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Thursday, May 11, 2006 

Vol. 2 No. 19

A Visit to NADC: Getting in Touch with My Legal Side

Since this is a “travelogue” of sorts, I know it’s kind of lame to say the reason I haven’t written a new entry in a while is because I’ve been “on the road,” but, having traveled to seven different cities in the past 16 days, the pace has been time consuming even for me…Now, on a plane from Orlando to Nashville, I have a few moments to catch up, so barring excessive turbulence or this plane arriving early, I’ll get started.

One of the unique, recently formed organizations I belong to is the National Association of Dealer Counsel (NADC), essentially a group of attorneys that focus their practice (either in a firm or as in-house counsel) on automotive retailing and wholesaling matters. I joined this group about a year and half ago and just attended their second annual meeting, April 23-25, this time in Chicago. In my opinion, there has been a need for a group like this from the time I entered the car business as a young attorney, and judging from both the high powered presentations and the overall attendance, many others in the legal end of the car business feel the same way.

Most of the seminars dealt with the retailing issues, with such topic headings as: “What’s Hot in the FTC that Affects Auto Dealerships,” “Franchise Litigation,” “Developments in the Labor Law World,” “Vehicle Standards and Conditions,” & “Privacy, Security Breaches and Information Safeguards.” And, of course, being primarily a legal conference, the pounds of written materials corresponding to these seminars alone filled an entire suitcase.

Notwithstanding the many attorney jokes (not to mention “automotive” attorneys), I have to say that once again the best part of this annual gathering is the socializing receptions, where I see old friends and meet new ones. While there, I got to catch up with my old friend Tom Hudson and some of the other attorneys at Hudson Cook, a law firm that has built a national reputation serving the special needs of automotive retailers, both with physical and online business; Tom is clearly one of the icons on the legal side of the car business, and as always, it’s good to see him again. There was also presenting attorney Steve Maskiewicz from the Bob Baker Auto Group in San Diego, whom I had never met previously. Bob has quite a unique background, starting life as dealership lot attendant, then working as a body shop technician and a body shop manager before working himself through law school and ultimately becoming the parent company’s legal counsel – quite a path (who says attorneys don’t know how to do anything besides push paper?).

Back to Las Vegas…
That same week, wrapping up the NADC, I flew back to Las Vegas for the Budget Licensee’s annual meeting, April 26th – 29th, at my favorite Vegas hotel, Caesar’s Palace. This is the third annual car rental meeting I’ve attended in the last six weeks or so, and I have to say my enthusiasm for this crowd, especially in working with them to satisfy remarketing needs with our upstream program, just grows stronger with every contact. These car rental licensee gatherings remind me why I like working with entrepreneurs, especially car industry entrepreneurs. So as long as I’m invited, I’ll continue to attend.

I rounded out the weekend with a business stopover in Phoenix, and then spent the beginning of last week in Los Angeles, only to stay in Philly a couple of days and then run down to Orlando last Friday, May 5, to attend the National Association of Fleet Administrators annual convention and exposition… But more on that next entry (including pictures), as the nice airline lady is now telling me to shut down all electronic devices…

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