Message from Mary Delahunty - Small Law Department Committee Chair
Welcome to the inaugural issue of the Small Law Department (SLD) Committee’s
quarterly newsletter! Whenever people ask how my legal career started, I
liken it to “hanging a shingle” inside a corporation. Unlike many of you, I
started in-house straight out of law school. With no one to show me the ropes
and no partner down the hall whose brain I could pick, ACC quickly became my
key resource. Before the days of email, eGroups and webcasts, my local ACC
chapter, the Docket and my state bar offered me some semblance of mentoring and
networking. When you have to practice with no net, you learn how to walk the
tightrope and FAST.
I started out as a legal department of one and remain so today. On any given
day I could be dealing with federal export regulations, a state sales tax
refund fight, or 401K plan revisions for compliance or a customer audit.
Consequently, having easy access to a wide array of legal resources and a
network of other in-house “firefighters” can make a real difference when you
are working solo or in a small team.
With this understanding in mind, I feel very honored and excited to take the
helm of the Small Law Department Committee. On behalf of the other members of
our SLD leadership team; we want you to know that this is YOUR committee. We
are committed to providing you with resources to help you manage the
rollercoaster of the in-house life. We know that some days you feel like you
have chosen not only a thankless job but taken on a vain endeavor trying to
practice preventative instead of reactive law. Know this…YOU ARE NOT ALONE. You
are part of a community of mavericks, just like you, trying to help steer the
company ship so that it operates like an aircraft carrier instead of the
Titanic. The goal of the SLD Leadership Team is to create for you a place
to enjoy a “mental margarita,” or beverage of your choice, and connect with
other legal “firefighters.”
We want to give you a place to hone your legal, business and networking
skills and engage in camaraderie with people who “get it.” In this first
quarterly newsletter, we have provided you with opportunities to plug-in to the
small law community and to draw from a number of resources. I invite you to sit
back and peruse what we have to offer below. And one more thing…..every
day, you are making a difference and just in case no one has thanked you for
any of the following:
- Sitting on the floor in an airport with your laptop
plugged into an available wall socket, to check or answer an email, draft a
letter or review an agreement;
- Reviewing documents in a doctor or hospital
waiting room to prepare for a telecon or meeting that same day; or
- Taking a
conference call on vacation, while everyone else on your trip waited or went ahead
of you, as you promised to catch up with them later.
Let me be the first today to say THANK YOU for all you do.
Small Law Department Committee Chair
P.S. Please send your comments, suggestions and questions to us at email@example.com
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Membership Has Its Privileges
You can find out more about the Small Law Department (SLD) Committee on our website including
more information on the great benefits of being a member!
- Upcoming and Archived Webcasts
- ACC Contracts
Advisor and Contracts Portal (To
access a demo, please contact the ACC SLD liaison, Victor Morales.) including sample documents and past Annual Meeting presentations
- Monthly meetings where you can learn more and network with
fellow attorneys and be eligible to win a prize valued at $250. See the SLD Webpage.
- Networking opportunities through our eGroups and Annual Meeting
- 30 Minutes of courtesy advice by a Meritas law firm HERE.
- Volunteer and leadership opportunities with very little time
Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested in volunteering with the committee.
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Recap of the Annual Meeting (October 29-31, 2014)
The ACC Annual Meeting is about building relationships and building substantive knowledge and at times can seem like a race that is building your endurance. For SLD members who have attended for years or new members first experiencing the Annual Meeting, this year was a success.
When committee members are asked what was the most memorable part, the first on the list is the people. There are countless stories of members indicating that other members were helpful, willing to sharing substantive knowledge, work through issues and willing to take time to get to know each other – beyond the often rushed “nice to see you” that can happen at a conference. Members have described their relationship with each other as being like a big virtual law firm where you go down the hall to think through an issue with your colleague. At SLD, members use the virtual hallway of eGroups, email lists and direct connections built at the annual meeting.
Organizing and creating a functioning structure for the thousands of ACC members to attend hundreds of sessions is where ACC stands out amongst many professional organizations. This year, the Annual Meeting took this operational efficiency to new heights. Members said that they left with their substantive cups running over with knowledge and information they can use in their daily work. So much so that some members are asking for ACC to consider duplicating some of the hot topics as there was often more than one session that a member wanted to attend. One member caught between two sessions described how she left a session halfway through to run down the hall to another session so she could try to gain as much information as possible.
So whether it’s a place to work through issues challenging the daily life of in-house counsel, a place to add to your substantive knowledge or the virtual connection to other practitioners working through similar challenges, the ACC Annual Meeting proves to be the place our members get a great return on their investment of their time over the four day period.
Annual Meeting events that SLD members enjoyed
• 9th Annual Small Law Department Committee Hobnob at the Haunted Mortuary
• SLD Committee luncheon
• Big Easy Bash for Small Law Department Committee sponsored by Meritas at The Napoleon House
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Small Law Department Leaders Recognized at AM14
Jeff Wheeler received the Small Law Department
Committee “Member of the Year” Award for all his hard work in putting
together the slate of SLD Annual Meeting Programs and speakers
Todd Silberman received a Special Appreciation Award for
numerous contributions to the SLD Committee, including nine years of
coordinating the Annual Meeting SLD Hobnob event - a networking event for Small
Law Department Committee members.
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New Committee Leadership Announced!
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Join the Small Law
Department Committee Monthly Teleconference with Legal Quickhit and prize on
December 11, 2014 at 3:00 p.m. ET. Our program topic is on Social Media in the Workplace and Why All Employers
Should Care. Register here.
Quickhit prize worth
employers know they have a social media policy as well as an electronic device
policy (or BYOD). Despite implementing such policies, employers face
difficult challenges with these policies both from an enforcement perspective
as well as intense scrutiny by governmental agencies such as the National Labor
Relations Board and the Department of Labor. Because social media is not
going away, we will discuss the creating effective social media and BYOD policies
(and agreements) and how to enforce those policies without creating litigation
or agency charges.
Presented by: Tina
A. Syring, Partner, Barnes & Thornburg, LLP
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Subcommittee News and Call for Topic Ideas, Volunteers, Authors
2015 Annual Meeting Call for Program Topics
We are currently soliciting CLE/CPD program
ideas for the 2015 ACC Annual Meeting in Boston (Oct 18-21, 2015). We would
like to hear about topics on which you need more training and/or on topics for
which you would like to provide training for other members. All complete
entries will be entered in a drawing to receive a $100 Amazon Gift
Card sponsored by Meritas. Please submit your program entries here on or before
December 12, 2014. (Contacts: Jeff
Wheeler and Sherie
Membership – Chapter Liaisons
We are actively looking for members willing to serve as “chapter
liaisons” to help convey committee information, help with planning local,
joint events for local committee members, and coordinate more events with
chapters. If you are interested in being an Chapter Liaison, please email our
Membership Chair Raimi Blackerby (RBlackerby@us.tiauto.com).
Advocacy – ACC
ACC is heavily involved in public policy concerns affecting its
members. Many amicus briefs have been written both at the federal and state
level addressing a myriad of issues relevant to in-house counsel. Information
about ACC’s Advocacy activities can be found here: http://advocacy.acc.com/. Issues of particular concern to Small Law Department
Committee members can be brought to the attention of our Advocacy Liaison Sheri Fanaroff,
who coordinates with the ACC Advocacy personnel.
If you have not yet taken advantage of our Commitee
eGroup, we highly recommend that you post your questions and concerns. Members
actively share forms, checklists and practice tips. You can also search for
topics in eGroups to see if other members have had similar issues. ACC has also
provided the capability to post you inquiry anonymously. It is a fantastic
resource to mine the knowledge of your colleagues. Login to your ACC account
and tap into the SLD eGroup HERE. If you have
questions or need assistance, contact eGroups Chair Assunta
Our members are a prolific group and we are always looking for
more aspiring or current authors. If you are interested in authoring or
co-authoring an ACC Docket article or Top 10, please contact
our Docket/Top 10 Chair Elyse Beidner.
Recent and Upcoming ACC Docket Articles Written
By our Members
"Secure your Masks First, Then Help Others" by Sherie Edwards
"Patrolling the Patent Trolls: Ongoing Developments in US
IP Law” By Richard Mannella and Julie A. Hopkins
“More Than Your Average Lawyer: Developing Executive
Presence” By Kathryn K. Mlsna and Amy D. Cline
Small Law Department Committee webcasts offer in-house counsel
the opportunity to gain substantive information in key legal practice areas.
Meritas, our committee sponsor, worked with us to offer three webcasts in 2014.
These may be accessed by clicking on the links below.
Members interested in recommending future topics for
webcasts may contact our Webcast Chair Kristen
You can access SLD resources and news at our committee webpage.
Stay tuned for new content and a new format for our webpage this year. If
you have any suggestions for information that you would like to see, please
contact our Webpage Chair Matthew
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Meritas is honored
to be the Small Law Committee sponsor. We have appreciated the opportunity to
work with committee members over the past 10+ years to create resources that
help make your jobs easier. Please contact the Small Law Department Committee
(email@example.com), if you have an idea for a collaborative SLD/Meritas project in
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