Lindsay and Karen Satterlee.

The 2012 annual meeting is scheduled for October 3-5 at the JW Marriott in Los Angeles. Further information regarding the Forum on Franchising appears here on the ABA website.

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