Top Legal Challenges For Retailers Addressed At Annual Meeti

RILA's Legal Direct Reports (L2) Committee recently held their biannual meeting at Gap, Inc.'s headquarters in San Francisco, CA. The group, comprised of deputy GC level legal executives from America's leading retailers, met to discuss the most pressing legal issues facing their companies today and collaborate on best practices for addressing those challenges. 

A highlight of the meeting, Julie Gruber, executive vice president, global general counsel, corporate secretary, and chief compliance officer for Gap, Inc., presented on reimagining retail legal departments to meet the changing needs of the business.  

In the spirit of nearby Silicon Valley, the meeting featured several presentations focused on the technologies and innovation fueling today's retail transformation and the critical role that retailers' legal departments play in achieving company goals. 

While visiting the headquarters of Salesforce, committee members heard from Lindsey Finch, senior vice president of global privacy & product legal for Salesforce, on new cybersecurity and privacy regulatory trends and participated in an interactive exercise on adapting in-house legal services to meet the new and changing needs of the business. Later, Chirag Khanijau, technical leader for IBM U.S. Distribution Market, gave an overview of emerging technologies and uses in retail operations. 

Maggie White and Jesse Birbach, associates at Gunderson Dettmer LLP, led a session on navigating the legal issues involved with doing business with a start-up company. In addition, committee members heard presentations from two start-up companies. Felicity Conrad, CEO of Paladin, discussed a new technology to assist in-house legal departments manage pro bono programs and Damon Mino, vice president of sales, and Brian Chaney, account executive for Ironclad, presented on a new technology to help corporate legal departments streamline and manage the contracting process. 

The meeting also featured sessions focused on challenges retailers face doing businesses in California. Sheppard Mullin Partner Craig Cardon discussed recent marketing, advertising, and privacy litigation trends. Tyreen Torner, partner, and Christina Armstrong, counsel at Fox Rothschild LLP, reviewed a California hazmat investigation and settlement and provided tips on ways to enhance compliance and minimize litigation risks. 

Call & Jensen's Managing Shareholder Julie R. Trotter presented on the recent labor and employment litigation in California. In addition, Mintz Levin Partner Daniel J. Herling led the group in a discussion of the impact of California Prop. 65 and new product warning requirements. 

In a member case study presentation facilitated by Tractor Supply Company's Vice President of Legal Karen Austin, the group heard first hand lessons learned and talked best practices related to litigation. 

The meeting closed with an opportunity for retailers to benchmark with their peers in the room on the top challenges facing retail legal departments. 

For more information on RILA's Legal Direct Reports Committee or to get involved, please contact Kathleen McGuigan, RILA's senior vice president and deputy general counsel.  

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