In House - The FindLaw Corporate Counsel Blog

July 2011 Archives

Top 3 Tips for Selecting Outside Counsel

It's not uncommon for corporations to seek new outside counsel for each investigation or lawsuit, but doing so requires an in-house legal department that is adept at selecting outside counsel that not only meets its needs, but doesn't cost it an arm and a leg.

This isn't exactly the easiest thing in the world, with dozens of law firms each claiming to be right for the job.

So how should you select outside counsel? And how do you streamline the process?

There's no correct answer to these questions, but here are a few tips.

News Corp's New Interim General Counsel Got to Pie Thrower First

It's clear that Wendi Deng Murdoch has catapulted into internet stardom as a result of slapping the pie-tossing prankster who deigned to attack her husband Rupert last week.

But there is an unsung hero in this story of pie vigilantism and tabloid phone hacking, and her name is Janet Nova.

She's News Corp.'s interim general counsel.

And she was the first to protect her boss.

Dr Pepper Sues Dr Pepper Over License Agreement

Made with pure Imperial cane sugar since 1891, Dublin Dr Pepper is more than a Texas institution; it's a nationwide sensation.

But in a bid to reign in this popularity (and protect its other bottlers), Dr Pepper Snapple Group (DPS) has filed suit against its Dublin, Texas bottler, demanding that the company ditch its personalized logo and stop distributing the sugary soft drink outside the region.

Or else.

Top-Earning In House: Altria GC Made $6.5M in Cash Compensation

Denise Keane, leader of the legal department at Altria Group, made around $6.5 million in cash last year. And, she's landed the position of No. 1 amongst General Counsel compensation, reports the ABA Journal.

Before you get green with envy, know this: she got $5.7 million as a nonequity incentive bonus, reports the ABA Journal.

No small amount of change for a bonus - which is likely going to incentivize her plenty. Wouldn't most GCs (and attorneys for that matter) love to get such a nice chunk of change?

Apple's Lawyers Should be Disqualified, Samsung Argues

A new battle has been waged in the all-out patent war between Samsung and Apple, and this time Samsung has requested that the Northern District of California disqualify Apple's lawyers on the grounds that they are a former client.

Apparently, five attorneys from Bridges & Mavrakakis, one of the many firms participating as Apple's outside counsel, represented Samsung while previously working for Kirkland & Ellis, giving rise to a potential conflict of interest.

Will the News Corp. Hacking Scandal Cause Problems in the US?

The hacking scandal has already claimed News of the World, one of Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation's biggest tabloids. What's next for News Corp.? A U.S. investigation into the media giant?

Apparently so. Members of Congress are now clamoring for an investigation into the U.S. operations of News Corp., even though for the most part the hacking scandal originated from the same land where News of the World circulates: the United Kingdom.

It's an unfortunate reality for companies that actions abroad may have dire consequences back in the U.S. It's also a lesson that News Corp. may have to learn the hard way.

Am I General Counsel Material?

"What are some essential general counsel skills?"

This question is undoubtedly on the mind of all in-house counsel, and all attorneys who are aspiring to become in-house counsel.

Most general counsel positions require at least a few years of experience where attorneys can hone their skills. Some companies even highly prefer attorneys with government experience right now. But, besides this requisite experience, what else do savvy general counsels need?

Righthaven Blames Former GCs for Oversight

In a reversal of fortune, Righthaven, perhaps the country's biggest, if not most notorious, copyright troll, has suffered a sudden streak of losses at the hands of a variety of federal judges in Nevada, one of which has ordered the company to explain why it should not be sanctioned for making "multiple inaccurate and likely dishonest statements."

In a response filed on Wednesday, Righthaven's outside trial counsel pointed the finger at former in-house counsel, blaming them for the alleged misconduct.

Jobless, Experienced General Counsels Form Support Group

For some experienced ex-general counsels, unemployment has become the new reality.

While most would think that the recession hit hardest for those attorneys with the least amount of experience, many unemployed are also those with too many years of experience.

And together, they have formed a support group - "Senior In-House Counsel in Transition" - a small group of highly-experienced but unemployed former general counsels in Chicago.