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From the "if you wrote it down, it's probably discoverable" department comes a ruling from Judge Edward Chen of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California. In September, Chen allowed part of a lawsuit to move forward claiming that Uber's "gratuity" charges are misleading because all of the gratuity doesn't go the driver.

Uber CEO Travis Kalanick fought against disclosing some damning emails, but an order by Chen affirmed the ruling of a magistrate judge ordering their disclosure.

Data theft and breaches are always a hot topic around here. They are, after all, an in-house attorney's worst nightmare: Lawsuits, lost business, and a whole lot of legal fees will wreak havoc on your bottom line if you have a data leak. But what if there was a way to predict data theft before it happened, a la Tom Cruise's "Minority Report"? Sure, you'd have to worry about outside hackers ruining your day, but at least mutiny and sabotage would be covered.

That's what UBIC's Virtual Data Scientist promises. It has the ability to scan users' email to find common harbingers of data theft, such as complaints about how the company treats them or about one's financial problems, reports PC World. And while the program is currently Japanese-only, it may make it stateside in the near future.

Wait, so you're not allowed to send cute, overly familiar emails to the regulatory board that is going to decide how much your company gets dinged for blowing up a bunch of houses and killing some peeps a few years back, demanding that you get a more lenient administrative law judge?

Now you tell me. And now Pacific Gas & Electric knows, after a series of back-and-forth emails detailing a way too close relationship between the utility company and California's Public Utilities Commission (PUC) came to light. Three execs and a top aide at the state agency just served as the sacrificial lambs, while PG&E scurries to "put new procedures in place" before they get slammed by the suddenly less friendly PUC.

Let's see what we can learn from this mess, shall we?

It's one of the hottest topics for in-house counsel, thanks to the countless data debacles over the past few months and years: Target, Neiman Marcus, Barnes & Noble, etc. Companies have sensitive data, hackers break in, and companies respond with mouths agape, including their in-house counsel, who know a lot about law and little to nothing about encryption and best practices.

We're not going to reassure you by saying, "no big deal," because it is a very big deal -- even if you're a technophobe, you need to have a data breach game plan for when the inevitable happens. Scott Vernick, partner at Fox Rothschild LLP, noted that in 2013, 90 percent of companies reported that they'd been hacked, reports Inside Counsel. "There are only two types of companies, those that have been hacked and those that don't know they've been hacked," he stated.

What did the rumors say? $9 billion? Try $324 million, a cheap price for Google, Apple, Intel, and Adobe, who probably would've spent that much on lawyers during the trial, which was only a few weeks away.

It smells like a nuisance settlement, which is extremely curious considering the now-public smoking gun emails between the companies' executives and the length of the conspiracy, which stretched on for years. The backroom agreements finally ended in 2010 when the Department of Justice intervened, but for years, the biggest employers in Silicon Valley conspired to depress wages. Now, they'll walk away for about $5,000 per head, assuming the settlement is approved by the court.

Legal process outsourcing is a growing trend, according to, as it "is emerging as a lower cost and fast growing alternative to the traditional model," (they even have an snazzy infographic to prove it). Has your company used legal process outsourcing? Interested? Here are some basics on determining whether legal process outsourcing is right for your company.

Why Use Legal Process Outsourcing?

The main reason to use legal process outsourcing is cost. According to Corporate Counsel's informal online survey it conducted last year on the legal process outsourcing industry, of the companies utilizing outsourcing, 68% chose to do so "to reduce costs." In fact, of the companies they interviewed, all had started outsourcing after the downturn. Other reasons to outsource legal process are to save time, manage risk, and create efficiencies, according to Infosys.

Last week, we talked eDiscovery and the sanctions that make the process an absolute nightmare for companies and their in-house legal departments. The advisory committee is considering revising Rule 37(e) to make sanctions less prevalent, more predictable, and only available where there is willful or intentional misconduct and the requesting party suffered prejudice as a result or, the requesting party was deprived of an opportunity to present or defend its claims.

We gave you the text of the rule, as well as the case against it. Today, let's look a bit more at the case for the rule, and some proposed alterations by the Association of Corporate Counsel (ACC).

The present-day version of Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 37(e) contains a safe harbor for routine, good faith destruction of electronically stored information (ESI). "Whoops. We deleted it per our regularly-scheduled maintenance. Our bad."

Even with that safe harbor, however, companies find themselves adopting overbroad preservation measures to ensure that they will avoid sanctions, a situation exacerbated by inconsistent law across the states. In some cases, the potential penalties are so severe that companies settle just to avoid the possibility of sanctions.

Last year, the Advisory Committee recommended the replacement of Rule 37(e) with a new version, one that is intended to limit the circumstances in which sanctions can be ordered.

What's the proposed rule? And will it help?

Have you outsourced your document review, due diligence, compliance paperwork, or other repetitive tasks that make you want to slam your face through a plate glass window?

Depending on who you ask, legal process outsourcing (LPO) is either growing, or stagnating. A survey late last year claimed that LPO growth had slowed, and while LPO revenues exceeded $1 billion in 2012, that was far less than the $2.4 billion that had been expected.

Yesterday, a different survey was released, and it painted a slightly sunnier picture for LPO providers, with 80 percent of in-house counsel respondents saying that they expected the LPO industry to expand and improve its services over the next five years.

5 Ways In-House Counsel Can Improve Vendor Cybersecurity

As the details of Target's massive data breach begin to emerge, the focus is beginning to shift to vendors. According to The Wall Street Journal, it seems the Target hackers breached the chain's security systems by using electronic credentials stolen from a vendor.

For in-house counsel, the immense breach highlights the need for companies to create a robust security system that extends to vendors and other interconnected business relations.

Here are five ways in-house counsel can improve their company's vendor cybersecurity: