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ACCA 2003 Northeast Chapter Annual Conference Recap

On Nov. 6, 2003, the Boston office of Foley Hoag hosted the Association of Corporate Counsel America (ACCA) Northeast Chapter Annual Conference. With more than 150 people in attendance, including members from both the Northeast and Connecticut Chapters and several reporters from business and legal periodicals, this was the highest attended daylong event for the ACCA group.

ACCA’s Northeast Chapter President, Scott Squillace of Cabot Corporation, noted, “This was clearly ACCA’s most successful Boston event. The topics presented were relevant, the discussion and handout materials helpful, and the networking enjoyable.”

Squillace went on to explain, “The event gave corporate counsel the opportunity to benchmark with colleagues on important issues from compliance to law department spending practices and many things in-between.”

This year’s conference program was designed in a different format to provide in-house counsel with an interactive exchange among fellow in-house counsel and with the expert panelists. The result provided practical information and tools to help corporate counsel navigate the challenges of today’s quickly changing business environment.

The wide ranging topics, suggested by ACCA members in a survey prior to the conference, included: the New World of Government Enforcement; Corporate Governance in a Post-Enron World; Wage Hour Laws; Patent Litigation; and Corporate Social Responsibility. The different sessions were facilitated by senior in-house counsel with many years of practical experience, Foley Hoag attorneys, and certain guest speakers, including Daniel Field, Division Chief, Commonwealth of Massachusetts Fair Labor and Business Practice Division and Christine Hughes, General Counsel of The New England Legal Foundation.

A cocktail reception ended this busy day. The day’s schedule is summarized in the chart adjacent to this article. If you would like copies of the extensive handout materials, please contact Kelley Crowley at Foley Hoag (617-988-3538) or via e-mail at [email protected].

The Annual Conference opened with a plenary session, “The New World of Government Enforcement,” led by the panel of Alan Glass, CIRCOR International, H. Lowell Brown, formerly with Northrup Grumman Corporation and currently in private practice, and Nicholas Theodorou, Foley Hoag.

This was followed by three concurrent “breakout sessions,” allowing the participants to select subjects of particular interest: “Corporate Governance in a Post-Enron World,” with discussion led by Michael Cahn, Textron; Pamela Lenahan, Ridge Consulting LLC; and Dean Hanley, Foley Hoag; “Wage-Hour Laws: Contending with the New Rage in Employment Claims,” with the panel of Daniel Field, Christine Hughes, New England Legal Foundation, and James Bucking, Foley Hoag; and “Patent Litigation: What a GC Needs to Know,” with panelists William Wise, Analog Devices, Inc., Vincent Castiglione, C.R. Bard Inc.; and Claire Laporte, Foley Hoag.

The luncheon keynote speech dealt with “Corporate Social Responsibility,” an issue of increasing importance to in-house counsel. Phillip Rudolph, former Vice President and International General Counsel, McDonald’s Corporation and currently with Foley Hoag, discussed the role that corporate law departments should assume in managing social responsibility risks.

Following lunch, Pasquale D’Orsi, SimplexGrinnell LP and Michele Whitham, Foley Hoag, led a lively discussion of two different case studies that focused on the corporate governance and employment issues introduced in the earlier “breakout sessions.” The program’s organized agenda concluded with a General Counsel Roundtable, with discussion led by Lena Goldberg, Fidelity Investments, Barry Nagler, Hasbro, Inc., and Kellye Walker, B.J.’s Wholesale Club, Inc.

Many thanks to the planning team, which spent more than a year developing and executing this conference. The team consisted of: Susan Permut, EMC Corporation; Steve Reynolds, Texas Instruments Incorporated; Alan Glass, CIRCOR International; Thomas Farrell, SimplexGrinnell LP; Scott Squillace, Cabot Corporation; Stacey Cronin, ACCA Northeast Chapter; and the Foley Hoag team, led by Michele Whitham.

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