Technology Law | Nov. 30 & Dec. 1, 2017 | Seattle

Over the years, this annual conference has followed IP and the  technology industry as it has evolved from computer law into the Internet, wireless communications, e-commerce, outsourcing, cloud services, social media, the Internet of Things, drones, and now the birth of commercial applications for 3D printing. The core legal issues have always involved patents, trademarks, copyrights, and protection of trade secrets. Over time they’ve expanded to include standards setting, open source software, data breaches, location tracking, big data, privacy by design, and Cybersecurity. Doing business via your website in Germany? You need to designate who will go to jail for violation of their privacy laws.
It’s a lot of moving pieces for technology companies, or companies heavily relying on digital technology, and their lawyers to put together. We’re happy to say that this conference, now in it’s 26th year, has stayed on top of the cutting edge issues that you will need to address.
Seattle is a big life sciences town with several well-funded medical research foundations promoting open access as a way for more rapidly finding solutions for critical health problems around the world. Like the open source software movement, which resulted in open source code finding it’s way into commercial applications, this will have ramifications beyond the medical research field. Our discussion of those issues will enable you gain the insights you will need to look into the future for impacts on other technology sectors.
You won’t want to miss this event. For further information and to register, click here.

Environmental Trials | October 16 & 17, 2017 | Washington, DC

The ability to try an environmental case remains a fundamental skill that clients will need in coming years.

Our upcoming Environmental Trials conference is an opportunity to hear directly from some of the litigators and experts directly involved in some to the most significant recent major environmental cases, including criminal prosecutions. Our objective is to help you incorporate the lessons learned into your strategies for pending and future cases. We’ll address major new developments in the environmental damage assessment science, economic damage assessment tools, and legal developments affecting your ability to prove your case at trial.

Take advantage of this opportunity to learn from criminal and civil practitioners, prosecutors and defense attorneys, as well as technical experts, in-house counsel, and experts on trial preparation and strategy. The case studies will involve panels on criminal trials; Clean Water Act trials; Natural Resource Damage trials; Superfund cost allocations; and toxic torts.

In addition to staying on top of substantive law and technical issues, successful environmental trial attorneys must be increasingly sophisticated in the psychology of persuasion. We’ll have experts on the mental processes that jurors use for evaluating environmental issues and tips for creating, and testing, messages a systematic way. We’ll also have experts who can help you up your game for use of graphics in trial presentations, particularly for sophisticated younger people coming into jury pools, and the use of virtual techniques for mock jury testing.

Register now to hear and discuss the current best thinking on environmental trials and pick up the practical tips that you can immediately apply to your next case. You’ll also have an opportunity for informally exchanging ideas at the reception and dinner sponsored graciously sponsored by Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer LLP and Farella Braun + Martel LLP.

More information is available on our website. We hope to see you there.

Electric Power Development in California

AB398 and AB617 have put California on the map again as a leader in climate and energy policy. This year’s conference returns to San Francisco many of the implementation policy decisions will be made. An important element is the CPUC’s Distributed Energy Resources (DER) Action Plan. You’ll have an opportunity to hear from Simon E. Baker, Deputy Director of the Energy Division, on agency goals, the pathways under consideration, progress so far, and what to expect in the coming year.

We’ll also take a deep dive into the practical aspects new energy project development, particularly financing. Topics will include:
~ Essential contractual elements
~ New financing structures, including uniquely Californian financing for distributed energy resources
~ Current investor appetites and tips for successfully packaging and presenting projects

A successful project needs a buyer, so our second day will focus on developing assets for a changing procurement market. One element is the growth in self-generation and Community Choice Aggregation (CCA). We’ll discuss the demand drivers, legal issues, and the ways utilities are responding to those changes.

The transition to more distributed generation is having an impact on market operations. You’ll have an opportunity to hear from, and ask questions of, representatives of both the California Independent System Operator and the governing body for the Western Energy Imbalance Market.

We’ll wrap up with a panel discussion of the opportunities for and challenges of new asset development as California becomes more specific about the types electric energy it wants to see developed. Panelists will discuss permitting and interconnection; site control issues for preferred distributed resources; alternatives to new generation; the potential for meeting storage goals by adding batteries to gas peaker plants, and the role for independent power producers.

The faculty includes thought leaders, policy makers, key players, and experts on market and legal issues. We hope you’ll be able to join us—register soon because space is limited. More information is available on our website.

Tribal Water Law in California | October 26 & 27, 2017 | Valley Center

Anecita Agustinez, Tribal Policy Advisor to the Department of Water Resources (DWR) will open this year’s conference with a progress report on the state’s implementation of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) with a focus on the activities of most concern for Tribes. She’ll be followed by Art Bunce, who wrote the Tribal-protective language in the Act. He’ll report on early stage Groundwater Sustainability Agency (GSA) Development of Groundwater Sustainability Plans (GSPs). They’ll lay the groundwork for a panel discussion on effective Tribal participation in development of future GSPs.

The remainder of the first day will be devoted to an analysis of the implications of recent litigation involving Tribal water rights and water rights settlements. We’ll take a detailed look at (1) the 9th Circuit decision in the Agua Caliente litigation, which held that the Tribe has a right to groundwater in addition to surface water; (2) the terms of the San Luis Rey River Water Rights settlement and the what is next for implementation of the agreement, and (3) a national overview of other state and federal Tribal water cases.

On the second day, we’ll address a number of key related Tribal water topics:
~ California’s Water Infrastructure: DWR’s assessment of needs and projects in the works in light of Orville Dam and other recent infrastructure failures.
~ Natural Resources Agency’s perspective on the best way to address the environmental impacts of surface water management, using salty dust emissions from evaporation of water from the Salton Sea as an example.
~ From drought to heavy rains: Legal and technical perspectives on the options for capturing more surface water for aquifer recharge with an eye towards ways for Tribes to capture more surface water in preparation for the next drought.

We’ll end the day with practical evidentiary and legal strategy advice on how to (1) effective participate in groundwater basin boundary modifications; (2) quantifying Tribal water rights in preparation for participation in development of GSPs and dispute resolution processes.

We hope you will join us for two information-packed days at the Rincon’s Harrah’s Resort and for conversation with the faculty and other participants at the Day 1 reception sponsored by the Rincon Band of Luiseno Indians and Sonosky Chambers Sachse Endreson & Perry LLP. More information is available on our website.

Model Toxics Control Act | September 28, 2017 | Seattle

This year’s bi-annual MTCA program starts out with changes to the program coming out of the legislature including funding levels. We’ll then have Jim Pendowski, Toxics Cleanup Program Manager for the Department of Ecology, provide the agency’s view of the impact of the new legislation, coupled with the Trump Administration’s proposed funding cuts for the Environmental Protection Agency, and MTCA priorities for the coming year.

We’ll have three additional topics on funding. One will be the evolving and expanding role for the state’s Pollution Liability Insurance Agency. Second will be a legal analysis of recent key court decisions on liability insurance coverage including Gull Industries and Xia v. ProBuilders Specialty Insurance Co. The third will be a case study of a project in the Rainier Valley to use the state’s Brownfield Redevelopment Trust Fund to clean up the Mt. Baker neighborhood.

MTCA cases require good technical evidence and we’ll address standards for use of empirical evidence to support or dispute the effectiveness of model remedies.

There has been a lot of debate over the effectiveness of the Voluntary Cleanup Program. We’ll have a panel discussion on how the program could be improved with Ecology, regulated community, and environmental perspectives We’ll also have a lender on the panel to discuss the impact on lender risks for financing.

Additional information is available on our website. We hope you’ll join us for an in-depth discussion of the most pressing current MTCA issues.

Local Climate Change Planning | Nov 13 & 14 | Sacramento

The big news today in the California Climate Change arena is Governor Brown signing AB 398 and AB 617. Here’s a word from the co-chairs for our first conference on Local Climate Change Planning issues:

“As the Trump Administration turns its back on climate change policy, Governor Brown and the California Legislature are tackling the issue head-on. On the first day of the conference, speakers will analyze recently adopted and signed legislation including AB 398, which extends the Cap and Trade program for an additional 10 years and AB 617, which enacts some of the strongest air quality protections in California history.

“In the administrative arena, speakers will examine CARB’s 2017 Scoping Plan, which lays the framework for achieving statewide greenhouse gas reduction goals; implementation of SB 743, which will change the way transportation impacts are analyzed under CEQA; SB 375, which established state greenhouse gas emission reduction targets; and the CARB Vibrant Communities and Landscapes 2050 vision, which considers how the state can support actions, at all levels of government, to facilitate development and conservation patterns that help achieve California’s climate goals. In examining judicial developments, speakers will address GHG analyses following the Supreme Court’s decision in Center for Biological Diversity v. California Department of Fish and Wildlife (2015), as well as the Court’s recent decision in Cleveland National Forest Foundation v. San Diego Association of Governments (2017).

“We are fortunate to have the author of SB 743 and SB 375, former Senate President Pro Tem and Mayor Darrell Steinberg, in attendance to address how those two pieces of legislation affect local land use planning. CARB board member and Sacramento County Supervisor Phil Serna will address the recently adopted CARB Scoping Plan, and the impact of the extension of the Cap and Trade program through 2030.

“On the second day of the conference, speakers will discuss how these emerging laws and policies affect local land use planning, including local agencies’ obligations under CEQA after the Newhall Ranch and SANDAG decisions. Planning Directors from two of the “Big Four” Metropolitan Planning Organizations will discuss the new regional targets proposed by CARB in their June 2017 Draft Staff Report, and how these aggressive targets affect planning for MPOs’ forthcoming Sustainable Communities Strategies.

“Finally, we will look at Climate Action Plans, and the role they play in implementing climate policy within local jurisdictions. We are grateful for the diverse group of speakers who have agreed to present their perspectives and findings about climate change and shifting state and federal policies.”

Jennifer L. Hernandez, Esq. of Holland & Knight LLP and
Tina A. Thomas, Esq. of Thomas Law Group, Program Co-Chairs

It’s not too early to register to reserve your seat!

Renewables in the Midwest | October 3 & 4, 2017 | Minneapolis

As the Trump administration pursues its rollback of Obama administration environmental and energy policies, including the Clean Power Plan, in favor of fossil fuel development and use, subnational players are coming to the forefront for promoting renewables development. This is a combination of regional, state, and local government organizations, NGOs, and utilities that see renewables as a better long term strategy.
So, we’ll be emphasizing somewhat different things at this year’s Renewable Energy in the Midwest conference, focusing more on state renewables initiatives and the demand drivers behind those initiatives. This includes the Sustainable Communities Movement as an emerging driver for renewables development and the development of various forms of community solar.

This shift will have an impact on Midwest electric energy markets and grid operations. Since wind often blows when the sun isn’t shining, and blows at different times in different places, there will be ways for coordinated centralized renewables could take on more of the characteristics of base load generation. Learn from experts about the extent to which that is a possibility.
Getting to the bottom line, we’ll have special addresses by Commissioner Dan Lipschultz of the Minnesota PUC and Christopher Clark from Xcel Energy on policy priorities and business pros and cons for greater utility reliance on renewables.
Getting to the devil in the details, you’ll hear a very practical discussion of essential project development contracts and the challenge of making them work in harmony. Sign up now for what promises to be a very interesting, timely, informative discussion.
More information is available here.

Electric Power in the Northeast | September 25 & 26, 2017 | Boston

With the pronounced Trump administration preference for fossil fuels over alternatives, we’re seeing a shift from federal policy as a driver for energy developments in states concerned about climate change to state policy as the driver. Our program co-chairs, David Doot of Day Pitney and Jim Avery of Pierce Atwood, have done an excellent job of assembling a group of topics and excellent speakers to address that change.

We’re very pleased to have Melanie Kenderdine of the Energy Futures Initiative as a featured speaker. The Initiative is the brainchild of former Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz and Ms. Kenderdine severed as Director of the Office of Energy Policy and Systems Analysis and as Energy Counselor to Secretary Moniz. Both came out of the MIT Energy Initiative (MITEI).
State policy drivers for electric energy development are both coming top down from state and regional policy initiates and percolating up from local community action. We’ll have speakers from both perspectives.

This is a legal conference so we’ll have an update on recent and pending appellate litigation that serves as checks & balances for executive branch policy. On the market side, we’ll discuss market momentum for a transition to carbon reduction for the electric sector and the impact on Northeast power markets from system operator perspectives.
We’ll conclude with a discussion of Reforming Power Markets: What are the most viable business models? This promises to be an action-packed program and we hope you’ll be able to attend.

More information is available here.

Privacy | September 21 & 22, 2017 | Atlanta

Privacy concerns are again coming to the forefront with Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity issuing a sweeping request for nationwide voter data with the stated intention of making it public. The requested information including names, full dates of birth, voting histories and, if possible, party identifications—plus social security numbers.

For businesses, personally identifiable information about customers can be a powerful marketing tool and a valuable commodity in its own right. On the downside, security breaches involving personally identifiable information can cost a company dearly, both financially and in the form of a loss in customer trust.

Our upcoming Privacy Policy Development and Implementation conference, September 21 & 22, in Atlanta will be an excellent opportunity to hone your privacy policy development and implementation strategies. It starts with a discussion of a relaxation of federal privacy protections, which is likely to complicate compliance as the states step into the void with individualized approaches and victims turn to class action litigation.

The second day features two drafting workshops: One on terms for vendor contracts and the other on terms for consumers and customers. You’ll also be able to pick up an ethics credit actually relevant for people practicing in the privacy area.

We hope you will join us for what promises to be a very informative two days. More information is available here.

Water and Real Estate Development in Idaho | October 10 & 11, 2017 | Boise

In many parts of the country we’ve gone from drought to too much water too fast. This creates some interesting water law issues for organizations seeking to divert excess surface water for aquifer recharge.
We have other interesting water issues emerging from the rebound in real estate development in Idaho. One aspect is the conversion of agricultural lands to urban development and the water rights issues arising from change of water use from agricultural to domestic. Real estate and planning professionals will need to brush up on water rights and water quality law. We have a number of topics at this year’s program to help them do that.
Another development issue is the need for new water infrastructure. We’re pleased to have Lorri Gray, Pacific Northwest Regional Director of Bureau of Reclamation, speaking on the Trump Administration’s infrastructure development plans and prospects for federal funding for water infrastructure projects in Idaho.
A number of water infrastructure projects were put on the shelf during the recession and there is interest in dusting them off and moving ahead. There are a number of legal and technical water rights issues that must first be resolved, particularly for projects that went through bankruptcy.
Join us for a comprehensive discussion by a variety of subject matter experts on the water issues for real estate development in Idaho. More information is available here.