In House - The FindLaw Corporate Counsel Blog


Tesla Names New General Counsel

Tesla has a new general counsel, Dane Butswinkas.

He will oversee the company's legal and government relations teams, and report directly to CEO Elon Musk. Butswinkas will take over from Todd Maron.

It is a curious move, since the outgoing Maron hasn't been general counsel that long and he was also Musk's personal lawyer at one time. But it is not that unusual because GC turnover has become the norm at Tesla.

Samsung Fooled by 'Counterfeit' Supreme

What's more embarrassing than a big-screen fail at a product launch?

You know the kind, like when Steve Jobs watched his giant iPhone meltdown in front of developers years ago? It became a YouTube favorite.

Rest in peace, Mr. Jobs, Samsung did you one better. The Apple rival unwittingly announced a fake partnership at a product launch in China.

In the never-ending saga of Uber finding themselves in legal trouble over acting like, well, Uber, the ride hailing behemoth has been sued by Sidecar.

Remember Sidecar? They basically pioneered the concept of ride sharing with an upfront price, and were a real competitor in the industry, at least until, as the company alleges in its lawsuit, Uber engaged in anti-competitive conduct which crushed any chances the company had of competing in the industry.

Don't Sugarcoat Bad Business News

Sugarcoating is not new, but it's a lot more complicated than it sounds.

The process used to be popular in the pharmaceutical industry, when drugmakers used it to mask the taste of pills. The ingredients were cheap and made pills easy to swallow.

Companies also "sugarcoat" bad news to make tough times easier to swallow. But it's time to change.

AOL/Verizon to Pay Record Fine for Tracking Kids Online

AOL, a Verizon-owned company, has agreed to pay a fine of $4.95 million for helping advertisers track children online.

It sounds like a lot of money, but it also sounds criminal. Isn't "tracking children" the same as "stalking children"?

Technically, they are different but in the court of public opinion it is all bad. And for Verizon, it's all the same: more bad news.

Nexstar Offers to Buy Chicago's Tribune Media for More Than $4B

Nexstar Media Group has offered to buy Tribune Media Co. for $4.1 billion, a cash deal that will make Nexstar the biggest owner of local television stations in the United States.

Of course, the proposed acquisition must be approved by regulators who chased off Tribune's last suitor. The company withdrew from merging with Sinclair Broadcast Group in August after the Federal Communications Commission put too much regulatory pressure on the businesses.

It may work out better for Tribune in the end, however. In the three months since the Sinclair deal fell apart, the company got a Nexstar offer worth about $200 million more.

Hawaiian Brand Chips Sued for Misleading Name

In case you didn't know, Hawaiian Kettle Style Potato Chips are made in Washington State.

And that's why there is a new case against the chip maker. The company doesn't hide the fact that the chips are made in the mainland, but the plaintiffs say it is false advertising to call them "Hawaiian" chips.

By motion or settlement, the case could be over before too long. But it's still a wake-up call for businesses that advertise products using a state name.

When it comes to the general counsel paper chase, a recent report explains that the gender pay gap is rather large.

On average, a man serving as general counsel will make 39 percent or $125,000 more than a woman. These findings show that the gender pay gap is alive and just as bad for general counsel as in other industries. And while the CEO of Association of Corporate Counsel explained that growth for GCs is unparalleled at the moment, women seem to be underrepresented and underpaid.

For in-house counsel to be successful in tech, just like in any other industry, it requires just the right combination of skill and luck. And while luck may be fickle and unpredictable, skills are learnable.

If you hope to succeed in tech as an in-house attorney, the following three skills are among the most important to continually be working on:

Businesswomen Who Failed, Then Won

Failure can be a doorway to success, but only if you push the door open after it slams shut.

Jeff Bezos couldn't get money to launch Amazon. Steve Jobs got fired from his own company. These men made it because they kept pushing.

Some very successful businesswomen have also failed, then won. Here are a few who did it their way: