In-House Texas

Who Made the List of the Highest Paid GCs in Texas? [CHART]

By Brenda Sapino Jeffreys |

These Texas general counsel are among the five highest-paid executives at their companies.

Big Texas Companies Reward GCs With Hefty Compensation Increase

By Brenda Sapino Jeffreys |

Good times are back for general counsel at large Texas companies, with average total pay packages for GCs increasing by 17.8 percent in 2014 compared with 2013.

“Getting to Yes ” by Way of “I’m Sorry”: Settling Employment Discrimination Claims with Apologies

Apologies are difficult. By expressing regret and accepting responsibility for a harmful act, the person apologizing transfers “power” from him- or herself to the person receiving the apology. Parties negotiating settlement want all the “power” they can muster, and many fear they’ll convey weakness by apologizing. Experienced negotiators, however, use apologies to help settle cases.

Microsoft GC Ups Bonus for More Diverse Outside Counsel

By Sue Reisinger |

Brad Smith, general counsel of Microsoft Corp., says law firms must add diverse attorneys in leadership positions in order to earn an increased annual bonus.

How to Prepare Your Executives to Testify

By Anna Rotman and Autry Ross |

If an executive comes across as combative or arrogant, or even worse, provides damaging testimony in the form of embarrassing "sound-bites," the best-laid case strategies can be torpedoed.

Liz Bonesio

Top of Her Game: Lawyer Gets Hole-in-One with In-House Job

By Anne Belli Perez |

For Liz Bonesio, corporate counsel at Dallas-based Topgolf International Inc., every day is a hole-in-one.

We All Eventually Stumble Into Dark Times—These Books Will Help Find the Way Out

By Michael P. Maslanka |

Each and every one of us suffers loss. We all lose our way. Dante instructs us on how to return to the path, and leave the dark wood wherein we all will— sooner or later—find ourselves.

Ex Parte Communications with Putative Class Members in an FLSA Collective Action

By Mark D. Temple and Peter J. Stuhldreher |

It is important to develop a fair, consistent message to be communicated with employees who are potential class members.

Best Practices: Expertise and Responsiveness

By Anne Belli Perez |

NLRB Further Extends Its Reach Into Non-Unionized Workplaces with Guidance About Company Handbooks

By Steve Fox and Jonathan Clark |

While the standards and suggestions in the memorandum are often imprecise, employers and their counsel should take heed of the recommendations when reviewing and drafting rules.

Impacts of Marriage Equality on Benefits

By Rebekah Mintzer |

After the U.S. Supreme Court's 'Obergefell' decision, employers should go back and take a fresh look at how their policies treat same-sex married couples.

Texas' Top Deals of 2014

By Brenda Sapino Jeffreys |

The following deals, involving at least one Texas-based company, were announced in 2014. Sources include Texas Lawyer, The Am Law Daily, Thomson Reuters and corporate press releases.

John Minor Wisdom, U. S. Court of Appeals Building, Fifth Circuit, New Orleans, LA.

Fifth Circuit And Employment Law: Not What You Think

By Michael P. Maslanka |

There is a widespread belief that the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit is uniformly hostile to employment law claims. But, like Mark Twain's death, this rumor has been widely exaggerated.

Four Texas Firms Make Mark For Deal Work

By Brenda Sapino Jeffreys |

Texas firms Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld, Andrews Kurth, Baker Botts and Vinson & Elkins among leading dealmaking firms on The American Lawyer's Corporate Scorecard 2015.

Relief For Oppressed Minority Shareholders In Texas

By Samuel S. Nicholls |

Recent Texas Supreme Court rulings may invite repercussions for business valuation, dispute resolution, access to capital, and public policy in Texas insofar as the business climate is concerned.

Mark Shaw, vice president and general counsel at Southwest Airlines

Flying High: GC Mark Shaw Captains Southwest Airlines' Legal Department

By Anne Belli Perez |

Mark Shaw, the vice president and general counsel of Southwest Airlines since February 2013, has had his hands full this past year at the low-cost airline.

Changes From the 'Whistleblower' Enforcement Action

By Jonathan Newton and Heath Trisdale |

While the SEC's enforcement action focused on the alleged wrongdoings of a single company, in our view the more novel issue presented is whether the SEC's order and related guidance could impact other types of NDAs used outside an internal investigation context, such as standard employee NDAs.

Mark Shaw, vice president and general counsel at Southwest Airlines

Best Practices: Choose Top Talent, Keep Costs Low

By Anne Belli Perez |

Mark Shaw, is vice president and general counsel of Southwest Airlines. Freelance reporter Anne Belli Perez emailed Shaw some questions about best practices. His answers are below edited for length and style.

Texas State Flag

Federal Patent Reform: Some Proposals Follow Texas' Lead

By Chad Ennis |

Some reforms actually move in the direction that judges in the Eastern District have already taken and also adopt procedures used in Texas' Western District.

"Hack" Your Way Through Challenges

By Michael P. Maslanka |

Once upon a time, the word "hack" was a term of derision. No more. Now, it is gaining an elevated place as a word meaning a shortcut to fixing a challenge, a way to get a quick flash solution. So, let's dip these following problems into the fryer and see the "hacks" emerging, hopefully, crisp and tasty.

Lance C. Balk, executive vice president and general counsel at Six Flags Entertainment Corporation

Best Practices: Expertise and Responsiveness

By Lindsey Juarez |

Lance Balk is general counsel of Six Flags Entertainment Corp. Freelancer reporter Lindsey Juarez emailed Balk some questions about best practices. His answers are below edited for length and style.

New USPTO Guidelines Clarify Software Patent Eligibility

By Adam Sanderson |

The recently revised USPTO guidelines for subject matter eligibility offer an effective summary of the case law post-Alice, and should be closely considered by any attorney representing patent owners.

Contempt for Taylor Swift's Trademark Portfolio Misplaced?

By Bill Munck and Amanda Greenspon |

The contempt in the coverage of Taylor Swift's trademark portfolio was especially misplaced given the context of the administrative approval needed for registration.

Bill to Curb Patent Trolls is Superfluous

By Christopher A. Shield and Sanjay Bapat |

As written, SB 1187 appears to be directed at certain prolific NPEs, but its provisions are likely untenable.

Lance C. Balk, executive vice president and general counsel at Six Flags Entertainment Corporation

Ride to the Top: Six Flags’ GC Successfully Navigates the Twists and Turns from Firm to In-House

By Lindsey Juarez |

Seeing the joy and excitement in a customer's face is not something many general counsels get to experience. But as the general counsel for Six Flags Entertainment Corp., Lance Balk said he gets to see screaming visitors every time he tours one of the company's amusement parks.

Climate Change Risk Disclosure on the Rise

By Sue Reisinger |

Significantly more U.S. companies are disclosing risks associated with climate change in their annual reports, especially in the energy sector.

Sherry Hibbert is general counsel for the Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo

Show Time

By Anne Belli Perez |

Monitoring Employee Social Media Activity

By Heather Sherrod |

Despite the risks involved, there are many legitimate reasons why companies decide to monitor their employees' social media activity.

6 Factors for Determining Whether a Worker Is an Independent Contractor

By Jay M. Wallace, Lindsey L. Goldstein, and Alana K. Ackels |

In recent years, the single most investigated issue by the U.S. Department of Labor is whether workers categorized as "independent contractors" satisfy the very distinct standards for this category of workers under the Fair Labor Standards Act.

Explaining Compensable Activities Under FLSA

By Edward Slaughter and Brandon Maxey |

Courts have struggled to find a concrete definition of "integral and indispensable"—leading to considerable uncertainty in employment policies and costly litigation.

How to Handle Pressure in the Workplace

By Michael P. Maslanka |

Chamber: Corp. Settlements Go to 'Slush Funds'

By Sue Reisinger |

Law enforcement is increasingly becoming a for-profit phenomenon, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce isn't happy about it.