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WLN Raleigh conference report, 20-22 Sept 2018

26 October 2018
Stuart Miller


In late September, just a few days after the ravages & rainfall of Hurricane Florence had impacted the region (what is it about WLN and the weather this year?), WLN members from far & wide met in Raleigh, North Carolina (NC) for our conference hosted by Morningstar Law Group (MLG).

We were treated to a rich & entertaining mixture of business and social programmes. We have to thank all the wonderful speakers and panellists mentioned below, for your time, expertise and humour!


Our first event started early on Thu 20 Sept at the wonderful NC Museum of Art - and included an audience of MLG clients and friends as well as WLN delegates. The “Global Business” investment theme of this event was moderated by Randy Whitmeyer of MLG and led by excellent speakers including:

  • Kenneth Marks of High Rock Partners on Global M&A activity;
  • Panel discussion on Doing Business in NC with panellists Kathleen Henry (Economic Development Manager, Wake County Economic Development), Prof. Kenn Gaither (Elon University), Ravila Gupta (President and CEO, Council for Entrepreneurial Development) & Brandon Lee (President and CEO, Terra Dotta) chaired by MLG partner Gene Jones;
  • US tax reform presentation by Heather Dean (partner in Hughes Pittman & Gupton LLP)
  • GDPR update from WLN Director, John van Loo;
  • Doing Business Internationally panel including WLN & ALA colleagues Fábio Lacaz (Brazil), Aloysius Wee (Singapore), Wim Weijers (Netherlands), Steen Rosenfalck (England) and Frank Engelhard (Germany).


At our one-day business session at the Sheraton, Raleigh on Fri 21 Sept we had a packed programme:

  • Swain Wood, General Counsel to the NC Attorney General (and former MLG partner) spoke about Current legal topics in North Carolina and the US, with fascinating insights about those issues which fall either side of Federal & State competence and how the states often make common cause outside political party affiliations;
  • Mack Paul (MLG Partner) led a small panel on Real Estate: Public/Private Partnerships, considering how PPPs work practically in NC and using examples brought to life by excellent panelists Rob Autry (Triangle Racquet Sports LLC Founder and CEO) and Carlton Midyette (member of the Dix Park Master Planning Executive Committee).
  • Big Data and Artificial Intelligence - a view from the front lines was a highly engaging session with speakers Pedro Pavón (Senior Managing Counsel at Oracle) and John Boswell (Executive Vice President/Chief Legal Counsel, SAS Institute, Inc.) moderated expertly by MLG Partner, Richard Caira.
  • Firm Management and Strategic Planning took a close look at the development of our host firm MLG, and how they have balanced opportunism with strategic thinking, in the course of their rapid progression over the last 6 years. The session brought external insight from Brent Sprinkle (owner of True North Business Navigation and EOS Business Model consultant) and the inside word from MLG partners Jennifer van Doren & Grayson Hale.
  • Carlo Gurioli (WLN, Milan) and Stuart Miller (WLN Director, London) presented WLN’s new publication on Shareholder Agreements – A Comparative Handbook (yes, it’s real!) and explained the plan for what happens next with distribution via the WLN website in late 2018.



Of course, it wasn’t all work. We were treated to a warm reception at the MLG offices where we were able to meet nearly all the local team. We ate fantastically too, one evening at the Bridge Club with excellent food from the kitchen of Ashley Christensen; and a Southern barbecue at the Pit. We managed to play games at nearby Boxcar; and some folks even managed to step out on an 80s dance floor. Very memorably for those of us still in town over the weekend, we attended a ball game at the University of North Carolina (Go, Tarheels!) and were made most welcome to share dinner at the home of Jennifer & Marc van Doren.


Above all, to all our hosts at MLG, for your warm & memorable Southern hospitality – Randy Whitmeyer, Jennifer van Doren, Kayla Ragan, Amanda Honeycutt and all the rest of the team and family members, too numerous to mention:

Thanks so much Y’All! That was awesome!


Next conference

And no sooner is one WLN conference done, than the serious planning for the next one picks up speed. We meet again in Milan from 21-23 March 2019, please click here for the latest booking details.  Before we know it: Ciao, Italia!


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