Seven Brooks Pierce attorneys served as faculty members for the University of North Carolina School of Law's 22nd Annual Festival of Legal Learning February 10-11, 2012.
Wade Hargrove presented "Media Law in the Digital Age: The Rules Are Changing, Are You?" on February 11. Continuing change in the way news and information are communicated and received has undermined the business model of conventional news media companies causing public officials to reassess traditional legal doctrines and the regulatory models under which those companies operate. This session explored the legal and public policy issues surrounding these changes and what, if anything, should be done to address the changes.
Stephen Hartzell presented "NCOSH BGOSH: An Intro to OSHA" on February 11. Most employers are subject to the requirements of the Occupational Safety and Health Act. North Carolina is a "state plan" state, which effectively means that North Carolina employers are covered by a blend of state and federal OSHA requirements. This presentation covered basic OSHA concepts including recordkeeping, the multi-employer worksite doctrine, and the General Duty Clause.
Bob Saunders presented "Representing Churches and Religious Organizations: Nonprofit and Federal Tax Law Issues" on February 11. Bob gave a practitioner's guide to representing churches and religious organizations. A wide range of topical issues were covered, including the decision to incorporate your church (or church programs); the tax law restrictions on the political activities of religious officials; and the complications of unrelated business income on revenue generating programs or property.
David Smyth presented "Recent Developments in Insider Trading Law" on February 10. The Securities and Exchange Commission and Department of Justice have recently thrust insider trading to the forefront of their enforcement agendas. This session covered the current state of insider trading law and how that law has been affected by recent cases, including the Galleon Group and Mark Cuban matters.
Adam Tarleton presented "Estate and Charitable Planning Opportunities in the Sale of a Business" on February 10. Ownership of a family business comprises the bulk of many private clients’ net worth, and the sale of a family business can be the most significant financial event of a client’s lifetime. This session explored several means of transferring wealth to descendants at a reduced estate and gift tax cost in conjunction with the sale of a family business, and for reducing the income tax cost of the sale of a business while funding charitable goals. Strategies for reducing tax and other risks associated with these transactions were also discussed.
Jennifer Van Zant and Ed Winslow presented "From Craft Making to Systems Thinking: Shaping Better Professionals" and "Shaping Better Professionals: Lessons From Practice" on February 10. The first session included a discussion about the intellectual frameworks that may be helpful in thinking about professional development and maturation or legal professionals. Panelists critiqued and commented on how metaphors such as "systems thinking," "mental models," "communities of practice," and "lawyer competency" can provide frameworks for thinking about improving professional development of individual lawyers and law firm management in general. The second session included discussion of new strategies for preparing law students for practice, and management strategies for facilitating professional development and assessment of lawyers in the early stages of their development.