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2013 IFA Legal Symposium – Making The “Must-Do” Case For Attending

Legal Symposium attendees want to be engaged, pushed to be creative about solutions and take home ideas that will stimulate their practices and benefit their clients.

The 46th Annual International Franchise Association’s Legal Symposium, which was designed with attendees of past symposia clearly in mind, will be conducted May 5-7 in Washington, D.C.

A task force of in-house and outside franchise law practitioners gave especially careful consideration to all of the comments received from last year’s attendees through IFA’s post-symposium survey, follow-up calls and emails. Those comments confirmed attendees’ expectations of the Legal Symposium: to deliver tangible value commensurate with well-prepared, substantive and advanced level thinking on real-world legal and business issues that only IFA ‘s experienced legal and business community can provide. The symposium will be conducted at the JW Marriott in Washington, D.C.

These comments confirmed that Legal Symposium attendees want to be engaged, pushed to be creative about solutions and take home ideas that will stimulate their practices and benefit their clients.  And that is exactly what is being offered this coming May.

 The Mission

From the start of the planning process, the task force has also been guided by IFA’s mission for the Legal Symposium in each decision made about this year’s program. The mission is, therefore, worth noting:

The Legal Symposium’s focus is on the practical application of the law to the real problems our clients encounter – the “how-to” approach for navigating today’s challenging legal and business environment. It serves as a training ground for legal counsel and business executives who want to discuss and debate issues important to franchising and provides practical tools for meeting those challenges in a “best practices” environment.

IFA recognizes that its attorney and business members’ and other potential attendees’ time and resources are limited and that any practitioner must carefully make choices about educational events to attend. With the foregoing background on creating attendee value, it makes sense that any decision be made with full appreciation of this year’s symposium line-up of speakers and session topics.

Prominent Issues for Discussion

This year’s Legal Symposium takes on the inescapable issues of a franchise environment challenged by the uncertainty of the economy, the impact of recently enacted regulation and the evolving proverbial “boiling pot” of political change that will, no doubt, noticeably affect clients’ businesses this year and beyond.

With those issues firmly in sight, IFA Past Chairman and former CEO of Driven Brands, Inc. Ken Walker, CFE,  and IFA Secretary and NRD Holdings, LLC  President and CEO Aziz Hashim (a multi-unit franchisee) will kick-off the symposium by headlining a thought-provoking plenary session on “Finding the Right Balance in Franchise Agreements.” In a “living room” setting, Baker Donelson Partner Joel Buckberg, the law panel moderator, will engage the panelists in a stimulating discussion of each panelist’s perspectives on significant issues at the heart of the franchise relationship, including issues of whether and how to frame the franchisee’s role in the protection and growth of the franchisor’s brand and system and how such issues should be reflected in the important contracts that memorialize the terms of the franchise relationship.

For the Judicial Update, Foley & Lardner Partner Bobbi Howell and Nixon Peabody Partner Gregg Rubenstein will present the most influential case law developments of 2012.  This definitely must-have information is essential to any practitioner desiring to provide legal services to today’s franchise business community.

Specific session topics include:

  • Drafting and negotiating terms of the commercially relevant franchise agreement,
  • Implementing franchise system facelifts,
  • Protecting customer data,
  • Structuring regulated promotional campaigns,
  • SBA financing process realities,
  • Negotiating settlements,
  • Understanding what makes a successful private equity acquisition,
  • International expansion in high demand markets,
  • International post-closing compliance,
  • Assessing vicarious liability risks,
  • Managing financial risk and negotiation of creditor agreements,
  • Advanced discussion on financial performance representations,
  • Managing under-performing franchisees,
  • Making the case for franchise advisory councils,
  • Permissible changes upon renewal and
  • Understanding the legal shorthand of laws applicable to international and public transactions.

And, of course, outstanding basics programs on franchise administration, franchise relationships, international franchising, franchise disclosure and registration and franchise litigation will also be offered.

Making the “must-do” case for attendance at the 2013 IFA Legal Symposium is a reflection of the outstanding work of the task force. Hopefully the foregoing will compel any potential attendee to make the remaining “must–do” decision:  just register online under the Events tab, Legal Symposium at www.franchise.org. ⎯

Joyce Mazero is a partner of the law firm Haynes and Boone, LLP and serves as chairwoman of the IFA 2013 Legal Symposium Task Force.  She can be reached at 972-739-8637 or joyce.mazero@haynesboone.com.

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