Phillip Sykes - Committee Chair Corner

Phillip Sykes

Committee Chair Corner – Business Litigation Committee
Phillip S. Sykes
Butler Snow LLP

As Chair of the Business Litigation Committee, I have the privilege of sharing the work that our Committee is doing to provide interesting programming and Webinars, publications, and networking opportunities.

The Easiest Way to Get Involved?

The easiest way to get involved with the Business Litigation Committee is to join our monthly calls the first Thursday of every month at 10:00 am CST. We keep them to 30 minutes. We begin by briefly introducing new members. Then our Vice Chairs report on projects, initiatives, and/or opportunities to get involved like speaking or writing. Finally, we usually conclude with a three to five minute discussion about a point of law relevant to business litigation. If you do not already receive the recurring monthly calendar invitation, email Diana Leon ( at the IADC home office to be added. She also sends a reminder each month.

The Team Leading the Work and What We Are Doing

Our Vice Chairs do a wonderful job organizing our Committee’s activities and work product:

Vice Chair of Programming and Projects - Lisa Bondurant
Vice Chair of Webinars - Adam O’Brien
Vice Chair of Membership - Diane Averell
Vice Chair of Publications - Kyle Miller
Vice Chair of Diversity - Mica Nguyen Worthy
Vice Chair of Communications - Sandy Wunderlich
Vice Chair of Corporate Counsel - Trea Southerland
Vice Chair of International – Dorothy Siron

For example, Lisa Bondurant has coordinated our Committee’s sponsoring or co-sponsoring three entertaining and educational programs at the Midyear Meeting in Pebble Beach: (1) “Achieving ‘Go To’ Status in Times of Crisis” advising how to position one’s law firm for pre-crisis identification by a client before the need arises; (2) “‘Nobody Used This Design Back Then:’ Getting Evidence of Industry Practice Admitted in Product Liability Litigation” describing how to admit evidence that competitors did not use certain technology at the relevant time to reduce plaintiffs’ damage claims and corroborate defense experts; and (3) “Politics as Unusual: How to Deal with Politics Acts Around the World That Cause Disruption to Clients’ Business Activities and Impair Their Legal Rights” presented by a panel assembled from South Korea, the UK, Denmark, and Mexico describing their experiences working through real world effects on business activities caused by political disruptions like Brexit or aggression by North Korea affecting safety upgrades, intellectual property registrations, and the like. 

While submissions for the Annual Meeting’s programming are closed, Lisa ( soon will be requesting ideas for programming for next year’s MYM. Submitting a program idea or volunteering to be part of a panel is an excellent way to contribute to the Business Litigation Committee.

Similarly, Webinars are a great opportunity to leverage your membership in the IADC for others in your firm or company by watching them in a conference room with associates, young partners, or other colleagues to learn more about a relevant topic. In the last few months, Adam O’Brien has led our Committee’s sponsoring or co-sponsoring Webinars for “Top Ten Things You Can Do to Prevent Trade Secret Theft” and “Pick Me, Pick Me! Panel Voir Dire and Jury Selection.”  Adam ( can help you submit a potential Webinar topic. And you do not have to be a technological wizard to present a Webinar. The IADC staff makes those arrangements.

Another emphasis of the Business Litigation Committee is publications. Kyle Miller ( has led our Committee’s efforts to publish both newsletters and DCJ articles. We recently published a newsletter titled “The Growing Consensus of the Propriety of ‘Snap’ Removals.” We have several newsletters in the pipelines but are looking for more. Newsletters, which only are between two and six pages, are an excellent way to get an additional use of existing work product from a recent brief or argument. In addition, newsletters and DCJ articles are an excellent opportunity for associates or young partners to publish and build their resumes and reputation as a subject matter expert. They only need you, as an IADC member, to agree to be listed as a co-author.

Finally, the Business Litigation Committee emphasizes networking and collegiality in several ways. For example, Diane Averell ( is our Membership Vice Chair.  Each of us knows colleagues in private practice, in-house, or with insurance companies who would be great IADC members and also benefit from membership. Diane can guide you through the nomination process. Additionally, Trea Sutherland (, Vice Chair of Corporate Counsel and a member of the IADC’s Board of Directors, regularly provides updates about initiatives directed to in-house counsel to maximize their participation and benefits from the IADC. Dorothy Siron (, Vice Chair of International, ensures that the “international” in IADC is front and center and Mica Nguyen Worthy (, Vice Chair of Diversity, ensures that diverse points of view are encouraged and represented. Sandy Wunderlich (, Vice Chair of Communications, manages our Committee social media presence and is glad to publicize our members’ successes.

Attend a Midyear or Annual Meeting

On a personal level, if you have never attended a Midyear or Annual Meeting, my response that “you don’t know what you’re missing” sounds trite but is accurate. Not only will be able to put faces with names you have seen in emails or voices from monthly calls, but you will experience fun and entertaining activities related to the venue and begin to develop lasting friendships. Although I joined the IADC in 2009, I did not attend my first Annual Meeting until 2012. At that meeting, I met several members who encouraged me to start participating in the Business Litigation Committee, which I had not been doing regularly. Within a couple of years, I was a Vice Chair. 

In addition, particularly at the Annual Meeting, IADC provides a unique opportunity mix business and family time. Since that first Annual Meeting in Asheville in 2012, my family has only missed one Annual Meeting. And since that time, not only have I developed friendships that have lasted, but my children have too. They always are excited about the next Annual Meeting and stay in touch with their friends throughout the year.

The bottom line is that if you attend a Midyear or Annual Meeting, you will not be disappointed and will maximize your membership in the organization.

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