How’s Your Relationship (with Outside Counsel)?

By Jane Paksoy

It’s the start of a new year and a new decade. Perhaps you’ve reflected on the time leading up to 2020 and have made some resolutions to better yourself in the new year. Maybe you want to better your relationships with your family, friends, colleagues, or yourself. But what about your outside counsel?  After all, it is an important business relationship; colleague, advisor, direct report all in one. How are you going to strengthen that relationship?

So, as we begin a new year and new decade, it is a good time to ask yourself: How’s your relationship with outside counsel? What could you be doing differently?  We scoured our colleagues (and friends) for some practical advice to get you moving in the right direction.  Consider this your relationship advice, from your friends in-house and outside:

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A Rhyming Reminder For Which you are Wiser . . .

By Josh McIntyre

Good tidings I bring from the NCBA,
For Corporate Counsel dues you no longer pay!

They’re included in your basic membership fee,
Along with 12 hours of On Demand CLE.

Covering ethics, substance abuse and technology training,
We have it all so there’s no need for complaining.

And if in other practices you’re feeling a bit flirty,
You can add another section, of which there are 30.

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New to In-House or Have a New In-House Gig? Here are Five Things to do to Better Understand your Client

By Kathy Twiddy

So, you’ve recently made the leap to in-house life, or perhaps you’ve been in previous in-house roles but have accepted a position at a new company. How do you get off on the right foot in your new job?

Having been in that position a few times myself, here are five things to do that will help you understand your new employer and be a better lawyer for your new client.

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Welcome To a New Bar Year

By Clara Cottrell

Dear Members of the Corporate Counsel Section:

It is my privilege to serve as the chair of the Corporate Counsel Section during the 2019-2020 bar year.  The Section has an outstanding group acting on your behalf as officers, council members, and committee chairs.  I encourage you to see who they are on the NCBA website. Please reach out for lunch, coffee, or just to say hi to any of them and/or to me!

This year the Section is focusing your membership dollars on deepening connections among ourselves, the members.  We have plans for at least three no-cost networking events. They are being spearheaded by our Membership Committee, Pro Bono Committee, and Section Council.  These will be non-CLE events designed for maximum connectivity – without those team building exercises we all love and hate.

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International GC Panel In Durham April 10

By Clara Cottrell

It is a time for exciting new beginnings, but it is also when new laws and regulations go into effect.  What if you had to take into account laws and regulations around the globe?  Whether it is privacy, employment, or something else entirely, the global regulatory landscape is as varied as the cultures of the lands they govern.  On April 10 at Mez Contemporary Mexican restaurant the Corporate Counsel Section with our friends at Smith Anderson will be hosting a panel of international GCs to discuss legal matters across borders.  How do you source and supervise outside legal counsel three time zones and an ocean away from you?  How do you advise the business on risk when the risk is based on a completely different legal environment?  These GCs will talk through how they handle these types of issues, and a legal staff, every day.  This thought leadership panel will be at lunch, 12-1:30, with plenty of time for participants to ask questions and dig into practicalities during the panel or afterwards.  In order to facilitate that small group environment, participants will be limited to the first 45 that sign up.  There is no cost to Section members, and only $15 for non-members.  Lunch will be provided, but not CLE credit.  So, save the date, and keep an eye out for your email invitation.  We look forward to seeing you and hearing from you on this interesting topic.

Panelists:  Stefan John, Senior Vice President and General Counsel at BASF Corporation; Christine Mazzone, General Counsel and Company Secretary at Plant Health Care, Inc.; Norma Formanek, Senior Vice President and General Counsel at Trilliant Networks Inc.; Owen Lewis, General Counsel at Chiltern, a Covance Company


Jan. 25 Is the Date For Section CLE and Annual Meeting

We are less than one week away from the Corporate Counsel Section’s CLE and Annual Meeting.  Kicking off our agenda will be our general counsel roundtable, which will speak to our theme “Taking Care of Business: How Good Lawyers Become Great Business Partners” from a leadership perspective.

Join us Friday, Jan. 25 at the Bar Center in Cary or live via webcast. Get more details and register here.

Some of the topics our panelists will discuss include:

  • How to structure an efficient department
  • Making the business case for technology tools and additional staff
  • Outside Counsel selection
  • Contract Management processes and tools
  • Being a legal department of one
  • Working with the Board of Directors
  • Establishing partnerships within the C-Suite

This panel features a group of GCs with diverse experience and knowledge.  Joining us for the discussion will be:

  • Scott Duggan, SVP-General Counsel and Secretary of The Fresh Market: Scott joined TFM just prior to its 2010 IPO and helped build a robust Board of Directors which included leaders of well-known retail and life-style brands.  Scott also leads TFM’s real estate, development and facilities functions and recently wrapped up his second stint as interim head of human resources for TFM’s nearly 12,000 employees in 24 states.
  • Stacy Gray, General Counsel and Senior Vice President of Belk, Inc.:  Stacy is on the Boards of the North Carolina Retail Merchants Association and the Charlotte Chapter of the Association of Corporate Counsel.  Stacy was named by the Charlotte Business Journal as a nominee for the 2018 Outstanding General Counsel Award and the winner of the 2016 40 Under 40 Award.  The Charlotte Business Journal awarded the Belk legal team the 2018 Outstanding In-House Legal Department.
  • Paul Griffin, General Counsel for The Select Group, LLC:  In 2013, Paul joined The Select Group (an international technical services firm) and started the legal department from scratch for the fast-growing company.  Paul’s accolades include acceptance into the 2016 North Carolina Bar Association Leadership Academy, recognition in 2019 Business NC’s Legal Elite, 2014 Triangle Business Journal Corporate Counsel of the Year Rising Star award, and 2014 Outstanding Young Alumnus of the Lundy-Fetterman School of Business.
  • The panel will be moderated by Jill Louis, a partner in the Dallas office of K&L Gates, LLP. She concentrates her practice on various aspects of private equity representation. She also advises on the creation and implementation of contract management processes for companies. Prior to joining K&L Gates, Jill was the general counsel for a large private equity portfolio company with over US$1 billion in annual revenue.

The panel will also explore the importance of exuding executive presence in one’s interactions within the legal department, with the Board and senior leadership.  Wendy Bryant Gow (CEO and Founder of Lily Winston) will join us for this segment.  Wendy is an image consultant, stylist and brand strategist whose company focuses on personal brand development and helps clients make the right first impression in the corporate setting.

We hope to see you on Jan. 25 at the Bar Center in Cary or live via webcast!  Click here to register.

Register Now For the Corporate Counsel Section CLE and Annual Meeting Jan. 25

One of the main ways in-house counsel distinguish themselves from their outside counsel is by bridging the gap between legal and business concerns.  It’s not enough to be good lawyers — we must also be valued and trusted business partners to our clients.

To further develop our abilities in this role, the CLE Committee is thrilled to present this year’s Corporate Counsel Section CLE and Annual Meeting: Taking Care of Business: How Good Lawyers Become Great Business Partners.”

Here’s a glimpse of what we have in store for you on Friday, Jan. 25, 2019, at the Bar Center in Cary or live via webcast:

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Welcome to the Corporate Counsel Section Blog

By Clayton Doron Morgan

The Corporate Counsel Section is quite excited to have its many leaders and members actively serving and participating in Section-related events. I, too, am excited to be your 2018-2019 Section Chair and cannot begin to communicate my enthusiasm in anticipation of a wonderful Bar year. As our Section membership is some 500 strong and spans the state, the Section leadership is planning a number of interesting, thought provoking and enjoyable events for this year in order to ensure we all have an opportunity to meet, network and enjoy one another’s war  stories, lessons learned and ambitions. I therefore wanted to take this opportunity to give you a heads up.

  • By now you should have received notice of our next Section Council meeting to be held Nov. 9 at RTI International (RTP). We will be having a luncheon networking event immediately following the meeting. It promises to be a good one and the first of many to come.
  • Please join us for a number of Lunch-n-Learn opportunities this Bar year; with the first being held Dec. 3 at the Bar Center in Cary. The law firm of Jackson Lewis is sponsoring both this CLE Lunch-n-Learn and will be presenting a timely and exciting topic exploring “Unconscious Bias, Diversity and Inclusion” So, come out and join us and participate in the discussion of how to make the business case for a more diverse and inclusive working environment.  In addition, this Lunch-n-Learn will also be webcast in case you cannot join in person.
  • Our CLE committee has been hard at work to bring you our January Annual Meeting CLE which promises to be simply spectacular. You are going to love the talented line up of speakers and presenters who will bring you some innovative topics and different perspectives.
  • Throughout the year, we will spotlight certain members and keep you abreast of relevant job postings, volunteer opportunities, pro bono opportunities and other informational posts; all designed to bring us together as a Section and help us help each other and the community.
  • Lastly, please remember to check the Bar Association’s website to see how you can help victims of Hurricane Florence.
  • So, stay tuned, stay engaged and we look forward to seeing you at the networking events, Lunch-n-Learns, Annual Meeting CLE and out in the community.

By the way, a hearty welcome to all NEW MEMBERS! Also, the line is always open to any member who wants to submit ideas or any comments to the Section leadership.  We value your opinions and welcome all input!

Until next time.