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    January 16, 2008  


Big shout out to our new law firm sponsor, Gilbert Randolph LLP.  Its commitment to our community is captured by its philosophy:  To be successful it's important to have fun, do well, and give back.


So how many in-house counsel are there, anyway?  Fred Krebs figures 70-80,000 in the U.S, and one by one, he's trying to reach them.  The 25-year old Association of Corporate Counsel, which he heads, is the world's largest:  nearly 24,000 members, in 48 chapters across America, Europe, Canada and Israel, and in 75 countries.  Moreover, Fred says a focus group of ACC members recently enlisted to provide feedback regarding their experience with the association, judged ACC as having one of the most passionate memberships of any association, of any kind.  We visited their offices the other day at Connecticut and K to feel the love.


Maybe the caffeine in that oversized cup gives Fred his energy:  Since Fred's arrival in '91, the number of members has tripled in size.  The budget was $2 million, now it's $14 million; there were 10 staff, now there are 55; every company in the Fortune 100 is represented.  Their annual meeting then drew just 500 and a couple of vendors; last October in Chicago, it was over 3200 total, including in-house counsel, hundreds of faculty, and 125 exhibitors.   Now they've gone global and had to change their name from ACCA (American Corporate Counsel Association) to ACC.  They have a chapter in Europe with 1000 members, and an agreement in China to help establish law departments in state owned enterprises.


Fred wears a Lance Armstrong "Livestrong" band as a cancer survivor.??He feels strongly not only about life, but about the ACC.? He sees key membership benefits as being educational (e.g., a web site with practical resources created by other in-house counsel, topical features in the ACC Docket, their monthly magazine, and staffers available for consultation); networking and relationship-building via events, chapters and practice area committees; and advocacy (ACC does things like defend attorney client privilege and recommend revisions of the Department of Justice's Thompson Memorandum.)? They also run programs for those new to in-house, or seeking business and HR training not offered in law school.   In addition, you're also assigned to a chapter (like WMACCA locally) which has an additional set of programs.?


From Youngstown, Ohio, Fred came here out of law school in 1975 because his best friend was from Annandale.   He became assistant GC at the US Chamber of Commerce; into private practice representing associations at a three-man boutique; then back to the Chamber as head of the labor and employment policy group from 1984 to '91.  Here the baseball fanatic points to a picture he took of the first batter for his beloved Cleveland Indians at Jacobs Field ("The Jake") in 1994.  Ooops, the field just got renamed.  An excuse for another baseball trip?

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