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Newsroom-James A. Merklinger

James A. Merklinger

Vice President and Chief Legal Officer
Association of Corporate Counsel


James A. Merklinger is Vice President and Chief Legal Officer for the Association of Corporate Counsel (ACC) in Washington, D.C.  ACC is the world's largest bar association dedicated exclusively to serving the interests of in-house counsel. With an international membership of more than 35,000 in-house counsel at more than 10,000 organizations in over 85 countries, ACC serves as the "voice of the in-house bar" for corporate lawyers at 98 percent of the Fortune 100 and 45 percent of the Global 1000. 

Having served ACC for nearly 20 years in a variety of key roles, Merklinger was named to the position of Vice President and General Counsel in July 2011, and to Vice President and Chief Legal Officer in October 2014. In this role, he represents ACC on all global legal issues and advises the organization on meeting the needs of the in-house counsel community. Merklinger joined ACC in 1995 as the Director of Legal Resources and was instrumental in making the association's membership materials available online. In 2005, Merklinger was named ACC's Director of Large Law Programs, where he was the liaison with ACC’s largest legal departments at companies across the country, in Canada and Europe.  While in the position, Merklinger helped grow ACC's large law membership by more than 85 percent.

Earlier, Merklinger served as ACC Deputy General Counsel and Vice President - Legal Resources, overseeing the development of ACC’s array of resources to help in-house counsel do their jobs. In this position, he worked with 18 volunteer leadership committees, organized by practice areas, which contribute to the strategic development of the association's resources and education programs. Merklinger spearheads ACC's regular benchmarking studies to provide members and the legal industry at large with key trends related to the in-house counsel practice and outside counsel management.

Prior to joining ACC, he served as in-house counsel for DIAD, Inc. in Reston, Virginia.  While at DIAD, he provided counsel in a variety of substantive areas, including commercial law, software licensing, disability law and issues affecting entrepreneurial development.

Merklinger has served as faculty for CLE programs throughout the United States and Canada on a variety of in-house topics and also provides pro bono immigration representation for clients in Washington, D.C. and Northern Virginia. As a volunteer, Merklinger serves on the board of directors of the Tourette Syndrome Association of Greater Washington, D.C.  He is a graduate of the University of South Carolina School of Law and Wofford College and resides in Alexandria, Virginia with his wife and children. 

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