Dear ACC Europe members,
It is an honor and great pleasure to lead ACC Europe as the new president for 2019. I have some very big shoes to fill. In particular, I would like to thank former president Chris Murphy Ives for his leadership over the past year.
We have a great ACC Europe Board, with new members such as Jasprit Sahnsi (general counsel, corporate, Selecta, Zurich) and Maria Rocha Barros (vice president, legal & corporate affairs Europe, ABInBev, Brussels). I look forward to working with them on the key initiatives we have agreed upon, and to delivering another leading conference in Edinburgh (12-14 May 2019) where we celebrate our 25th anniversary as ACC Europe. I would also like to thank Wolf Frenkel who has stepped down from the Board after many, very valuable years of contributions to the Board and ACC Europe.
I also want to mention specifically our ACC Europe Country Representatives, who are the heart and soul of our organization. I had the pleasure working very closely with them over the past two years, and can say that they are indispensable to ACC close to home with their exciting local events and regular input to the Board on our strategic priorities. For 2019 these priorities are to:
- Increase recognition of ACC Brand
- Drive Value Proposition
- Drive Educational programs
- Grow Membership & Sponsors
Increase recognition of ACC Brand
I think our brand is already well known in Europe, but we can all do more to get the name of ACC out there as the leading in-house counsel organization. Do mention ACC when you have an opportunity to speak at an event or a conference and promote our association internally where ever possible.
Drive Value Proposition
The main value of an association such as ours is the opportunity to connect with your peers across various industries, sharing best practices and insights. On top of that, ACC provides great value through our online content and other materials and publications. We continue to enhance this content and have a team re-designing our website, expected to go live next year. Our goal is to add more European content in the website and drive collaboration and connection through online eGroups, where members will be able to communicate with each other directly.
This year we started ACC’s in-house counsel certification program in Dubai. The certification program is the first of its kind for any legal association, with a curriculum designed by leading international general counsel. The program creates a standard of best practices for in-house lawyers working worldwide.
Thirty-six in-house lawyers made up the inaugural class of the ACC In-house Counsel Certification Program, which took place April 30 – May 3. After four days of live instruction, the program concluded with a final assessment. All 36 students successfully passed the final assessment, earning the designation of In-house Counsel Certified (ICC).
Students traveled to Dubai from seven countries and represented 24 companies and it was so well received a second program took place in September. As there is significant interest in this program we are planning more sessions in 2019 in Europe, most likely to take place in Amsterdam and London.
Grow Membership & Sponsors
The role of the in-house counsel is gaining importance in Europe and increasingly plays a strategic role in the success of the business. As ACC we can bring the advantages and value of our organization to this growing community of in-house lawyers. The larger we can make our ACC community through membership growth, the more influence we can have on advocacy and driving change and innovation in the legal world.
There is a lot of change happening already with the advent of legal operations functions in legal departments, law firms starting innovation and consultancy arms, and the Big Four adding legal consultancy and technology to their growing portfolio of services. We are at a unique point of change in the legal industry, and ACC is well positioned to shape what the field will look like in the future. The larger our community is the more influence we have.
ACC Europe is proud to celebrate its quarter century of growth at our Annual Conference. The role of the in-house lawyer has changed tremendously over these years, from simple legal counsel to business partner. More than ever, in-house lawyers need a broad skill set — just being a good lawyer is no longer enough. We operate in a global legal world now, and disruptive change is now the norm.
The pace of change is only accelerating, with the rise of Artificial Intelligence and digital automation, legal operations, blockchain and smart contracts, increasing compliance requirements, data privacy, Brexit, cyberwars, and big data as the new oil – to name but a few!
In this current climate, in-house lawyers will benefit from connecting with their peers across Europe and globally, sharing best practices and learning from each other. It is what we have done for the past 25 years, and we strive continually to further that goal.
I and our ACC Europe Board look forward to seeing you at one of our upcoming events, especially at the Conference in Edinburgh in May. We are excited about all the opportunity in and hope you are too. Feel free to share any feedback or ideas, and if you want to do more for ACC, either as a speaker or otherwise, do not hesitate to contact me.
Thank you for your continuing support of ACC Europe. See you soon,
ACC Europe President