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How to Survive a Real Company Catastrophe

Every enterprise hits rough patches.

Sales go down. Key employees quit. Lawyers sue. It's part of doing business.

A "company catastrophe," however, is more than a rough patch. It's like when a hurricane hits. Here's how to survive a real one.

In a stunning court decision, the Federal District Court for the District of Columbia has ruled that the AT&T - Time Warner merger can move forward. And to help put some of the controversy to rest and actually allow the merger to happen, Judge Richard Leon strongly cautioned the government against seeking a stay.

The $85 billion deal came under heavy fire, not just from the traditional media that usually questions every big corporate merger, but also by President Trump, which, naturally, resulted in additional controversy due to CNN being owned by Time Warner and one of President Trump's so called "fake news" outlets. Nevertheless, the challenge to the deal found support from across the partisan aisle, as AT&T owns DirecTV, and many believed that the merger would represent too much power for one company.

Lionsgate Announces New General Counsel

After 20 years at Sony Pictures, Corii Berg is going to Lionsgate as its new general counsel.

Berg had been a senior executive for Sony, but will become senior legal and business affairs executive at Lionsgate. The company said he will fill a position that has been vacant for a while.

It's also a new legal order of things at Lionsgate, which saw its last general counsel move to a subsidiary earlier this year.

Microsoft recently announced that it will seek to purchase GitHub, the open source code repository, a popular tool that developers use. The move has caused a bit of a stir as many of Microsoft's own competitors use the code repository, including Google, Apple, Facebook, and more, not to mention millions of developers do too.

Reportedly, the deal will cost Microsoft $7.5 billion. For its investment, Microsoft doesn't plan on changing GitHub's philosophy, but does seem poised to promote their cloud product Azure to the massive GitHub community of 26 million developers.

Right on the heels of last week's deadline for companies to come into compliance with the GDPR, lawsuits were filed against Google, Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp, alleging violations of the new law. And unfortunately for Facebook, the company owns both Instagram and WhatsApp.

An Austrian privacy activist filed each of the cases alleging that the "take it or leave it" privacy policies offered by these major tech companies violate the GDPR. Each lawsuit seeks to fine Facebook and Google over $4 million each. The law can impose fines on organizations that violate it of over $20 million or 4 percent of an organization's annual revenue.

CSR: Is Doing Good a License for Workers to Do Bad?

Human behavior can be harder to understand than corporate behavior, and that can be a problem for companies trying to do good.

Those are observations from a University of Chicago economist who is noted for his field experiments in economics. John List recently discussed on a podcast his experiments on corporate social responsibility.

On the internet radio program, he said that workers who took jobs with a good company surprisingly did some bad things. They cheated.

Lessons for Corporate Counsel From TD Ameritrade

TD Ameritrade won a case claiming it broke securities laws, but it was one of those victories a company doesn't usually advertise.

That's because the federal appeals court dismissed the case on jurisdictional grounds. The factual allegations -- that the company got kickbacks to the detriment of customers -- are part of the permanent record.

Maybe court files and the internet aren't forever, but it sure feels like it when your business reputation or value goes down. Here are some lessons corporate counsel can learn from Zola v. TD Ameritrade.

How to Get a Piece When Your Boss Makes $9 Billion in Two Days

So Amazon's Jeff Bezos made $9 billion -- in two days. Not that anybody's counting, but the world's richest man is now worth about $132 billion.

He may not hit the all-time richest mark -- Rockefeller's $318 billion net worth -- but it raises questions. Like, how can you make a billion dollars?

That's not going to happen, so think instead about how you can get some of that from your company. Here are some ideas:

Breaking records is usually a good thing. However, when a company breaks a record for paying out the largest settlement in a particular government agency's history, it might not actually be something to be proud of, especially if that settlement is related to violations of consumer protection laws.

However, for Wells Fargo, the recent record breaking billion-dollar settlement might not actually be that bad for the banking behemoth. Given the high settlement value, a judgment could have actually been more than the drop in the bucket that a single billion represents to the bank with total holdings at nearly $2 trillion. For context, a billion dollars is not even 0.1 percent of two trillion, it's half that.

GoPro Appoints New General Counsel

Eve Saltman is the new general counsel at GoPro, and how cool is that?

Seriously, where else would you want to work than at a company that keys the coolest videos ever? Well, maybe a law job at the studio behind Star Wars, but still.

In the meantime, Saltman is flying high on her new gig. The company really wanted her, too.