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

2011-10-04 01:00

To The Readers Of The Metropolitan Corporate Counsel :

Value of Corporate Counsel

In addition to providing core legal expertise, corporate counsel are strategic business advisors, risk analysts and deal-makers, just to name a few of their roles. The work performed by corporate counsel day in and day out impacts an organization in so many ways. Yet because corporate counsel does not typically generate revenue in their roles, we are left in the quandary of how to value the contributions of corporate counsel. How does the corporate counsel function stack up against other corporate functions? How do you value the worth of corporate counsel? How does one quantify the potential risks that are addressed and costs that are saved because of corporate counsel's contributions?

Demonstrating corporate counsel value can be tricky. One option is to communicate results in the most tangible manner possible. Using dollar values when possible conveys value in the strongest terms. It translates corporate counsel's contribution into a language that every business unit understands. However, there are no easy answers to these questions. What is clear is that while corporate counsel roles will differ somewhat between organizations,corporate counsel are routinely held to a high standard and much is expected from them; corporate counsel are counted on to be experts on all areas of the law that touch an organization's operations.

One of the great benefits of belonging to a chapter of the Association of Corporate Counsel (ACC) is the terrific networking opportunities that exist. At the ACC's Ontario Chapter, some 25 events will be held in 2011, mostly continuing legal education programs, and some purely social programs. While most events are in the Toronto area, this year the ACC Ontario chapter is holding several events in Ottawa and one in Waterloo. Not only do the educational events afford corporate counsel the opportunity to earn continuing professional development credits required by the regulator, but these events also give corporate counsel a chance to discuss the pressing questions of the day, including those noted at the beginning of this article. It is only when we come together can we compare notes. Crucial for understanding the role of corporate counsel are frequent opportunities to have frank discussions with other corporate counsel. Smart corporate counsel knows that educational and networking opportunities help you to see emerging trends before others do.

An organization like the ACC is also uniquely positioned to represent corporate counsels' interest as a whole. Take for instance the threat to corporate counsels' privileged communications to its employer, under attack by regulatory bodies; only an organization that is exclusively dedicated to corporate counsel can represent the needs and position of corporate counsel. That organization is the ACC.

In 2011, the ACC Ontario Chapter has had very strong growth in membership, and continues to be a very active, vibrant organization. You will find no better place to meet and network with corporate counsel than at an ACC event.

Yours truly,

Sanjeev Dhawan