Best practices of in-house counsel theme of upcoming
The role of in-house counsel is not an easy one. Just ask James C.
Donnelly Jr., co-chair of the MBA's 10th annual In-House Counsel
Conference. The person in that role must not only give management
cutting-edge thinking about a broad range of topics - "sometimes
they have to give management messages that management is not going
to be happy to receive," he said.
The conference, he says, "frankly addresses the challenge of being
the legal watchdog at the same time that you are a corporate
officer. And then it gives [attendees] the opportunity to interact
with other in-house counsel."
The half-day conference takes place Friday, Nov. 30, from 8:30
a.m. to 1 p.m. at MBA headquarters at 20 West St., Boston.
Lauren Stiller Rikleen's opening remarks will focus on practical
tips for managing a multi-generational workforce and the clients
they serve. The Millennial generation and the generations that
predate them have differing approaches to the workplace. They
communicate differently and have different expectationshe with
regard to work-life and other key workplace issues, including the
use of technology and social media. Lauren will address what the
workplace - and Millennials - can do to strengthen
This year's best practices theme presents in-house counsel with
information from in-house practitioners, outside counsel and
experts in selected areas of current interest to in-house counsel.
Co-chairs include Donnelly, Peter D. McDermott of Banner &
Witcoff, Ltd; Robert J. Kerwin of Tarlow, Breed, Hart & Rogers
P.C.; and David A. Parke of Bulkley, Richardson and Gelinas
"In the past, this program has received excellent reviews, and we
are hoping again to present a conference that participants will
find rewarding," said Parke, noting the variety of topics to be
presented, such as cybersecurity issues, insurance planning, and
developments in the areas of patent law and internal
investigations. "We are fortunate to have presentations by judges
from the Superior Court Business Litigation Session, and to have
Lauren Stiller Rikleen open our conference with remarks concerning
multigenerational relationships in the workforce. Those who arrive
early will be treated to breakfast and some remarks by John
Weinfurter, of the consulting firm of Witt Associates, regarding
what in-house counsel can expect from the recent elections."
Also on the agenda is an update from the Business Litigation
Session of the Superior Court Department regarding the BLS Pilot
Project. Donnelly calls it "an underutilized tool," which offers
the advantages of expediting and simplifying litigation in ways
that people associate with out-of-court arbitration, while keeping
it within the court system, retaining rights to appeal novel issues
of law, he says.
A segment on Traps for the Unwary focuses on Independent
Investigations. Judges have recently been setting higher standards
of proof of impartiality. While in-house counsel may be tempted to
take investigative matters into their own hands, "their decisions
are suspect because they are part of the organization."
Two intellectual property segments include a preview of the
first-to-file patent system to be implemented in March 2013, and
another segment on patent validity challenges by a licensee. The
conference will also address insurance planning, particularly
targeting gaps in insurance coverage.
The conference will again have brief "lightning round"
presentations of five minutes per presenter, concerning current
developments of interest to in-house counsel.
"My fellow organizers and I are looking forward to another
successful conference," co-chair Parke said.