Record Number of Legal Direct Reports Committee Members Meet

RILA recently held the fall meeting of its Legal Direct Reports (L2) Committee in Nashville, TN, in conjunction with the 2019 Retail Law Conference. Forty-seven deputy GCs and senior retail in-house counsel met to hear an educational session on professional development and engage on in-depth benchmarking sessions.

Making Yourself a Valuable In-House Counsel

Mike Williams, Senior Advisor, BarkerGilmore and former General Counsel, Staples, opened the meeting with an outstanding presentation on professional development that provided tips on ways that senior legal team members can enhance their value to their companies. He emphasized the importance of:
  • selflessness in taking on less desirable projects to help the legal department and business teams,
  • being proactive as opposed to reactive, and
  • effectively communicating, not only with legal team members, but also with business clients.
Mike also suggested using a six-bullet self-improvement check list, which he made a part of the Staples corporate culture during his time as general counsel. The check list is designed to help senior legal executives become better leaders and focus on growth and improvement in several areas that are often forgotten or overlooked during the crush of daily workloads, including understanding a company’s business strategies and projects, gaining a higher level of business and legal expertise, and understanding the challenges of the business and legal department. To help L2 members take the first step on their journey of self-improvement, Mike ended the presentation by providing a list of resources and a suggested reading list of books on leadership and management skills.

Peer-to-Peer Benchmarking Sessions

The Fall 2019 L2 Meeting concluded with six peer-to-peer benchmarking sessions.
Each session was facilitated by in-house counsel and provided participants an opportunity share experiences, challenges and practical solutions on the following topics:
  • ADA Litigation: Public Accommodation
  • Bring Your Own Device Policies for Store Associates
  • CBD Products
  • Legal Department Metrics
  • Legal Department Operations
    • Intake Process Systems and Review
    • Paralegals – How Companies Use Them & Case Workload
  • Preparing for California Consumer Protection Act (CCPA)
A huge thanks to Mike Williams for his excellent and motivating presentation, the benchmarking session facilitators, and all of our members that helped us reach our record high attendance.

For more information regarding RILA’s Legal Direct Reports (L2) Committee contact Kathleen McGuigan, EVP & Deputy GC, at

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