Michele Smith

Michele Smith

Committee Chair Corner – In-House and Law Firm Management Committee
Michele Smith
Mehaffy Weber

Are you interested in joining a Committee with law firm leaders, corporate counsel, and insurance executives? Do you want to be part of a Committee that examines issues directly affecting your law practice? Can your practice or business benefit from creative ideas from dynamic law firm and industry leaders? If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, we want YOU!

The In-House and Law Firm Management Committee (“IHLFM”) was formed in 2013 with a two-fold mission:

  1. To track, advise, and educate IADC members on the latest trends and developments pertaining to the “business of law” to help align the interest of in-house legal departments and law firms; and
  2. To establish best practices for providing excellent legal service in a cost-efficient, economic, and profitable manner.

The IHLFM Committee indeed strives to make our profession better. The “little Committee that could” has been working to achieve these goals since it was formed, and it has been my pleasure to serve as the Chair this year. Of course, nothing is ever accomplished by one person and at the outset I want to thank the following talented group of Vice Chairs who have worked hard to take this Committee to the next level:

Programs and Projects: Tom Ganucheau, Beck Redden LLP, Houston, TX

Membership: Henry Morrissette, Hand Arendall, L.L.C., Mobile, AL

Publications: Amy Fisher, Ice Miller LLP, Indianapolis, IN

Corporate Counsel: Paula Allan, Fed Ex, Moon Township, PA

Diversity: Kim Hardeman, Lederer Weston Craig PLC, Cedar Rapids, IA

Insurance: Bill Garcia, Liberty Mutual Group, Seattle, WA

International: Steven Rosenhek, Fasken Martineau DuMoulin, LLP, Toronto, ON Canada

Webinar: Jonathan Berkelhammer, Ellis & Winters, Greensboro, NC

Communications: Marty Healy, Porzio, Bromberg & Newman P.C., Morristown, NJ

Special Projects: Paul Fires, Weber Gallagher Simpson Stapleton Fires & Newby, LLP,
Philadelphia, PA

Board Liaison: Dave Rosenberg, Weber Gallagher Simpson Stapleton Fires & Newby, LLP, Philadelphia, PA

I also want to highlight just a few of the activities of the IHLFM Committee from this year:

Special Projects: We strive as a Committee to provide value to your IADC membership. This year, we began work on a few special projects to enhance the Committee’s reach to our membership. We are working on a disaster planning guide with best practices in dealing with disasters both anticipated and unanticipated. We are studying the best and most useful way to continue momentum from the Joint Law Firm Management program we host every other year with the FDCC. Finally, we are brainstorming how to identify a list of what outside counsel want inside counsel to know. Stay tuned! 

Monthly Calls: Our Committee meets on the second Wednesday of each month at 1:30 p.m. Central. We invite you to join us. We try to have roundtable discussion on “hot topics” and to identify interesting programming ideas. 

CLE: We have taken an active step to think outside the box on programming of all forms and we have partnered with several other Committees to expand the number of programs of which we are a part. We sponsored several Webinars and programs at the Midyear Meeting and look forward to these exciting programs at the Annual Meeting: “In-House Legal Department Convergence Projects: A Friend or Foe to Outside Counsel?” and “Artificial Intelligence and the Legal Profession.” We have an interesting Webinar scheduled for April 11 entitled “Navigating Conflicts Between International Data Protection Laws and U.S. Discovery.” Other programming ideas we look to explore include additional cyber security/data protection issues (including the GDPR), healthcare benefits, handling RFPs, virtual law firms, and partnerships with non-lawyer service providers to name a few.

Diversity: We have been pleased to partner with the Diversity Committee in a couple of ways.  We published a Newsletter article “The Business Case for Diversity and Inclusion” with the Diversity Committee in November. Secondly, our Diversity Vice Chair routinely reports on the activities of the Diversity Committee on our monthly calls. Diversity is not only important to our Committee, but also of major importance to the law firms and businesses of which we are a part. 

This Committee has something to offer everyone. We welcome your participation and would love to have you involved in shaping our focus and outreach. Please feel free to join us for our monthly calls or reach out to me or any of the Vice Chairs about ideas or questions you may have. This is a great Committee in which to become involved and make your membership count. We want you! 

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