‘Legalease with the Ladies’ Webinars Demystify Contracts During COVID-19

July 29, 2020

In the age of COVID-19, event planners are finding themselves in a challenging predicament. For organizations opting to go forward with hosting in-person events, planners are not only tasked with taking extra precautions to keep participants safe and healthy, but also managing the underlying legal risks associated with holding face-to-face events during a pandemic. To help planners overcome these uncertainties, group and meetings booking software provider HopSkip recently partnered with two event and hospitality industry attorneys to produce the complimentary “Legalese with the Ladies” webinar series. 

Created and conducted by Barbara Dunn, who represents event groups and associations for Chicago-based Barnes & Thornburg LLP, and Lisa Sommer Devlin, representing hotel clients for Devlin Law Firm, P.C. in Phoenix, the ongoing live and on-demand webinars cover contract-related topics and help decode legalese around the current climate. 

Event Contracts In the Age of COVID-19,” held May 15, focused on the basics of force majeure and how to navigate current contracts with hotels, while “Managing Risk In Meetings Moving Forward,” conducted on June 19, covered issues including social distancing compliance, waivers and the assumption of the risk. Both webinars are available on-demand now. 

A third session, “The Stakes Are Higher Than Ever: How to Avoid the Most Common Contracting Mistakes,” will take place Aug. 21 at 12:30 p.m. ET. More topics will be released in the coming months, according to HopSkip officials.  

So far, more than 3,200 planners and hoteliers have attended the Legalese series. HopSkip Co-founder Sean Whalin explained that since the software company had an established relationship with Dunn and Devlin in developing new contracting clause features on its booking platform, it seemed like a no-brainer to share their expertise with the events community via an ongoing webinar series under the attorneys’ existing brand.

“We felt like we could help share knowledge with the community and knew we had the perfect partnership with Barbara and Lisa… to do it,” Whalin said. “We’re consistently reaching out for feedback and asking [planners and hoteliers] about their current challenges and pain points in their sourcing process, and that’s what really shapes our content.”

According to Devlin, she and Dunn have been giving contract-related presentations together at industry events for many years, but decided to formalize their partnership via their relationship with HopSkip to help planners and hoteliers navigate the many uncertainties of hosting events in the current climate.

“Understanding contracts and risks has always been important,” Devlin said. “The situations surrounding COVID 19 have simply highlighted the issues for some planners that may not have focused on them as carefully before.”

She explained that an event contract is, in essence, a road map of the parties’ rights and obligations, so understanding how to read and follow contractual agreements are critical for planners and hoteliers, particularly during high-risk situations like COVID-19.

Dunn added that the success of the Legalese program lies in both sides – groups and suppliers – hearing and understanding the other’s perspective.

“We are proud to serve the hospitality community in this way – especially during these difficult times,” Dunn said. “The stakes have always been high on both sides and now they are only higher given the challenging environment going forward.”

Download past episodes of the “Legalese with the Ladies” here and here. To learn more about HopSkip, go here.


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