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In-house Access

Insight & Commentary for In-House Counsel Worldwide

The Need for a Personal General Counsel

Posted in Career

Guest Blogger: Anthony Palazzo is in-house litigation counsel for a private company in Durham, N.C. Palazzo is also a member of the ACC Research Triangle Area Chapter.

Governor Christie appointed his long-time friend and legal counsel David Samson as chairman of the Port Authority. David Samson is also a Partner at Wolff & Samson—legal counsel to the Rockefeller Group, which is seeking special zoning treatment on Port Authority property located in Hoboken.

Initially, the George Washington Bridge debacle didn’t become real news until the mayor of Hoboken mentioned that one of Gov. Christie’s top aides had made very direct comments on what needed to be done regarding that special Hoboken zoning issue.

At that point started all the subpoenas, Fifth Amendment declarations, cross- subpoenas, and demands for production of documents from everyone who could spell Trenton. And all the while, our governor, at first glib, and then enraged, began the methodical dismemberment of his closest staff members.

Now, what about his longtime attorney and confidant David Samson? Where was he while this staff was rearranging the car lanes on the GW Bridge? Apparently, David Samson was silent and nowhere to be found by anyone, including the governor.

The basic definition of a general counsel is the head of the law department of a company. The reality is that the function of a general counsel is to protect his/her employer while advancing the employer’s goals. Loyalty to the employer is paramount to everything except God, legal ethics requirements and, sometimes, legal impediments. Continue Reading

Crossing Borders with ACC Docket

Posted in ACC Docket

June’s ACC Docket focuses on “Cross Borders” issues. We have a couple standout articles in this issue: one offering the perspective of an American in-house counsel practicing in France and another from the point of view of a Japanese CLO who has witnessed firsthand the growth of the in-house profession in his country. Although issues related to working in an ever-shrinking world are covered in every Docket, these personal accounts offer something extra. Continue Reading

The 2014 Docket Readership Survey: Five Things I Didn’t Know

Posted in ACC Docket

The ACC Docket does well — wins awards every year, tops the list of publications for in-house counsel, and adds great membership benefit. I can’t tell you how many times I was approached by a member at the Annual Meeting last year in LA and told how great the Docket is. While the staff works extremely hard on every issue, it’s fair to say that the publication’s success wouldn’t be possible without the in-house (and firm) counsel who contribute to it. We’d love to take credit, but, really, you make the Docket, the DOCKET.

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Georgetown Law Students Present Legal Help Applications

Posted in Technology & IP

Guest Blogger: Joshua Shields is assistant editor of ACC’s award-winning journal, ACC Docket. He can be reached at j.shields@acc.com.

The Iron Tech Lawyer competition concluded recently at Georgetown University Law Center. The amicable contest pitted six teams of law students against each other to see who could design and implement the best application for nonprofit legal help.

Each student team presented for eight minutes and were judged by the following: Jane Aiken, associate dean for experiential education and professor of law at Georgetown Law Center; Peter Gronvall, managing director at Huron Consulting Group; Karen Lash, senior counsel for Access to Justice at the Department of Justice (participating in her personal capacity, of course); and Tammy McCutchen, partner at Littler Mendelson. Continue Reading

Demystifying the Internal Legal Department Through Social Media

Posted in Value & Innovation

Guest Blogger: Aliya Ramji is legal counsel at CSA Group in Canada and focuses on international and intellectual property issues. She is a member of the Aga Khan Education Board for Ontario and a member of the Junior Achievement of Central Ontario’s YGC Board. She can be contacted at aliyaramji@gmail.com.

In a 2011 survey conducted by CSA Group’s in-house legal team, 53 percent of the survey respondents wanted training on the legal services available to them and their respective teams. Employees from other business units stated that they were not fully aware of the legal department’s role, how it could help their business lines and, most importantly, who was on the legal team.

The survey results left us wondering how we can help the business if the business is not clear on who we are and what we can do. So, we set out to demystify the legal department and gave ourselves the mandate of improving our internal customer service. Continue Reading