In-House Interrogatory

Ever wanted to rent a general counsel?

RENTWell, now you can. Starting this week a Massachusetts company called Daily General Counsel will dispatch in-house counsel to start-ups to give legal advice for a day.

An in-house attorney’s services for eight hours will cost $1,500.

The company’s model will not work for all start-up companies, like those embroiled in long-term litigation who need a more permanent attorney in-house. But others need legal help that can be accomplished in a day, like drawing up partnership agreements and sales contracts, making sure human resources policies follow the law and making a plan to negotiate a lease.

Here’s our question for you:

What do you think of this new company? Do you think its business model will be successful?

Leave a comment below or email me.

Need to Know:

Follow us on Twitter for In-House news and discussion: @TDRInHouse

In-House Interrogatory

mediationIn-House Interrogatory will be mediating a discussion on mediation this week.

According to an article in Corporate Counsel, preparation is an in-house counsel’s best defense.

The article recommends to review jury instructions, determine applicable statutes and case law and review third parties and insurers before even scheduling a mediation.

The article also recommends obtaining an initial written discovery, records, depositions of major players, contracts, photos, reports, and third party investigations before going into a mediation.

Here’s our question for you:

What is the best way to prepare for a mediation?

Leave a comment below or email me.

Need to Know:

Follow us on Twitter for In-House news and discussion: @TDRInHouse

UMCarey receives gift for female leadership program

A female leadership program at the University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law received a belated holiday gift this week.

DollarThe Marjorie Cook Foundation gave the Women, Leadership & Equality Program a $100,000 gift, the law school announced Tuesday.

The money will allow the program, which focuses on gender issues in the legal profession, to expand its curriculum and maintain the positions of the program’s fellows at nonprofits like House of Ruth and the Maryland and National Women’s Law Centers.

“Because of the Foundation’s generosity we have had the ability for the last decade to educate more than 90 students selected as Rose Zetzer Fellows in the theory and practice of gender equality for women in our profession,” program founder and professor Paula Monopoli said in a statement.

The program was initially founded with the help of a $250,000 gift from the Marjorie Cook Foundation.

 

In-House Interrogatory

For general counsels, it’s always business. Not personal.

Godfather_puppetmasterOr so Tom Hagen, the adviser to The Godfather in the film trilogy, would say.

Attorney Daniel Doktori, who is an associate in the emerging companies practice at WilmerHale in New York City, said in an article that the role of general counsel at a start-up company is much like the role of consigliere, the position made famous by Hagan, played by Robert Duvall, in The Godfather film series.

“Being general counsel is like being Tom Hagen in The Godfather – you’re a Consigliere,” said a New York City lawyer quoted in the article. “You need to understand where the founders are coming from – the sacrifices they had to go through to build their business.”

Doktori says start-ups hire attorneys who will be able to fit into the company culture of taking risks.

Here’s our question for you:

Do you agree with this philosophy? Is your job equatable to the (legal) version of the Corleone family’s consigliere?

Leave a comment below or email me.

Need to Know:

  • A lawsuit seeking to remove Jacksonville’s general counsel from office has been dropped.
  • Deutsche Bank names a new co-deputy general counsel for Germany.
  • Halliburton’s general counsel retired and the company filled the position at the beginning of the year.
  • A former Air Force general counsel was appointed as Homeland Security secretary.

Follow us on Twitter for In-House news and discussion: @TDRInHouse

Cecil County shake-up

judgecartoonThough Cecil County may be under half a foot of snow today, its court system is plowing ahead with some administrative changes.

Judge Keith A. Baynes was named administrative judge of the Cecil County Circuit Court at the beginning of this year by Court of Appeals Chief Judge Mary Ellen Barbera, according to a news release from the Maryland Judiciary.

Judge V. Michael Whelan is going back to the bench full time after serving as administrative judge since October 2010.

Baynes has been a judge on the Cecil County Circuit Court since January 2011. He is the presiding judge of the drug treatment court.

In-House Interrogatory

Legal education is blending with the in-house world up North.

Boston University

Boston University School of Law is running a program that joins local companies with law school graduates interested in in-house work.

The program, which is in its second year, has six spots open and so far 70 have applied. The companies, National Grid, EMC Corp., ING and Digital Credit Union pay $50,000 plus benefits.

Here’s our question for you:

Do you think this is a good idea for in-house legal education and has your company ever considered a similar program?

Leave a comment below or email me.

Need to Know:

  • A former White House attorney was held liable in the beating of his ex-wife.
  • Autozone named a general counsel.
  • Abercrombie & Fitch named a new general counsel.
  • TSB Bank has appointed the former general counsel for the U.S. Post Office as its new legal head.
  • TV Guide Network named a new general counsel.
  • Angus Fire hired a new general counsel.

Follow us on Twitter for In-House news and discussion: @TDRInHouse

Former Baltimore Hogan Lovells head slated for CEO spot

The former head of Hogan Lovells’ Baltimore office has been recommended as the new CEO of the global law firm.

Steve Immelt also served as an assistant U.S. attorney in Maryland from 1979 through 1983. Immelt was managing partner at the firm’s Baltimore office for 10 years.

Stephen ImmeltImmelt is currently serving as global co-head of litigation at the law firm and would take over the CEO position from Co-CEOs Warren Gorrell and David Harris in July 2014.

The firm’s partners will vote on Immelt’s appointment.

“The firm is in a very strong position, our best ever,” Immelt said in a firm news release. “If elected, it will be a privilege to succeed David and Warren.  We are recognized as one of the world’s leading law firms with unique strengths in many practices and industry sectors, a focus on understanding our clients’ business needs; and providing creative insight and practical solutions across our geographic reach.”

Hogan Lovells was created on May 1, 2010 with the combination of  U.S.-based Hogan & Hartson and Europe-based Lovells.

In-House Interrogatory

Womens-Bathroom-SignsThe in-house legal department: Is it a woman’s world?

Canadian female GCs are saying that the not-so collegial atmosphere at law firms has caused them to take jobs with in-house legal departments at corporations.

Retired partner Kirby Chown and executive search consultant Carrie Mandel, the authors of  ”Breaking Though: Tales from the Top Canadian Women General Counsel,” found female attorneys are better represented in Canada’s top 500 public companies than at private law firms.

For the newly-released book, the authors interviewed 32 female GCs. They also crunched some numbers and found that 27 percent of the general counsel at Canada’s top 500 public companies were women, while women made up just 20 percent of the partners in private practice.

While collegiality ranked high among the women the authors spoke to, working for a company rather than a law firm can have some other perks – e.g., more predictable hours and no real need for rainmaking. So, here’s our question for you:

Why did you choose to go in-house, and what makes you stay?

Leave a comment below or email me.

Need to Know:

  • A former Google deputy general counsel will run the U.S. Patent Office.
  • Scientific Games named a new general counsel.
  • Two thirds of GCs feel worse about the economy.
  • American Express named an interim general counsel during a company reshuffling.
  • The chief counsel in Kellogg’s Europe, the Middle East and Africa division is headed to Archer Daniels Midland.
  • Liberty Property Trust named a new general counsel.

Follow us on Twitter for In-House news and discussion: @TDRInHouse

Discrimination suit against sheriff dismissed

dismissalA discrimination case against the Calvert County sheriff has been dismissed.

A U.S. District Court judge dismissed a case filed by a former deputy sheriff who claimed his contract had not been renewed because he had medical issues and his replacement was younger.

Former deputy Michael E. Sullivan sued Sheriff Michael Evans personally and sought reinstatement to his old position.

Sullivan claimed violations under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Judge James K. Bredar, however, held that in order to get his job back, Sullivan would have to sue Sullivan in his official capacity, not his personal capacity.

Bredar therefore granted the sheriff’s motion to dismiss the lawsuit, dismissed Sullivan’s claims and closed the case in an order issued Thursday.

In-House Interrogatory

How can in-house counsel ensure they are handling insurance claims properly?

An article in Corporate Counsel details when general counsels should call outside insurance coverage counsel. Most in-house counsel end up with routine claims on their desk, but the article suggests they bring in outside help in some circumstances. Examples include:

  • Environmental claims
  • Wrongful death or injury claims involving asbestos or drug
  • Construction defect claims
  • Business interruption claims
  • Professional liability claims
  • Directors and officers claims
  • When coverage is denied 

Here’s our question for you:

Under what circumstances would you bring in outside help on an insurance claim?

Leave a comment below or email me.

Need to Know:

  • The White House’s general counsel was slated to leave at the end of the year, but has agreed to stay until spring.
  • In-house lawyers with out-of-state licenses can now do pro bono work in New York.
  • Abercrombie & Fitch’s general counsel has gone back to the law firm he worked at before joining the clothing company.
  • Facebook’s former general counsel is joining a venture capital firm.

Follow us on Twitter for In-House news and discussion: @TDRInHouse