"Ten years come and gone so fast," says the Paul Simon song. And so goes the first decade of SuperConference, which InsideCounsel celebrated May 25 and 26 at the Fairmont Chicago. The theme of change pervaded many of the conference sessions as attendees absorbed panels dissecting the challenges and opportunities of doing business in Brazil, optimizing new tools when defending product liability litigation and managing the ongoing movement toward alternative fee arrangements.
The demographic and ideological shift in the Supreme Court was highlighted as well by keynote speaker and super litigator Ted Olson, who most recently represented Citizens United in this year's game-changing campaign finance case. As justices retire and the panel becomes younger, he says the high court is seeing the most change in the least amount of time in its history.
Humor and an emphasis on women working together for their mutual benefit added an element of fun--and tenderness--not normally associated with events for business lawyers.
Awards in five main categories were given out on May 24. Earlier in the year, nomination forms were sent to 40,000 InsideCounsel subscribers and the National Association of Women Lawyers mailing list. From those nominations, a 33-person national awards committee selected the winners. The committee included general counsel from major corporations and partners at large law firms.
Diversity: Room for Improvement
A group of middle-aged Caucasian men defending a client is practically a legal tradition. But simply put, if your lawyers all come from a similar background, you aren't going to get a varied perspective.
Ethics: Corporate Crime Crackdown
"Big Brother is Watching You"--the adage popularized in George Orwell's classic novel "1984"--has new relevance for corporate executives in 2010, if you ask speakers at two InsideCounsel SuperConference sessions. They warned that a heated-up enforcement climate in Washington means more investigators are pursuing corporate crime. And they urged in-house counsel to prepare the C-Suite now.
Social Media: Social Life
Facebook tops Google for weekly traffic in the U.S.; social media has overtaken pornography as the No. 1 activity on the Internet; 95 percent of companies use LinkedIn for recruiting; and there are
currently more than 200 million blogs on the Internet.
Gen Y: Come Together
Baby Boomer parents drove their kids to ballet class, then hustled them over to the soccer field for a mid-afternoon game before capping off the day with a tutoring session in Chinese. For those kids, each day was mapped out from beginning to end, a strict plan defined as the key to future success. The right activities promised to get kids into the right college, which would set them up to get the right job upon graduation.
Keynotes: Circling the Wagons
The images conjured by the names Toyota, BP and Goldman Sachs are very different today than they were six months ago. With the specter of those companies' recent crises at the forefront of many in-house counsels' minds, the keynote speakers at this year's SuperConference offered advice for shepherding companies through this thorny time of heightened scrutiny and financial uncertainty.