In-House Texas


Steps to Company Party? Eat, Drink and Be Wary

By A. Martin Wickliff Jr. |

These gatherings can invite unwanted sexual advances and potentially unlawful conduct.

Breaking Up With An Employee? These Tips for Contract Provisions Should Make It Less Complicated

By Cheri Thomas and Laurence Stuart |

To make break-ups more straightforward and slightly less painful, employers should carefully review all provisions of their severance agreements with the following guidance in mind.

Blake Brodersen, general counsel, Molecular Rebar Design, Austin, Texas

New Beginnings: GC Hits the Ground Running in Young Company

By Jeanne Graham |

Nine months ago, Blake Brodersen left Scott & White Health Plan in Temple, where he had been assistant general counsel for more than 12 years, to become general counsel of Molecular Rebar Design, a young Austin company working with carbon molecules.

For GCs, Law Department Role Is Changing

By Sue Reisinger |

At least eight GCs attending the recent 2014 Legal Week Corporate Counsel Forum were asked about the greatest challenges facing in-house legal departments, and how the role of the department is changing.

6 Tips for Infusing Noncompetes with New Life

By Michael P. Maslanka and William E. Hammel |

Many noncompetes are difficult to understand, confuse employees rather than enlighten them and read as if they were written in the 1970s.

Eli Lilly: Canada Patent Ruling Violates NAFTA

By Lisa Shuchman |

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.

Best Practices: Experience, Trust and Success

By Jeanne Graham |

Pay Attention to Contract Managers

By Prashant Dubey |
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.

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.

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.

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.


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.


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.


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.

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.

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.

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.

Consumer Class Action Settlements on the Rise

By Rebekah Mintzer |

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.


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.

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.

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.

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.

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.