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West Hill Reading List: Non-Fiction Edition

21 February 2024

As a women-owned law firm and business, uplifting women and championing their rights and success is immensely important to us. 

To celebrate women, we’ve curated a special reading list with some of our favorite non-fiction books that focus on the empowerment of women and girls. Consider this blog post your official invitation to join our informal book club. 

West Hill’s Non-Fiction Favorites

A Woman of No Importance by Sonia Purnell 

Untamed by Glennon Doyle 

The Heart of a Woman by Maya Angelou 

Wild by Cheryl Strayed 

Women Mean Business: Over 500 Insights from Extraordinary Leaders to Spark your Success by Edie Fraser, Robyn Freeman Spizman, and Andi Simon, PhD 

Bossypants by Tina Fey 

Finding Me by Viola Davis 

You are Only Just Beginning by Morgan Harper Nichols 

If you think there’s a book missing from this list, let us know! 

Feel free to comment on this post or tag us on LinkedIn to share the book you’re currently reading. Let’s start a conversation! Which book are you reading first? 

Attorney Spotlight: Louise Kennedy to present NSTC Program on How Non-Patent IP Protection Can Increase the Value of your Company

10 January 2024

Your company’s intellectual property may be one of your most valuable assets. But how do you go about protecting that asset? What intellectual property do you have in your business and how can you protect it? The North Shore Technology Council has invited Louise Kennedy, the West Hill Founder, to lead a program titled IP is Not Just Patents. Join Louise for a FREE lunch-hour zoom on Thursday, January 25th, from 12-1 pm. Register here today. Both NSTC members and non-members are welcome to attend.

This program will discuss how using copyright, trademark, and trade secret protection can increase the value of your company. Louise will also walk through the steps required to protect non-patent intellectual property assets. These include copyright and trademark filings, as well as company policies. The discussion will cover the role of contracts for routine business transactions in preserving these rights. Finally, Louise will walk through typical IP-related questions in M&A due diligence and why you should ask them or be prepared to answer them.

About the North Shore Technology Council

The NSTC hosts unique learning/networking events for innovators, entrepreneurs, service providers and career-seekers north of Boston – and beyondconnecting them with global experts across technology and the sciences – and each other – to build knowledge and foster collaboration that drives personal and business growth. Find out more about the NSTC and its membership here.

About Louise Kennedy

Louise Leduc Kennedy is the founding attorney of West Hill Technology Counsel. She has extensive experience advising technology companies on intellectual property and strategic matters. She is passionate about service agreements and ensuring her clients understand the legal jargon in their agreements so they are legally protected and positioned for growth. Louise loves working with innovative women and their entrepreneurial businesses.

Prior to forming the firm, Ms. Kennedy worked as in-house counsel at IBM Corporation for 9 years. During this time she supported the Global Sales and Distribution Group, IBM Business Consulting Services as well as the Lotus brand within IBM Software Group. Her responsibilities included the structure and negotiation of complex e-marketplace offerings as well as supply-chain management and e-procurement software alliances.

Louise received her B.A. in Economics from Smith College and her J.D., with honors, from the University of Connecticut School of Law. 

Pushing Edges. Innovative Women on a Mission: Technology for the Greater Good

24 October 2023

On Thursday, October 19th, at the Ferncroft Country Club in Middleton, the North Shore Technology Council (NSTC), held its Second Annual Women in Technology Forum: Women on a Mission –Technology for the Greater Good. Louise Kennedy, West Hill’s Founding Attorney, moderated the panel of inspiring women who discussed their entrepreneurial journeys and mission-driven technology businesses.

The Speakers and Their Missions

The evening started with an inspiring keynote from Erika Ebbel Angle, CEO of Ixcela focused on “Pushing Edges” with stories from her personal and professional journeys. “The combined energies that you spend pushing your edges will help you gain the confidence that it takes to do other things. You set your standards and push your limits, and those will end up defining your edges.” By pushing her edges, Ms. Angle founded Science from Scientists, became Miss Massachusetts, and started Ixcela, a biotech company that creates personalized wellness programs focused on gut microbiome health.

Louise Kennedy introduced the panel and told the story of the West Hill Mission. Part of the West Hill Mission is disrupting the status quo by challenging the traditional hallmarks and metrics of law firm and attorney success. “The firm remains committed to supporting and elevating women in the legal community and the technology businesses we work with,” said Louise. 

The packed room was buzzing as the panel answered questions and told their own stories of disrupting the status quo and pushing their edges. The panel included: Kathleen Connors, Founder and President of Voltrek, Ioana Knopf, CEO and Founder at Arrakis Materials, Kerry Love, CEO/President of Sunflower Therapeutics, and Donna Brezinski, CEO of Little Sparrow Technologies.

The NSTC and the Event Sponsors

The evening concluded with the NSTC President, Gene Wong, recognizing and paying tribute to, past NSTC President, Tracey Curley, who is currently CEO at iSpecimen. For more information on the North Shore Technology Counsel please follow the NSTC on LinkedIn and visit NSTC.org.

West Hill Technology Counsel is a proud supporter of the NSTC along with the following sponsors of this event: Endicott College School of Science & Technology, Colin & Erika Angle Center for Entrepreneurship, Cohn Reznick, Applied Materials, Bond Building, and Green Path Strategies.

  • NSTC Women in Technology Forum Panel
    NSTC Women in Technology Forum Panel
  • Ferncroft Country Club NSTC Women on a Mission Oct 2023
    Ferncroft Country Club NSTC Women on a Mission Oct 2023
  • Shehla Syed, Wendy Sabin, Kathleen Shaffer and Kim Biggs from West Hill
  • Louise Kennedy, Kathleen Shaffer, Shehla Syed, Wendy Sabin, Kim Biggs, Brendan Kennedy and Tom Kennedy at the West Hill table.
    Louise Kennedy, Kathleen Shaffer, Shehla Syed, Wendy Sabin, Kim Biggs, Brendan Kennedy and Tom Kennedy at the West Hill table.
  • Erika Angle, Keynote
    Erika Angle, CEO of Ixcela, delivering the keynote
  • Erika Angle, Keynote on Pushing Edges
    Erika Angle, Keynote on Pushing Edges
  • Louise Kennedy hosting and introucing the panel
  • Louise Kennedy introducing the panel
  • Louise Kennedy, Founding Attorney, West Hill Forum Host
    Louise Kennedy, hosting the NSTC Women in Tech Forum
  • Ioana Knopf, CEO and Founder at Arrakis Materials,
    Panelist: Ioana Knopf, CEO and Founder at Arrakis Materials,
  • Kathleen Connors, Founder and President of Voltrek
    Panelist: Kathleen Connors, Founder and President of Voltrek
  • Kerry Love, CEO/President of Sunflower Therapeutics,
    Panelist: Kerry Love, CEO/President of Sunflower Therapeutics,
  • Panelist: Donna Brezinski, CEo of Little Sparrow Technologies
  • Louise Kennedy, Founder and CEO of West Hill introducing the NSTC Women in Technology Forum Panel
    Louise Kennedy, Founder and CEO of West Hill introducing the NSTC Women in Technology Forum Panel
  • Panelist: Kathleen Connors
  • Andrew Noble and Brendan Kennedy at the West Hill table
    Andrew Noble and Brendan Kennedy at the West Hill table
  • Gene Wong NSTC President honoring past president Tracey Curley
    Gene Wong NSTC President honoring past president Tracey Curley
  • Tracey Curley, current CEO at iSpecimen.
    Tracey Curley, current CEO at iSpecimen.
  • NSTC Women in Technology Forum Women on a Mission Technology for the Greater Good
    NSTC Women in Technology Forum Women on a Mission
  • Tracey Curley, iSpecimen CEO
    Tracey Curley, NSTC Past President and current iSpecimen CEO
  • NSTC Women in Technology Forum
    NSTC Women in Technology Forum
  • North Shore Technology Council Women in Technology Forum
    North Shore Technology Council Women in Technology Forum
  • West Hill Mission
  • West Hill Program Guide Ad

West Hill Proudly Supports the Million Dollar Women Symposium

10 October 2023

The Enterprise Center at Salem State University hosted the Million Dollar Women Symposium at the Hawthorne Hotel on September 29th. West Hill Technology Counsel is a legacy sponsor of this event that celebrated 15 years of spotlighting women entrepreneurs who have achieved a million dollars in revenue per year on the North Shore. 

Million Dollar Women Panelists

As a past Million Dollar Woman panelist, Louise Kennedy was invited to introduce the panel of four honorees. The panel included: Rajia Abedelaziz, CEO of invisaWear, Natalie Blue and Madelene Pario, Co-Founders of the Artful Life Counseling Center & Studio and Jeysi Zuniga, President and CEO of Synergy Contracting, Inc.

Abdelaziz’s company sells smart jewelry and accessories with safety technology hidden inside. Her mission is to prevent sexual assault, as currently one in five women are sexually assaulted at some point in their lifetimes.

Blue and Pario’s center, The Artful Life, is a unique mental health counseling practice and studio in Salem. They utilize expressive-arts therapy and other holistic interactive methods as an affordable alternative to traditional mental health counseling.

Zuniga’s Lawrence-based company provides environmental remediation, demolition, painting, and construction services. She has worked in a variety of fields including real estate and biotechnology.

Keynote

The keynote speaker was Rhonda Kallman, Founder & CEO of Boston Harbor Distillery. Kallman has nearly four decades of experience in the alcoholic beverages industry. She is widely considered one of the a national thought leader in this traditionally male-dominated industry.

About the Enterprise Center

Laura Swanson, the Executive Director of the Enterprise Center and also the North Shore Alliance for Economic Development, and her team organizes the event annually to spotlight successful women business owners and inspire future women entrepreneurs in and around Boston.

  • Louise Kennedy from West Hill Moderating Panel at Million Dollar Women Symposium
    Louise Kennedy from West Hill introducing the Million Dollar Women Symposium panel.
  • Shehla Syed, Louise Kennedy, Jennica Holoquist, Wendy Sabin, Suzanne Turcotte and Kathleen Shaffer at the West Hill Table for the Million Dollar Women Symposium
    Shehla Syed, Louise Kennedy, Jennica Holoquist, Wendy Sabin, Suzanne Turcotte and Kathleen Shaffer at the West Hill Table for the Million Dollar Women Symposium.
  • Louise Kennedy Million Dollar Women Symposium Panel Moderator
  • West Hill Sponsors Million Dollar Women Symposium
  • Wendy Sabin and Louise Kennedy from West Hill and entrepreneur Jessica Moody from Moody's Gifts at the Million Dollar Women Symposium
    Wendy Sabin (West Hill), Jessica Moody (Moody’s Gifts), and Louise Kennedy (West Hill)
  • Louise Kennedy, Mabelyn Lopez, Laura Swanson, Jeysi Zuniga, Nathalie Blue, Madelene Pario, Rajia Abedelaziz and Alvania Lopez


Click to Accept the Terms. Are you Exposed?

1 August 2023

You’ve drafted website terms and online contracts that protect your business. What if the way they were presented on the screen made them unenforceable?

What makes a contract binding?

An enforceable contract has two key components: “reasonable notice” of the terms and a “reasonable manifestation of assent” to them. In other words, the user must be shown the terms and indicate that they agree. For most contracts, this is easy; a party’s signature shows that they have read and accepted it. The laws of Massachusetts and many other states apply this standard to all contracts, whether signed in ink, signed electronically, or agreed by clicking a box. 

However, there are many ways to present contract terms online, and not all are effective. Companies are often only aware once the terms are challenged in court or during due diligence for a merger or sale. The results can range from a minor inconvenience to significant legal liability.

Wrong Turn Lands Uber in Court

Even Uber has run into trouble. In the 2021 case of Kauders v. Uber Technologies, Uber sought to enforce a mandatory arbitration clause in its terms. On appeal, the court found that Uber’s terms did not bind users because the company’s online registration process was inadequate. The Uber app permitted users to click “Done” without reviewing the terms. Nothing on this page told users they should read and agree to the extensive terms and conditions. The only statement encouraging users to open and review the terms was displayed less prominently than other information. The court held that the parties had not formed a binding contract. Uber was forced into court rather than a less costly (and likely confidential) arbitration proceeding. 

The lesson from this and similar cases is that your online terms must meet the standards for a binding contract — informing users of the terms and requiring users to show that they have agreed to them.

Avoid “Browsewrap”

Many companies rely on terms in their online contracts that state that users are automatically deemed to have accepted an agreement by using the company’s product, service, or website. 

These contracts, known as “browsewrap,” do not meet the second part of the enforceability test. The user does not have to demonstrate their consent. 

Two alternatives are: 

1. Scrollwrap is a process that compels users to interact with the terms before agreeing to them, usually by making them scroll a box containing the terms before proceeding. 

2. Clickwrap requires the users to expressly click or check a box stating that they agree to the terms and includes an easy step to view them before proceeding. 

Making changes to online agreements requires a similar approach. Users must agree to the changes for them to be binding. It is not enough to present a pop-up saying that the terms have changed and inviting users to read them. Unless the user is required to view the updated terms and affirmatively agree to them, a court may find them unenforceable.

Are You Exposed?

There are as many ways to implement website terms as web designers. But a few simple sign-up or sales process steps can help ensure your contract is enforceable. These include ensuring that the terms are communicated clearly and that the language accompanying a check box is clear that the user is entering into a contract. Also, the scope of the terms and how they are communicated should be consistent with the nature and size of the transaction. 

The West Hill Team can review how you have implemented your website terms and other online contracts and advise you on updates to help enforce them.

ATTORNEY SPOTLIGHT: Louise Kennedy and Kim Prior join CWE to present Legal Considerations for “Women Owned” Business Certification 

7 June 2023

Ready to get Certified as a Women-Owned business? The WBENC application can be daunting – we can help you navigate it. West Hill attorneys Louise Kennedy and Kim Prior join the Center for Woman and Enterprise (CWE) for a live webinar on Legal Considerations for “Women-Owned” Business Certification.  The webinars will live on June 8th, and on July 13th with CWE Board Member (and attorney) Deb Thomas and August 7th with CWE Certifications Manager, Meghan Cunningham,

Sign up for the Live Webinar Today

Join this webinar for an overview of the process and criteria for obtaining WBE/WOSB certification. The process is much easier when you know what materials are required before you begin. 

A common reason that applications for WBENC certification are delayed or denied, is that the owner does not have the proper documentation about their business entity. Join us for an overview of the process and criteria for obtaining WBE/WOSB certification, including an explanation of the supporting materials that must be submitted for different business types. This is a live webinar and you will be able to ask the attorneys questions. 

“As a WBENC-certified woman-owned business, we know the benefits of certification.  The networking, education, and business development opportunities are unrivaled. But we also appreciate the challenges of pulling together the right documents for your application and renewal submissions.  We look forward to demystifying this process for woman-owned businesses with CWE.” 

Sign up today at the following links:  June 8th, July 13th and August 7th.  

About CWE:

Established in 1995, the Center for Women & Enterprise (CWE) is a non-profit organization that  empowers women to launch and grow their business – so they in turn can drive economic growth, lift up their communities, and create a more equitable world.  CWE also operates the Veterans Business Outreach Center of New England (VBOC of NE) that equips veteran and active duty service members and their families with the resources to help them start and run their businesses.  

To learn more about CWE visit, www.CWEonline.org.  Find CWE on Facebook at www.facebook.com/CenterforWomenandEnterprise , Instagram at www.Instagram.com/CWETalk , Twitter at www.twitter.com/CWETalk , and LinkedIn, Friends of Center for Women & Enterprise.  

About West Hill:

West Hill Technology Counsel is a boutique business and technology law firm. Providing pro-active, practical legal advice to help solve problems before they arise. Our clients are new and growing businesses that create or leverage technology as a core part of their business model.