We’re Going to Trial to Serve Up Some Texas Sized Justice

by Steve Levine | Chief Legal Officer

It’s usually difficult for me to get fired about something that’s four months away but I find myself especially excited about our 6th Annual Innovate Conference. Last year we presented a two day stand alone Compliance track with presentations from some of our industry’s leading attorneys and other experts. The enthusiastic response was overwhelming.

Never content to rest on our laurels, we’ve set the bar even higher for Innovate 2013. We will once again feature concurrent tracks across several different areas of expertise to provide plenty of learning opportunities. This year’s legal and compliance topics and speakers will challenge the audience with deeper subject matter. I’m confident that the result will be a learning experience unique to attendees of our conference.

In what is sure to be a conference highlight, one of our keynote sessions will feature a Mock Trial based on common allegations raised in lawsuits against car dealerships. This promises to be eye-opening, entertaining, educational, and will provide practical insight to those of you fortunate enough to never have been in the defendant’s chair. In presenting this session, my co-counsel and I will attempt to bridge the gap between the legal and compliance content you receive and the actual litigation dangers that our audience is faced with on a daily basis.

Let’s face it, most compliance and legal training focuses on how to avoid regulatory dangers and develop and maintain best practices. However, for many dealers, lawsuits and the defense costs present the greatest financial threat. The goal of this session is to put the audience of the role of the judge and jury and demonstrate how the litigation process plays out in an actual trial so you can analyze your dealership operations from a new perspective. It is my belief that once car dealers have been through an actual trial demonstration they will truly appreciate the value of compliance and “best practices” efforts.

In addition, we’ve created two days of legal and compliance sessions to appeal to companies of all sizes. For instance, there will be a session dedicated to legal issues faced by human resources departments, which will be hosted by a leading attorney whose practice is devoted to helping businesses navigate through the maze of applicable state and federal laws. I intentionally selected a litigator that fights these matters in court so that the audience can learn real tactics and solutions from someone on the front lines.

We’re also going to have “Ask the Lawyer” sessions in which the audience will be free to discuss specific questions with several consumer finance lawyers. We’ve made this format alteration because I want our audience to have ample time to interact with our experts. I anticipate having four or five lawyers participate on these panels so the value will be enormous, with the combined billing/hourly rate approaching $ 2,000.00/hr.

I’ve challenged our speakers to teach about those complicated issues that affect your dealership on a daily basis. Dave Robertson of the Association of Finance and Insurance Professionals will once again conduct training on Red Flags Rules compliance. Another session will be dedicated to Strange but True Probate, Bankruptcy and Article 9 issues. Again, we’ve brought in a lawyer with vast experience representing creditors through these complex matters. Yet another class will be devoted to credit reporting obligations of creditors, which is an area I fear is about to receive heavy attention from both regulators and plaintiff’s lawyers. Our goal is to give you content and materials that you can take back to your office and implement that very day.

I hope that my enthusiasm is contagious, that you’re impressed by the road map that I’ve laid out, and that I’ll get the opportunity to meet each and every one of you in Fort Worth at Innovate 2013. I encourage all of our clients to bring one person to solely attend all of the compliance sessions so you can maximize the benefit to you. If anything in this article inspired you please reach out to me and let me know so that we can do our best to make your Innovate experience the best it can be. See you in September!

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