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Collective action by general counsel: amicus briefs in support of US Supreme Court cert petitions

Despite huge amounts of work on their department’s plates, sometimes general counsel add more for the greater, longer term good. An appeal to the US Supreme court by Wal-Mart, regarding a massive class action certification, has gained 19 companies as allies. As reported in Corp. Counsel, Nov. 2010 at 22, an amicus curia brief was prepared and Altria, Bank of America, Chrysler, Cigna, Del Monte, Dole, Dollar General, du Pont, GE, HP, Kimberly-Clark, McKesson, Microsoft, Pepsi, Tyson Foods, UnitedHealth, UPS and Williams signed it. Intel filed a separate but similar brief.

This is another example of collective effort. The law departments came together and expended some internal time, and possibly external counsel fees, because of the importance of the issue – “class certification decisions are often tantamount to a decision on the merits.” Law departments can and should join in common cause.