Letter From the President Of The Washington Metropolitan Area Corporate Counsel Association

2006-05-01 00:00

To the Readers Of The Metropolitan Corporate Counsel :

As the largest regional in-house counsel bar association in the U.S. and the largest chapter of the Association of Corporate Counsel (ACC), WMACCA is proud of its role in providing premier continuing legal education and networking opportunities. With over 1300 members from over 500 corporations and private sector organizations, we offer a wide variety of programs to meet the needs of our growing organization and a rising in-house bar. Annually, we offer over 60 continuing legal education programs that aim to provide in-house counsel with the tools needed to advise clients in the post-Sarbanes-Oxley world.

This month's message discusses WMACCA expansion throughout Virginia, details developments in our law school outreach program, congratulates our 2006 Corporate Scholars, and announces a call for nominations for our 2006 Corporate Counsel Awards.

Expanding Services in Virginia. I am pleased to announce that WMACCA has increased its service area to include all ACC members in the Commonwealth of Virginia. In addition to serving DC metropolitan area for the last 26 years, for the past several months, we have worked with ACC members in the Richmond area to provide continuing legal education programs and networking opportunities. These efforts have been very successful in helping to build a more vibrant in-house community throughout the Commonwealth. We plan to expand these efforts and ensure that all ACC members throughout Virginia can tap into the rich resources that a strong professional network provides. We believe that these efforts also will increase the profile of in-house practice in Virginia and create a single voice for advocacy matters within the Commonwealth.

Improving Outreach to Law School Students. Over the past several years, WMACCA also has taken steps to increase the awareness of law school students about in-house practice as a career option. Each year, we work with the career services offices at the DC metropolitan area law schools to organize panel presentations to describe what in-house practice entails and how students can position themselves for in-house careers. This year, under the leadership of Karen Wishart, WMACCA Board member and General Counsel at TV-One LLC, we are expanding this outreach. First, we will seek to expand the number of panels and include additional law schools (such as the Universities of Virginia, Maryland and Richmond). Second, we will work with professors at the local law schools to offer the services of our membership as guest speakers for business, corporate and commercial law classes to provide insight into practical applications of what the students are learning. Third, we are planning a symposium this fall for law students and first-year associates from law firms to give them practical advice about working with, and the expectations of, in-house counsel.

2006 Corporate Scholars Program. WMACCA is proud to sponsor the Corporate Scholars Program, which provides internships for law students in the legal departments of some of our members' organizations. Since 2004, the Corporate Scholars Program has provided opportunities for the students selected to experience and observe in-house practice, a career option that they may know little about. In this way, we are creating a pipeline of future in-house lawyers. Under the leadership of Committee Chairs, Vanessa Allen (Philip Morris USA) and Brandon Fitzgerald (U.S. Foodservice), we recently selected the Corporate Scholars Class of 2006. On behalf of the entire membership, we would like to congratulate the following law students: Udele Lin (American University); Antoinette Kemp (University of the District of Columbia); Katherine Martell (American University); April Love (Howard University); Purvin Patel (George Mason University); and Alison Umberger (George Mason University). The WMACCA Corporate Scholars Program Fund, a nonprofit foundation created in 2005, funds this program.

2006 Corporate Counsel Award. WMACCA is proud to recognize the contributions in-house counsel make to the legal profession, their organizations, and community at large. Last year, in conjunction with WMACCA's 25th anniversary celebration, we created the Corporate Counsel Awards as recognition for individuals and legal departments who had achieved particular excellence in serving their organizations. In a few weeks, we will again be seeking nominations for individuals and departments for the 2006 Corporate Counsel Awards. The reception to honor the finalists and winners will be held on November 2 at The Ritz-Carlton Tysons Corner. Members of WMACCA, law firms that support WMACCA programs and events, and members of the public will be invited to submit nominations for Outstanding Chief Legal Officer, Outstanding In-House Counsel, Outstanding Legal Department and Community Service. More information about nominations will be available shortly on the WMACCA web site at www.acca.com/chapters/wmacca.php.

I look forward to seeing you at a WMACCA event or program in the near future.


Eric D. Reicin