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Ex-Vanguard In-House Gets Backing From the SEC in Whistleblower Case

A former in-house lawyer for Vanguard group has a friend in the SEC in his wrongful termination battle against the giant mutual fund. It is a great example of the sort of whistleblower situation that no lawyer should wish on another.

This is one more case in a recent series of relator suits against large financial institutions that've been accused to tax-shenanigans.

Airbnb Hires New General Counsel in Time for Worldwide Legal Headaches

The room rental company Airbnb, Inc. has just hired a new general counsel right in time to respond to an increasing number of legal headaches coming the company's way.

As Airbnb falls under the umbrella of the new "gig" economy, many of the legal issues will be new for in-house counsel.

Lionsgate Hires New Deputy General Counsel, Audrey Lee

Audrey Lee's career began with a bang and has been on a tear ever since. Her latest advancement? Lionsgate.

The Canadian-American production company that brought you Divergent and Insurgent and Allegiant has just named 14-year Sony veteran Audrey Lee as its new Executive Vice President and Deputy General Counsel. The news was announced by Wayne Levin, Lionsgate's Chief Strategic Officer, General Counsel and, now, Lee's boss.

Staples, Office Depot Merger Approved by European Commission

Many years ago, before the turn of the millennium, Staples and Office Depot sought to merge forces to create what would be the Costco of office supplies. Their efforts were stymied by the Federal Trade Commission, which voiced anti-competition concerns.

Today, the two companies are still angling for US federal approval. But just recently the European Commission, the EU's cousin to the FTC, greenlit the companies' plans to merge. Is this the turnaround Staples and Office Depot have been waiting for?

Salaries and compensation used to be highly-guarded information. Employees generally didn't know what their colleagues were making or how much they earned relative to the cubicle next door.

But pay secrecy's days are numbered, given new state and federal laws, NLRB rulings, and the anonymity of the Internet.

Merck Settles Investor Lawsuit, Will Pay $830 Million

The giant pharma company Merck just settled an investor suit with a figure of $830 million. Although Merck admitted no wrongdoing, it was faced with allegations that it failed to inform its investors about less than encouraging data from early company-funded trials of its famous drug, Vioxx.

The $830 million number is large, but it's not the biggest pill that Merck & Co. has had to swallow. In 2008, it settled a plethora of suits related to drug to the tune of $4.85 billion.

Samsung Tries to Push Its Wins Against Apple, Reduce $120M Award

Remember the lawsuit brought by Apple against Samsung a year ago? Suing over allegations that the Korean technology company infringed on Apple's patents, the sum at issue was a rather modest $120 million.

Now, in a twist of the knife against Apple, Samsung is attempting to press that number down even lower. After Samsung's success against Apple over the last few years, this would be a real cherry on top. This is the latest development in what can only be described as a very confusing and very expensive journey through the IP courts. In-house lawyers, if you're overwhelmed, join the club.

In-House Job Outlook for 2016

According to information compiled by Robert Half Legal, the legal staffing and consulting firm, many legal departments don't' plan to hire or fire in the coming year.

Looking a little more closely at the data, it appears that in-house lawyers can rejoice: legal departments don't plan on reducing their spend too much. Only 1 percent of in-house lawyers report that their legal departments plan to eliminate jobs in the new year. Not bad!

Last week in Paris, 195 nations reached a landmark agreement to address climate change and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The Paris climate accords marked the culmination of COP21, the semi-regular meeting of signatories to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. It also marked the first time ever that all countries have agreed to reduce emissions.

In order to meet its new commitments, the U.S. and other nations will need to make significant changes to achieve "a low-carbon future." Much of that work will fall to the private sector.

Add this to the list of reasons to take sexual harassment seriously: not only is it illegal and unethical, but it can sink the whole company.

That's just what happened to FitzGibbon Media, the Washington, D.C., public relations firm that folded just days after claims about widespread sexual harassment were revealed.