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Facebook Recruits Bay Area Judge as In-House Counsel

The world's most popular social networking company just hired a sitting judge to join its legal team instead of turning to the legal gray matter of other Silicon Valley companies, according to the Wall Street Journal. It's a nice touch.

The hiring of that judge, U.S Magistrate Judge Paul S. Grewal, hardly seems coincidental. After all, Facebook has its hands full when it comes to hot potato legal issues.

Is the budget for your intellectual property legal team too high? Are you overspending on legal while your competitors get by with leaner teams? Or is it too low, destining you to go over budget?

How can you tell, anyway? By looking to a few key performance indicators to see if your IP legal spending lines up with industry practice.

When it comes to life science companies, compliance is starting to play a greater role. Where attorneys in medical, health care, pharmaceutical, and biotech companies were once focused almost exclusively on government rules, their responsibilities now extend far beyond regulatory compliance.

And the shift isn't isolated to major medical companies with robust legal and compliance departments. Even companies with as few as 25 employees are building up their compliance teams, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Your job is to make sure the company is dotting its I's, crossing its T's, and generally staying on the right side of the law. In other words, compliance. Regulatory compliance should be one of the largest parts of any legal department's work.

And though the law moves slowly, it does move, so in-house counsel need to stay on top of the latest compliance trends.

If you’re an attorney who wants to move into the legal department, we don’t blame you. A job as in-house counsel offers benefits that firm life just doesn’t — like, the ability to go home before dark. (At least sometimes.) If you’re a current in-house attorney looking for a new legal department to make your home, we don’t blame you either. Changing jobs every once in a while can be a good way to improve your skill set, expand your resume, and increase your pay.

Whatever is driving you to look for a new in-house position, we’re here to help. Here are FindLaw’s seven best job-searching, in-housing posts.

When you bring someone onto your team, whether they're an attorney or legal secretary, you're making an investment. And you want to make sure you get the most out of it. That means not only finding great candidates, but keeping your top talent around.

But hanging on to top talent isn't easy. About a quarter of all employees are actively looking to change jobs, and talented ones should have no problem finding a new place to work. So you'll have to make it worth their while to stick around. Here are five tips to help you do just that.

If you work in-house at a large company, you're probably familiar with secondments, the temporary placing of an outside attorney within the company. The term is military in origin, referring to sending off an officer to aid another organization but the idea is the same: Admiral IP Lawyer joins the team for a few months as the company revises its licensing agreements, for example.

Secondments are becoming increasingly common, but the deal is almost always the same: an outside firm lawyer joins a client company for a month or two or three. But now some in-house attorneys are wondering: isn't it time that we seconded too?

You make sure contractors in your global supply chain keep private data secure. You take pains to ensure third party corruption compliance. You may even require suppliers to adopt social and environmental standards. But have you addressed slavery?

There are more slaves today than at the height of the transatlantic slave trade over 300 years ago and they could be working in your supply chain. Here's how you can root it out.

The past year was a mixed bag for corporate compliance. In 2015, we saw major compliance scandals, like the Volkswagen emissions fraud, and the continued fallout from the GM recall, not Just for General Motors, but for its in-house legal team. The year also saw the continued rise of compliance professionals and a re-commitment by the Department of Justice to vigorously pursue compliance enforcement.

But enough about 2015. What lies ahead in corporate compliance?

While you're slaving away in the legal department, reviewing corporate contracts, company greeting cards, and H.R. policies, half of the company is streaming cat videos and shopping on Amazon. That is, if they're anything like the average American. A new FindLaw.com survey shows that half of all Americans use work Internet for personal use.

But does it matter?