Quasi-legal work (domain names). Further to my post of July 21, 2005 I add obtaining, tracking, and protecting domain names. Someone needs to do it, but the law department’s involvement should come only if there is infringement that resists a cease and desist letter. A likely candidate to handle domain names is the marketing function.
Quasi-legal work (corporate blog review). In a Financial Times article on corporate blogs (July 15, 2005 at 8) the columnist cited a US lawyer as saying that “some companies require bloggers to clear all material through the corporate legal department. The trouble is, this can be time-consuming and tends to reduce an author’s comments to bland platitudes that annoy readers.” To be sure, but more fundamentally, this is a low-value, irritating chore for a law department. (See my post of July 21, 2005 on quasi-legal activities.)
Boards retaining law firms. Arizona Electric Power Cooperative has three boards. “Each board retains outside counsel to advise them during Board meetings to keep that [resource of] independence.” (40 AZ Attorney 12 (Nov. 2003)) (See my post of Sept.13, 2005 about the actions of the Board of Carey International and two posts on July 25, 2005 about the costs of boards retaining independent counsel.)
Compliance staff compared to legal staff. An article in the Financial Times, May 5, 2005 at 9, stated that Merrill Lynch had 280 lawyers and 235 “compliance executives” worldwide. (See my posts of March 26 on second class citizens, July 25 on a compliance survey, July 31 on law and compliance housed together, and Sept. 5, 2005 about Countrywide’s compliance program.)
Groups for general counsel. The In-House Lawyers Association (IHLA) has formed in the UK, “after an acrimonious split with the Law Society’s Commerce & Industry Group (C&I Group). As reported in Legal Week (Sept. 15, 2005 at pg. 2), “there are many groups representing the UK’s relatively small cadre of in-house commercial lawyers – seven at the last count. (See my post of March 24, 2005 about the General Counsel 100 being formed.)