Welcome back to Inside Track!
I had the opportunity last week to hear Fred Gray, most famously known for representing Rosa Parks and Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., speak at Duane Morris’ Philadelphia office. He was in conversation with the firm’s chief diversity and inclusion officer, Joseph K. West, who previously served as the CEO of Minority Corporate Counsel Association.
“Ever since we first talked to Mr. Gray a couple months ago, I’ve been pinching myself,” West said. “I couldn’t believe that he accepted our invitation.”
West pointed out that three universities, Lipscomb University, the University of Alabama and Auburn University, all honored Gray years after he had sued them to end discrimination and segregation at those institutions.
Gray discussed how he became the attorney for Rosa Parks. Parks was an activist, he said, so she knew what she was doing when she refused to give up her bus seat in 1955. This incited the Montgomery Bus Boycott during the civil rights movement.
“Did she have an appreciation for the significance of what she was doing?” West asked.
“She was prepared to do whatever it took,” Gray responded. “She wasn’t just tired that particular day. She was tired of segregation and was tired of being discriminated against.”
Nolan Atkinson Jr., the city of Philadelphia’s chief diversity and inclusion officer and a former Duane Morris partner, said he was thrilled to have Gray visit the city.
“We are honored to celebrate your visit because you are a true leader,” Atkinson said. “I wish everyone in this room knew the great things that you did in the civil rights movement and in the history of the United States.”
This week the Minority Corporate Counsel Association had its 2019 Global TEC Forum in San Francisco and Law.com reporter Caroline Spiezio was present for a panel on the headaches in-house lawyers can expect with the rise of self-driving vehicles.
➡Vehicles can track a lot of information. Darah Okeke, senior employment counsel at Uber Technologies Inc., said these kinds of vehicles can track location, safety and even health information. “If we’re now in a space where companies are collecting this data about consumers and about drivers, we need to question ourselves,” Okeke said.
➡ What about law enforcement? Brett Cook, associate general counsel of data privacy, cybersecurity and investigations in the U.S. Navy, said those who work in-house for companies making autonomous vehicles should also consider the implications of sharing data with law enforcement. He said the vehicles may be able to tell if someone is driving under the influence or near a crime scene.
➡Opting Out. Jeewon Kim Serrato, the head of U.S. data protection, privacy and cybersecurity at Norton Rose Fulbright, said vehicles must have an opt-out option. “Do car owners have a right to say, ‘Hey, Volvo. Hey, Uber. Delete my data. I don’t want to be tracked. I don’t want the autonomous vehicle to know that I like to have In-N-Out every night at 10 p.m.,’” Serrato said.
Law.com reporter Phillip Bantz, found the global construction industry is “rife with compliance threats.” The information comes from the Risk Advisory Group’s 2019 Corruption Challenges Index.
Goran Maksimovic, Risk Advisory’s director of corporate investigations in London, said he is increasingly finding that real estate construction companies “are being used as money laundering vehicles” by high-profile businesspeople.
The report also noted that the African continent has the highest average corruption challenge score in the world. However, corruption risks in countries such as Namibia, Botswana and South Africa have relatively low corruption risks.
Hannah Gilkes, Risk Advisory’s head of business intelligence in Africa, told Phillip company leaders “who know the value of what hides behind Africa’s complexities and are willing to seek intelligence required to forge the best path.”
New Zealand, according to the report, has the least risk of corruption.
What I’ve Been Reading
Slate.com reported last week that presidential hopeful, Sen. Elizabeth Warren introduced a bill which would have the executives of companies face jail time over massive data breaches. The bill, called the Corporate Executive Accountability Act, would have executives who violate the law spend up to one year in jail.
There is a long list of candidates who want to be the next chief legal counsel of a school district in Ohio, according to a report in The Columbus Dispatch. There are over 20 candidates who want to be the next chief legal counsel of Columbus City Schools. Those throwing their hats in the ring for the title include Stefanie Coe, general counsel of MPW Industrial Services Group, and John Marconi, a former managing attorney at FirstEnergy.
A group of artificial intelligence experts signed a letter asking Amazon to stop selling facial recognition technology to law enforcement, according to a Quartz report. The group who signed the letter said the technology is still susceptible to errors and that Amazon has misrepresented technical aspects of its research which suggests its technology is less accurate on women and people of color.
Monday-Wednesday, April 15-17 – The Association of Corporate Counsel Foundation will be hosting a Good Lawyers to Great Lawyers event in Orlando, Florida at The Ritz Carlton. Speakers will include Dorothy Capers, executive vice president and GC of National Express; Wendy Webb Williams, chief legal officer of SaraLee; and Jason Brown, general counsel of GE Appliances.
Wednesday, April 24 – The Philadelphia chapter of the Association of Corporate Counsel will be hosting the 11th Annual In-House Counsel Conference at the Pennsylvania Convention Center. Speakers will include Thomas McKenna, CLO of Clemens Food Group; Jonathan Margolis, vice president and counsel at Toll Brothers; and Carl Sottosanti, general counsel of Penn National Gaming.
Thursday, April 25 – The Global Leaders In Law will be hosting a Be the Changeevent on Thursday, April 25 at Dangleterre in Copenhagen. GLL is an invitation-only membership group offering general counsel a global platform for in-person collaboration to exchange ideas and receive advice and guidance from peers. For more information, contact Meena Heath at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sunday-Tuesday, April 28-30 – The Association of Corporate Counsel will be holding its mid-year meeting at the Hilton Minneapolis. Speakers will include Mohammed Ajaz, group head of legal operations at National Grid; Reese Arrowsmith, head of operations at Campbell Soup Company; and Joseph Milcoff, VP of litigation & risk at FedEx.
On The Move
✦ Ingersoll Rand ✦ Evan Turtz has been promoted to the company’s general counsel. He previously served as general counsel to the company’s industrial segment. Turtz has been with the company since 2004 and replaces Maria Green who will be retiring in June.
✦ Northrop Grumman ✦ Stephen Yslas has left the global aerospace and defense company last week to become an adviser at Spilman, Thomas & Battle. Yslas served as the company’s general counsel since 2009 and oversaw a $7.8 billion merger with TRW Inc.
✦ Microsoft ✦ Carolyn Frantz, the former deputy general counsel of Microsoft, has returned to private practice by taking a job with Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe. Frantz had been at Microsoft since 2016 as associate general counsel of litigation.