I am honored and privileged
to be the Chair of the Corporate Counsel Section for 2019. It has been my
pleasure to serve on the Section’s Executive Committee since 1999 and I was
first Chair fourteen years ago. Why have I volunteered my time to serve this
Section for so many years? An easy answer, it’s all about the people - the
members of the Executive Committee, the members of the “Big Bar” that we work
with, the law students we mentor and find internships for and the members we
meet at the CLE programs and other activities.
Who are we? We are 1,500+
members strong, made up of 55% in-house counsel, 33% in private practice, with
the remainder law students hoping to end up with in an in-house position and
others who have a general interest in the in-house corporate practice.
Approximately 65% of us practice in New York, though many live or work in surrounding
states, and there is a 14% international contingent. We have almost as many
members who practice in large law departments or firms as those who practice as
one of five or less attorneys and just as many who are solo practitioners. From
an age breakdown, our members are equally spread among the different age bands.
The majority of our members have been in practice for more than 20 years. By
gender, men make up approximately 60% of our membership. If we are not you, we
can be you.
What are the membership
benefits? The quarterly subscription to INSIDE, interesting CLE programming for
which you receive a discounted registration rate, free lunchtime webinar
informational briefings and access to the Section’s Committees.
The editor of INSIDE is the
Section’s Immediate Past Chair, Elizabeth Shampnoi. Liz always compiles
interesting articles. The Fall 2018 issue contained articles ranging from
mediation, international arbitration and the power of inclusion. If you have an
idea for submission, please contact Liz directly (email@example.com).
Let me provide you with a
flavor of the programming we produce or co-produce. In November the Section put
on its semi-annual CLE Ethics for Corporate Counsel, which was well attended
and received. In December we conducted a free luncheon webinar entitled
“Blockchain and Smart Contracts 101”. At the Annual Meeting, in January, the
Section partnered with the Dispute Resolution Section to produce an afternoon
of CLE under the title “ADR in the Boardroom and the Headlines: Not Fake News”.
The following week, we partnered with the NY Women’s County Bar Association in
presenting “Breaking Through Bias to Achieve Rainmaking and Leadership
Success”. Looking ahead, our Eighth Corporate Counsel Institute will be held on
October 17th, at the office of the International Center for Dispute Resolution,
in midtown Manhattan, with a reception to follow at the offices of Kelley, Drye
& Warren. Please look for the marketing collateral later this year. We are
in process of scheduling six free lunchtime webinar informational briefings and
a CLE entitled “Handling Law Enforcement Contact as In-house Counsel”.
The Section committees
include INSIDE/Publications, CLE and Meetings, Diversity, Membership, Pro Bono,
Technology and New Media, and the Diversity Internship Program. Our committees
are always looking for new members. Please reach out to me or our Section’s
Liaison, Sally Bratten, if you are interested in becoming involved.
I would be remiss if I didn't
highlight one of our Section’s gemstones, the Kenneth G. Standard Diversity
Internship Program. The program, in its 14th year, is named to honor the NYSBA Past
President who has shown a lifetime commitment to initiatives aimed at
increasing diversity in the legal profession. The Section works with various
New York State laws schools to select diverse law students to apply for summer
internships in corporate law departments with New York State companies or
organizations. Last year, eleven interns, from eight law schools were placed in
eight corporate organizations. For the first time the Section placed an intern
through the New York State Bar Foundation, in memory of past Chair, Jana
Springer Behe, following Jana’s untimely passing in 2017. A wonderful reception
to honor the interns and Ken Standard was held in July at the offices of Pryor
Thank you for perusing the
Corporate Counsel Section’s webpage and learning more about us. If you are not
a member, I hope you will consider joining us. The cost is a mere $35 per year,
as part of your annual NYSBA membership.
If you have any
questions/comments for me or want to volunteer to became active in a Committee
or other activity, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I look
forward to hearing from you.
Mitchell F. Borger
Watch a Message from
Mitchell Borger here.
Mitchell F. Borger is Vice President,
Assistant General Counsel for Macy’s, Inc., the iconic department store chain.
For more than 30 years, Mitch has practiced in-house, starting with the NY
Power Authority, United Merchants & Manufacturers, Inc. and the last 24
years for Macy’s. He started his legal career as an Assistant District Attorney
in the Office of the Bronx District Attorney. During his time at Macy’s, Mitch
has counseled clients in the areas of litigation supervision, store-line
operational, loss prevention and employment issues. The key employment issues
include defense of discrimination claims, reductions in force, training and
alternative dispute resolution - with an emphasis on Macy’s arbitration
program. In addition, he spent six years managing Macy’s in-house litigation
team and seven plus years as a manager of the Company’s employment legal
practice. His proudest Macy’s work involves participating in 23 Macy’s
Thanksgiving Day Parades, including the last 12 as its In-House Legal Clownsel
helping to supervise 900+ clowns. In 2017, Mitch was awarded the Parade’s
Distinguished Service Award.
Mitch is the current Chair of
the New York State Bar Association’s Corporate Counsel Section, its 2005 Chair
and a twenty-year member of its Executive Committee. In 2010-11, he served as a
member of NYSBA’s Committee on Standards of Attorney Conduct. The next year,
Mitch chaired a Commercial & Federal Litigation Section Working Group which
issued the “Report on Faster, Cheaper, Smarter Litigation Practices”.
Mitch has been a past CLE
speaker on topics such as emerging issues in employment law, employment
arbitration, consumer racism, corporate public relations in the electronic age,
litigation management and retail loss prevention training.
Mitch is a graduate of SUNY
Oneonta and Albany Law School of Union University.