To The Readers Of The Metropolitan Corporate Counsel:
The in-house lawyers of North Florida are proud to announce the formation of our own Association of Corporate Counsel Chapter. Located in Jacksonville, Florida, and chartered during the summer of 2009, the chapter is already off to a busy and exciting start by providing both CLE and networking opportunities to a previously unrepresented group of in-house attorneys.
Because it is our first year, we have spent much of our time identifying what our members and potential members value. In other words, what do we have to offer to a group of incredibly busy people who have simply done without? You might think that would be easy because everything is new, but when people have survived without something, it is sometimes harder to convince them to come out of their routine and give up precious time that is already filled with something else.
We have accepted this as our challenge and are committed to offering something valuable. As a result, our current goals are:
1. To provide quality CLE targeted to the needs and interests of an in-house bar on a regular basis;
2. To build a community of in-house lawyers through networking, interest groups, and charitable activities; and
3. To increase our membership, and the membership of ACC, in North Florida.
The chapter has started with a bang by offering free CLE in areas relevant to an in-house attorney at locations throughout the city. It has been thrilling to observe the great turnout and share in the excitement that our attendees have shown. Our topics, thus far, have been targeted to both general and specific roles in the in-house world and have included: "Ethics Issues Facing Corporate Counsel" (April 2009); "Working with Financially Troubled Vendors, Customers & Companies" (July 2009) and "Changes to the Employment Law Landscape" (March 2009).
The response has been overwhelmingly positive. Attendees have valued everything from the scheduling (one-hour sessions over lunch) to the locations (conveniently held in different areas of town) to the topics ("timely," "relevant to what I do everyday," and "gave me something new that I can really use"). It is clear, based upon the attendance of our sessions and the comments that follow, that we're on to something.
We have two more events scheduled to finish out 2009. On October 22, we will present a lunch panel discussion sharing "Successful Implementation of IT Solutions" by area legal departments. The panel will discuss cost-effective technology solutions to issues that every in-house counsel faces including compliance training, billing, and contract management.Our second event is a networking opportunity to celebrate the holiday season. Our Holiday Party, which we intend to become an annual event, is scheduled for December 9, 2009 from 5:30 to 7:30. For more information on these upcoming events and to make a reservation, please visit our chapter website at www.acc.com/chapters/nfl.
It is exciting and rewarding to be part of building something that offers such value to our community, and it certainly wouldn't have happened without the hard work of many of our local lawyers and the ACC. We have spent many hours polling in-house lawyers in our community regarding what they would like to see come out of this group, both in programs and as a whole, and intend to continue our efforts to reach out to those lawyers who haven't had the opportunity to share their ideas. We hope that as word spreads about what ACC has to offer to our community in Jacksonville and the surrounding area, more people will step up and join our efforts either in leadership roles or just participating in our growing number of offerings. Together, we can do this, and so much more, to promote our professional roles both within our own companies and in North Florida as a whole.