August was a very busy month at the Syed Law Firm! Syed Law Firm Principal and Founder, Mo Syed, participated in the 8th Annual NAPABA Southeast Regional Conference in Nashville, Tenessee, on August 14-15, 2014.

NAPABA conferenceThe Conference was extremely interesting and informative. Filled with fascinating speakers and insightful panels covering a wide range of topics. Waller Lansden, Bass, Berry & Sims and Baker Donelson sponsored the conference. And the President of the Tennessee Asian Pacific American Bar Association, Vinh Duong, welcomed us.

The Keynote Presentation was U.S. Magistrate Judge Tu M. Pham, Western District of Tennessee. His speech came from the heart. Explaining how his career lead him to where he is now. And how the best way to pay it forward is to become a mentor. He encouraged the audience to become a mentor to younger attorneys, and shared how it was mentor’s that helped him. His speech was inspiring as a young attorney, and filled us all with a sense of pride as attorney’s for our chosen profession.

IMAG3220The morning went on with a panel of women in the top of their game, Linda Dickert, Chief Legal Officer and General Counsel at Ingram Content Group; Mary Flipse, General Counsel, Healthways Inc.; and Amy Sanford, Group General Counsel at DaVita Healthcare Partners Inc, shared from their own experiences as woman in the field of law. Discussing their own paths and how they advanced within the corporate structure. It was very inspiring to younger female lawyers, hearing how others have opened doors for future female lawyers.

One of the highlights of the morning was the speech by the Honorable Alberto R. Gonzales, 80th United States Attorney General and Dean of Belmont University College of Law. Judge Gonzales spoke about Immigration Reform. As the son of Immigrants, he spoke about his personal journey all the way to Washington. He gave an overview of the Immigration system, his basic principles for immigration reform, the reasons behind them, and how they are echoed in proposed legislation. He discussed how the U.S. must secure its borders, especially to the south prior to enforcing any legislation. And how the U.S. must make sure that what ever is proposed it is not amnesty.

After a short break we came back to hear a panel about Diversity and Inclusion: The Business Case for Equality of Access to Healthcare. Gordon Bonnyman, Co-Founder, Tennessee Justice Center and Adjunct Professor of Law, Vanderbilt University; Dr. Jennifer Meko, Medical Director of Network Quality, Mission Point Health Partners; and Dr. Arie L. Nettles, Associate Professor of Clinical Pediatrics, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, Department of Pediatrics; all discussed how the various circumstances of a persons socioeconomic, developmental, racial, ethnic, gender, religious, geographic or cultural disenfranchisement can affect one’s access to the healthcare system.  They discussed how the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act have helped reduce the lack of access to healthcare coverage. And gave examples of successful programs and initiatives that have enhanced diversity and inclusion within the healthcare system.

Our lunchtime speaker was Consul-General Motohiko Kato, Consulate General of Japan. He spoke about Japan, Japanese culture, and the positive impact Japanese companies have made here in Tennessee. Highlighting such companies such as Nissan, and how Nissan has helped with job growth in middle Tennessee by locating its North American Headquarters and manufacturing plant in the greater Nashville area. And he highlighted the cultural opportunities such as the Cherry Blossom Festival held every spring in Nashville.

After lunch we were treated to a panel discussing, How to Land and Transition into an In-House Counsel Position. The speakers included Christopher Chi, Vice President, Associate General Counsel, IASIS Healthcare; David Kahng, Associate General Counsel, Bobcat Company, Doosan Group; Kaz Kikkawa, Senior Counsel, Cigna-Healthspring; Dean Kim, Vice President, General Counsel, Bridgestone North Americcan Business Units; and John Dab, Senior Counsel, Nissan N.A. Inc. The moderator was the Syed Law Firms’ own Mo Syed. This group discussed the ins and outs of work in-house. They all shared their own personal stories of their career paths and what led them to where they are today. They discussed how they tackle working in house, as the client they work for is the company it self and the unique challenges that come with such a position. They shared tips on how to work with outside counsel; and how to make the potential move beyond the legal realm and move into the executive ranks.

Next was a panel regarding the Practical and Cost-Effective Solutions for E-Discovery Challenges. Michael A Gardner, Associate General Counsel, Passport Health Communications Inc.; Heather Hubbard, Partner, Waller; and Maya Sethi, Healthcare Litigation Counsel, HCA; discussed how E-Discovery challenges are no longer confined to big companies operating in particular industries. They spoke on how all can develop practical and cost-effective strategies for information control; preservation and legal hold requirements, collections, reviews and production of electronic data.

And the last, but not least, topic of the day was Risks and Emerging Issues in Privacy and Data Security. We heard from three gentlemen, Scott Augenbaum, Special Agent, Federal Bureau of Investigations; Arthur Luk, Partner, Arnold & Porter; and Alfred J. Saikali, Partner, Shook Hardy Bacon LLP on this topic. They discussed how important it is to secure your data and ways you can make sure it stays secure. Tips as simple as strong passwords and firewalls were given. And a discussion about how breaches in data security can potentially expose companies and law firms to expensive litigation, fines, and business interruption; which can result in damage to reputations and loss of trust by clients and business partners. Tips on having a plan in place to deal with data breaches and how to prevent them in the first place were given. And the panel was a great example of how simple prevention is the key to successful business.

Over all the day was insightful, informative, and a fantastic opportunity to meet or reconnect with fellow Asian-Pacific and South Asian attorneys.