Defense Counsel Journal

President's Page - Volume 85, Number 3

Volume 85, No. 3

February 07, 2020

Kopon_Andrew_2017_sized Andrew Kopon Jr.

Andrew Kopon Jr.

What distinguishes the IADC from the pack of quality professional bar associations around the world? I believe the answer lies with the caliber of our members that continuously forge the extraordinary character of the IADC.

Having had the privilege to travel many miles over the past two years for the IADC, first as the President-Elect and this year as President, I have seen an amazing consistency in the quality of the people and the talent of the lawyers that I have had the pleasure of meeting. IADC members who attend our functions around the globe generously give of their time to make the IADC an exceptional defense bar association that brings great value to our members.

My conclusion, that the caliber of our members sets the IADC apart from other professional bar associations, can be demonstrated by two experiences I have had over the past year. The first experience began at our Regional Meeting held in Hong Kong in October 2017, hosted by Chiann Bao of Skadden Arps. Several attendees at this meeting became new IADC members shortly after this Regional Meeting. May Kim Ho, of Duane Morris Selvam’s Singapore office, was one of these new lawyers. Four months later, in February 2018, May Kim travelled to La Quinta, California to attend her first IADC Midyear Meeting, where we welcomed her as a “First Timer.”

During this brief period of time, May Kim Ho took the initiative to spearhead the IADC’s very first Singapore Corporate Counsel Symposium, which took place in May 2018. This Symposium was held in collaboration with the Singapore Corporate Counsel Association. May Kim’s relationship with the Singapore Corporate Counsel Association was instrumental in making the Symposium a successful program attended by more than 60 lawyers. The following day, the IADC Singapore Regional Meeting was hosted by Maw Shen Foo, of Dentons Rodyk, Singapore. The half day programming of outstanding CLE was concluded by a keynote speech from former Attorney General of Singapore, V.K. Rajah. These kinds of networking and educational opportunities are invaluable, and are created by the initiative of our members for our members.

This admirable initiative, undertaken by one of our newest IADC members, is also on display in our IADC Committees. Unlike many bar associations, the Committees of the IADC are thriving. Aside from the many high-profile accomplishments of our Committees, the IADC collects detailed data on the work of our Committees throughout the year. The collected data demonstrate that most of our Committees hold regular monthly business calls; sponsor free, high-quality Webinars; drive new membership; publish Newsletters and articles for our leading Defense Counsel Journal; and work on special projects. Committee Chairs have also stepped up to write a Committee Chair Corner column, a new feature on the IADC website homepage, detailing the activities of our hardworking Committees. This work is the life blood of the IADC.

Having the vantage point to watch everything that has been accomplished in the name of the IADC throughout this past year has been a profound personal experience. If the IADC was an athlete, it would be given regular tests for performance enhancing drugs. The IADC has been at the forefront of successfully advancing the voice of our corporate members in opposing class action legislation in Mississippi through the efforts of our Civil Justice Response Committee led by Mark Behrens, along with the assistance of Stephanie Rippee. Mark’s Committee is actively involved in keeping the IADC in a leadership position on behalf of the defense and corporate bar, in filing position statements throughout the U.S. and Canada. His Committee and the Amicus Committee, led by Kendall Harrison, have been instrumental in forging a strong relationship with the Institute for Legal Reform (ILR) to keep the IADC well positioned as a leader for the defense and corporate bar.

Our Corporate Counsel College Task Force not only sponsored a highly successful Corporate Counsel College program in Chicago this past April, but it invited our U.S. Deputy Attorney General, Rod Rosenstein, as the keynote speaker, to address our membership on the Rule of Law. The Midyear Meeting CLE Steering Committee, led by Bob Redmond, worked with Bill Browder, the internationally-renowned hedge fund founder turned humanitarian, to address our members, live via video conference at the Midyear Meeting, about the life and death of his lawyer, Sergei Magnitsky, in the context of the Rule of Law.

The Diversity and Inclusion Committee led by Bonnie Mayfield, was in high-gear throughout the year working with all of our Committees to ensure that diversity and inclusion were at the forefront of Committee discussions. Bonnie’s Committee was also active in producing free Webinars, special projects, and CLE programming to keep IADC members focused on the importance of advancing acceptance, respect, diversity, and inclusion of everyone regardless of gender, race, religion, age, and sexual orientation.

These are just a few of the many wonderful and meaningful accomplishments of our more than 25 Committees that give the IADC its extraordinary character. There are at least seven Vice Chair positions in most Committees. This number makes it easy for IADC members to become active and to participate in leadership positions in our Committees. It is the active involvement and caliber of our membership that makes the IADC great. I do value and appreciate the work and commitment of the IADC leadership; however, it is not the President, or the Executive Committee, or even the Board of Directors that give the IADC its extraordinary character; it is the work of our collective membership throughout the year. Thank you to all of our Committee members and to May Kim Ho for making this a great year for the IADC. Keep up the good work.