Asia’s landscape of in-house associations has changed. As world trade and multinationalism have moved more aggressively across borders, so once inwardly looking associations have broadened their horizons, while larger organizations look to swell their ranks and target expansion. John Church reports
There was a time when the humble corporate counsel associations within Asian jurisdictions were perhaps a little quaint and Rumpolean, like an in-house lawyer’s colonial private club. Joining cost a nominal fee and for that one could attend a couple of seminars during the year, as well as some members-only functions providing a chance to polish up the personal network, as long as one was back home indoors at a reasonable hour.
But as time has progressed, so has the role of the corporate counsel association, at least in most parts of the region. In particular, knowledge that transcends jurisdictional borders is sought after as legal boundaries wither under the onslaught of technology and the globalization of trade. Members are more demanding of information that is tailored to them, and among the myriad of forum and function invitations, those without real merit are simply not attended.
Enter the Association of Corporate Counsel, with a global membership of more than 42,000 employed by more than 10,000 organizations in 85 countries.
It was officially born as the American Corporate Counsel Association (ACCA) on 11 March 1982. In 2003, ACCA became ACC, the Association of Corporate Counsel, reflecting the increasingly global interests of its membership, which by then had covered more than 50 countries.
Today, ACC has established networks in more than 60 locations worldwide, including chapters covering multiple jurisdictions such as ACC Europe and ACC Middle East.
Following its recent alliance with the Hong Kong Corporate Counsel Association (HKCCA – now ACC Hong Kong), ACC now has almost 6,000 members in the Asia-Pacific.