11th Annual In-House Counsel Conference addresses 'hot topics'

Thursday, Dec. 19, 2013
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Photo Credit: John Pregmon
Members of the legal community attend the MBA's 11th Annual In-House Counsel Conference on Dec. 6.

The 11th Annual In-House Counsel Conference took place on Dec. 6, at the Massachusetts Bar Association. This year's conference was co-chaired by longtime MBA members James C. Donnelly, Jr., Robert J. Kerwin, Peter D. McDermott and David A. Parke. The half-day conference featured a number of excellent panelists and comments from Edward Seksay, general counsel of Rockland Trust Company, and U.S. District Court Judge Dennis F. Saylor IV.

Parke welcomed attendees and introduced Seksay, who discussed his career path, which led to his current position as general counsel of Rockland Trust. Since some in-house counsel positions can be somewhat isolating, Seksay stressed the importance of building a professional network. A vast professional network of other in-house professionals can make a huge difference in the quality of legal services as well as an impact on effective decision making within the in-house law department, he said.

Kerwin began the first substantive conference panel by discussing challenges and strategies that help in-house counsel comply with the evolving data privacy laws. The panel included discussion about the Federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

Parke then welcomed Doug Denny-Brown, Robert Cicero and Stephanie Lambert to the dais to discuss best practices in managing business contracts, including contract terms that are commonly encountered, and how to manage risks presented by company contracts and contract management systems.

U.S. District Court Judge Dennis F. Saylor also provided the attendees with a judge's perspective on issues that are particular to in-house counsel, specifically the evolving standards for discovery of electronically stored information.

After a brief break, the audience was treated to the annual "lightning round," where Banner & Witcoff partner Ernest V. Linek covered remedies and awards in trademark litigation. He gave an in-depth, 15-minute overview of everything one needs to know about trademarks.

Donnelly concluded the programming by moderating an interactive discussion on hot topics in employment law. The discussion addressed topics involving what to do if an employee needs time off to care for a family member, how to deal with requests to work from home and how to deal with a threat of violence in the workplace.