With the approach of fall, milder weather and changing of the leaves, comes thoughts of this year’s upcoming Annual Meeting in San Francisco and with it the changing of the Litigation Committee’s leadership team. It is appropriate at this time to both look back and appreciate all the committee has accomplished this year, and to prepare for another exciting year and continued success.
Just a few highlights from this past year include incredible programming such as talks with Ben W. Heineman, Jr. and Tom Sager, and creation of popular resources such as the Litigation Shorts blog on inhouseaccess.com. Overall, the committee programs saw double digit growth in program attendance in each of the past two years. We have also taken deep dives on such topics as Third-Party Litigation Funding and Cybersecurity, rolling out a Law Firm Cybersecurity Questionnaire and Guide, as well as a cybersecurity and privacy addendum to a standard law firm engagement agreement. As a result, the Litigation Committee experienced significant member growth this year, driven not only by these quality resources and programming but by our outreach through fourteen events co-sponsored with other committees, chapters or both. And we are just getting started.
Over the coming year, you can expect your Litigation Committee to continue offering quality resources and programs that meet your needs, as well as opportunities to collaborate and share ideas with other committees and chapters. We’ve also kicked off a new pro bono initiative with Kids in Need of Defense – KIND – which you can read about more below in the Spotlight on an ACC Member section. If you are interested in being more involved in this effort, please contact Coleman Lechner. And we are always interested in your thoughts and suggestions on how we can make your Litigation Committee better able to meet your needs.
This is a great time to be a member of the Litigation Committee, and I encourage you to attend the Litigation Committee’s Breakfast at AM16 to learn more (Monday, October 17, from 7:15 – 8:45 am). I look forward to meeting many of you in San Francisco, and passing the baton to the committee’s incoming chair, Bryon Koepke.
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Litigation Committee Programs at AM16 San Francisco
Mark your calendars for this year’s Annual Meeting, which will be held in October from Sunday the 16th through Wednesday the 19th in San Francisco. The Litigation Committee will be sponsoring the following five programs:
Session #203 - Third-party Litigation Financing
Session #902 - Preventing Litigation Through Contract Drafting Skills
Session #809 - Investigations: Managing the Process and the Resolution
Session #1007 - Measuring the Effectiveness and Value of Your Litigation Spend
Session #603 - Litigation Procedure: Discovery Strategies and Best Practices, Federal Rules Changes, and Managing the Cost of Discovery
In addition, the Litigation Committee will co-sponsor the following two programs with the International Legal Affairs and IT, Privacy & eCommerce Committees, respectively:
Session #503 - Developing a Multi-Jurisdictional Strategy for Protecting Attorney-Client Privilege
Session #306 - Getting the Board on Board: Explaining Privacy and Security Risks to Board
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Please Visit Our Litigation Shorts Discussion!
Write for the Litigation Committee’s Blog and raise your visibility! By now you have heard a lot about ACC's effort to showcase our members thought leadership and expertise on the ACC In-house ACCess Blogs. Individual committee members are able to post stories to ACC's main blog, or write a piece as part of a series developed by the committee. And it is a great opportunity to publish without the restrictions and time commitment required of ACC Docket authors.
To review the author guidelines, go to ACC Author Guidelines.
ACC has also published a production schedule, but we are open to publishing topics that fall outside of the proposed schedule. If you have questions, please reach out to Danielle Rawls, Evan Slavitt or Theresa Coetzee.
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Spotlight on an ACC Member
We are proud to spotlight Mary Jo Schrade, Assistant General Counsel, Microsoft Corporation, and her experience with meaningful pro bono work with Kids in Need of Defense:
Representing children who came into the United States without their parents through Kids In Need of Defense (KIND) has been the most meaningful, fulfilling pro bono experience I have ever had. I became involved when Microsoft Corporation, my employer and a co-founder of KIND, was seeking volunteer attorneys to handle immigration matters for a backlog of children who had crossed the border into the United States without proper documentation, either alone or without their parents. I was hesitant to volunteer because I did not have experience in handling immigration matters. However, KIND offered a short training and, more importantly, expert guidance from a KIND attorney who acts as a liaison for the volunteer attorneys. I was able to draw on my litigation experience to help me interview my child clients and other witnesses, but that was supplemented with legal guidance on immigration and juvenile court matters, sample pleadings, oversight and assistance throughout the course of my pro bono representation. I am presently handling my fourth KIND case in three years and have truly enjoyed each of them.
With the help of my KIND liaison attorney, I was able to assist a 17 year old boy from Mexico who had been subjected to years of abuse at the hands of his parents, which included forcing him to work to support his family starting at the age of 8 or 9. When he was 14, he was sent off to work on a poppy farm, working for owners who were involved in fighting with drug cartels. At 16, he witnessed the murder of two fellow farm workers and decided he had to get away. He came to the U.S. alone after having been a victim of abuse during his passage. This young man is learning English and completed the 10th grade in June. He recently received permanent residence status, or his “green card.” He is thrilled with the opportunities he now has and plans to continue his education with the hope of one day becoming a medical assistant. The other KIND cases I have handled involve unaccompanied children from various countries who had similarly compelling life histories and experiences.
KIND has many more children in need of representation and I encourage all members of the ACC Litigation Committee to consider volunteering to handle a case or, even better, to volunteer to coordinate their company’s legal department’s KIND participation to allow even more children to be represented. It is estimated that between 65,000 and 75,000 unaccompanied children will arrive in the U.S. in 2016 alone. More than 10,000 children have been referred to KIND, with the average age of 14.5 years. KIND is regularly receiving referrals for children who have fled their home countries after enduring shocking incidents of cruelty and gang violence. El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala are among the top five most violent countries in the world. Casa Alianza, a non-profit focusing on helping abused and abandoned children, has reported that 80 children are murdered each month in Honduras alone.
The need for help is tremendous and is seemingly growing. Although there are over 330 law firm, corporate legal department, bar association and law school partners working with KIND, the demand for legal assistance far outstrips the pro bono resources available to handle cases. For additional information on the ACC Litigation Committee’s collaboration with KIND or to offer to assist in representing KIND clients, contact Coleman T. Lechner, secretary and pro bono chair of the ACC Litigation Committee.
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Committee Mission and Call for Volunteers
The mission of the Litigation Committee is to provide a forum for in-house counsel with responsibility for litigation and litigation management to: (1) enhance professionalism; (2) facilitate the advocacy of public positions on relevant issues; (3) facilitate networking among members; and (4) serve as a resource to the ACC Chapters.
This is an exciting time to be a part of ACC’s growing and engaged Litigation Committee. If you are interested in becoming more involved, please contact incoming chair Bryon Koepke.
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Practice Resources & Sponsor Highlight
The Litigation Committee would like to thank Morrison & Foerster (MoFo) and Navigant Consulting for their sponsorship of the Committee, and their role in providing useful and practical information for Committee members.
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