The Retail Law Conference, co-hosted by RILA and the Retail Litigation Center recently wrapped up a successful 2015 event!
This conference was designed specifically for in-house legal counsel from all retail channels, and attendees had the opportunity to connect with peers and hear from expert speakers from leading retail companies, government and select law firms on the most pressing issues facing retail lawyers.
Keep an eye out for registration information for 2016 coming soon!
2015 Conference Highlights:
Day one of the conference opened with a presentation from The Future Hunters’ Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Erica Orange, who shared insights into social, technological, economic, political, demographic and environmental trends and how they effect the role of retail general counsel. Among the topics discussed were how to identify trends and countertrends and observations about the speeding up of disruptive change and how retail general counsel adapt to that change.
The first day concluded with a panel titled “Implications of Future Trends for Retail’s Legal Leaders,” moderated by Orange. The panel, which featured general counsel from QVC, Target, and Whole Foods Market, identified the need to build strong relationships with peers across the retail enterprise and to prioritize nimbleness in legal departments in order to keep up with change in the industry.
Day two opened with a session on the legal implications of new technologies, specifically emerging laws and regulations surrounding customer data led by Deputy General Counsel of Pinterest Jessica Finkelstein, Federal Trade Commission Attorney Jim Trilling, and Tom Bell and Meredith Halama of Perkins Coie.
Throughout the day, attendees had the opportunity to hear from expert speakers from leading retail companies, government, and select law firms, addressing topics ranging from cybersecurity, false advertising litigation, patent law reform, policy and class action developments in wage and hour issues, the changing payments environment, joint-employer issues for retail employers, privacy concerns with mobile retailing, and environmental regulatory requirements for retailers.
In a closing session on legal ethics, John Dean, former White House Counsel to President Richard Nixon, shared personal experiences and lessons learned from Watergate. Joined by Thomson Hine Partner James Robenalt, Dean discussed complex ethical dilemmas such as navigating client confidentiality and lawyer reporting obligations.
The morning began with Gap Executive Vice President, Global General Counsel, Corporate Secretary, and Chief Compliance Officer Michelle Banks, DLA Piper Partner Jonathan Exten-Wright and Senior Counsel Charles Scheeler leading a session on the legal challenges surrounding global sourcing and compliance for retailers. The group highlighted their work developing the Alliance of Bangladesh Worker Safety, specifically helping companies deal with international supply chain legislation.
In addition, retail lawyers were able to attend closed-door roundtable discussions facilitated by retail corporate counsel on Counseling the Business, Employment Law, and Developing and Retaining Talent. Leaders of these discussions included general counsel for Staples, Dollar Tree, Sears, and 7-Eleven.
The conference closed with a panel of judges titled A View From the Bench, in which Justice Don Willett of the Supreme Court of Texas, Justice Jane Bland of the Texas First District Court of Appeals, Chief Justice Thomas Phillips of the Supreme Court of Texas (retired), and Evan Young, department chair of litigation at Baker Botts provided judicial insights into the civil litigation process.
“The Retail Law Conference provides an unmatched forum for peer-to-peer networking, as well as a platform for education on the industry’s emerging trends, presented by the industry’s leading legal voices,” said Deborah White, executive vice president and legal counsel for RILA, and president of the RLC. “Thank you to all of our speakers and engaged attendees for making this year’s event a success. We look forward to continued conversations around issues key to the success of the retail industry.”