Contracts

Each year, Corporate Counsel compiles a list of the firms that the Fortune 100 companies use as outside counsel. These are the firms that corporate clients turn to when they’ve got bet-the-company litigation. From Exxon Mobil to Apple to Walmart, and everywhere in between, these are the clients with the deepest of pockets, and if you care at all about the business end of the law, then this is a list that you should care about.

But this time around, the list looks a little different. Due to the state of the economy, general counsel are now looking for more ways to reduce costs, and are constantly seeking out alternative fee structures. The firms on this year’s list may have been the ones that were most amenable to such changes.

Without further ado, let’s take a look at which firms topped this year’s list….

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Scalia v. Posner meets Mean Girls

* Someone was finally able to liken the Scalia v. Posner debate to a suitable situation: bitchy mean girls fighting each other in a middle school cafeteria. Seriously, only the inclusion of “like” throughout the entirety of the dialogue could’ve made it better. [lawprofblawg]

* Who pays your law professors’ salary? The obvious answer is law students, since professorial wallets are padded by tuition dollars. But what happens when IBR comes into play and loan debts are forgiven? Then the answer shifts to the taxpayers. [PrawfsBlawg]

* When Derek Boogaard of the New York Rangers died, everyone was expecting that a lawsuit would be filed, but no one really thought that it would be one based on contract law. [New York Law and Legal Analysis Blog]

* What kind of case “really turn[s] on” everyone’s favorite First Amendment lawyer? Free speech cases that are riddled with challenges, of course, and questions about what does and doesn’t constitute porn. [Vegas Inc]

* You must be wondering where Above the Law fell on this ranking of the 15 Most Influential Law Blogs. We won’t give it away, but let’s just say that we now share something in common with Cooley. [Business Insider]

* “[S]ome dude with the munchies is getting a little legal education.” That’s what we thought when one of our top searches last week was “pictures of tacos” — and not even “duck tacos,” but regular ones. [Search Party]

When it comes to women’s undergarments, like thigh-high stockings, consumers often don’t have quite as discerning of an eye as they would when it comes to things like handbags. After all, thigh-highs are predominantly used for sexual romps (unless a woman chooses to wear them to work, and if that were the case, we’d probably question her professional aspirations) — they’re meant to be ogled and salivated over briefly, if at all.

But that surely doesn’t grant the lingerie magnates of the world permission to sell cheaper thigh-high knockoffs at competing prices. According to a new lawsuit filed against Victoria’s Secret, women may be displeased to find out that their once high-quality underthings from Italy are now being manufactured in — gasp! — the land of the denim tuxedo….

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As you will see, it’s not all about the money in life: it’s about health, love, respect, happiness and then at some point about the money, which is the only thing that will survive all of us.

Emel Dilek, the pulchritudinous plaintiff who is suing her former employer for breach of contract. Dilek was the mistress of the company’s former chief operating officer, who hired her; after he passed away, the company fired her.

(A closer look at this sexy plaintiff and her salacious suit, including some rather amusing deposition excerpts, after the jump.)

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* Start spreading the fabulosity: Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley has asked the Supreme Court to grant certiorari on a pair of cases challenging the Defense of Marriage Act. [BuzzFeed]

* Lawrence Lessig wants groups of 300 randomly selected people to craft a constitutional amendment in response to Citizens United. He clearly expects a bit too much of our population. [National Law Journal]

* In South Dakota, your abortion now comes with warnings about an increased risk of suicidal thoughts and suicide. Forget that medical certainty hooey, it’s not constitutionally misleading. [WSJ Law Blog]

* “We do not arrest people because of the color of their skin.” Oh, of course not, Sheriff Arpaio. We totally believe you. But you might stop them, question them, and detain them because of it, right? [New York Times]

* We’ve just got too much Dickinson up in here. And in other Penn State news, the school is now considering a move that may cause at least one of its two law school campuses to lose its accreditation. [Patriot-News]

* Lady Gaga was sued by MGA Entertainment, the maker of Bratz dolls, over her alleged failure to approve a line of dolls made in her image. This is not a company you want to start a bad romance with. [Bloomberg]

* And I am telling you, I’m not going — to grant you parole. William Balfour, the man convicted of murdering Jennifer Hudson’s relatives, was sentenced to three life sentences without the possibility of parole. [CNN]

Nadya Suleman aka Octomom

Back in June, we brought you news of a potential lawsuit against Nadya Suleman, aka Octopussy Octomom, she of the clown car uterus. In an apparent desperate money grab, Suleman entered into a contract with Florida strip club T’s Lounge to perform a topless routine from July 11 to July 14. Unfortunately, she canceled her scheduled appearances after one of the club’s employees allegedly called her “a little crazy” in an interview with a local TV station.

As noted in a prior letter from the attorney for T’s Lounge, the strip joint planned to file suit immediately if Suleman failed to comply with the terms of her performance agreement. And in a filing from July 6 that recently came to light, T’s Lounge did just that, accusing Octomom of performing the ultimate strip tease — apparently she’s scheduled herself to appear at another gentlemen’s club to shake her booty.

Unwilling to accept this, T’s Lounge has asked a Palm Beach County court for an emergency injunction to prevent Suleman from bumping and grinding her post-partum goodies on an alternative greased-up pole….

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Business relationships are kind of like marriages. In the beginning, everyone’s excited, and life is fresh and full of promise. “Things are really going to change around here,” you think. You know that you’re going to need to make some adjustments, some compromises, but it’s all going to be worth it. You ignore small warning signs, such as the fact that your partner sometimes seems to spend a lot on discretionary items. (But at least he only bought nine pairs of Prada shoes during the trip to Italy instead of the 23 he really wanted.)

Then, as you settle into a routine, you may find that, well… things aren’t exactly as you had expected. There are minor annoyances — things that make working together take more time, communication, and effort than you had thought.

And unfortunately, like some marriages, one or more parties figure out that the benefits of the relationship don’t outweigh the negatives, and decide to part ways. You decide that 18,000 pairs of designer shoes is definitely an indication of a problem. Sometimes, the decision to separate is fairly mutual. Other times, one partner is desperately clawing out from under a pile of fancy footwear that the other only continues to build up.

Also like many marriages, at the start of the business relationship, nobody wants to think about how it will end. Ninety-nine percent of engaged couples won’t touch a prenuptial agreement with a ten-foot pole because they absolutely KNOW that they’re truly in love, and no way are they in the group of the more than 50% of married couples who will part before death.

Similarly, nobody likes to think about the business “prenup” (i.e., the termination/transition provisions in a contract) for more than a few microseconds. For example, there’s the uber-lazy version of a catchall survival provision that makes it into some contracts. It basically says as follows: “Everything in this agreement that’s intended to survive termination will survive”….

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It feels like some celebrity gets roasted, fired, or arrested for Twitter comments more often than they do something that should actually earn them celebrity status.

Less often, though, do you see celebrities fighting back against the backlash. But last week, the star running back for one of my least favorite NFL teams won what seems to be a small victory in his legal battle against the apparel company that dropped him after some contentious tweeting.

Which running back ran his mouth off? And what is he doing about it?

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It is no secret that I work for a supply side corporation. While my position largely requires legal advice and support to the “field,” I am thankfully separated from sales by ethics and obligations to the company. I know from email correspondence that many of you also support sales in your companies. I have received several questions related to dealing with the conflict between assisting clients in meeting their, and the corporation’s, quarterly and annual revenue targets, and Legal’s ultimate obligation to the company.

In baser terms, the dichotomy may be viewed as attempting to rein in Mario Williams after a B-12 shot late in the fourth quarter….

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I had today’s column dealing with confidentiality provisions all set to go. However, given the Baylor Law School fiasco, I changed topics to another very contentious issue in business-to-business terms and conditions negotiations: data security. I will take some liberties with the factual scenario of the Baylor data release in order to make the issue more relevant to those of us in-house.

Let’s assume that instead of an employee of Baylor’s admissions office allegedly being responsible for the data release, it was an outside contractor who had been hired to perform data collection for Baylor. Let’s further assume that the contractor acted negligently in releasing the information. Finally, let’s assume that Baylor’s legal counsel vetted the Agreement and Statement of Work (“SOW”) between Baylor and the contractor, and included a data security provision. What should happen now that prospective students’ personal information, including LSAT scores and GPA, are in the public domain? I would begin by stanching the bleeding and assessing the damage….

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