Legal Forum 2020

The preeminent gathering for legal professionals in CPG.


The Legal Forum 2020 schedule is subject to change. Please check back frequently for updates.

  • Monday, February 24
  • Tuesday, February 25
  • Wednesday, February 26
1:30 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.

Legal Committee Meeting (By Invitation Only)

5:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m.

Committee Reception (By Invitation Only)

9:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.

Preconference Session ($250 extra)

Register for our ethics-focused preconference session to learn more about internal investigations, privilege and crisis management. Hear about recent cases in the CPG space around these issues.


Jessica O’Connell, Esq. Partner, Covington & Burling LLP

Dan Shallman, Esq. Partner, Covington & Burling LLP

Aaron Lewis, Esq. Partner, Covington & Burling LLP

12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m.

Networking Lunch Sponsored by: Morrison & Foerster LLP and Venable LLP

1:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.

General Session: Cultivating Consumer Trust: From Product Recalls to Sustainability-Driven Innovations

Americans expect safe, healthy and convenient products to power their lives. Many of those consumers also expect products and companies to meet their personal environmental aspirations. What happens to consumer trust when a product is recalled or when an industry faces public scrutiny over environmental issues? In our opening session a panel of legal, industry and communications experts will take a deep dive into the legal implications of the E. coli outbreak in romaine lettuce, examine the impetus behind the new sustainability-driven goals led by the California Almond Board and explore new challenges and opportunities facing the CPG industry when it comes to building and maintaining consumer trust.


Gene Grabowski, Partner, Kglobal

Maile Hermida, Esq. Partner, Hogan Lovells

Daren Williams, Senior Director, Global Communications, Almond Board of California

2:15 p.m. – 2:20 p.m.

General Session: Introduction to Technology

One stage — two simultaneous presentations. Connect with top intelligence partners by engaging with thought-provoking content in an interactive format.

2:20 p.m. – 2:45 p.m.

Policy Pods

These brief, informative sessions feature a 25-minute deep dive into hard-hitting topics facing the industry. Both policy pods are presented in the general session room and will run concurrently. Want to hear what the other speaker is covering? No need to get up and move, just change the channel on your headset!

Session A: Antitrust Pro: Your Guide to Competition Issues in the Grocery Store

We’ll explore key antitrust issues for CPG manufacturers, including managing price discrimination risk while exerting brand control across the digital divide as well as understanding how regulators are thinking about food and CPG mergers in today’s active M&A climate.


Ryan Tisch, Esq. Partner, Crowell & Moring, LLP

Session B: The Latest on Preemption of State Consumer Protection Laws

Consumer class actions under state law based on alleged violations of the FDCA, PPIA, FMIA and court decisions allowing the class actions to proceed are piling up. But there is no private right of action under these federal food labeling statutes and (with limited exceptions) only federal government agencies may enforce them. This session will walk through the general framework of preemption and recent developments in efforts by consumers to enforce the FDCA, PPIA and FMIA via state consumer protection law delivery devices.


Dale Giali, Esq. Partner, Mayer Brown

Keri Borders, Esq. Partner, Mayer Brown

3:00 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.

Constitutional Law and the CPG Industry

The tensions between First Amendment free speech principles and deceptive advertising law is of increasing interest to the CPG space. The session, one of the first of its kind at a CPG legal event, will highlight emerging concerns about navigating this fine line of constitutional law.


Aaron Van Oort, Esq. Partner, Faegre Drinker

3:30 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.

Managing 1,000 Tasks: A Conversation with Company General Counsels

General counsels are well versed in companies’ daily activities and their responsibilities are similarly broad. Our panel will discuss the challenges and strategies of operating a legal department and share best practices for developing talent and making the most of limited resources. Two industry pros will join Consumer Brands’ General Counsel Stacy Papadopoulos to provide a variety of viewpoints and share their experiences.


Jill Bollettieri, Senior Vice President, General Counsel & External Relations, Post Consumer Brands, LLC

Lorie Foster, Division Counsel, Nutrition Legal Operations, Abbott Nutrition


Stacy Papadopoulos, General Counsel and Senior Vice President, Operations and Initiatives, Consumer Brands Association

4:15 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.

Ask the Experts

These meetings are a can’t-miss opportunity for face time with the experts. Want to know the latest on cannabis or ingredient disclosure? Take this opportunity to speak with up to four experts in an intimate setting.

Topics include:

  • Antitrust in the Grocery Aisle: Empowering Your Clients, Managing Risk
  • Board of Directors’ Responsibility for Food Safety
  • California Consumer Privacy Act
  • Cannabis
  • Class Action Challenges to Animal Welfare and Sustainability Statements
  • Class Action Liability Based on Multi-function Ingredients
  • Class Action Risk Assessment and Mitigation
  • Country of Origin and Flavor Regulations in Class Action Lawsuits
  • Economic Development Site Selection and Incentives for the Industry
  • False Advertising Litigation
  • Global Discovery and InfoGov for Consumer Products Companies
  • GRAS
  • Milk and Meat Substitutes
  • New Challenges in Ingredient Disclosure, SmartLabel, Slack Fill and Packaging
  • Pet Food Litigation
  • Recent Issues in Settling Class Actions: No More Rubber Stamps
  • What’s the real “T” on CBD?
5:30 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.

Welcome Reception Sponsored by: Alston & Bird, Michael Best & Friedrich LLP and Weisbrod Matteis & Copley PLLC

7:00 a.m. - 8:00 a.m.

Breakfast Buffet Sponsored by: Blackwell Burke

8:00 a.m. - 9:00 a.m.

E-Commerce: The New Kid on the Block

E-Commerce is becoming an emerging trend in the realm of consumer packaged goods — and as with all emerging trends, there are issues and questions that surround the topic. In this session, our panelists will take a look at the regulatory and legal challenges associated with e-commerce, discuss consumer protection issues and share perspectives from a company that has begun work in e-commerce.


Amy Lally, Esq. Partner, Sidley Austin LLP

Ryan Sandrock, Esq. Partner, Sidley Austin LLP

Rey Kim, General Counsel and Head of Strategic Partnerships, Vital Proteins

9:00 a.m. - 9:45 a.m.

Tariffs, Trade Deals, and Changing Rules: An Update on the Landscape of International Trade

New “retaliatory tariffs,” tensions in the U.S.-China trade relationship and new international trade agreements, including “NAFTA 2.0,” have completely upended the traditional rules of the international trading system.  These changes are often at the top of mind for CPG companies that depend on a reliable supply of imported products and commodities, that have an international presence or even those that are just looking to expand. In this discussion, moderated by an international compliance/regulatory manager from a multinational food manufacturer, our experts will discuss these important developments, share general reflections on the landscape of trade rules between the United States and its trade partners and provide some guidance on how best to adapt and even thrive in this most challenging environment.


Jessica Wasserman, Esq. Partner, Greenspoon Marder LLP

Judith Lee, Esq. Partner, Gibson Dunn


Dr. Francesco Planchenstainer, Food Regulatory and Compliance Manager, Fererro USA

10:00 a.m. - 11:00 a.m.

Mock Examine and Cross Examine of an Expert Witness

For the Plaintiff:

Tim Blood, Esq. Managing Partner, Blood, Hurst & O’Reardon, LLP

For the Defense:

Jerry Blackwell, Esq. Founder & Chairman, Blackwell Burke


Corey Gordon, Esq. Partner, Blackwell Burke

11:00 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.

General Session: From the Plaintiff’s Perspective: Trends in CPG Cases

Ever wonder what the attorney at the other table is thinking? This is your chance! During this discussion, our plaintiff’s attorneys will share trends they have seen in CPG related cases during the past year and what they believe is on the horizon for the new year. Our panelists will cover a variety of topics and discuss trends within each of those areas, as well as discuss litigation that is being brought on the class action front and on behalf of organizations. The panelists will also discuss where these cases are being filed and trends they see in that arena as well.


Jack Fitzgerald, Esq., The Law Offices of Jack Fitzgerald

Michael Reese, Esq. Partner, Reese, LLP


Ani Gulati, Esq., Chief Litigation Counsel, General Mills, Inc.

11:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.

Lunch Sponsored by: Shook, Hardy, and Bacon LLP

Afternoon sessions present a high-level overview of a topic and provide an opportunity to take an in-depth look at a specific area with legal briefs following each general session.

12:45 p.m. - 1:30 p.m.

May Contain Litigation and Regulatory Discussion: An Update on Trends and Regulations in Labeling and Claims

Whether it’s a new regulation on the labeling requirements of a certain element of a product or litigation centered on certain ingredients, labeling and claims always spark an interest of those in the CPG space. During this session, our panelists will discuss regulatory updates related to nutrition and bioengineering foods labeling, as well as general updates on regulation from USDA and FDA. In-house counsel will provide the unique perspective of issues related to company implementation of these regulations. The session will also provide an overview of class action cases specific to labeling and claims, including information from state, federal and attorney general actions in the space.


Tracey Beck, Vice President, Chief Counsel-Marketing and Government Affairs, Conagra Brands

Martin Hahn, Esq. Partner, Hogan Lovells

Ron Rothstein, Esq. Partner, Winston & Strawn, LLP

1:45 p.m. - 2:15 p.m.

Legal Briefs

Session A: Working with Marketing Teams

An open line of communication between legal and marketing is essential but not always easy. It’s also critical that the marketing teams view legal as working to support, rather than thwart, them. Panelists will provide tips and best practices for working with your marketing teams on several key issues including (1) claims development; (2) claims substantiation; (3) claims review; (4) communicating risk; and (5) how to advise your team with respect to potential competitor challenges.


Randy Shaheen, Esq. Partner, Baker Hostetler

Lee Rosebush, Esq. Partner, Baker Hostetler


Session B: Food Waste: “USE By” Date Regulation and Beyond

As consumer awareness of food waste grows, industry and regulators are responding to their demands for solutions. The Consumer Brands Association, together with other industry associations, created the Food Waste Reduction Alliance, an industry-led initiative focused on reducing food waste. While voluntary action is a positive step forward, food waste rules and regulations are coming. Last year, 80 state-level food waste related bills were introduced in the U.S. How will new laws affect food companies? And will more laws and regulations lead to more litigation?


Sarah Brew, Esq. Partner, Faegre Drinker

2:30 p.m. - 3:15 p.m.

General Session – Proposition 65: Updates and Emerging Issues

California’s Prop 65 has for many years created challenges for in-house and external counsel for the CPG industry. Whether the chemical at issue is lead, acrylamide, glyphosate or acetaminophen, many of the strategies used for compliance and defense are similar. In this discussion, panelists will address several topics related to Prop 65, including updates on current and past cases, first amendment challenges and coffee litigation. The session will also offer reviews of past rulings, such as preemption, an overview of enforcement actions and updates on emerging topics in this space.


Maureen Gorsen, Esq. Partner, Alston & Bird

Trent Norris, Esq. Partner, Arnold & Porter

Bill Tarantino, Esq. Partner, Morrison Foerster

3:30 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.

Legal Briefs

Session A: Self-Determined GRAS

Is it the panacea some believe it is — or fool’s gold with submitting a notification to FDA? In this session, we will separate fact from fiction so you can determine whether your self-determined GRAS is as good as the paper it is written on.


Todd Harrison, Esq. Partner, Venable LLC

Session B: Sustainable, Nontoxic and Good for the Environment: The Secret Worries of Common Ad Claims

What does it take to support a claim that your brand is sustainable, nontoxic or good for the environment? We’ll look at some of the common claims and the growing legal backlash of making sustainability-focused claims in the CPG space.


Chris Cole, Esq. Partner, Crowell and Moring


4:10 p.m. - 4:35 p.m.

Session A: Never Break the Chain: Five Key Risks of Globalized Supply Chains and How to Mitigate Them

CPG companies have long used complex, global supply chains both in producing and in selling products. Ensuring a smooth and frictionless supply chain has become an essential element of corporate success and consumer confidence. Yet, as supply chains continue to expand, companies face substantial risks of supply chain disruption that can create significant losses and liabilities. This session features a deep dive into five leading causes of supply chain disruption from case studies and today’s headlines.


Jonathan Cohen, Esq. Partner, K&L Gates


Session B: Data Driven Marketing Models in the Era of the CCPA

On January 1, the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) ushered in a new era of privacy rights for California residents. The CCPA will change the way that retailers and CPG companies do business with Californians, requiring them to open up their data troves, reassess data sharing models and adopt measures for complying with CCPA in the ad tech context.


Christine Lyon, Esq. Partner, Morrison & Foerster

4:45 p.m. - 5:30 p.m.

General Session – Emerging Legal Trends in the CPG Space

What are the key legal trends that will likely emerge and continue to grow in the CPG space in 2020? Panelists will explore the regulatory, litigation and policy issues and provide critical updates surrounding three of the biggest issues: CBD and other cannabis-derived products and ingredients; naming of plant-based meat and dairy alternatives and related labeling claims; and sustainability trends in sourcing, production and packaging. Given the rapid activity and flux in the litigation and regulatory spaces, the panelists may also address other new and developing issues shaping litigation and regulatory strategy in the upcoming years.


David Biderman, Esq. Partner, Perkins Coie

Jessica O’Connell, Esq. Partner, Covington & Burling LLP

5:45 p.m.

Closing Reception and Dinner Sponsored by: Arnold & Porter, Hogan Lovells US LLP, and K&L Gates LLP