In House - The FindLaw Corporate Counsel Blog

March 2011 Archives

Drafting a Contract? Check Out Sample Corporate Counsel Contracts

Most of you out there are probably buried amongst boxes of paperwork, putting off the drafting of that next contract. But hey, a side effect of engaging in business, and business law, is the beloved contract.

As corporate counsel, contracts are probably an unfortunately large chunk of your workload. Not only do you have to read the things, but you have to negotiate terms, as well as revise and write them. They never seem to go away.

There are a lot of practice tools out there to help you with drafting and ease the pain, but a lot of them cost money and are difficult to work with. If you're nodding your head, then we've got the solution for you.

Ex-Glaxo In House Gets Case Dismissed: Prosecutor Error

A Maryland judge dismissed obstruction charges against ex-GlaxoSmithKline General Counsel and Vice President Lauren Stevens last week.

Stevens, whose case has been watched closely for any signal that the government is changing its strategy towards corporate executives, successfully argued that prosecutors made substantial errors in the handling of the grand jury.

NFL Adds Super Litigator David Boies for Players' Union Suit

Though most of the nation wouldn't care (and still doesn't), the National Football League released a press release recently to let everyone know just what's going on at its legal headquarters.

Putting aside the fact that the press release was probably some sort of half-hearted scare tactic, it actually provided some interesting information for those of you following the NFL antitrust lawsuit.

Now we know, that in a bid to beef up its legal team, the league has added antitrust superstar David Boies and former United States Solicitor General Paul Clement to its roster.

More Firm Partners Are Interviewing for In House Positions

Look around at your fellow GCs. There may be more former law firm partners in your midst this year.

Experienced law firm partners are increasingly interviewing at big corporations, a New York legal consulting firm's survey reports.

Firm partners with significant experience were in particularly high demand last year.

Do We Need a Lawyer's Code of Expert Ethics?

It's a topic that FindLaw contributor Robert Ambrogi is an expert on, and he's been kind enough to weigh in on the subject. 

In this post, we're providing a few key takeaways from Ambrogi's work. If you are intro to the proposed Lawyer's Code of Expert Ethics, there is plenty more where it came from.

Proposed code 1: "an attorney should withdraw from a case if the opposing side's expert is a former client, unless the expert consents to the attorney's continuing involvement."

Rajaratnam Trial: In House Counsel Lessons Abound

Here is a lesson for in house counsel that you should already know: emails can be searched, and the things you say on the phone or in an email can really come back to bite you. For an example, we need only to look to the Rajaratnam trial in Manhattan.

Raj Rajaratnam, who was heard on wiretaps at talking about setting up a false e-mail trail to create evidence that he did not buy a stock on which he had received inside information because of that information.

Instead, the Galleon Group founder tried to make it look like he had a separate reason for his interest in the stock, according to Anil Kumar, who has pleaded guilty and turned states evidence. The case has morphed into the biggest insider trading case in decades.

General Counsels Want Law Firm Marketing Pitches to Stand Out

Attorney Ken Grady says he identifies with the dog in the "Bacon Bits" commercial. The popular commercial featured a dog with selective hearing, that only heard: "Blah, blah, blah, Bacon Bits. Blah, blah, blah, Bacon Bits." 

Grady recently spoke at a Georgetown Law School conference on law firm marketing, the state of law firms and their clients and how to stand out, the ABA Journal reports.

"With law firms, it's become 'blah, blah, blah, Law Firm name. Blah, blah, blah, Law Firm name.' According to Grady, after a pitch is over, if you ask general counsels: "what stood out after listening to a law firm pitch?" they won't be able to remember anything. According to Grady law firm marketers, are saying the same thing, the Am Law Daily reports.

Do Federal Courts Favor Big Business, Corporations?

It's a touchy subject, but one worth broaching: Do business interests carry too much sway over federal judges?

A recent panel discussion at New York University School of Law shed some light on this issue, and it seems that at least the Supreme Court appears to lean in favor of big business interests.

In-House Lawyer, Patent Agent Pleads Guilty to Insider Training

Insider-trading can make you rich. And, oh yes, it can also just as easily land you in jail. Haven't we all learned how well the whole "greed is good" thing worked out for from Gordon Gekko on "Wall Street?"

An in house attorney in San Diego apparently did not.

Judge Orders RJ Reynolds Pay 11 Years of Interest for Not Settling

The next time your client wants to decline a settlement offer, you may want ask them to reconsider. Federal judge Stefan Underhill awarded $15.7M against RJ Reynolds for accumulated interest payments, because they didn't accept a settlement offer, according to the San Jose Mercury News.

Underhill rejected claims by RJ Reynolds that the interest was excessive. He explained that the interest was mandatory as a matter of law and is designed to encourage defendants to accept reasonable settlement offers.

Microsoft Mulls Legal Poke at Facebook for Poaching Ad Execs

The Microsoft Facebook relationship is teetering after Facebook poached Microsoft's advertising executive Carolyn Everson. Indeed, Microsoft may use legal action to try to keep her there, reports All Things Digital.

Everson, who came to Microsoft from MTV Networks, was just hired last June after a long search. Microsoft is crying foul over the loss of their global ad sales head. But will they take it court?

Ex Glaxo In House Counsel Wants Co-Conspirators Named

A friend in need is a friend indeed. Former GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) lawyer Lauren Stevens may be asking for a little help from her friends.

Stevens, who was charged with obstructing a regulatory probe of GSK, has asked U.S. District Judge Roger Titus to order the Justice Department to name any uncharged individuals who may be called as witnesses at her upcoming trial, according to News Observer.

Will Comcast-NBC Merger Impact Future Merger Trends?

Mergers continue to be a hot topic in the U.S. entertainment and media industry with acquisitions slightly up in 2010. Nevertheless, the total value of the deals declined vs. 2009, despite the fact that the entertainment and media industry outpaced the overall U.S. acquisitions, Pricewaterhouse Coopers reports.

Now a new merger between Comcast and NBC has some wondering whether it could set off a chain of increased acquisitions in 2011. If it goes well, it may lead the industry to seek out transaction opportunities as well with an increased demand in social media, international opportunities and video games, the Hollywood Reporter reports.