In House: September 2009 Archives
In House - The FindLaw Corporate Counsel Blog

September 2009 Archives

7 Go-To Immigration Resources for In-House Counsel

In the global workplace where companies seek to bring in talent from outside the country as well as send employees on foreign assignments, a corporate legal department is often approached about immigration process and procedure.  Where does an in-house attorney go for accurate, accessible information? 

Here are a few resources to help you make sense of the immigration questions that come across your desk:

1. Working in the US (USCIS.gov) - Provides an overview of the occupations through which foreign workers can apply for work status in the U.S such as researchers, religious workers, engineers, scientists, athletes, and others.   It also reviews the three main types of worker status that are granted: temporary (nonimmigrant) worker, permanent (immigrant) worker, and students and exchange visitors.

An Outside Perspective on In-House Counsel

Bright, talented, multitasking PR superstars...and that's just how in-house counsel describe themselves.  But how do others in the industry view their corporate counterparts?  New York criminal defense attorney, Scott Greenfield, lent his interesting perspective after attending a massive gathering of in-house counsel held in Chicago earlier in the summer, in his blog titled Simple Justice

Legal Cost-Cutting and Social Networking: Strange Bedfellows

Now we have all heard about the virtues and the dangers of Facebooking at work, or tweeting during meetings, but can in-house counsel actually benefit a company's bottom line by foraying into the world of social media?  According to an article on the subject in Bloomberg, there is a possibility.

The article reports on a general counsel's online exchange of ideas of how his legal department saves company green by drafting trademark applications in-house before sending to outside counsel. The initial social media post met with responses by corporate counsel at other companies offering their own money-saving techniques. 

Are you surprised? Mystified? Downright befuddled? We didn't think so.

In-House Counsel to Thrive and Survive in Boston, Oct 18-21

Mark your calendars in-house counselors.  October 18th 2009 kicks off a 3-day Annual Meeting of the Association of Corporate Counsel called "Don't Just Survive. Thrive!" in Boston.

The conference features 13 different tracks, each with daily programming in line with the theme.  The themes of the tracks include:

  • Ethics - Includes sessions on basics of corporate ethics considerations, foreign discovery and e-discover, in-house counsel as witnesses, avoiding personal liability in securities fraud, lawful and ethical strategies in corporate investigations, ethical conflicts for in-house counsel.
  • Changing World (Economic, Global, Regulatory, Communication) - Includes sessions on legal considerations of social media, global changes in antitrust laws, corporate sustainability, FERC compliance programs and the natural gas industry, patents and trademarks, shift in OSHA, employment legislation changes.
  • Legal Implications of International Reach - Includes sessions on how to "globalize", HR and employment law challenges in managing a global workforce, privacy issues outside the US, VOIP revolution, doing business in India, IP in China.

Attorney-Client Privilege: 3 Questions for In-House Counsel to Ask

The importance of attorney-client privilege is underlined, underscored, and otherwise emphasized throughout the journey of law student to lawyer.  Through professional responsibility courses and the MPRE exam, the particulars of protecting the confidentiality of communications between an advocate and client is given utmost importance.  So, how does it apply to in-house counsel?

The in-house attorney provides a unique case for delineating privilege because general counsel is often also considered to be part of the business team of the company.  GC's often balance dual roles, denoted by their titles that include "Vice President", "Secretary", or "Director" in addition to their legal capacities.   

To determine and preserve privilege when possible as your company's in-house counsel, consider the following 3 questions with every communication you initiate, respond to, or are copied on:

The Endangered Billable Hour

The popular law firm cheer, 'When I say "billable" you say "hour"' is being phased out for something a little more low key.  According to the Wall Street Journal, major companies such as Pfizer are doing away with the concept of paying law firms based on billable hours and opting instead for flat-fee agreements. 

In a tough economy, law firms are willing to work with general counsel of major companies to ensure steady workflow.  Likewise, in-house legal departments are willing to offer non-monetized incentives to attract quality outside counsel.