Q&A with Danielle Roland on the ACC In-house Certification Program

Why did you decide to participate in the ACC In-house Counsel Certification program? What made it stand out?

I had seen several emails and magazines from ACC with information about the program so I went on and reviewed the topics and felt like the topics would be very beneficial to me in my GC role.

Can you share a key takeaway from the program? What was a key lesson or message that you were able to take back and immediately apply in your legal department?

The risk assessment analysis and how to do one was one of the best takeaways I got from the program.

I am using these steps in my company to assess each department’s risk and determine what new policies and procedures, and/or changes need to be made in existing ones.

Danielle Roland, legal counsel, Schuler Incorporated Canton, is learning more and moving her career ahead with the ACC In-house Counsel Certification Program.

You were a member of the first cohort that completed the ACC In-house Counsel Certification Program in a virtual format over multiple weeks. How did you find the virtual format and did it still provide opportunities to connect and engage with your fellow attendees?

Yes. I liked the virtual format because we could work with teams across the globe in many other countries (instead of more regional people like you would likely have in an in-person location). This was a good experience because you got to see other GC’s perspectives in different countries. And yes, I felt like the team exercises still went very well and there was great engagement from the follow attendees during the virtual course.

The certification program is intended to explore several core competency areas, including developing stakeholder relationships, law department management, and legal services. In your opinion, why are these skills — or core competencies — essential for in-house success?

You need to be able to show your worth to the company as an in-house, otherwise the company can just as easily outsource work to an outside firm.

Can you provide an example of how the program helped your understanding and delivery of one of these core competencies?

Stakeholder relationships helped me understand why it is so important to have direct connections to upper management and the Board of Directors within the company and I have been able to use these arguments to become a participant on our Company’s Board.

Looking back at the course, how will the In-house Counsel Certified (ICC) designation help advance your in-house career?

I have further developed my skills on how to become a trusted business-partner within my company, instead of just providing legal advice. I am helping my company make sure we avoid major risks using risk analysis skills and compliance program improvements — all learned from the course.

Would you recommend ACC’s In-house Counsel Certification Program to your colleagues? What advice can you offer other corporate counsel who want to participate in the program, but may need to convince their GC or boss?

Yes, I would recommend the program. The topics are perfect for a GC and really will help benefit the company as well by having a GC who understands these important topics and functions within the company.