In House

In House - The FindLaw Corporate Counsel Blog


No one likes to be fired and few people like to fire others. But if the firing is tough, the resulting litigation can be tougher. For, as inevitable as terminations are in the business world, they're also often fodder for lawsuits.

As in-house counsel, you can have a role in reducing firing-related litigation and making sure terminations are done right. To help, here's our top firing tips, from the FindLaw archives.

HIPAA Violations Cost HCPs Big, but In-House Can Help

Health care providers collectively are holding their breath following last month's $1.55 million settlement agreement between Minnesota's North Memorial Health Care and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Civil Rights (OCR). Soon all the oxygen was sucked out of the room following an even bigger settlement with New York's Feinstein Institute. What is a health care provider to do?

Even though hindsight is 20/20, compliance departments and in-house counsel would do well to peruse their agreement contracts with company contractors. A change might be just what the doctor ordered.

Anti-Chinese Hacking Trade Secret Bill Goes to Obama's Desk

In these highly interconnected times, a company's intellectual property and trade secrets are more valuable than ever. With this in mind, both houses of Congress sent a bill which will, upon President Obama's signature, become the Defend Trade Secrets Act.

If passed, the newly minted federal law will open the door for companies to sue domestic and foreign violators in federal court in a streamlined litigation manner instead of having to navigate the state laws.

The founder and CEO of Sam Adams wants his employees to tell him, "F*** you" -- except without the asterisks. Under the F You Rule, "it's okay to say f*** you to anybody else in the company," CEO Jim Koch explains. The rule is just one of the "business lessons learned over a beer or two" he covers in his new book.

So, should other companies follow suit? Can you start tossing expletives around the office without opening yourself up to legal issues?

In-House Counsel: Business Person First, Lawyer Second?

If a study by NYSE Governance Services and BarkerGilmore is to be believed, then in-house counsel jobs are getting less cushy. A big percentage of directors and officers recently polled have noticed a tectonic shift in the role of the in-house lawyer.

There are pros and cons to this developing trend, of course. At least one con should be screaming at you, unless you think we've seen this all before.

Ex-Vanguard In-House Gets Backing From the SEC in Whistleblower Case

A former in-house lawyer for Vanguard group has a friend in the SEC in his wrongful termination battle against the giant mutual fund. It is a great example of the sort of whistleblower situation that no lawyer should wish on another.

This is one more case in a recent series of relator suits against large financial institutions that've been accused to tax-shenanigans.

Tax day has come and gone. But that doesn't mean in-house counsel can stop worrying about the IRS. Helping to keep the company on the right side of the tax code, while helping minimize its tax burden, is a year-round job.

To help you out, here are our five top tax tips for in-house counsel, from FindLaw's archives.

Women In-House Lawyers Make 15 Percent Less Than Men, Study Finds

According to Canada's Canadian Corporate Counsel Association and Counsel Network, female in-house lawyers are earning about 15 percent less than their average randomly selected male colleagues. The results of the survey were reported by Canadian Lawyer magazine.

But the numbers can hardly qualify as news. The fifteen percent number was apparently evident about four years ago.

Is the budget for your intellectual property legal team too high? Are you overspending on legal while your competitors get by with leaner teams? Or is it too low, destining you to go over budget?

How can you tell, anyway? By looking to a few key performance indicators to see if your IP legal spending lines up with industry practice.

No company likes to lose its valuable employees to the competition. But there are things you can do to help increase employee retention. Keeping workers engaged and satisfied is your best bet, but it's common to make use of non-compete clauses and other post-employment restrictions as well.

But, because non-competes are, well, a bit anti-competitive, they have to be crafted with care, if they're going to withstand scrutiny. Here's our best strategies to help you out, from the FindLaw archives.