Friday, July 3, 2015

NACUA 2015 continued

Monday was an early start, but jetlag was trending that way fortunately so I was up a couple of hours before the 8:00 am start. The first session was the talk from Ted Mitchell who is the under-secretary in charge of higher education and a careful, witty speaker. He has a disarming honesty and a sense of humour - at one time he was asked if there were new regulatory reforms in the pipeline and quipped "No, we're done" to the amusement of the audience. In fact there's a lot of new Federal regulations in the pipeline, and (slightly-contradictory) State ones too. He was quite receptive to the idea that compliance with Federal law on such matters as initiatives against sexual violence would "safe harbour" Universities against charges of minor discrepancies with State regulations over the same subject-matter.

Monday is a half day, so after dutifully filling up with "The General Counsel As Trusted Advisor" and a bit more PPP, some caffeination and then a talk on the relationship between General Counsel and other risk managers, we headed into the city for lunch and Art,

Legal Seafood - "If it's not fresh, it's not Legal"
First lunch. We stopped at a seafood restaurant, one of a venerable chain called Legal Seafood, which has a pedigree, a terrific menu and a snazzy waitress called Ama who was very personable in an empowered black woman sort of way. She liked Lynda's African motif t-shirt and fussed over the details of our order. I went with the lobster roll, Lynda had the flounder and we were nicely replete as we exited for the Smithsonian museum.

The Smithsonian is huge and has departments all over the place so we started with the National Portrait Gallery in the old Patents Office building. Too little time to make a dent in the collection, so we took the Docents' Tour of a few of the more interesting historical portraits and some explanation about the building and continued presence of prototype inventions next to portraits of the inventors - Isaac Singer, Thomas Edison, Samuel Morse et al.

The courtyard is covered by a fascinating modern canopy which contrasts with the Grecian Revival architecture.

Inside, the restored interior is gorgeous and a great setting for the portraits.

Tuesday was a full day, so Lynda went out in search of More Art (spoiler - there was some) while I filled up with technical topics like "Selecting and Working with Special Counsel as Investigators" , "Supporting Institutional Resiliency" , "Preparing for Cyber-Attacks", "High Profile Matters" and one called "So Sue Me - When In-House Counsel is Named as a Defendant". There was also the customary ice-cream break which is always hilarious as sober-minded and sober-dressed counsel gobble ice-creams like kids.

In the evening I ate with Lynda at the Hot n Juicy Crawfish restaurant  where the specialite de la maison is a bucket of shellfish in spicy sauce, I tried the crawfish - small and fiddly like marron and a bit unrewarding for the effort. The fare is hearty enough, and the plastic bib and gloves remove any pretensions of dignity.

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