ACC In-house Counsel Certification Program Curriculum

In-house Counsel Certified (ICC) is the designation earned upon completion of the requirements of the ACC In-house Counsel Certification Program. On the road to becoming an ICC, you will receive training through online self-paced modules and eight live virtual classes across three core areas: stakeholder relationships, law department management, and legal services. 

Below is a breakdown of each self-paced module.

For more information about future virtual offerings of the certification program, please email or call +1 202.696.1559

*The ACC Credentialing Institute reserves the right to modify program content at its discretion.

Online Training Modules' Descriptions

Module 1: The Role of In-house Counsel

This module examines organizational fundamentals and the expectations of today’s in-house counsel. Participants will discuss how the business units, executive suite, and legal department work in tandem to achieve the organization’s goals. As a topic that is too often overlooked, there will be a focus on understanding the revenue generation activities of your organization. From there, participants will take a deep dive into the corporate legal department, including a discussion of generalist versus specialist roles and analysis of reporting structures: direct versus indirect, centralized versus decentralized, and operational versus geographic.

Learning outcomes — delegates will learn how to:

• Navigate the corporate structure through increased emotional intelligence, leadership, and people management skills
 Leverage the organizational structure and identify reporting lines
• Encourage business partners to seek the advice of in-house counsel

three professionals discussing over a laptop


Black woman leading conference room discussion


Module 2: Managing an Indispensable Law Department

Building on earlier instruction, this module offers practical tips for communicating effectively with the executive suite and board of directors. There will be a discussion of the strategic planning process, including how to align the law department’s goals with the greater organization. The discussion will cover related budgetary considerations, performance management, and the use of technology-driven solutions. Finally, participants will introduce recurring issues around international attorney-client privilege.

Learning outcomes — delegates will learn how to:

• Develop a blueprint for running a law department based on global best practices
• Implement short- and long-term strategic plans
• Approach attorney-client privilege, whether in a common law or civil code Jurisdiction

• Demonstrate the value of the legal department

Module 3: Compliance, Ethics, and Legal Risk Management

This module explores what an effective compliance and risk management program comprises, and how to build and maintain one. There will be special attention to global compliance programs based on a legal risk assessment as the foundation, this session will address the seven steps for an effective compliance program.

.Learning outcomes — delegates will learn how to:

  • Collaborate with other departments (e.g., sales, human resources) to proactively address risk and compliance
  • Respond to regulators’ requests and calibrate information disclosure
  • Develop synergy between the ethics and compliance components of a program

Lady Justice


Man walking a knotted tightrope


Module 4: Crisis Management and Crisis Assessments

This module presents the information that every in-house counsel needs to know about crisis management — from crisis assessments and other pre-incident planning tools to crisis response and managing the effects of a crisis on the corporate brand. It will emphasize the value-added contribution of in-house counsel in a crisis situation.

Learning outcomes — delegates will learn how to:

• Conduct a crisis assessment to gauge the types of risk the organization might face and their likelihood of occurring
• Develop tools for explaining crisis strategy to the executive suite and board of directors
• Identify the role of in-house counsel in developing a crisis management plan and staff preparation.

Module 5: Managing Stakeholder Expectations

This module addresses what it means for in-house counsel to have the corporation as the client. Participants will return to attorney-client privilege, discussing how to manage expectations when an internal stakeholder views in-house counsel as their personal representative. Through this discussion, effective communication skills will be emphasized again as characteristic that distinguishes excellent in-house counsel. The second half of the session will revisit the topic of demonstrating law department value.

Learning outcomes — delegates will learn how to:

• Identify relevant stakeholders and their fiduciary duties within and outside the corporation
• Use training and client surveys to continuously improve performance
• Approach difficult conversations about who is the client

Man with telescope


colorful paper hands reaching for a globe


Module 6: International Negotiations

This module highlights the unique challenges of international negotiations, particularly where the negotiating parties might bring different cultural experiences and expectations. There will be practical strategies for interpreting signals during the negotiation, coping with cultural differences, and successfully managing the process to seal the deal. 

Learning outcomes — delegates will learn how to:

• Acknowledge and respond effectively to the cultural norms of their counterparts at the negotiating table
• Analyze general principals of contract management
• Increase emotional intelligence through developing active listening and empathy

Module 7: Creating Internal Investigation and Reporting Protocols

This module outlines best practices for internal investigations. It will begin with a discussion of who might lead a given investigation, between outside counsel, in-house counsel, and other corporate departments (e.g., compliance, human resources). Next, participants will address the steps to conducting an internal investigation, including obligations to notify and update the appropriate stakeholders. As an underlying consideration, this session will address the possibility of investigation-related materials being subject to discovery in future litigation.

Learning outcomes — delegates will learn how to:

• To create internal investigation protocols
• Guard against the most common mistakes organizations make when investigating allegations of wrongdoing
• Formulate investigation protocols that account for the risk of subsequent discovery
• Approach issues related to cross-border investigations, including issues around data protection, and cultural and language differences

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Gavel and scales in legal library


Module 8: Managing Outside Counsel and Legal Service Providers

This module offers a customizable blueprint for selecting the outside counsel and/or legal service providers that best suit your organizational needs. Specific topics that will be covered include recognizing when it is time to outsource work, determining the scope of the project, and setting a budget that sticks. There will also be a discussion of using team-building skills to improve your relationships with outside counsel and/or legal service providers. 

Learning outcomes — delegates will learn how to:

• Evaluate the legal and ethical implications of outsourcing work
• Draft a request for proposals, including defining the project to avoid scope creep
• Develop outside counsel management guidelines
• Monitor progress and conduct after-action reviews to drive strong performance

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