What is the ACC NCR Leadership Academy?

The Leadership Academy is a robust, cohort-based leadership development program geared specifically to in-house counsel.  The Academy consists of an orientation, an "intro" session, and eight faculty-led Modules held over a nine-month period.

The Academy curriculum was developed by in-house counsel for in-house counsel to provide the skills necessary to become a trusted advisor and leader and to navigate the partner/guardian balance inherent in the in-house counsel role.

The Academy is not just for GCs-in-waiting; it is designed to improve every in-house counsel's ability to "lead from any seat." Strong candidates for the Academy have a real desire to develop their leadership potential and apply those skills to their role in the department, in a working group, or on a cross-disciplinary team. Team members who go through the Academy program will give depth to the organization’s leadership bench.

To learn more, read the Program Overview.

What will I learn as an Academy Fellow?

Fellows will develop core self-management, relationship management, and leadership skills through the Academy’s sessions on:

  • Who am I as a leader? Authentic leadership, personal brand, and executive presence, and the importance of developing a strategic network.
  • Interpersonal communication and emotional intelligence.
  • Developing and leading high performing teams.
  • Creating organizational vision and inspiring stakeholders
  • Leading and managing change.
  • Managing difficult conversations, and influencing stakeholders.
  • Problem-solving and decision-making.
  • Presentation skills.
  • Task management and delegating.
How are classes structured?

There will be a class of approximately 30 participants – known as Fellows – selected from a variety of industries and organizations from across the National Capital Region. Each Fellow will also collaborate with a smaller working group (“cohort”) to optimize learning and support one another’s professional growth and development.

Each session will be highly interactive, teaching skills through a variety of approaches including: simulation; role-play and modeling; collaboration and exchange of best practices; dialogue with experts from an array of fields; case studies; and other cohort and personal exercises.

In-depth class discussions will be led by faculty chosen for their expertise in leadership and their ability to translate concepts into practical takeaways. Members of the Academy Board of Advisors - senior lawyers, general counsel, and chief legal officers from a broad array of companies and organizations across the National Capital Region - contribute to the discussions and instruction.

Between sessions, Fellows will be expected to read, engage in personal reflection and complete specific exercises on their own and with their cohort.

How will the program benefit me?

You will develop your ability to lead through a best-in-class program geared exclusively to in-house counsel.  Through the ACC National Capital Region Leadership Academy, you will:

  • Set, benchmark and work toward your personal growth and leadership objectives.
  • Develop the skills and tools to succeed at the highest levels of your organization, including:
    • Honing your ability to communicate, influence and negotiate across teams and in the C-suite.
    • Creating and inspiring vision, and managing change.
    • Contributing to and leading high-performing teams.
    • Applying best practices for problem-solving and decision-making.
    • Become a trusted advisor, able to navigate the partner/guardian balance inherent in the in-house role.
  • Build strong professional relationships and expand your network across an array of industries and organizations here in the National Capital Region.
How will my participation in the Academy benefit my organization?

You are a successful lawyer with innate intelligence, a strong knowledge base and skills you have developed through your professional experiences. But that's not enough to make you the trusted advisor that the business units, senior leadership team, and the board of directors need.  Many very talented lawyers lack the skills necessary to be impactful business partners within their organizations.  The Leadership Academy curriculum teaches those skills, growing your ability to communicate at an executive level, lead and contribute to high-performing teams, execute on the department's and organization's vision, manage change, solve problems, and support good decision-making.

Need to justify the expense of the Academy to your supervisor or GC/CLO?  We've created a customizable letter and "Make the Case" document to help you get their support.

How will sponsoring a team member benefit my organization?

As a chief legal officer or senior manager, you want to reward talented members of your team with opportunities to develop professional skills that will bring them career satisfaction and enhance their value to your organization in these ways:

  • Build your leadership bench and improve performance of your team with proven leadership training.
  • Deliver on meaningful professional development that will enhance your team’s overall performance and enable the lawyers to "lead from any seat."
  • Help a member of your team recharge, assess and set personal growth objectives.
  • Invest in those who have a proven ability and a desire to excel.

The ACC NCR Leadership Academy is:

  • Specifically tailored to provide the next generation of in-house counsel leaders the skills to enhance their value to your organization.
  • Developed by in-house counsel for in-house counsel, with engagement and input from our distinguished Board of Advisors, to ensure focus on the challenges and opportunities unique to in-house practice.
  • Taught locally by nationally recognized faculty, affording the highest caliber development opportunity, without added travel time or expense.
  • In-depth development and learning, with minimal disruption to your organization. Nine full program days spanning over the course of nine months. Each session will run for a single day, except for the opening session, which will span two days.
  • Focused on developing concrete and practical skills. The program will include personal bench-marking and goal-setting, a leadership assessment, and two personal coaching sessions aimed at ensuring attainment of articulated growth objectives.
  • Program format includes cohort engagement outside of the classroom to optimize and reinforce the key takeaways from the instructor-led sessions.
When and where will the program be?

The Academy program consists of an orientation, a bonus session, and eight faculty-led Modules taking place over a nine-month period. All sessions are held in the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area, unless conditions require that they be held virtually. There also is work between sessions that Fellows will do individually and/or with their cohorts.

A 360 assessment process, debrief of the results, and a coaching session will be completed over the summer preceding the start of each class's sessions.

The schedule of sessions for the Class of 2021 is:

  • Orientation:  Friday, October 23, 2020
  • Bonus Module - Task Management and Delegation: Friday, November 20, 2020
  • Module 1 - Being a Leader: Thursday and Friday, January 28 and 29, 2021
  • Module 2 - Emotional Intelligence and Interpersonal Communication: Tuesday, March 2, 2021
  • Module 3 - Developing and Leading a High-Performing Team: Thursday, March 25, 2021
  • Module 4 - Creating and Inspiring Vision; Leading and Managing Change: Friday, April 23, 2021
  • Module 5 - Managing Difficult Conversations and Influencing Stakeholders: Thursday, May 20, 2021
  • Module 6 - Problem Solving and Decision Making: Friday, June 25, 2021
  • Module 7 - Presentation Skills: Tuesday, July 20, 2021
  • Module 8 Capstone - My Journey Toward Leadership Mastery: Friday, September 24, 2021

Sessions will run from 8:30 a.m. to 4:15 p.m., except for the opening day, which will start and end one hour later. If a session is held virtually, the day will be shorter. A similar schedule will be followed for the Class of 2022.


Who is eligible to apply?

To qualify for the Academy, you must have:

  • Practiced law for a minimum of seven years, and
  • Practiced in-house for a minimum to two years

as of September of the year prior to the start of the Academy year. It’s well worth noting that in each of the Academy's first two years we have had an equal number of Fellows with seven to 15 years of practice experience as we had Fellows with 16 to more than 25 years of practice experience.

Wondering if the Academy is right for you or want to ask questions of an alum to get a better idea of what the experience is really like?  Send an e-mail to Ilene Reid (Ilene.Reid-NCR@accglobal.com) and we will put you in contact with an alum.  We urge you to read the about the commitment Fellows agree to when they enroll -- see the FAQ below.

Preference will be given to current ACC NCR members. If you currently are not a member, you can join by clicking here. If you are a non-member at the time of selection, your tuition will be adjusted to include a year's membership in ACC and ACC NCR.

We seek Fellows from a broad range of industries and non-profit organizations, as well as a mix of large and small legal departments, to optimize the opportunity for you to learn from one another, both in the classroom and in smaller cohort settings.

How do I apply? When are applications due?

Applications for the Class of 2022 will be posted on the Academy website on or about February 1, 2021.  Completed applications submitted on or before March 1 will receive priority review.  Applications received after March 1 will be considered on a rolling basis. The application form will be found at this URL: https://accncrleadershipacademy.com/apply/.

A completed application requires:

  • Answers to all required questions in the application form.
  • Three personal statements pertaining to your experience and interest in the Leadership Academy. There is also one optional short statement regarding diversity.
  • Your résumé.
  • At least one (1) submitted Letter of Recommendation from one of the following individuals:
    -- Your current or a recent supervisor; or
    -- Your current or a recent internal business client, who works or worked in a supervisory role in your organization.
    You also have the option of requesting a second Letter of Recommendation to support your application.

Class size is limited, and each year we’ve had more applicants than spaces available in the program.  Once the Class is full, notice will be posted on the Academy website and in the weekly chapter e-newsletter.


What does it cost?

Tuition for Class of 2022 Fellows will be $5,250 for ACC NCR members and $5,635 for non-members (which includes one year of membership in ACC and ACC NCR).

In addition to the Academy sessions, tuition includes "360" and behavioral styles assessments, two coaching sessions, and a one-year subscription to the Harvard Business Review.

For the Class of 2022, limited financial aid will be available to reduce the tuition for a small number of applicants who are self-paying at least a portion of the fee. Aid awards will be limited to $1,450 per person.

What commitment is required of Fellows?

The Leadership Academy is a robust cohort-based leadership development program that will take place over a nine month period.  In addition to dynamic, in-person sessions with the Academy faculty, Fellows will engage in small working groups, both at the in-person sessions and in working-group sessions held in between the formal meetings.  This group, or cohort, is a critical component of the program and much of the hands-on leadership development will be accomplished within these cohorts.  The cohorts are small, with 5-6 individuals in each, and the success of the program depends on full participation in the cohort group as well as the faculty-led sessions.  A Fellow’s failure to meet the obligations to their cohort will affect their own, as well as other Fellows’, experience and learning continuity.  We estimate no more than 8-10 hours of preparation time each month and believe that the course assignments will not present an undue burden for Fellows.

Consequently, upon acceptance to the Academy, each Fellow will be asked to acknowledge and agree as follows:

  1. I am committed to attending and fully participating in all Academy events, including sessions with my cohort group in between the formal Academy sessions. If a situation arises that prevents my attendance at any Academy activity, I will notify Ilene Reid as soon as I become aware of the situation.  Full participation may include some or all of the following requirements: independent reading; in-person or video meeting with the cohort group between sessions; additional casework and video presentations.
  1. I am committed to arriving at each in-person Academy session with an open and inquiring mind, a willingness to learn and a respectful attitude towards the opinions of the other Fellows and the faculty.
  1. I am committed to completing all course assignments within the timeframe specified by the faculty and my cohort as appropriate.
  1. I am committed to securing the necessary time away from my place of employment and other work and personal obligations in order to attend all in-person Academy sessions and to be present for the full day of each session. I understand that this commitment will require nine (9) full program days, and two (2) or three (3) evening events.  I am committed to full engagement at each session and will minimize interruptions and distractions during each session, including limiting or avoiding checking e-mail, taking or making calls etc. during the active part of each session.  I understand that there will be limited breaks to attend to time-urgent matters.
  1. I have informed my professional manager and business clients (where appropriate) of these commitments.
Who do I contact if I have questions?
What is ACC NCR?

ACC National Capital Region (ACC NCR) is the premiere professional association for in-house lawyers in Washington, D.C., the Commonwealth of Virginia and suburban Maryland.  We are the regional chapter of the global Association of Corporate Counsel.

With more than 2,500 members from about 900 private-sector organizations, ACC NCR has a focus on equipping in-house counsel for success through collaboration and education. We offer more than 70 professional development and networking events each year. More information about the organization can be found at www.acc.com/chapters/ncr/.

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