July 2018
FOCUS Quarterly Newsletter
President's Message
Stephanie Sciullo

This is the time each year when our chapter program planning is in full swing!  Starting late spring, we survey the chapter to inform your coming year.  A big thanks to all of you who participated in the annual survey – every response helps to shape your program offerings, gage interest in new initiatives, and inform sponsors of the topics you find most relevant.  Through the fall, Ron Vassel, our Vice President of Programs, will work with his committee to develop a slate of practical, targeted programs which we think you will enjoy.  We also are continuing to brainstorm ideas to offer programming for soft skills and career development, which you will see as part of the 2018-2019 Calendar Year.  

As you know, this year our Western Pennsylvania board is focused on (1) enhancing our ability to provide you with practical, targeted programming, and (2) encouraging more meaningful connections among our members.  

Along those lines, we’ve been working to create informal learning opportunities and peer-to-peer connections for you through low-maintenance networking events.  I’m thrilled to say that the first brown bag networking happy hour lunch drew a fantastic crowd!  Nearly 20 chapter members met on June 21 at City Works downtown to mix and mingle.  Many thanks to Board Member Kristen Budris, whose efforts launched this initiative.  We hope you can join for our next get together – details will be coming soon…  

We’ve also begun piloting our new “BYOB” (Bring Your Own Business Person) CLE Concept, encouraging you to bring along an internal business client, free of charge, for relevant chapter programs.  Thus far, we’re encouraged with the thought diversity your business clients are bringing to the chapter’s CLE programs, so keep the invites going!

Finally, we’ve been building programs to grow the unique skillset you need as in-house counsel.  On August 23, 2018 we’re launching our “Back to School Bootcamp,” a rapid-fire, multi-hour survey of essential in-house topics.  Whether you’re new to in-house, looking to broaden your topical awareness, or just need to beat the August compliance deadline, we’re excited to hear your feedback on this new concept.  CLE programming for the event will be brought to you by the Chapter’s top sponsors:  Ogletree Deakins, Reed Smith, Saul Ewing Arnstein & Lehr, Clark Hill, Gilbert LLC and Schander Harrison Segal & Lewis.

We look forward to seeing you in the fall, and as always, welcome your continued involvement as we build our 2018-2019 programming calendar.  If you have any suggestions or would like to participate, please contact me, Ron Vassel, or Barb Dudek.  Have a great end of summer!



Return to Top
ACC Western Pennsylvania Chapter News
ACC Western Pennsylvania Shadow Program

In conjunction with the Schools of Law at Duquesne University and the University of Pittsburgh, the W.PA Chapter of ACC offers law students an opportunity to shadow an in-house lawyer.

“The ACC Shadow Program was one of the most practical experiences I had while in law school” claimed Derek Luke, University of Pittsburgh, School of Law, Candidate for J.D. May 2019.

ACC members Stephanie Sciullo and Marcy Smorey are Adjunct Law Professors teaching ‘In-House Counsel in Modern Corporations’ a business law concentration skills course that explores the unique legal and practical challenges that face counsel working in corporate law departments.  Students come to understand the use of the legal function as a tool which is critical to furthering business objectives.  Themes of the course include client service, driving business objectives through the legal function, and the independent duties owed by a corporate attorney to the corporation, as well as, where tensions arise between those themes.  The course themes are examined through topics such as selecting and managing outside counsel and expense, developing internal training programs, and reducing litigation risk, each as distinct from the responsibilities of outside counsel.  The course also examines matters of corporate compliance and governance and the attorney-client privilege specific to the in-house context.  

As part of the course curriculum, each student is given the opportunity to shadow an in-house lawyer during their regular work day.  The sole purpose of the shadow program is a unique educational opportunity to bridge classroom instruction with on-site exposure.  Students are encouraged to take full advantage of the wealth of knowledge, expertise and guidance offered by an in-house lawyer who will provide a glimpse of the business of practicing law in-house.

This spring semester law student Derek Luke shadowed John Unice, Senior Counsel-Litigation & PCS Business, in Covestro’s Law Department at the headquarters for the German-owned international company.  Luke boasted “... it was a fantastic experience for me to see much of what we discussed in class be put into practice!”  Unice described that he “… took advantage of an opportunity … I wanted Derek to see what it is like to be a business lawyer advocating for the client hand-in-hand with operations.”

Although the In-House Counsel course emphasizes experiential learning to develop lawyers who are effective in innovative, non-standard, and non-traditional modes, the chance for a student to experience a day-in-the-life of an in-house lawyer may provide the real-time, real life exposure to what it is like to practice law aligned with the business’ objectives.

Although voluntary, each participating student is required to be in good standing with their University and must complete an application and a confidentiality and non-disclosure agreement. Student Applications request the student describe their: areas of interest, legal and other professional experience, career goals, as well as, their reasons for interest in and expectations from ACC Shadow Program.

“I would recommend the ACC Shadow Program to any student who wants to have a practical learning experience and an opportunity to network with in-house attorneys.  Getting an inside look at how a company functions - from both a legal and a business perspective, was an amazing opportunity” claimed Luke.

Unice was appreciative of the experience and encourages his fellow in-house colleagues to participate and commented “…it was truly worthwhile and I enjoyed being part of Derek’s shadowship.  It was also encouraging to meet a future lawyer who has a passion for learning and making important connections, two overarching benefits that parallel why ACC is such a great organization.”

Any in-house lawyers who wish to participate in the ACC Shadow Program, please contact Marcy Smorey at smorey@pitt.edu.

Return to Top
Save the Date! Back To School Bootcamp CLE - August 23!
ACC Western Pennsylvania will hold a multi-hour cle program on August 23, 2018 at the Doubletree Hotel.  We are excited to offer this refresher course for our members.  Watch your inbox for a program invite!
Return to Top
Save the Date! Chapter Holiday Party - December 5th
Mark your calendars for our annual holiday party on December 5th at the Hotel Monaco! 
Return to Top
Upcoming Chapter Events

Please join your fellow members at one (or more!) of our upcoming events.  The Chapter has three programs in the planning stages for third quarter of 2018.  Registration for these events will open in August.

Back To School 
August 23, 2018 - TBA
Doubletree Hotel

What In-House Counsel Need to Know About Doing Business in Canada
September 14, 2018 11:30 AM - 1:00 PM 
PNC Park
Charting an Alternative Course: Where to “park” your employee when they cannot get into the desired host country (focused on US and Mexico relationship)
September 28, 2018  11:30 AM - 1:00 PM
Fairmont Pittsburgh


Return to Top
Follow ACC Western PA on social media!
Like us on Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/ACCWPENN/
Follow us on Twitter:  @acc_wpenn or https://twitter.com/acc_wpenn
Return to Top
Pro Bono and Community Service Opportunities

Pro Bono

Interested in pro bono opportunities?  Check out these resources to learn about pro bono projects, some of which may include malpractice coverage.

  • Allegheny County Bar Foundation:  this link provides a great listing of a variety of local pro bono projects.

  • VetLex: ABA sponsored national project to match pro bono lawyers with veterans for limited representation matters.  



Community service

The national organization of the Association of Corporate Counsel is encouraging chapters around the country to engage in community service in September.  If you are interested in being a part of a community service project or would be willing to organize a project for our Western PA Chapter, please contact westernpa@accglobal.com.

Looking for a community service project to get engaged in now?  Check out some of these local resources that maintain ongoing lists of volunteer opportunities:

Return to Top
CLE & Roundtable Recap

The Chapter provided the following cle programs since the publication of our last Focus Quarterly Newsletter: 

April 10, 2018 - Ethical Quandaries in Discovery and New Member Event, Sponsored by Reed Smith LLP

April 10, 2018 - Dinner with ACC President and CEO Veta Richardson

Pictured from left:  Ron Vassel, Stephanie Sciullo, Veta Richardson, John Unice and Cara Group
April 19, 2018 - Workplace Violence: Employer Strategies for Preventing and Responding to Workplace Threats, Sponsored by Saul Ewing Arnstein & Lehr
May 10, 2018 - How To Succeed at MAP, Stop Online Price Erosion and Position Your Company for E-Commerce Success, Sponsored by Vorys, Sater, Seymour & Pease
May 22, 2018 - Contract Drafting - A Litigator's Wish List, Sponsored by Fox Rothschild LLP
June 5, 2018 - Deal with AI, Sponsored by K&L Gates

June 13, 2018 - Technology Tactics to Keep Ediscovery Costs in Check, Sponsored by KLDiscovery and Cohen & Grigsby

July 11, 2018 - Practical Applications of AI in the Law, Sponsored by LegalSifter and Reed Smith

July 18, 2018 - One World, Seven Continents, Infinite Challenges: Employment Solutions for Your Global Workforce, Sponsored by Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart, P.C.
Many of  the written materials from the CLEs can be found on the chapter website.
Return to Top
Key Takeaways from recent CLE programs
April 10, 2018 - Ethical Quandaries in Discovery, Sponsored by Reed Smith

Key Takeaways:

Litigation hold notices not only must be issued in a timely manner, but also must be modernized and adapted to new technological advances.

Employees are not prohibited from participating in identifying and collecting relevant records, but counsel should be involved and have proper oversight into how the records are being collected (approved search terms and adequate QC).

Removal of online data is permissible; however, that information must still be preserved.

A party has a duty to preserve all unique relevant information proportional to the needs of the case.

Counsel must analyze all potential conflicts before adding new clients.


May 10, 2018 - Protecting Brand Value, Stopping MAP Violators and Removing Unauthorized Marketplace Sellers, Sponsored by Vorys, Sater, Seymour and Pease

Key Takeaways:

MAP programs fail and brand value is harmed typically as a result of uncontrolled distribution coupled with the presence of unauthorized online gray market sellers.

To defeat this problem, companies must implement each of the these three phases of the comprehensive strategy:
Phase I: Achieving Effective Channel Control and Developing a Foundation for Enforcement Against Unauthorized Sellers;
Phase II: Stopping Gray Market Disruption Through Efficient and Effective Unauthorized Seller Enforcement; and
Phase III: Running a Lawful and Effective MAP Program that, by Virtue of Phases I and II, is Positioned for Success

In doing so, companies will be positioned for success in the e-commerce marketplace.

May 22, 2018 - Contract Drafting:  A Litigator's Wish List, Sponsored by Fox Rothschild
Key Takeaways:  
  • Avoid problematic contract terms by including examples, calculations, definitions, and specific provisions regarding how a contractual relationship ends. 
  • Consider dispute resolution options such as arbitration agreements, a forum selection clause, and liquidated damages provisions. 
  • Mitigate risk by including exculpatory provisions, limitations on liability, and indemnification language.  

June 5, 2018 - Deal with AI,
 Sponsored by K&L Gates
Key Takeaways:  
  • Understand the usefulness and the limitations of AI tools and robots—they don't think like a human.
  • All algorithms show bias based on their training material, so transparency and accountability issues will arise.
  • The legal implications of reductions in workforces due to increased use of AI within the workplace currently require the same planning as RIFs for other causes, but look for regulatory changes that may arise.
  • Tort law is likely to evolve in areas of strict liability and defenses regarding AI products.
  • AI may lead to interesting intellectual property issues due to creation of ideas and property without human intervention.
  • Watch for development of personhood AI constructs that follow rights given to corporations. 
Return to Top
Member Spotlight
ACC Western Pennsylvania Member Spotlights features a member in a creative question-and answer format.  Our Chapter has more than 500 members, and Member Spotlights are designed to help you get to know your fellow Chapter members better and enhance networking opportunities.  If you are interested in being the subject of a spotlight or know someone who would make a good subject, please contact Barbara Dudek at westernpa@accglobal.com.
Return to Top
People on the Move
If you or a colleague have been honored, promoted within your company or moved to a new company, let the Chapter know!  We would like to feature these updates in upcoming issues of the Focus Quarterly Newsletter.  Please send an email to Barbara Dudek, our chapter administrator, at westernpa@accglobal.com.
Return to Top
Welcome New Members!

The Chapter welcomes 23 new members from ACUTRONIC USA Inc., ACTION-Housing, Inc., Argo AI, LLC, Braskem America, Inc., Daymon Worldwide, Duquesne Light Company, Frank Calandra, Inc., FedEx, FedEx Ground Package System, Inc., GAI Consultants, Inc., General Nutrition Centers, Inc., Koppers Inc., MSA Safety, Philips Health Tech, PPG Industries, Inc., United States Steel Corporation, WESCO Distribution, Inc. and Xcoal Energy & Resources.

Kyle Bahr

  • Counsel, WESCO Distribution, Inc.

Grant Berry
  • Legal Specialist, FedEx

Andrea Bisconti

  • Assistant Corporate Secretary, Daymon Worldwide

Melissa Cameron

  • Chief Legal Services Director, GAI Consultants, Inc.

Samantha Clancy

  • Assistant General Counsel, Litigation & Employment, General Nutrition Centers, Inc.

Emily Farah
  • Counsel - Duquesne Light Company

Joshua Haft

  • Corporate Counsel, Koppers Inc.

Kimberly Karr

  • Corporate Counsel, MSA Safety

Jon Larson

  • IP Counsel, Braskem America, Inc. 

James Pfeifer

  • General Counsel - Frank Calandra, Inc.

Lisa Pitell
  • Legal & Compliance Officer, ACUTRONIC USA Inc.

J. Bennett Reed

  • Assistant Counsel, PPG Industries, Inc.

Lauren Reynolds

  • Attorney, Argo AI, LLC

Samuel Reynolds, Jr.

  • Counsel III, Litigation, United States Steel Corporation

Angela Rhad
  • Commercial Counsel, Philips Health Tech

Justin Rick

  • Litigation & Claims Specialist, PPG Industries, Inc.

Lisa Schonbeck

  • Senior Attorney, FedEx

Christopher Sheridan
  • Legal Advisor, FedEx

Bradley Smith

  • General Counsel, Xcoal Energy & Resources

Michael Smithula

  • Attorney, FedEx

Ryan Stewart

  • Senior Attorney, FedEx Ground Package System, Inc. 

Denielle Stritch

  • Senior Attorney - FedEx Ground Package System, Inc.ylan Inc.

Kyle Webster
  • Staff Attorney, ACTION-Housing, Inc.


Return to Top
ACC National News and Educational Opportunities
ACC Advocates for a Seat at the Table: General Counsel at the Executive Table and the Boardroom
Mary Blatch, Director of Government and Regulatory Affairs, ACC and Stephanie Johnson, Manager, Public Policy and Advocacy, ACC
ACC has launched an exciting new initiative to ensure that general counsel have a seat at the executive table and in the boardroom. Based on our 2013 research report, Skills for the 21st Century General Counsel, it is clear that CEOs and boards of directors increasingly want the general counsel to contribute to corporate strategy. Additionally, when the general counsel has a seat at the executive leadership table, it shows that a company considers ethics, compliance, and other legal risk considerations to be top of mind. 
Despite the clear benefits of securing a seat at the table for general counsel, ACC’s Chief Legal Officers 2018 Survey (CLO Survey) indicates too many general counsel do not have a direct reporting relationship with the CEO and do not regularly attend board meetings. Globally, only 64 percent of general counsel report directly to the CEO, and 73 percent “almost always” attend board meetings.  
The CLO Survey includes companies across the globe and of all sizes, but the statistics don’t change greatly for US companies or even public companies. In the United States, 70 percent of general counsel report directly to the CEO and 76 percent almost always attend board meetings. Among public companies, 70 percent of general counsel report directly to the CEO and 80 percent almost always attend board meetings.
ACC believes that these numbers are too low. They indicate that too many general counsel find themselves without the information, access, and influence they need to fully contribute in order to ensure their company stays ahead of risk and maintains a healthy corporate culture. By advocating on this issue, particularly to boards of directors and institutional investors, we aim to improve the role and status of general counsel and promote ethics and compliance as vital aspects of corporate culture. 
Starting a Movement
Last year, when the National Association of Corporate Directors (NACD) announced that the focus of its annual Blue Ribbon Commission Report would be corporate culture, ACC submitted a white paper detailing how executive reporting and board access for general counsel is a corporate governance matter. In “Leveraging Legal Leadership: The General Counsel as a Corporate Culture Influencer,” ACC identifies five key indicators of a general counsel who is well positioned as a key ally in establishing a corporate culture of compliance and ethics:
1. The GC reports directly to the CEO and is considered part of the executive management team;
2. The GC has regular contact with the board; 
3. The GC is viewed as independent from the management team;
4. The GC advises on issues outside the traditional legal realm, including ethics, reputation management, and public policy; and, 
5. Business units regularly include the legal department in decision-making. 
The ideas in ACC’s white paper served as the basis for Recommendation #5 in the NACD Blue Ribbon Commission Report on Culture as a Corporate Asset, which instructs directors to assess whether the chief legal officer or general counsel is well positioned within management and in relation to the board. In addition to having the role of the general counsel included as a recommendation in the NACD report, ACC has been creating other thought leadership on this subject. ACC partnered with the John L. Weinberg Center for Corporate Governance at the University of Delaware to film a video on the Seat at the Table topic.
In addition to ACC President and CEO Veta T. Richardson, the video featured Gloria Santona, former McDonald’s general counsel and current board member at Aon plc, and Weinberg Center Associate Director Ann Mulé. The Weinberg Center distributed the video to thousands of influencers in the corporate governance space. 
ACC and the Weinberg Center also worked together to interview Kenneth C. Frazier, president and CEO of Merck. Frazier highlighted the significance of a direct reporting line between the general counsel and the chief executive officer, stating that, "If the CEO isn't listening to the lawyers, neither will anyone else in the organization. Setting the appropriate tone from the top is essential." 
In response to a public consultation of the United Kingdom Financial Reporting Council (FRC), ACC submitted comments urging a recommendation that general counsel report directly to the CEO and regularly attend board meetings. According to the Chief Legal Officers 2018 Survey, only 47 percent of general counsel in the UK report directly to the chief executive officer.
ACC staff have also engaged in speaking opportunities on the topic of general counsel influence. These include presentations at the SMU Dedman School of Law Corporate Counsel Symposium, NACD Philadelphia, the ABA Business Law Section Fall Meeting, and Ethisphere’s Global Ethics Summit.
Most recently, we interviewed Teri Plummer McClure, chief human resources officer and senior vice president of labor for UPS. The Weinberg Center video, the interviews, and more are available at www.acc.com/governance. Also available on the website are a number of our media placements on this topic, including articles in Law360, Ethisphere Magazine, The Global Legal Post, Le Monde Du Droit, and the Financial Times. 
What’s Next? 
As ACC seeks to further support our positions on the importance of the general counsel, we will be looking to leverage the wealth of data that comes from our annual CLO Survey and other research projects. We are also looking to take the initiative globally. Most areas outside of the United States have lower levels of direct-to-CEO reporting and board attendance among general counsel. 
As an ACC member, you can help as well. We would love to hear from general counsel who do not currently report to the CEO or who did not report to the CEO in a prior role. Any stories that illustrate potential pitfalls of reporting arrangements where the general counsel does not have access to the CEO is helpful to us in creating case studies, and of course, we value your privacy and treat this information as confidential. Finally, if you have connections in the company directory or institutional investor communities, you can be of assistance as we look for additional avenues of communicating our message to these constituencies. 
Be sure to check out our activities at www.acc.com/governance. For more information about ACC’s Seat at the Table initiative or if you would like to discuss other issues relevant to ACC advocacy, please feel free to contact the author at m.blatch@acc.com or 202-677-4775 or email our team at advocacy@acc.com.

Return to Top
Show that you are More Than a Lawyer!
Show that you are More Than a Lawyer!: Being more than a lawyer is breaking the mold of how we typically perceive the legal sector and exposing the diversity of contributions of in-house lawyers in organizations across the world. Send a picture of yourself being “more than a lawyer” with a short blurb about what you’re doing (three sentences max) to chapters@acc.com. We will take your words and images and transform them into posts to be shared on ACC’s website and social media channels. You're encouraged to do the same at your chapters. Don’t forget! “Likes” and “shares” are greatly encouraged!
Return to Top
Are You Conducting Diligence on EVERY VENDOR and Third-party that has Access to Your Systems or Data?

Your vendors are now prime targets for data breaches and small vendors can provide easy access for hackers. Even cleaning crews, HVAC vendors, and food distributors, to name a few, can all lead to data breaches, but are often overlooked in the vendor diligence process. ACC’s Exclusive third-party due diligence service should be in your arsenal. Visit www.acc.com/VRS for more information.



Return to Top
ACC Alliance Partner - Copyright Clearance Center

Wondering how to take your organization’s compliance practices beyond a copyright policy? Learn how communications and technology solutions leader Verizon uses Copyright Clearance Center’s compliance solutions to reduce risk and give 180,000 employees around the world the freedom to collaborate responsibly. Download now at http://go.copyright.com/acc/verizon.

Return to Top
Drive Success with Business Education for In-house Counsel

To become a trusted advisor for business executives, it’s imperative for in-house counsel to understand the business operations of your company.  Attend business education courses offered by ACC and the Boston University Questrom School of Business to learn critical business disciplines and earn valuable CLE credits:

  • Mini  MBA for In-house Counsel,  September 12-14 and November 7-9

  • Finance and Accounting for In-House Counsel, September 5-7

  • Project Management for in-house Law Department, Nov 14-15

Learn more and register at www.acc.com/businessedu.

Return to Top
2018 ACC Annual Meeting: Exclusively for In-House Counsel

The 2018 ACC Annual Meeting, the world’s largest gathering of in-house counsel, is scheduled for October 21-24 in Austin, TX. In less than three days you can choose from over 100 substantive sessions to fulfill your annual CLE/CPD requirements, meet leading legal service providers and network with your in-house peers from around the world. Group discounts are available.  Visit am.acc.com for more information.  
Return to Top
Is Your ACC Member Profile Up-To-Date?

You may edit/update your contact or personal information, etc. by logging into www.acc.com and selecting “My ACC.” Then click on “My Contact or My Personal Info.” Scroll to the bottom of your profile and click on “Edit My Info.” It’s that easy!

Return to Top
Board Members and Contacts

Stephanie Sciullo
MSA The Safety Company

President Elect & VP - Membership
John Unice

Beth Dodson
BNY Mellon

Kirsten Sigurdson
Highmark Health

Immediate Past President 
Vinita Sinha
Getinge Group


VP - Advocacy
Richard Heiser
FedEx Ground


VP- Communications
Cara Group
Newton Family of Companies

VP - Pro Bono
Joshua Stein
Arconic Inc.


VP -  Programs
Ron A. Vassel



Kristen Budris 
Highmark Health

Andrea Clark Smith

C. Justin Conrad
Crown Castle

Joe Gette
PPG Industries, Inc.
Nathan Platt
Liberty Tire Recycling

Krista Thompson
FedEx Supply Chain

Chapter Administrator
Barbara Dudek

Return to Top
left corner
In This Issue
right corner
President's Message
ACC Western Pennsylvania Chapter News
ACC Western Pennsylvania Shadow Program
Save the Date! Back To School Bootcamp CLE - August 23!
Save the Date! Chapter Holiday Party - December 5th
Upcoming Chapter Events
Follow ACC Western PA on social media!
Pro Bono and Community Service Opportunities
CLE & Roundtable Recap
Key Takeaways from recent CLE programs
Member Spotlight
People on the Move
Welcome New Members!
ACC National News and Educational Opportunities
ACC Advocates for a Seat at the Table: General Counsel at the Executive Table and the Boardroom
Show that you are More Than a Lawyer!
Are You Conducting Diligence on EVERY VENDOR and Third-party that has Access to Your Systems or Data?
ACC Alliance Partner - Copyright Clearance Center
Drive Success with Business Education for In-house Counsel
2018 ACC Annual Meeting: Exclusively for In-House Counsel
Is Your ACC Member Profile Up-To-Date?
Board Members and Contacts
Sidebar Bottom
left corner
Newsletter Tools
right corner
Search Past Issues
Print-Friendly Issue
Forward to a Friend
Subscribe to This Newsletter
Subscribe via RSS
Sidebar Bottom
left corner
Visit our Website
right corner
Sidebar Bottom

Join the ACC Western Pennsylvania Group on LinkedIn!