To The Readers Of The Metropolitan Corporate Counsel:
As December comes around and a new year beckons, it is traditional to reflect back on the previous 12 months and all that has been accomplished in that time period. For the New Jersey Corporate Counsel Association (“NJCCA”), this has been a banner year in at least three respects: education, networking and community service/charitable outreach.
One of NJCCA’s most important functions is to provide high-quality continuing legal education (“CLE”) to its members. On this front, the NJCCA has succeeded in an exceptional manner.
First, NJCCA is the local affiliate of the Association of Corporate Counsel (“ACC”), a 29,000+ member organization dedicated to serving the needs and interests of in-house counsel. Membership in ACC provides full membership in NJCCA, as well as access to in-depth analyses, forms, periodicals and other materials that can extend and expand the knowledge of counsel on many areas of the law relevant to their practices. All of this is available without charge to members.
Second, NJCCA’s monthly online newsletter is without parallel in any ACC chapter elsewhere in the United States. Each month, for the benefit of its members, the NJCCA publishes a substantive article on a legal topic of interest written by attorneys from leading law firms. In 2011, these articles covered topics as diverse as
Third, NJCCA provides abundant CLE opportunities to its members throughout the year. In September, NJCCA hosted its 9th annual all-day CLE conference which attracted a record of almost 400 attendees. Throughout the day, attendees had an opportunity to choose among 27 substantive programs covering diverse topics on five simultaneous tracks as well as a lunch and plenary sessions. However, the all-day conference was just one of many CLE programs that the NJCCA hosted throughout the year, including CLE programs preceding the Spring Cocktail Reception and the Annual Dinner, as well as monthly programs hosted by various NJCCA committees. One particularly exciting development this year was the increasing activity of the NJCCA’s Life Sciences Committee, which hosted several forums for members. NJCCA is more than simply a provider of CLE, however. Of equal importance is NJCCA’s focus on providing abundant networking opportunities for its members. This past year, NJCCA continued to host its Spring Cocktail Reception in May, a Golf Outing in June (which, in 2012, also will include tennis and spa offerings), an Annual Dinner in November and a cocktail reception following the all-day CLE conference in September. In between these events NJCCA offers numerous opportunities for its members to network in an informal atmosphere. The Women’s Networking Committee and Career Management Committee were particularly active in 2011 in hosting networking events. Additionally, NJCCA has developed a presence in online networking forums such as LinkedIn, Martindale Connected and Twitter. The NJCCA’s LinkedIn site has attracted several hundred members already and offers a premier opportunity for professional online networking.
NJCCA has engaged in community service and charitable outreach over the past several years because we recognize the importance of giving back to those with demonstrated need. In August, we gathered for our annual Build-a-Backpack event, in which volunteers filled backpacks with school supplies to be donated to two elementary schools in Newark that were selected based upon need and logistics – the kindergarten classes at McKinley Elementary School and preschool classes at the Early Childhood Global Academy. Funds remaining from this year’s event were used to make a monetary donation to Brookside Elementary School in Cranford, which had been devastated by flooding during Hurricane Irene. In December, NJCCA members and volunteers will gather for our 5th Annual Holiday Outreach event to wrap new books for holiday donations to the children living in a number of Hopeline domestic violence shelters throughout New Jersey. In 2011, NJCCA also supported numerous worthwhile charitable organizations, including the Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA), the Greater Newark Fresh Air Fund, Volunteer Lawyers for Justice, Legal Services of New Jersey, Pro Bono Partnership, American Cancer Society, artsHorizons, Peppermint & Ginger Comfort Kits, Inc. and the Community Food Bank of New Jersey. In addition to supporting deserving local organizations, our members also have participated in charitable activities from medical relief in Haiti to disaster relief in Joplin, Missouri.
Finally, it has been my pleasure to write and illustrate a monthly cartoon, Overruled!, which I hope brings a smile to our newsletter audience. NJCCA remains the only ACC chapter with its own in-house cartoonist.
To learn more about ACC and NJCCA, check out the rich array of materials at the ACC website – www.acc.com – and our chapter offerings at the ACC site under the heading “CHAPTERS.” Just select “New Jersey Corporate Counsel Association” from the list.
We urge you to join us and the over 1,200 in-house colleagues in New Jersey who have already signed up. If you are interested in becoming a member or getting involved with the NJCCA in any capacity, please feel free to contact me by phone at (201) 272-5308 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Joseph M. Aronds