In House

In House - The FindLaw Corporate Counsel Blog


We're almost starting to feel bad for Theranos. Once a Silicon Valley wunderkind, Theranos rose to fame on the back of its founder Elizabeth Holmes' Steve Jobs-turtle necks and claims that the company could reshape the blood testing industry. Theranos rode that hype to a $9 billion valuation, only to be brought down by skepticism from the medical community, federal investigations, and an eventual ban on Holmes operating a medical laboratory. Once considered the richest self-made woman in the world by Forbes, the magazine recalculated her wealth this summer, declaring her net worth to be, essentially, zero.

A company doesn't crash and burn so spectacularly without attracting lawsuits, of course, and Theranos has had its share. It's been hit with consumer class actions and its former partner, Walgreens, recently filed a $140 million breach of contract suit against the company. Those things are expected. But the company is now facing a much more unusual suit: a rare lawsuit alleging pre-IPO securities fraud.

Facebook Sued by Two Employees for Race Discrimination

According to a complaint filed against Facebook, a manager called employees "n****r" and "monkey." He also referred to one African-American as a "lazy n****r who wanted everything handed to him," the suit alleges. Robert Baron Duffy and Robert Louis Gary responded by filing racial discrimination claims against the company.

Duffy, a former operations manager at the company's North Carolina facility, and Gary, a night shift manager there, also claim they were paid less than their Caucasian colleagues. They allege the company failed to adequately address their discrimination and retaliation claims after they made internal complaints.

The president-elect announced last Friday that Donald F. McGahn would be joining his new administration as White House counsel. McGahn is a long-time D.C. insider, a partner at Jones Day, who spent five years on the Federal Election Commission and was once chief counsel for the National Republican Congressional Committee.

During the election, McGahn led Jones Day's work for the Trump campaign, making his transition into a White House role natural. Indeed, McGahn had been connected to the new president for quite some time. His uncle, Patrick McGahn, represented Donald Trump when he first began investing in real estate in Atlantic City.

On December 1st, the Department of Labor was set to implement the largest expansion of overtime pay in decades. The DOL's new "white collar overtime" rule would more than double the income threshold for overtime pay, raising the exemption line from $23,660 a year to $47,892, with automatic increases every three years. The expansion would entitle millions of new workers to overtime.

But, it might not be happening. Last week, a federal district court in Texas enjoined the implementation of the rules nationwide, following a challenge from Nevada and 20 other states, along with a host of business interests. What does that mean for you?

NFL In-House: How to Get Paid by Pro Football Without Wearing a Helmet

Getting paid to watch NFL football? No helmet? No microphone? What kinda job is this anyway?

Cassie Sadowitz, any football fan would say, has a dream job. She is general counsel for the Jacksonville Jaguars. She spends most of her time on the legal department's document retention and management systems. She also works on sponsorships and HIPAA compliance for the team.

As a Trump administration gets ready to take over the federal government, there are plenty of questions about what existing laws and regulations will remain intact and which will be jettisoned. For example, Dodd-Frank and the Affordable Care Act are likely to be trimmed back, if not fully eliminated. The future of the Paris climate agreement is in doubt. Even Broadway musicals are facing a more contentious future.

President-elect Trump has vowed to repeal many of President Obama's signature laws and has committed his administration to a regulatory reform agenda based on "canceling overarching executive orders and a thorough review to identify and eliminate unnecessary regulations." Which ones are most likely to go? Corporate Counsel's Rebekah Mintzer recently rounded up the five labor and employment laws that are likely to be repealed under a Trump administration. Here's a quick roundup.

Tesla Merger Is a Green Light for Lawyers

Now that Tesla has acquired Solar City, it will be a go for lawyers also.

Tesla, the largest electric car-maker in the United States, merged with Solar City, the largest solar panel company in the country, in a $2 billion deal. Shareholders of the companies approved the merger, with stock prices rising about 1.1 percent to almost $187 a share. Elon Musk, who now effectively runs both companies, said the acquisition was all about sustainable energy. The merger will sustain lawyers for some time as well.

Microsoft's Lawyer Diversity Program Is a Success

As the first black president, who is also a lawyer, exits the White House, another leader is working to ensure that minorities continue to move up the ranks in law firms across the nation.

Microsoft, which created a program to increase diversity in the law firms it retains, has announced measurable success at the end of the program's inaugural year. According to the company, its law firms have increased diversity representation in management committees by more than three percent and partnership composition by more than one percent.

Do In-House Lawyers Still Get Bonuses?

In-house counsel have seen their fortunes rise and fall with American business, almost as predictably as the stock market. Right. Right?

Obviously, it is hard to predict or even monitor the ups-and-downs of the economy, especially in terms of the pay of in-house counsel. They are bound by ethics and law not to reveal certain aspects of their clients' businesses, and they are often unwilling to share information about their compensation. Yet they are inherently curious about how much others are making, and so anonymous surveys can give some insights into trends in their compensation.

Over the past few weeks, we've been looking at questions about the federal climate post-January 20th, the day when President-elect Donald Trump becomes just President Trump. What will happen to the Affordable Care Act? Will Dodd-Frank be dismantled? How will the Supreme Court change under a Trump appointee?

Here's another question for the list: Will we all die in a desert hellscape, having given up our last best chance at an international fight against climate change? Hopefully not. Though Donald Trump has called global warming a hoax and pledged to withdraw the United States from the Paris climate accords, the business community is currently lobbying to change his mind -- and he might be open to hearing them out.