ACC Embarks on New Strategic Plan, Building Upon Rich History of Success

ACC has served the professional and business interests of lawyers who practice in the legal departments of corporations, associations and other private-sector organizations around the globe for almost three decades. With almost 30,000 members employed by over 10,000 organizations in more than 75 countries, ACC is proud to be the world’s largest network of in-house counsel.

Our market-leading position and high levels of member satisfaction have set the stage for exciting opportunities to evolve the organization. However, ACC’s new strategic plan does not represent a radical change in direction or focus. Instead, it clarifies and expands upon how ACC will build upon its strong foundation to advance its mission over the next five years.

Membership engagement and key findings

This strategic planning process incorporated unprecedented levels of member feedback, presenting a clear understanding of the value drivers that underlie the decision to join and remain an ACC member.

ACC thanks the 4,130 members who completed an online strategic plan survey, the 55 members who participated in focus groups held at the 2011 Annual Meeting, and the 16 members from six different countries interviewed for their thoughts on ACC’s mission, vision and past strategies. Respondents included board, chapter and committee leadership, as well as a broad spectrum of members.

Key findings include:

  • Members support ACC’s current mission and vision, and are highly likely to recommend ACC.
  • ACC’s mission attainment primarily relies on three value drivers: prominent market leadership, member satisfaction and retention, and organizational stability.
  • ACC is effectively meeting member needs in all key areas, and is most effective in the eight areas that most influence members to join and remain with ACC. They include:

1.     Exchanging best practices and practical resources

2.     Educational/professional development

3.     Thought leadership

4.     Access to networking opportunities

5.     Member engagement and visibility

6.     Brand value

7.     Advocacy efforts

8.     Sharing information and creating synergies

  •   Members’ perceptions of ACC’s effectiveness in each of the eight key areas are aligned with their perceptions of its relative importance.
  •  Education and professional development are highly valued by members. Member diversity suggests that ACC cannot be “all things to all members,” therefore, requiring the association to prioritize some member needs over others,
  •  Members believe that it is important for ACC to build and develop a strong global presence and international network of in-house counsel.
  • Members recognize the potential of social media, but do not believe ACC should evolve its platform at this time.
  • CLOs of large law departments can significantly impact ACC’s success and are interested in offerings that better meet their needs.

Strategic themes and approaches

The cornerstones of ACC’s new Strategic Plan incorporate three simple, yet powerful themes, which will guide decision-making.These strategic themes describe what ACC will do over the next five years to advance its mission and vision, and the specific approaches for pursuing these themes. ACC will:

1.     Combine and focus resources to streamline the exchange of information;

2.     Optimize services and experiences to retain and engage members; and

3.     Position the association for continued relevance and impact.

Revision of ACC’s mission and vision to reflect globalization strategy

More than a decade ago, ACC’s leadership decided to pursue becoming a global association and took steps to further that goal. Those steps included: a name change, four new chapters outside the United States, and an expanded membership base encompassing more than 75 nations.

In recognition of these advancements, the value that members place on globalization, and ACC’s plan to grow from its strong foundation, the board unanimously approved amending ACC’s mission and vision. The statements, like our plan, simply build upon the goals set forth by previous ACC leadership and supported by our membership. The slightly updated versions include the word “global,” reflecting the strategy to build and develop a strong international network and global presence.

After all, we are not just your in-house bar association, but an international one —working to bring you the resources and support needed to do your job, which is increasingly global in scope. See what else I had to say about the Strategic Plan to the authors of Association & Non-Profit Bisnow, in this recent article Plot Thickens at ACC

See the full Mission and Vision statements, and get more information on the Strategic Plan at www.acc.com/aboutacc/missionandvision.cfm

Is Mandatory Pro Bono a Solution to the Justice Crisis?

By Esther F. Lardent

President and Chief Executive Officer

Pro Bono Institute

 

The US legal system is facing a crisis of unparalleled proportions: With the spike in the US poverty population resulting from the Great Recession, and the precipitous drop in funding and staffing of legal services programs, it is likely that the more than 80 percent of low-income Americans without access to a lawyer in 2009 has grown over the past two years to an unthinkable 90 percent. Given the dimensions of the crisis, is it time for the profession to address the lack of access by mandating that every lawyer provide pro bono service to those in need?

Despite the dimensions of the current crisis, I do not believe that we should implement a policy of mandatory pro bono work. However, as I suggested in a National Law Journal article, there is much that the legal profession should do voluntarily to ease the crisis and restore the public’s faith in our justice system.

For both philosophical and highly pragmatic reasons, I believe that mandatory pro bono should be the last possible resort. Mandating pro bono presents several challenges that, at this time, exceed the benefits of requiring pro bono. Those challenges include:

 

  • Defining pro bono — a necessary prerequisite for mandatory pro bono — poses significant problems. Past experimentation with mandatory pro bono shows that defining “what counts” is incredibly difficult. Should community service count? Should activities beyond client representation count? Who should be served by mandatory pro bono efforts— the near poor or just the poor? Should mandatory pro bono include a “buy out” provision? These are just a few of the scores of issues that must be considered when defining pro bono for the purpose of mandating it.
  • There are insufficient systems in place to accommodate the number of lawyers that would be compelled to volunteer if state regulators mandated pro bono. Many legal aid providers find they currently do not have the staff or resources to screen clients, train volunteers, source and oversee cases, and maintain adequate records. Adding capacity to accommodate a tidal wave of new volunteers would simply overwhelm an already overloaded system.
  • There will always be some who are resistant to the idea of doing volunteer work. It is not advantageous to have our most vulnerable citizens represented by resistant and/or resentful lawyers. It also may be harmful to the morale of an organization to force its employees to engage in pro bono.
  • Practice barriers for in-house lawyers who are not barred in the state in which they are working for their corporate employer often make it impractical for these lawyers to undertake pro bono work. Without changes in practice rules, lawyers may be unfairly subjected to discipline.
  • There are categories of lawyers who, because of the nature of their job and/or the services they already provide, may not be in a position to volunteer — most notably judges, but also legal service and government lawyers.
  • Enforcement is unrealistic. First, it is a waste of resources. We should not divert scarce resources to enforcing mandatory pro bono and disciplining non-compliant attorneys. Second, management will never fire a key rainmaker or member of the legal department simply because she refuses to do pro bono work.

 

For these reasons, mandatory pro bono will not ultimately serve its intended goal of increasing legal services to the poor. Instead, there should be a focus on making voluntary pro bono as effective as possible and incentivizing voluntary participation. Toward this end, legal departments could tie advancement and promotion to pro bono participation or make pro bono a part of the evaluation process.

Interested to learn more? Join Corporate Pro Bono (CPBO), the joint venture of ACC and the Pro Bono Institute (PBI), at the PBI Annual Conference March 28-30 in Washington, D.C., where Brad Smith, general counsel and executive vice president, Legal and Corporate Affairs at Microsoft Corporation; Leslie Turner, general counsel, Coca-Cola North America; and ACC’s own Veta T. Richardson will debate the issue. In addition, CPBO and PBI will host three days of programming for pro bono leaders from in-house departments, law firms and public interest organizations. To learn more, click here or email pbievents@courtesyassoc.com. We hope to see you at the conference in March! 

Esther F. Lardent is the president and chief executive officer of the Pro Bono Institute.

Tags:

Tell Me More About Yourself

(March 2012)

Most of the managers I know do not enjoy interviewing job candidates. It’s not that we don’t want you to have the job; however, it is often difficult to dig deep enough during an interview. Old school interview questions aren’t much help, and I admit that I have asked more than one candidate to “tell me more about yourself,” which is why I now find other questions to ask. I once asked a job candidate how her friends would describe her. Imagine my surprise when she replied, with aplomb, “a drama queen.” Needless to say, the person who did not answer the question this way is now ACC Docket’s managing editor: Tiffani R. Alexander.

Although ACC Docket can’t help you discover creative interview questions, we can help you manage the employees and outsourcers you hire, to deliver the best value to your clients. The March issue is overflowing with content from experts in law department management. You won’t be disappointed by what we’ve put together: 

·      Rethinking the Role of Corporate Counsel

·      Empowering Your Information Security and Data Protection Program Through Facilitated Policy Development

·      I Just Became a General Counsel: What Do I Do Next?

·      Why You Should See Value in the Green Attorney

·      Renegotiating Supplier Contracts to Bring New Value to the Client

So, if you happen to meet Tiffani Alexander, our managing editor, ask her to tell you more about herself. I guarantee that you won’t hear the words “drama queen” in her answer.

 

Choice of Counsel As Risk Management

By Cheryl A. Solomon

Cheryl Solomon was the global General Counsel of the Gucci Group, based in London, England, from 2004 to 2011.  She relocated to the San Francisco Bay Area in 2011 and is currently acting as General Counsel to Kidlandia Inc., a technology start-up with its own cartoon characters (called Kreechurs) focused on providing deeply personalized games and social media experiences for kids.

The voice, views and stories expressed in this posting are of the author and do not necessarily reflect the positions, strategies or opinions of the author’s employer or ACC.

Part One of this article discussed the idea that the choice of which lawyer was going to handle a particular matter was as, if not more, important than alternative fee arrangements in terms of getting value for money. Part Two discusses how your selection of outside counsel provides you with an opportunity to showcase your ability to find the right lawyer for the right project at the right cost. It also provides a list of factors to consider when selecting outside counsel.

Choice of Counsel As Risk Management

As in-house counsel, our fundamental role is to help the company grow and develop, while maintaining an acceptable level of risk. Our choice of counsel should be part of how we accomplish that. If we choose the wrong lawyer, we may get the wrong advice, which would raise the risk level to an unacceptable level. Similarly, if we choose a lawyer whose bills are out of keeping with the nature of the matter, then we have also raised the risk level by increasing corporate costs beyond an acceptable level, which puts pressure on the company’s bottom line.

This is also an area where we can and should demonstrate our value to the company. If we do nothing more than go to the same outside counsel for every matter that we handle, and we let that outside counsel decide how to staff the matter, haven’t we abdicated our responsibility? Over time, the businesspeople could begin to wonder why they need us, if we’re nothing more than a conduit to the same outside lawyer who is the real decision-maker.

Instead, use this as an opportunity to demonstrate your value by giving careful thought to the appropriate lawyer for the matter and how to best address the level of risk. I give some suggested considerations below.

Analyzing the Matter In Order To Choose Counsel

There are a series of considerations that should go into choosing the correct lawyer for the matter, such as:

  • What jurisdictions are relevant to the matter? Is it solely contained in one country or state? Are multiple countries involved?
  • What court would you expect to be in if you ended up in court?
  • Are there particular complexities with that particular jurisdiction or jurisdictions? Can you rely upon the judicial system to adjudicate the matter in compliance with the law?
  • Do we need help from local counsel to understand the political dimensions of the jurisdiction?
  • What is the value of the matter? By this I mean what is the maximum liability or harm to the company if the matter does not turn out as expected.
  • Does the matter involve highly regulated areas such as, by way of example, securities, energy, or finance?
  • Could the company or its executives face real criminal liability?
  • How complex is the matter? Does it span multiple practice areas?

Analyzing Outside Counsel

In addition, to analyzing the matter, you should also analyze outside counsel to determine their capabilities. Particular considerations are:

  • Is the lawyer a specialist in the practice area involved?
  • Does the lawyer’s firm have the capability to handle other aspects of the matter, such as multi-jurisdictional or multi-disciplinary advice? Do you need that?
  • Does the lawyer herself handle the precise type of situation that the matter involves? An example is that the lawyer regularly handles employment discrimination claims but is not expert in executive compensation or union relations.
  • Have you worked with this lawyer before?
  • Have you received recommendations from other in-house lawyers about this lawyer?

An important consideration in choosing counsel is making sure that, as in-house counsel, we do not simply go for the “safe” option. There may be valid reasons to choose the “safe” option such as in a particularly complex or sensitive matter when everyone in the company needs to feel secure that you have the best advice that is possible. The important thing is to not reflexively choose the “safe” option but to choose the option that best fits the risk profile of the matter and matches the cost of the advice to the legal risk the company faces.

The more we demonstrate how we are adding value in terms of controlling costs and being thoughtful in our choice of outside counsel, the more we will become the true trusted advisor and business partner to the company.

Advice for Today's In-house Lawyer

This semester, I began teaching the course, “Introduction to the In-House Practice,” at Georgetown Law School. In preparing for an upcoming class, I decided to do a little crowd–sourcing. I posed the following to the ACC Group on LinkedIn: What is the one piece of advice you would give to someone going in-house?“

Not surprisingly, ACC group members had a lot to offer and provided useful, practical information and advice that would be helpful for today’s in-house lawyer, or beneficial to someone thinking about going in-house. 

Here is a brief summary and supporting quotes that seemed particularly noteworthy to me.

The advice that appeared most frequently concerned the importance of knowing and understanding:

  • the company,
  • the business or industry, and/or
  • the people you work with.

“[The m]ost important thing is to know your business inside and out. Understand your organization's goals and where its risks lie. Have regular contact with all key departments/divisions so you understand what they are working to accomplish and, more importantly, they understand you're there to help them, not to say no or to throw up road blocks.”

“… take every opportunity to learn all you can. Read trade press, go on factory tours, go on sales calls, take clients to lunch, attend team retreats — take every piece of information and opportunity you are offered, and don't be afraid to ask. Your internal clients will appreciate your interest.”

Several members also emphasized the importance of listening.

“Listen to learn. Being an active listener will help you understand all of the issues (including the unspoken ones). Many times, in-house clients do not understand your role, so be the "consigliore" — they will value your legal perspective if they believe that you are there to help, and you can only help if you LISTEN.”

They also noted that simply getting the information you need could be a challenge.

“Expect the process of ascertaining accurate and complete facts to often be as challenging as determining how the law will apply to them.”

The respondents frequently asserted the importance of effective communication, using descriptors such as “succinct,” “simple,” “unambiguous,” and without legal jargon. They further emphasized the importance of solving problems and doing more than merely saying “no.”

“… [Y]ou should always remember that your job is to anticipate and solve problems and find solutions, not just to say, ‘No, you can't do that.’ Also, never say, ‘it's not my problem because it's a business issue.’ At the end of the day, they're all business issues. You need to help resolve the issue (and, never write a memo more than 2 pages long — the business guys will never read it. …)”

 

“… [L]ife in-house isn't black and white! The best legal argument in the world may never fly because it simply doesn't serve the business. Also, legal opinions and advice that isn't straightforward and presented in a way that can be shared with their business stakeholders isn't really helpful — you must be decisive, even in the face of less than perfect or less than complete facts. If I sent business clients a memo with footnotes and case cites, it would be round filed instantly.”

 

“Know when to say no, but chart out a path to yes. A business won't last long doing the wrong things, but it will also get nowhere doing nothing.”

Finally, several comments implicitly or explicitly affirmed the value of ACC to the professional development of in-house attorneys.

Several people quoted from or cited “Reebok Rules,” a classic article that first appeared in the Spring 1992 issue of the ACCA Docket. Although 20 years old, this article remains relevant today and is well-worth reviewing.

“I have always felt that the Reebok Rules provides some excellent advice.”

Reebok Rules:


  1. Lawyers should attend all key business and
staff meetings.


  2. Eliminate the "No " word from your vocabulary.
 Remember: Your client suggested the idea because he or she liked it, and
 wants your help; don't cast yourself as a hindrance.


  3. Corporate counsel are business people — hone and use your business judgment. 
As lawyers, we get an opportunity to approach a problem without
 line responsibility for it. However, the corollary of this rule is to make sure
 you still give good legal advice — if you don't do so, no one will.

  4. Return phone calls promptly — nothing is worse than a client who
 cannot get in touch with his or her lawyer.


  5.  Learn about problems early — it is much easier to convince a client to
revise a proposal in its incipient phase than it is to curb it once it has begun to gather momentum or supporters who develop a personal investment in its success. To continue reading, click here.

Another cited a well-received annual meeting program, that was both a presentation and an article in the ACC Docket. Here is the article: I Just Became a General Counsel: What Should I Do Next?

Someone else cited the importance of “continuing to network.” 

And, then there was my personal favorite:

Join ACC ASAP and read everything you can on being new to in-house practice.

I believe this to be very good advice, indeed, since ACC has a wealth of resources on all of the examples offered from the group.

Although I sought this guidance for my law students, much of what I received is relevant for today’s in-house lawyer. I hope you agree.

P.S. Co-teaching my class at Georgetown Law School has been one of my most enjoyable and challenging activities since leaving ACC. As with many other endeavors, ACC members have always been willing to share their expertise and help out. So, I recently established an ACC eGroup called “ACC Law School Professors” to enable those ACC members who currently teach or lecture at law schools to share resources and ideas about their respective experiences. For those of you who currently serve as adjunct professors I hope you will join.

Why Alternative Fee Arrangements Aren't the Answer

 By Cheryl A. Solomon

Cheryl Solomon was the global General Counsel of the Gucci Group, based in London, England, from 2004 to 2011.  She relocated to the San Francisco Bay Area in 2011 and is currently acting as General Counsel to Kidlandia Inc., a technology start-up with its own cartoon characters (called Kreechurs) focused on providing deeply personalized games and social media experiences for kids.

The voice, views and stories expressed in this posting are of the author and do not necessarily reflect the positions, strategies or opinions of the author’s employer or ACC.

For some time now, I’ve been reading and listening to in-house lawyers, law firms and the media discuss how alternative fee arrangements are the answer to escalating outside legal fees. By “alternative” fee arrangements, people are referring to just about anything — except the billable hour. The idea is that by discussing alternative fee arrangements, in-house and outside lawyers will be discussing the value of the legal work in a way that better meets a company’s budget and need for certainty. In addition, there is much discussion and debate about choosing preferred law firm panels and negotiating deeper discounts.

This debate misses the mark for one fundamental reason. When a new matter arises, the most important decision you must make as an in-house lawyer happens before you ever begin discussing fees. Your most important decision is selecting the correct lawyer: This is the holy grail of getting value for money. If you choose the right lawyer, the fees take care of themselves. If you choose the wrong one, you will be unhappy for the entire duration of the matter.

So, it strikes me that the most important question is not how to negotiate fees that represent value for money, but rather how to choose the right lawyer. That sounds as though it should be easy — you just hire a technical expert in the area — but it is much more difficult than it sounds. Why, you might ask? Here are a few reasons we might choose the wrong lawyer:

  • Flight to safety, or risk aversion — If we have an existing relationship with an outside lawyer, we are likely to go ask them for advice, even if it is not their area of practice or jurisdiction.
  • Large law firm syndrome — We go to a large law firm just because they have a department that relates to the matter.
  • Saving money – We are so focused on saving money that we go to the cheapest lawyer.

       Now, as a preface, let me say that I often work with lawyers that I have an existing relationship with, that I use plenty of large law firms, and that I use firms with lots of offices in lots of cities. I am not suggesting that you should stop using any or all of these lawyers. What I am saying is that you need to spend time up front thinking about whether those lawyers are the right choice for the particular matter at hand.

For instance, if you have a small acquisition, do you really need one of the biggest law firms in the world? You might decide that you do. I suggest that you take the time to think it through beforehand. It may be that if you go to a regional or local law firm with a good reputation, you will get exactly the advice you need at exactly the price that is reasonable to pay for that particular acquisition.

Similarly, if you have a small employment matter in Italy that relates to terminating an employee there, do you really need to have one of the largest law firms in the world handling that? Are you better off finding an employment law specialist in Italy who deals with more routine matters, or does the large law firm you are considering happen to have someone with the particular expertise you require?

There will be times when you need the legal specialty, reputation or geographic coverage of a big firm. In those circumstances, you should use them, because if you don’t, you will end up paying for it (literally or figuratively) by having to coordinate a bunch of firms yourself, or by not getting the quality of advice you need from lawyers who routinely handle matters in a particularly complex area.

            Not only is the choice of outside counsel important to get the most efficient advice, but it also gives in-house lawyers an opportunity to demonstrate their value to the company. Part Two of this post will explain this in more detail and will also provide a checklist of considerations that should go into selecting outside counsel.

The Year of the Dragon - A Season of Change

Certainly, travel is more than the seeing of sights; it is a change that goes on, deep and permanent, in the ideas of living. –Miriam Beard, business writer

This holiday season, I had the good fortune to vacation in China for 15 days, and it was an awesome experience. The highlights of my trip included walking the Great Wall, seeing the Terra Cotta Warriors, hugging a baby panda on Christmas Day and spending New Year’s Eve enjoying the spectacle of the Bund in Shanghai. These experiences, and the many terrific people I met along the way, have enriched my life and left me feeling quite enthused at the start of this New Year.

The vacation was long overdue. Since I started at ACC about six months ago, my work schedule has been pretty hard-driving and demanding: High expectations were set by myself and by others. I’ve been busy trying to take in as much new information as possible, and quickly –– all the while being able to count on one hand the number of days in a month that I was not traveling for ACC.

So, when my “me time” finally came, some friends were surprised that my first choice was to hit the road again –– this time traveling to the other side of the globe to relax. However, for me, there’s nothing quite as exciting as a travel vacation and the opportunity to experience a culture much different from my own; to see the world with only two purposes in mind –– personal enrichment and a good time. China offered both in abundance!

In China, I learned that 2012 is the Year of the Dragon, and it is one of the most celebrated and anticipated of the Chinese Lunar calendar, as the dragon is a symbol of power and wealth. Therefore, the coming year is anticipated to bring good fortune and success.

Hopefully, this served as a good omen, because upon my return to the office, my focus turned to ACC’s strategic plan, which will chart the basis for ACC’s success over the next five years. Our work on it is nearing the homestretch, with the plan in its final stages of development for presentation to the ACC board early this month. This strategic planning process has received unprecedented levels of member feedback, and thereby provided the ACC staff and board of directors with a clear understanding of the value drivers that underlie the decision to join — and remain –– a member of ACC. I am looking forward to sharing the results and findings with you all soon after the board approves the plan. In the meantime, I would like to thank the 4,130 members who completed our online strategic plan survey, the 55 members who participated in focus groups held at our Annual Meeting, and the 16 members who were kind enough to be interviewed for their thoughts on ACC’s mission, vision and current strategy.

As you can see, ACC members were quite engaged in our planning process. In addition, I personally spoke with board members and with our leadership in Europe, whose thoughts and ideas were all taken into great consideration during our planning.  

ACC strives to be an organization that not only fulfills our members’ needs, but that anticipates and exceeds them. A strong strategic plan is critical in doing this. Therefore, thank you again to each and every member who took the time to respond to an email, fill out a survey, serve on a committee, or simply engage in a conversation with me.    

Next month, I will continue the conversation here, highlighting in some detail parts of ACC’s strategic plan. I am anxious to share with you all the exciting things to come for your in-house association in this Year of the Dragon, and beyond.

Calling All Good Global Citizens

 

By Julia Alanen

Project Coordinator, Global Pro Bono

Pro Bono Institute

 

A growing number of legal departments are enhancing their pro bono and corporate social responsibility schemes by adding a global element. Some legal departments use global pro bono to engage their attorneys in offices abroad by offering them coveted pro bono opportunities similar to those available to stateside staff. Others use it as a vehicle to promote cross-border teambuilding by engaging multiple offices in collaborative pro bono projects. Global pro bono is also used to engender trust, build reputation, and positively impact the countries and communities where companies maintain a physical presence or do business. Whatever the impetus, in-house legal professionals are clamoring for opportunities to do global pro bono.

On Feb. 7, 2012, Bruce Ives, vice president and deputy general counsel at Hewlett-Packard Company,* Esteban Mazzucco, legal director for Latin America South at Syngenta and ACC Argentina Chapter President, and Michael Sposato, deputy general counsel at Caterpillar Inc.,* will continue the conversation on this topic, which they started at ACC’s Annual Meeting last October, through a webinar hosted by CPBO, in partnership with Global Pro Bono Project of the Pro Bono Institute (PBI). CPBO is ACC’s joint venture with PBI. The panelists will share diverse examples of successful global pro bono initiatives, including:

  • direct legal services and litigation;
  • commercial and transactional work;
  • international human rights and humanitarian work;
  • democracy building and rule of law initiatives;
  • disaster relief;
  • legal research and policy advocacy; and
  • legal and clinical education.

During the October 2011 session on in-house global pro bono, Ives, Mazzucco and Sposato shared their experiences and perspectives on doing global pro bono work. The trio tackled topics that included:

  • identifying quality global pro bono partners and projects;
  • structuring and managing a global pro bono component;
  • leveraging in-house resources by partnering with law firms and NGOs;
  • identifying and overcoming obstacles in jurisdictions with no history or tradition of pro bono;
  • teambuilding and engaging remote offices through collaborative global pro bono projects;
  • involving non-lawyer staff in global pro bono;
  • enhancing employee recruitment, retention and advancement through global pro bono; and
  • boosting business and building reputation in emerging markets by advancing democracy and the rule of law through pro bono.

Four key takeaways were:

  1. Pro bono opportunities exist for any lawyer, anywhere, with any skill set;
  2. In today’s global economy, doing good globally is globally good for business;
  3. Often, the challenge is figuring out how to effectively and meaningfully match the growing interest in providing assistance to identified needs; and
  4. Legal departments, law firms and NGOs continue to work together to address obstacles and identify opportunities for lawyers interested in providing pro bono services.

So, if you missed CPBO’s session on in-house global pro bono, click here for more information about the Feb. 7 webinar.

To learn about global pro bono opportunities for your in-house legal department, contact CPBO Director Eve Runyon.  

*denotes a Signatory to the Corporate Pro Bono ChallengeSM

 

Who's on First?

By Zenneia McLendon

Zenneia McLendon is ACC’s Director of Social Media and is responsible for developing and overseeing the association’s Social Media Strategy across all internal brands, audiences and platforms. Including: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, the In-house ACCess blog, Member-to-Member (eGroups) and YouTube.

The sun was shining at Angel Stadium of Anaheim. The sky was blue, and the thermometer read about 75 degrees. It was a perfect day for a great game of baseball — if only it wasn’t late January and the middle of the offseason. On this day, Angel Stadium and the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim played host to a different group of players — in-house counsel.

Last week, the ACC’s Southern California chapter (ACC-SoCal) held their 8th Annual In-house Counsel Conference. This year marked the first time that the event spanned two days, and as a result, attendance doubled last year’s and reached more than 400 people. Day one was held on Jan. 11, at the Montage Hotel in Beverly Hills, I joined attendees on the conference’s second day at Angel Stadium.   

From a social media perspective, and as ACC’s director of social media, this event provided a great opportunity for ACC to use one of our growing social media channels. Through Twitter we were able to highlight a chapter event, share information with our followers, increase our audience and expand our reach by live-tweeting from the event. Not only did each session provide great sound bites perfect for tweeting out, but the SoCal chapter also did an excellent job of planning and strategizing their Twitter activities ahead of time, in preparation of the event. And, of course, I was happy to join those activities as @ACCinhouse.

The conference began promptly at 8 AM PST with “Welcome Remarks” from our Angel Stadium and conference host, David Cohen, director of legal affairs and risk management for Angels Baseball LP. After the remarks, it was all up-hill. Panel topics ranged from privacy of consumer information to intellectual property to social media in the workplace. Attendees were encouraged to follow along with the conference via the conference hashtag, #IHCC12, by either logging onto Twitter or simply viewing the hashtag’s stream as it scrolled along on a screen at the front of the room. As a result of great planning and execution, with a combination of live tweeting, re-tweeting and interactive messages, the Twitter Reach for #IHCC12 was over 11,000. Participants tweeted from 14 states and four countries. If these numbers haven’t convinced you of what an amazing conference this was, visit the SoCal chapter page on the ACC website to check out all of the presentation slides and program materials. Then, come back to this post, and tell us what you think.

Along with the fact that Angel Stadium is absolutely beautiful both inside and out, as one of very few non-lawyers in attendance at the conference, there were several key takeaways that I will put into practice as I continue to progress in my career. My top three include:

  • Beware of digital breadcrumbs!
  • If you are responsible for social media for your company, remember that your in-house counsel are your greatest ally. Consult with them regularly.
  • Who’s on first? A lawyer’s response would most likely be, “According to section 22A of Who’s contract, he will no longer be … No you cannot tweet this, and yes, we deleted his Facebook page this morning.”

Lessons from Elementary School

By Maggy Baccinelli

 

Maggy is the editorial coordinator of the ACC Docket and is responsible for editing the publication, writing monthly articles and creating corresponding multimedia pieces highlighting ACC members' legal expertise and unique personal interests. Follow along as Maggy, shares her insights. The voice, views and stories expressed in this series are of the author and are not ACC's.

 

On Monday, Jan. 16, seven ACC staff members volunteered at Bruce Monroe Elementary in Washington, DC, for MLK Jr. Service Day. Some of us, myself included, learned more than we expected.

Bruce Monroe’s student population is predominantly Latino, and it is known for its dual-language program. The school leadership’s vision is to make its multicultural students into successful global citizens, by nurturing them in a safe, innovative and academically rigorous bilingual environment. The first step toward global citizenship means knowing about other countries. So, when we arrived, we were instructed to paint flags from around the world, which would be hung in the auditorium. Eventually, we moved on to painting hallways with murals of smiling fruits and vegetables, butterflies and ladybugs, and short phrases in Spanish related to the school motto.

The motto is: “Be safe. Be kind. Be productive.”

It’s a simple and powerful adage that we can all apply to work and home. For elementary school students, being safe means not running in the halls; being kind means using kind words; and being productive means doing homework. In our work as adults, these examples stay the same. As an editor and journalist, slowing down and proofreading carefully; communicating considerately with my interviewees and colleagues; and being thorough in my research while minimizing distractions by delegation and organization, has helped me to be successful. How can being safe, kind and productive, help you as in-house counsel?

Though it made us think, and some of us even quipped about how we should make it the motto of the office, this was not the only lesson we learned at elementary school on Monday. Here are a few others we were reminded of as we got our hands dirty:

  • It’s fun to volunteer with coworkers;
  • If you turn the Mali flag upside-down, it becomes the Guinea flag; and
  • For really detailed painting, it’s easier to use a Sharpie.

Final words of wisdom came from Dr. King, who we were honoring on Monday by participating in the program. Close to where we exited, there is a big mural of him and a quote that reads: “Life's most persistent and urgent question is ‘What are you doing for others?’”