Letter From The President Of The Washington Metropolitan Area Chapter of the Association Of Corporate Counsel

2008-03-01 00:00

To The Readers Of The Metropolitan Corporate Counsel :

I am pleased to have been selected as the President of WMACCA for the upcoming year. I have enjoyed my prior positions in the association and look forward to continuing to help WMACCA grow and achieve its goals. Over the past few years, I have enjoyed working with strong WMACCA leaders, and would like to specifically thank Mary Kennard, our immediate past-president, for her service to the association.

In prior years, and continuing this year, WMACCA has been fortunate to have a diverse and dedicated leadership team.The eighteen-member WMACCA Board of Directors, the chairs of our eight forums, other volunteer leaders and our excellent administrative staff, led by our Executive Director Ilene Reid, help plan and execute WMACCA activities and initiatives. Along with our membership base, these individuals are a core association asset and one of the keys to our success. As President, I will attempt to organize, motivate and coordinate this leadership team. Given WMACCA's size and activity level, I have developed a new organization chart for the association that clarifies leadership roles and creates an effective operating structure whereby the Board will act like a senior-level operating team in a company.

I believe this organizational structure will create the opportunity and scope of authority for many different individuals to help lead the organization. I believe in distributed leadership and creating a culture and mechanism for creativity. I also hope that many of our members will look at this structure and see an opportunity to become personally involved by reaching out to contact members of the leadership team and volunteering their assistance.There have been a number of inflection points and key new initiatives in WMACCA's past that have propelled the association forward, and I hope that together we can brainstorm and then implement additional creative and useful new ideas.

Last May, the WMACCA board concluded a strategic planning initiative.As we begin a new year, I believe it is useful to revisit and summarize this plan to provide a framework for our 2008 activities.The board described WMACCA's mission as: It is the mission of WMACCA to be the preeminent provider of educational programming and networking opportunities for attorneys who practice law as employees in corporations and other private sector organizations in this region. To fulfill this mission, WMACCA will promote the common interest of its members, contribute to their continuing legal education, seek to improve understanding of the role and value of in-house counsel, work with regulatory and government agencies and other officials, as appropriate, to advocate the interests of our membership, and encourage advancements in the standards of corporate legal practice. WMACCA also will provide its members with meaningful opportunities to satisfy their pro bono and community service responsibilities.

Building on the strategic plan, I would like to emphasize certain strategic goals I will focus on this year, as well as the tactical steps to achieve those goals.

• First, I believe WMACCA is uniquely situated to provide targeted substantive programming for the in-house bar, and that this is a key attribute of membership. Under the leadership of Stephen Dwyer of the American Staffing Association, our VP of Programming, we will focus on educational topics that will help our members grow as in-house legal professionals. We will also strive to provide more programs through our distance learning infrastructure, including recording and storing programs that can be accessed on the WMACCA website.

• Second, we will endeavor to increase the branding and prestige of the in-house bar by highlighting the activities of our members.Under the leadership of Bob Gans, of Computer Sciences Corporation, our VP of External Relations, we will publicize "Monthly Deal" features that describe corporate transactions, regulatory achievements and litigation wins in which our members took lead roles.Please be sure to provide Ilene Reid information on achievements in these areas.

• Third, we will continue to improve our signature programs, including the Corporate Counsel Awards, Corporate Scholars Program, New Lawyers Symposium and law-school outreach program and institute a new General Counsel Breakfast Club. Manik Rath of LMI, our President-elect, will manage these activities.

• Fourth, we will focus on providing high-quality programming, networking events and community involvement programs for our members in central and southern Virginia.Vanessa Allen of Philip Morris USA Inc., of the Central and Southern Virginia Steering Committee, will lead these activities.

• Fifth, we will attempt to be more interactive with our members. To this end, we will have a spring and fall "town-hall" conference call open to all members where I, and other board members, will answer questions and solicit ideas on how we can improve and grow our association.

I look forward to continuing to help WMACCA grow and evolve in 2008, implementing our strategic plan and working to transform our operational structure to support the size and activity level of our association. These goals, along with your enthusiasm and creativity, will be a winning combination for WMACCA.


Kevin Lapidus