In House - The FindLaw Corporate Counsel Blog


As in-house counsel, the last thing you want is more work. But, if the company you work for advertises, it might be in your best, long term, interest to review all advertising before it gets pushed out to the public. Doing so could actually save you quite a bit more work, and save your company a lot of money.

Not only is there potential copyright infringement liability for copying ideas from popular culture, but regulatory compliance can lead to even costlier legal battles. As such, you might want to start giving your company's ads a quick look, and if what you see doesn't pass the smell test, it's probably worthwhile to dig deeper before letting an ad go public.

The FTC and Uber agreed to a settlement as a result of an investigation into the ride hailing company's mishandling of customer data, as well as privacy and security issues in 2014 and 2015. Part of that settlement includes 20 years worth of monitoring and privacy audits to ensure the company does not repeat the complained of behavior.

For Uber, entering into a settlement that requires extensive and long-term monitoring could actually be beneficial at this point. Due to the number of scandals that have plagued it recently, embracing the monitoring requirement could actually lead to regaining some of the lost public goodwill and trust the company once held.

Why Corporate Legal Departments Are a Petri Dish

'General counsel -- and large corporate departments -- are the law's petri dish.'

As corporate counsel balance competing interests -- acting as a company's legal naysayer and can-do partner at the same time -- they conduct business experiments they hope will lead to success. It's a delicate balance, Mark A. Cohen wrote for Forbes, that requires the general counsel to be the company's conscience at the boundaries of legality.

But what about Cohen's "petri dish"? Isn't that what scientists use to test bacteria?

Should Companies Force Employees to Take Vacation Time?

Tom Hanks, portraying a stranded survivor on a remote island, looked at a portable toilet siding and said: This could work.

Forget that he was talking to a volleyball. It was his insight that a piece of plastic could be repurposed as a sail. It literally, at least in the fictional tale of "Cast Away," saved him.

So what does this have to do with mandatory vacations? Stay with me here, it's about the journey.

Employee Data Theft Threatens Winery's Business, Lawsuit Claims

The Peju Province Winery is a family-owned business in the sunny countryside of Napa Valley, California.

Tony Peju and his wife Herta bought 30 acres there in 1982, cultivated and nurtured the winery, all while raising two daughters who rode bicycles and horses in the rambling vineyards. They work the business together, and invite visitors to "bask in the glory of summer."

But now the Pejus are reeling after former employees allegedly stole company information that threatens the winery's once-idyllic existence. In the information age, it is a story that happens all too often.

Is It Time to Update Your Company's Parental Leave Policy?

A trucking company boss asked a job prospect how close he could drive to the edge of a cliff.

Having seen two other seasoned drivers leave the interview room dejectedly, the applicant wondered if his skills were up to snuff. He finally replied: "I'd steer clear of the edge as far as possible."

He got the job and you get the point: When reviewing your parental leave policy, steer as far as possible away from crossing legal limits.

Uber's former CEO, Travis Kalanick, has found himself in the media limelight once again. But this time, it's not for any one thing in particular, but rather for all of it.

One of Uber's largest investors, the venture capital firm Benchmark, has filed suit against the former CEO for fraud, and in order to rescind a 2016 vote adding more seats to Uber's board of directors. In the lawsuit, the investment firm cites the gross mismanagement, culture of gender discrimination and sexual harassment, and even the company's deception of law enforcement using "greyball."

EEOC Rarely Files Suits for Age Bias

Age, like beauty, is sometimes in the eyes of the beholder.

When 50 is the new 40, it seems like 10 years doesn't really make a difference. But as anyone with arthritis knows, it sure feels like it.

And so it is with age discrimination claims. Sometimes it feels like age is the problem, but really it isn't. According to reports, few age discrimination cases have legs because the problem is the law.

It's all about perspective. As comedian Bill Hicks famously noted, if you watch the Rodney King attack video in reverse, you see police help him up and send him on his way.

The effectiveness of your company's employee ethics training depends entirely on your perspective and how you measure effectiveness. After you know what really matters to the company, you can design your ethics training to fit your specific needs. After all, the cost benefit analysis is going to shake out differently depending on the type, structure, and size of a business.

If your company actually want to avoid employee ethics violations, then online training is not the best option. But if your company simply wants to avoid fines for ethics violations, then online training is effective and convenient. Here's a closer look:

Raytheon Beats $1 Billion Whistleblower Suit

For the second time, a federal judge has dismissed a $1 billion whistleblower case against Raytheon for allegedly overbilling the U.S. government for satellite sensors.

U.S. District Judge Otis Wright said the plaintiff failed to sufficiently allege that the defense contractor submitted false payment claims or that its actions mattered when the government paid the claims. Wright previously dismissed the case in 2013.

In the latest ruling, the judge said Steven Mateski's allegations were too general and "barebones."