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Ethics and Fiduciary Issues for Public Pension Plans: Lessons Learned


Webinar
Product Code - LGA171
Speaker(s): Suzanne Dugan, Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll PLLC; Luke Bierman, Northeastern University School of Law and Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll PLLC
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The challenges facing public pension funds are greater today than ever before.  These challenges include the lingering effects of the financial meltdown, problems caused by government gridlock, scandals across the country, moves to restructure plans, and the blaming of public employees.  All of these issues have contributed to what has been characterized as a crisis in public pension plans. As concerns regarding underfunded liabilities grow and cost pressures for state and local governments continue to rise, ethics and fiduciary issues should be at the forefront. What lessons have been learned and what is the appropriate response going forward?
 
The key take away is that in a time when challenges abound, it is appropriate to go “back to basics.” A focus on core values and on processes and procedures can serve to protect a public pension fund.  There is nothing more fundamental and basic for public pension funds than to ensure sound and effective attention to fiduciary responsibilities and ethics duties.

Educational Objectives:

• Understand current trends in ethics and fiduciary issues facing public pension plans.
• Learn about the consequences of failing  to be attentive to ethics and fiduciary duties.
• Discover the components of an effective ethics and compliance program for public pension plans.

Who would most benefit from attending this program?

Attorneys who counsel public pension plans, both in-house and outside counsel, can expect to benefit the most from attending this webinar, as well as those who are interested in current issues facing public pension plans today.

Program Level: Intermediate

Credit Available: CLE. For more information, please click on the “CLE Credit” tab. 

Suzanne Dugan, Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll PLLC; Luke Bierman, Northeastern University School of Law and Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll PLLC

Suzanne M. Dugan, Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll PLLC
Suzanne M. Dugan leads Cohen Milstein’s Ethics and Fiduciary Counseling practice, which provides guidance to pension funds and other public, private and nonprofit entities on ethics, fiduciary, governance and compliance issues. Ms. Dugan came to private practice with more than 20 years of legal experience, including service as ethics counsel for the third largest public pension fund in the country and as general counsel for a state ethics commission.  She is frequent lecturer at conferences and forums addressing ethics and fiduciary issues in the public and nonprofit sectors, and was previously appointed to the adjunct faculty at Albany Law School of Union University, where she taught a class in government ethics.

Ms. Dugan earned a J.D., cum laude, from Albany Law School of Union University and a B.A. in Political Science and History from Siena College. She is licensed to practice in the District of Columbia, Texas, New York, and the United States District Court for the Northern District of New York and is an elected member of the American Law Institute.

Luke Bierman, Northeastern University School of Law and Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll PLLC
Luke Bierman is Associate Dean for Experiential Education and Distinguished Professor of Practice of Law at Northeastern University School of Law.  He also serves as Of Counsel to Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll, PLLC.  Previously, Mr. Bierman served as General Counsel for the Office of the New York State Comptroller, the sole trustee of the state’s $150 billion pension fund and the state’s chief fiscal officer for the state of New York’s $130 billion budget.  Earlier in his career, Mr. Bierman served as Director of the Institute for Emerging Issues at North Carolina State University, and was Founding Director of the Justice Center and Special Assistant to the President of the American Bar Association. The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court has appointed him to serve on a task force to review the state code judicial ethics.  Mr. Bierman is a frequent lecturer and commentator about corporate governance reform, fiduciary responsibility and ethics, and justice reform, and also blogs for the Huffington Post and has appeared on the Huff Post Live.  He is an elected member of the American Law Institute.

Mr. Bierman earned a Ph.D. and M.A. in Political Science from the University at Albany; a J.D. from the Marshall Wythe School of Law of the College of William and Mary, where he was a member of the Law Review; and a  B.A. in American Political History, magna cum laude, from Colgate University, where he was elected to Phi Beta Kappa.  He is admitted to practice in the Supreme Court of the United States, New York, United States District Court for the Northern District of New York, and New York State.

This program’s CLE-credit eligibility varies by state. Bloomberg BNA is an accredited provider in the states of New York*, California, Pennsylvania, Texas and Virginia, and most other jurisdictions grant CLE credit on a per-program basis. At this time, Bloomberg BNA does not apply directly to the states of Florida, Rhode Island, Montana and Hawaii although credit is usually available for attorneys who wish to apply individually. Additionally, the following states currently do not grant credit for Bloomberg BNA OnDemand programming: Arkansas, Ohio, Nebraska, and Delaware. All requests are subject to approval once the live webinar has taken place or the customer has viewed the OnDemand version. Please contact the Bloomberg BNA accreditations desk if you have specific questions that have not been addressed.

If you have further questions regarding a specific state or how to file for CLE credit, please contact Bloomberg BNA customer service at 800-372-1033 and ask to speak to the CLE Accreditation Coordinator.

Hardship Policy
Bloomberg BNA offers a hardship policy for attorneys earning less than $50,000 per year. If an attorney wishes to take advantage of this option, he or she must contact Bloomberg BNA directly. For attorneys who are unemployed or earning less than $35,000 per year, a full discount off the price of the program will be awarded upon written proof of hardship. Attorneys earning between $35,000 and $50,000 per year will receive a 50% discount off the price of the program. Any attorney working in the public service sector also qualifies for a special price. If you have further questions regarding the hardship policy or seek additional information, please contact Bloomberg BNA customer service at 800-372-1033 and ask to speak to the CLE Accreditations Coordinator, or email us at accreditations@bna.com.

Questions
For more information about Mandatory or Minimum Continuing Legal Education (MCLE) requirements, visit the American Bar Association website at http://www.abanet.org/cle/mandatory.html.

*Bloomberg BNA is an accredited provider in New York for experienced attorneys only.