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We've been hearing a lot of security data breaches lately -- some would say too much. From the Target and Neiman Marcus debacle to last week's Heartbleed bug, we now know why cybersecurity is on the minds of general counsel not just in the U.S., but worldwide.

Based on a recent district court decision, the data breach itself may be the least of a company's problem. What may be worse is not only the media and consumer fallout, but the possibility of FTC enforcement actions, and private litigation.

Please pass the Advil. 

FindLaw has a lot of content. Millions of pages of content, to put things in perspective.

It's unsurprising then, that occasionally, we even surprise ourselves by stumbling across some very useful content. Today's discovery? We have a ton of sample contracts, and not just the blank forms you can find all over the Internet. These are the actual contracts from the biggest companies out there.

Employment compensation agreements. Stock options. Severance. All from companies like Apple, AT&T, Exxon Mobil, Microsoft, Coca-Cola, and many others.

While you may not have had to deal with the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act ("FCPA") at your firm, now that you are in-house counsel, complying with the FCPA can be your day-today reality.

While the prohibitions of the FCPA regarding payment/gifts to foreign government officials, or government owned/funded entity, as well as the accounting and reporting provisions, may seem clear -- one thing does not -- how the FCPA applies in real life, daily transactions. That's where you -- oh great corporate counsel -- come in.

Here is a three-pronged approach to preparing for, and dealing with FCPA bribery compliance.

You've got a hefty to-do list, from reviewing your company's non-disclosure agreements to negotiating a licensing agreement for the accounting software. Plus, there's the upcoming push for a beefed-up compliance department.

The last thing on your mind is some twerp's tweet, but as we've seen repeatedly in 2013, social media is going to play an ever-increasing role in your day-to-day life. Updating your policies, quelling online rebellion without irking the NLRB, and protecting your company's brands are just some of the nightmares.

We've seen and covered it all. Here are 10 posts from 2013 that cover (almost) everything you need to know about managing social media at your company:

While whistleblower laws have been in existence for some time, the passage of Dodd-Frank has changed the legal landscape for dealing with whistleblowers. The SEC has created incentives for whistleblowers, including rewards, and anti-retaliation measures. Because of these incentives, we're likely to see an increase in whistleblower cases.

The ACC Docket published an article, "Strategies for Keeping a Whistleblower In-House," and we were inspired to share some ways that your legal department should prepare for, and train employees for dealing with whistleblowers.

As in most cases, the most valuable thing you can do for your company is be prepared.

Survey Finds Corporate Board Communications Pose Security Risks

Keeping in step with the mantra that "you are your own worst enemy," a new Thomson Reuters survey reveals that corporate board members present security risks to the company.

The Thomson Reuters annual Board Governance survey -- which gleans its results from more than 125 general counsel and company secretaries across a wide-ranging cross-section of industries and geographies globally -- shows that corporate board communications present genuine security risks.

Here are a few of the survey's main highlights:

Last month, charges were brought against two of the three traders alleged to have taken part in the London Whale scandal at J.P. Morgan Chase, while the third participant agreed to serve as a cooperating witness. No charges were filed against any executives, even though the company's failed oversight led to $6 billion in losses.

After the charges were announced, we couldn't help but wonder: how does the government expect banks to reform their practices when the only disincentive was a temporary dip in stock prices? Today, we got our $1 billion answer.

The popular consensus is that the soda industry is in a funk. American consumers are flocking to other "healthier" and "all natural" beverages, especially in lieu of diet soda. Fox Business tosses out a number of statistics to show the decline:

  • 71 percent of Americans have had a soft drink in a two-week span. In 2000, that figure was 81 percent.
  • In 1998, Americans consumed an average of 54 gallons of carbonated soft drinks per year. Now, it's 43.8 gallons.
  • Diet soda consumption has declined in each of the past six years, including 3.4 percent in 2012 and 2.5 percent in 2011.

Yeah. Good news for our health, bad news for the industry. What does a company do when their earnings reports reflect such realities?

Many Americans have called for the prosecution of the high-level bankers behind the 2008-and-onward economic collapse, and while that hasn't happened, they can take solace that things may be headed in that direction.

Reuters reported this week that two traders involved in last year's "London Whale" fiasco, in which J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. lost $6.2 billion, would be charged, while the "whale" himself would serve as a cooperating witness.

While this may seem like a step toward holding those who gamble with shareholders' money accountable, one has to wonder if this is enough. Will the prosecution of two mid-level employees, who allegedly disguised losses amid pressures to perform, really dissuade big banks from turning a blind eye towards' underlings' actions?

Consulting firm AlixParnters conducted their Litigation and Corporate Compliance Survey last December, fielding questions to general counsel at U.S. companies pulling in over $250 million in annual revenue. Just over half of the survey respondents said that litigation -- and its associated costs -- is on the rise.

The news of increased litigation is troubling because it is a massive drain on resources. Not only is litigation costly, but it also distracts managers and employees. Distractions can be time-consuming, but also drain employees emotionally and get in the way of existing assignments.

Let's face it, with an estimated 97% of civil cases settling, there really are no winners, that is, except for outside counsel. So, the question is, how can you avoid litigation and reduce the costs of litigation? Here are a few tips.