The Corporate Counsel Committee is comprised of in-house counsel only, defined as “a licensed attorney who is employed exclusively by a corporation or other private sector organization for the purpose of providing legal representation and counsel only to that corporation, its affiliates and subsidiaries."
The focus of the committee is to provide a forum for in-house lawyers to address the unique needs and challenges of the in-house role. The committee provides an environment of open and candid discussion regarding issues and challenges faced by in-house counsel daily and provides opportunities for exchanging ideas and best practices for in-house law departments. The committee also provides in-house counsel with networking and mentoring opportunities. “In-house to in-house” is the committee’s core principle
The committee, formed in July 2008, currently has 755 members. Its membership helps DRI publish articles and assists DRI in selecting topics and locating authors for the In House Defense Quarterly. The committees has a dedicated List Serve and LinkedIn Group—open only to committee members—where questions, ideas and comments can be posted and will soon have a secure area on its website for a document repository for members to post and search best practice guides, sample policies and forms. We host monthly conference calls on pre-selected topics where members get advice, share information and learn from each other.
The committee holds an annual program, open to its members only, the afternoon prior to the DRI Annual Meeting. This year, the meeting will be held in Washington DC, on Wednesday October 26, 2011 and Howard Sklamberg, the director of the Office of Enforcement for the Food and Drug Administration, will provide his insight on current FDA enforcement trends, including the reemergence of the responsible corporate officer doctrine. An extra in-house only session has been added for Thursday, October 27 on Crisis Management. Following the presentation, roundtable discussions will be held on hot topics facing in-house practitioners.
The committee also provides in-house attorneys with leadership opportunities. At the present time, the committee is headed by a steering committee of 17 in-house counsel from various industries and has established the following subcommittees: publications; programs; conference calls; membership; website; committee liaison; and diversity. Opportunities to participate in the committee’s leadership are still available.
Finally, one of the most valuable benefits of the committee is the networking and creation of friendships. In-house counsel are often far apart from their contemporaries and the committee supports and encourages communication among its members regarding work issues, job opportunities and mentoring.
In-house counsel who would like to become members of the Corporate Counsel Committee may join by contacting Char Graczyk at DRI by email or telephone 312.698.6243. Ms. Graczyk also can provide more on DRI’s new corporate membership plans. The committee is also a great opportunity for outside counsel to get their clients involved with DRI and provide value to their in-house lawyer clients outside the normal representation structure. Outside counsel should also contact Char for more information about the benefits available only to in-house counsel through committee membership.