Yerra Conference Europe for In-House Legal & Compliance

The 5th Annual Yerra Conference Europe will be in London on Oct. 11, 2017, at Glaziers Hall.

Yerra says it will be an exclusive event for legal, IP, eDiscovery and compliance professionals, with speakers from UBS, Roche, BT, GSK and more.


09:00 – 09:30 | Breakfast and Registration

09:30 – 09:40 | Welcome Message and Yerra Update
Rajitha Boer, Founder & CEO, Yerra Solutions

09:40 – 10:55 | Keynote Address – When Governance Controls Fail
Michael Woodford, Author, Whistle-blower and former President and CEO of Olympus Corp.

10:55 – 11:15 | Morning Break & Book Signing (Michael Woodford)

11:15 – 12:00 | Establishing an End-to-End In-house eDiscovery Service in a Global Financial Services Institution
Siegrun Heberle, Executive Director, UBS
David Kern, Director, Head Data Processing & Hosting, eDiscovery Technology Service, UBS

12:00 – 12:30 | Panel Discussion on Regulatory Trends
Catherine Contiguglia, London-based Finance Reporter, Politico
Aditya Prakash, Chief Innovation Officer & Head of Client Services, Yerra Solutions

12:30 – 13:30 | Networking Lunch – The Story of London Bridge
Vanessa Harding, Professor of London History, University of London

13:30 – 14:30 | Everything You Always Wanted to Know About High Performing Teams (But Were Afraid to Ask)
Max Huebner, Director Corporate Legal and Tax, PGGM N.V.
Chris Fowler, General Counsel, BT

14:30 – 15:15 | Spend Management Simplified
Karin Bruehlmann,Head of Legal Service Controlling, Roche

15:15 – 15:25 | Afternoon Break

15:25 – 16:10 | Managing Third Party Risk in the Supply Chain
Anthony Kenny, Assistant General Counsel, GlaxoSmithKline

16:10 – 17:10 | Afternoon Keynote – Assessing Risk and Making Better Decisions
Caspar Berry, Professional Poker Player & Risk Expert

17:10 – 17:15 | Closing Discussion & Wrap Up
Jerome Raguin, Global COO, Yerra Solutions

17:15 – 19:30 | Networking Reception & Poker Workshop

Register for the event.



Trump’s Impact Felt in Supreme Court Labor Rights Cases

When the Supreme Court opens its 2017 term on the first Monday in October, its very first cases will serve as a stark reminder of why elections matter, predicts USA Today.

Reporter Richard Wolf writes that the upcoming term stands “a real chance of being a one-two punch against workers’ rights,” says Claire Prestel, associate general counsel for the Service Employees International Union.

Wolf points out how things have changed:

When the court was asked to hear three cases on labor arbitration agreements last September, Barack Obama was president, Hillary Clinton was heavily favored to succeed him, and federal appeals court Judge Merrick Garland was in line to replace the late Antonin Scalia. Garland had a strong record of defending workers’ rights.

Read the USA Today article.


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The Evolving Role of the GC in Risk and Crisis – Complimentary Article

Risk managementThe National Association of Corporate Directors has published an article that outlines five key steps to help companies prevent negative headline events and respond when a crisis can’t be avoided. The article can be downloaded from the NACD website.

With social media as an accelerant, a smoldering corporate crisis or failure can almost instantly flare into the firestorm of a viral headline event. In this recent interview in NACD Directorship magazine, Robert E. Bostrom outlines the five key steps companies can follow. He strongly recommends that companies take the following measures:

  • Establish an enterprise-wide risk committee.
  • Proactively evaluate and prioritize a broad portfolio of risks.
  • Empower the GC as the representative on risk to the board.
  • Use risk management as a business tool for evaluating strategies, plans, and investments.
  • Strategize and plan for managing negative events.

Bostrom provides some strong insights into the role of the GC in both preventing and managing crises. He also offers his thoughts on how boards and management must align in order to prevent (or survive) headline events.

Download the article.



White Paper: Electronic Signature Security & Trust

eSignLive by VascoeSignLive by Vasco has published a white paper discussing the importance of making sure electronic signature providers meet the highest security standards. The paper can be downloaded from eSignLive’s website.

Security is at the core of a trusted digital experience between a company, its employees and customers, says eSignLive.

That means more than simply passing an audit. eSignLive recommends taking a broader view of e-signature security that also addresses:

  • Choosing the appropriate level of authentication
  • Protecting signatures and documents from tampering
  • Making it easy to verify e-signed records
  • Ensuring vendor-independent records
  • Verifying the vendor has a consistent track record of protecting customer data
  • Creating end-to-end trust through white-labeling and integration with your existing IAM framework

Download the white paper.



Announcing LawGeex 4.0 – Contract Review Automation

LawGeexLawGeex, developer of an AI contract review platform for businesses, has launched product enhancements that provide more control, speed and consistency than ever before.

LawGeex combines machine learning algorithms and text analytics to quickly review and approve everyday contracts, helping businesses answer the question “Can I sign this?”

The new features and significant design upgrade empower customers to have deeper and wider control of their AI-powered reviews, contract editing and approval process, the company said in a release.

One of the main features of the latest release is more granular control when creating legal policies in the LawGeex Policy Center. The introduction of specific variations of legal concepts allows businesses more granular control in clause concepts they want to see — and do not want to see — in contracts before signing them. Based on these pre-set policies, the LawGeex’s AI can automatically accept, red flag or reject clauses in incoming contracts., and a revamp of LawGeex’s Action Center.

Another feature of the new release is a revamp of LawGeex’s action center — where the contract can be edited after the AI’s first line of defense. When reviewing a contract within LawGeex, customers can now clearly see which of their policies were applied to each clause and can red-line the contract within the platform, instantly inserting their company’s standard clause language with one click (LawGeex also provides default language). Users also have full visibility on their company’s clause definitions, fallback positions, tips, and more, during the editing process, bringing an unparalleled transparency and cohesiveness between a company’s policies and the actual contract review. The enhancements also include improved layout for LawGeex AI-reviewed contracts. Clauses are grouped simply by their status as “Missing” or “Present”, and reviewers are simply able to manually override the acceptance or rejection of clauses.

Read more about the release.



Register for the Innoxcell Annual Symposium – USA Series

The Innoxcell Annual Symposium 2017 USA Series (IAS) scheduled for Oct. 12 in San Francisco focuses on USA – Asia Cross Border Litigation and Investigation matters.

The event will be at Park Central – 50 Third Street San Francisco, CA 94103 (Financial District).

This conference is for U.S. companies operating in Asia. C-level, In-house counsel, compliance, audit and risk professionals should attend to gain insight knowledge on cross border litigation, investigation, data privacy, mitigation risks and antitrust matters.

‘Complimentary tickets are available  for corporate counsel, compliance, investigation and risk professionals.


  • Crossing Border: Dispute Resolution, Corporate Compliance and Investigations
  • Fighting Fraud, Bribery and Corruption
  • Carried Out Antitrust Investigation in Asia
  • Procurement Fraud – Prevent – Detect and Investigate
  • Criminal Defense and Dealing with the Investigating Authorities
  • Economic Uncertainty, Unethical Conduct: How Should Over-Burdened Compliance Functions Respond?
  • Legal Risk Control of Investment & International Joint Venture – Due Diligence, Core Terms, Negotiation and Execution
  • Fraud, Bribery & Corruption Impact on International Arbitration
  • The Bedtime Story – A Journey to the Dark Side of International Business and Steps to Protect Your Organization
  • Mastering Internal Investigations in Japan and Asia Pacific
  • Using AI and Visual Analytics for Investigations

Register for the symposium.



Texas AG Files Suit Against 3 Businesses for High Prices in Storm’s Aftermath

A North Texas gas station chain is among the Texas businesses named in price-gouging lawsuits filed in the wake of Hurricane Harvey, attorney general Ken Paxton’s office announced Tuesday.

One gas station was reported to have charged $6.99 for a gallon of regular gas, and another reportedly charged almost $10. A motel franchisee also attracted the AG’s attention.

“Robstown Enterprises, Inc., which operated the Best Western Plus Tropic Inn in Robstown, charged three times its normal room rate during the weekend Hurricane Harvey hit, authorities said. The news release said Best Western has since ended its relationship with the company,” according to KXAS -TV reporters Brian Roth and Wayne Carter.

Texas law prohibits businesses from charging exorbitant prices for drinking water, food, clothing and fuel during a declared disaster.

Read the KXAS article.

Exclusive Download: Chief Legal Officers 2017 Survey

ACCThe Association of Corporate Counsel has published the ACC Chief Legal Officers 2017 Survey, a vital tool providing legal departments with proprietary benchmarks to help them prepare for resourcing, staffing, and budgeting in the coming year.

Based on responses from nearly 1,100 in-house counsel in 42 countries, the survey offers an opportunity for CLOs to compare their practices to CLOs around the globe.

The 2017 report includes an executive summary, key findings, benchmarking, and a question-by-question analysis of key metrics such as:

  • Key issues CLOs face
  • Staffing by annual revenue and industry
  • Budget changes and plans for 2018
  • Resourcing
  • Internal and external spend

Readers of General Counsel News may receive a 10 percent discount on the survey report by using the code CLOSAVE10.

Download the survey report.




Lawyer Admonished for Helping Client Leak GE Docs to Media

A prominent attorney to whistle-blowers was admonished by a Washington disciplinary panel for helping a fired General Electric in-house attorney leak damaging information about GE to law enforcement officials and journalists, according to a Bloomberg Law report.

Plaintiffs’ lawyer Lynne Bernabei represented Adriana Koeck, who was also a respondent in this case. The ethics charges against Bernabei, Koeck, and a third lawyer—Notre Dame Law Professor G. Robert Blakey—were tied to events that occurred after GE fired Koeck in 2006, explains reporter Samson Habte.

Bernabei and Blakey allegedly advised Koeck to leak confidential GE documents that Koeck downloaded to support a whistle-blower retaliation claim against the company under the Sarbanes-Oxley Ac.

Read the Bloomberg article.


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Phones for VW Lawyer, Emissions Tester Were Lost or Wiped Clean

Volkswagen AG’s top U.S. lawyer and the leader of its emissions-testing lab in California are among the employees whose mobile devices were either lost or erased as the company’s diesel cheating scandal emerged, according to court records made public on Thursday, reports Bloomberg.

David Geanacopoulos, VW Group of America’s senior vice president for public affairs and public policy, was general counsel when, he reported, he lost his phone while en route to Los Angeles International Airport on Dec. 1, 2015, according to the records.

And the company cell phones of Anna Schneider, VW’s senior vice president of industry and government relations, and Matthias Barke, senior director of VW’s emissions test center in Oxnard, California, were “wiped” or erased of data in the months after the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced VW had rigged its vehicles to pass pollution tests, according to the report by Ryan Beene and Margaret Cronin Fisk.

Read the Bloomberg article.


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On-Demand: Sign Legal Clients on the Spot with SMS Electronic Signatures

Esignature - contract -signingAssureSign has posted an on-demand webinar on the use of SMS electronic signatures – a feature new to the legal industry.

The free on-demand webinar is available now, covering such topics as how to create and send documents for signature using SMS text messaging, how to improve your customers’ overall experience, how to close deals faster by leveraging SMS document sending, and how to use audit trails to track a document at each step of the signing process.

On its website, AssureSign says its system has been used on more than 400 million completed electronic signature transactions.

Watch the on-demand webinar.




Christopher M. Carlisle Joins Dykema’s Growing Dallas Office

Dykema announced the addition of Christopher M. Carlisle to its Corporate Finance practice group as a senior counsel in the firm’s growing Dallas office, which has now added four attorneys in the past two months. Prior to joining Dykema, Carlisle practiced at Locke Lord LLP before spending five years working as in-house transactional counsel at Dean Foods.

Carlisle’s practice is primarily focused on business transactions. He has experience in the creation and reorganization of business entities and equity investment structures, including partnerships, corporations and limited liability companies. In a release, the firm also said he also counsels clients in planning, negotiating and documenting different types of investment transactions, including mergers, acquisitions and asset purchases, as well as commercial lending. Carlisle also has experience in matters related to federal and state securities laws, and federal business income tax.

Carlisle spent several years as in-house counsel to a large, Dallas-based public company in the food and beverage manufacturing industry, where he provided advice on commercial transactions and regulatory compliance.

“Chris is a highly credentialed transactional lawyer who combines large firm training with meaningful in-house experience,” said Chris Kratovil, Managing Member of Dykema’s Dallas office. “We’re very excited to add him to our Dallas office.”

Carlisle earned a J.D. from the University of Michigan Law School and a B.A. from St. John’s College.



Attend the World’s Largest Gathering of In-House Counsel

AQCC annual meetingThe Association of Corporate Counsel will hold its next annual meeting Oct. 15-18 in Washington D.C.

The organization is offering an exclusive $125 discount on the registration fee for readers of General Counsel News who register by August 31. Readers may use the code GCNEWS to receive the discount.

The ACC bills the event, which draws thousands of in-house counsel from around the world, as the world’s largest gathering of in-house counsel.

Organizers have recently added a law department operations boot camp, titled “How to Gain Traction: A Boot Camp for Leaders of Early-Stage Legal Operations Functions.” The bootcamp is designed for corporate legal department leaders only.

The featured speaker will be Don Tapscott, CEO of the Tapscott Group. He is a best-selling author and the world’s leading authority on blockchain and other disruptive technologies.

Here is a schedule of activities.

Register or get more information.






Third-Party Risk Management Feedback Needed

Risk managementIndependent marketing research firm Phase5 is conducting a comprehensive study on the current state of third-party risk management and is seeking input.

Confidential responses will be aggregated with other responses, summarized, and published in a comprehensive report.

A spokesman said anyone participating will receive a copy of the final report. That report will show how others manage their third-party risk and due diligence processes and discover techniques for effectively reducing legal risk.

Take the survey.




3 Ways to Transition Your Committee Effectively

The National Association of Corporate Directors has published a guide to leading practices for key committee succession planning and new-director onboarding.

The guide is available from the NACD’s website at no charge.

To meet current and future skill requirements effectively, board-succession planning and the board’s director-recruitment and onboarding efforts require a more farsighted approach, one based on a time horizon aligned with the company’s long-term strategy, NACD says.
NACD recently convened Fortune 500 committee chairs in a joint meeting of the Audit Committee and Nominating and Governance Committee Chair Advisory Councils. The discussion highlighted three key points, which all directors—and audit committee and nominating and governance committee chairs in particular—should keep in mind:
1. Purposeful coordination is essential to planning committee-chair rotation or succession.
2. Financial expertise is a necessary ingredient for service on the audit committee, but alone, it is insufficient.
3. Broaden the leadership profile when recruiting an audit committee chair.

Download the resource.




DLA Piper Adds Gislar Donnenberg to Corporate Practice in Houston

DLA Piper announced that Gislar Donnenberg has joined the firm’s corporate practice as a partner in Houston.

Donnenberg focuses his practice largely on capital markets matters in the energy sector, where he has more than 20 years of experience representing both public and private companies engaged in the exploration, production and distribution of natural gas, crude oil and refined petroleum products. He has represented dozens of clients in high-value deals, including IPOs, public equity and debt offerings and mergers and acquisitions, including “drop-downs” from MLP sponsors, according to a release from the firm.

The release continues:

“The energy markets continue to adapt to fast-changing economic conditions, and DLA Piper’s addition of leading lawyers like Gislar enable us to better serve our clients and expand our representation,” said John Gilluly, DLA Piper’s US chair of the Corporate practice. “We will continue to strategically grow our capabilities in the energy sector to further serve our clients’ needs and to help them achieve their goals.”

Donnenberg also advises clients on corporate governance issues, including those related to regulatory compliance, executive compensation, acquisition structuring and conflicts committees. He has experience in the real estate, aviation, chemicals and healthcare sectors in addition to his work in the energy industry.

“Gislar adds key energy experience to DLA Piper’s leading global energy and capital markets practices. He represents both issuers and underwriters and has significant experience advising public company boards and officers,” said Jack Langlois, DLA Piper’s Houston managing partner and US co-chair of the Energy sector. “Gislar’s extensive experience leading IPOs, MLPs and other capital markets transactions and his relationships with leading energy investment advisors will be tremendous resources for new and existing clients.”

DLA Piper is renowned for its deal-making prowess in the energy space, and I’m excited to join a team of this high caliber,” added Donnenberg.

Prior to joining DLA Piper, Donnenberg was a partner with Paul Hastings LLP. He received his J.D. from the University of Texas School of Law, and his Ph.D. and M.A. from the University of Innsbruck, Austria.



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Download: Guide to Conducting Internal Investigations

Employment - personnel - investigation - magnifyerClutch Group has published a new book, Guide to Conducting Internal Investigations, providing best practices and guidance for those conducting or overseeing investigations, including boards of directors, general counsel and corporate executives in both the U.K. and the U.S.

Totaling 45 pages, parts 1 and 2 are available now for complimentary download.

As more regimes increase their regulatory enforcement efforts around the globe, internal investigations have become “business as usual” for many companies, especially those in highly regulated industries. But there is no regulatory blueprint for what are accepted standards and practices, and this puts companies at a disadvantage with regulators.

Co-authored with Jake McQuitty of TLT Solicitors, it is not a legal text book but a practical guide; shedding light on what a good investigation looks like whilst guiding investigators though the myriad issues that can arise.

Download the guide.




PwC to Pay $1 Mln to Settle Merrill Lynch Audit Complaint

PwCReuters is reporting that accounting company PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP will pay $1 million to settle a civil complaint alleging it conducted a flawed audit into Merrill Lynch’s compliance with federal brokerage customer protection rules, U.S. audit watchdogs said on Wednesday.

“The PCAOB’s penalty against PwC comes a little over a year after the Securities and Exchange Commission ordered Bank of America’s Merrill Lynch to pay $415 million to settle charges it had put its brokerage clients’ cash at risk in violation of customer protection rules,” writes Sarah N. Lynch.

Read the Reuters article.


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Microsoft Announces Plans to Nearly Phase Out Billable Hour

MicrosoftBloomberg Law reports that Microsoft hopes to shift 90 percent of its legal work into alternative fee arrangements within two years — in an effort to move away from the billable hour.

Microsoft has been re-evaluating how it works with law firms, according to David Howard, a corporate vice president and deputy general counsel at the company.

“It made several key decisions in the process, including to hire more law firms on a retainer basis and to work more closely with them on their diversity,” reporter Gabe Friedman writes. “[Howard] also said the company is rapidly moving away from the billable hour, and named a dozen law firms that have embraced alternative fee arrangements, such as fixed fees, that Microsoft views as its strategic partners.”

Read the Bloomberg article.




Law Firm Releases Documents in Litigation, Angering Monsanto

Image by Mike Mozart

Documents released Tuesday in a lawsuit against Monsanto raised new questions about the company’s efforts to influence the news media and scientific research and revealed internal debate over the safety of its highest-profile product, the weed killer Roundup, reports The New York Times.

Monsanto said it was outraged by the documents’ release by Baum, Hedlund, Aristei & Goldman, writes Danny Hakim.

“There is a standing confidentiality order that they violated,” said Scott Partridge, vice president of global strategy for Monsanto. He said that while “you can’t unring a bell,” Monsanto would seek penalties on the firm.

A partner in the firm said Monsanto had failed to file a motion seeking continued protection of the documents, but the company said no such filing was necessary.

Read the NYT article.


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