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Driving Successful Outcomes From Competition Litigation


Level: Advanced
Runtime: 58 minutes
Recorded Date: October 27, 2020
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Agenda

  • Benefits and opportunities involving in cooperating with a competitor as co-defendants in Regulatory, IP, and other litigation matters
  • Role of In-House and Outside Counsel
  • Obstacles in litigating and decision-making
  • Formulating an effective joint agreement with a competitor
  • Pitfalls involved when roles are not established
  • How to handle disagreements
  • Conclusion
  • Q & A
Runtime: 1 hour
Recorded: October 27, 2020


Description

In times of crisis, people are often said to come together. Collaborating with other companies can put in a much stronger position to ride out the storm. However, businesses must remain cautious and vigilant of partnering with rivals. The Department of Justice has strengthened its focus on the enforcement of antitrust laws during these times and particularly with markets feeling the greatest impact from the economic crisis.

This program was recorded as part of Corporate Counsel's Women, Influence, and Power in Law Virtual Conference held on October 27th, 2020.

Provided By

Women, Influence & Power in Law Conference

Panelists

Jennifer Truelove

Principal
McKool Smith

Jennifer Truelove is a Principal in McKool Smith's Marshall office. Jennifer’s trial skills have been sought after and used in a broad range of cases, including litigation involving intellectual property, antitrust, whistleblower, and contract disputes. She has extensive experience in the Eastern District of Texas and has been involved in all aspects of trial, from jury selection to cross-examination of expert witnesses.

Prior to joining McKool Smith, Jennifer was the first assistant district attorney of Harrison County, Texas, where she prosecuted felony cases involving injury and assault of children and represented the Department of Family and Protective Services in cases where children and adults were taken into protective custody. During her seven-year tenure with the Harrison County District Attorney’s Office, Jennifer honed her courtroom skills and became a particularly effective litigator in front of East Texas juries. She is also a trained mediator.

Lizzy McLellan

Business of Law Editor & Reporter
ALM Media, LLC

Lizzy McLellan is an editor for ALM who covers the business of law. She started as a reporter for the Legal Intelligencer in 2014, covering the Pennsylvania legal community based in Philadelphia. Lizzy is now part of the business of law team in ALM’s global newsroom. She also works with a team of editors who launched and continues to produce the Mid-Market Report, a weekly newsletter focused on mid-sized law firms.

Jane Duke

Vice President and Associate General Counsel, Global Litigation and Investigations
Tyson Foods

Jane is responsible for leading a team of attorneys, paralegals, claims professionals, case managers and administrative staff who strategically and efficiently manage the company’s portfolio of domestic and international litigation. At present, this includes managing a robust docket of antitrust cases. Working across the business units, global corporate services and enabling functions, her team endeavors to reduce and manage financial, regulatory and reputational risk arising from threatened or actual litigation. Through oversight of significant investigations, she is responsible for making sure complaints and reports of misconduct are promptly and thoroughly investigated and remediated.

Before joining Tyson Foods, Jane was a partner with the law firm of Mitchell, Williams, Selig, Gates and Woodyard, P.L.L.C., where she served as Chair of the Litigation Practice Group. Prior to that role, Jane was employed with the Department of Justice, serving in various capacities within the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Arkansas. Notable roles held during her eleven-year DOJ career include having served nearly 4 years as Acting and Interim United States Attorney and approximately 7 years as First Assistant United States Attorney.

She is tremendously proud to have served a two-year clerkship with Chief United States District Judge Stephen Reasoner upon completing law school in 1996. Jane grew up on a poultry production, beef cattle and row crop farm in Scranton, Arkansas. She obtained her undergraduate and law degrees from the University of Arkansas (1993) and its School of Law three years later. She is married to Tracy and they have three children, Jackson (16) and 13-year-old twins, Lawson and Hudson.

Jessica Mastrogiovanni

Assistant General Counsel
New York & Company

In the apparel industry, ideas are a company’s lifeblood. Fresh designs, new fashion lines, trendsetting concepts—businesses have entire teams dedicated to brainstorming the next big thing.

With a multitude of ideas, one can imagine the legal touch points are as many and close together as pencil stripes on a blouse. Among them, corporate governance, employment, commercial contracts, technology, privacy, e-commerce, litigation, intellectual property, real estate—if it needs to be done, Mastrogiovanni and the New York & Company legal team are there to ensure it’s all legally intact.

“Our job is to help support the company’s growth opportunities and our work must always be consistent with the mission and goals of the company,” says Mastrogiovanni, assistant general counsel for RTW Retailwinds Inc. (which operates as New York & Company) whose portfolio includes branded merchandise from New York & Company, Fashion to Figure, and Uncommon Sense. “We respond to the varying needs of multiple departments and build day-to-day working relationships with colleagues that have differing backgrounds.” Eyes on the ball Founded in 1918, New York & Company has become synonymous with women’s fashion. An omni-channel, digitally enabled retailer with stores in more than 30 U.S. states, the company provides curated fashion solutions that are versatile, on-trend and stylish, at a great value.

It’s the job of Mastrogiovanni and the New York & Company legal team to ensure the company’s strategies and initiatives are fully supported. It’s a purview that includes everything from employment compliance and IP protection measures to risk management, litigation and managing the company’s relationships with its vendors.

“As an in-house lawyer, I see myself as a partner with the business to support its success,” Mastrogiovanni says. “It’s a really rewarding level of commitment, and different from what lawyers experience in private practice. You have to be ready to deal with a wide range of needs in a dynamic environment, which is why we’ve tried to foster a cross-functional approach within the department. We all learn from one another.” Strategic partnerships Given New York & Company’s sizable workforce, employment law looms large. Mastrogiovanni often collaborates with the company’s HR department to update company policies, implement training and ensure systems are in place to maintain compliance. “It’s important to get it right both legally and culturally,”

Mastrogiovanni explains. “Like most companies, our corporate culture is important. We strive to make sure that our policies reflect the company’s values and are consistent with all applicable laws.” That collaborative ethic is also in full display when working with outside counsel. That includes Joe Piesco, a partner at the New York office of global firm DLA Piper, who has worked with Mastrogiovanni on a number of business-critical matters. “Jessica has been amazing client in large part because she’s so easy to work with,” says Piesco. “She’s always on top of her game, and there’s never been a challenge or legal issue she hasn’t been able to handle.” Such dynamics are especially important when tackling hot-button issues like data diligence and cybersecurity. “To be compliant in today’s data environment, you really have to have all your bases covered,” says Donna Wilson, chief executive officer at Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, whose expertise in the areas of data and technology Mastrogiovanni has often sought. “Jessica and the New York & Company team are incredibly detail oriented, so that makes our job a whole lot easier.” From the federal Telephone Consumer Protection Act to state laws like the recently passed California Consumer Privacy Act, the firm has helped Mastrogiovanni and the New York & Company legal team scale data diligence compliance hurdles.

While the seeds of her legal career were planted early, thanks to a middle school mock trial class where she relished the role of judge, Mastrogiovanni’s first passion was for the drums. “What drew me to drumming was how it represented the foundation for all music,” she reflects. “Jazz, funk, rock, blues—all of it requires good drumming. Even though I was often the only female drummer on stage, I loved being a strategic part of developing a piece of music. It taught me to be confident and poised in my delivery.” To say that lesson has served her well would be an understatement. Just as she did as a young musician, Mastrogiovanni has embraced the role of mentor, helping young attorneys “find their beat” in what remains an intensely competitive professional field.

After graduating from New York University in 1997—and a subsequent three-year stint in marketing—Mastrogiovanni received a scholarship to attend Brooklyn Law School. While there, she was one of only 200 students worldwide chosen to participate in the United Nations Internship Programme. Finding her fit As a young attorney at the New York-based Proskauer Rose LLP, Mastrogiovanni often argued her own cases, appreciating the hands-on learning and ultimately preparing her for the role she now occupies.

After 12 years in private practice (the final four of which she spent at Meltzer, Lippe, Goldstein & Breitstone), Mastrogiovanni made her in-house debut as the vice president and general counsel at Premier Education Group LP, a longtime client of MLG&B which operates for-profit vocational educational institutions throughout the Northeastern U.S. As the company’s first ever in-house lawyer, Mastrogiovanni once again found herself breaking barriers. “I had to build out a legal group,” recalls Mastrogiovanni, who was quickly promoted to executive vice president, chief legal officer and chief compliance officer. “It was a tremendous learning experience.”

Having developed a knack for translating legal advice into practical business strategies, Mastrogiovanni joined New York & Company as assistant general counsel in August of 2018 and served as interim general counsel from October 2018 to April 2019. It’s a role for which her constant thirst for new experiences and being a part of a strong foundation prepared her well. “Being that strategic partner is one of the most satisfying parts of my role. Overriding opportunities is easy; finding a way to make it work is the tough part,” Mastrogiovanni says. “I am at my best when challenges are complex and have shifting variables; it’s like piecing a musical production together.”

Monica Wahba, Esq.

Assistant General Counsel, Global Business Solutions
RB

Monica Wahba, Assistant General Counsel, Global Business Solutions for RB. She advises the business and provides strategic guidance on a wide range of legal issues relating to employment law, commercial contracting, E-Commerce, property law, privacy law, insurance, commercial tenancy, and various corporate legal matters.

Monica graduated from The George Washington University Law School.


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