Letter From The President Of The Ontario, Canada Chapter Of The Association of Corporate Counsel

2007-10-01 01:00

To The Readers Of The Metropolitan Corporate Counsel :

Mitchell Wolfe is senior vice president, general counsel and secretary, VISA Canada Association.

As president of ACC's first Canadian chapter, I am especially pleased to talk about the many new and exciting opportunities that are now available to in-house counsel in Canada.

The Ontario chapter, based in Toronto, puts on CLE and social events open to the growing number of Ontario ACC members and other in-house counsel. Our board of directors provides direction for the chapter. They include:

• Andrea Nalyzyty, Vice President and Associate General Counsel at Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce;

• Dougal Clark, Senior Counsel at BMO Financial Group;

• Rosanne Angotti, Senior Counsel at Kraft Canada;

• Georgia Sievwright, Vice President Law and Government Affairs at Hewlett-Packard Company;

• R. Paul Krpan, Assistant General Counsel for Lombard Canada Ltd.;

• Sanjeev S. Dhawan, Senior Legal Counsel for Hydro One Networks Inc.;

• Gillian Shearer, Legal Counsel at Ajilon Canada Inc.;

• Mark Andrew Krajicek, General Counsel, Secretary and Director, Philips Electronics North America;

• Robert Kay, Chief Legal Officer at Karalco.

The Chapter has more than 200 members who represent over 140 corporations such as Royal Bank of Canada, Alcatel Canada, Advanced Micro Devices, Inc., Canada Post Corporation, Barrick Gold Corporation, and Hydro One Networks Inc., and serves Toronto and its surrounding cities.

In-house counsel need avenues to talk to other in-house counsel, seek input on specific challenges and benchmark their operations against other in-house departments. ACC Ontario programs and ACC online resources provide these resources and more.

Our chapter programs reflect the need among in-house counsel for high quality CLE on targeted subjects that have an in-house perspective. Most programs have at least one in-house practitioner on the panel and programs are intended to be practical and focus on helping to answer the question: What, as in-house counsel, should I be doing in these situations? Our diverse programs also take into consideration that in-house lawyers need to deliver not only legal services but also develop excellent communication skills, participate in management and offer creative solutions to their companies. Bearing in mind all those demands on in-house counsel, the Ontario chapter has offered past programs such as:

• The Art of Speaking;

• Issues that the Legal Department Faces with Canadian Advertising and Marketing Law;

• Punching Above Your Weight: Best in Class Law Departments: What Does It Mean to be a High Performing, Best in Class Law Department?

• In-House Ethics - What Would You Do?

• The Impact of Human Rights Laws on the Employment Relationship;

• Legal Risk Management - What does it mean and involve?

• Creative Ideas for Creativity in Legal Departments;

• Class Actions, Bordering on Insanity-Inter-Provincial & Inter-National Aspects of Class Actions.

Recognizing the limited time and funds of our members, our programs are offered at no cost and are open to in-house counsel only. Most programs are held as lunch programs so attendees are not out of the office all day, but they are able to attend a solid presentation, grab lunch and are back in the office in the afternoon.

In addition to the face-to-face interaction that our chapter programs provide, ACC's website and their magazine the ACC Docket offers additional key resources that in-house lawyers deal with - everything from joint ventures to managing legal expenditures. And of course, the ACC Annual Meeting in October is another example of the in-house focus - on a much larger scale with over 100 sessions, but again, they feed to the need to provide corporate counsel with practical, timely and useful information that they can take back to the office and implement.

Looking ahead in 2007 we will be offering a program on Top Ten Tips for Effectively Communicating with your In-house Client and our centerpiece program, the two day Canadian CCU program.

Our 2008 programs will focus on the emerging skill sets required of in-house counsel including financial-related training, and cross-border issues, as well as the basics in competition law, contract drafting and administration, and team building. We'll also look at career development issues.

And as always, we'll look to our members to provide us with feedback on future issues and legal trends to explore.For more information on our chapter go to www.acc.com/canada.


Mitchell Wolfe