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Intellectual Property Highlights From the TPP Text

The full text of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Agreement was released November 5, 2015. It was many years in the running -- seven years, basically -- but the masterpiece is finally available for public scrutiny. The Agreement extends its tentacles into approximately 40 percent of the world's annual GDP and almost 1 billion people's lives. Obviously, businesses are some of its greatest proponents.

In-house counsel hate California. It's not our towering redwoods, sunny beaches, or booming economy that turns corporate attorneys off, of course. It's the difficulty of doing business. Sixty-five percent of in-house respondents complained about the "burdensome" nature of working in California in a recent Archer Norris poll. More than half expressed concern over state regulations.

Of course, there are a few things in-house counsel do that make working in the Bear Republic even more unbearable, particularly when it comes to corporate filings. Here are some common errors and how to avoid them, both in the Golden State and beyond.

EU Safe Harbor Ruling: Implications for Businesses

When the Austrian student Max Schrems brought his grievances to the Irish authorities, it's doubtful he could have foreseen this ruling by the European Court of Justice.

The ECJ recently concluded that the Safe Harbor Agreement was invalid because it subordinated individuals' privacy concerns beneath "national security, public interest or law enforcement."

It's the largest regional trade agreement in history, encompassing 12 Pacific Rim nations, 800 million people, and 40 percent of global GDP. It took years of negotiations and a special act of Congress before terms of the Trans-Pacific Partnership could be finalized on Monday.

The TPP could significantly change how business is done from the Straight of Magellan to Kuala Lumpur. That is, if it makes it through. The agreement faces strong opposition from environmentalists, unions, human rights advocates, and, as of Wednesday afternoon, Hillary Clinton. Here's what you need to know about the TPP:

A government shut down over Planned Parenthood has been averted. Yesterday, Congress went to the brink of shutting down the federal government over Planned Parenthood funding and pulled back at the last minute. But the compromise could only be temporary, according to The Washington Post. And of course, there's always the possibility that another political disagreement could lead to a funding impasse in the future and subsequent shutdown.

What is in-house counsel to do when the government shuts down?

For years, Volkswagen sold millions of cars designed to evade environmental controls. The company installed "defeat device" software which cheated emissions tests and disabled pollution controls when its diesel cars were on the road, allowing them to release 40 times the legal pollution limits. And they would have gotten away with it, too, if it weren't for those meddling environmentalists!

It's safe to say that Volkswagen's emissions fraud has been a complete disaster -- and not just for the environment. VW's weak position in the United States is bound to become even weaker and the company's stock lost almost a quarter of its value. Now VW must recall millions of vehicles, face up to billions in fines, and possibly face criminal prosecution. Here's what you can learn from Volkswagen's debacle.

Get ready to do some math, in-house counsel, or at least to call up the accounting department. The Securities and Exchange Commission has finally adopted a CEO pay ratio disclosure rule, five years after Dodd-Frank imposed the disclosure mandate.

The new executive pay ratio rule is complicated and, for some companies, sure to be embarrassing. But, the SEC promises, it will help shareholders have a "say on pay" and might delay -- or ignite -- the coming income inequality-inspired revolution everyone from Thomas Piketty to billionaire hedge fund managers are warning about. Here's what in-house counsel need to know.

California dreams are often more like nightmares for many in-house counsel. In-house counsel have a largely negative view of the state's litigation and regulatory climate, according to a new survey by the law firm Archer Norris.

In-house lawyers perceive litigation as a greater risk in California than other states. The state's legal environment is "hella burdensome," they claim.

If you're in-house in a heavily regulated industry, you know that government rulemaking can have a major impact on your business' day to day practices. But you don't have to be handling toxic waste or private medical records to have a stake in government regulation. Even a medium sized company may want to influence white collar overtime rules or Affordable Care Act regulations, for example.

In order to influence government rulemaking, you need to know how it works. Here's a quick overview:

Get ready for expanded overtime. In the upcoming month, the Department of Labor is expected to release new Fair Labor Standards Act rules which are expected to greatly expand the number of employees eligible for overtime. The FLSA requires that employees who work more than 40 hours a week be paid time and a half for any overtime.

For decades, that overtime requirement has been applicable only for lower-paid employees. Under the new rules, the salary cap will go up, allowing millions of salaried workers to qualify for overtime for the first time. GCs should be ready for the change.