Jomarie Fredericks of Rotary International, Chair of the Committee, says: “A number of Committees want or need in-house input on various issues, so this Project Team will ensure there is a resource already available when that is the case.”
Dolores A. Moro of Kimberly-Clark, one of two leaders of the 10-person team, says the Team is taking “baby steps.” She sees this week as “an opportunity to introduce ourselves and start participating in particular projects with various teams” and says the Project Team will also provide a vehicle for in-house practitioners to develop their roles within Committees and in INTA more generally, thereby enhancing the corporate member experience.
Her co-leader, Diana Ho of PING, adds: “We feel that we’re meeting a need that we noticed was there. Once Committee members get used to us being there, there may be other uses for this Project team too.” She says that the Team can play a unique role in helping Committees understand the challenges and issues facing in-house counsel, as they deal with “real-world” issues every day that require both legal and business advice, ranging from brand protection to enforcement, the internet and globalization. Committee Vice Chair Chris Turk, of The H. D. Lee Company, agrees: “Sometimes as legal practitioners in general we lose sight of what’s important. This Team allows us to provide a check and balance to practice in reality rather than a hypothetical perspective.”
INTA at present has 986 corporate members, about one-third of them outside of the United States. About 20% of the more than 3,000 Committee volunteers work in-house, so there is plenty of scope for cross-pollination. After all, as Moro says, INTA is a brand-owner association: “In-house practitioners definitely can bring a real-time perspective and help people understand the issues that are facing us.”
It’s early days for the Team, but already they have some clear aims. One is to add more expertise from outside the US, to reflect the global membership of INTA. Another is to seek out information from other Committees about how in-house practitioners can help them. “Our role will be defined where other people think we can bring value,” says Fredericks.
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