In House - The FindLaw Corporate Counsel Blog

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A CEO may be the highest ranking corporate officer, but they are not immune from liability for their actions (though they may act like it sometimes). Fortunately for them, getting fired can be just as lucrative as getting hired. However, where there are rewards, there are usually risks.

For in-house counsel, policing your company's CEO could prove rather helpful in preventing the next Uber-style CEO debacle. But what can anyone do to stop a CEO from behaving badly short of calling the authorities?

Below, you'll find five tips on what to do if you need to police your company's CEO.

New Equifax CEO Focused on Cybersecurity

It wasn't supposed to be like this, but the Equifax data debacle probably helped many corporate attorneys to reprioritize.

The first order of business, after the colossal failure was announced, was for the company to get new leadership. Mark Feidler, a board member, has taken over for outgoing CEO Richard Smith.

The next order of business, assuming the general counsel still has a job, should be to rebuild trust. That may be more important than rebuilding cybersecurity.

Compliance Lessons for Those Who Don't Want It

High school teachers should be corporate compliance trainers.

Why? Because high school teachers have already scaled that pedantic mountain of teaching people information they don't really want to know. Frankly, if you haven't noticed, employees are tuning out your corporate compliance training.

So if you are charged with teaching such unwilling students, take some cues from your most effective high school teacher -- if you can remember that far back.

Are There Legal Risks to Shared Office Space?

Millennials are driving a trend towards shared office space, as they try to save money while starting new businesses. It's not just a thing; it is "the thing' in commercial real estate.

The supply of shared office spaces has gone from 14 to more than 11,100 in the past ten years. That's an increase of nearly 80,000 percent.

It's exciting for the real estate business, but an issue for general counsel who watch for problems with shared liability. It's like a crowd rushing to an intersection; somebody's going to get hurt.

Why You Don't Need a 'Business Case' to Do What's Right

By his own account, Honest Abe was not an accomplished lawyer.

After leaving the law for politics, however, Abraham Lincoln advised younger practitioners to avoid "shady dealings" and to "discourage litigation." His personal integrity led him to the White House and foreshadowed his greatest accomplishments.

"As a peacemaker, the lawyer has a superior opportunity of being a good man," he said. "There will still be business enough."

What Should General Counsel Do If the Company Is Going Down?

If the company ship is foundering, what does the company lawyer do?

Weather the storm? Go down with the ship? Jump ship?

All of the above may apply, but general counsel is more like a first mate than a captain. The first mate watches after the ship and the crew.

According to recently published research by an executive search firm, general counsels are better "forecasters," "harmonizers," and "producers," than their counterparts on a company's executive team.

As explained by the ABA journal, two of these three attributes can be explained by the legal profession's natural tendency for cautiousness. However, excepting the forecaster score where GCs only trailed non-lawyer CEOs by a couple points, GCs scored higher than other executive positions in these three important categories.

So what are these characteristics, and what's this all about anyway?

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?

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."

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: