ACC America and its Southern California Chapter
On December 1, 1981, Robert Banks, then vice president and general counsel of Xerox Corporation, hosted a luncheon that triggered a chain of events that would change the legal profession. The participants -- mostly general counsel of their companies -- included Lawrence Kraus (U.S. Chamber of Commerce), Philip Knox, Jr. (Sears, Roebuck and Co.), Carl Liggio (Arthur Young and Company), Stephen Middlebrook (Aetna Life and Casualty), Donald Walsh (Sun Company, Inc.), William Weitzel, Jr. (Texaco, Inc.), Irving Yoskowitz, (United Technologies Corporation), and Guy Zoghby (IBM Corporation).
An Overwhelming Response From the Very Beginning
As a result of that initial luncheon meeting, 55 leading general counsel were invited to attend a March 14, 1982 meeting at the AMFAC (now Hyatt) Hotel at the Dallas Fort Worth Airport to discuss the formation of an organized group for in-house counsel. Although no one knew how the invitation would be received, 53 out of the 55 invited general counsel showed up. This overwhelming response demonstrated that a common chord had been struck.
The lunchtime thoughts of nine visionary in-house counsel took root and have grown into America’s -- and the world’s -- leading in-house counsel bar association. On a global basis, ACC currently has more than 40,000 members in the U.S. and abroad. In 2003, ACCA changed its name to Association of Corporate Counsel or ACC, in acknowledgement of its global status.
In Southern California, Peter Zeughauser (The Irvine Company), Oscar Glass and several other talented in-house counsel took the initiative in late 1984 and founded the Southern California Chapter of the Association of Corporate Counsel to serve the professional interests of ACC members in Los Angeles, Orange, Ventura, and Santa Barbara counties, as well as portions of Riverside and San Bernardino counties. Mr. Zeughauser later served as the 1991 Chair of ACC- Southern California's Board of Directors.
Since the founding of ACC Southern California hundreds of energetic, civic-minded, and service-oriented in-house attorneys of diverse backgrounds have volunteered their time and talents to serve as Officers, members of the Board of Directors, and Committee Members for ACC Southern California. In addition, many other ACC Southern California members have served in leadership positions at the national ACC level, such as on the Board of Directors and as National Committee members. To date, ACC Southern California has over 1,600 members in Southern California, all of whom are in-house counsel.