Wednesday, October 10, 2012

ABA Forum on Franchising at 35: “Getting Better and Better”

The posting was written by John W. Arden.

During his “State of the Forum” speech at the ABA Forum on Franchising’s annual meeting last week in Los Angeles, Forum Chair Joseph J. Fittante reported that, in its 35th year, the Forum was “getting better and better.”

While other legal conferences are seeing a fall off in attendance, the Forum’s annual meeting boasted a near-record of 829 registered attendees. The Forum continues to have one of the highest participation rates of any ABA group.

The quality of the Forum’s presentations, written materials, and publications continue to be of the highest level, according to Fittante, a shareholder of Larkin Hoffman Daly & Lindgren in Minneapolis. The success of the Forum is attributable to the participation of the membership and the efforts of the governing committee and senior leadership, he said.

That leadership took time out of the general business meeting to thank former ABA Forum coordinator Kelly Rodenberg for nearly 15 years of working with the group. Rodenberg recently left her position with the ABA, but was in attendance at the meeting. She was recognized for guiding the group through earthquakes, snowstorms, hurricanes, and labor strikes.

Past chair Susan Gruenberg related how the group was able to hold a planned annual meeting just weeks after the 9/11 attacks because of Rodenberg’s efforts to renegotiate contracts and process many cancellations from members who were not willing to travel.

Leadership Election

During the annual business meeting of the three-day forum, the group elected Deborah S. Coldwell of Hayes and Boone, LLP in Dallas to serve a two-year term as Forum Chair, commencing in August 2013. The Forum membership also elected four members to serve three-year terms on the Governing Committee, commencing in August 2013.

The new at-large members of the Governing Committee are Christopher P. Bussert of Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton LLP in Atlanta; Leslie Curran of Plave Koch PLC in Reston, Virginia;  Andrew Loewinger of Nixon Peabody LLP in Washington, DC; and David W. Oppenheim of Kaufmann Gildin Robbins & Oppenheim LLP in New York City. Diane Green-Kelly of Reed Smith in Chicago was elected to a two-year term on the Governing Committee, to fulfill the remainder of Deborah Coldwell's unexpired term.

Highlights of the annual meeting included a plenary session on time management skills for lawyers and the Annual Franchise and Distribution Law Developments program, presented by James Goniea and Peter Silverman. Program co-chairs for the 2012 Forum on Franchising were Leslie D. Curran and Michael D. Joblove.

The 2013 annual meeting is scheduled for October 16 - 18, 2013 at the Rosen Shingle Creek Resort in Orlando, Florida.

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