2016 Distance Learning Program


Unless otherwise noted, all programs are one hour long from 1-2 PM Eastern. Additionally, IMLA will be offering 10 FREE programs for members.  In addition to one free Ethics program that will be broadcast live from our seminar and one free program broadcast live from our annual conference, the other free programming is noted below.

To purchase a recording of any of the past distance learning events, please CLICK HERE and fill out the order form.

Upcoming Webinars


December 12 – Land Use – L11

Disparate Impact Liability and the Fair Housing Act

The U.S. Supreme Court’s 2015 decision in Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs v. Inclusive Communities Project brought clarity to the question of whether disparate impact liability exists under the Fair Housing Act.  Disparate impact looks at discriminatory effects of facially-neutral policies and practices, including zoning laws.  In upholding the use of disparate impact, the Supreme Court kept intact one of three ways that local governments can be held liable under the Fair Housing Act, but with some important limitations.  This program will review the Inclusive Communities Project case and outcome, and will talk about its implications for local governments.

Speakers: Dwight Merriam, Dan Mandelker & Brian Connolly.

Click here to view the speakers bios.

Click here to register.


December 14- Extension on the June 13th Webinar: Land Use – L6

Show Me the Money – Real Estate Financing


This free, one-hour presentation will focus on the advantages of public finance to incentivize private development with Public-Private Partnerships (P3).

Speakers: Arthur C. Nelson, Dwight Merriam & Dan Mandelker

Click here to view the speaker's bios.

Click here to register.

*Limited availability

December 15th- Drones and Drone Licensing Update

Dr. Gregory S. McNeal will share updates from the FAA's new rules for flight over people, check in on Part 107's first six months, and preview the regulatory updates to come in 2017. How will the regulatory landscape shift in the coming year? What is the FAA saying about local drone ordinances and federal preemption?

Speaker: Gregory McNeal

Click here to view the speaker bio.

Click here to register!




Past Webinars


January 11 – Land Use – L1
The Year in Review

While you were messing around last year, paying no attention to the most recent, important statutory and case law developments, our panel of national experts had their noses to their computer monitors and yanked every relevant Tweet off their smartphones. You can have the benefit of their collective knowledge by dialing in to this kickoff session of our annual land-use law teleconference series and getting the highlights of the past year in a way that will help you in 2016.

Speakers:Nancy Stroud, Peter Salsich, Stuart Meck, Carol Brown, Dwight Merriam & Dan Mandelker

CLICK HERE to read the speaker's bio.

January 12 - SLLC Webinar

2:00PM EST

Will Public Sector Collective Bargaining Survive This Supreme Court Term?

**This is a non-CLE event**

 Reserve your FREE webinar seat now by clicking here.

We won’t know for sure until the end of June when the Supreme Court will most likely issue its opinion in Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association. But we may have a better idea after the Court hears oral argument on January 11. Discuss the legal issues in this case and what’s at stake for state and local governments if the Supreme Court rules that public-sector “agency shop” arrangements are unconstitutional with Michael Carvin, Jones Day, who will argue this case on behalf of the teachers objecting to fair share.

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the Webinar.

System Requirements:
PC-based attendees
Required: Windows® 8, 7, Vista, XP or 2003 Server

Mac®-based attendees
Required: Mac OS® X 10.6 or newer

Mobile attendees
Required: iPhone®, iPad®, Android™ phone or Android tablet

January 14 – Ethics – E1
Ethics and Technology


The ABA model rules tells us that a “lawyer shall provide competent representation to a client,” and notes that “competent representation requires the legal knowledge, skill, thoroughness and preparation reasonably necessary for the representation.” How far does the ethical obligation of technological competence extend and how can non-geek lawyers satisfy it? This presentation will provide insights into this topic and provide a discussion of ABA Model Rule 1.1, Comment 8.

Speaker: Peter Haskel

CLICK HERE to read the speaker bio.

*Limited availability

January 20 – Personnel – P1
Sexual Harassment Training: It's Not About Teaching HOW TO Harass & Retaliate

Municipalities understand the obligation to address sexual harassment in the workplace.  Unfortunately, some individuals view sexual harassment training and education as a means of learning the ropes of how to harass instead of how not to engage in harassment.  This seminar provides a template for sexual harassment training, including preventing and addressing retaliation, along with substantive and practical guidance in helping employer, supervisors and employees in recognizing and distinguishing acceptable and unacceptable workplace conduct.

Speaker: Dan Crean, Roberta Cross, Warren Kraft

CLICK HERE to read the speaker's bio.

January 25 – Police – PO1
Law Enforcement Vehicle Pursuits-Law and Best Practice

Federal Law Landscape: Since 1998 and the U.S. Supreme Court’s Decision in Sacramento v. Lewis, the likelihood of a federal claim in a pursuit case has greatly diminished. A portion of the webinar will cover the U.S. Supreme Court cases involving pursuits including: Scott v. Harris (2007); Plumhoff v. Rickard (2014); and Mullinex v. Luna (2015 per curiam) and the impact of these decisions on potential federal civil rights actions in pursuit cases.

State Discussion: A view of several different state emergency vehicle operation codes that provide some protection for injuries caused during pursuits.

Generally accepted practices on pursuits: This portion focuses on the varying policies and training being utilized by law enforcement around the country with respect to the decision to pursue; the tactics used to end pursuits; and agency reviews of pursuits.

Speaker: Jack Ryan

CLICK HERE to read the speaker bio.

February 2 – New Government Lawyer Series – NGLS1
Trial Practice 101: The Anatomy of a Shooting Trial

Officer involved shootings and the potential for police liability in those shootings have become a focal point in the American consciousness. Considering this, it is important to understand what is needed to successfully defend officers involved in these shootings. “Anatomy of a Shooting Trial” will provide an introductory look at the trial tactics, strategies, and logistics of the civil defense of an officer and assist you in your next officer involved shooting trial.

Speaker: John Wilkerson

CLICK HERE to read the speaker bio.

February 8 – Land Use – L2
Signs (Warning: This IS a Content-Based Program)


No question about it, Reed v.Gilbert, Arizona, the US Supreme Court's recent decision on content-based signage is the big deal and has been the subject of much discussion, speculation, and angst.  We will certainly address that decision and its fallout, with some real "take-home" advice on how to patch up local regulations, parts of which have been rendered unconstitutional on their face as a result of the Reed decision.  However, we will go beyond that to look at recent developments in electronic signage and the always nettlesome problem of temporary signs.  Finally, we will top it off with what probably should be the first question in most cases: is it a sign?

Speakers: John Baker, Brian Connolly, Susan Trevarthen, Dwight Merriam & Dan Mandelker

CLICK HERE to read the speaker's bio.

February 11- Personnel- P2

Best Practices to Consider When Negotiating an Employment/Retainer Agreement for a Chief Legal Officer


Panelists, who developed the IMLA Model Employment/Retainer Agreements, will discuss best practices and identify the terms and conditions that should be considered in any employment agreement for a full-time in-house chief legal counsel, or a law firm or individual who is retained to serve as chief legal counsel utilizing the recently developed IMLA Model Employment/Retainer Agreements.

Speakers: Marion Radson, Howard Friedman, Susan H. Churuti & Charles W. Thompson

CLICK HERE to view the speaker's bio.

February 17– Personnel – P2
Tips and Pitfalls for Conducting Internal Investigations of Employee Complaints

Properly conducted internal investigations can be key to successfully solving workplace conflicts and defending complaints involving municipal employees.  Common mistakes in investigation techniques can lead to adverse consequences, especially in the public sector.  Join popular IMLA presenter and employment lawyer Sheila Gladstone for guidance on how to “do it right” and avoid traps and missteps along the way.

Speakers: Dan Crean & Sheila Gladstone

CLICK HERE to view the speaker's bio.

February 23 – Litigation – LI1
Litigating Pensions

Local governments nationwide are faced with debilitating defined benefit pension costs and deficits. Without modification, these pension plans threaten financial crisis, and may result in layoffs of public employees, reduced governmental services and increased taxes. The decision to modify a pension plan is not simple, however. The public employer’s ability to amend its pension plans is regulated by state laws which protect the retirement income of public employees. Pension modification is an arduous process that likely will result in litigation.

In 2011, the City of Atlanta faced an approximately 1.3 billion dollar unfunded pension deficit. Atlanta City Attorney Cathy Hampton and the Law Department were integral to the City of Atlanta’s historic pension reform by drafting the reform legislation, facilitating implementation and successfully defending it against a legal challenge. On November 10, 2014, the Fulton County (Georgia) Superior Court granted the City’s Motion for Summary Judgment. In a 34-page opinion, the court affirmed the constitutionality of the reform and dismissed the class action lawsuit in its entirety. (Stephen Borders, et al. v. City of Atlanta, et al., Fulton County Superior Court Case No. 2013-CV-23902).

On November 2, 2015, the Supreme Court of Georgia unanimously affirmed the Fulton County Superior Court’s grant of summary judgment. (Supreme Court of Georgia Case No. S15A0816) The Supreme Court held that the City’s increase of employee pension contributions did not impair Plaintiffs’ employment contracts. In so holding, the Court ruled that the contribution increase did not alter the employees’ protected pension benefits, but instead altered the employees’ unprotected pension obligations. This legal victory provides a roadmap for other local governments seeking to remediate escalating pension costs rather than suffer from escalating debt.

City Attorney Cathy Hampton, Chief Counsel Robin Joy Shahar and Assistant City Attorney Seth Eisenberg will bring a breadth of knowledge for the development and legal defense of strategic pension reform.

Speakers: City Attorney Cathy Hampton, Chief Counsel Robin Shahar & Assistant City Attorney Seth Eisenberg

CLICK HERE to view the speaker's bio.

March 8 – Police –PO2
Truth Lies and Body Cameras

There is a great deal of discussion across the country regarding the benefits and drawbacks of body cameras, but with 120 cameras in the field for the past year, Duluth is in a unique position to take it a step further and demonstrate the “boots-on-the-ground” impact of this emerging technology on both police work and trials (tech issues, costs, retrieval and preservation of evidence, impacts on courtroom dynamics, and so on). This presentation will focus on the manner in which body cameras are changing police considerations in the field, as well as the approach of prosecutors at trial.

Speaker: Nathan N. LaCoursiere

CLICK HERE to view the speakers bio.

March 11 – SLLC Supreme Court Mid-Term Webinar

1:00PM EST

Between abortion and immigration, takings and malicious prosecutions, energy and drunk driving, the Supreme Court’s 2015-2016 docket is full of cases of interest to state and local government. Join Clifton Elgarten, Crowell Moring, who will argue an energy case this term, Mike Scodro, Jenner & Block, and Mark Walsh, Education Week, ABA Journal, and SCOTUSblog, in a discussion about the cases of most interest to state and local government.

Click here to view the Speakers bio.

Click here to register.

**This is a non-CLE, FREE event**

March 14 – Land Use – L3
Sex, Sex, and More Sex

Local governments can single-out adult entertainment businesses for special regulatory treatment so long as the regulations allow such businesses to open and operate and are not motivated by a distaste for the content of the entertainment presented in such businesses. This webinar will discuss what cities should do to ensure that the zoning or licensing regulations they apply to adult entertainment businesses will be upheld if challenged.

Speakers: Prof. Alan Weinstein, Dwight Merriam & Dan Mandelker

Click here to view the speaker's bio.

March 16 - SLLC Webinar

10 Years of Roberts Court for State and Local Government

2:00PM EST

In cases big and small, involving issues ranging from race to religion, federalism to free speech, many, if not most, Roberts Court decisions have affected states and local governments. Join Tom Goldstein, SCOTUSblog and Goldstein & Russell, Adam Liptak, New York Times, and David Savage, Los Angeles Times, in a discussion about the significant impacts over the last ten years of the Roberts Court on states and local governments.

**This is a non-CLE event**

March 16 – Personnel – P3
Workplace Policies That Are Essential in 2016 For Your Municipality's Employee Handbook or Personnel Code

Employee handbooks and personnel policies can provide necessary and appropriate guidance and direction for employees based on long-standing and updated laws.  Workplace rules should be reviewed to ensure that the workplace is presently current and compliant with laws and regulations.  Periodic updating of handbooks and policies is an important practice to ensure compliance of workplace standards and to avoid risk of future claims.  As Labor and Employment management counsel for both public and private sector employers, Messrs. Lee and Brown will present information on the key employment policies that you may need to add or revise as a measure of employer protection.

Speakers:Dan Crean, Lawrence Lee & Adam Brown

Click here to view the speaker's bio.

March 24 – Police – PO3

State & Federal Oversight of Police Agencies Following a Critical Incident – Could it Happen to You?

Given the present climate in police-community relations, it is not uncommon for a law enforcement agency to face protests and ever increasing calls for state, federal and/or civilian oversight following a widely publicized officer-involved death. This webinar will present a case study of one suburban, Southern California city that faced such a challenge, the policing issues involved, the competing state and federal interests, the resulting reforms, and the lessons learned as told by the city attorney who negotiated the stipulated judgment and its dissolution five years later.

Speaker: Gregory Priamos

Click here to view the speaker bio.

March 29 – Telecommunications – TC1
Cell Tower Leasing: Profits and Pitfalls

Local governments can generate long term revenues by leasing land, water towers and buildings for cellular communications towers and antennas. The key to a successful lease is the rental terms, plus the right terms and protective conditions so as to avoid potential legal landmines. John Pestle, Esq. and Jonathan Kramer, Esq. are highly experienced local government telecommunications attorneys who regularly craft and enforce municipal cell tower leases. In this 90-minute webinar, they will walk you through the process of dealing with the cell tower providers and their contractors to help get the best financial terms in leases, and identify and avoid the legal landmines commonly found in industry boilerplate provisions, including the risk of accidentally triggering property reverters. They will also provide helpful practice pointers about the cell tower leasing and sales process. The program will cover both key aspects of cell leases, and the potential sale by municipalities of such leases, as well as long-term leasing rights. Extensive handouts in PDF format will be provided to participants, which commonly include local government attorneys, city managers and the real estate property managers working for local governments. A lively and interactive Question and Answer session will follow the presentation.

***This webinar is 90 minutes ***

Speakers: John W. Pestle & Jonathan Kramer

Click here to view the speaker's bio.

March 31- Disabilities- D1

Creating an Accessible City


The program will discuss the basic requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act. The first part of the presentation will be on Title I of the Act and duties public agencies have in responding to reasonable accommodation requests made by employees. The second part will discuss Title II and the duty that public agencies have to make all services, programs and activities accessible. This part will focus on public facilities that are subject to Title II, and ensuring that cities maintain facilities, including the public right-of-way, in a manner that provides access to all citizens.

Speakers: Alison Alpert, Michael Maurer

Click here to view the speaker's bio.

April 11 – Land Use – L5
The Cannabis Conundrum

Don’t Bogart that Joint My Friend!

Things are smokin’! The U.S. Supreme Court just decided not to even hear the claim of Nebraska and Oklahoma, complaining that Colorado’s recreational marijuana was wafting crime over state lines. What’s happening all across the country with medical marijuana and recreational initiatives? How can you plan and regulate for these uses? It’s not going away; it’s expanding rapidly and you’re either dealing with it now or will be soon. Our expert panelists live and work at ground zero and have, shall we say, the latest dope on the subject.

Speakers: J. Marcus Painter, Tom Ragonetti, Dwight Merriam & Dan Mandelker

Click here to view the speaker's bio.

April 25 – Police – PO4
Municipal Jails: The De Facto Mental Health Facilities


Across the nation, persons with mental illness and co-occurring substance abuse repeatedly circulate through the criminal justice system causing significant challenges for municipalities. This webinar will examine the challenges municipalities face regarding these issues from the police officer arresting the mentally ill suspect through that person’s trial and detention and provide insight into possible solutions municipalities may wish to implement to combat these problems. The presenters will discuss alternatives to traditional criminal court for these individuals, including behavioral court and the need to allow for competency screenings on the municipal level.

Speaker: Martha Means & Bruce Eddy

Click here to view the speaker's bio.


April 27- Transportation- TR1

Wait! Who is Driving that Car?: The Autonomous Vehicle Revolution and our Transportation Infrastructure

The future is arriving via the fast lane. The impending deployment of driverless vehicles is coming, with pilot projects already in place across the country. Regulations are already being developed and implemented in multiple states, and the federal government is actively funding the safe development of autonomous vehicle technologies. The advent of driverless cars will mean huge changes to both transportation planning and infrastructure, and given the long life and cost of infrastructure development, local governments need to begin thinking about these issues today. Cities must be prepared to integrate driverless vehicles, including cars and buses, into the existing transportation network in a safe and orderly manner. This new technology will impact many areas of local government, including public safety, parking, and traffic. Understanding this new technology and planning ahead will allow for smoother integration of autonomous vehicles onto our roads. This presentation will explore the legal and policy questions autonomous vehicles raise and discuss ways to be a smart leader in the forthcoming driverless revolution.

Speakers: Steven De Baun, Greg Rodriguez, Jamey Wyman, Jordan Ferguson

Click here to view the speaker's bio.


April 28- Synthetic Drugs- DA1

Combatting the Evolving Problem of Synthetic Drug Abuse in Municipalities

The webinar will provide an introduction to new psychoactive substances (emerging synthetic drugs) affecting cities across the U.S., such as synthetic cannabinoids, synthetic cathinones, and synthetic opioids.  The discussion will address the associated health risks to users, as well as the related stress on local emergency medical services and hospitals that synthetic drug use and overdoses can cause.  The webinar will provide details on local law enforcement efforts used to tackle synthetic drug cases, will discuss challenges to drug and chemical testing issues, and will also highlight various community outreach efforts that can be used to effectively address synthetic drug abuse.

Speakers: Marta Markowska, Melissa Shear and Argatonia Weatherington

Click here to view the speaker's bio's.

May 4 – Police – PO5

Law Enforcement's Dealing with Persons of Diminished capacity to include the mentally ill, the emotionally disturbed and suicidal pearsons. A post San Francisco v. Sheehan viewpoint.

This session would focus on plaintiff's attack on officer use of force when dealing with person's of diminished capacity. I note that the American with Disabilities Act's application is still up in the air follow SCOTUS decision that the ADA portion of San Francisco's appeal was improvidently granted. The session will also look at training that plaintiff will utilize as spring board for failure to train claim as well as to show an inappropriate response by the involved officers.

Speaker: Jack Ryan

Click here to view the speaker's bio.

May 9 – Land Use – L4

Managing the Millennials


Municipal Management of Millennials:  Millennials have many special needs and desires and we will address these, particularly in the land use and transportation context.  Our guest has researched and reported on the travel choices of Millennials, choices that profoundly affect how we plan and regulate for land use.  Get out ahead of the emerging trends by joining us for  this unique view into the ever-changing landscape being shaped by the Millennials.  You’ll ad a new word to you vocabulary, too: “automobility”!

Speakers: Noreen C. McDonald, Dwight Merriam & Dan Mandelker

Click here to view the speaker's bio's.

May 16 – Telecommunications – TC2
Cell Tower Zoning: Operating within the Federal Law, FCC Regulations, and Court Decisions


As federal law and FCC regulations carve more deeply into local government zoning authority, and federal courts hand down decisions interpreting those law and regulations, cell tower zoning and regulation by state and local governments has materially changed. The new FCC Wireless Siting/6409(a) rules; the FCC Shot Clock; new-builds of macros, small cell, and DAS sites creates new challenges for local governments to balance the federal rules with preservation of local land use controls. Governments around the country are in the process of altering their local processes to comply with the new legal reality. This 90-minute webinar, presented by two national experts, will provide a summary and overview of the Federal law of cell tower zoning, including: (1) Key court cases, principles and practical advice from the two decades since Congress passed the 1996 cell tower zoning amendments; (2) the 2012 Federal statute (Section 6409(a)) as recently interpreted by the FCC; (3) the current FCC Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on radio frequency emissions safety standards; and (4) dealing with the wireless industry under the new rules. This live webinar, taught by John Pestle, Esq. and Jonathan Kramer, Esq. (highly experienced local government telecommunications attorneys) includes two narrated PowerPoint presentations, an 85+ page paper summarizing many of the relevant cases and proceedings, and substantial practical guidance for municipal attorneys dealing with wireless tower siting ordinances and planning matters. A lively and interactive Question and Answer session will follow the presentation.

***This Webinar is 90 minutes***

Speakers: John W. Pestle & Jonathan Kramer

Click here to view the speaker's bio's.

June 13 – Land Use – L6
Show Me the Money – Real Estate Financing

The average American city today partners with private parties to provide 23 out of 65 basic services.  The key to redevelopment and new development in terms of leveraging the advantages of public finance to incentivize private development is in Public-Private Partnerships (P3).  Those of you new to P3 will get the basics and those of you who are veterans of P3 will be brought up to sped on the latest developments by Prof. Arthur “Chris” Nelson, the country’s leading expert and author of the recent book Foundations of Real Estate Development Financing: A Guide to Public–Private Partnerships http://islandpress.org/book/foundations-of-real-estate-development-financing

Speakers: Arthur C. Nelson, Dwight Merriam & Dan Mandelker

Click here to view the speaker's bios.

June 15 – Personnel – P5
Selected Issues from the ADA and Reasonable Accommodation World

Popular ADA presenter Jonathan Mook returns to review and analysis selected, timely topics involving ADA and reasonable accommodation. Discussion may include some of these topics:

• EEOC’s final regulations on wellness plans;
• EEOC’s new guidance on employer-provided leave;
• When is pregnancy a disability and accommodating pregnant employees;
• Performance and conduct standards and the disabled employee;
• Fitness for duty examinations: staying within the ADA and HIPAA legal requirements;
• Establishing a “direct threat” under the ADA;
• But for causation under the ADA.

Speaker: Jonathan Mook & Dan Crean

Click here to view the speaker's bios.

June 20 – First Amendment – FA10
Reed v. Town of Gilbert—One Year Later

The US Supreme Court shook up First Amendment jurisprudence with this sign regulation decision on June 18, 2015. The ripples from Reed have touched a wide range of federal, state and local regulations of speech. This webinar will take stock of the impact of Reed on its one-year anniversary, and share lessons learned from the cases that have interpreted and applied Reed to local government regulations of speech.

Speakers: Susan L. Trevarthen

Click here to view the speaker's bio.


June 28- – Ethics – E2 

The City and the Cop: Representing Both Without Harming Either

Civil rights lawsuits often include allegations both against a police officers and the City for which the officer works. An attorney assigned to represent both the officer and the City needs to be mindful of the potential for conflicts. “The City and the Cop: Representing Both Without Harming Either” will outline the important rules of professional conduct, where one client’s interest may be adverse to another’s, and what exceptions allow an attorney to represent both parties without facing the risk of disqualification, including a discussion of Model Rule 1.7.

Speaker: John Wilkerson

Click here to view the speaker's bio.

July 11 – Land Use – L7
Short-Term Rentals: Are They Giving You Sleepless Nights?

Short term rentals (STR) have had great impacts, some good and some bad, on communities and individuals.  Learn about the challenges that come with regulating STRs from the example of Austin, Texas, which has been one of several “ground zero” cities coping with STRs and how its regulations have evolved over time.  Our guest will be Trish Link, an attorney with the City of Austin’s Law Department, Land Use-Real Estate Division (B.A. Louisiana State University; J.D. Texas Tech University). Email our co-moderator, Dwight Merriam, with your questions and what you would like to see covered, and we will do our best to address them (email will be given when registered).

Speakers: Dwight Merriam, Dan Mandelker & Patricia "Trish" Link

Click here to view the speakers bios.

July 18- Your Leave is Giving Me a Migraine - P4b

Managing employee medical leaves often leaves human resources and legal counsel scratching their heads – or worse, with a medical condition of their own! In “Your Leave is Giving Me a Migraine!”, we will examine through hypotheticals the employee’s eligibility and notice requirements as well as the employer’s obligations under the Family and Medical Leave Act. The exhaustion of or non-eligibility for FMLA leave does not wholly encompass an employee’s leave entitlement, and we will also therefore examine the “leave as a reasonable accommodation” requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Speakers: Crystal Clark, Dan Crean and Robin Cross

Click here to view the speakers bios.

July 20 – Personnel– P6
Social Media and Employment

In this lively webinar, Brian Jackson and Jennifer Will address the impact of social media on the workplace – pros and cons.  Social media has changed how employers go about hiring, conducting background checks and communicating with customers and constituents, but it can also lead to decreased productivity, confidentiality breaches and unintended overtime.  While addressing both risks and rewards, this session will touch on federal labor and employment trends as well as some interesting ways employees have gotten fired through their use of social media!

Speakers: Dan Crean, Jennifer Will & Brian Jackson

Click here to view the speakers bios.

July 25- Technology- T1



As the debate about drones continues to evolve, one fact remains — local government attorneys are on the front line where precedent-setting action will take place. Municipal attorneys are on their own in a pioneering environment where they have to publicly debate, draft, and defend new ordinances governing the public and private uses of drones; manage local residents' concerns about public safety and privacy, and still allow for innovative uses of technology. Old ways of making laws may not address these new, digitally connected devices.

This presentation will analyze case studies, demonstrate technology, and provide a framework to help local government attorneys understand and proactively solve numerous expected and unexpected issues that they will encounter in the new drone-related era of municipal law both in regulating the use of drones and in the government's own use of drones. It will also provide an update on the status of the FAA law and regulations as they pertain to drones and discuss preemption issues that local governments need to be aware of with regard to drones. The presentation will also provide practical tips and a discussion of how to draft an effective and enduring drone ordinance.

Speaker: Gregory McNeal

Click here to view the speaker's bio.


August 2 - Municipal Finance - FIN 

More and more municipalities are facing balance sheet problems caused by underfunded pension liabilities and too much outstanding debt. On top of that, many municipalities are having trouble funding needed ongoing capital expenditures on the water, sewer and other systems they own. A sale or long-term lease of such systems can generate money to address these unfunded liabilities. The presenters will review how such asset transactions are accomplished through a process that encourages the highest bids.

Speakers: Benjamin A. Haverstick & David Unkovic

Click here to view the speakers bio.

August 4 – Telecom – TC3
First Net: What is it? Why do we want it? Is your Governor prepared to opt in, or opt out? What might it cost?

Local government attorneys, as soon as the first quarter of 2017, will be called upon to assist their local government clients negotiate their community’s use of FirstNet, a nationwide interoperable public safety wireless broadband network. Local attorneys may also need to examine how to extend current agreements for wireless public safety communications as FirstNet proves its case and prior to equipment becoming universally available. Or, local government attorneys may be called upon to negotiate a similar agreement with a state run network should the governor of your state “opt out” of FirstNet. But we are getting ahead of ourselves.

The Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act [Public Law No. 112-96 (enacted February 22, 2012)] signed into law on February 22, 2012, created the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet)[See Sections §§6000-6704.] The law provides FirstNet’s mission is to build, operate and maintain the first high-speed, nationwide wireless broadband network dedicated to public safety. FirstNet will provide a single interoperable platform for emergency and daily public safety communications. Of primary importance to this presentation are Sections:
• 6206(c)(2) which created an obligation for FirstNet to consult with regional, State, tribal, and local jurisdictions on network elements and construction; and
• 6302(e)which provides that after a 90 day review period, the governor or each state may “opt in” or “opt out” of FirstNet, but if the governor opts out, that states has only 180 days to develop an alternate plan that must be approved by the FCC.

This presentation will explain the law, share insights from participants that have been actively engaged in the FirstNet process and provide a framework to help local government attorneys understand and proactively solve numerous expected and unexpected issues that they will encounter in the next 6 to 9 months as FirstNet decisions are being made and will seek to impart provide practical guidance to protect your community in an environment where they must react to the decision of others.

Speakers:Barry Fraser, General Manager, BayRICS Authority & Gerard Lederer

Moderator: Michael Watza

Click here to view the speakers bio.

August 8 – Land Use – L8
Inclusionary Zoning

The affordable housing crisis continues and in many areas has worsened.  Join us with a guest scholar on the subject to learn more about the nature and extent of the problems, what municipalities have tried with and without success, what strategies are proven and promising, and what you, as local government lawyers and planners can do to help meet the demand for more affordable housing.

Speakers: Brian Stromberg, Dwight Merriam & Dan Mandelker

Click here to view the speakers bio.

August 17 – Personnel– P7
Riding the Judicial Merry-Go-Round in 2016

This perennial IMLA webinar reviews and analyzes the 2015 and 2016 Employment Law Decisions from the United States Supreme Court and selected federal court along with selected decisions from state courts.

Speakers: Dan Crean & Douglas Haney

Click here to view the speakers bio.



August 23 – New Government Lawyer Series – NGLS2

Dillon’s Rule v. Home Rule

This course will discuss the development of Dillon’s Rule and how it may apply to local governments around the country.  The course will also discuss the Home Rule movement, the different forms of Home Rule and the intersection of Home Rule with Dillon’s Rule – where they align, where they conflict and where they work tangentially or in tandem.  Examples of how Dillon’s Rule applies and how Home Rule applies tend to be state specific, but in discussing state specific examples the course will use those examples to explain how these principles may apply across jurisdictional and jurisprudential boundaries.

Speaker: Chuck Thompson

Click here to view the speakers bio.

September 12 – Land Use – L9
Taking the Disaster Out of Disaster Recovery

Disasters are neither acts of God nor acts of nature. They are the collision of hazardous natural events with the built environment, which means that every decision our society makes about where to build and how to build has a direct impact on the nature and extent of the damages we suffer when these collisions occur. In effect, we create our own disasters, whether deliberately or unwittingly. We can reduce their impact by taking responsibility for the environments we create. Municipal lawyers, always on the frontline of disasters, have a special need to get out ahead of the problem. This webinar will provide the knowledge necessary to be truly proactive.

This logic leads inexorably to the question of what we do before disaster strikes to minimize those damages. In its landmark study, Planning for Post-Disaster Recovery: Next Generation, APA delineates important distinctions and considerations with regard to what can reasonably be planned ahead of disaster with regard to facilitating recovery, and what must await knowledge of the pattern of damages afterwards. Earlier work by APA also discussed integrating hazard mitigation priorities throughout the local planning process, rather than isolating it in stand-alone plans that have no legal standing as public policy. Together, these initiatives can provide most communities with a viable package for significantly reducing their vulnerabilities and dramatically increasing their resilience in the face of known hazards.

Jim Schwab will walk listeners through an essential summary of this suite of tools and techniques and highlight cases of communities with best practices, complemented by a brief look at future directions in public policy in this arena.

Speakers: James C. Schwab, FAICP, Dwight Merriam & Dan Mandelker

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September 13-Telecommunications – TC3 

Selling Your Local Government Cell Tower Lease: Monetize or Mistake

Once your local government leases its property or a structure for a cell tower, you will routinely receive offers to buy the cell tower lease for a lump sum payment (often plus a percentage of future revenues), coupled with a long term (or perpetual) easement. The most common question is whether these are good deals for governments. This program, taught by John Pestle, Esq. and Jonathan Kramer, Esq., both highly experienced local government telecommunications attorneys, covers (1) how to determine whether a sale of a cell lease and future leasing rights is in a municipality's best interest, (2) descriptions of the non-binding bid process which will commonly lead to the best price and terms, and (3) the significant legal and business issues and potential pitfalls involved in selling the lease and the traps hidden in the lengthy "Communications Easement" you will be asked to execute. This program will help you spot the major issues in the very one-sided documents typically offered by buyers. Key points to be addressed include (a) making sure the municipality is not hindered in using its property for its primary public use; (b) ensuring that future sums and duties promised by the purchaser in fact are performed; (c) unique insurance and bankruptcy issues; (d) special questions of municipal authority; (e) compliance with bond obligations and IRS tax-exempt bond regulations; (f) municipal finance/procurement statutes; and (g) prohibitions on waste. Extensive handouts in PDF format will be provided to participants, which commonly include local government attorneys, city managers and the real estate property managers working for local governments. A lively and interactive Question and Answer session will follow the presentation.

***This Webinar is 90 minutes***

Speakers: John W. Pestle & Natalia Shparber

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September 14- MS1

Expanding Municipal Securities Enforcement: Profound Changes for Issuers and Officials

*FREE for IMLA Members, 90 minute presentation. Seats are LIMITED!! 

This presentation will cover the Securities and Exchange Commission’s Municipalities Continuing Disclosure Cooperation (MCDC) Initiative and lessons learned for issuers and underwriters.
The discussion will cover the nature of the MCDC Initiative, allegations made by the SEC in MCDC actions, with examples of the antifraud violations identified, and the remedies and other consequences for issuers, underwriters and the market as a whole consequences. This includes the movement toward issuer adoption of disclosure policies and procedures, and the structuring and implementation of such policies and procedures. In addition, the presentation also covers the expanding SEC reliance upon antifraud enforcement actions as a means of indirectly regulating municipal securities issuers, why the Commission is utilizing that approach, recent actions of interest, and notable SEC “firsts” since early 2013.

Speakers: Robert Doty, Elaine Greenberg, John McNally & Kevin Guerrero

Click here to view the speaker's bios.

Additionally, IMLA is publishing Robert Doty's book. Click here to view the description/order form.


September 15 – First Amendment – FA__
Government Speech and Local Government Forums

This webinar will explore how the evolving caselaw about “government speech” applies in various local government settings, including public meetings, public buildings, and virtual settings such as websites and social media. When do these settings create forums for expression by citizens under the First Amendment, and when are they considered to be outlets exclusively for government speech, including speech by third parties chosen by the government? Discussion will include an overview

Speaker: Frayda Bluestein

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October 11 – Land Use
Regulating Formula Retail and Appearance Codes

Are people  complaining you have too many chain stores and retsuarnst in town such that you can’t hardly tell if you’re even in your own town and not some other place?  The antidote is to consider planning and regulating to minimize the impact of “formula retail.”  In this webinar you learn all about it from the country’s leading expert, Stacy Mitchell, co-director of the Institute for Local Self-Reliance and director of its Community-Scaled Economy Initiative, which produces research and analysis, and partners with a range of allies to design and implement policies that curb economic consolidation and strengthen community-rooted enterprise.

Speakers: Stacy Mitchell, Dwight Merriam & Dan Mandelker

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October 17 - Municipal Finance - F10
Municipal Bonds/Insurance


Experienced public construction attorneys Christopher Petrini and Christopher Brown, from the firm of Petrini & Associates, P.C., located in Framingham, Massachusetts, will present an informative discussion regarding risk allocation issues for public owners, specifically regarding performance and payment bonds and liability insurance.  The discussion’s specific focus will be on the flaws in industry standard bond forms and how to strengthen bond forms for the public owner, as well as potential pitfalls in contract insurance and indemnity requirements based on the recent updates in ISO forms for CGL policies.  Time will be reserved during the discussion for audience participation and Q&A.

Speakers: Christopher Petrini & Chris Brown

*Limited availability

October 19- Personnel

FLSA: Best Practices, What to do when DOL comes knocking and new rules update

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has issued new regulations pursuant to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) of which an overview will be provided including potential future controversies.  Additionally, given the U.S. Department of Labor’s broad investigative authority and ability to bring enforcement actions against municipalities, it is critical for municipal employers to prepare for, and assert their rights and manage the flow of information during, investigations.  This webinar provides a broad overview of new regulations as well as best practices in preparing for and handling an audit through the Wage and Hour Division (WHD).

Speaker: Robin Cross & Melinda Barlow

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October 26 - Ethics- 2B
Litigation Ethics, Civility, & Dealing with Pro Se Litigants

What happens if an opposing lawyer is acting badly or unprofessional? When does such conduct rise to the level of an ethical Rule violation? This webinar will look at guidance provided by certain codes of civility as well as the litigation ethics rules. The course will look at outcomes of cases involving incivility and the applicable rules of professional conduct. There will also be a focus on how to ethically deal with pro se persons during the course of litigation.

Speaker: Dolores Dorsainvil

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October 27th- New Government Lawyer Series—Eminent Domain and Kelo’s Legacy-


This course provides an overview of government takings for attorneys new to local government law as well as those interested in a “refresher” course. It also provides a review of developments in the area of eminent domain in the ten years since Kelo v. New London. As an added bonus, participants will have the opportunity to hear first-hand about the speaker’s experiences representing the City of New London before the Supreme Court in Kelo.

Speaker:Wesley Horton & Brendon Levesque

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November 1– Legislation – LE1

Dangerous Dogs & Reckless Owners  – Innovative Approaches to Animal Ordinances


A fundamental goal is a safe and humane community. Everyone benefits from a safe society -both people and pets. Our communities deserve comprehensive dangerous dog laws that demand responsible ownership. Learn about new and innovative ordinances that target reckless owners and humanely reduce the community cat population.

Speakers: Ledy VanKavage & Katie Barnett

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*Limited availability

November 2- Public Works- PW1

Recent Developments and Trending Issues in Public Works


The program will focus on the latest trends in public works and how these changes are impacting the way in which public agencies administer public infrastructure projects. Participants will learn how to successfully navigate common issues that arise in public works projects, explore recent changes and trends in alternative delivery methods, and implement best practices for efficiently managing and resolving claims, bidding challenges, and other disputes related to public projects.

Speakers: Mary Beth Coburn, Rebecca Chaparro

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November 9- Applicant Testing:  How to Select the Best Applicants, Comply with EEO and Validation Requirements and Avoid Class Actions

Many municipal employers use tests to decide whom to hire or promote.  Legal challenges to applicant testing have increased  because testing falls  within EEOC's focus on systemic selection practices and the class action bar's search for "common" practices on which to sue.  This presentation addresses how to design and validate tests (and procure and supervise vendors) to avoid or defeat such litigation while assuring your test will identify the best-qualified applicants.

Speakers: Kenneth Willner

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November 14 – Land Use – L10
Welcome to Moo U. -- Agricultural Land Use


Our speakers, co-editors of the ABA publication Urban Agriculture: Policy, Law, Strategy, and Implementation, will discuss a range of issues relating to the increasing interest in agricultural production in urban and peri-urban settings, including the land use and regulatory measures that either incentivize or present roadblocks to such activities.  The discussion will also touch upon the local government’s use of community gardening and urban agriculture as tools to achieve specific community objectives.

Speakers:  Sorell Negro, Martha Chumbler, Dwight Merriam & Dan Mandelker 

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*Limited availability

November 16- Personnel

Investigating and Responding to EEOC Charges

This program will provide guidance and direction for handling charges of discrimination from the EEOC or similar state or local agencies.  Topics will include notification and preservation of documents; how to conduct an effective investigation, including collecting relevant information and conducting witness interviews; determining whether to participate in mediation; preparing a response to the charge of discrimination; as well as practical legal tips to keep in mind during this process.

Speakers: Travis A. Elliott & Robin Cross

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December 5- Ethics and Professional Responsibility for New Government Attorneys

Intended primarily for young attorneys and those new to municipal law, this presentation provides an overview of laws and rules related to ethics and professional responsibility.

Speakers: Marc Hansen & Chuck Thompson

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