In House

In House - The FindLaw Corporate Counsel Blog


Before Britain can begin its withdrawal from the European Union, it will have to invoke Article 50 of the Treaty of Lisbon, which allows EU members to begin their divorce from the Union.

But if you've entered into agreements and contracts that have been frustrated by the Brexit, you too might be able to invoke some clauses of your own. Corporate lawyers may be able to rely on so-called "Brexit clauses" in contract boilerplate to get out of deals that have been soured by Britain's refusal to remain in the Union -- and pretty much every contract has them.

Hacked? Make Sure to Notify Your Customers!

Your company will be hacked. It's as certain as death and taxes. In light of this, what the diligent in-house attorney can do is make sure all of the company's affairs and records are in order. If a government investigation takes place, you should be ready.

Below we cover data breach notification requirements along with some of the more important considerations that general counsel must be familiar with in the event of the inevitable data breach.

Chinese Smartphone Company Sues Apple for IP Infringement

Last week reports were coming out of tech news that Apple was being forced to stop selling iPhones in Beijing due to a pending patent violation claim by a Chinese smartphone company Shenzhen Baili. As it turns out, sales will continue, but we were struck by the role reversal. That's right: a Chinese company was suing a Western company for copying IP.

But it gets a little bit better than that. It turns out that the business community in China is equally adept at copying questionable Western business practices as it is at copying American trademarks. It's looking more and more like Shenzhen Baili is nothing more than a patent troll.

Nevada Agency General Counsel Out of a Job After Tweets

After Carolyn Tanner suddenly lost her position as Nevada's Public Utility Commission General Counsel, we couldn't help but look a little deeper into what sounded like a "loose lips sink ships" story. Allegedly she is no longer employed due to her actions on Twitter. Tanner, however, claims the timing was coincidental and denies that her Tweet under the pseudonym "DixieRaeSparx" had anything to do with her current job search.

Personal or not, Dixie's little spat with an enterprising Nevada lobbyist shines a light on the proprieties of lawyer's comments on past or pending legal matters.

In a globalized marketplace, in-house counsel are increasingly called upon to address international issues. And recent events have made knowledge of international law and business even more important, as a potential Brexit threatens to upend European markets and as the U.S. moves to crack down (or not) on international bribery.

To help give you a hand in handling international matters, here are our top tips on international law and business, from the FindLaw archives.

The United Kingdom will go to the polls in less than a week to decide whether to stay in the European Union, or not. And current polling shows that a Brexit, or British exit from the EU, is becoming increasingly likely, driven by concerns over immigration and contributions to the EU budget.

If your business does business in Britain, the Brexit could have major legal and practical consequences.

More Whistleblower Profits: SEC Gives Second Biggest Award

On June 9th, the SEC announced its second largest award given under the 2010 Dodd-Frank Whistleblower Program: $17,000,000. The money will be paid to the anonymous individual that supplied the agency with information that eventually led to the successful investigation of fraudulent practices in securities. This monumental sum, however, pales in comparison to the $30M award paid in September of 2014.

In-house lawyers can't do it all. In fact, when it comes to atypical legal matters like novel litigation or mergers, in-house attorneys' talents are best used in directing and working with specialized outside counsel. But like any legal consumer, in-house counsel need to be savvy about the outside lawyers they choose to hire.

To help you out, here are our top five tips for working with outside counsel, from the FindLaw archives.

There's been a lot of talk about general counsel becoming a more integral part of the corporate leadership team. But nothing pushes in-house counsel into a position of influence like a significant legal crisis.

Case in point: Heather Dietrick, Gawker Media's president and general counsel. After joining the company three years ago, Dietrick has shepherded the online blog network through a series of legal defeats, as best as one can, and has found herself in a leadership position that's fairly unique among general counsel.

Two 'Guanxi' Bribery Cases Get Off Easy With No U.S. Charges

The SEC has agreed to enter into non-prosecution agreements with two companies in unrelated corruption cases involving unauthorized and illicit handover of gifts to Chinese officials in order to increase business.

These cases highlight important cultural differences between businesses in the US and in China. Where Westerners may find corruption, Chinese businesses may simply find a case of guanxi.