In House

Three Ways to Avoid Public Fights With Departing Executives

By Debbie L. Berman |

Imagine that a company hires a new chief executive. In the excitement of bringing in a new face, the company focuses only on the new CEO’s salary and benefits. It does not contemplate, let alone address with the CEO, what happens if the relationship does not work out. Then, after a period of poor financial performance by the company, the board decides to terminate the executive. Upset, the ousted chief decides not to go quietly and instead turns to the press for support. The parties wage a battle in the headlines—a venue where, usually, no one comes out a winner. The battle then spills over into litigation, which can include charges of defamation or wrongful termination.

Four Ways to Improve Cybersecurity Via Corporate Culture

By Jason Straight |

Recent high-profile data breaches at large corporations like Sony Corp., Target Corp., JPMorgan Chase & Co. and The Home Depot dispel a persistent fallacy about cybersecurity—that protection of data is a technical problem for the IT department to solve. Many companies already have ramped up spending on technology and IT staff to protect their data, yet there’s little evidence that such a strategy alone is sufficient to address the risks. Often it is not until a major incident occurs that other business stakeholders—most notably the legal department—recognize the full impact a data breach can have on an organization.

Teleicia J.R. Dambreville

Managing Psychiatric Disabilities in the Workplace

By Teleicia J.R. Dambreville |

The National Institute of Mental Health estimates that one in five people will experience a psychiatric disability during their lifetime. With the prevalence of mental impairments, employers are often confronted with the complex issue of managing employees with psychiatric disabilities. Employees suffering from a qualifying psychiatric disability, such as bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, depression or anxiety, are protected from workplace discrimination by Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Employers must be cautious not to run afoul of the ADA's anti-discrimination provisions once they become aware of an employee's psychiatric disability.

Christopher M. Brubaker

Why Cyberrisk Is Not Just an IT Issue, but a Legal One Too

By Christopher M. Brubaker |

Cyberrisk is a conundrum. While sharing characteristics with a wide variety of risks, it is unique in the way these characteristics mesh to form something that is difficult, if not impossible, to truly define or quantify. Consider some of the more common types of cyberrisk for which insurance coverage is available: physical damage to hardware; breach response costs; third-party liability; misuse of social media; and cyberextortion, to name a few. These coverages share characteristics with traditional property, liability, crime and directors' and officers' policies. Cyberrisk is a multidimensional threat with no surefire defenses. Firewalls and antivirus software just aren't enough anymore when it comes to cybersecurity. Whether you are looking at what is at risk, what the threats are, what the defenses are, or what your legal obligations are, there are no simple answers.

Hershey's Approach to Global Ethics and Compliance

By Bob Barker |

When Milton Hershey built his first chocolate factory in 1905, he probably never envisioned the distance shrinking between Pennsylvania and the approximately 70 countries to which The Hershey Co. exports.

Data Is Talking, but Is Your Legal Department Listening?

By Joy Saphla |

Data has a lot to say in today's world, if you know how to speak its language. Businesspeople have become highly fluent, but what about the legal department? Most legal professionals are still stumbling around like tourists in foreign capitals slowly thumbing through the guidebook of common phrases. By understanding what data has to say, legal professionals can collect and analyze information in order to support the underlying business (their clients) with smarter decisions. And this fluency leads to improved risk management and results.

Thomas Sager

The Legal Profession Needs More Givers Than Takers

By Thomas L. Sager |

Those of us who are old hands at practicing law have much to learn from a brilliant young professor at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania about improving our industry's long-term outlook. Adam Grant—the youngest tenured professor at Wharton—has recently published a book titled "Give and Take," which is generating considerable buzz in the business world. He explores the types of interactions we have with others at work and illustrates how people who give without expecting any payoff can transform entire organizations and communities.

Kim M. Watterson and Richard L. Heppner

Making Sense of Class Actions After 'Braun' and 'Dukes'

By Kim M. Watterson and Richard Heppner Jr. |

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court recently affirmed a $187 million jury award to a class of Pennsylvania Wal-Mart employees in Braun v. Wal-Mart Stores, No. 32 EAP 2012, __ A.3d ___ (Pa. 2014). Commenters have suggested Braun conflicts with the U.S. Supreme Court's holding in Wal-Mart Stores v. Dukes, 131 S.Ct. 2541 (2011), that a class may be certified only when the individual class members' claims are susceptible to common proof without reliance on statistical evidence.