This year's annual Spring Meeting of the ABA Business Law Section was held March 31-April 2 in Nashville, Tennessee, home city to Business Law Section Chair, Barbara Mendel Mayden.More than 1,600 attendees, including nearly 300 first time attendees, had the opportunity to choose from 70 continuing legal education programs featuring 450 speakers, 350 committee and subcommittee meetings and 11 committee dinners - enough to satisfy even the most ardent students of the latest developments in business law and, not incidentally, collect enough continuing legal education credits for an entire year. All Section members were able to download program materials for all continuing legal education programs from the Section's web site two weeks prior to the meeting
Some of the program highlights included a panel on Director Issues featuring E. Norman Veasey, former Chief Justice of the Delaware Supreme Court, Robert H. Mundheim, former General Counsel to the U.S. Treasury Department,Dean of the University of Pennsylvania Law School and General Counsel of Salomon Smith Barney, as well as practitioners John Olson of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher and Leigh Walton of Bass, Berry and Sims.Attendees were also addressed by Harvey Pitt, former Chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission, who spoke at the luncheon sponsored by the Federal Regulation of Securities Committee.Former Senator Fred Thompson was the keynote speaker at the Section Lunch.
More than 150 attended the Institute for the Young Business Lawyer, a one day program designed to give younger business lawyers quality, introductory CLE at an affordable price.The Institute, held just prior to the Spring Meeting, covered a broad variety of topics, includingbanking law, unincorporated business organizations, UCC common pitfalls, mergers and acquisitions, electronic commerce, securities laws, and commercial loans.Lawyers could sign up for just the one day Institute or stay for the entire Spring Meeting.
New initiatives put forward by Chair Mayden were also rolled out at the Meeting.A special Young Lawyer Forum, featuring activities for any Section member under 40 or in practice for less than five years, was held for the first time.The Forum gave these lawyers a chance to get together at a special dinner which attracted more than 50 attendees.The Forum attendees also considered taking on a public service project and working on programs geared to their special needs.
Another initiative of Chair Maydenprovided attendees the opportunity to meet and discuss issues with the Section's newly appointed Advisors - Roberta Karmel, a former SEC Commissioner and Public Director of the New York Stock Exchange, Bob Mundheim, andPaul Polking, former General Counsel, Bank of America.These very distinguished Advisors have agreed to serve a two year term and to participate in the three major Section meetings held during those years, including the next Section meeting which will be held in conjunction with the ABA Annual Meeting to be held in Chicago this August.
Last but not least, the Section's social activities were lots of fun for the attendees.The highlight was the Section dinner held at Nashville's full scale replica of the Parthenon.
All in all, the BLS Spring Meeting gave attendees the chance to learn, earn CLE credit,network and have fun - a great formula for what was a very successful meeting.