In House - The FindLaw Corporate Counsel Blog

August 2011 Archives

Schools Districts Call Their In House Counsels Almost Daily

Would you ever consider going in house for a school district?

In stark contrast to the traditional model of hiring attorneys on a retainer basis, some of the larger school districts across the country are hiring full-time counsel--people they call almost daily while school is in session.

Though some are criticizing the trend and wonder whether it saves districts money, with the growth in school litigation, school districts could become the next big in house employer.

Did Apple Doctor Evidence in Samsung Lawsuit?

If you look at models of the Samsung Galaxy Tab and the Apple iPad side-by-side, it's not difficult to tell which tablet is which. That is, unless you're looking at the photos of the two models submitted by Apple in the European Galaxy Tab lawsuit.

The submitted photos make the two models look suspiciously similar.

And, the photos have researchers crying foul over the evidence. After all, the iPad and the Galaxy Tab have different dimensions. By sheer nature of geometry they shouldn't appear so similar in photographs.

Top 3 Tips for Handling High Stakes Litigation

The very nature of handling "high stakes litigation" implies that there's much to lose and gain from a case.

And, as in-house counsel, when handling high stakes litigation, your ultimate goal is to provide the very best settlement for your company. Or, in the alternative, prevail in court.

What are some tips to ensure that the litigation process goes smoothly?

Spitzer Sued for Defamation: Ex-Marsh & McLennan Execs Want $90M

In a head-scratching move, two former executives at insurance brokerage firm Marsh & McLennan have filed a lawsuit against Eliot Spitzer, accusing the politician-turned-commentator of making defamatory statements in a piece written for last year.

Asking for $90 million, the pair, William Gilman and Edward McNenney, allege in the Spitzer defamation suit that the statements were made with actual malice, and though they are not mentioned in the piece, they are its "readily identifiable" subjects.

Apple's Price Fixing Lawsuit: Colluded Against Amazon E-books

Two men have filed an e-book price fixing lawsuit alleging that, in 2010, Apple, along with five major publishing houses, banded together to increase Amazon's e-book prices.

The alleged goal? For the publishers, to stop Amazon's discounted prices, which were cutting into profit margins for physical books. And for Apple, to tamper the popularity of Amazon's Kindle, so that its soon-to-be released iPad would overtake the e-book reader in popularity.

R.J. Reynolds, Tobacco Giants Sue FDA Over Graphic Warning Labels

Four of the nation's largest tobacco companies filed a lawsuit against the Food and Drug Administration on Tuesday challenging new tobacco label regulations that will require all packaging to display graphic images depicting the adverse health effects of smoking.

R.J. Reynolds joined Lorillard, Imperial Tobacco Group, and Vector Group's Liggett in arguing that the new label requirements push the limits of constitutionally permitted restrictions on commercial speech.

Apple Passes Exxon as World's Most Valuable Company

Is the U.S. economy heading towards an age of innovation? Maybe, as the market value of tech giant Apple passed Exxon for the first time in history.

Last Wednesday, the market value of Apple was at $337.2 billion. The market value of Exxon was at $330.8 billion, according to Bloomberg.

Both companies' valuations are nothing to sneeze at. For Apple, its status as one of the most valuable companies in the world is also a comeback story.

HP, Pfizer Hiring GCs Straight out of Law School to Cut Costs

Where does your company find its staff of general counsels? Law school?

Maybe not, as many companies recruit their classes of general counsels from law firms.

Some companies, however, are now making a shift towards recruiting associates directly from law school. These companies are frustrated with paying high rates for inexperienced associates, according to The Wall Street Journal. Why do that when you can train your new staff of general counsels yourself?

Top In House Counsel Honored by National Bar Association

The National Bar Association, along with the Corporate Leadership Forum, presented its inaugural NBA Pinnacle Award on August 2nd, honoring the Kraft Legal Department; the Institute for Inclusion in the Legal Profession (IILP); Roderick A. Palmore of General Mills; and Veta T. Richardson of the Association of Corporate Counsel.

The award is meant to recognize "excellence in corporate America and distinguished corporate counsel, including the highest achievements and accomplishments of corporate counsel in endeavors ranging from improving the legal profession, pro bono, career accomplishments, diversity, and matters of governance."

Top 5 Tips to Improve Outside Counsel Relationships

As streamlined as your in-house counsel staff is, requesting help from outside counsel is often necessary for certain projects. How do you keep a good working relationship with your outside counsel, and what can you do to improve your outside counsel relationships?

Of course, making sure that you have hired the right kind of outside counsel for your company is the first step in the process.

And, if you've worked with the same group of outside counsel before, maybe your established relationship will help your deals go together more smoothly. But, what other tips can you use to improve your outside counsel relationships?

Former A and O Resource GC Sentenced to 15 Years in Prison

Former General Counsel Russell Mackert of A&O Resource Management, Ltd. was sentenced to 15 years and 8 months late last month for his role in a scheme that defrauded elderly investors of $100 million.

Along with four other A&O executives, Mackert was accused of making material misrepresentations to investors, misusing investor funds, smuggling cash, and committing mail fraud.

He pled naiveté.

New ACC General Counsel Not Deterred by Tourette's

Though James A. Merklinger has had to live with Tourette's Syndrome for most of his life, he hasn't let the discrimination or the neurological disorder dissuade him from success.

In fact, the graduate of the University of South Carolina School of Law has just been appointed to the posts of Vice President and General Counsel for the Association of Corporate Counsel.

He has worked with the organization in some capacity since 1995.