Law Department Administration

Outside counsel guidelines have become increasingly complex, requiring companies to pay special attention to both details and trends in billing. Our editors sat down with Linda Hovanec and Matt Kivlin of Wolters Kluwer’s ELM Solutions, to talk about building a strong spend management program and how artificial intelligence can help identify irregularities and errors in billing, and therefore increase efficiencies within legal spend management. Their remarks have been edited for length and style. Continue Reading

By Jason Mark Anderman / American Express Company

What if you and your counterparty possessed 100 percent certainty that every word and every signature in every contract you’ve negotiated were perfectly accurate? What if every payment obligation could be automatically enforced without human involvement? What if you could stack contractual duties in condition-precedent dominoes so that you automatically paid a supplier fee only after valid confirmation of goods delivery?

This is no fantasy. It’s the world offered by smart contracts today. Continue Reading

Interview with A. Carter Arey / McGuireWoods

A. Carter Arey is a senior counsel at McGuireWoods who co-leads the firm’s ClientSync team. Her focus is on legal project management (LPM), which is designed to help the lawyers deliver what their corporate clients want: quality legal services, pricing and predictability that they can understand and plan around. The interview has been edited for length and style. Continue Reading

By Joe Calve

The Association of Corporate Counsel has released a broad new survey, “Global Perspectives: ACC In-House Trends Report,” focused on issues that have a direct impact on the professional lives of corporate counsel. Almost 2,000 in-house lawyers across 53 countries participated, including 81 percent who are ACC members, 31 percent who work outside the U.S. and 28 percent who are the top legal executive (GC or CLO) in their company.

Some of the trends identified, especially in the section on in-house legal/business priorities, are “painfully obvious,” as ACC puts it. Compliance, regulatory and cybersecurity continue to top the list of in-house concerns and, as ACC reports, are driving law departments to divert resources their way. Continue Reading

By Joe Calve

Nine general counsel of non-insurance companies sent a letter to the American Law Institute on the eve of the organization’s annual meeting expressing “strong concern” over the direction taken in its proposed Restatement of Law, Liability Insurance. In response, ALI on May 23 postponed a final vote, noting that the draft’s Reporters needed another year to complete their work. Glenn Lammi, Chief Counsel, Legal Studies Division, of the Washington Legal Foundation, who has tracked this controversy, in an article posted to Forbes (bit.ly/2stN48x) called it “an especially troubling instance of where the American Law Institute (ALI), a private organization known for its ‘Restatements’ of common law in areas such as torts, products liability, and contracts, was instead revising the law. . . . ALI’s stated mission is to ‘clarify’ and ‘modernize’ the law. . . . With projects like the Restatement of the Law, Copyright (which we criticized in a 2015 post) and now the liability insurance Restatement, the organization has been blurring the line between restating and revising.” The following excerpts from the GCs’ letter have been edited for length and style. Continue Reading

Article by: Michael W. Peregrine

The challenges associated with board oversight duties in “crisis situations,” and related expectations regarding director attentiveness, are highlighted in a recent Wall Street Journal article concerning Theranos. It serves as a reminder of the valuable role that general counsel can play in supporting the ability of directors to satisfy these duties and expectations. Continue Reading

Interview with Scott Lefton/AccessData

Scott Lefton is a senior sales engineer at AccessData. Though he is not directly involved in conducting or supervising investigations, he spends a lot of time talking to the people who do, including chief security officers, people in HR and, of course, in-house lawyers. He listens to their “woes,” he said, and suggests software designed to help them. His remarks have been edited for length and style.  Continue Reading

Interview with Mike Koehler / FCPA Professor Blog

 

 When I read The New York Times front-page article in 2012 about Wal-Mart’s alleged bribes in Mexico, I thought it was going to be the U.S. equivalent of Siemens in Germany. Before I ask you about that, can you bring us up to date on Wal-Mart’s FCPA investigation? What has happened over the past five years? Continue Reading

Article by Alan R. Boynton, Jr. / McNees Wallace & Nurick LLC

The reality for almost every business is that not all of its employees are going to be happy in their jobs and that, at any given time, one or more is going to be seeking greener pastures. Many times those pastures are owned by competitors, and any business owner or CEO who fails to anticipate and plan for employee defections may also be inviting the loss of substantial business. Continue Reading