Edinburgh ACC meetup: In-house lawyers embrace change—or else

Who’s afraid of change? Certainly not the corporate lawyers who, on the contrary, embrace it. We’ve written spoken several times about how company lawyers have accepted the evolution of their professional role. But the inspiration for today’s comment comes from Edinburgh, where the European in-house community met from June 12-14 at the annual meeting of ACC Europe, the Association of Corporate Counsel Europe

The members of the association of the various jurisdictions of the Old Continent have specifically met to talk about how they can go along with management in the major changes affecting corporate life. It is no coincidence that the title of the three days—during which the group celebrated the 25th anniversary of the European chapter—was “Being a change agent in disruptive times.” (Editor’s note: Our colleagues at Inhousecommunity.it were, for the first time, media partners of the gathering.)

What did we talk about in Edinburgh? Legislative changes in the field of competition, artificial intelligence (AI) and technology, Brexit, GDPR and the generational challenge that puts a strain on legal departments. As in every year, ACC Europe has highlighted three major areas: personal growth; Lead yourself, the foresight in anticipating the Lead; and Law regulatory framework and the concrete contribution that the legal function can give to Lead the business.

And it is in this last activity in particular that the Italian ACC team (led there by Maurizio Di Bartolomeo, Andrea Moretti and Sabrina Costanzo) contributed actively this year to the selection of the topics to be addressed. “I am proud that for the first time in 25 years the editorial and organizational contribution behind the Lead the business section was all Italian. Even with the invaluable support of Carmelo Fontana (Google’s senior legal counsel) we have planned nine practical and visionary seminars together dedicated to in-house counsel as a business manager,” Di Bartolomeo told inhousecommunity. “The digital transformation of legal operations has been our focus. An obligatory choice considering that predictive analysis, e-discovery, intelligent management of know-how, documents, resources and internal and external customers are already present in the most advanced realities. To tell the story we have selected jurists from multinationals, universities and European institutions. They are true agents of change, professionals daily dealing with legal, commercial, ethical and organizational problems (have you ever tried to train an algorithm?) that nobody can afford to ignore.”

“The annual event of ACC Europe is every year a unique opportunity for in-house professionals who want to get in a single event both legal training and tools for professional growth, as well as developing networking between colleagues from all over the world world. The success of this event is confirmed by a steady rise of in-house participants higher than this year to over 450 participants from 35 different jurisdictions, ” added Federico Piccaluga, ACC’s representative for Switzerland.

The world has changed. And corporate lawyers don’t want to fall behind. Indeed, they want to anticipate the way forward. And to try to do it, to continue towards a path that brings more and more value to companies, sharing experiences, strategies, ideas. More briefly: they make it their job number 1.

—Rosailaria Iaquinta

The Italian version of this article originally appeared on our affiliate site, inhousecommunity.it.