International Society of Primerus Law Firms

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Force Majeure and Business Interruption

Presented by: Mark Demorest, Melissa Demorest LeDuc, Reinier Russell, Guus van Lieshout and Carrie Ward

Tuesday, May 12th
12:00 PM EDT

The global COVID-19 pandemic is rapidly evolving and poses great challenges for businesses, particularly those involved in international trade. This presentation will discuss how existing force majeure clauses apply to this pandemic; lessons to be learned for drafting force majeure provisions in future contracts; and other developing legal issues regarding the interruption of business caused by the pandemic. The specific content of the presentation will address the latest developments regarding the pandemic and its legal consequences for businesses.

About Mark Demorest
Mark Demorest serves as general counsel to small and medium-sized businesses, and helps larger companies and other law firms with specific projects at Demorest Law Firm, PLLC, providing a full range of legal services for businesses.


  • University of Michigan Law School, J.D., magna cum laude, 1983
  • Elected to the Order of the Coif (top 10% of law school class)
  • Harvard College, B.A., magna cum laude, 1979


  • Michigan SuperLawyer – multiple years (Business & Transactions)
  • D Business, Top Lawyer in Metro Detroit, Real Estate Law, 2015
  • D Business, Top Lawyer in Metro Detroit, Business Litigation, 2012
  • Who’s Who in American Law

About Melissa Demorest LeDuc
Melissa Demorest LeDuc focuses her practice on mergers and acquisitions, real estate, business formation, other business transactions, and estate planning. She serves as outside general counsel for many small businesses, providing guidance in employment, real estate, contract, and other business matters. Melissa also has particular experience with woman-owned businesses.


  • Wayne State University Law School, cum laude, 2005
  • University of Michigan, B.A. in Economics, Minor in French and Francophone Studies, 2002


  • Leadership Detroit Class XXXIV
  • Michigan Lawyers’ Weekly Up & Coming Lawyer 2014
  • Rising Star-Michigan SuperLawyer – multiple years (Business & Transactions)

About Reinier Russell

Reinier Russell is the managing partner at Russell Advocaten, a full-service law firm in Amsterdam, the capital of the Netherlands. Reinier’s main practice areas are corporate and commercial law. He also regularly advises clients on a broad range of labour and employment law matters. Reinier is a trained mediator and has vast experience as a boardroom counsellor for international companies.

An entrepreneur himself, he knows the challenges entrepreneurs have to face. That makes him perfectly qualified to assist (stock exchange listed) companies in their day-to-day business operations. As a result, he is a trusted advisor to entrepreneurs and has long-standing relationships with many clients. Knowing his clients, their companies and the sector they work in, he provides tailored legal advice in a practical and immediately applicable way.

Born and bred in Amsterdam, Reinier also devotes a significant amount of his time to activities in the social sphere of the city. He initiated the post-graduate course Governing Charitable Funds at the VU University Amsterdam, where he also lectures. He is founder of the Network Young Philanthropic Professionals. Reinier Russell is Honorary Consul of Brazil in Amsterdam and has been Secretary of the Amsterdam Consular Corps for many years. He serves on the Advisory Board of Plan Netherlands and the MoWIC Foundation. Reinier is also a board member of the Holland America Friendship Foundation and of several other charitable organizations. He is a member of the Dutch Bar Association. Besides, he is a member of the Dutch Association of Commercial Law and the Dutch Association for Litigation.

Reinier Russell is a Member of the Board of Directors of Primerus and a director of the Quality Assurance Committee of the Primerus Leadership Board. He was chairman of the Primerus International Outside Corporate Counsel Practice Group in 2012.

Reinier has published numerous articles related to his areas of expertise. He has also co-authored the publications “Regelen der onderneming” (Enterprise Rules), “Handboek Ontslagrecht” (Handbook on the Law on the Termination of Employment Contracts) and “Dealing with the Dutch: An Introduction to Dutch Business Law”. An experienced seminar leader, he has conducted many workshops on labour law, dismissal law and the Harvard Negotiation Project.

Reinier received his LL.M. in Civil Law from VU University Amsterdam in 1990. He received his M.S.L. degree the same year. He has been a certified mediator since 2000.

About Guus van Lieshout

Guus van Lieshout provides legal advice to international and national business entrepreneurs. His focus is on corporate law, but he also deals with contracts, General Terms and Conditions, directors’ liability, and shareholder disputes. Guus is a member of the corporate practice group at Russell Advocaten.

Guus’ main focus is on (international) disputes and legal advice in the areas of corporate law, law of obligations, and insolvency law. In addition, he provides legal advice and litigation representation in disputes regarding contracts, including distribution and agency contracts. Guus also deals with questions regarding corporate governance, which was the subject of his Master’s Thesis.

And besides… In his spare time Guus likes travelling, playing football and running. An experienced skier, Guus used to be a ski instructor in Austria.

About Carrie Ward

Carrie Ward has twenty years’ experience in business law with a particular focus on entertainment, communications and media law. Her clients range from media group owners, small broadcasters and podcasters, actors, filmmakers, musicians and start-up entrepreneurs.

She works with her clients on the day-to-day operations of their business from protecting intellectual property, reviewing and drafting all types of contracts including vendor and employment agreements, and reviewing advertising content for regulatory compliance.

Carrie is also a leader in promotions and advertising law. She counsels clients on promotions from the conceptual stage to prize fulfillment. Her promotions clients include broadcasters, online and mobile marketers, and insured promotions companies. She has advised clients on thousands of promotions during her career on local and national levels.

Carrie often serves as outside general counsel to corporate clients. In addition to her private practice experience, she worked in the legal departments of ABC, Inc. and Entercom Communications Corp. These experiences provide her a unique ability to analyze a client’s legal matter to create the most practical and economical solutions.

She has successfully prosecuted thousands of FCC applications during the course of her career that include license renewal applications, transfer and assignment applications, ownership reports and routine engineering applications. She has a 100% success record in defending enforcement complaints. She is also a leader in policy change and authored the Petition for Rulemaking that changed the FCC’s outdated contest rule.

Can’t Attend the Webinar? Check Out the Recording!

We will be recording each of the Webinars in our series to make sure you won’t miss out! Be sure to check for our recordings.

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