In-House Counsel, Politics

House Rules: Déjà Vu All Over Again

I have to start by saying that the more Karl Rove tried to get the anchors to listen to him, the more he sounded like Milton desperately trying to hold on to his red stapler. Of course, that incident in “Office Space” didn’t end so well for the Initech building, but I digress. In any event, it is over — until Monday, when the cycle starts back up again. The most poignant moment for me last night was sharing a Garbage Plate with my son, who will be about to obtain his learner’s permit when the circus next comes to town. My prediction for 2016: Clinton in a landslide victory.

It is with optimism that I look forward to the close of 2012 and Q4. Business has been picking up and there are signs that the slog of economic momentum might continue to gain traction, and no matter your politics, you had better hope so. We all need each other right now, and not in a Kumbaya sort of way. Biglaw feeds off corporations, and corporations (who are people, too) require economies on local as well as global scales to continue to improve. But, as we see in parts of Europe, improvement is relative.

It could be catastrophic for even a single country to flounder, and the tenuous assistance being offered by stronger economies cannot last in perpetuity. Besides, I believe there’s a rule against that. Asia seems to be faring well, and will be a focal point in the next four years. Anyone who believed the blather from both candidates about “punishing” China needs to hear this — bull and sh*t. We rely so very heavily on China for its labor, imports, and other benefits, and China is so very deep into our economy, that any show of judicial force or otherwise is just that, a show….

It is with unending hope that the D.C. gridlock may be broken, or at least shunted to the side at times over the next four years. Business (save for Insurance entities) would be smart to continue to look for opportunities in the policies of the administration. I know of a particular tech company that has broadened its scope into the services sector, and is focusing on the state by state administrative “exchanges” in Obamacare much like a Bedouin views a deep blue oasis of freshwater.

I am not as hopeful when Obama rants about taking punitive steps toward corporations that offshore lines of business in cost cutting measures. Look, it is legal, it is necessary at times, and it can vastly change the way an annual P/L looks at the end of the year. Yes, we may want jobs in America to stay in America, but this is no longer the 1950s. Times change and business models change with the times. Often the business can be ahead of the curve, and sometimes a business has to play catch up.

Just this week, Kodak retirees leaned that parts of their medical benefits will be eradicated. It is no solace to those retirees that it was a necessary step for the company to take to emerge from bankruptcy. Nothing can give solace to loyal workers who are now seeing their monthly personal budgets in turmoil due to poor management by their former employer.

Restructuring has become an accepted term that attempts, but fails, to soften the practical outcome: people losing jobs. My company has publicly announced a 100 million dollar restructuring in the new year. Will I be here next year? I don’t know. But that is the position that I have been in since taking this post. There is no job security today. You can only put your head down, do the best you can, and if worse comes to worst, hope for a severance that allows you the time to find another position.

So it is with hope that I look forward — along with a cautious optimism that everything will work itself out in the end. And for those of you in the path of the Nor’easter that you really don’t need right about now, stay safe.

After two federal clerkships and several years as a litigator in law firms, David Mowry is happily ensconced as an in-house lawyer at a major technology company. He specializes in commercial leasing transactions, only sometimes misses litigation, and never regrets leaving firm life. You can reach him by email at

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