MBA to present 12th Annual In-House Counsel Conference

Issue November 2014

The Massachusetts Bar Association will be holding its 12th Annual In-House Counsel Conference on Friday, Dec. 5, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., at the MBA, 20 West St., Boston. As with prior conferences, this year's conference will feature several high-level speakers on topics critical to in-house counsel.

The theme for the 2014 conference is "Compliance and Risk Management." Companies are facing a constantly changing risk and regulatory environment, that requires self regulation and self examination, and imposes consequences for those who are not engaged in appropriate internal practices. This has created new burdens for in-house counsel. In-house counsel and compliance officers are expected to implement and manage compliance systems and procedures in a variety of new and evolving areas, and to do so efficiently. A legal officer with legal and compliance responsibilities may perform multiple functions ranging from providing traditional legal advice to management functions such as oversight of controls, investigations, outside disclosures and employee training. There are fresh challenges involved in identifying the need for compliance programs, configuring those programs for forward-looking sufficiency, and then managing and sustaining the programs company-wide.

This year's In-House Counsel Conference will include a panel discussion regarding managing a culture of compliance. Panelists will include William Sinnott, former corporation counsel with the city of Boston, and presently practicing with Donoghue Barrett & Singal PC; and Tim C. Mazur, chief operating officer of the Ethics & Compliance Officer Association, and former ethics officer at two Fortune 500 corporations. Conference co-chair James C. Donnelly Jr. of Mirick, O'Connell, DeMallie & Lougee LLP, will moderate the panel discussion.

The keynote address will be delivered by F. Bierne Lovely Jr., general counsel of the Archdiocese of Boston. The Hon. Mary Thomas Sullivan, associate justice of the Massachusetts Appeals Court, will be the judicial speaker.

With today's mobile workforce and new and alternative working arrangements for employees and other personnel, company counsel must be increasingly attentive to laws regulating employees' rights and a company's HR obligations, and the risks associated with non-compliance with such laws. The conference will present a panel discussion focused on managing wage and hour risks, featuring Matthew Berge, division chief of the Fair Labor Division of the Massachusetts Attorney General's Office. Conference co-chair Robert J. Kerwin, chief legal officer of Mortgage Master Inc., will moderate the panel discussion.

Many companies face compliance challenges in connection with managing relations with non-U.S. employees. The conference will present a discussion by Alan M. Pampanin of the Pampanin Law Offices, regarding management of immigration law risks.

As in recent years, the conference plans to include one or more brief "lightning round" presentations designed to give a quick report on legal developments that are significant to in-house counsel. As time permits, attendees will be treated to these reports regarding current developments.

This year's full agenda promises to continue a tradition of providing, in a half-day conference, a wealth of valuable information that is responsive to in-house counsel's needs. Please plan to arrive early to meet and network with fellow in-house counsel. With a robust schedule of topics and speakers, conference co-chair David A. Parke of Bulkley, Richardson and Gelinas LLP plans to start the conference promptly at 9 a.m.