Letter From The President Of The Northeast Chapter Of The Association Of Corporate Counsel

2009-10-04 00:00

To The Readers Of The Metropolitan Corporate Counsel:

The summer of 2009 was a busy one for the Northeast Chapter ACC. Of particular note was our annual all-day program, held in July this year due to the ACC Annual Meeting scheduled in Boston in October.

We used the all-day slot to put on a Value Summit on July 21 with Northeastern University College of Business Administration and our Platinum Sponsor, Foley Hoag. The inspiration for the program came from the ACC Value Challenge initiative, which ACC launched last fall and which is making its way rapidly across the country. It was a great success.

This dual-track program examined the value proposition across the legal service delivery chain from a number of different perspectives, with the goal of stimulating thoughtful discussion about how in-house and outside counsel can change their ways of doing business and better align to deliver more value to clients. Mike Roster, former general counsel of both Stanford University and Golden West Financial, and former managing partner of Morrison Foerster in Los Angeles, kicked the day off with an insightful and frank keynote address that pointedly reminded all present, through prominent historical examples, that business-as-usual, particularly in challenging times, can spell disaster.

After the keynote, the program broke into two tracks. On one track, Professor Court Chilton of Northeastern College of Business Administration, facilitated a no-holds-barred discussion among chief legal officers and firm managing partners about blockers to value, both at firms and in legal departments, and how to overcome them. The second parallel track included a series of panels with a variety of speakers, including senior managers, who offered insights on ways to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of legal services, both individually and organizationally. The two tracks merged at the lunch hour for a keynote address by Susan Hackett, general counsel of ACC, who reviewed some of the early value-add success stories being reported by firms and legal departments nationwide. Professor Chilton then led a plenary session in a group discussion of some of the key takeaways from the morning tracks. He concluded the program by guiding a series of group discussions designed to identify concrete first steps participants could take to add value in their own organizations. It was an exceptional day for all who attended.

This fall, we again have a terrific list of programs scheduled for our membership, as follows:

September 17: Successful M&A: Mastering the Process to Drive the Result, with Goodwin Procter

September 24: Changes in Antitrust Enforcement: What In House Counsel Needs to Know, with Edwards Angell Palmer & Dodge in Providence, RI

October 6: After the Hype: E-Discovery Lessons Learned, Best Practices and Emerging Issues, with Greenberg Traurig

October 18: Small Law Department HobNob - a cruise of Boston harbor, as part of the ACC Annual Meeting.

Oct. 19-21: ACC Annual Meeting, Hynes Convention Center, Boston, MA

November 5: Intellectual Property program with Fish & Richardson

November 12: Ethics for In-House Counsel with Goulston & Storrs

We will also have our second diversity outreach on November 4, as members of the Northeast Chapter will join with Citizen Schools to bring a negotiation skills program to middle school children. We launched this program in February for children in the Lowell public schools, and it was a great success for the students, schools and the members who gave their time to make it happen. We are pleased to be able to offer it again this fall and look forward to another successful day of sharing our professional skills with these students and giving them positive exposure to our profession. Our chapter thrives on the involvement of its members and we encourage you to participate in the wide variety of programs and events the chapter offers.

Paul G. Cushing

President, ACC Northeast