Law Department Administration

By Rees Morrison/Altman Weil, Inc.

Day after day, managers confront operational problems, think about them and make choices about what to do or not to do. In other words, they decide something. But they don’t always take into account the data available to them when they make those decisions.


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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.


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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.


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The challenges associated with board oversight duties in “crisis situations,” and related expectations regarding director attentiveness, are highlighted in a 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.

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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. 


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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?


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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.


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By David Yurkerwich / Navigant

The Chinese intellectual property sector has been changing and growing for years, but few people would tell you so. The country has long been labeled as an IP rights violator and generally carries a bad reputation in its handling of copyrights. But Chinese companies are becoming more aggressive in building patent portfolios.


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Article by Sasko Markovski & Amy C. Cococcia / Fragomen

 

Australia has been next in line across a number of jurisdictions around the globe to announce significant changes to employer-based immigration programs. This article provides an overview of some of the key changes announced as well as guidance on what actions businesses should be taking where impacted.
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Kevin Caulfield, a product line director at Wolters Kluwer ELM Solutions, understands that general counsel don’t want their departments to be viewed solely as cost centers. Many of them strive to show how they can be good business partners with other parts of their organization by focusing on initiatives that will help reduce costs and generate revenue. To Caulfield, one of the ways this can be achieved is through enterprise legal management technology. Although many long-established corporate legal departments have already made good use of this technology, he says, there are many growing companies that still may not realize the benefits of an enterprise legal management solution. His remarks have been edited for length and style.

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