In House - The FindLaw Corporate Counsel Blog

June 2017 Archives

Does Your Company Have an Anti-Harassment Policy for LGBT?

In recent legal evolution, few subjects have changed as much as gender rights.

When a man can become a woman, for example, it represents a 180-degree turn-around that can be dizzying. It cuts across fields as broad as constitutional rights, civil rights, privacy rights, health care, and family law.

In the midst of it all, there is the workweek life of the employer trying to keep their company's anti-harassment policy up to date. This article can help with that. is about considering an anti-gender harassment policy.

After Nevada Win, Is Wells Fargo on Comeback Trail?

Wells Fargo stock ticked up another percent after the U.S. Supreme Court handed a significant win to the bank at the close of the summer session.

The decision, along with other recent developments at the company, pushed the bank slowly upward since its fall from grace several years ago. Shares climbed a modest three percent in the past twelve months, holding its spot as the nation's third largest bank.

Wells Fargo has survived the Wild West since 1852, but can the company really bounce back from an expose that has cost the bank billions? For some shareholders -- especially executives and corporate counsel -- their fate may rise or fall with the bank's legal challenges.

Summer vacation requests aren't normally handled by in-house counsel, but there may be rare times when your input is sought on a vacation request denial. While you can still make HR be the bad guys, if the request is being denied outside normal policy, or there is no policy, then you might have your work cut out for you.

Regardless, if a manager or a member of human resources is bringing you a vacation request to deny, you may want to take a closer look at the true motivation. If the denial is motivated by discrimination or retaliation, it could lead to more than just an unhappy employee, but government agency complaints and lawsuits.

Uber Hires Top Law Firm in India Rape Case

Is there anything dirtier, uglier, or more noxious than the grime on the underbelly of a road-worn car?

You might expect to find it on a car coursing the muddy, unpaved roads of India, but not the shining streets of the Silicon Valley, home to the world's largest car-hailing service.

So it would seem. But a top law firm may find out whether Uber has been hiding a most ugly detail for years.

Will Trump's Administration Block AT&T/Time Warner Merger?

President Trump, who opposed the merger of AT&T and Time Warner when he was a presidential candidate, has not tweeted a thing about it since then.

And despite opposition from key Democrats in Washington, the proposed merger looks as likely to occur as it did when the companies announced their plan last October. That's not a prediction, just a statement of the moment.

A lot has happened on the track to the powerhouse merger since last year, but no one has stopped the train.

Does Company Culture Matter? Ask Uber

A week before Uber's founder resigned under pressure from investors, a board member blurted out a sexist remark at a staff meeting.

David Bonderman was meeting with fellow board member Arianna Huffington and others on the same day a law firm released a report on sexual harassment and gender bias at the company. Huffington said that having one woman on the board often leads to another.

"Actually, what it shows is that it's much more likely to be more talking," Bonderman said.

Artificial Intelligence to Help Wall Street With Compliance

In a high profile demonstration of artificial intelligence, IBM's Watson outsmarted human contestants on "Jeopardy."

Six years and a $1 million prize later, the company is unleashing Watson on another class of players: rogue traders at large financial institutions. Watson Financial Services is looking for patterns in traders' chats and emails while also analyzing numerical trading data.

"I think about it like a detective that can do problem solving, rather than just a search," said Bridget van Kralingen, senior vice president of IBM Industry Platforms.

CVS General Counsel Prepares for Major Health Care Changes

Tom Moriarty, general counsel for CVS, has a prediction and a prescription for general counsel.

Moriarty predicts that healthcare companies will need more legal help as state and federal governments deal with changes from the Affordable Care Act to the American Health Care Act. He says companies will need to give their general counsel larger roles because law and policy are intertwined in public health.

"In healthcare, more so than other areas, the role that general counsels will play will be much more central to the strategy of a company for the next five to seven years," Moriarty said in an interview with Big Law Business.

Verizon Completes Yahoo Deal, Creates New Company 'Oath'

Verizon has acquired Yahoo's operating business and formed a new company called "Oath."

"Oath" as in swear an oath, like "I'll be damned if I give up my Yahoo email!" Fortunately, nothing is likely to happen to your Yahoo email after all.

Oath, which includes Yahoo and AOL, will focus on advertising. It won't impact the law business directly, although 2,100 workers will be laid off in the transition.

Controlling Outside Counsel: Micromanage or Hands Off?

As the allied forces stormed Normandy on June 6, 1944, Hitler slept.

His generals were afraid to wake him, and they were not allowed to make decisions on their own. Their delay -- and the victory on D-Day -- marked the beginning of the end for the Germans.

General counsel should take a lesson from their history, says attorney and leadership consultant Ken Grady. Rather than follow flawed practices, they should empower outside counsel to win more battles in the courtroom.

What Happens When Lawyers Leak Information?

It wasn't news when James Comey told the Senate that he leaked a memo to the press; the information had come out a month earlier when he was fired.

But his admission raised issues about confidentiality that have polarized parties and legal pundits. When President Trump told Comey that he expected loyalty about the Russian investigation, what exactly did he expect from the FBI director and former U.S. Attorney?

And what happens when attorneys leak such information? Is it against the law?

CRISPR Therapeutics Appoints New GC

James R. Kasinger will take over as general counsel for CRISPR Therapeutics at a time when the company's fate depends on the biggest legal battle in the biotech industry.

The case involves the patent rights to CRISPR-Cas9, a technique that has the potential to transform the biotechnology and genetic engineering industries. The genome editing tool can splice DNA faster, cheaper, and more accurately than other existing methods.

Kasinger, a rising star in his own right, will have to get up to speed.

More CEOs Fired for Ethical Lapses

Once upon a time, companies may have winked at the ethical lapses of their chief executives.

But we're not in Kansas anymore. According to a new study of the world's largest 2,500 public companies, employers are canning their CEOs for improper conduct more than ever. In the past ten years, the firings have increased 36 percent.

So why are companies kicking their top dogs somewhere over the rainbow? Here's what the study says:

Airline Complaints Rise, Image Going Down

If the tail seems to be wagging the plane, it's something airlines must be getting used to.

A blind man says Frontier Airlines refused to let him board with his granddaughter because he was a "liability." It wasn't a "no shoes, no shirt, no service" policy, but it just sounds wrong.

If there were a video -- like the cell phone video that pinned United Airlines for dragging a passenger off the plane -- this case would have settled already. For now, it's the kind of public relations problem that forces policy changes.

U.S. Companies Outspend Everyone on Legal

It's a scene from a zombie apocalypse movie, but with thousands of undead attorneys walking the streets, arms out-stretched, grabbing at anyone in their way.

It's not that hard to image in the United States, which has more lawyers than any other country. And according to a new report, American companies dramatically outspend the rest of the world on legal services.

Talk about a corporate nightmare!

Essential Management Skills to Limit Employee Turnover

Robots may take over many jobs in the future, but one position is not going to an automaton: personnel manager.

After all, you can't really expect a robot to have empathy with a human. The human touch is so important that, according to studies, employees often quit just to "get away" from a manager who doesn't care about them.

Based on a Gallup study of 7,272 adults on the "State of the American Workplace," here are some characteristics to look for in a manager to avoid employee turnover.