In-House Texas

Eli Lilly: Canada Patent Ruling Violates NAFTA

By Lisa Shuchman |
Julie Lennon is general counsel for Gaedeke Energy in Dallas

Positive Energy

By Jeanne Graham |

Although working in-house was Julie Lennon's original plan when she went to law school, it wasn't until after almost 20 years in private practice that she finally made the move in-house.

Best Practices: Experience, Trust and Success

By Jeanne Graham |

Pay Attention to Contract Managers

By Prashant Dubey |

Computation of Loss Amounts in Healthcare Fraud Cases

By John Helms |

Unless defense counsel objects to the PSR and presents substantial evidence to rebut the PSR's loss calculation, federal district judges are likely to accept the PSR's overstated loss calculations at sentencing. Here's how to address it.

FCPA Real World Practices: Right-to-Audit Contract Clauses

By WES LOEGERING and EVAN SINGER Wes Loegering and Evan Singer |

The U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission have encouraged companies to include FCPA audit rights as part of a robust compliance program. GCs tasked with drafting a right-to-audit clause should consider the following.

Who Topped the List of Best-Paid GCs in Texas?

The average compensation for general counsel at large Texas companies declined by 8.1 percent in 2013 compared to 2012 but still is more than double the average profits per partner at the 25 highest-grossing firms.

Best Practices: Excellence Expected

By Jeanne Graham |

5 Ideas to Help GCs Understand What Makes a Business Work

By Michael P. Maslanka |

General Counsel are Lawyers "Plus." Knowing the law is only part of the job. The rest is in understanding the all too human dynamics that make a company go tick-tock.

Complying With Crowdfunding: Texas Provides Opportunity for Smaller Investors to Get in the Game

By Kevin Vela |

Rather than wait for the SEC to establish the proposed rules for implementation at the federal level, twelve states have gone ahead and adopted their own intrastate crowdfunding rules, and Texas is lined up to be number thirteen.

DOJ's Latest Alternative to Prosecution

By Sue Reisinger |

What is the U.S. Department of Justice's next move to avoid prosecuting a corporation and its leaders? This time it's the restitution and remediation agreement.

Karen R. Miniex, vice president and general counsel, Houston Housing Authority

Helping Houston: GC's Chosen Career Path Continues to Impact Many

By Jeanne Graham |

During the 2.5 years that Miniex has been GC, she has drafted the HHA's first whistleblower policy and an addendum to the agency's lease agreements which prohibits smoking in HHA properties—both adopted by the agency's Board of Commissioners—and streamlined the residential eviction process from 12 to 3 months.


Keys to Invoking Privilege: What Works and What Doesn't

By Michael P. Maslanka |

Issues of attorney-client privilege pervade a general counsel's life. Let's look at some new cases—some with good news and some with not so good news.


Court's Advice on Evidence Preservation Stops Short of Clear Guidance

By Kent Sullivan |

The court's opinion acknowledges that it has left "gap-filling" to the lower courts—perhaps meaning years of ongoing disputes in the lower courts to provide needed clarity.


When Does a Defendant Prevail Under a Prevailing Party Provision?

By Robert L. Paddock and Megan H. Schmid |

Depending upon the importance and the magnitude of the amounts at stake, it may be worth spending more time to draft a prevailing party provision that specifically sets forth the intentions of the parties.


Defining 'Plaintiff' in Third-Party Claims Against Design Professionals

By Matthew J. Mussalli |

The Texas Supreme Court recently ruled how to construe the term "plaintiff" in the context of claims against design professionals and under what circumstances a Certificate of Merit is required.

Consumer Class Action Settlements on the Rise

By Rebekah Mintzer |
Andrew Strong is GC for Kalon Biotherapeutics in College Station

Aggie Builds Biotech: GC, CEO Heads Drug, Vaccine Facility

By Jeanne Graham |

"The legal compliance issues for contracts for drugs that go into humans are very complicated," said Andrew Strong, the president, CEO and general counsel of Kalon Biotherapeutics.

Best Practices: Be an Expert, Vested and a Friend

By Jeanne Graham |

Expert. Vested. Friend. To Andrew Strong, general counsel of Kalon Biotherapeutics, these are the three most important criteria in selecting outside counsel.

The Cold Call in 150 Seconds or Less

By Justin Hectus |

For those of you who have perfected the stiff arm, you may be missing an opportunity. There is both good practice and the potential of value hidden among cold calls.

Low Interest Rates and Their Impact on Sophisticated Estate Planning for Affluent Families

By Glen T. Eichelberger and Mary E. Mason |

For clients with estate and gift tax exposure, the low AFRs afford opportunities for big returns through the use of various techniques designed to shift wealth from senior family members to younger family members.

Estate Planning: 6 Key Areas to Protect Interests for Same-Sex Couples

By Jodi McShan |

Replicating the bundles of benefits included in marriage requires consideration for all aspects of the relationship, from division of possessions to death.

waste paper basket

Avoid These Estates Code Form Blunders

By Richard L. Merrill |

This past January, the Texas Probate Code was incorporated into the Estates Code and all forms were changed to reflect as much.

Glowing crystal ball

Labor Law: Back to an Uncertain Future

By Rebekah Mintzer |

The U.S. Supreme Court's decision in National Labor Relations Board v. Noel Canning impacts NLRB decisions issued over 18 months.

Todd McTavish, senior vice president, general counsel and chief compliance officer, Multimedia Games Holding Co. Inc., Austin

A Sure Bet

By Jeanne Graham |

A lucky break turned into a great career move for Todd McTavish, senior vice president, general counsel and chief compliance officer of Multimedia Games Inc.

Todd McTavish, senior vice president, general counsel and chief compliance officer, Multimedia Games Holding Co. Inc., Austin

Best Practices: Legal Expertise, Fair Billing

By Jeanne Graham |

Todd McTavish, senior vice president, general counsel and chief compliance officer of Multimedia Games Inc. in Austin., answers questions about best practices.


Writing Lessons for Lawyers From Noir and Poetry: Work Matters Summer Reading List 2014

By Michael P. Maslanka |

It's summer and time for the Work Matters annual summer book review. So, get out the sun lotion, pack up the beach bag and fire up the e-readers.

NLRB, Fifth Circuit Sacrifice Employee Privacy for Speculation

By Jackie Ford |

Given the result from the Fifth Circuit in Frac, employers should review their existing policies with their counsel and consider whether employees might reasonably conclude that any of those policies infringe on their right to engage in concerted activity.

confidential folder

Handle With Care: Train Employees to Handle Protected Health Information

By Anthony T. Ricciardelli |

If one low-level employee has the PHI of 500 individuals on a laptop computer that is stolen by identity thieves and the employee does not report the theft for 30 days, he could single-handedly subject the company to a $1.5 million fine.

sign here

Draft Non-competes Well Now to Win Later

By Rob Radcliff |

Here are five questions the legal department should ask when drafting agreements, with an eye toward making them enforceable.

What Texas Firms Worked on the Big Deals in 2013?

By Brenda Sapino Jeffreys |

Spurred by strength in energy deals and financings, seven Texas firms made the charts in "Corporate Scorecard 2014," The American Lawyer's rankings of the nation's top dealmakers in 2013.

Texas' Top Deals of 2013

By Brenda Sapino Jeffreys |

The following deals, involving at least one Texas-based company, were announced in 2013.

Barry Benton, senior VP and GC, Q2 Holdings Inc. and Q2 Software Inc., Austin

GC = Growth and Change

By Jeanne Graham |

In three years the company has grown from about 80 employees when Benton joined as GC in 2011 to about 460, said Benton.

Best Practices: Learn About the Company

By Jeanne Graham |

Corporate Intelligence: Smart Searching of SEC Filings

By Mary Ann Wacker |

Go beyond basic searching to unlock the goldmine of information in SEC filings.


Employers Under the Gun: Workplace Dynamics Shift Under ADA and ADA Amendments

By Michael P. Maslanka |

The Sixth Circuit's view that the workplace is no longer a physical location but now "anywhere that an employee can perform her job duties" will have wide-ranging consequences for an employer's accommodation obligations under the ADA.

'EEOC v. Ford' Accelerates Telecommuting Issues

By Rebekah Mintzer |

How much is an employee's physical presence in the workplace really worth to employers? Throw into the mix an employee claiming coverage under the Americans with Disabilities Act and the law's recent amendments, and the situation only gets thornier.

Justin M. Puckett, general counsel, MB2 Dental Solutions, Carrollton

Creating Smiles: GC Helps Company Offer Back-Office Support for Dentists

By Jeanne Graham |

"When you look at a group like ours, we can buy equipment and supplies much cheaper than the guy with his own office; it's just pure buying power," said Justin Puckett, general counsel and executive vice president of MB2 Dental Solutions in Carrollton.

Commencement Advice for the Thoughtful GC

By Michael P. Maslanka |

Here is author George Saunders: "What I regret most in my life are failures of kindness. Those moments when another human being was there, in front of me, suffering and I responded ... sensibly, reservedly, mildly."

All in the (Patent) Family: How to Save on Legal Fees and Improve Patent Protection

By Gene Pierson |

Patent families can reduce costs associated with obtaining patents, increase the number of patents obtained and increase the claimed scope of patent protection.

Baseball and Banding Together: Is Collective Bargaining the Key to Cutting the Cost of 'Patent Troll' Litigation?

By Justin S. Cohen |

If companies presented a unified front and acted collectively to negotiate a grand bargain, the NPE would likely lose its level of control and its steady stream of licensing revenue.

Can We Trademark That?

By Katherine Bandy Weber |

What GCs need to know about brand-building and successful trademark protection and enforcement.

What Other Departments Need From Legal

By Dan Currell |

Analysis of how different departments assess the importance and effectiveness of their legal departments sheds light on how we might think about serving the whole company more effectively—one client at a time.

GCs Outline Cybersecurity Measures to Congress

By Sue Reisinger |
Tonya Johannsen, general counsel for HC Beck Ltd. in Dallas

Construction Company Hc Beck Ltd.'s GC Guides Business Through Recession, Recovery

By Jeanne Graham |

A few of the company's recent projects include serving as general contractor for additions at Dell Children's Medical Center in Austin, the University of Texas Naveen Jindal School of Management in Richardson and the Kimbell Art Museum in Fort Worth.

Best Practices: Know Your Stuff

Tonya Johannsen, general counsel for The Beck Group in Dallas, said there are three criteria, including subject matter expertise, that she considers when selecting outside counsel.

love letter

Work Matters: Drafting Employee Love Language

By Michael P. Maslanka |

It's praised by some practitioners and viewed skeptically by others, but it's still an arrow in the general counsel's quiver.

Don't Let the Board Get Hammered: A Pair of Tools for Controlling Shareholder Takeovers

By Patrick Keating |

If a trial court can resolve by summary judgment that one of the two procedural protections occurred, the burden of proof shifts from the defendant to the plaintiff.

magnifying glass

Crackdown: Why Corporate Counsel Should Care About the Department of Labor

By Vianei Lopez Braun |

The new regulations covering disabled workers require covered federal contractors to set a hiring goal of 7 percent disabled workers in each job group.

Understanding International Employment Law

By Bill Wright and Celia Joseph |

What a U.S. employer would consider a bonus, some countries may count as base compensation.


Forfeiture Clauses: When Are These 'Bad Boys' Enforceable?

By Emily Frost |

More recently, Texas courts have declined to follow the employee choice doctrine and have refused to enforce forfeiture clauses that fail to comply with Texas law governing noncompete agreements.

Jenny Gray, general counsel and compliance director, Brinson Benefits, Dallas

Understanding Benefits: GC, Mom of Four Keeps Companies in Compliance

By Jeanne Graham |

Jenny Gray's biggest challenge this past year was one familiar to many lawyers: keeping up with the latest news on implementing the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

Best Practices: Be Business-Minded

Jenny Gray, general counsel and compliance director for Brinson Benefits in Dallas, wants outside counsel who anticipate the impact of their advice on her company's business.

GCs Being Shown the Door With Little Warning

By Sue Reisinger |

Is it safe to go into work at the law department? Wellpoint is the second major company in recent months to dismiss its general counsel in a surprise move. And a third big-company GC is under fire.


Machiavelli's 6 Insights for General Counsel

By Michael P. Maslanka |

Contrary to his bad rap, Niccolo Machiavelli is not a Dr. Evil, and "The Prince" is not a version of "Evil for Dummies." Its lessons for GCs and for the executives they counsel are timeless.

After Target Breach, Senate Introduces Data Security Act

By Andrew Ramonas |

Sens. Tom Carper (D-Del.) and Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) are taking aim at retailers with new legislation intended to improve safeguards for consumer information, following recent revelations about data breaches at Target Corp. and Neiman Marcus Group Ltd.

Faith E. Parten, an associate with Pierce & O'Neill, Houston, Texas

Who Pays to Remove Injected Carbon Dioxide?

By Faith Parten |

Can gas companies share the cost of removing injected carbon dioxide as a part of enhanced recovery operations with royalty owners as a postproduction cost? Or is the cost is actually a production cost that gas companies cannot deduct from royalty owners' share?

Natalie L. Regoli, partner, Baker & McKenzie, Houston and Brian T. Polley, associate, Baker & McKenzie, Houston

Six Critical Issues Facing Onshore LNG Projects

By Natalie Regoli and Brian Polley |

Global liquefied natural gas projects are booming, and construction of onshore LNG facilities is a hot topic. Lawyers for operators and contractors should consider certain recurring themes in large-scale, onshore, stick-built LNG projects.

Gregory S. Friend, senior attorney with Stahl, Bernal & Davies in Austin

Issues in Solar Energy Development

By Gregory S. Friend |

While solar energy projects have been prevalent in California, Arizona and New Jersey for many years, large scale solar development is just now gaining a foothold in Texas.

Ernest Garcia is vice president-legal, general counsel and corporate secretary for BBVA Bancomer USA

World-Wide Work

By Jeanne Graham |

Ernesto Garcia's job spans the globe. He's the vice president-legal, general counsel and corporate secretary for BBVA Bancomer USA Inc., which provides cross-border money transactions.

Best Practices: Expertise and Communication Are Key

Ernesto Garcia, vice president - legal, general counsel and corporate secretary for BBVA Bancomer USA Inc., explains what he considers most important when selecting outside counsel.

The Eightfold Path of the Tao of Termination

By Michael P. Maslanka |

A Tao mindset consists of broad aphorisms, eschewing narrow and legalistic concepts and rules. Wisdom is self-generated, not imposed. So, with apologies to Lao Tzu, here is the Tao of termination.

Fielding a 'Moneyball' Compliance Program

By Donna Boehme and Michael Volkov |

All compliance professionals, even those who have never even seen a baseball game, can learn something from the true story about how in 2002 the struggling Oakland Athletics team made more with less. And won. A lot.