Welcome back to Inside Track!
Over the past two months, I’ve taken up the marijuana beat as it relates to in-house counsel. I was wondering, from the recruiter perspective, what it takes to recruit a top lawyer for a cannabis company.
I spoke to Mike Evers, founder and president of Evers Legal Services, who said he recently received his first order to find a general counsel for a marijuana company. He was not at liberty to tell me the name of the company, but said he had to let go of one of his favorite candidates who did not share the same passion for marijuana as the company’s founders. He said there isn’t one particular industry that would be the best for a general counsel of a marijuana company to come from.
“The right person to run these legal departments is going to be a generalist with a corporate background,” Evers said.
He said, just as if he were going to fill an order for a beer company, he would want to find someone who enjoys drinking beer and appreciates the product.
“I think the winning candidate is someone who has probably used marijuana and does so responsibly,” Evers said.
Legal Operations Abroad?
This month, I wrote about legal operations around the world. I found in the U.S. legal operations functions are more focused on the legal department’s spend. Meanwhile, abroad, legal operations professionals are more focused on the use and development of legal technology. Some countries, like South Africa, are just beginning to develop legal operations functions and are looking to the successes and failures of companies in other countries to learn the best way to perform legal operations.
“These are things that the U.S. market learned as they went along,” Rian Hancock, a legal operations consultant in South Africa, told me. “We can take these kinds of things and make sure the things we’re implementing are able to be integrated. That gives us almost an immediate advantage on the markets that have had to make these mistakes over time.”
Is Free Speech In Danger?
According to U.S. Deputy Associate Attorney General Jesse Panuccio: yes. During a recent speech at Harvard Panuccio called out Los Angeles Pierce College; Georgia Gwinnett College; the University of Michigan and the University of Iowa for not allowing people to speak freely.
Law.com reporter Sue Reisinger reached out to a few of the schools and here is what they had to say.
► University of Michigan: “Free speech is alive and well on our campus every day or the week,” said Rick Fitzgerald, the assistant vice president for communications. “We have hosted any number of controversial speakers without incident.”
► UC Berkeley: “Anyone who claims that UC Berkeley has done anything discriminatory is simply not aware of the facts,” said Dan Mogulos, assistant vice chancellor in the communications and public affairs department. He said the school settled the case by agreeing to some “non-substantive changes” in its policy, but the high-profile speaker issue was not part of the settlement because it was not true.
What I’ve Been Reading
Microsoft chief legal officer, Brad Smith, said in a speech last week that companies are no longer comfortable storing their data in Australia because of the Assistance and Access Bill, which was signed into law last year, according to The Sydney Morning Herald. The law gives security agencies power to access encrypted data of criminal suspects. He said the law undermines technology “in a fundamentally important way.”
Kay Thrace, not her real name, wrote a blog on Above The Law, about how in-house counsel can “win” an internal meeting. She said as in-house counsel, the first thing to do during a meeting is to “shoot down misinformation and ill-fated ideas.” She also discussed “keeping score,” which means listening to what everyone else is saying minutes before and after the meeting.
A report in Forbes questioned what is the next group to come in-house. It pointed out that 30 years ago General Electric created a legal team. Since companies have saved a lot of money with having in-house legal departments, will companies next have in-house consulting teams? Companies can spend up to $150,000 a week on a team of consultants, so it would make sense to, like the lawyer, bring the consultant in-house.
Wednesday, April 10 – The Global Leaders In Law will be hosting a Changing Corporate Culture event at Scotts in London. The organization will also host a Be the Change event 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 email@example.com.
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 general counsel of National Express; Wendy Webb Williams, chief legal officer of SaraLee; and Jason Brown, general counsel of GE Appliances.
Thursday-Saturday, April 25-27 - The High Tech Law Institute at Santa Clara Law will be hosting the Fourth Annual In-house Counsel Institute. The program is for in-house counsel to learn to better serve the needs of their internal clients. Speakers will include Dorian Daley, general counsel at Oracle; Jeremiah Chan, director and assistant general counsel of patents at Facebook; and Aradhana Raj, director and senior counsel of global policy at PayPal. For more information email HTLI@scu.edu.
On The Move
✦ Wells Fargo ✦ C. Allen Parker has been promoted from his role as the bank’s general counsel to interim CEO and president. The move came as Tim Sloan announced he will be retiring from the bank in June. Parker will not be the permanent CEO of the bank; the board said it plans on bringing someone from outside of the bank to be the permanent CEO.
✦ Stryker ✦ Rob Fletcher, the global vice president of Johnson & Johnson, has been named the chief legal officer of the Michigan-based medical technology company. He will begin on April 22 at which time the current CLO Mike Hutchinson will become an adviser to the CEO through May 2020.
✦ Uber Health ✦ Lamis Hossain has been named the legal director of the company. She was previously the general counsel of McKesson Corp.