Corporate Counsel

Helen M. Hart, Immediate Past Chair



In June 2016, the Corporate Counsel Section had approximately 1491 members. The Section continues to be one of the largest sections of the VSB.

Special Activities in Fiscal Year 2015-2016

We were pleased to continue our Section online newsletter this year, with a combination of articles, calendar listings and other data to keep our Section members informed of things that may be of interest.  Christopher Gatewood is the leader of this important initiative.


Annual Meeting CLE Programs

The Section co-sponsored two well-attended showcase continuing legal education (CLE) programs during the 78th VSB Annual Meeting.  Representatives of the Board of Governors for the Section participated in the development of the CLE programs.  The Section, along with the Criminal Law Section and the Virginia Women Attorneys Association, co-sponsored a CLE entitled “Debate on Religious Freedom in the Workplace: Freedom Of Religion versus Freedom From Religion?” in which a panel of experts debated varying perspectives on the legal issues relating to religion in the workplace.  The panelists were Professor Douglas Laycock of the University of Virginia School of Law, Claire Guthrie Gastanaga, Executive Director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Virginia, and Joan McKenna of LeClair Ryan, and the CLE was moderated by Timothy J. Heaphy of Hunton & Williams.   In addition, the Section co-sponsored, along with the Real Property, Environmental, General Practice, and Health Law Sections, a showcase CLE entitled “Cybersecurity for Lawyers: Current Developments and Practical Steps to Ethically Protect Your Data.”  Cybersecurity experts John Simek and Sharon D. Nelson of Sensei Enterprises Inc., David Z. Bodenheimer of Crowell & Moring LLP, Jody Westby of Global Cyber Risk LLC, and Robert Cochran, an FBI cyber agent, discussed law firm cyber security as well as evolving ethical obligations related to cybersecurity.


Member Communication

In addition to our electronic newsletter, we sent out several emails to the membership informing them of relevant CLE opportunities.  During this past year, the Board of Governors established a Membership Committee to look into providing additional activities geared toward enhancing value to Section members.  We also continued our tradition of offering a welcome letter and section membership solicitation information for inclusion in the materials provided by the VSB to lawyers being sworn in by the Supreme Court as Corporate Counsel members of the VSB.  In that vein, we extended a special invitation to newly-licensed members of the VSB to join the Section at no charge for the first year of membership.  Finally, we continue to sponsor regional Spring Luncheons, often with CLE, as opportunities for our members to network and get to know other members of the in-house community in their area.


Law Student Seminars

The Section continued its practice of hosting panel presentations at interested Virginia law schools to share information and insights on corporate counsel practice. The programs continue to be enthusiastically received by the students, possibly fostered, in part, because of the free meal offered.   


Officers for 2016-2017

Officers elected for 2016-17 were Charles Durant, Chair, Christopher Eric Gatewood, Vice Chair, and James Lowe, Secretary.  Helen Hart is Immediate Past Chair.

By virtue of his office, Charles Durant will continue on the Board.  Barbara Fisher and Robert Burger were each re-elected to the Board of Governors to serve three-year terms.  Mark Newcome and Kelly Whetstone were elected as new members of the Board. 

Submitted on July 1, 2016 by:  Helen M. Hart, Immediate Past Chair

Updated: Aug 03, 2016