Letter From The President Of The New Jersey Corporate Counsel Association

2007-05-01 01:00

To The Readers Of The Metropolitan Corporate Counsel :

Members of NJCCA are attorneys and corporate employees.Sometimes we focus so much on our roles of being an attorney and counselor for our employers that we lose sight of the fact that we are also corporate employees. And that is what this message is about.

It upsets me to no end when I hear either of two messages on the radio, television, or in news articles. The first is talking about some expensive restaurant or hotel and classifying this as an "expense account" location. The second message encourages employees to listen to popular radio or television programming via their web browsers while at work.

While there can be legitimate circumstances to charge expensive hotels/food to an expense account or to be able to listen to popular electronic media while at work, both of these messages imply that corporate employees abuse their positions for financial gain or misuse company property. Many companies have clear, established policies about proper business expenses and about use of company computers and internet access. Violation of these policies can lead to disciplinary actions, including dismissal. And for the most part corporate employees follow these policies.

So if in-house counsel hears someone repeat the assumption that corporate employees can live high-on-the-hog via their expense account or can have their company desktop computer tuned to their personal radio station (just like at home), I ask that you not pass this off and treat it as something "they" (the corporate employees) do vs. something "we" (the corporate attorney) would not do. With apologies for the grammar, "we" is "them" and we should take it as a personal affront that people assume all corporate employees can use our employer's assets to our personal advantage.

We should all be working to ensure internal policies are followed and that the public has the proper view of the corporations we work for.

No matter what questions or concerns you have about your client or current legal issues, NJCCA's low-cost CLE and networking opportunities can help. Keep checking our calendar of events at www.acc.com/php/chapters/index.php?chapter=njcca and please join us as often as you can.


Lee A. Braem