Nov 06, 2017
10th Annual MCLE Fair November 2, 2017
Nov 06, 2017
By Thomas S. Brown
When David Kelly, General Counsel and Vice President, Basketball Management & Strategy for the World Champion Golden State Warriors, was asked to share his least favorite thing about his job, he paused a few moments before sheepishly acknowledging, “I have a pretty good job.” Indeed, Mr. Kelly, the keynote speaker of the 10th Annual MCLE Fair at Embassy Suites, captivated the audience with an informative chat moderated by MCBA President Dorothy Chou Proudfoot.
Mr. Kelly addressed the membership in a wide-ranging discussion that touched on being “disinvited” to the White House (before actually being invited), the “taking a knee” protest, playing in an annual basketball game between the Warriors Operations Department and inmates at San Quentin, and the challenges facing the chief legal officer of one of the world’s most well-known sports franchises. He described in detail the different legal hats he wears, including managing employment and litigation issues, negotiating with agents, tackling special projects such as the construction of the new arena in San Francisco, and being involved in managing the salary cap, draft decisions, and scouting of players. We learned that before Mr. Kelly embarked on his legal career, he considered pursuing a music career, perhaps following in the footsteps of his two grandfathers, one who played with Louis Armstrong and the other an opera singer.
Mr. Kelly also talked about the the Warriors’ philosophy of soliciting input from a diverse group of people before making management decisions. He shared his opinion that the NBA has handled the issue of the “take a knee” debate differently than the NFL due in part to the support the league management has historically shown for its players. He noted specifically the removal of Donald Sterling as owner of the Los Angeles Clippers a few years ago, a controversial action with significant legal exposure.
In addition to Mr. Kelly’s informative talk, the MCLE Fair included several different speakers on topics of substance abuse, legal ethics, diversity and elimination of bias in the legal profession. The early morning sessions featured a presentation by Thomas M. McInerney, Managing Shareholder of Ogletree Deakins, who discussed the lack of diversity among recent federal and state judicial appointments and in general counsel positions. Mr. McInerney, the former mayor and a town council member for San Anselmo, also outlined the 10 Best Practices For Corporate Law Departments to eliminate bias in the workplace.
The Honorable Roy O. Chernus and Barbara Monty led an active panel on the topic of bias, sexual harassment and the need for attorneys and others in the legal profession to be willing to tackle these challenging issues, especially in light of the recent news stories that have rocked the entertainment industry and political landscape.
Members were treated to a unique presentation by Frank Wisehart, a forensic accountant at RGL Forensics on the topic of “Lie-Spotting—The Brilliant Disguises.” Mr. Wisehart, an expert witness and consultant, used videos to show how witnesses, suspects, celebrities, and defendants, including Alex Rodriguez, John Edwards, Scott Peterson, Anthony Weiner and others displayed visual cues that they were not telling the truth.
J. Gary Gwilliam, a renowned trial attorney, shared his very personal struggle with alcohol abuse and offered recommendations on how to address this challenging and, unfortunately, prevalent issue in the legal profession.
Attendees received practical training and instructions from Greg Groeneveld on how to make judgments collectable, tips for a successful mediation from Susan Feder of Judicate West and Patricia Prince, and a panel discussion with Peter Flaxman, Barry Sacks and Homa Rassouli on retirement options for estate planning clients.
Overall, the feedback was positive, with attendees saying that the MCLE Fair offered the membership entertaining, practical and informative presentations. Paula Kamena, former Marin County District Attorney, observed that the speakers and presentations were impressive and said that she looks forward to the event every year.
We wish to thank our sponsors for making this event possible and for supporting MCBA: Budish Insurance Services; Resolution Remedies; RLM|TrialGraphix; and First Legal.