Focus On The New York City Chapter ~ Spring 2020 Newsletter Print

President's Message


Springtime has long been understood as a period of change and transformation. Flowers emerge from their buried vessels. The air seems to bounce around us, shaking off the last bits of heavy wool from the winter. Change is inevitable, especially as we sit in the midst of uncertainty during the global COVID-19 pandemic.

The Association of Corporate Counsel – New York City Chapter has taken proactive steps to help navigate the many questions and emotions of this season. As the President of the Chapter, I’ve created a temporary Crisis Management Team to continually assess the CDC and New York Department of Public Health guidelines and adapt our approach to ‘business as usual’ to nurture ongoing relationships with our Sponsors and bring continued connection and community to our Members through web-based alternatives to legal education along with wellness materials, caregiving, parenting and homeschooling resources, virtual fun and humor, and career resources on the COVID-19 Resource Page.

Change is an essential and poignant part of life and while many of us are facing potent emotions - panic, fear, anxiety, loneliness, grief, and even relief and contentment and confusion. It’s embracing the change to transform our habits and fast-paced lifestyle that may be the critical push for us to find time for random acts of kindness, compassion, and thoughtfulness, building renewed (or better) connections with our community, families, friends, and most importantly ourselves, and learning to create space for these simple joys. If you are feeling troubled, you can find help here, or reach out to me personally.

I encourage you to be gentle with yourself and remember that “the real secret is to turn towards each other in little ways every day.”[1]

Best regards,

Ashley Miller
President, ACC New York City Chapter

[1] Dr. John Gottman


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Featured Articles


By: Adam HaskewIronclad

COVID-19, also known as coronavirus, has sparked a global wave of event cancellations, uncertainty and stress. Health concerns aside, the events community has been dealt a complex, serious blow — not from the virus itself — but all the contracts impacted by cancellations.

Best laid plans have quickly become a scramble to recoup costs and reschedule venues, speakers, caterers and more. At scale, as in the case of SXSW, these cancellations have a massive economic impact, triggering layoffs and potential legal battles over contractual obligations and payments. [READ MORE]


By: Michael B. de Leeuw and Tamar Wise, Cozen O’Connor

Just a few short years ago, if you wanted to say something nasty about someone in print, there were certain barriers. You had to convince a newspaper or magazine to hire you as a columnist, reporter, or editor and you had to convince your editor (a gruff, cigar-smoking character with an affinity for suspenders) that the statement was not libelous. You could also write a letter to a news outlet and convince one of those same editors that your statement would not fetch a lawsuit. Or you could have written a book (also usually edited but by a more genteel type). Or, presumably, you could have rented a billboard or a skywriting plane and said the darnedest things. While this is an oversimplification, there were certainly significant barriers to publishing false written statements that harmed another’s reputation.

But things have changed. It takes less than a minute to sign up for a social media account, and depending on the seductiveness of one’s broken, abbreviated prose, photo shop skills, and/or meme construction, one can be up and anonymously defaming folks or businesses in tucker time. Add to that toxic mix, the proliferation of online news platforms (including a raft of dubious news sites from around the world) along with websites and apps that allow anyone anonymously to rate restaurants, stores, workplace environments, products, other reviewers, and (really) anything, and we find ourselves in an environment that looks nothing like the world in which good old fashioned defamation law arose. Burr might have called Hamilton to the duel for impugning his character, but how does one call out [email protected] for leaving a false and damaging review about one’s workplace?


Navigating Employer Obligations to Provide Employees with Masks, Face Coverings

By: Tressi L. Cordaro and Cressinda D. Schlag, Jackson Lewis

As the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) continues to study COVID-19, the agency is regularly updating guidance on precautionary measures to further prevent the spread of COVID-19 across the United States. The agency has expanded its recommended precautions to include “wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where social distancing measures are difficult to maintain” in response to new information showing that COVID-19 can spread from asymptomatic people in close proximity interactions (e.g., individuals standing directly next to each other and talking).

The cloth face coverings recommended are not surgical masks or N95 respirators. Those are critical supplies that must continue to be reserved for healthcare workers and other medical first responders, as recommended by current CDC guidance. A helpful comparison of the differences between masks and respirators is available from Colden Corporation.



By: Rebecca Hekman, Christina Profestas, & Mary Jane Yoon, Clifford Chance

Clifford Chance lawyers and business professionals across the firm's global network are engaged in meaningful and impactful pro bono and community outreach work that supports the advancement of women’s and minority rights.

Here we spotlight two recent pro bono cases led by Clifford Chance US women associates.



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Virtual Pro Bono Opportunities

Dear Members,

As the Chapter's Board continues its efforts to provide our stellar programming in new formats, I wanted to take a minute to share some links to virtual Pro Bono opportunities highlighted by ACC Global:

American Bar Association:

Disaster Relief Pro Bono Portal,

Free Legal Answers   

The Disaster Relief portal offers options for both practicing and retired lawyers, and can be searched using a variety of filters, e.g. type of opportunity, type of volunteer, type of engagement, and who the project benefits. Free Legal Answers is a virtual advice clinic, through which attorneys can provide pro bono legal assistance to people in their state by answering civil legal questions. 

Two other opportunities on our radar: "We The Action" a free online platform "connecting lawyers with causes" where they may volunteer, and iMentor "a college access and success organization that leverages the power of one-to-one mentor-mentee relationships to help students achieve their college and post-secondary goals". If you have questions about iMentor, you can reach out to Steven Joseph – Manager of Corporate & Community Engagement – at [email protected].

I am also hoping to organize a specific opportunity for our chapter members, so stay tuned, and stay safe!

Rachael N. Clark
VP Pro Bono & Cultural Outreach

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