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In-House Counsel: Business Person First, Lawyer Second?

If a study by NYSE Governance Services and BarkerGilmore is to be believed, then in-house counsel jobs are getting less cushy. A big percentage of directors and officers recently polled have noticed a tectonic shift in the role of the in-house lawyer.

There are pros and cons to this developing trend, of course. At least one con should be screaming at you, unless you think we've seen this all before.

Should You Fire Your Employee for Gambling? Can You?

Several JPMorgan employees were fired from their positions at the company after it was revealed that they were involved in gambling ring. They were fired shortly after when their activities started to raise the suspicions of Chase bank.

Vices are to be expected with employees sooner or later. But what should you do about it? Or more importantly, what can you do about it?

Ruby Tuesday Hit With Unappetizing Wage and Hour Class Action

Wage and hour class actions are about as appealing as a bland, chain restaurant burger. And Ruby Tuesday just got served with an extra helping of hard to swallow litigation, now that a class action lawsuit has been filed on behalf of every single tipped worker who worked at Ruby Tuesday locations in the last three years. If things go really badly for the restaurant chain, workers could be entitled up to $10.24 per hour of back pay -- across thousands of workers and 650-something locations, mind you.

And Ruby Tuesday isn't alone. Employment suits have been coming from multiple directions making the business of dining a complicated one indeed.

Chipotle's Social Media Rules Violated Labor Laws

When James Kennedy criticized his employer Chipotle over their wages in the form of a Tweet, he found himself suddenly without a job. According to the opinion of ALJ Susan A. Flynn, Chipotle's actions ran afoul of the National Labor Relations Act.

In a somewhat embarrassing twist for Chipotle, the company is also being forced to post signs around its eateries informing employees about how it violated the law.

Last September, just as the Volkswagen emissions fraud was being revealed, U.S. Deputy Attorney General Sally Q. Yates declared that there would be significant changes to the way the Department of Justice handled corporate misdeeds. That memorandum, now known as the Yates Memo, made it clear that when corporations break the law, individuals will be held accountable.

Now, six months later, we're starting to see just how that might play out, and it could end up reducing corporate cooperation in enforcement actions.

Billable Hours Are Back for Some In-House Attorneys

Apart from the motivation of having much more independence, going in-house traditionally meant that lawyers could do away with the drudgery of having to track their hours. Working in-house generally meant that lawyers would work to complete and fix problems.

Recent chatter in the legal rumor-mill suggests that more and more in-house lawyers have taken to keeping track of their hours voluntarily. Here, we briefly look at some of the reasons that might be behind this trend.

In-House Lawyers Can't Represent Agents as Individuals, Court Rules

Years after the Penn State Sandusky scandal first came to light, further drama has gripped the attention of in-house lawyers across the nation. A Pennsylvania Superior Court has quashed various criminal charges against several Penn State employees because the school's lawyer had violated their individual confidences.

Although the case technically only binds Pennsylvania, in-house lawyers everywhere should appreciate the details of the case.

Tips for Drafting an International Arbitration Clause

International arbitration agreements (IAAs, or "arbs"): this is a term that you've probably come across if your firm has even mentioned going overseas to do business. This is the clause that binds parties to the decision of a neutral arbiter should a dispute arising out of a business contract. Think of them as the bigger version of the arbs you've already had to review for domestic disputes.

The bigger international versions are pretty much the same thing -- only more expensive and more involved. All the more reason that you should always strive diligently to craft an arb that fits your company's particular needs like a glove.

Should GCs Move to the Company Board?

Gone are the days when general counsel simply served a company as the consummate legal stick-in-the-mud. As the world of business becomes more complex, GC skills are now needed more broadly, at higher levels, and earlier.

Bloomberg announced on Tuesday that it had bought up the intellectual property and patents of Netbox Blue, an Australian company that provides social media risk management and compliance services. Netbox Blue's tech will be used as part of Bloomberg Vault, the company's enterprise compliance platform.

Bloomberg Vault's customers are primarily financial services firms and the newly-acquired technology could be used to help them catch an errant tweet, email, or instant message before it lands the company in trouble with the SEC or FINRA.