To The Readers Of The Metropolitan Corporate Counsel:
With about 375 members and a strong base of gold, silver, and bronze-level strategic sponsors, the Charlotte Chapter of the ACC has grown rapidly since it was incorporated less than a decade ago. Most of its activities during this time have focused on serving the needs of chapter members through continuing legal education (CLE) programs, social events, and opportunities to form deeper relationships with fellow ACC members and with attorneys from the chapter’s sponsoring law firms. Given our members’ strong ties to both the legal profession and the greater Charlotte community, our chapter recently has undertaken several initiatives to reach out beyond its own membership ranks and to become more engaged in external activities.
Recently, the Charlotte ACC partnered with the Charlotte Business Journal for the second consecutive year to hold a Corporate Counsel Awards event to recognize the efforts of a few of the outstanding in-house counsel in the Charlotte area. Hundreds of corporate counsel in the region work hard every day to support the growth and development of their companies, playing key roles in managing the risks present in today’s business world, but without recognition outside of their own companies. This second annual awards event provided a unique opportunity to publicly honor some of the best of the many in-house attorneys. More about this event is available at this link: http://www.bizjournals.com/charlotte/news/2013/04/11/charlotte-attorneys-honored-with.html.
Like many other chapters, the Charlotte ACC now has an Advocacy Committee that will be monitoring and providing occasional input to lawmakers on North Carolina legislation that may affect the in-house practice of law and the general business climate in the state. This effort to monitor and help shape the external environment in which our members practice is a new endeavor for our chapter, and we look forward to seeing what successes we may achieve in helping our members’ voices be heard in the state capital.
Our chapter also is increasing the impact it has in the local community through our Pro Bono Committee, which is working through several non-profit organizations and the pro bono coordinators of a couple of our sponsor law firms to harness the talents and “spare time” of our members to give back to some of those in greatest need in our region. In addition, the chapter has been active in fundraising for deserving nonprofits in the area, such as Classroom Central, which provides school supplies and related resources to teachers and underprivileged children, and the Council for Children’s Rights, which was the beneficiary of a significant contribution made in conjunction with the chapter’s 2012 casino night fundraising event.
For the first time in 2013, the Charlotte ACC chapter participated in the annual Justice for All fundraising luncheon for legal aid organizations in the Charlotte area, as well as the Law Day luncheon sponsored by the Mecklenburg County Bar Association. This engagement with the larger Charlotte legal community will further build relationships between ACC members and members of the local bar. It will also help the larger community get to know better the many talented professionals who make up the membership ranks of the Charlotte ACC.
Of course, our chapter still provides plenty of CLE programs and networking opportunities where members can share knowledge, experiences, and opportunities among themselves. Over the past two years, networking has been greatly enhanced by the establishment of three “affinity groups” within the chapter: a women’s group, a manufacturing group and a financial services group. Each has attracted significant interest from our members, and excellent support from our sponsor firms. In addition, we continue each year to offer at least one career development event. In 2013 our career development program will feature an attorney turned CEO who will talk about the importance of developing good leadership and managerial skills to maximize the effectiveness of our members as in-house practitioners.
I am very fortunate to have the privilege of leading the Charlotte ACC chapter in 2013, and of being able to continue to walk the path to success that has been plotted by my predecessor chapter presidents. And of course, none of the internal or external initiatives described above would be possible without the support of our strong board of directors, our committees, and our amazing chapter executive director, Jane Nohr. Thanks to everyone in the chapter for all you do to make this the thriving organization that it is today and for helping the Charlotte ACC along on its journey to the next level, both now and in the years ahead.