ACC Remembers Carl Liggio, Sr.

It is with great sadness that we inform you of the passing of an ACC legend, Carl Liggio, Sr. On the morning of January 17, after almost nine days in the COVID ICU, Carl succumbed to COVID-related pneumonia. According to his son, Carl Jr., the prolific general counsel had several highs and lows while hospitalized, at times requiring oxygen assistance and at others up and seemingly on the mend. Unfortunately, on Saturday he took a turn for the worse, and in true Carl fashion, refused to be intubated. It is comforting to know that his children, Carl Jr. and Anne Liggio Hess, were able to be with him via Zoom during his final moments.  

Carl Liggio, Sr.

Carl’s wife Mary, who was never far from his side and was warmly thought of as an ACC “honorary member,” having attended many ACC Annual Meeting with her husband, has unfortunately also tested positive for the virus. The family asks that you refrain from reaching out with condolences at this time. Please keep them in your thoughts and prayers and we will share information on an upcoming memorial as soon as possible.

Carl was a founding member of ACC, along with seven other general counsel. They met on March 11, 1982, in Dallas, TX, to discuss the need for an organization dedicated to the unique practice of corporate law — and more specifically to in-house counsel. As then-general counsel of Arthur Young & Company (now Ernst & Young), Carl was instrumental in growing ACC’s initial membership base, signing up his entire team and working tirelessly on behalf of the association. This work and dedication to ACC never faltered, nor did his efforts on behalf of the in-house community at large. 

"It was Carl who helped automate the ACC office back in the early 1980s," remembers Nancy Nord, ACC's executive director from 1982 to 1991. "It was the first time I had heard the word 'gigabyte'." His love of technology and push for innovation helped ACC establish itself as an organization, she adds.

The very first issue of the Docket featured headshots of the board of directors, including ACCA Treasurer Carl Liggio, Sr.

“Carl was iconic,” said Veta T. Richardson, ACC president and CEO. “His legacy will live on as long as there are in-house counsel. Our profession owes so much to leaders like Carl who had the foresight and dedication to assuring the general counsel position was a respected and empowered executive in the C-suite.”

ACC Board Chair Jo Anne Schwendinger echoed Veta’s thoughts. “Carl Liggio was a pioneer of the in-house profession,” said Schwendinger. “He was a founder of not just our association, but of the in-house profession as we know it today. Carl established and expanded the role of in-house counsel throughout his career, and all of us within the in-house community owe him a deep debt of gratitude.”

Carl Liggio, Sr. with past chairs of ACC and ACC President and CEO Veta Richardson (standing at left).

"Carl pushed ACC to aggressively challenge impediments to in-house litigation and this issue became one of the early priorities of the association," Nancy Nord said. "I feel so fortunate to have had the chance to work closely with Carl. He certainly helped make me a better lawyer and I will always be grateful to him for his friendship and support."

“Carl’s contributions to ACC and the in-house bar are too numerous to mention, but to me, he will always be a friend and mentor willing to share advice or even give you a hard time to keep you from becoming too pleased with yourself. I will miss him," said Fred Krebs, former president and CEO of ACC.

If you were lucky enough to enjoy one of his many stories about the beginnings of ACC, you know firsthand how passionate he was about advancing the stature of in-house counsel. He was a superhero to many of us and he will be incredibly missed by all who knew him.

If you were lucky enough to enjoy one of his many stories about the beginnings of ACC, you know firsthand how passionate he was about advancing the stature of in-house counsel.

Carl shows his lighter side with ACC members.