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Business Law Institute 2021 - Day Two

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DEI in the Public, Private and Education Sectors: Are You Willing to Address, Acknowledge and Act Upon? (ethics)

In the private and public sectors alike, diversity, equity and inclusion issues have been very much at the forefront of our clients and colleagues, perhaps more so now than ever. It seems like every law firm, inhouse legal department, and business entity has something to say about DEI. But what is really happening? What does it take to make DEI initiatives successful? In some quarters, DEI is viewed as just the most recent version of a construct that has played out for decades now—a construct designed to make people feel like progress is being made toward equality, with one‐day trainings or identity‐specific affinity groups. In reality, the discussion itself has the potential to hinder that very progress. Instead of bringing us closer together, it has the potential to push us further apart. This panel provides valuable insight in this area and help answer these questions, as well as the overall task for this session: we all recognize DEI, but what now?

Returning to the Office and Associated Legal and Business Considerations

The COVID‐19 pandemic caused swift and sudden office closures in March 2020. As full‐time remote work gives way to a cautious, and in some cases, incremental return of professionals and staff on‐site, firms and businesses will consider the following:

  • What is the “Return‐to‐the‐Office” plan?
  • Professional Licensure – Remote Work Out‐of‐State
  • Employee Privacy
  • Workplace Safety
  • COVID‐19 Vaccination Requirements

Panelists representing government, corporate and global firm perspectives share their experiences and recommendations for moving toward the “next normal.”

Force Majeure to the Forefront and other Pandemic‐Related and Inspired Provisions

Force majeure has become a frequently‐used term since Covid‐19 forced sudden business closures across the globe. Transactional attorney Michael D. Ecker explains the legal concept and applies it to Pennsylvania law. He walks you through:

  • Legal excuses for non‐performance include
  • Typical clause prior to COVID‐19
  • Duration of Excused Performance
  • Additional Force Majeure Language
  • Language to include Post‐COVID
  • Alternatives to Force Majeure
  • COVID Litigation

Emerging Trends in ESG Litigation & Enforcement

The correlation between the global pandemic and the popularity of ESG investing is undeniable. Sustainable investing has long been a hot topic with investors, but it’s even more so since ESG stocks have proven to be more resilient during the recent economic downturn. ESG is an essential business component for planning, growth and development. While the increased attention on ESG presents an opportunity for companies to showcase their good work, it also creates increased litigation risk. In this hour‐long presentation, Kahlil Williams, who represents companies and individuals in complex commercial litigation, provides an overview into this emerging area.

  • What is ESG?
  • What kinds of litigation are arising in this space?
  • What’s next on the horizon?
  • How should companies prepare and protect themselves?

The Future of the Global Supply Chain

The global supply chain is broken. Because COVID‐19 brought this issue to the forefront, many assume that the pandemic is the reason for the collapse. It is not. Instead, four trends are largely responsible for the transformations already underway.

This session includes three segments: (1) a “look back” to how the pandemic and the supply chain crisis created the perfect storm for our economy; (2) where we are today, and what we can expect to see in our immediate future; and (3) the trends that are causing this global transformation.

  • Covid‐19 & Global Supply Chain
  • Supply Chain Crisis
  • Shipping Crisis – Data Analysis
  • Near Term Road
  • MaxTrends™ Developments

PPL Loans Fallout

The Paycheck Protection Program was aimed at helping businesses keep their workforce employed during the COVID‐19 crisis. Unfortunately, the SBA guidelines are vague and confusing and have led to many unintended and criminal consequences. Since the PPP began, Fraud Section attorneys have prosecuted more than 100 defendants in more than 70 criminal cases and have seized more than $65 million in cash and luxury items. It is estimated that at least 15% of all PPP loans could be fraudulent.

Trial lawyer Meredith Auten discusses:

  • The track record for the PPP
  • Risks Associated with Any PPP Loan
  • PPP Loans Certification Requirements
  • PPP Loan Forgiveness Risks
  • Enforcement & Public Relations Risks
  • Investigations and Enforcement


Co-sponsored with the PBA Business Law Section and In-House Counsel Committee .  Not a member? Join today!

Recorded at Day Two of the Business Law Institute in November 2021.


Practice Areas


Rodney R. Akers Esq. Office of General Counsel
Meredith S. Auten Esq. Morgan Lewis & Bockius LLP (Phila)
Benjamin D. Clark Esq. Reed Smith LLP (Downtown Pitts)
Dean Danielle M. Conway JD, LL.M. Penn State Dickinson Law (Carlisle)
Michael D. Ecker Esq. Eckert Seamans Cherin & Mellott, LLC (Phila)
David Iwinski Jr., Esq. Blue Water Growth LLC
Maria L. H. Lewis Esq. Faegre Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP (Phila)
Jullia A. Sheridan Esq. Commonwealth Of Pennsylvania
Patrice M. Turenne Esq. Bimbo Bakeries, USA, Inc.
Dennis Unkovic Esq. Meyer Unkovic & Scott LLP
Kahlil C. Williams Esq. Ballard Spahr LLP (Phila)
Faculty may vary by location.
PBI reserves the right to substitute speakers at all programs.
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