To The Readers Of The Metropolitan Corporate Counsel:
The Girl Scouts have their cookies. I love their cookies. The Central/South Texas Chapter of the Association of Corporate Counsel has its Ethics Follies. I love their Follies. No, there are no thin mints at Ethics Follies, but I'm trying to fix that.But there are edgy musical parodies, laughter, some surprisingly good singers and some very serious legal and business ethics issues approached with aplomb. As a board member for the Girl Scouts of America, I see young women learn important skills and leadership qualities from organizing the sale of cookies and marketing their mission. As the Chair of the local ACC Chapter's Board of Directors, I see almost sixty doctors, lawyers, accountants, and executives work as a team for months to put on a three-hour musical production that teaches more about ethics than the audience knew existed.The girls walk away from cookie season with an air of confidence and accomplishment, and a little bit tired from the work. The actors from Ethics Follies walk away from the show with an air of accomplishment, without waiting until the cast party to start talking about the next year's parodies.They are tired too, by the way, but satisfied with a job well done.
The parodies are performed with the abandon of polished performers who, just hours before the show, were reserved professionals, providing legal, business, or accounting advice. This year's Ethics Follies will be held on November 6 in the beautifully restored Charline McCombs Theater in San Antonio, Texas. The theatre is a great venue for the ethics conference and performance. There are U.S. District Court judges, Texas Fourth Court of Appeals Justices, and Bexar County District Judges in the cast, singing and dancing right next to the attorneys who argue cases in their courts. Next to them is a cardiologist and an accountant. All of these actors have one thing in common. They care about preserving San Antonio's small town culture in one of the biggest cities in the United States. While raising ethics awareness to protect the San Antonio culture, attendees also receive three hours of Texas Ethics CLE. All proceeds benefit The Community Justice Program, which provides legal services to those who can't afford it in Central and South Texas.
This year's show boasts some ambitious parodies, including jabs made at Shania Twain, Bette Midler, Martha Stewart, and The Backstreet Boys; the Broadway Shows Wicked, Spamalot!, Little Shop of Horrors, and Annie, and the many others listed on the event's website. Mission Pharmacal Company's General Counsel, C. Lee Cusenbary, has written the script and parodies for the show. He has brought in some help from choreographer Gloria Liu and a professional stage manager, Susan Breidenbach. Since the show is in a professional theatre this year it will be professionally lit with sound and stage crews working to make the show look and sound its best.
Although the Association of Corporate Counsel has conducted an ethics conference for the past ten years for in-house attorneys, this year's conference is unique since the door is open for all professionals to attend. The San Antonio Bar Association and Bar Foundation have also agreed to sponsor the event and encourage attendance by its membership. The script explores ethical issues for trial lawyers, in-house attorneys, M&A attorneys, criminal attorneys, upper-level management, health care professionals, and accountants.
It's nice for a nonprofit organization that does good work to have an icon or symbol that sets them apart. Cookies are a wholesome reminder of the wonderful programs of the Girl Scouts of America. ACC hopes that when you think of women dancing in curlers to funny lyrics about ethical conflicts of interest, or computer nerds singing about the ethics of bidding on Ebay items while at work, you'll think of Ethics Follies.
If you haven't heard, seen, or read about Ethics Follies, open some Thin Mints and visit www.ethicsfollies.com to watch a film clip or two.