James A. Merklinger oversees the institute In-house Counsel Certification Program and its Data Steward Program, assessing law firm data security practices. Having served ACC for over 20 years in a variety of key roles, Merklinger was named to the position of president of the ACC Credentialing Institute in 2017. In this role, he is responsible for establishing standards and advancing ACC’s ability to establish an in-house counsel credentialing program. Merklinger is also responsible for leading the ACC Data Steward Program to evaluate the security profile of law firms.
Previous to his role as the Institute’s president, Merklinger served as ACC’s vice president and chief legal officer. He represented ACC on all legal issues affecting the association, including mergers with the Australian Corporate Lawyers Association , the Hong Kong In-house Counsel Association and the Corporate Counsel Middle East. Merklinger advised the organization on meeting the needs of the in-house counsel community. He had also served as ACC deputy general counsel and vice president - legal resources, overseeing the development of ACC’s array of resources to help in-house counsel do their jobs. In this position, he worked with 18 volunteer leadership committees, organized by practice areas, which contribute to the strategic development of the association’s resources and education programs. Merklinger spearheaded ACC’s regular benchmarking studies to provide members and the legal industry at large with key trends related to the in-house counsel practice and outside counsel management.
In addition to his non-profit legal experience, Merklinger served on the board of directors for the Tourette's Syndrome Association of Greater Washington, DC, the board of directors of the ACC Foundation, and President of the Washington Irish. Prior to joining ACC, he served as in-house counsel for DIAD, Inc. in Reston, Virginia. While at DIAD, he provided counsel in a variety of substantive areas, including commercial law, software licensing, disability law and issues affecting entrepreneurial development. Merklinger has served as faculty for CLE programs throughout the United States, Canada , Europe and the Middle East on a variety of in-house topics. Merklinger graduated from Wofford College and the University of South Carolina School of Law.