Conference Agenda

The CMCP Annual Business Conference –
It’s all about leadership, opportunity and taking charge of your career...

CMCP is a State Bar of California approved MCLE provider.  Maximum available California MCLE credit: 3 hours.  Download MCLE session Handouts, Attendee Certificates & Evaluation Forms at: 

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Thursday, October 22, 2015


Registration Opens

12:00pm – 1:30pm

The No Bosses Allowed Lunch: CMCP’s Signature Interactive Leadership, Career Development and Networking Lunch for:

  • Law firm associates & other non-partners
  • In-house non-managers

This interactive session focuses on leadership and career development, with practical tips on how to get the most from the conference.  It is a unique opportunity for this group to network in a small setting with their peers at other companies and firms.

Special Guest Speaker:
George K. H. Schell, Chief Marketing Counsel-North America, The Coca-Cola Company

Includes CMCP’s annual ‘Lunch with a General Counsel’ drawing. Bring your business cards & enter the No Bosses drawing for lunch with a GC at the Conference Recognition Lunch on Friday, October 23. Drawing winners will be announced at the GC Reception.
Confirmed GCs for Lunch Drawing

Session Leaders:
Kimberly Y. Higgins, Associate, Squire Patton Boggs
Kirsten C. Jackson, Associate, Kasowitz Benson Torres & Friedman LLP
Tracy O. Zinsou, Associate, Covington & Burling LLP

Attendees must be registered for the conference and must have a separate confirmed registration for this lunch.


MCLE: 1.5 hours
Sponsored by:
Jones Day

Three Concurrent Sessions:

To Litigate or Arbitrate: When is Arbitration the Answer for International Disputes?

  • Strategic considerations for in-house counsel in determining the appropriate forum for international dispute resolution.
  • When does litigation trump arbitration for international matters?
  • Key considerations in customizing international arbitration agreements - pitfalls & best practices.
  • Leveraging diversity to enhance dispute resolution; cross-cultural issues in international disputes.
  • What’s the path to becoming an international arbitrator?

Daniel Prince, Partner, Paul Hastings LLP - Moderator
Jeff Dasteel, Adjunct Assistant Professor of Law, UCLA School of Law
Mimi M. Lee, Managing Counsel, Litigation, Chevron Global Upstream and Gas
Scott T. Nonaka, Partner, Sidley Austin LLP
Carlos E. Vásquez, Senior Vice President, Chief Counsel LAC, Visa Inc.

Sponsored by:

Help, I Need to Develop Business Now!  Practical Tips for Associates & New Partners

Developing business is critical to advancement in law firms.  This panel will address the unique challenges faced by associates at different levels, and by junior partners, in finding and cultivating client relationships.  Bringing their different experiences, personalities and roles to this discussion, the panelists will share strategies on how to overcome these challenges and begin to effectively develop business.  Panel topics include:

  • Practical business development tips and tactics - what works and what doesn't.
  • Creating - and sticking to – a feasible business development plan that meets your goals and values, and fits your personality.
  • Using your differences to your advantage in business development.
  • Finding & bringing in new clients vs. developing new relationships within a firm's existing clients.
  • Ways to naturally sell yourself and your firm to clients and colleagues.

Allina M. Hightower, Associate, Rutan & Tucker, LLP - Moderator
Janice P. Brown, Founding Partner, Brown Law Group
Eric Burton, Vice President, Business & Legal Affairs, Fox Sports
Paul S. Chan, Principal, Bird, Marella, Boxer, Wolpert, Nessim, Drooks, Lincenberg & Rhow, P.C.
Aurelio J. Pérez, Associate, Littler Mendelson P.C.
Stacey H. Wang, Partner, Holland & Knight LLP

MCLE: 1.5 hours
Sponsored by:

Stranded at the Intersection of Immigration & Employment:  Navigating the Fast-Moving Traffic

As an employer hiring in today’s growing global work environment, whether large or small, you are likely to hire immigrants.  Maybe you already have and you don’t even know it.  This panel will address ways to avoid legal problems and manage the unavoidable challenges that arise when immigrants are employed by US companies.  Panel topics include:

  • The hiring quagmire – what's required and what to do when you mess up or receive inconsistent/false information?
  • Special protections for immigrant employees and the consequences of getting them wrong.
  • Hiring highly skilled immigrants – benefits and risks.
  • Cross-cultural considerations in managing a global workforce.

Sabrina A. Beldner, Senior Counsel, McGuireWoods LLP - Moderator
Navneet S. Chugh, Managing Partner, The Chugh Firm
Ramina Dehkhoda-Steele, Partner, Wong Fleming
Robert C. DeMoss, VP & General Counsel - Employment, Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.
Cynthia J. Lange, Partner, Fragoman, Del Rey, Bernsen & Lowey, LLP


3:30pm – 4:00pm

Sponsored by:


4:00pm – 5:30pm

MCLE: 1.5 hours

Sponsored by:

Two Concurrent Sessions:

Winning as a Team!  Strategies for in-house, trial and appellate counsel collaborating from trial to appeal.

This panel will demonstrate and discuss the roles of in-house, trial and appellate counsel from trial through appeal in:

  • Crafting a trial strategy to win in both the trial and appellate courts
  • Collaborating on post-trial motions
  • Planning appellate strategy, from opening brief through oral argument

Dennis J. Rhodes, Of Counsel, Wilson Elser Moskowitz Edelman & Dicker LLP - Moderator
Kevin M. Fong, Partner, Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP
John S. Gibson, Partner, Crowell & Moring LLP
Audra Ibarra, Appellate Attorney, Law Office of Audra Ibarra
Paul T. Kirchner, VP & Associate General Counsel, Tyson Foods, Inc.

Sponsored by:

Even the GC Needs an Elevator Pitch:  What is Yours?

This panel will demonstrate and discuss the value of having a succinct description of what you do - and how that might change in different situations.  Learn what works & what doesn't.  Then practice your networking event elevator pitch in an inclusive, supportive & fun environment, so you're prepared to:

  • Maximize your impact at business events
  • Quickly express your value to your partners or managers, your colleagues, and your clients - both internal & external
  • Turn social contacts into business opportunities

Richard Tom, Assistant General Counsel, LA City Attorney's Office/LADWP - Moderator
Roger A. Cerda, Partner, Alston & Bird LLP
Veronica Hayes Gromada, Senior Associate General Counsel, Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.
Nicole A. Diaz, Associate, Willenken Wilson Loh & Delgado LLP


5:30pm – 7:30pm

Sponsored by:

The General Counsel Reception:
A time for in-house and outside counsel to meet and mingle in an informal setting.

6:00pm... Introduction of General Counsel.

Winners of ‘Recognition Lunch with a GC’ drawing announced and introduced to their lunch partner. Winners must be present.
Confirmed GCs Attendees


Friday, October 23, 2015


Registration Opens

8:00am – 9:00am

Sponsored by:

Continental Breakfast


9:00am – 9:20am

Sponsored by:

Corporate Connections Welcome: Tips for Successful Interviews


9:30am – 12:00noon

Sponsored by:

Corporate Connections Interviews


12:15pm – 2:00pm

Sponsored by:

Recognition Luncheon

Keynote speaker:
Karen Roberts
Executive Vice President & General Counsel
Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.

Induction of the CMCP Diversity Leader Hall of Fame 2015 Members

Presentation of CMCP Law Firm & Corporate Diversity & Client Service Awards


2:30pm – 4:00pm

Sponsored by:

From the Desk of the General Counsel:
In Conversation with Corporate Leaders...

Hear from & engage with leading General Counsel on a variety of topics including:

  • What it takes to be an effective business lawyer & move from ‘good lawyer’ to ‘trusted counselor’
  • Roles of in-house and outside counsel
  • Challenges & solutions to making diversity in the legal profession a reality
  • What it takes to be a legal diversity leader

Julio Avalos, Chief Legal Officer & General Counsel, GitHub, Inc.
Lily Yan Hughes
, Senior Vice President, Chief Legal Officer and Corporate Secretary, Public Storage
Suzan A. Miller, Corporate Vice President & Deputy General Counsel, Intel Corporation
John F. Schultz, Executive Vice President & General Counsel, Hewlett-Packard Company

Moderated by: Marissa M. Dennis, Partner,
Allen Matkins Leck Gamble Mallory
Natsis, LLP


4:00pm – 6:00pm

Closing Reception

 Photos from 2014 Business Conference