Firms and Lawyers

In House

When Information Governance and Data Privacy Collide

By Laura Kibbe and Tara Lawler |

The so-called "Big Data" problem has caused many organizations to breathe new life into their record-retention programs. A whole new discipline—information governance—has emerged as a framework to govern the creation, use, retention and disposition of information, as well as the technical platforms on which the information resides. While storage may still be cheap, with the ever-increasing data volumes, even traditional infrastructure organization is being challenged. As a result, more multinational corporations are moving to the cloud as a cost-savings mechanism for everything from email to database storage and document creation, such as Google Docs. In addition, while corporate IT may have been driven by a goal to decentralize over the past several years, the current trend toward centralization of company information to achieve cost savings carries the day today. This all sounds like a great first step in an organization's attempt to get its hand around its own Big Data issues. But what happens when what makes the most business sense might actually be putting the company at risk?

Close up of a Smartphone Camera

Preventing the Leak of Embarrassing Information Online

By Hayes Hunt and Jillian R. Thornton |

You are general counsel to a company, and your CEO steps into your office, clutching his iPhone in one hand and wiping sweat from his brow with the other, and tells you that a compromising photograph of him was stolen from his phone and posted online. You start thinking not if, but when, shareholders will discover this embarrassment, how much it will cost the company and what legal action to take.

Hayes Hunt and Arthur P. Fritzinger

The Rise and Risk of Obstructionist Discovery Tactics

By Hayes Hunt and Arthur P. Fritzinger |

With fewer trials and an increasing focus on using the discovery process to leverage a favorable settlement or resolution, it is common for litigation counsel to be obstructionist during discovery. For example, counsel may interpose depositions with unwarranted boilerplate objections or subtly (or not so subtly) coach the witness by clarifying or commenting on the pending question. While such conduct is often ignored, it has contributed to rising litigation costs throughout the last decade and, as a sanctions order issued at the end of July by a federal judge in the Northern District of Iowa demonstrates, it can severely diminish counsel's credibility before the trial judge. In light of the impact that discovery tactics can have on the cost and success of litigation, it is increasingly important for general counsel to set clear expectations when retaining attorneys to represent the company in litigation.

What to Expect When Your Employees Are Expecting

By Tiffani L. McDonough |

Does an employer have to provide a modified work schedule to a pregnant employee with morning sickness or light duty to a pregnant employee with lifting restrictions? The answer depends on who you ask. Most federal courts say no, but the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission says yes. Fortunately for employers, resolution of this issue is on the horizon.

10 Tips to Increase Your Chances for a Successful Mediation

By Steven Atlee and Diana Cho |

If you're headed to a mediation, you're in good company. A recent study of more than 350 Fortune 1000 companies showed that nearly all of them have used mediation in the last three years to resolve a dispute. Compared to other dispute resolution mechanisms, mediation can be attractive for any number of reasons, not the least of which is that you are the master of your own fate and you have the opportunity to resolve matters early on—privately and without the extended costs and risks of litigation.

Avoiding Discovery Disputes Over Attorney-Client Privilege

By David J. Bird |

Companies often wind up in disputes concerning the discovery of reports, memoranda, emails and other documents written by their in-house lawyers in connection with prospective business transactions. Such disputes can raise difficult questions about the scope of the attorney-client communication privilege. No matter what the expectations of in-house lawyers and company executives, it can be hard to predict whether a court will shield such documents from discovery or compel them to be produced to other parties. And the disclosure of potentially privileged documents containing sensitive information and advice can have serious ramifications—not only for a specific case but for a company's long-term interests and objectives.