In House: Practice Tips, Services & Events Archives
In House - The FindLaw Corporate Counsel Blog

Recently in Practice Tips, Services & Events Category

A data breach can tarnish a company's reputation and end up costing millions. And yet, when companies consider new acquisitions, questions about data and cybersecurity often go unasked.

That could be changing, though, as corporations start adding cybersecurity to their pre-M&A due diligence, sniffing out a potential partner's "data hygiene" before any deal is done.

Wells Fargo agreed to pay $185 million in fines yesterday, after years of opening more than two million fake bank accounts and credit cards in the names of the bank's real customers. The scandal is particularly notable given how widespread the illegal banking practices were -- over several years, Wells Fargo fired more than 5,000 employees for engaging in the fraud, but never ended the practice entirely. Now, some are calling for even more heads to roll.

How can you make sure you don't find yourself in a similar position? While the fallout from the revelation continues to play out, here are some of the initial lessons in-house counsel can learn from the scandal.

An aggressive confidentiality policy could find you on the wrong side of a host of laws. An employment agreement that limits what information employees can share with investigators may constitute unlawful "pretaliation," according to the SEC. Even severance agreements that explicitly allow for certain disclosures can violate Dodd-Frank's whistleblowing rules.

And that's not all. According to a recent article in Inside Counsel, your company's confidentiality rules could also be unlawful under the National Labor Relations Act if they limit workers' ability to talk to each other about internal investigations -- even if your workplace is not unionized.

Religion in the Workplace: A Primer for In-House Lawyers

There are a number of things that should not be discussed casually at the office: politics, compensation, and of course, religion. Employees will inevitable bumble into these topics, which is usually okay. But things start getting dicey when the employer starts making decisions based on the political information he or she learned over the water cooler.

In-house counsel should be equipped with a solid understanding of religious discrimination in the workplace in order to best advise their corporate clients.

Forget weapons trafficking or illegal hacking. When it comes to crime, illegal logging ranks near the top. "Illegal logging is the most lucrative environmental crime and one of the most profitable organized criminal activities, alongside narcotics trafficking, counterfeiting, and human trafficking," according to a new white paper by Thomson Reuters. (Disclosure: Thomson Reuters is FindLaw's parent company.)

Deforestation, ecosystem disruption, and damage to the climate are some of the obvious effects of illegal logging, but its consequences aren't just environmental. Illegal logging's consequences can include significant impacts on human life and well-being, and, if illegal logging taints your supply chain, significant legal headaches.

We're coming to the end of the major party's national conventions this week, and the election season is about to go into overdrive. So if you think you've heard enough about Trump and Hillary this summer, get ready to hear even more -- and that includes political talk (and more) at the office, something that could raise some tricky legal, HR, and management concerns.

To help you out, here are our top pieces of advice on politics and the workplace, from the FindLaw archives.

Electronically stored information is vulnerable to hacking, point blank. Even some of the most sophisticated computer systems can find themselves vulnerable to a sophisticated cyberattack -- or, more likely, a careless employee. And so long as you have valuable information stored on computers, you need to be ready for a potential data breach.

To help you out, here are our top tips for in-house counsel on preventing and responding to data breaches, from the FindLaw archives.

Maybe you're ready to make the switch from firm practice to in-house work. Or perhaps you're already an in-house attorney, looking to transition to a new position elsewhere. Either way, you're on the hunt for a new job.

While an in-house job search isn't entirely different from finding other jobs, it does require a specific set of skills and a unique approach to the job search. To help you out, here are our top in-house attorney job search tips, from the FindLaw archives.

Hacked? Make Sure to Notify Your Customers!

Your company will be hacked. It's as certain as death and taxes. In light of this, what the diligent in-house attorney can do is make sure all of the company's affairs and records are in order. If a government investigation takes place, you should be ready.

Below we cover data breach notification requirements along with some of the more important considerations that general counsel must be familiar with in the event of the inevitable data breach.

Nevada Agency General Counsel Out of a Job After Tweets

After Carolyn Tanner suddenly lost her position as Nevada's Public Utility Commission General Counsel, we couldn't help but look a little deeper into what sounded like a "loose lips sink ships" story. Allegedly she is no longer employed due to her actions on Twitter. Tanner, however, claims the timing was coincidental and denies that her Tweet under the pseudonym "DixieRaeSparx" had anything to do with her current job search.

Personal or not, Dixie's little spat with an enterprising Nevada lobbyist shines a light on the proprieties of lawyer's comments on past or pending legal matters.