Letter From The President Of The Mid-America Chapter Of The Association of Corporate Counsel-America

2005-01-01 00:00

To The Readers Of The Metropolitan Corporate Counsel:

As I look back over the past year, I'd like to thank our chapter's leadership and sponsors whose contributions enabled us to present a full calendar of seminars on a broad range of topics targeted at the needs of in-house counsel. We were also able to provide remote participation in most of our Kansas City events to our members in Omaha through video and/or audio conferencing facilities graciously made available by the Omaha office of Stinson Morrison Hecker LLP.

We began the year with an excellent video presentation and discussion regarding insider trading, including fundamentals, penalties and consequences, the SEC's role, prevention and much more. Our speakers were Victoria B. Westerhaus and Stephen D. Aliber of Shook, Hardy & Bacon L.L.P.

Our winter programs included a discussion of environmental insurance recovery. Bill Beck and Stacy Andreas of Lathrop & Gage L.C., John H. Ross, III of Ash Grove Cement Company and William W. Humphrey III of Lockton, Inc. provided a practical guide through the recovery process with a focus on managing insurance recovery for asbestos, silica and environmental liabilities, coverage issues, maximation theories and targeted litigation.

In March, our program on current developments in professional responsibility focused on proposed tax shelter opinions and related rules, email disclaimer issues, conflict issues in hiring, obligations concerning impaired lawyers and recent ethics cases.

In conjunction with the UMKC School of Law, we hosted the 8th Annual Marvin and Patricia Rich Corporate Prize Luncheon in April. The prize honors law students for exceptional scholarly composition in the area of corporate law.

In May, a panel of six local general counsel - Marc Kuemmerlein of Farmland Foods, John Tyler of Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, Kevin Conner of AMC Entertainment, Daniel Churay of Yellow Roadway Corporation, Timothy Thompson of Country Club Bank and Rita D'Agostino of RED Development - discussed top concerns of law departments, effective tactics for managing outside counsel budgets, rewarding in-house counsel during challenging financial times and the increasing diversity in in-house positions and among outsourced legal services.

In June we co-sponsored with the Kansas City Metropolitan Bar Association the 18th annual Corporate House Counsel Institute.

Our July program focused on how technology transforms case assessment. Our speakers were John J. Michels, Jr., of McGuireWoods LLP and Blane Erwin of Bridgeway Software. They provided practical tips for increasing efficiency and reducing risks and costs by assessing discovery needs, relevant facts and legal principles of a case early in its life cycle with the assistance of Internet technology.

In August, Timothy K. McNamara of Lathrop & Gage L.C. provided an overview of the discovery, production and admissibility of electronic information. The wide range of topics included risk of spoliation and dealing with the time consuming and expensive task of identifying, reviewing and producing large quantities of electronically stored materials.

To help our members enhance their careers, our September program featured a panel of legal recruiters discussing in-house career development and today's market for in-house counsel jobs. Our panel featured Richard Shteamer of Legal Resources, Inc., Terry W. Bashor of Legal Search Associates, Jeff Goodman of Spencer Reed and Mary Reusser of Shook, Hardy & Bacon L.L.P.

Titled "Caught in the Middle: From Lawyer to Witness to Defendant," our November program examined the lawyer's role and responsibilities through the course of a transaction from beginning through litigation of disputes with a focus on the many ethical issues involved. Our speaker was James D. Oliver of Foulston Siefkin.

In December we featured a program by Oscar L. Alcantara and Frederick H. Cohen of Goldberg Kohn titled "An Introduction to Trademark Prosecution and Enforcement for In-House Attorneys."

Our chapter's advocacy initiatives during 2004 included filing comments with the Nebraska Supreme Court regarding provisions in its Proposed Rules Governing the Unauthorized Practice of Law that prejudiced in-house counsel and insurance staff counsel, and filing comments with the Missouri Supreme Court regarding its proposed rule changes relating to multijurisdictional practice. We also filed comments with the Kansas Supreme Court with respect to the proposed Kansas reciprocity rule.

We look forward to presenting another full year of exciting programs to our members in 2005 beginning on January 6 with a seminar on arbitration and mediation presented by Shook, Hardy & Bacon L.L.P. followed by a reception and social hour.

To learn more, please visit the Mid-West Chapter's page on ACC's web site at www.acca.com.


Andrew Etkind