New Member FAQ

Click on a subject heading below to view questions and answers relating to your selection. Links throughout the answers will guide you to further information on our website or from other sources. Should you have any further questions, please consult our Contact Us page.

General Membership

The Forum in General

  1. How many events may a prospective member attend without joining the Forum or paying an event fee?
  2. How is the Forum different from similar organizations?
  3. Can I get CLE credits through Forum programming?

Forum Events

  1. What are Chapter Quarterly Events?
  2. What are GC Roundtable Luncheons?
  3. What are Forum After Hours events?
  4. What is the Forum’s annual conference like?
  5. Does the Forum offer educational opportunities other than its Chapter Quarterly Events?
  6. May I send someone in my place if I can’t attend an event?

Forum Website Tools

  1. Events Calendar
  2. Member Directory
  3. Forum Library
  4. Underwriter Directory

Participation on a Forum Board or Committee

  1. Who may be a Board member?
  2. How are Board members identified?
  3. What is the time commitment and responsibilities of a Board member?
  4. How is the Board organized?

Why Belong to the Forum

  1. Networking
  2. Avoid vocational isoloation
  3. Discovery and sharing legal best practices
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General Membership

Who is eligible for membership? [back to top]

The chief lawyer (e.g., General Counsel, Chief Legal Officer, or Director of Legal Affairs) and all in-house attorneys who have significant leadership and management responsibility which includes (i) leading a major functional area (e.g.,litigation, securities, intellectual property), (ii) serving as a lead attorney for a major business unit, or (iii) supervising one or more lawyers, are eligible for membership. Members must hold full-time positions under their title, and must be employed by a corporation, non-profit, or government agency.

What types of memberships are available? [back to top]

  • Corporate Mentoring Sponsor ($2,500) — the Chief Legal Officer and up to 7 managing attorneys in their respective legal departments. The member company will be prominently designated as a Corporate Mentoring Sponsor in selected publications.
  • Corporate Underwriter ($1,500) — the corporate membership provides one regular membership, plus the company or organization is listed in selected promotional materials and the Forum website in the Underwriter Directory.
  • Legal Department Memberships (minimum $1,200 for corporate and $900 for government and non-profit) — this membership provides discounts for larger legal departments. The basic membership provides for the Chief Legal Officer and up to three managing counsel. The fee for each additional managing counsel is $300 (corporate) and $225 (gov’t/non-profit).
  • Individual | Corporate ($600) — individual Chief Legal Officer or managing counsel in a corporation.
  • Individual | Non-Profit or Government ($300) — individual Chief Legal Officer or managing counsel in a non-profit organization or a government agency (city, county, state or federal).
  • Individual | Displaced General Counsel (complimentary) Chief Legal Officers and managing counsel who leave their company or organization, and are actively seeking employment as a Chief Legal Officer or managing counsel, are not required to pay membership dues for up to 18 months from their departure. Although membership dues are deferred, attendance to the annual conference will require payment of fifty percent of the regular registration ($300). When the Displaced General Counsel secures another qualified position, this membership status is terminated, and the member is expected to pay the appropriate membership fee. If the Displaced General Counsel secures a non-qualified position, membership is terminated.

What are the benefits of Forum membership? [back to top]

Member benefits may vary between chapters. Please contact the Forum Office,  for a comprehensive list of benefits for your chapter (membership@tgcf.org; 214.445.9875).

Basic Benefits

  • Complimentary admission to Chapter Quarterly Events (statewide and locally), where expert speakers and panelists share their knowledge and answer questions. These events are usually held in conjunction with breakfast or lunch.
  • Complimentary admission to other Chapter networking events, such as GC Roundtable Luncheons, Forum After Hours cocktail parties, Forum Women luncheons and dinners, and sports events.
  • Online membership directory for use as a networking tool.
  • Admission to the annual Conference of General Counsel, a one-day seminar of speakers and panelists on timely topics and key issues of interest to managing legal professionals, held each November in San Antonio, Texas.Invitations to special chapter events.
  • Upon nomination and election, participation on a chapter or the statewide Board and/or committee, where Forum policies and programs are shaped.

Does the Forum have any Member expectations other than paying annual dues? [back to top]

  • Attend meetings and events — Each member is expected to attend at least three events each year (e.g., Chapter Quarterly Event, GC Roundtable Luncheon, Forum Women Event, and the annual conference). The General Counsel Forum is not a “forum” without member participation.
  • Recruit new members — Make an effort to recruit one new member each year. The discovery and sharing of legal best practices is best accomplished with a diverse group of in-house leaders. New members are critical to enhancing the Forum’s repository of best practice discoveries.
  • Consider Underwriters for New Business — Forum underwriters provide more than 50% of the Forum’s annual revenue which greatly reduces membership dues.  Meet the underwriters at Forum events, and consider them for new legal work — Buy Forum First.
  • Servant leadership — If your schedule will allow, volunteer to work on a Chapter Board or committee.  Serving on a Board or committee will strengthen the fabric of the membership. New ideas and visions make help make the Forum more relevant and responsive to Member needs.
  • Provide feedback — Participate in occasional surveys. Improvements in Forum programming and services are most effectively achieved from Member feedback.

Is a membership transferable? [back to top]

Forum memberships reside with the company or organization where the member is employed. In the event the member leaves his or her employer, the membership transfers to the successor. Companies and organizations that have Corporate Mentoring Sponsor or Legal Department memberships may transfer membership from departing or reassigned counsel to qualified incoming counsel.

What is the membership term? [back to top]

All membership terms run from January 1st through December 31st .

Why should I join if I have missed half or more of the calendar year? [back to top]

Chapter events are scheduled throughout the year, and the value of the networking and events programming—even for half a year—is a good value. Members may attend the annual conference in November without a registration fee. That savings alone makes the half-year dues a bargain.

When should I expect to get a notice or invoice to renew my membership for the coming year? [back to top]

Membership renewal notices are sent in September for the following year. It is appreciated if payment is made prior to your membership expiration date.

May I get a refund for my membership dues if I leave my company or leave in-house practice? [back to top]

Forum memberships reside with the company or organization where the member is employed, and therefore non-refundable to the member.

What if I leave my company, but do not have another job immediately or work in a non-qualified job? [back to top]

Upon notification of your departure from your company, we will enroll you as a Displaced General Counsel (“DGC”), and for up to 18 months you will have all of the benefits of a regular member, with the exception of the annual conference. We waive the annual membership dues, but DGC members who attend the annual conference are provided a fifty percent (50%) discount for the conference registration. In order to maintain the DGC status, the member must be actively seeking another qualified position as a general counsel or managing counsel.
If the member takes a full-time position that is not a general or managing counsel position, the DGC status no longer applies, and the membership is cancelled. When the Displaced General Counsel secures another qualified position, this membership status is terminated, and the member is expected to pay the appropriate membership fee.

The Forum in General

How many events may a prospective member attend without joining the Forum or paying an event fee? [back to top]

Prospective members may attend one of the following events as our guest (for a description of each event, see Forum Events below). After the first visit, these events are closed to the prospective member.
  • Forum After Hours
  • Forum Women
  • Sports Event
  • Selected special events
Some events are open to members and prospective members with a registration fee.
  • Chapter Quarterly Event (members –no fee; prospective members — first visit is complimentary with a $75 registration fee for each subsequent visit)
  • Golf Tournaments
  • Awards Dinners
  • Special, one-time events open to members and prospective members
  • Annual Conference (members — no fee; prospective members — conference registration fee)
  • Forum Institute for Leadership in the Law

How is the Forum different from similar organizations? [back to top]

Forum members are the leaders of their legal departments. Only the Chief Legal Officer and managing counsel may join as members. Some similar organizations open membership to the entire in-house legal department. The goal of the Forum is “peer-to-peer” networking.

Members may work for a corporation, non-profit organization, or government agency (city, county, state or federal). It is our experience that legal best practices occur in all three organizational structures, and networking between the leadership of these organizations is valuable. Some similar organizations may not provide membership for non-profit organizations and/or government attorneys.

Programming focuses on the business of law (legal best practices) and not the practice of law. Unlike some organizations for in-house counsel, the Forum focuses on discovering and sharing legal best practices. Occasionally programs will have practice-of-law components, and when this occurs, the educational focus will be on meeting the needs of the chief legal officer. Many Forum programs qualify for CLE, but this is a secondary goal.

Our unique partnership with law firms and legal service and product providers. Our experience supports the idea that improving the professional lives of general counsel cannot be fully achieved in a vacuum. The role of outside counsel and legal service and product provides is too significant to ignore in sharing legal best practices. Rather than ignore these important participants in the delivery of legal services, we embrace their partnership in meeting our mission goals.

Can I get CLE credits through Forum programming? [back to top]

Most of our programs garner CLE credits, though this is not our primary programming goal. First we strive to present programs that explain and share legal best practices. It is a bonus if we are able to offer CLE.

Forum Events

What are Chapter Quarterly Events? [back to top]

These breakfast, luncheon or evening programs are the programmatic and networking backbone of each chapter. Time for networking is scheduled before the program, along with the meal, and encouraged after the program. The program is designed by the chapter’s program committee (members and underwriters), and typically is 90 minutes in length. Speakers and panels may include members, subject matter experts from consulting firms or universities, C-Suite executives, and underwriters. (Complimentary for members and first-time prospective member guests.)

What are GC Roundtable Luncheons? [back to top]

These luncheons for members and prospective members. One luncheon each year may include underwriters. Members meet at a restaurant, sit at round tables of 6-8 while eating lunch, and discuss topics of interest to the table, or a list of questions or current issues of concern may be provided. These are candid, peer-to-peer discussions that provide members with an opportunity to discuss and share best practice discoveries and applications. (Complimentary for members and first-time prospective member guests.)

What are Forum After Hours events? [back to top]

The setting is a cocktail party in the private home of a member. As the event host, the a Forum member provides his or her home, and the Forum staff provides the administrative support. Catering is heavy hors‘deourves, wine, beer and soft drinks, and is paid for by the Forum. Usually these events are for members and prospective members only (20-35), though occasionally an event will be underwritten by a sponsor, and two sponsor representatives will attend.

What is the Forum’s annual conference like? [back to top]

The annual conference is unlike any other legal conference. It is a one-day meeting, with back-to-back speakers and panels, and no breaks except lunch. Prominent speakers may include general counsel, prominent authors, and other subject matter experts from around the U.S.  Click here for details about this year’s conference.

Does the Forum offer more extensive educational opportunities? [back to top]

The Forum Institute for Leadership in the Law (FILL) is a legal best practices program designed by and for general counsel. The Institute is held each spring in Dallas, TX, and led by faculty from the Southern Methodist University Business School. The program is conducted in three, two-day sessions in February, March and April. The class is small 25-30, and is only open to general counsel, chief legal officers, and senior managing counsel. Forum membership is not required to attend. For more details about the Institute, click here.

May I send someone in my place if I can’t attend an event? [back to top]

In the event you are unable to attend a regular chapter event, you may send a qualified substitute from your legal department or from another company or organization. They must be a chief legal officer or a qualified managing counsel.

Forum Website Tools [back to top]

  • Events Calendar — You may view all Forum events, or filter the calendar by chapter
  • Member Directory — The online directory and digital spring and fall directory is convenient for member networking and searches can be sorted by name, company, city, state
  • Underwriters — This page provides an index of our underwriters, with convenient, one-page firm and company descriptions including contact information for each underwriter representative
  • Chapter Linked In groups — Forum members may join the chapter’s LinkedIn group to continue peer-to-peer networking and exchange of legal best practices.

Participation on a Forum Board or Committee

Who may be a Board member? [back to top]

Forum members and underwriter representatives.

How are Board members identified and selected? [back to top]

If you are a Forum member, and interested in serving on your local chapter Board, please contact your chapter president. Membership for the statewide Board is by invitation. If you are an underwriter, please contact the Forum Executive Director to discuss which chapter boards are available to your firm or company.

What is the time commitment and responsibilities of a Board member? [back to top]

All Boards meet quarterly in 60-90 minute meetings. Facilities are provided for meeting face to face, and dial-in numbers are always provided. Preparation for each Board meeting is normally one hour or less, and committee work may entail 10-15 hours of work each year.

How is the Board organized? [back to top]

Because of our special relationship with our underwriters, chapter Boards have about half Forum members and half
underwriters. The statewide Board is predominantly Forum members.

Why Belong to the Forum? [back to top]

  1. Friendships developed through the Forum can also open the door to new legal best practices and career opportunities.
  2. In-house leaders become isolated, especially in larger legal departments. Larger legal departments have greater access to consultants, and they can quickly replace the peer-to-peer interaction that is important for maintaining a broad and diverse professional presence in the in-house legal community.
  3. The programming content of the Forum is singularly focused on legal best practices, leadership and management. Other organizations focus on the practice of law, but it is more difficult—outside of a business school—to learn what is new with the business of law.