Focus On The New York City Chapter ~ Summer 2020 Newsletter (copy) Print

President's Message


When I accepted the nomination to President of the Association of Corporate Counsel – New York City Chapter in 2018, I extoled upon the importance of “re-visiting the past and re-pointing the foundation of our organizational mission [to] anticipate, help, advance and create.”[1] It wasn’t until I took a seat at the table, that I realized the importance of this statement and what it meant for our Chapter. As we now sit in the midst of a global pandemic, this mission takes on even greater significance.

Connectedness and creating a community alight with openness, diversity and simply listening (or rather, sitting down exactly where you are to find exactly what you need) is where the truth is found. The foundation of this Chapter has always embraced the importance of common professional and business interests of in-house counsel. And, as I reflect, my mission was not to innovate past the heart of this global organization or this Chapter. Rather, it was to more mindfully address the needs of our membership by actively listening to your changing needs, becoming more balanced and diverse (and inclusive) in our leadership and substantive content, speaking (once we heard your message) through an enhanced media presence and actions, and giving back to our parallel communities through pro bono activities (even creating a new leadership position!) and law school outreach.

The Association of Corporate Counsel has been a lush field of opportunity and enjoyment since I started my in-house journey more than a decade ago, first as a member, then a Board member of two different chapters, and finally, as President of the New York City Chapter. One of my most poignant memories was attending my first Chapter Board meeting and asking, “Where’s the party?!” – this simple question turned into our Chapter’s Annual Winter Gala – the planning, the strategizing, the tastings, and the friends. Through many challenges and, undoubtedly, countless moments of anxiety and glasses of wine, this organization and Chapter, and all of you have become a piece of my wholeness, making me a stronger leader and listener. So, thank you. After all, what we really need, is to “only connect!”[2]


Best regards,

Ashley Miller
President, ACC New York City Chapter


[1] Ashely A. Miller, Fall 2018 Newsletter, Presidents Message.

[2] E.M. Forster, Howards End


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Featured Articles


By: John Delaney, Kirk Soderquist, Shelina Kurwa, & D. Sean West, Perkins Coie

Challenge Mode: COVID-19’s Impact on the Video Game Industry

COVID-19 has wreaked havoc on the entertainment industry, creating massive disruptions across many industry sectors.  In this article, Perkins Coie attorneys focus on video games, perhaps the sector of the entertainment industry that, although beset with challenges of its own, is arguably best positioned to emerge from the crisis in good shape. Indeed, the coronavirus pandemic appears to be accelerating pre-pandemic trends of video games occupying a greater percentage of consumers’ entertainment time and of their total entertainment spend. 

This is the final installment of a three-part series on the pandemic’s impact on the entertainment industry. Part one covered the film and television industry, and part two focused on the music business. Also, please see our earlier client alerts on how disruptive technologies and the open access/open source legal frameworks are being used to combat the coronavirus. Finally, for additional Perkins Coie updates, blog posts, webinars, and other materials relating to the pandemic, please see our Coronavirus: Guidance for Businesses page on our website.


COVID-19 and Securities and Derivative Litigation

By: Joni Jacobsen and David Kistinbroker, Dechert

Key Takeaways

  • Plaintiffs’ firms continue to file securities litigation cases arising from COVID-19, and we expect this trend to continue. 

  • Numerous claims have been filed asserting violations of Section 10(b) and 20(a) of the Securities and Exchange Act of 1934 (“Exchange Act”) arising from alleged false statements or omissions relating to known risks arising from the pandemic, as well as overstatements regarding a company’s ability to thrive in this environment. 

  • M&A litigation is not immune from COVID-19 related claims; several suits have been filed alleging violations of Section 14.  

    Plaintiffs have also targeted companies issuing offering materials alleging violations of the Securities Act of 1933 (“Securities Act”) arising from COVID-19 related issues. 

  • We also expect an increase in derivative cases, particularly those alleging a failure of oversight, as we proceed through and emerge from the pandemic.  

The spread of the coronavirus continues to impact the global economy, with many companies experiencing severe disruptions in their ability to manufacture, distribute and sell their products, as well as disruptions to the productivity and mobility of their workforce.  As COVID-19 continues to impact corporations’ operations and financial results, as well as markets in general, we anticipate an increase in securities and derivative litigation.  Public companies should understand how the uncertainties created by the coronavirus may increase the risk of securities and derivative litigation, and steps that can be taken to minimize such risks.  


being a b: perspectives on being a bisexual lawyer

By: Bendita Malakia, Hogan Lovells

This article was originally published by The Institute for Inclusion in the Legal Profession (“IILP”) in The IILP Review 2019-2020: The State of Diversity and Inclusion in the Legal Profession. It is reprinted here with permission. For more information visit

Malakia breaks down the myths and stereotypes that negatively impact bisexual lawyers and demonstrates how ignorance and misunderstanding can hurt and target bisexual individuals, even among the LGBTQ+ community.


New California Privacy Initiative Certified for November Ballot

By Edward McNicholas & Judith Rubin, Ropes & Gray

On November 3, 2020, Californians will vote on whether to approve a ballot initiative to enact a new California Privacy Rights Act (CPRA). If, as current polling suggests, California voters pass the CPRA into law in November, it will significantly revise the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) of 2018, which entered into force only in January of this year.

The CPRA expands the provisions of the CCPA, removes the ability of businesses to remedy some violations before they are penalized, and creates a new agency – the California Privacy Protection Agency – to implement and enforce it. The CPRA’s substantive provisions would take effect on January 1, 2023, but its new obligations would apply to personal information collected after January 1, 2022.


Be Vigilant in Selecting and Protecting Your Trademarks

By: Robert English, Cowan Liebowitz Latman

A pending lawsuit illustrates the importance of keeping your eyes open in selecting a new trademark, and also in monitoring applications by others to register identical or similar marks for competitive or related products, as well as looking for the use of such marks in the geographic areas of your existing sales or planned expansion.

The Lawsuit
The complaint, which has not yet been answered, alleged:

In 2015, a predecessor of CANarchy Craft Brewery Collective LLC (“CANarchy”), a collective of brewers organized in Colorado, began to sell beer throughout Texas and Oklahoma under the mark EASY PEASY, and CANarchy federally registered EASY PEASY IPA for “beer” the next year.



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ACC Annual Meeting

ACC Global headquarters has let us know of a very special ACC Annual Meeting offer!

Using code NYC-324, Annual Meeting attendees will receive $100 off their registration. Please note that this offer is valid only on new, full conference registrations. Offer is not retroactive and cannot be combined with other discounts.

Ivan Fong, Senior Vice President, General Counsel & Secretary of 3M will provide the keynote address at 2020 ACC Annual Meeting on Leadership in Times of Crisis.  

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ACC Value Champions

New York Legal Departments and External Providers Selected as ACC Value Champions

Congratulations to the (2) legal departments and (2) external providers from New York who were chosen as 2020 ACC Value Champions! ACC Value Champions are legal leaders that excel in integrating people, processes, technology and data to enhance efficiency and value in legal departments. From New York, the honorees are: (1) PERSUIT, which teamed up with Exelon Corporation and HRB Consulting (2) Fir Tree Partners, (3) Pinebridge Investments and (4) QuisLex, which partnered with VMWare.

Exelon Corporation, HRB Consulting, and PERSUIT teamed up to enable competitive bidding among outside counsel, reducing spending, while upholding quality, diversity, and sustainability goals. Exelon utilized PERSUIT’s online bidding platform to balance price with these qualitative attributes. As a result of the program, Exelon witnesses a 60 percent reduction in overall outside budget variation in 2019, while increasing its spending with minority and women-owned business enterprises and diverse associates at majority-owned firms. The resulting savings funded investment in Exelon’s internal legal team and professional development opportunities.

Fir Tree Partners streamlined its legal operations by using many of the same processes and technology solutions adopted by large corporate law departments. Using the ACC Legal Operations Maturity Model as a roadmap, the team targeted legacy pain-points and designed a bespoke legal operations function, resulting in cost savings, increased efficiency, budget predictability, and improved outcomes. The legal team at Fir Tree Partners utilize a connected ecosystem of 12 tech-enabled legal operation systems and monitor 65 KPIs on their dashboards, which has improved productivity by about 60 percent and saved the company millions of dollars.

Prinebridge Investments centralized processes through legal operations and redesigned workflows to reduce costs. Exceptionally strong change management practices, from system selection through roll-out, led to 100 percent adoption of the new systems in only four months. The new legal ops function reduced costs by 50 percent compared to the previous bespoke platforms. Prinebridge investments used the savings to fund the addition of a document management system.

VMWare partnered with QuisLex to do an in-depth analysis of over 100 transactional work types to scale how they operated. These analytics led to increased outsourcing, creation of a new global internal state-of-the-art transactional team, and development of 13 self-service portals that target high-volume workstreams and compliance areas. The self-service portals are accessible 24/7 from any device and generate thousands of requests, which have reduced Legal touch on some workstreams to as low as nine percent.

Once again, congratulations to these innovative law departments and external partners! You can read more about the ACC Value Challenge here.

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Membership News

Member Get a Member: Between now and September 30, existing members can refer prospects. Members receive various tiered rewards and prospects receive $50 off of their first year. Please refer to the webpage for details.

Discount Code: MGAM50

ACC 30 Day Trial: Not a member? If you or a colleague would like to try ACC's resources for 30 days, click here for a 30-day trial.

ACC Annual Meeting: IT. WILL. HAPPEN. #ACCAM20, the world’s largest gathering of in-house counsel, just got a whole lot easier to attend. Register with confidence and get the latest at

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