In this Issue:
- President's Message
- New Partnership between ACC Dallas-Fort Worth and The Texas Lawbook
by Mark Curridan, Founder, Senior Editor/Writer
- Meet our Newest Board Members: Peggy Heller and Rudy Rodriguez
Committee Spotlight - Community Outreach
Upcoming Events: Mark Your Calendars!
- Annual In-House Symposium - THIS FRIDAY, APRIL 21
- See Details Below - Registration Closes on Thursday at Noon
- CLE opportunities:
- Tuesday, May 9 - Lunch at Ruth's Chris Steak House
- Thursday, June 15 - Happy Hour and CLE (location TBD)
- Monday, June 19 - Lunch CLE (location TBD)
- Pro Bono Clinic: Housing Crisis Center - May 10
- Social events:
- Movie Night: Guardians of the Galaxy II - Thursday, May 4 at Studio Movie Grill, The Colony
- Night at The Star - Tuesday, May 16
- 2017 Save the Date:
- Friday, September 22 - Annual Chapter Meeting, Ethics CLE and Golf/Spa
Is it only April? Chances are that you are like me juggling so many things including work, family, kids' activities and sports, so that one week can feel like three months. I think we all strive for balance in our lives and that is one aspect of ACC I truly appreciate. For 2017, the board is committed to offering a more robust calendar so you can tailor your schedule and still find your CLE needs, networking interests, and pro bono/community service passions. With a growing membership that is close to 900 lawyers, we realize this chapter size requires more choices to allow the flexibility your schedule demands. As a result, you may have noticed more emails from our executive director Susan Harvey that are not meant to junk up your mailbox, but provide more event options for our growing membership.
With busy schedules also comes the need to relax and unplug so I want to share a link to an article I received from ACC headquarters regarding 'taking breaks' entitled:
Still checking work email on vacation? This employer says 'Stop'.
I found the article especially enlightening as I look back on my recent family Spring Break and the issues we all face when we try to leave the office for a few days. It also features Veta Richardson, President and Chief Executive Officer of ACC, who discusses her personal strategies for unplugging.
So while I don't expect to see you at every event, I do hope you will choose our chapter programming as a meaningful, interesting and enjoyable part of your juggling act.
The Texas Lawbook & ACC Dallas-Fort Worth
The Texas Lawbook is Honored to be an ACC-DFW Partner
In January 2012, The Texas Lawbook got its first paid subscriber. His name was Wayne Watts, the general counsel of AT&T. Five years later, Watts is still a subscriber - even in retirement - and AT&T has a group subscriber that includes all 150 of the lawyers in its corporate legal department in Texas.
Today, the Lawbook has 8,200 subscribers, including more than 1,800 in-house lawyers. More than two-dozen businesses - from American Airlines and Exxon Mobil to PepsiCo/Frito Lay and Yum! Brand - have subscriptions that include their entire legal teams. The Texas Supreme Court, U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit also have group deals for its lawyers and judges.
As the founder and senior editor of The Texas Lawbook, I am deeply honored to announce our partnership with the Association of Corporate Counsel's DFW Chapter. As the official media partner of the ACC-DFW, we are excited to work with you to promote the organization and its members. The Lawbook team has long desired a relationship with your tremendous organization and its leaders, including Susan Harvey, Tara Wellbacher, David Kilpatrick, Kelly Turner and Todd Bowers. Some of the projects in the works include:
- Offering ACC-DFW members a free one-year subscription to the Lawbook;
- Monthly profiles of ACC-DFW members;
- Promoting the successes of ACC-DFW members; and
- Providing ACC-DFW members with a voice on substantive legal issues and concerns within the business law community in Texas.
The ACC-DFW leadership and the Lawbook will unveil additional efforts in the near future.
If you do not know much about The Texas Lawbook, I will provide you some background. I am a lawyer who clerked for a federal judge, but I always wanted to be a journalist. I was the legal affairs writer for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution for nearly seven years and the legal writer for The Dallas Morning News for seven years. In addition, I was a senior contributing writer to the ABA Journal for more than 20 years.
I started The Texas Lawbook at the end of 2011. We have a great team of legal journalists. In January, we added long-time ABA Journal editor Allen Pusey to our ranks as senior editor. Allen formerly worked as the projects editor and U.S. Supreme Court correspondent for The Dallas Morning News.
focuses on business lawyers (litigation, regulatory and transactional) in Texas. We provide unique, thoughtful and substantive content about the practice of business law in Texas.
During the past three months, we have published exclusive articles on the following topics:
- Corporate firms in Texas have raised hourly rates for many of its lawyers three to 12 percent this year alone. More than 120 Texas business lawyers now charge $1,000 an hour or more and 30 more lawyers bill $995 an hour.
- Texas-based corporations continue to turn to elite national law firms to do their largest and most important mergers and acquisitions.
- The 238 energy companies that filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection during the past three years have paid more than $1.4 billion in fees to their legal and financial advisers. Another $350 million in compensation requests are pending. The Texas Lawbook went through all 238 restructurings and has the results.
- New patent infringement lawsuits filed in the Eastern District of Texas plummeted in 2016, but the courts in Marshall, Tyler, Texarkana and Plano continue to be the overwhelming favorite place for plaintiffs to pursue IP claims.
In addition, The Texas Lawbook had the exclusive news on Winston & Strawn opening its office in Dallas with 23 partners and Gibson Dunn opening its Houston office with eight partners.
We have some great articles in the works, including in-depth looks at the heated law firm lateral market, the expanding role of the SEC's Fort Worth Region Office and its new director, growing discontent among GCs and in-house lawyers with arbitration, continued consolidation in the legal marketplace and the never-ending struggle with diversity in the legal profession.
Please feel free to reach out to me anytime with story ideas, news tips, success stories or even suggestions on how we can provide you with better service. My email is email@example.com and my cell phone is 214-232-6783.
I look forward to working with you.
One-Year Subscription to
The Texas Lawbook is offering a special FREE one-year subscription exclusively to our current Dallas-Fort Worth chapter members! Receive Texas news updates, articles and information compliments of the Dallas-Fort Worth chapter and our partnership with The Texas Lawbook.
Note: In the message box, please include ACC-DFW member. Once you sign up for the e-mails, you will be directed to login information to access the full site (complimentary, of course).
Meet Our Newest Board Members
Peggy Heller is a Senior Attorney with the American Heart Association, whose mission is to build healthier lives, free of cardiovascular diseases and stroke. Prior to the American Heart Association, Peggy served as General Counsel for Tax Ease, a regulated lender, and prior to Tax Ease worked both Dallas and San Antonio in-house and for law firms representing regulated lenders and mortgage servicers. Peggy earned a Bachelor of Social Work from the University of Texas in Austin and a JD from Saint Mary's University in San Antonio. Peggy enjoys spending her free time with family and friends.
Rudy Rodriguez, Jr.
Rudy is Senior Vice President, General Counsel, and Corporate Secretary of CEC Entertainment, Inc., which has almost 18,000 employees at more than 700 owned or franchised Chuck E. Cheese's and Peter Piper Pizza restaurants in 47 states and 12 foreign countries or territories. Rudy manages a staff of three attorneys and one paralegal in providing strategic legal business advice to the Company's Board of Directors, officers, and managers; his organization also includes the Company's Risk Management, Internal Audit, and Licensing groups.
Rudy graduated from Harvard Law School in 1990 after receiving a B.A. in Political Science from Texas A&M University. He has practiced commercial and employment litigation at several Dallas law firms, as well as for the legal departments of American Airlines and J.C. Penney Corporation. He was Vice President and General Counsel of American Eagle Airlines from 2000 to 2003. Rudy lives in Dallas, Texas with his wife (who is an Assistant City Attorney with the City of Dallas) and their two children, and is a passionate fan of the Rangers, Cowboys, Mavericks, and all Aggie sports.
If you are interested in becoming more involved in the leadership of the ACC Dallas-Fort Worth chapter, please contact First Vice President David Kilpatrick.
For details and registration to all events:
Annual In-House Sym
Registration and Breakfast
Morning Dual Track Program
Afternoon Dual Track Program
Reception, Raffle & Live Music
at the Westin Galleria
Members - $30
Non-Members - $50
(must be In-House Counsel)
All in One Day...
- Earn 6.0 CLE hours
- (including Ethics) Dual Track:
- Litigation & Transactional so you can tailor the day to meet your needs & interests
- Network in a relaxed setting
- Enjoy your friends & colleagues
- What To Do When the Government Comes Knocking
- Top 10 Ethical Pitfalls for the In-House Practitioner (Ethics)
- When the Dispute Hits or the Whistle Blows: Ensuring you Organization is Prepared
- Departed Employees Litigation: Trade Secrets, Noncompetition and Nonsolicitation
- Mean Tweets - Outside Counsel Edition (Ethics)
- New Department of Justice Guidance on Evaluation of Corporate Compliance Programs (Ethics)
- Will P3s Make America Great Again?
- The Anatomy of a Deal
- Avoiding Common Pitfalls in M&A Transactions
- Structuring Enforceable Non-Compete Agreements for Multinational Employers
- Navigating Interested Director Transactions (Ethics)
- Trends and Developments in Corporate Lending and Leveraged Acquisition Financing Transactions
Ethics CLE Luncheon at Ruth's Chris Steak House
Tuesday, May 9
11:30 am - 1:00 pm
presentation by Gold Sponsor Haynes & Boone LLP
Hot Topics in Anti-Corruption Law
Does your company permit employees or agents to give expensive gifts to the employee of a client or of a supplier? To pay small fee for expediting a visa in a foreign country? Or to employthe children of your wealthy business associates and well-placed government officials?
Learn more about designing and implementing compliance programs, conducting due diligence on business partners and M&A targets, responding appropriately to indications of potential misconduct, and handling government regulatory and enforcement matters.
Topics to be covered include:
- What conduct the government has found to constitute bribery
- Which industries are in the agencies' crosshairs and what activities are the primary focus
- What best practices exist to guide internal investigations of potential incidents
- How to address government investigations
- Whether to self-report the discovery of possible corruption
- How organizations can implement practices to prevent problems and avoid liability if problems arise
Pro Bono Clinic - Housing Crisis Center
||The 2017 ACC Dallas-Fort Worth Pro Bono Program Sponsor
Wednesday, May 10
5:00 pm - 7:30 pm
Come help those who are not able
to help themselves avoid eviction,
loss of their possessions,
and more at our
May 10 pro bono service activity.
Volunteers will empower HCC clients to resolve their housing-related legal issues by advising them on their rights and responsibilities under Texas landlord-tenant laws.
Worried about a lack of experience in this area of the law? Don't be. Knowledgeable attorneys from both Norton Rose Fulbright and HCC will be there to help guide you every step of the way.
Only have a limited amount of time to serve? Come and give whatever time you are able to give, whether that's a half hour or the duration of the meeting. Also, this is an advice-only clinic, so there is no commitment to represent or help the clients following this event.
Please join us afterwards for food and drinks.
Event Highlight: 2017 Annual CLO Forum
This year's CLO Forum on February 21 presented
Successful Negotiation Strategies and Tactics
to an audience of approximately 140 In-House Counsel at the beautiful Nasher Sculpture Center. While some guests enjoyed the private viewing of the galleries during the Happy Hour reception, others gathered for cocktails and networking on the beautiful Garden
Terrace to take advantag
e of the perfect evening weather. The hour and a half CLE program consisted of a unique panel of
CLO Officers and Negotiation Experts who presented personal experiences and strategies based on five golden rules of successful negotiation to guerilla-negotiation tactics. The discussion proved to be energetic, engaging and insightful.
If you are interested in more information
please click here
to receive the Latz Negotiation Institute monthly email that includes tips and negotation strategies.
We are so grateful to our generous sponsor
Andrews Kurth LLP for not only providing a fabulous event for our members but also working diligently behind the scenes to provide a relevent and interesting topic for our ACC members.
Special Thanks to our 2017 Panelists
Senior Vice President and General Counsel
Highland Capital Management
Latz Negotiation Institute, Inc.
Vice President and General Counsel
Van Osselaer Dispute Resolution, LLC
Community Outreach Spotlight: Street Law
||ACC members Brandi Parker and Debera Hepburn volunteered in April with Street Law and enjoyed working with a great group of students from Townview Magnet in Oak Cliff.
For the eighth year, the Dallas-Fort Worth chapter has participated in the Corporate Legal Diversity Pipeline Program, in partnership with Street Law, Inc. and Townview Center High School. The aim of the program is to encourage minority students, and others who typically do not have access to the profession, to pursue legal careers. (More information on the program, including a video, is at
). The program has been a great success and the students and the attorney volunteers have gained a lot from the experience.
The program partners us with about 50 high school sophomores at the Townview Law Magnet. Chapter volunteers visited the high school this spring to teach sessions in four areas of the law: intellectual property, contracts, real estate and employment law. The students will then take a field trip to the offices of Thompson & Knight on May 18, where we'll hold a half-day conference for them. The field trip will begin with lunch and a keynote address, after which ACC member volunteers will lead breakout sessions in which students will have hands-on opportunities to put into practice the lessons they learned in the classroom.
The Street Law events are extremely rewarding for the students and volunteers alike:
"I can't tell you how impressed I was with the students and the panel! Great interaction! Thank you all for allowing me to be part of a great afternoon."
Michael J. Linebarger, Senior Managing Consultant
Beacon Hill Legal
ACC-DFW Community Outreach Sponsor
Please contact Committee Chair and ACC-DFW Board Secretary
if you are interested in participating in the field trip.
A special thanks to our sponsor Beacon Hill Legal for their support in our 2017 Community Outreach service projects.
Casino Party 2017
A very special
THANK YOU goes to our
What a night in Las Vegas! We are so grateful to Baker & McKenzie
for creating a fabulous Vegas night complete with Elvis, a Wedding Chapel and Cher. A crowd close to 300 enjoyed trying their luck at the gambling tables, dancing to fantastic live music from Party Machine and socializing with friends and colleagues.
Board President Tara Weilbacher and Board member
Kelly Turner were among the many
attendees who took a quick candid with 'Cher'. Only in Vegas, baby!
Thank you to our Sponsors for submitting the following relevant and useful information to the In-House Counsel community.
Does Your Website Expose Your Company to Risk for ADA Violations? Tips for Mitigating Risk
||By Kimberly F. Rich PartnerBaker & McKenzie LLP
What are the legal standards, what is the potential exposure and what can companies do to mitigate their risk?
The recent onslaught of lawsuits filed by plaintiffs with vision impairment claiming access barriers to content on websites is alarming. No industries are exempt, as targets include large to small companies, restaurants to retail, luxury goods to discount products, entertainment to pharmaceutical, and national franchises to single-site locations.