Message from the Chair
Greetings SLD Members:
“Help me help you!” No, it’s not just a tagline from the movie Jerry Maguire, it’s my rallying cry as we hit our mid-year stride for all SLD members. We have been working diligently to come up with ways to help our members handle the legal fires that arise on a regular basis. Like many of you, my job involves providing results with very few resources. We are the “MacGyvers” of the corporate legal world. Many of us work for companies in which we are not only the ONLY lawyer, we are the FIRST lawyer. Our challenge is to not only handle legal matters, but also a myriad of other issues including: regulatory compliance, human resources, corporate governance (even if there is only one owner), tax, exporting, facilities management, even contests. You name it, we deal with it. And dealing with it doesn’t just mean we just pick up the phone and call outside counsel. For the law department of one or even eight, dealing with it can mean starting researching and reviewing. Getting in the trench and learning a whole new area of law. Does any of this sound familiar? If it does, then keep reading. SLD leadership is SERIOUSLY interested in developing resources needed by our members. We can only do that if we get member input.
There are over 6,000 members in the Small Law Department Committee. Only 50-130 participate on the Monthly Call. On a good day, ten of you might post to eGroups. Some of you reading this probably don’t even know what eGroups is. (See below: eGroups – What is that?)
Please email us with your comments and any ideas for future roundtables to help you with your day-to-day responsibilities.
We continue to look for other areas of interest and resource needs that you might have. Feel free to contact to us anytime with your thoughts at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Small Law Department Committee Chair
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eGroups – What is that?
eGroups is a forum at the ACC website that allows members to post questions to their peers and receive responses to inquiries related to legal issues, best practices, references for materials and recommendations for outside counsel. If you have not yet taken advantage of the SLD 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 your inquiry anonymously. It is a fantastic resource to mine the knowledge of your colleagues. Login to your ACC account and click the SLD eGroup HERE. SLD’s eGroups Chair is Assunta Rossi.
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July Monthly Call and Legal Quickhit: “Your Secret's Safe in Europe. Or is it?"
Thursday, July 9, 2015 at 3:00 PM ET, 7:00 PM GMT
Description: From Colonel Saunders’ recipe of 11 herbs and spices to Google’s complex search algorithms, trade secrets have long been the lifeblood of innovative companies. Unlike patents, trade secrets never expire and there’s never a risk of giving the game away by publishing. However, a leak can be disastrous. According to the International Chamber of Commerce, US federal cases of trade secret theft doubled between 1995 and 2004, and are expected to double again by 2017. Business is international and it is important to consider how your trade secrets can be protected abroad. How does the UK and Europe treat trade secrets? Are they recognized in law? Are they protected? Our speaker, Robert Lands, Head of IP & Commercial at Howard Kennedy LLP in London, England, will endeavor to answer those questions in this program. He will examine both the current law and the forthcoming European Directive on the protection of know-how and business information, offering practical tips to improve your trade secret protection.
Presented by: Robert Lands, Partner and Head of IP & Commercial, Howard Kennedy LLP (A Meritas Firm) LQH Prize: $250 Amazon Gift Card
August Monthly Call and Legal Quickhit: “Affirmative Action Compliance: Recent Developments, Increased Burdens and Greater Risks."
Thursday, August 13, 2015 at 3:00 PM ET, 7:00 PM GMT
Description: What do legal counsel in Small Law Departments need to know about Affirmative Action requirements applicable to government contractors and their subcontractors? This presentation will address this subject and provide an overview of hot topics in the area including Affirmative Action regulations regarding protected veterans and individuals with disabilities, the President’s Executive Order on Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces, and the Executive Order Prohibiting Discrimination on the Basis of Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity.
Presented by: William H. Pickering, Shareholder, Chambliss, Bahner & Stophel, P.C. (A Meritas Firm) LQH Prize: $250 Visa Gift Card
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Call for Topics/Presentation Ideas
ACC will be hosting a Mid-Year Meeting on April 10-12, 2016 in New York, New York that offers intensive and advanced education for senior in-house counsel. After receiving feedback from members over the last few years regarding the fall Annual Meeting, ACC is providing a day and a half, three-track, mid-year conference to specifically address advanced programs for corporate counsel. The three program tracks include the following:
ACC has specifically requested program ideas from interested committees for interactive 2-hour sessions to be held during the conference. All program idea submissions should incorporate a high degree of audience engagement and participation. Any interactive presentation format ideas are welcome. Successful types of audience engagement tactics employed at past ACC events include hands-on workshops, facilitated roundtable discussions, hypothetical scenarios with group work, mock trials/role playing activities, skits, quizzes/game shows, and sophisticated polling (e.g., “choose your own adventure”-style sessions). ACC will make audience response systems available for use and is open to incorporating other types of technology to help facilitate an interesting and engaging presentation for attendees.
- Contracts Practice (Managing Risk, Driving Efficiencies and Sharpening Contracting Skills);
- Corporate Governance; and
- Financial Industry Compliance & Data Management.
SLD in interested in ANY topic ideas or programs you may have for topics you want to present or topics/programs you want to be addressed at this Mid-Year Conference. If you are interested in submitting an idea, please email the following information to email@example.com:
Name, Company, Email, Phone, Topic Title & 3-5 sentence description of your idea and which track listed above that it addresses.
Please keep in mind that ACC is only interested in ADVANCED type programs so these programs should be geared toward in-house counsel practicing for at least three years in-house and potentially at least 5-10 years as an attorney.
All topic recommendations should be submitted to SLD no later than June 19, 2015.
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Webcast: Drafting Dispute Resolution Clauses From a Litigator’s Perspective
Held on March 31, 2015 (Sponsored by Meritas)
The selection of a single word in a dispute resolution clause can have serious implications on the outcome of a case. This webcast explores the various pitfalls in drafting dispute resolution clauses as viewed from the perspective of litigators who argue regarding the interpretation of such clauses. Presenters will examine recent case law addressing choice of law, arbitration, contractual limitations periods, class action waivers, mandatory mediation, damages waivers and limitations, unconscionability, jurisdiction and venue. This interactive session will engage the audience to discuss their experiences – "the good, the bad and the ugly" – with these provisions. This webcast will educate attendees on how to craft dispute resolution clauses that are effective and enforceable and address how to attack or defend against them. Presented by Ronald T. Coleman, Partner, Parker, Hudson, Rainer & Dobbs, LLP (A Meritas Firm) and Claudia Levitas, Chief Legal Officer and General Counsel, Hooters of America, LLC.
Webcast: Employee Stock Ownership Plan: Is It the Right Fit for Our Company in the United States
Held on April 30, 2015 (Sponsored by Meritas)
Employee stock ownership plans (ESOPs) are commonly used by companies across all industries as a way to transition ownership (all or in part) from the owners to the employees. If the fit is right, an ESOP can be an effective tool to create a market for the company's stock, transition ownership to a friendly investor, obtain tax incentives and reward employees with the ability to own stock. Webcast explored the advantages and disadvantages of ESOPs and dispel myths associated with them. Presented by: Alexander L. Mounts, Partner, Kreig DeVault, LLP (A Meritas Firm)
Members interested in recommending future topics for Webcasts may contact our Webcast Chair, Kristen Chittenden.
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Member Benefit Reminder
Meritas, the Small Law Department Committee Sponsor, offers 30 Minutes of courtesy advice by a Meritas law firm to SLD Members. To take advantage of this offer, click HERE.
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Subcommittee News and call for Topic Ideas, Volunteers, Authors
Membership – SLD Chapter LiaisonsSLD is actively looking for members willing to serve as “chapter liaisons” to help convey committee information to the chapter level and to help in planning local joint events for SLD members. We are looking to coordinate more events with Chapters for SLD members. If you are interested in being an SLD Chapter Liaison, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org for a description of the position.
SLD 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. Issues of particular concern to Small Law Department Committee members can be brought to the attention of our current Advocacy Liaison Sheri Fanaroff who coordinates with the ACC Advocacy personnel.Docket/Top 10
SLD 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 List for the ACC Website, please contact our Docket/Top 10 Chair, Elyse Beidner.
Recent Articles in the ACC Docket by SLD Members
Small Law: “Communication Breakdown” By *Jeffrey Wheeler (April 2015 issue)“Ditch the Boilerplate: Avoid Drafting Mistakes in Employment Agreements” By *Lisa Haas, Walter Stella and Carolyn Rashby (April 2015 issue)
“The ‘R’ In Inherited IRA Does Not Stand For Retirement — The Implications of the US Supreme Court’s Clark Decision” By *Kristen Chittenden, Dana B. Perry and Jeffrey W. Maddux (April 2015 issue)
Small Law: “The Art of Communication” By *Maryrose Delahunty (May 2015 issue)
“Cybersecurity – Emerging Trends and Regulatory Guidance” By *Fernanda Schmid, Robert B. Hubbell, Nathan Taylor and Daniel A.Nathan (May 2015 issue)
“Meeting in the Middle: The Advantages of Commercial Arbitration” By *Charles Veigel (May 2015 issue)“Transferring Personal Data Out of the European Union: Which Export Solution Fits your Needs?” By *Katia Bloom and *K. Royal (June 2015 issue)
Small Law: “Oh Great, the Lawyer’s Here!” By *Jeffrey Wheeler (June 2015 issue)
Other SLD members recently featured in the Docket include Richard Brunner (May) in the Day in the Life Column; Jim Villa in Tips & Insights; and the Lead the Way column by Whitnie Wiley.
You can access SLD resources and news at our Committee Webpage. We plan to be doing some remodeling of our Webpage this year. Stay tuned for the changes. If you have any suggestions for information that you would like to see, please contact our Webpage Chair, Matthew Hitchcock.
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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 2015.
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