50 Years of the Corporate Counsel Institute

Throughout the past 50 years, the Corporate Counsel Institute has been at the forefront in addressing topics of importance to corporate counsel. With many topics such as executive compensation, disclosure, litigation and corporate governance remaining core to each Institute, we have seen the rise and fall of other topics.

Scroll through our timeline below and learn more about key developments throughout the past five decades.
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1960s | 1970s | 1980s | 1990s | 2000s | 2010s


Antitrust sessions become a focus of this initial Institute decade when a number of cases make the headlines, the most famous of which is US v. IBM. Also on the minds of many in-house counsel is The Robinson Patman Act, which regulates price discrimination. Federal Tax Law is a concern for in-house counsel until responsibility is moved out of the legal department in most corporations.


    1962 - In a speech at the inaugural Corporate Counsel Institute,
    Federal Trade Commissioner Philip Elman reviews the history of
    the Commission and outlines what steps should be taken to
    protect the objectives of a free-enterprise economy. More

    1969 Corporate Counsel Institute
    1969 - Attendees gather at the 8th Annual Corporate Counsel Institute (Click image to expand)

    1964 - Northwestern Law professor Vance N. Kirby argues
    that the Revenue Act of 1964, with its detailed and
    ultra-refined rules, further complicates the Internal Revenue
    Code. More

    1966 - Future Supreme Court Justice and Northwestern Law
    alum John Paul Stevens explains the Robinson Patman Act's
    effect on competition clause as it relates to consumer protection.

    1969 - Assistant Attorney General Richard W. McLaren
    discusses the evolution of current antitrust law, noting the
    increased application of economic and statistical analysis
    in modern antitrust enforcement. More

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Labor and Employment Law kicks off a decade of new regulation with the Chairman of the EEOC presenting the Institute keynote speech in 1970. The Chairman of the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission, Robert D. Moran, addresses safety and health issues at the Institute in 1971. Environmental Law becomes another major issue with the formation of the EPA in December 1970 and the subsequent increase in environmental regulation. The new General Counsel of the EPA, John R. Quarles Jr., addresses these issues at the Institute in 1971.



    1977 Ruder/Cleary
    1977 - Dean David S. Ruder chats with luncheon speaker Catherine B. Cleary
    (Click image to expand)

    1971 - Robert D. Moran, Chairman of the newly established
    Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission, speaks
    about the recent passage of the Occupational Safety and Health Act.

    1971 - John R. Quarles Jr. addresses the Institute as General Counsel
    of the newly-formed Environmental Protection Agency. Highlights include
    the enforcement of Water Standards and the Clean Air Act. More

    1972 - Thomas M. Debevoise of Debevoise & Liberman explores the
    growing public concern for the environment and related obstacles
    within the legal system. Current resolution methods, he argues, are
    ineffective in dealing with the increasing number of environmental
    disputes. More

    1977 Northwestern Law Students
    1977 - Northwestern Law students enjoy the luncheon (Click image to expand)

    1973 - George E. Ashley, Vice President and General Counsel of the
    New York Telephone Company, highlights major milestones in the
    evolution of employment law, current limitations and necessary
    changes moving forward. More

    1976 - Leonard S. Janofsky, a partner at Paul, Hastings & Janofsky,
    examines the impact of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 on
    employment law and its likely impact over the next two decades. More



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Insider trading issues reach a high water mark as a wave of mergers, hostile takeovers and corporate raids lead to an uptick in illegal profit opportunities. High profile cases include the prosecution of Ivan Boesky and Michael Milken. A flurry of Merger & Acquisition activity, such as the leveraged buyout of RJR Nabisco in 1985, results in a number of Institute speeches on topics such as takeover defenses and the Tender Offer Reform Act of 1987.


    1987 David Ruder keynote address
    1987 - SEC Chairman David S. Ruder delivers the keynote address
    (Click image to expand)

    1984 - Linda C. Quinn, Executive Assistant to the Chairman of the
    Securities and Exchange Commission, discusses the increasing size of
    corporate takeovers. Legislators are taking notice and passing
    regulation intended to regulate the trend. More

    1987 - John F. Olson of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher uses the proposed
    Insider Trading Proscriptions Act of 1987 to illustrate why Congress must
    act immediately to clearly define and prohibit insider trading rather than
    wait to respond to the outcome of a particular case. More

    1987 - Arthur Fleischer Jr. of Freid, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson
    argues that existing securities laws and SEC rulings have been effective
    in establishing investor protections and fairness standards with regard
    to tender offers. Additional change is needed, however, and the
    Tender Offer Reform Act and the Securities Trading Reform Act offer
    possible solutions. More

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The proliferation of internet use and advances in personal computer technology, including the introduction of Microsoft Office Suite in 1990, brings a new focus to several years of Institute sessions on The Role of Technology in the Workplace. Heightened scrutiny of directors and an increased emphasis on fiduciary duties leads corporate counsel to be more concerned with Directors Duties, Insurance and Indemnification.


    1991 CCI Panel
    1991 - Panel presentation on managing corporate litigation and controlling legal costs
    (Click image to expand)

    1990 - E. Norman Veasey of Richards, Layton & Finger examines
    the duty of loyalty as it applies to directors' actions under Delaware
    law. In order to be protected by the business judgment rule, board
    decisions must be motivated only by the best interests of the
    corporation and its stockholders. More

    1991 - Martin Lipton of Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz discusses the
    "quinquennial system," under which directors must stand for re-election
    every five years. This, he argues, would give shareholders alternatives to
    hostile takeovers. Other benefits include greater independence for the
    board, a sharper focus on accomplishing management goals and the
    elimination of the need for takeover defenses such as poison pills. More

    1996 - Priscilla W. Walter of Gardner, Carlton & Douglas examines the
    rapid growth of electronic communication and cyber contracts during the
    mid-1990s. Commerce cannot wait, so companies must set their own
    standards and be willing to adapt as law and practice evolve. More

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Corporate scandals such as ENRON and WorldCom lead corporate counsel to focus on improving Risk Management. The board of directors increasingly reaches out to in-house counsel as topics related to Advising the Board become more popular.



    2009 Elisse Walter
    2009 - Institute Chair Paul R. Lovejoy moderates a Q&A session with SEC Commissioner Elisse B. Walter
    (Click image to expand)

    2005 - Ashish S. Prasad of Mayer, Brown, Rowe & Maw LLP discusses
    the E-Mail Janitor Program (EMJP) and best practices for integrating it
    into records management programs. Because an EMJP cannot determine
    when an e-mail might need to be retained, it should be used in conjunction
    with other methods to ensure compliance with a company's preservation
    obligations. More

    2007 - Thomas A. Cole of Sidley Austin LLP offers tips on dealing with
    board representatives of a principal (but not controlling) stockholder,
    including methods for establishing good relations and what steps to
    take should they turn contentious. More

    2008 - Ben Hayes of Accenture, LLP outlines the steps his company has
    taken to create an effective data privacy compliance program. The
    globalization of Accenture's business processes has necessitated the
    sharing of sensitive data as well as the adoption of more stringent
    guidelines designed to protect it. More


With the rise of Internet Marketing and Social Media, corporate liability regarding use of the internet and social media sites becomes a concern of corporate counsel


    1991 CCI Panel
    2010 - CCI attendees discuss key securities issues during breakfast roundtable sessions (Click image to expand)

    2010 - John L. Hines of Reed Smith LLP presents a white paper
    on the commercial risks and rewards of social media. How can
    clients avoid liablity while taking advantage of this new form of
    marketing? More

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