Uber Looking for New General Counsel Amid Increasingly Dicey Legal Issues

UberUber has picked an interesting time to shuffle the top ranks of its legal team. points out  .

A company email indicates that CEO Travis Kalanick said he plans to search for an external hire to fill the role. The general counsel search started after Uber moved its  longtime general counsel, Salle Yoo, to chief legal officer.

Uber is facing a federal Department of Justice probe as well as a major lawsuit from Alphabet.

“Given Uber’s myriad of thorny legal issues, along with an ongoing investigation into allegations of pervasive sexism and sexual harassment, that search should be an interesting one for the company to conduct,” writes Bhuyan.

Read the recode.net article.


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Download: In-House Counsel’s Legaltech Buyer’s Guide

LawGeex, a provider of an AI contract review platform for businesses, has launched The In-House Counsel’s LegalTech Buyer’s Guide – a free, downloadable guide that showcases more than 100 must-know technology solutions which solve the daily challenges faced by in-house lawyers.

The book includes practical advice based on dozens of interviews, real life experiences and personal recommendations from in-house lawyers and legal experts who have used technology to cut costs and reduce legal inefficiency. Lawyers came from companies including Pearson, AIG, TabTale, Travelocity, Vodafone, NetApp, Del Monte, Axalta Coating Systems, Tongal and Novartis.

The book includes:

  • 60+ page practical and jargon-free reference guide
  • 100+ top technology solutions for legal departments
  • Personal recommendations and stories from dozens of in-house lawyers and legal experts
  • Explanations of an in-house legaltech buying journey, including barriers to adoption, establishing and monitoring KPIs, and more

Download the guide.



Managing Partners Say Their Lawyers Are Underperforming and Slow to Change

Bloomberg Law reports on a survey of nearly 400 managing partners and chairs, finding that the leaders of Big Law firms in the U.S. don’t seem to be very happy with recent changes — or lack thereof — in their firms.

“In response to survey questions posed by legal management consulting firm Altman Weil, 88 percent of respondents said they have chronically underperforming lawyers, 61 percent said overcapacity is diluting their profitability, and 65 percent said their partners resist most efforts to change how to they do business,” writes . “This comes at a time when most (72 percent) law firm leaders said the pace of change in the legal industry will only continue to increase in the coming years.”

One of the findings is that business is moving in-house, and managing partners recognize that: 67.9 percent of respondents said they are already losing business to in-house legal departments.

Read the Bloomberg article.


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June 28 Event: Experts Explore Ways to Control Litigation Costs

Bloomberg BNABig Law Business and Catalyst will present a complimentary event in San Francisco, Successful Legal Department Management: Innovation to Control Litigation Costs and Ensure Compliance to discover how today’s top law firms are pairing innovation with technology to move litigation control in-house and on-budget.

The event will be Wednesday, June 28, 2017, 3:30-5:30 p.m. at the Bloomberg LP office at 3 Pier #101 in San Francisco 94111.

Leading in-house and outside counsel will discuss where they believe legal departments face the most pressure and how to successfully transform the management of litigation.

In addition, this event will explore:

  • The necessity of developing new and innovative approaches for managing departments to keep litigation costs low
  • How to prepare teams, departments and businesses to identify the benefits of technology
  • How to effectively prepare for litigation, from initial investigations to trial

Register for the event.



Congressman Targets Assistant General Counsel Over Political Activism

The assistant general counsel of a New Jersey-based bank company says she found herself in a touchy situation after a U.S. Congressman complained to her employer about her activism that targeted the lawmaker.

WNYC describes what happened:

The most powerful congressman in New Jersey, Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen, wrote a fundraising letter in March to a board member of a local bank, warning him that a member of an activist group opposing the Republican worked at his bank.

The employee was questioned and criticized for her involvement in NJ 11th for Change, a group that formed after the election of Donald Trump and has been pressuring Frelinghuysen to meet with constituents in his district and oppose the Trump agenda.

“Needless to say, that did cause some issues at work that were difficult to overcome,” said Saily Avelenda of West Caldwell, New Jersey, who was a senior vice president and assistant general counsel at the bank before she resigned. She says the pressure she received over her political involvement was one of several reasons she decided to leave.

Read the WNYC article.



American Beverage Association Promotes New SVP/Deputy GC

The American Beverage Association (ABA) announced the promotion of Sean Krispinsky to senior vice president and deputy general counsel for the association.

“Sean has proven himself to be a trusted resource for both ABA and our member companies and we look forward to his continued counsel as part of the senior management team,” said Susan K. Neely, president and chief executive officer. “His legal acumen and leadership on complex issues has been crucial to the success of our association.”

As senior vice president and deputy general counsel, Krispinsky will continue his work in ABA’s legal department. He is responsible for advising ABA and its members on legal and regulatory issues affecting the beverage industry at the local, national and international levels. These issues include, among others, sales restrictions, bottle deposit systems, taxation, labeling requirements, political law, ingredient safety and advertising. The non-alcoholic beverage industry employs more than 240,000 people with a direct economic impact of more than $169 billion and helps to support hundreds of thousands more that depend, in part, on beverage sales for their livelihoods.

“I feel fortunate to have the opportunity to work with some of America’s most iconic companies that lead on the tough issues,” Krispinsky said. “I look forward to continuing to offer them counsel as they put forward bold solutions and take on challenges ahead.”

Prior to this promotion, Krispinsky served at ABA as vice president and deputy general counsel. Before joining ABA, Krispinsky practiced law at Latham & Watkins, an international law firm. During his tenure, he developed litigation strategies for and briefed challenges to various business regulations, including product bans and restrictions, taxes and disclosure laws and successfully contested and defended executive agency actions at both the federal and state level. He also provided clients with litigation counseling and authored numerous briefs in federal and state appellate courts on a range of issues, including novel constitutional, statutory, administrative, criminal, national security and environmental matters. Krispinsky maintains an active pro bono practice and served as lead appellate counsel before the Second and Ninth Circuits on immigration matters.

Prior to joining Latham & Watkins, Krispinsky served as a judicial clerk for the Honorable Ruth V. McGregor, chief justice of the Arizona Supreme Court. During law school, he was a legal intern in the Office of the Solicitor General at the U.S. Department of Justice and in the General Counsel’s Office, Office of Administration in the Executive Office of the President at The White House.

Krispinsky received his juris doctorate, magna cum laude, and was awarded the Order of the Coif from The George Washington University Law School. He holds a bachelor’s degree in international studies and political science from the University of LaVerne. Krispinsky and his wife, Rebekah, live in Santa Fe, N.M., with their two children.


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Report: Uber Fired In-House Lawyers for Seeking Advice From Outside Firms

San Francisco Business Times is reporting that Uber fired two of its lawyers late last year after they sought advice from other law firms, a move Uber reportedly considered a fireable offense.

Reporter  follows up on a report from The Information that says the lawyers reached out for input on proposed policy changes at the San Francisco-based ride-hailing giant related to how long internal documents and company data are retained. The firings were “followed by the departure of three other lawyers over the next few months.”

The article continues:

The unrest in Uber’s litigation team was apparently sparked by a proposal from Uber’s general counsel related to “how the company handles corporate documents and other company data,” according to The Information.

“The two lawyers had expressed concerns to some colleagues about the new policy, according to two people briefed about the issue. The specific concerns couldn’t be learned. The lawyers contacted several outside law firms to solicit an opinion about the proposed policy, a move that Uber deemed to be a breach of their responsibilities to the company, these people said.”

Read the SF Business Times article.

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Just Released: Study of Effective Legal Spend Management

In its new Study of Effective Legal Spend Management, Exterro reveals how more than 50 in-house legal decision makers are leveraging new strategies for reducing legal spend at their organizations.

More than 20 legal spend management techniques are analyzed and compared against one another, giving readers the needed insight for effectively minimizing legal costs within their own legal departments, the company says on its website.

The study provides:

  • Insight on how leading legal departments are managing spend and controlling costs
  • Survey results on frequently asked legal spend questions
  • New strategies for controlling your legal spend at your organization

Download the complimentary report.


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Governance Challenges 2017 – Complimentary Report

National Association of Corporate DirectorsThe National Association of Corporate Directors annually collaborates with its five strategic-content partners to provide guidance for boards of directors on a hot-button governance issue. This year’s topic is ESG, or environmental, social, and governance oversight — an issue that strongly impacts corporate sustainability.

The NACD has made the report available for downloading at no charge.

The report provides ESG guidance in order to help directors:

  • ensure the board and executive team have the right skills for driving ESG performance;
  • connect environmental and social issues to the company’s business mission;
  • communicate the company’s environmental and social efforts to investors, and to stakeholders;
  • understand the financial impact of climate risks and improve related disclosures; and
  • link compensation to financial results and ESG factors.

Download the report.



The Burden Of Keeping In-House Secrets

In-house lawyers often are brought into a myriad of issues they may wish they had been left out of, points out Stephen R. Williams in a post on Above the Law.

He illustrates his point by describing a case he encountered in his role as in-house counsel with a multi-facility hospital network. An executive approached him and revealed that a well-known and well-liked employee was about to be fired.

“After asking a couple rather high-level and routine HR questions, I blessed the dismissal and took my leave only to bump into the employee in question a few steps down the hallway,” writes Williams. “While I was not bound by any form of attorney-client privilege at that point, I knew there was absolutely no way I could tell that employee they had better reconsider their summer vacation plans.”

He tells how he dealt with the situation during the next three weeks. He also discusses dealing with standard office gossip in an HR context.

Read the Above the Law article.



Kim Technologies Launches Intelligent Legal Operations Platform

Kim Technologies has announced the launch of its Intelligent Legal Operations Platform, which allows in-house teams to automate various law department processes quickly and easily without the need for IT development or coding.

The award-winning Kim platform is already being used by a number of Global 100 companies for activities ranging from contract and in-life management, litigation and employment, to compliance, patents and property. More information can be found here.

Real world examples of how global law departments are using the technology will be demonstrated by in-house leaders at two sessions during the Corporate Legal Operations Consortium in Las Vegas May 9-11.

And the developer will present a complimentary forthcoming webinar at 11.30 ET on May 25: How Kim’s no-code AI platform is transforming legal departments around the globe.

See details of the new platform.



2nd Annual CLOC Institute Set for Las Vegas May 9-11

CLOCThe Corporate Legal Operations Consortium will hold its 2nd Annual CLOC Institute on May 9-11, 2017 at Bellagio Resort in Las Vegas.

Known as the largest gathering of legal operations professionals in the world, this year’s conference will feature more than 70 sessions and 120 speakers. More information can be found in a press release here.

To see a list of all the sessions, click here.

Some session highlights and speakers include:

  • “Was It Something I Said?: Advanced Workshop on the Role of Personality in a Successful Law Department,” featuring Larry Richard of LawyerBrain (pre-session on May 8);
  • “The Future is Closer Than You Think: A Conversation with Richard Susskind,” featuring Richard Susskind, author of “Tomorrow’s Lawyers”;
  • “Legal Operations Maturity Model: How Do You Rate?”;
  • “Beyond the Hype about AI: Practical Applications of Artificial Intelligence in Today’s Law Department”;
  • “Knowledge Management: What, Why and How”; and
  • “Big Thinker Panel: CLOC’s Magna Carta for the Corporate Legal Services Industry,” (two-part session).

Register for the event.



Big Law Business Summit Set for May 24

Bloomberg Big Law Business will host its 3rd annual Summit in Manhattan.

The event will be Wednesday, May 24, 2017, at Bloomberg LP, 731 Lexington Ave., New York, NY 10022, from noon until 6 p.m. A networking lunch and cocktail reception will be included.

Attendance is by invitation only. Anyone interested in an invitation may submit a request.

The agenda is available online.

Some of the speakers will include:

  • Peter Beshar, Executive Vice President and General Counsel, Marsh & McLennan Companies
  • Matthew Cooper, Executive Vice President, Head of Legal, Capital One Financial
  • Stephen Cutler, Vice Chairman, JPMorgan Chase
  • Eric Grossman, Chief Legal Officer and Managing Director, Morgan Stanley
  • Deborah Kaback, Chief Legal Officer, Oppenheimer Asset Management
  • Aristedes Mahairas, FBI Special Agent in Charge, Special Operations/Cyber Division, New York Office
  • Manisha Sheth, Executive Deputy Attorney General for Economic Justice Division, Office of the New York State Attorney General
  • Patrick Speice, Assistant General Counsel, Regulatory and Compliance, United States Steel Corporation
  • Mary Jo White, Senior Chair, Debevoise & Plimpton

Request an invitation here.



4th Big Law Business Diversity Symposium Set for May 10

Diversity - employmentBloomberg Big Law Business is convening leaders of corporate legal departments and law firms to address the diversity and inclusion challenge at a unique invitation-only event – the 4th Big Law Business Diversity Symposium.

The event will take place 8-10 a.m. Wednesday, May 10, 2017, at Bloomberg Government, 1101 K St NW, Suite 500, in Washington, DC 20005.

Request your invitation today to attend sessions such as:

Leading the Profession: Success Stories
Corporate legal departments see the most successful relationships when their goals and their law firm’s priorities are aligned. Hear how peers are approaching this effort and measuring success.

Inspiring Accountability: A Workshop
Big Law Business will facilitate a workshop on how to have the tough conversations on accountability for diversity and inclusion measures. Explore solutions to inspire leaders to create the incentives, models, and structures to increase diversity and stronger inclusion of ideas and skills in the profession.

Symposium Wrap-Up
Accountability measures that resonate: how the workshop results match back to traditional measurements of progress in the diversity of the legal profession.

The event is sponsored by Major, Lindsey & Africa and Quarles & Brady.

Request an invitation.



Download: Connecting the General Counsel and the Board

board of directors - conference tableThe National Association of Corporate Directors has published a guide that reviews the three main indicators of an effective partnership between the general counsel and the board. The guide is available for free downloading.

Those three indicators include:

  • aligned role expectations
  • open and direct communication
  • enhanced dialogue on risk oversight

Over the past few years, the role of the general counsel has grown in both scope and stature, the NACD says on its website. Once seen purely as legal advisors, many general counsel now spend much of their time serving as strategic advisors, regularly providing strategic direction to the CEO and to the board of directors.

General counsel should recognize that directors’ expectations of them go beyond their traditional legal role and that their unique legal and ethical perspective strengthens their ability to help mitigate organizational risk.

Download the guide.




U.S. District Judge Sounds Off on Law Firms’ High Billing Rates

Banking - investing - money - advisorsThe invisible hand of the free market hasn’t been able to exert much control over law firm billing rates, U.S. District Judge Jed S. Rakoff said at a Cardozo School of Law panel discussion about the high cost of the legal system, reports Bloomberg Law.

Rakoff cited a 2016 report that showed average hourly rates for partners rose from $122 in 1985 to $532 in 2012, as average associates rates grew from $79 to $370.

Reporter  quotes Rakoff as asking: “Why isn’t the free market operating?” The  answer, he said, lies in the fact that the legal profession operates much like a guild, with “substantial barriers to entry,” not least of which is the cost of a legal education.

Read the Bloomberg article.


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Companies Use Diversity Data to Hold Law Firms Accountable

Diversity - employmentLegal departments aren’t just asking their outside law firms to field diverse groups of attorneys — they’re asking those firms to put attorneys in leadership positions, and they’re asking for data to back it up, reports Bloomberg Law.

Facebook bow requires outside counsel working on its projects to have at least 33 percent women and ethnic minorities. In addition, the firms must show they are actively creating “clear and measurable leadership opportunities for women and minorities” in the company’s legal matters, The New York Times reported.

“Facebook’s new policy comes on the heels of HP’s announcement in February that it would start withholding fees from law firms that don’t meet diversity requirements,” writes .

Read the Bloomberg article.


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Client Fires Morgan Lewis for ‘Enabling’ Trump

Wallace Global Fund wasn’t Morgan Lewis & Brockius’ biggest client, but it still made a big splash when it fired the BigLaw firm because it is “enabling” President Trump to use his new office for his own personal gain.

Bloomberg Law reports that that H. Scott Wallace, co-chair of the Wallace Global Fund, fired the firm in a letter to chair Jami McKeon.

“The letter points the finger at Morgan Lewis partner Sherri Dillon, who appeared next to the president in a Jan. 11 press conference, where she announced she had devised a plan so that the public could rest easy that Trump’s sprawling real estate, hotel and other business interests would not create any conflicts with his elected role,” writes .

The letter cites Trump’s business meetings at his Florida resort, Trump’s criticism of Nordstrom’s for dropping his daughter’s clothing line, and other reasons.

Read the Bloomberg article.



Notes on a Law Firm Pitch From an In-House Attorney

PresentationDennis Garcia, Microsoft Corp, assistant general counsel, offers an insider’s perspective on how in-house counsel trying to “sell” themselves to their business clients and senior legal department leaders. His observations are published on the Bloomberg Law website.

He starts at the beginning: “Start Strong:”

“Make sure to capture the hearts and minds of in-house counsel at the  very beginning of your pitch. If you do not generate a high level of enthusiasm, energy and compelling reason for in-house counsel to focus on your message early on in your presentation, you will not command their attention and they will lose interest.”

Other observations come under headings such as: know your audience, keep it simple,differentiate, the technology factor, highlight client references, don’t forget cybersecurity, and post-pitch activity.

Read the Bloomberg article.


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iManage Announces Dates, Details for ConnectLive 2017 User Conference

iManageiManage has announced open registration and a preliminary agenda for its second annual user conference, ConnectLive 2017, scheduled to take place in Chicago, May 24-25, 2017 at the Marriott Magnificent Mile and in London, June 27-28, 2017 at the InterContinental London – The O2 hotel.

Across four days and two continents, ConnectLive 2017 will bring together more than 1,000 iManage customers including CIOs, IT professionals, lawyers, technical architects, legal administrators, professional services firm executives to learn and share ideas on how professional work is changing and how the management of work product is adapting in response to those changes.

The conference will feature four dynamic tracks of educational sessions (business, technical, developer, and industry) focusing on how cloud, AI, mobile and other technologies can be used to securely organize, efficiently share and comprehensively govern high-stakes documents and communications. The agenda is packed with deep dive knowledge tracks and networking opportunities that will enable users to learn about iManage Work to streamline operations, extend work product access to mobile devices, enhance collaboration and secure insights that help them to create new sources of value for their firms.

“ConnectLive is the world’s leading forum for professionals who wish to improve the creation, sharing, and security of work product,” said Neil Araujo, CEO of iManage. “ConnectLive 2017 will deliver iManage’s users actionable intelligence that will allow them to serve their organizations and clients more effectively by enhancing work product productivity and governance.”

“It’s not every conference you get to walk away every day feeling like you’ve really gained something out of it,” said Avi Solomon, CIO, Rumberger, Kirk & Caldwell. “With ConnectLive, you have the iManage personnel on the floor, you’ve got the technical people, you’ve got the administrative people, you’ve got the leaders of the company just mingling with everybody and listening.”

All iManage users are encouraged to register to attend ConnectLive 2017. Click here to learn more about ConnectLive and to register for the upcoming conferences in Chicago and London: https://imanage.com/connectlive/