WASHINGTON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--ACC National Capital Region, the leading regional bar association for in-house counsel in the District of Columbia, Virginia and suburban Maryland, last night announced the winners of the 2017 Corporate Counsel Awards. The awards honor the work of the area’s leading in-house practitioners and departments over the past year in the categories of Outstanding Chief Legal Officer, Outstanding In-House Counsel, Outstanding Paraprofessional, Outstanding Law Department, and Community Service.
Chosen from a field of 21 finalists, the winners of the 2017 Corporate Counsel Awards are:
- Outstanding Chief Legal Officer: William (“Bill”) Deckelman, Jr., Executive Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary, DXC Technology, and Tamara Jack, Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary, Blumont, Inc.
- Outstanding In-House Counsel: Charles Neff, Director of Compliance, Huntington Ingalls Industries, Inc.
- Outstanding Paraprofessional: Karen Schultz, Legal Assistant, WeddingWire, Inc.
- Outstanding Law Department: Appian Corporation and Hilton Worldwide Holdings.
- Community Service Award: Stephen Otero, Senior Vice President, Chief Counsel - Litigation, Capital One, and the legal department of Freddie Mac.
The Corporate Counsel Career Achievement Award went to Samuel A. Flax, former Executive Vice President, General Counsel, Chief Compliance Officer and Secretary, American Capital, Ltd.
And Robin G. Hayutin, former Senior Director of Legal Education, ACC National Capital Region, received the 2017 Service Award.
In addition, ACC National Capital Region honored two legal departments – HMSHost and Rosetta Stone Ltd. – that identified and implemented creative and new approaches to in-house practice with In-House Innovator Awards.
“The nominees and winners of the awards provide important examples of the significant role of the in-house bar. The judges were very impressed with the trusted judgment, business acumen, and dedication to community exemplified by this year’s honorees, and with the positive impact they have had on the successes of their organizations,” said Simone Wu, Senior Vice President, General Counsel, Corporate Secretary and External Affairs, Choice Hotels International, Inc., and Evan Farber, Chief Legal Officer and Secretary, The Advisory Board Company. Wu and Farber are ACC National Capital Region board members and co-chaired the Corporate Counsel Awards. “It is wonderful to see the excitement these awards generate among the finalists and winners, and among their friends and colleagues.”
The award winners were announced at a reception held at The Ritz-Carlton Tysons Corner in McLean, VA, that was attended by approximately 375 people.
William (“Bill”) Deckelman, Jr., Executive Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary, DXC Technology, was named Outstanding Chief Legal Officer for his key role on the merger that created DXC in April of this year. He previously had been Chief Legal Officer of predecessor CSC and was immersed for more than a year negotiating and documenting the deal with HP Enterprise Services that created DXC, a major information technology services company.
The co-winner Tamara Jack, Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary, Blumont, Inc., was recognized for her contributions to the turnaround of IR&D, a nonprofit that provides relief and development programs worldwide. Her work included creating a new holding company – Blumont – and three subsidiaries, and successfully moving IR&D’s contracts to the new entities. She also stood up a new compliance program, helped repopulate the board and create a new executive team. In fact, when the company’s chief financial officer resigned unexpectedly, she took over that role.
Charles Neff, Director of Compliance, Huntington Ingalls Industries, Inc., was selected as Outstanding In-House Counsel for the integrated approach he has taken to compliance and cybersecurity at the company - the nation’s largest shipbuilder. Most notably, he helped invent software that is a vital part of the company’s compliance plan. Huntington Ingalls has a pending patent application for the software, and is already licensing it to third parties, generating revenue for the company.
Karen Schultz, Legal Assistant, WeddingWire, Inc., received the Outstanding Paraprofessional award for the lead role she played in providing her colleagues with critical resources – a new contract-management software, self-service portals to aid in the resolution of legal matters, and manuals are used as internal legal references.
The legal departments at Applian Corporation and Hilton Worldwide Holdings were co-winners of the Outstanding Law Department award. Applian was honored for handling the legal aspects of the company’s IPO in May 2017, which led to the company raising $75 million and trading on the Nasdaq Stock Market. It was one of the most successful IPOs of 2017. Hilton’s 135-member department was honored for its deft handling of a massive transaction involving the company’s spin-off and organization of two business lines and, simultaneously, two IPOs. The transaction allowed Hilton to completely change the way it does business worldwide.
The Community Service Award was given to Stephen Otero, Senior Vice President, Chief Counsel - Litigation, Capital One, and the legal department of Freddie Mac. Stephen Otero was selected for his leadership of Capital One’s pro bono program and the role he has played in efforts to get Virginia to adopt a new rule that would require Virginia attorneys to annually report pro bono hours, in hopes of measuring and encouraging pro bono and shrinking the “justice gap” between the need for and availability of civil legal services low-income individuals in the state. Right now, the Virginia Supreme Court is considering the proposal that he helped to develop. The Freddie Mac legal department was recognized for its dedication, as a team and individually, to providing pro bono services. The department has partnerships with the Capital Area Immigrant Rights Coalition and the Tahirih Justice Center, and has had numerous successes handling immigration and asylum cases. They also hold regular clinics for clients needing assistance with consumer law issues and uncontested divorces for Legal Services of Northern Virginia, and work with Fairfax Court Appointed Special Advocates on behalf of abused and neglected children. The department’s commitment is both deep and wide.
The In-House Innovator Award recognizes creative and new approaches to in-house practice – whether in terms of collaborating with business-side colleagues, enhancing department operations, fostering professional development, or such – that made the legal departments more effective contributors to their organizations. This year’s recipients are:
- HMSHost was selected for finding ways to contribute to the bottom line by creating an affirmative recovery program that works to capture lost revenue. The initiative involves asserting claims that typically involve the company’s largest business partners, while still maintaining strong relationships with those partners.
- Rosetta Stone was chosen for embracing better work-life balance for the members of the legal department – implementing flexible hours, adopting an unlimited vacation policy, and allowing long-term remote assignments to allow attorneys to experience life in a different locale. These practices have resulted in greater job satisfaction and strong retention among the attorneys, while the department continues to get top marks in internal client satisfaction surveys.
In addition to the night’s competitive awards, ACC National Capital Region honored Samuel A. Flax, former Executive Vice President, General Counsel, Chief Compliance Officer and Secretary, American Capital, Ltd., with the Corporate Counsel Career Achievement Award. Flax was the first in-house lawyer for American Capital and, over the course of 12 years, built a strong and talented department that kept pace with the company’s growth and development. Flax was integrally involved in the sale of the company, which closed at the beginning of 2017. In January, he will begin the Advanced Leadership Initiative Fellowship program at Harvard University. Flax was a very active member of the chapter. He served two terms on its board of directors, and was a co-chair of a substantive law committee. He was a frequent speaker at continuing education programs, sharing his insights and experience with his fellow members, and in 2014 and 2015, he was a co-chair of the Corporate Counsel Awards.
Robin Hayutin, Executive Director of LearningPlunge, received the 2017 Service Award. While working as ACC National Capital Region’s Senior Director of Legal Education for 10 years, Hayutin worked with dozens of volunteer leaders and scores of presenters from local law firms and service providers to produce close to 1,000 programs for the chapter. She played an instrumental role in the substantive aspects of program development, and – in particular – guided presenters to ensure they would provide the practical guidance and takeaways that in-house counsel value. Under her leadership, the chapter’s programming went to a higher level of excellence.
The finalists were selected from nominations submitted by the legal community-at-large in response to an open call for nominations. The panel of judges for the Corporate Counsel Awards was comprised of the following leaders in the business and legal communities in this region:
- Affie Ambrose, President of ACC National Capital Region, and General Counsel, Acumen Solutions, Inc.
- Kevin Buck, Chief Operating Officer of the Association of Corporate Counsel.
- Doris Henderson Causey, President, Virginia State Bar, and Managing Attorney, Central Virginia Legal Aid Society.
- Mike Daniels, Chairman of the Board, LMI.
- Evan Farber, Member of the Board of Directors of ACC National Capital Region, Co-Chair of the Corporate Counsel Awards, and Chief Legal Officer and Secretary, The Advisory Board Company.
- Steven A. Museles, Executive Vice President and Chief Legal Officer, JBG Smith.
- Patrick McGlone, President, D.C. Bar, and Senior Vice President, General Counsel and Chief Compliance Officer, Ullico, Inc.
- Camille Nelson, Dean and Professor of Law, Washington College of Law at American University.
- Simone Wu, Member of the Board of Directors of ACC National Capital Region, Co-Chair of the Corporate Counsel Awards, and Senior Vice President, General Counsel, Corporate Secretary and External Affairs, Choice Hotels International, Inc.
Created in 2005, the Corporate Counsel Awards have become a well-recognized and sought-after honor for members of the in-house legal community in the District of Columbia, Commonwealth of Virginia and suburban Maryland. For a list of all previous Award winners, please visit http://www.acc.com/chapters/ncr/awards.cfm.
About ACC National Capital Region
With approximately 2,500 members, ACC National Capital Region serves the professional needs of in-house counsel in Washington, D.C., Virginia, and suburban Maryland. It is the regional chapter of the global Association of Corporate Counsel (ACC). ACC National Capital Region members participate in more than 80 professional development programs each year and keep connected through a variety of networking events and communications vehicles. The organization has been active in regulatory issues that affect the in-house bar, and in providing education to encourage advancements in the standards of corporate legal practice. The organization was first established in 1980 as the Washington Metropolitan Area Corporate Counsel Association (WMACCA), and adopted the name ACC National Capital Region in 2015 to better communicate the area it serves and support the ACC global brand. More information about ACC National Capital Region is available on its Web site: http://www.acc.com/chapters/ncr.