Legal Execs Explore Emerging Technology, Litigation Trends

Legal Direct Reports (L2) Committee Meeting Highlights

RILA recently held a two-day meeting of its deputy GC-level committee (Legal Direct Reports or L2 Committee) at Microsoft’s and Costco’s corporate headquarters outside of Seattle, WA. Attendees got to see first-hand unique innovation and industry collaboration initiatives, benchmark and share company experiences with key industry legal challenges, and network with retail legal peers.

How Technology is Changing the Retail Industry

Day 1 focused on technology, privacy, and cybersecurity issues within the retail industry and in-house legal departments. The meeting kicked off with a tour of the Microsoft’s Industry Experience Center led by Microsoft Chief Technology Officer, Retail Strategy Marty Ramos, where attendees had the opportunity to interact directly with new and emerging technologies, and ended with a tour of a QFC (Kroger) smart store led by Greg Jones Microsoft’s Director Retail Business to see these technologies in an actual retail setting.

The new and innovative technologies highlighted included:
  • A fully integrated smart store with checkout-free technology;
  • Transparent barcodes imbedded into product packaging, enabling cashiers and customers to more efficiently scan and checkout;
  • Smart shelves with LED screens allowing retailers to efficiently adjust pricing and display adds;
  • Innovative use of beacon technology to enable retailers to have just in time fulfillment of customers’ online food and drink orders;
  • A smart store mirror that photographs what the customer is wearing and makes clothing and style recommendations based on the retailer’s in-store or online inventory; and
  • An innovative electronic dog spot where customers can safely house their dogs while shopping.

GC Insights, Litigation Trends and New Retail Litigation Center Defense Division

Day 2, hosted by Costco, kicked off with an informal discussion with John Sullivan, Costco’s General Counsel, covering a wide range of topics, including his leadership and management style, Costco’s unique business model and legal challenges, and the organization and structure of Costco’s global legal team.

Kathleen McGuigan, EVP & Deputy GC at RILA, unveiled the Retail Litigation Center’s Defense Division, a new initiative designed to provide retailers tools to organize and share litigation trends and defense practices focusing on class action litigation and labor and employment, two significant and costly litigation areas impacting retailers. Founding Defense Division law firm partners, Meredith Slawe, Kate Deal, and Michelle Reed, partners, Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld, presented on class action litigation trends, followed by a presentation from Matthew Kane and Bryan Fratkin, partners, McGuire Woods, on labor and employment litigation trends.

For more information on this meeting or to get involved with RILA’s L2 Committee, please contact Kathleen McGuigan. For information regarding the Retail Litigation Center and the new Defense Division, please contact Deborah White.

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