Past Events

2015 Annual Conference: Las Vegas, Nevada

IMLA's 80th Annual Conference

October 3-7, 2015

Las Vegas, Nevada



Welcome to Las Vegas!




Breaking Conference News

Sign Regulation in a Post Reed World - IMLA Las Vegas Programming

Following yesterday's successful webinar focusing on the Reed v. Town of Gilbert Supreme Court decision, it is clear to us that our members want more information on sign regulation in a post Reed world. That's why we are offering two separate presentations at our annual conference in Las Vegas that will discuss the Reed case and provide practical strategies for municipal lawyers on how to draft effective sign ordinances following Reed. Descriptions of those presentations are below.

These presentations are in addition to all of our other great programming on cutting edge topics like body cameras, drones, crisis management, qualified immunity, water rights, municipal bond issues and much more! For more information about our conference and to view the tentative schedule, please click here. Take advantage of our early bird special on registration rates that expires July 31st! To register for our annual conference, please click here.

Changing Signs: Reed v. Town of Gilbert and the Sign Regulation Aftermath

Regulating signs in a content neutral manner satisfying First Amendment limitations may become more difficult for local governments following June's U.S. Supreme Court decision in Reed v. Town of Gilbert. In the opinion, all nine Supreme Court Justices agreed that the Town of Gilbert, Arizona's sign code failed the First Amendment's content neutrality requirement, although the Justices came to that conclusion in different ways. This session will discuss the case, some of the issues that the Justices left unanswered, and some practical regulatory strategies to ensure that local governments stay out of legal trouble.

This presentation, by Brian Connolly of Otten Johnson will be a part of a larger First Amendment Work Session that will also cover legislative prayer scheduled for Tuesday, October 6th at 9:00 am.

Strategies and Tactics for Regulating Signs After Reed

In Reed v. Town of Gilbert, the U.S. Supreme Court has given new guidance to local governments on what it expects from a constitutional sign regulation. What regulatory techniques pose the most risk after Reed? What are the best strategies for adapting to Reed without completely undermining the protection of aesthetics and traffic safety in your community? This session will examine the implications of Reed from a practical perspective, and suggest issues and options that the municipal attorney should consider in amending and implementing sign regulations.

Susan Trevarthen of Weiss Serota Helfman Cole & Bierman will present this topic on Tuesday, October 6th at 2 pm.



New Mobile App:

Due to high hotel internet fees, IMLA has been unable to offer wifi in meeting rooms and while this is still the case, we have a great new offer that puts all event information at your fingertips!

IMLA introduced a mobile app at the 2015 seminar in Washington, D.C. and will also feature the app at the Annual Conference. IMLA Conference attendees will have the program, speakers, papers, exhibitors, sponsors, maps, attendee list and much much more directly on their iPhone, Android, laptop, tablet, iPad, and/or Blackberry!

Stay tuned for updates and more information on these great features!

Thoughts or suggestions are welcome!



IMLA's Annual Conference Schedule

IMLA will feature conference CLE substantive programming from Saturday, October 3 to Wednesday, October 7, 2015


 Conference Program Highlights

Monday, October 5, 2015
12:10pm - 1:10pm

Meet the EEOC (or How to Calm an 800 Pound Gorilla)
The pitfalls for public employers are many when complying with the matrix of laws designed to prevent discrimination and require accommodation. Learn what the EEOC is up to, how best to avoid confronting it, and what to do if it shows up on your doorstep.

Lawrence Lee, Partner, Fisher & Phillips
Robin Cross, First Assistant City Attorney, College Station, Texas (Moderator)


Monday, October 5, 2015

10:30am - 12:00pm

Work Session VIII:

Drones - Legal and Regulatory Challenges over Use, Privacy and Public Safety Take Flight

While the multi-faceted debate about drones continues to evolve, one fact will long remain the same - local government attorneys are on the front line where precedent-setting action will take place. Municipal law 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; respond to intense public and courtroom scrutiny involving the protection of civil rights and liberties; and manage local residents' concerns about public safety and privacy.

This presentation will analyze case studies 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 general preemption issues that local governments need to be aware of with regard to drones. The presentation will also provide practical tips on drafting an effective ordinance on drones.

Professor Gregory McNeal, Associate Professor of Law and Associate Professor of Public Policy at Pepperdine University School of Law;
John Bakker, principal and chair of Meyers Nave's Municipal and Special District Law;
Allison Fultz, partner with Kaplan Kirsch Rockwell.


Monday, October 5, 2015
8:45am - 10:15am

Work Session VI:
"When Professional Sports Come to Town"

A discussion of the mutual and competing interests between cities and pro sports franchises in landing a team for your city, and negotiating the development and operating agreements for the stadium/arena. We'll also talk about the issues that arise in financing a sports facility.

Mac McCarley; Village Attorney; Misenheimer, North Carolina; IMLA Past President
David Abrams; Principal; Strategic Advisory Group; Duluth, Georgia
Jonathan Fine; Principal; Fine Strategies; Charlotte, North Carolina

 Sunday, October 4, 2015

9:15am - 10:15am

Work Session II:
Today's Water Wars - Water Rights and Water Quality: From East Coast to West Coast

As water has become increasingly scarce, the shortage of water not only drives litigation over the quantity of water available, but also, the quality of water. The first part of the presentation will discuss what the convergence of these issues means to municipalities with water departments, water rights or the need for water supply for new development from the legal, technical and financial points of view.

Speakers:Shawn Hagerty, Partner, Best Best & Krieger (water quality); Paeter Garcia, Partner, Best Best & Krieger (water rights).

The second part of the presentation will focus on the Florida v. Georgia case before the U.S. Supreme Court. The issue in Florida v. Georgia is whether Florida is entitled to equitable apportionment of the waters of the Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint River Basin and appropriate injunctive relief against Georgia to sustain an adequate flow of fresh water into the Apalachicola Region. Come hear from speaker Drew Whalen, who has been involved in this case on the periphery as the City of Griffin, Georgia, currently holds the largest municipal water withdrawal permit on the Upper Flint. Because the City of Griffin is the largest regional provider of drinking water in the south metro area, the City is right in the crosshairs of the battle between the states.

Speaker: Drew Whalen; IMLA Board of Directors; City Attorney-Griffin, Georgia

 Sunday, October 4, 2015

9:15AM - 10:15AM

Work Session I: Crisis Communications & Reputation Management For Attorneys and Their Clients

Members of the media have spent their entire careers getting ready to interview you and the elected/appointed officials you serve. So, wouldn't it make sense for you to spend just a few minutes preparing for that interview and learning why the media doesn't cover your story or issue the way you want? And when they do, why the story doesn't look or read the way you think it should?

Especially in today's world of "gotcha" journalism, with tiny, digital cameras capable of sending hi-definition pictures to YouTube and CNN within minutes and reputational challenges amplified exponentially by Facebook and Twitter, "managing the media" is a necessary skill set for attorneys and government officials.

This fast-paced talk by veteran crisis communications and media specialist Bruce Hennes, from Hennes Communications in Cleveland (, will focus on a highly-strategic approach to communicating during a wide variety of situations, offering methods for establishing and maintaining "control of the message," enabling you to move your message forward or mount a defense against a sudden press onslaught.

Mr. Hennes has been the plenary speaker at the American Bar Association's Leadership Conference for the last three years. He's recently done similar seminars for the Greater Cleveland General Counsel Association, Ohio Prosecuting Attorneys Association, the Cleveland, Columbus, Akron & Toledo Bar Associations, Ohio Mayors Association, American Association of Corporate Counsel, Maritime Lawyers of The United States, Cuyahoga County Law Directors Association, Ohio Municipal League and the Cuyahoga County Office of Emergency Management.

Conference Speaker: Bruce M. Hennes, Managing Partner of Hennes Communications. Hennes Communications is one of the few agencies in the U.S. focused exclusively on crisis communications and reputation management. Serving corporations, government agencies, educational and healthcare institutions and nonprofits that are "on trial" in the Court of Public Opinion, Hennes Communications also offers media training and litigation communication support to their clients.

Hennes has over 35 years' experience working in politics and public relations. He now counts among his current and former clients such companies as Lubrizol, Kent State University, Kenyon College, Akron General Health System, The Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority, Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District, NASA and Westfield Insurance, as well as scores of law firms, municipalities and school districts.

Hennes serves on the governing board of the Cleveland Leadership Center and The Business Emergency Planning Institute. He is one of the founders of the FBI Citizens Academy Foundation of Cleveland. He is also an adjunct professor in the Levin College of Urban Affairs at Cleveland State University and he frequently speaks before bar and trade associations. Hennes is also a member of The Press Club of Cleveland and he's on the executive committee of The Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association and recipient of the bar association's first-ever President's Award. He is also President of Leadership Cleveland's Class of 2008.

Hennes Communications has won five Gold "Rocks" awards from the Cleveland Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America; one for its Crisis Comm Newsletter; and four for crisis work on behalf of clients, including two coveted "Best of Show" awards - in 2009, for its work with another agency on the national peanut butter recall, and again in 2013, for its work on a ferry boat crash. For more information, please go to .


IMLA's Code Enforcement Conference Program will take place on Saturday, October 3 and Sunday, October 4. Stay tuned for more information.

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CLICK HERE to view the tentative schedule.

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Separate registration is required! CLICK HERE for the form.



IMLA's Institute for Local Government Lawyers (ILGL) Program will take place on Saturday October 3. Stay tuned for more information.

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Coming Soon!

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Separate registration is required! CLICK HERE for the form


IMLA Events

Code Program

Code Enforcement Program

The conference includes a special two day Code Enforcement Program, October 3rd and 4th, which is applicable to not only the city attorney and law department but also your code enforcement officials covering topics on:

  • Enforcing Codes in Court Cosplay: Decency Codes v. The 1st Amendment
  • Court Management the Future is Now: E-Citations
  • Remedies: Injunctions, Money Damages, Mediation
  • Collections: RFPs, Contracts and Considerations

CLICK HERE to view the tentative schedule.

Separate registration is required! CLICK HERE for the form.



ILGL Program


Institute for Local Government Lawyers (ILGL)

On October 3rd there is a special Institute for Local Government Lawyers.

The Institute for Local Government Lawyers (ILGL) is a beginners-level program geared towards law students, attorneys new to local government, as well as seasoned attorneys who need a “refresher” in various general topics of local government law. Presenters are law school professors and/or local government lawyers with a vast amount of experience throughout the United States. The presentations will provide a broad overview on a number of topics of interest to local government attorneys and will be in a classroom-type setting including topics on:

  • Land Use
  • Personnel
  • Finance
  • Negotiation
  • New Attorney
  • Legal Ethics
  • Parliamentary Procedure
  • Hot Topics

Space is limited register early

Separate registration is requires! CLICK HERE for the form

WONK Breakfast

You can’t spell

On Monday, October 5th there will be a Wonk Breakfast for all those who register. The Wonk breakfast is an intimate round-table event that will allow participants direct access to premier speakers and attorneys who concentrate on various areas of municipal law. 

When: Monday, October 5, 2015 from 7:30AM - 8:45AM

Where: Miranda Ball Room 

What: Topics will include:

  • All Things Ordinances: Using codifiers websites for legal research & funny, old ordinances from the Municode archives
    • Speaker: Lawton Langford, President/CEO, Municipal Code Corporation
  • Code Enforcement
    • Speaker: Karen Blake, Conflicts Attorney, Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz, PC
  • Communications Law-Regulatory Right-of-Way Use
    • Speaker: Brian Grogan, Shareholder, Moss & Barnett
  • Employment: The best an the worst hiring techniques
    • Speaker: Dan Crean, Attorney, Crean Law Office
  • FCC Wireless Siting Rules: Lessons Learned
    • Speaker: Joe Van Eaton & Gail Karish, Partner, Best Best & Krieger
  • Future Cities: How droughts can affect your communities
    • Speaker: Steven Anderson, Partner, Best Best & Krieger
  • Hot Topics in D.C.: Using government relations to minimize problems before they become mandates
    • Speaker: Gerry Lederer, Partner, Best Best & Krieger
  • Innovative Approaches to Encouraging Residential Conservation
    • Warren Diven, Partner, Best Best & Krieger
  • Municipal Pension Reform and Litigation
    • Speaker: Steven Goodin, Attorney, Graydon Head & Ritchey
  • P3's and Design Build
    • Speaker: Steven "Tip" Torres, Partner, Pannone Lopes Devereaux & West, LLC
  • Regulating Adult Business in 2015: Keeping ordinances in front of the changing legal landscape
    • Speaker: Scott Bergthold, Principal, Law Office of Scott Bergthold
  • Sign Regulation
    • Speaker: Susan Trevarthen, Member, Weiss Serota Helfman Cole & Bierman
  • Technology
    • Speaker: Peter Haskel, Executive Assistant City Attorney, Dallas, Texas
  • The October 2015 Term: Election law cases pending before SCOTUS
    • Speaker: Ben Griffith, Board Attorney, Griffith Law Firm

CLICK HERE to register!

CLICK HERE to reserve your spot!

(First pick is not guaranteed!)


Interested in hosting a table? Contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

State/Province Breakfast


Interested in hosting a state/province table? Contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 


IMLA Softball Game

Ready for a little friendly competition?

Tuesday, October 6, 2015
5:30 PM – 8:00 PM
Big League Dreams Las Vegas

Join your colleagues on Tuesday afternoon for a fun softball game. Equipment will be provided, please bring your own glove and cleats. Players and spectators are to meet at the IMLA registration desk at 4:30 before boarding the bus.

The Stadium Club restaurant offers a wide variety of food and beverages that you can enjoy before, during or after your game. It has everything from burgers and dogs, to sandwiches and salads; with all sorts of tasty beverages!

Please sign-up at your earliest convenience and return to IMLA via Fax: (202) 785-0152, E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. - Subject line: SOFTBALL, or Mail: IMLA, 7910 Woodmont Avenue, Suite 1440, Bethesda, Maryland 20814

CLICK HERE to read more.

CLICK HERE for the registration form.

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A special thank you to our sponsor Best Best & Krieger 

Land Use Tour

Land Use Tour

Sunday, October 4, 2015
2:00 PM – 5:00 PM
Las Vegas, Nevada


IMLA will be having its ever popular Mobile Workshop on Sunday; space is limited so first come, first served. This annual bus tour is a perennial favorite and a unique opportunity for IMLA conference attendees to learn how land use challenges have been met by the host city. This year’s tour focuses on Downtown Las Vegas. The downtown area has experienced a tremendous amount of growth and development in the last five years. In addition to a thriving gaming district, it now includes a unique blend of restaurants, bars, and shopping. Investors, including Zappos and the Downtown Project, have also helped make downtown Las Vegas a place of entrepreneurial opportunity for many small businesses and tech companies. Downtown Las Vegas is home to the historic casinos of Fremont Street, the Fremont Street Experience, the Container Park, an Arts District, and museums such as the Natural History Museum, the Mob Museum, the Neon Museum, the Lied Museum for children and the Art Deco-inspired Smith Center for the Performing Arts.

Tickets will be issued and required to have to board the bus. Bus departure times will be staggered so please look at your ticket for your buses departure time and get to the bus loading area 10 minutes before your tour starts, so everyone is seated for an on-time departure.

Time: 2pm to 5pm

Departure: location will be forthcoming

NOTE: There are limited bus seats available for this educational Workshop. IMLA encourages local government lawyers with an interest in land use to register early for this program. Bus seats will be available on a first-come, first-served basis. Besides being registered for the Annual Conference, you must register separately for this Mobile Workshop. Only registered attorneys and REGISTERED guests for the Conference are eligible to register for the Mobile Workshop.

COST: Conference Registrants: There is a charge of $30 each for this event to cover the cost of the buses. There will
be no refunds.

CLICK HERE to register.



 IMLA's 80th Annual Conference Registration

Las Vegas, Nevada

October 3-7, 2015

CLICK HERE to download the form or CLICK HERE to register online.


 CLICK HERE to download the form or CLICK HERE to register online.



IMLA's 80th Annual Conference Sponsors

Las Vegas Sponsors  

 IMLA Sponsors 

 LVCVA logo City of Las Vegas   ALP    BBK 
 City of Henderson  cityofreno  Dragun Lexis 
 Boyd Gaming  Station Casino Linebarger 





NVE Logo

Republic Service Municode   PLDW
UARRC Sherman Howard



KCA logo Rowe law group RLG Letterhead


If interested in sponsoring the 80th Annual conference in Las Vegas, please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 


IMLA's 80th Annual Conference Exhibitors

AACE Offset for sizes ALP ARCADIS new Logo
BBK Best Friends Logo cycom
Dragun expoenterpriselogo Legal Files logo
Lexis Linebarger Mitratech
Nautilus Logo copy OIC logo 2 PLDW



If interested in being an exhibitor at the 80th Annual Conference in Las Vegas, please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.">This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

Around Las Vegas

Visit Las Vegas

Las Vegas Strip

Learn more about the amazing City of Las Vegas at their Convention Bureau's web site There are incredible lists of restaurants, shows, activities and tours! To name a few of the great resources on this site.

IMLA members attending the recently concluded Mid Year Seminar were discussing the exciting shows they'd purchased tickets for during the Las Vegas Annual Conference! Act now, sign up to register for the Vegas conference and plan ahead to purchase tickets to any of the many entertainment options available in Vegas. Not sure where to start? CLICK HERE to get started.

Vegas Map

CLICK HERE to download the map

Las Vegas City Map

How to Get Around


Take the Las Vegas FREE shuttle!

Rio ALL Suite -- Bally's/Paris -- Harrah's Las Vegas

Take the free Caesars Entertainment shuttle from the Rio Las Vegas to visit other sister properties, Bally's, Paris and Harrah's Las Vegas on the Strip.

Please Note: The shuttle only runs from The Rio to the sister property, not from property to property.

Pick Up Locations:
Rio: Carnival World Buffet entrance
Bally's/Paris Station: Shuttle picks up daily at Bally's on Flamingo side entrance (near sports book)
Harrah's Las Vegas: Far east-side of property. Located directly behind the Registration/Front Desk at Harrahs Las Vegas

Shuttle Schedule:
The Rio free shuttle operates 10:00a.m - 1:00a.m. daily 7 days a week. Pick-up times are approximately every 30 minutes from each location. (depending on traffic conditions)

Note:No luggage allowed on shuttle bus.

Call 800-214-9110 for more information.

Activites in Vegas


  • Dining
  • Golf
  • Shopping
  • Nightlife
  • Spas
  • Entertainment
  • Museums

CLICK HERE to read more.

Activities resized 3

Nearby Vegas


NearbyVegas resized 2


CLICK HERE to download the document.



Conference Hotel

Rio All-Suite Hotel and Casino
3700 W. Flamingo Road
Las Vegas, NV 89103


IMLA's room block has closed (as of 9/08/15). Please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for information on reserving a hotel room.

 IMLA has secured a block of sleeping rooms and a special room rate at the Rio All-Suites Hotel & Casino, a first class facility, in Las Vegas, NV. The IMLA room rate is $189 for a single or a double; also these rates are subject to applicable state and local taxes. Reservations may be made by calling the Rio directly at (888) 746-6955. In order to receive the preferred room rate you must identify yourself as an International Municipal Lawyers Association (IMLA) 2015 Annual Conference attendee or SRIML5. Reservations can also be made online-CLICK HERE.

In order to secure this block of specially priced sleeping rooms and to keep meeting costs to a minimum, IMLA has entered into a total meeting package and contract with the Rio All-Suites Hotel & Casino. If you choose to make your sleeping room reservations outside the IMLA group block, such as through an Internet reservation system or with a discount coupon, we need to advise you that IMLA can suffer significant financial penalties. IMLA can be held financially responsible for the attrition or difference between what was promised in the group block and what was actually utilized.

To allow IMLA to continue to provide a reasonable conference registration fee, we need your help in limiting our financial exposure. Please take advantage of the special room rate and block of sleeping rooms we have negotiated and make your reservation by contacting:

The Rio All-Suites Hotel & Casino at (888)-746-6955

IMLA’s 2015 Annual Conference Room Rates:

$189.00 single and double
(these rates are subject to applicable state and local taxes)

The official hotel cut-off date for making reservations is September 8, 2015, 5:00pm, EST. It would be in your best interest to make your hotel reservations as soon as possible.

Important Hotel Information:

Sleeping Rooms: You will not be disappointed with the sleeping rooms at the Rio! The standard suites are very nice and spacious- 600 square feet, conversational lounge area, separate vanity and dressing room, work area and laptop-size safe! The rooms also come equipped with the following:

  • Bedside alarm clock
  • Telephone
  • Hair dryer
  • iron and ironing board
  • Make-up and full-length mirrors
  • Refreshment centers
  • Laundry services
  • 24-hour room service
  • Express in-room checkout
  • And more!

CLICK HERE to see more.

Wifi: IMLA attendees will have free wifi in their sleeping rooms. No wifi will be available in IMLA meeting rooms.

Rio Hotel Fitness Center: Attendees can gain access to the fitness center by purchasing the Resort Package offered by the hotel:

With the resort fee you get 2 “passes” to the gym. They are not tangible passes upon check in but they will check the guests in at the gym making sure they have a resort fee with their room. If a guest does not have a resort fee for some reason then the pricing below will apply. 

The fitness center is equipped with treadmills, cross-trainers, bikes and a full line of Cybex machines and free weights. Open 6am - 7pm daily; $25 per day charge, $63 for a three day pass, $105 for a five day pass or $125 for a seven day pass. (Hours and fees are subject to change.)