Letter From The President Of The Washington Metropolitan Area Chapter Of The Association Of Corporate Counsel America

2004-03-01 01:00

To The Readers Of The Metropolitan Corporate Counsel:

With spring around the corner, I'm energized by the dynamic group of General Counsel and other corporate counsel who contribute their time, energy and insights into making our chapter better and better. I am delighted to be a part of this organization that just reached 1,000 members, ACCA's second largest chapter.

Our Diversity Forum helped us kick off the new year with a program on "Climbing the In-house Ladder - Success Strategies for the Diverse Attorney."The discussion between our panelists - Renie Grohl of Fannie Mae, Laura Huggett of DuPont, Veta Richardson of the Minority Corporate Counsel Association, and Julienne Bramesco of Kaiser Permanente - and the audience members was very insightful.Most agreed that the way to improve diversity in in-house departments is to improve diversity in the law firms that are our pipeline for good people.We, as the "customers" of these law firms, have an obligation to take steps to get our law firms to improve their diversity.We should also seek out minority and women-owned firms for matters.And we should make sure to help associates at law firms develop relationships with their in-house clients that will help them understand our needs and the partnership we have with their firms.These relationships will serve them well in their firms or in their move to in-house practice. Diversity in the legal profession still has a long way to go, but we are uniquely situated to make improvements.

To enhance diversity among the candidates in the pipeline, WMACCA encourages corporations to hire minority law students for internship programs.With support from a grant from MCCA, WMACCA is sponsoring a summer internship program for law students from law schools in the D.C. and Baltimore area.Many of our member companies have stepped up to participate and we are gratified by the response.

In 2004, we will increase our outreach to in-house counsel within D.C.'s city limits. Currently about two thirds of our membership is from suburban Virginia and Maryland.Although we host many substantive educational programs and social events in the District, we plan to have more events in the District than ever before, and welcome the input from any and all in-house attorneys in the District to answer the following questions:

What are you looking for in an in-house bar association?

What programs would best help you in your practice?

What time of day and where in the District would you like programs to be hosted?

How do I know that WMACCA can benefit corporate counsel located in DC?I am a corporate counsel located in the District, in Georgetown. I personally look for opportunities to network with other attorneys who face the same challenges that I do of understanding emerging legal and regulatory requirements, counseling business leaders, and doing more with less. I have found WMACCA to provide invaluable resources, both in reference materials and colleagues whom I can call to help meet these challenges.

I look for CLE programs to help translate laws and regulations into practical pointers that can be easily implemented in a corporate setting. One of the big benefits of WMACCA is that its programs are targeted to the needs of in-house counsel.

I also enjoy WMACCA's social events.Our fall social was enjoyed by all the 150 members and in-house colleagues who attended.We plan to have our second annual spring social this year again in the District. We will kick off spring on May 15, 2004, with a floating dinner dance and casino night on the Spirit of Washington. Our social events give an opportunity to learn about each other's practices and to share insights in an informal setting.I'm surprised by how often, when I recall a conversation and reach out to confer on a subject, I am greeted with warm collegiality.

As you consider your own answers to the questions, please feel free to contact me at kbarlow@tbco.biz. WMCCA's other board members and I would very much enjoy hearing from you.


Kathy Barlow