ACC Advocates for Stronger General Counsel Influence Amid Growing Regulatory and Business Demands

Posted: Nov 3, 2017

WASHINGTON (November 3, 2017) —  The Association of Corporate Counsel (ACC), a global legal association representing more than 43,000 in-house lawyers in 85 countries, submitted a thought leadership paper to the National Association of Corporate Directors (NACD) exploring how the general counsel can be a key ally in establishing corporate culture. The paper was submitted in conjunction with NACD's 2017 Blue Ribbon Commission Report on Culture as a Corporate Asset.

In the paper, ACC states the general counsel's seat at the chief executive's leadership table signals to the company's stakeholders that ethics, compliance, and other legal risk considerations are top priorities for the company. A direct reporting line between the chief legal officer and the chief executive officer illustrates that business decisions are made with appropriate consideration of ethical, legal, and reputational impacts.

ACC also emphasizes the need for communication and collaboration with various business functions — both internal and external. Inclusion of the law department on business decisions helps guide the company in a manner that follows its corporate ethical compass. In addition, NACD's 2017 Blue Ribbon Commission Report on Culture as a Corporate Asset includes the following recommendation based on ACC's input:

"Recommendation #5: Directors should assess whether the chief legal officer/general counsel and other officers in key risk management, compliance and internal-control roles are well-positioned within management and in relationship to the board to support an appropriate culture."

Further, ACC is working with the John L. Weinberg Center for Corporate Governance of the University of Delaware to explore the role of general counsel from a governance perspective. The Weinberg Center recently interviewed ACC President and CEO Veta T. Richardson and Gloria Santona, former executive vice president, general counsel, and corporate secretary at McDonald's and member of the board of directors at Aon plc, on the topic, which can be viewed here.

To read the full paper, "Leveraging Legal Leadership: The General Counsel as a Corporate Culture Influencer," visit

About ACC:The Association of Corporate Counsel (ACC) is a global legal association that promotes the common professional and business interests of in-house counsel who work for corporations, associations and other organizations through information, education, networking, and advocacy. With more than 43,000 members in 85 countries employed by over 10,000 organizations, ACC connects its members to the people and resources necessary for both personal and professional growth. By in-house counsel, for in-house counsel.® For more information, visit www.acc.comand follow ACC on Twitter: @ACCinhouse.

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