In House - The FindLaw Corporate Counsel Blog

November 2011 Archives

Fewer Women are Joining BigLaw Firms

There are fewer and fewer women joining the ranks of BigLaw firms these days - at least according to a new survey by the National Association of Women Lawyers (NAWL).

For in-house counsel everywhere, this marked shift in the gender makeup of large law firms begs the question: what will happen to the hiring pool?

Many corporations source their legal talent from BigLaw firms. With fewer women entering the associate ranks (47% of first and second year associates are women, down from 48% in past years), there may be a shift coming soon to your company.

Law Firms Should Spurn Non-Lawyer Investors: IBM General Counsel

Non-lawyer investors for law firms might be more prevalent in the future.

Jacoby & Meyers, the New York personal injury firm, has filed a lawsuit against the state. They are trying to overturn the rule that prohibits non-attorneys from owning interests in law firms.

Some attorneys are against this shift, including Robert Weber, senior vice-president for legal and regulatory affairs and general counsel of tech giant IBM.

The new list of "Best Law Firms" by U.S. News & World Report and Best Lawyers has hit the newsstands -- with some new twists that may influence in-house hiring.

This is the just second year that U.S. News has released a "Best Law Firms" list. Last year's rankings faced criticism for being too complicated; some were hoping for a top-to-bottom numerical list instead of a comparison by "tiers."

For 2011-12, the tiers are still there -- but they've tweaked the way they crunch the numbers, and they've added a new accolade.

Zynga CEO Wants Employees to Give Back Their Stock Before IPO

Things should be looking up for Zynga, the tech company responsible for FarmVille-laden Facebook walls everywhere. After about two years of planning, the company has official plans to go public just after Thanksgiving.

But instead of focusing on the IPO itself, the media is focusing on Zynga's pre-IPO preparations. It turns out that CEO Mark Pincus demanded that a number of employees return their unvested Zynga stock. Those who refused would face termination.

Some think Zynga might have earned itself a lawsuit or two.

You could call it Revenge of the Interns: Two former Black Swan interns are suing the film's production company for violating state and federal labor laws.

It's the first lawsuit to challenge the practice of unpaid internships in more than 50 years, NPR reports.

The effects could be far-reaching, especially for in-house lawyers whose companies use interns, but do not pay them for their work.

Jury Finds Eli Lilly Not Responsible for Zyprexa User's Death

The first Zyprexa verdict is in, and Eli Lilly is not liable.

The family of Cody Tadai had sued the company in Los Angeles Superior Court after he died of diabetes-related illnesses. They claimed that Eli Lilly failed to adequately warn patients and doctors about such risks.

But the jury found that the company had met its duty to warn, and is thus not liable for Tadai's death.

In House Job Market May be Growing as Bloomberg Raids Willkie Farr

The in-house job market may be growing, as indicated by some recent high-profile hires.

Bloomberg recently snagged five partners from Willkie Farr & Gallagher.

Along with the new partners, about 15 associates may follow their bosses and cross over to Bloomberg. The exact number of attorneys hired is still unconfirmed.

The continuing sexual harassment saga surrounding Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain has placed National Restaurant Association general counsel Peter Kilgore in the hot seat.

Reports suggest it was Kilgore who struck deals and signed settlement agreements with women who accused Cain of sexual harassment in the 1990s, when Cain was the group's CEO.

Now Kilgore's handling of the matter is coming under scrutiny. And general counsel nationwide are taking notes on what, and what not, to do during a crisis -- especially how to handle the media.

Google General Counsel Kent Walker Headlines GC Conference Nov. 15-16

Ever want to hear how Google's GC handles things at his shop? Headlining this year's West Coast General Counsel Conference is none other than Kent Walker, the senior vice president and general counsel of the internet giant.

Google was recently named the "Best Legal Department of 2011" by the editors of Corporate Counsel. Walker himself has earned multiple distinctions while working at the helm of one of Silicon Valley's biggest companies.

The conference is set to take place November 15-16 this year at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in San Francisco.

$600M Missing at MF Global as Jon Corzine Resigns

MF Global is bankrupt. And for whatever reason, the trading firm is missing more than $600 million. The Securities and Exchange Commission is now said to be probing into the situation, and is looking into whether or not Jon Corzine misled investors.

Corzine headed the now-defunct brokerage firm. He is the former governor of New Jersey and ex-CEO of Goldman Sachs. The firm filed for bankruptcy on Monday.

The bankruptcy is recent news, but the firm faced increasing scrutiny from regulators the past few months.

Glaxo's $3 Billion DOJ Settlement May Rank as Largest Ever

In perhaps the largest drug settlement to date, GlaxoSmithKline PLC has announced that it will pay the federal government $3 billion.

The Glaxo settlement will cover a number of ongoing federal civil and criminal investigations. These include allegations that the company engaged in the off-label marketing of Wellbutrin; downplayed the risks of Paxil and diabetes drug Avandia; and defrauded Medicaid.

Beware of the Cloud: It Poses Real Threats to E-Discovery

Cloud computing is everywhere. It's no surprise that many companies are switching over to the cloud. After all, why pay exorbitant fees to keep your data in-house when you can outsource to companies that run their own data centers?

But your company should also consider potential problems you may run into if you ever try to conduct e-discovery on the cloud. It may not be as simple as it seems. And there are some real security threats that in-house attorneys should be aware of.

This doesn't necessarily mean attorneys should discourage their companies from using cloud computing. There are many advantages. Using cloud resources can allow companies to utilize powerful computing options. It can also cut down on software costs.