Letter From The President Of The Association Of Corporate Counsel, Southern California

2010-01-11 00:00

To The Readers Of The Metropolitan Corporate Counsel:

What will ACCA-SoCal look like in 2010?

With the new year upon us, it seems like an appropriate time to look ahead to some of the things that 2010 is likely to have in store for the Southern California Chapter of the Association of Corporate Counsel America ("ACCA-SoCal"), which serves the needs of in-house attorneys in Los Angeles and Orange Counties as well Ventura, Santa Barbara and Riverside Counties.

First, there is a new president of ACCA-SoCal . . . me! I have the pleasure and challenge of following in the footsteps of Renee Benjamin, now the immediate past president of the Chapter. (I note that Renee looks unusually happy and relaxed ever since she handed the gavel over to me on October 1, whereas my hair seems to be graying even more rapidly!) Renee has left the ACCA-SoCal house in good order, as evidenced by the Chapter being recognized once again as the most outstanding chapter among ACC's many chapters across the nation and world - in fact, ACCA-SoCal has received the title a record 7 times in the last 13 years! (You will surely get sick of me repeating this fact over and over again in 2010.) Although ACCA-SoCal is not eligible to win the title next year (chapters cannot win two years in a row), it is my hope to bring ACCA-SoCal to even greater heights in 2010 so that we are in a favorable position for another title run in the years that follow.

Webcasts are another thing to look forward to in 2010. Starting in January, all ACCA-SoCal programs (but not purely social events/receptions) will be videotaped. Within several days after a given program, a video file will be created with most of the screen acreage devoted to the presentation slides from the program and a smaller portion of the screen simultaneously showing the presenters. Each video file will then be compressed and made into files that can be streamed or downloaded for free from ACCA-SoCal's website (the "Past Program Materials & Webcasts" page). In addition, links to the presentation slides, speaker bios and other materials relevant to the program will be placed on the same "Past Program Materials & Webcasts" page. Attendees of the program will be sent emails with links to all of the above-mentioned materials. At this time, MCLE credit will only be offered for in-person attendance of ACCA-SoCal's programs, but this could change, depending upon what Chapter members want and what is financially feasible.

The coming year may also bring a new on-line registration tool and email communication system to ACCA-SoCal. The Chapter is currently researching the possibility of switching providers. If that occurs, the new on-line registration tool and email communication system would improve the way ACCA-SoCal communicates with its members, including the way members sign up for Chapter programs/events. Here is a partial list of changes you may notice (if a switch is made):

smoother log-in process to sign up to attend ACCA-SoCal programs/events, and greater ease modifying your status for a program/event that you have already signed up to attend (e.g., bringing guest, cancelling attendance, etc.);

improved look and functionality of the weekly emails sent to all Chapter members providing details about upcoming programs/events and other important announcements, including the ability to click one button to add a program/event directly to your calendar (supports Outlook Calendar, Google Calendar, Yahoo Calendar, MSN Calendar) and the ability to pre-populate the start address and end address for driving directions to a program/event;

ability to share programs/events with colleagues by inputting their email addresses or by sharing the event on social media sites (LinkedIn, Twitter, etc.).

An evening with Condoleezza Rice (former secretary of state, 2005-2009) is also forthcoming in 2010. She has agreed to be the keynote speaker for ACCA-SoCal's 15th Annual Gala Dinner & Pro Bono Silent Auction. The event will be held on April 30 at the Westin Bonaventure Hotel in downtown Los Angeles. Dr. Rice promises to be yet another fabulous keynote speaker at this prestigious event, following the likes of Bill Clinton, Tony Blair, George H.W. Bush, Al Gore, Colin Powell, and other luminaries.

Finally, in addition to the usual slate of Chapter programs and events (Annual Gala Dinner, DoubleHeaders, RoundTables, ACCess MCLE (f/k/a Monthly Multi-Venue), the In-house Counsel Conference (all-day MCLE program in late January), In-house Connections (career development programs), Family Fun Day, and various receptions, there will be a few relatively new programs/events in 2010: (1) ACC Value Challenge. Recently there has been increased interest in the ACC Value Challenge. We plan to have at least two events in 2010 focusing on these important initiatives. (See http://www.acc.com/valuechallenge/ and the related ACC Value Index, http://www.acc.com/valuechallenge/valueindex/index.cfm.); (2) Food, Drug & Healthcare Law and Entertainment Law (these programs will be tailored to in-house attorneys practicing in those areas and could lead to the creation of permanent committees within ACCA-SoCal); and, (3) possibly another Mini-MBA (the Chapter staged its first event in the fall of 2009, which was well attended, however we have not yet been able to locate a sponsor interested in staging another Mini-MBA for 2010; please send an email to Bernard.Gaffaney@acc.com if you have any leads).

As you can see, we have not only much to be thankful for this past year (did you hear that ACCA-SoCal won the Chapter of Year Award for the 7th time in the last 13 years?), but also a myriad of things to look forward to in 2010. On behalf of ACCA-SoCal's board of directors, I look forward to seeing you at the Chapter's many programs and events in the coming year.

If you are an in-house attorney and wish to become a member of ACCA-SoCal, you must first join ACC. Please visit the following website to join ACC: http://www.acc.com/aboutacc/membership/index.cfm.

Happy holidays and best wishes for a prosperous new year!

Warmest regards,

Bernard A. Gaffaney