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Legal minds gather at Mississauga Summit- (Mississauga Business Times)

By Mike Beggs

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Presidents, chief financial officers, general managers, HR professionals, and other company leaders will receive a short but sweet update on the latest legal issues at the Business Law Summit 2007 on Thursday, September 20 in Mississauga.

Back for a second year, the summit will present 11 speakers in less than four hours at the Novotel Hotel, 3670 Hurontario St. Industry experts will shed light on such areas as: commercial real estate law, environmental law, insolvency law, trademarks and patents, immigration law, human resources law, construction law, family-owned businesses, human resources, intellectual property, litigation and more.

"The idea is, you don’t need to get this kind of information on Bay Street. We have it all here," says Ray Mikkola, a partner in Mississauga’s Pallett Valo law firm, who will double as emcee for the event. About 75 people attended last year's inaugural summit.

"We're certainly hoping to go over 100 people this year. It really is snowballing," he adds. "Just about everybody who came last year said they would make it an annual event."

"I'm particularly pleased with the format. It's very fast-paced and there is broad appeal to anybody involved in business," he continues. Anybody who attends (from small, medium, large or even Fortune 500 companies) will find a number of matters of interest to them.

Slated to speak about "Holdback Obligations Under The Construction Lien Act", is Pallett Valo's Managing Partner Anna Esposito.  She says the summit was purposely structured as a half-day event, from 7:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. "It worked so well because I think everybody is very busy and to receive good information in a short period of time, it's a hard thing to do," she said. "It takes up just enough time that people can still get back to their lives, and their work day. To take up the entire day is a lot to ask of small businesses."

As lead sponsor, Pallett Valo (Peel Region's largest law firm) will provide half the speakers at the '07 summit. "We've broadened the scope this year, to join with other sponsors," Esposito explains. "We thought if we can't provide the information, we'd bring in others who can, "Among the new areas is one of interest: business growth issues. Mississauga's Manager of Economic Development, Larry Petovello, will kick the day off with a talk about "Developing Canada's 21st Century City."

He will touch on how to do business with the City of Mississauga, programs and services available to businesses, and permits, regulations and by-laws. Lance Madden with the Buffalo law firm Hodgson Russ will address the topic of "Canadian Business Expansion Into The U.S.".

"There's a lot of people from here looking south of the border, (we're so close)," says Mikkola. "We're ideally suited for that in the Region of Peel."

Tony Cugliari of Parmalat Canada, will address the hot button issue of "A Client's Thoughts On Litigation…From The Perspective Of An In-House Lawyer".

Pallett Valo's Karen Groulx will touch on another timely subject: "The Long and Winding E-Mail Trail – The Potential Pitfalls of E-Mail When Litigation Looms". "For business leaders there's a real issue here: How do you handle e-mail," he adds. "Even 10 years ago, litigation would require disclosure of all files. Now most records aren't in paper form, they're electronic. "There's a huge issue of electronic documents. Cases are often won by what's in the e-mail, even though it seems off the cuff."

Donna Shier of Willms & Shier will cover "New and Pertinent Environmental Law Issues", while Steven Leach, from the Mississauga office of Ridout & Maybee, will look at "Recent Changes to Canadian Patent Law That Impact Your Business". Beyond information, the Business Law Summit offers some first-rate networking opportunities.

"There's about an hour's opportunity over coffee and danishes to meet the speakers and other attendees (starting at 7:30 a.m.), and a coffee break at 10:15 to renew acquaintances or make new ones," Mikkola relates. "There will be a Q&A at the end and then lunch, where people can meet and greet. There was a lot of that going on last year."

Everything is covered (including hotel room) for a reasonable $75 plus GST. Summit registration can be done online at www.pallettvalo.com/bls.

"The feedback from last year was that it's really a must-attend event," Mikkola says.

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