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Gay marriage is a pretty divisive issue in this country, though it is becoming less so as more states legalize same-sex nuptials. And corporations, typically, steer far away from controversial topics, for obvious reasons.

It is refreshing then, to see Ben & Jerry's join 29 other companies in an "Employers' Amicus Brief" filed in support of same-sex marriage. The brief urges the U.S. Supreme Court to take the case, and to establish a uniform national rule that respects the rights of same-sex couples to tie the knot.

Who else joined them on the brief? And will there be any negative business consequences?

A corporation's directors, as agents of the shareholders, are where the buck stops in terms of corporate governance. They're also ultimately responsible for oversight of management.

But executives in the C-suites have much more involvement in the day-to-day operations of the company than the board of directors. As a result, it's more important than ever to have a strong board of directors. That's not always the case, though. Inside Counsel points out that replacing underperforming directors is a concern for at least one-third of directors in a recent PricewaterhouseCoopers survey of corporate directors.

Notably, age is a concern: Can directors effectively govern if they're very old? And if they're not governing effectively, what can be done about it?

The concept of ultra vires has generally protected corporate directors from shareholder lawsuits on the ground that the corporation acted outside the scope of its authority. But what if a corporation wants to spend extra money ensuring that, for example, its supply chain is conflict-free? It's probably cheaper to employ slave labor in other countries than it is to contract with manufacturers that are engaging in humane business practices. Arguably, failing to cut costs to the bone impedes shareholder profits and might be grounds for a lawsuit.

Enter the "public benefit corporation," a relatively new type of corporate form that allows corporations to consider motives other than profit when making business decisions.

What happens when you learn about a potential whistleblower -- someone who's gone through an internal process to report wrongdoing? Do you tense up a little bit? Feel tempted to release the hounds? Want to circle the wagons?

Of course, you know that retaliating against a whistleblower can subject your company to penalties. Everybody does it, though. Ross Brooks, a partner with Sanford Heisler's whistleblower protection practice, told Inside Counsel that companies retaliate about nine times out of 10. Yet, there are ways to deal with whistleblowers that don't involve a pink slip.

Here are a few courses of action in-house counsel may want to consider:

Littler Mendelson, the largest global employment law practice, recently released a report in which it documents the "swelling tide" of class actions brought against employers under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA).

In the report, it discusses why the number of FCRA class actions is growing, and what your company can do to protect, or defend, itself from a class action. Here's a brief summary of the report, which you can read in full by clicking here.

The Supreme Court's Hobby Lobby decision ruffled the feathers of all of us who believe women's health issues belong between a woman and a doctor, not a woman, a doctor, and middle management. Unforeseen issues of corporate governance and liability have also escaped from the Pandora's Box that is Hobby Lobby.

On NPR's "All Things Considered" this week, correspondent Wade Goodwyn came up with another unexpected result: the loss of the corporate veil. Goodwyn talked to Gregory S. Crespi, whose law review article "The Reverse Pierce Doctrine" was cited in Hobby Lobby's briefing. The article, published in 1990 in Journal of Corporate Law, posits a model framework for analyzing and deciding cases where a person with a claim against a "corporate insider" is actually trying to treat the insider and the corporation as a single entity.

As in-house attorneys are increasingly expected to take on more strategic roles, in addition to counseling business executives, there may come a time when you must advise (or remind) the Board of Directors the qualities they need to look for in prospective directors.

What follows is a quick list of some of the attributes that a good addition to the Board of Directors would have.

While we normally don't cover state court cases, when the state is Delaware, we listen. Because of the sheer number of companies incorporated in Delaware, state court decisions can have a national impact.

A recent Supreme Court of Delaware case involved the board of directors, and what is necessary to effectuate a valid resignation.

A new study of corporate general counsel reveals that in-house counsel are lacking the resources they need to tackle compliance issues, according to Grant Thornton. One Grant Thornton professional noted that, "Corporate counsel are facing a variety of new regulatory risks every day," including fraud, data security, and ethics. He noted that, "perhaps because of these new risks -- corporate counsel do not feel they have the resources to keep up, perhaps creating a vicious circle of regulatory and litigation risk."

So, instead of running around like a hamster on a wheel, what can you do to better grasp compliance issues at your company? Here are four ways you company can get a better handle on compliance.

The New York Stock Exchanges Governance Services publication, Corporate Board Member, and executive recruitment agency BarkerGilmore, conducted a study to examine the role of general counsel in the boardroom. The study, entitled "GCs in the Boardroom and Beyond," (free download with registration) surveyed 275 directors and CEOs from Corporate Board Member's database.

The results? They are in line with the overall trend of the evolving role of general counsel, and there is recognition that general counsel have more to contribute than just being the fearless leader of the law department.