To the Readers of The Metropolitan Corporate Counsel:
The Canadian Corporate Counsel Association (CCCA) boasts the largest number of in-house counsel in Canada. Our membership consists of in-house attorneys employed in every industry and sector in the country (representing 94 of The Globe and Mail’s Top 100 Companies), as well as in public and private businesses, nonprofits, all levels of government and crown corporations.
Our structure as a constituent association with the Canadian Bar Association (CBA) is a key strength. In addition to our own services and programs, our members also have full access to the services and offerings of the CBA, which is the national association of Canadian lawyers, representing 37,000 members across our country.
And the CCCA is growing. With over 4,500 members and counting from coast to coast, it’s becoming apparent that the in-house counsel role is now a profession of choice among lawyers. Our opinion and expertise is being sought on matters ranging from compliance to corporate crises to the overall future of the legal profession.
As the profession continues to grow, and the influence exuded by in-house counsel continues to expand, the role of our association becomes increasingly vital. We must act as advocate, community hub, and skills provider for our members.
When it comes to advocacy, the CCCA’s connection to the CBA plays a crucial role. This past year alone, the CCCA Advocacy Committee consulted on a proposed strategy to help improve the financial literacy of Canadians with the Canadian Financial Literacy Leader, participated in the Statutory Review of the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act and the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act, and with the CBA, drafted the CICA Joint Policy Statement on Audit Inquiries. The CCCA and the CBA will continue to work together on matters of interest to in-house counsel in the coming years.
As for our role as a community hub, we face a challenge similar to that of our American counterparts. Our members are spread out across a large and diverse area of land. As such, in addition to our two annual in-person gatherings, we also have a thriving and enthusiastic network of 11 regional sections across Canada. These sections bring local area members together in meaningful ways, encouraging informal mentoring and coaching, and creating an open dialogue about the challenges and intricacies of this profession.
Finally, our association must ensure that our members remain educated and up-to-date on the latest business and legal updates, providing them with a leg-up on the competition. Our new Business Leadership Program for In-House Counsel, outlined in detail in a letter from the CCCA chair, Heather Innes, serves to close the learning gap between traditional forms of legal education and the often unexpected realities of the in-house role. In addition to this program, we offer a continuous stream of webinars, seminars and conferences on professional development topics including brand reputation, IP licensing, anti-corruption, energy arbitration, privilege, and how to get on a board.
As you may know, in August 2011, the CBA and the ABA signed an agreement to enhance cooperation. When you next encounter a professional issue with Canadian scope, I encourage you to contact the CCCA. We will be thrilled to act as your resource, liaison and partner.