Expert Columns


Lateral moves and new arrivals in this week's column.

Loretta Lynch

What Can We Expect from Loretta Lynch?

By Dan Webb And Robb Adkins |

The latest AG is taking some cues from her predecessor but also making bold, independent moves.

Bert Rein of Wiley Rein, who represented Abigail Fisher (right) in Fisher v University of Texas, addresses the media after arguments in the U.S. Supreme Court in October 2012.

INADMISSIBLE: New Look at Texas Affirmative Action Case

Revisiting affirmative action, the U.S. Supreme Court on June 29 agreed to take a second look at the constitutionality of the admissions policy of the University of Texas at Austin. Plus more in this week's column.

International Criminal Court, The Hague, Netherlands

Ideology Blocks Arbitration Treaty

By Michael D. Goldhaber |

Private law scholars think it's nuts to insert 50-state complexity into a treaty designed for universal ease.

Hulk Hogan

VOIR DIRE: Rules of the Rumble

The judge in the Hulk Hogan sex tape case laid down a lot of rules, but missed an important one. Plus more in this week's column.

Andrew Spainhour, general counsel of Replacements Ltd.  Photo by Sara D. Davis/Replacements Ltd. (HANDOUT - OK TO USE).

In-House Counsel Profile: Replacements Ltd.'s Andrew Spainhour

By Richard Acello |

"I'm very happy when I can help people avoid or resolve a problem or achieve something we want in a way that's appropriate."

U.S. District Judge Amit Mehta

INADMISSIBLE: D.C. Judge Blocks Sysco-US Foods Merger

A federal district judge in Washington last week blocked the proposed $8.2 billion merger between food distributors Sysco Corp. and US Foods Inc. Plus more in this week's column.


Laterals, new arrivals and promotions in this week's column.

Mules Are Meant for Barns, Not Courtrooms

By Douglas S. Lavine |

A lawyer's stubborn adherence to a no-win point is a sure way to lose favor with a judge.

Peter Wexler, SVP and general counsel of Schneider Electric.

In-House Counsel Profile: Schneider Electric S.A.'s Peter Wexler

By Richard Acello |

"I like the business side of things; I'm not a big fan of the external advisory role."

Robin Frazer Clark

VOIR DIRE: Bourbon Bonding

There is no official drink of the State Bar of Georgia, but one fiery concoction has enough precedent to merit ­unofficial status. Plus: reimbursing mock trials and overzealous German parking cops in this week's column.

Laurence Silberman.

INADMISSIBLE: Agency's Briefs Irk D.C. Circuit Judge

Judge Laurence Silberman of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit values clarity in legal briefs. Last week, the famously acronym-averse judge again showed his willingness to shame lawyers who disappoint him.

Multifaceted Roles for Experts in Custody Cases

By Mary Kay Kisthardt and Barbara Handschu |

Family lawyers relying on mental health professionals for consulting services, support and testimony.

Jay Zynczak, general cCounsel of Goal Zero.

In-House Counsel Profile: Goal Zero LLC's Jay Zynczak

By June D. Bell |

"When you're at a small company with 50 or 100 employees that is growing, and you have the opportunity to move the needle, it's exciting."

Supreme Court justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg

VOIR DIRE: Rock-Star Ruth

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg reveled in her rock star status as she discussed her career and a coming movie about her life during the American Constitution Society's annual meeting in Washington. Plus more in this week's column.


Laterals and new arrivals in this week's column.

Lance Armstrong finishing 3rd in Sète, taking over the Yellow Jersey at the 2002 Grand Prix Midi Libre. May 25, 2002.

INADMISSIBLE: Law Firm Subpoenaed in Armstrong Case

Williams & Connolly is refusing to turn over documents about the firm's relationship with Lance Armstrong as the disgraced cyclist fights allegations that he defrauded the U.S. government by lying about his use of performance-enhancing drugs. Plus more in this week's column.


Lateral moves and new arrivals in this week's column.

<b>ANTONIN SCALIA:</b> The U.S. Supreme Court justice delivered the opinion of the court involving discriminatory practices in the workplace.

Abercrombie Decision Not Such an 'Easy Case'

By Catherine L. Fisk |

The court said the ruling was not a tough call, but many uncertainties about accommodation remain.

VOIR DIRE: A Brush With Crime

Everyone's a critic, including the art thieves. Plus a repurposed golf cart and the most powerful stare in the world in this week's column.

From left: Mark Werbner, a partner in Dallas' Sayles Werbner, with client and Commil c-owner Jonathan David, outside the U.S. Supreme Court in March of this year.

Supreme Court Suggests a Shield Against Infringement Liability

By Ronald G. Embry |

When the chips are down and the stakes are high, a reliable opinion of counsel regarding invalidity and/or noninfringement is still a legally effective shield against charges of indirect infringement and willful infringement.

<b>LUKE BRUGNARA:</b> Granted the right to represent himself,the accused art thief interrupted the proceedings and defied contempt threats.

Rights and Restrictions of Pro Se Defendants

By Laurie L. Levenson |

Recent decisions have clarified the Sixth Amendment's guarantee of self-representation.

VOIR DIRE: Card Tricks?

One of the world's largest hotel chains has filed suit against a man it says exploited a flaw in its online ­reservations system to the tune of $48,500. Plus more in this week's column.

Elizabeth Warren.

INADMISSIBLE: Warren, White Trade Barbs Over the SEC

In a harshly worded 13-page letter, Sen. Elizabeth Warren last week told U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission Chairwoman Mary Jo White that she found her leadership "extremely disappointing." Plus more in this week's column.


Lateral moves and new arrivals in this week's column.

Marc Taxay, general counsel of Arista Networks Inc.

In-House Counsel Profile: Arista Networks Inc.'s Marc Taxay

By Richard Acello |

Asked what part of the job he likes best, he said, "Feeling like I'm a part of the team that's building a great company."

A Fundamental Misunderstanding

By Adrian Dayton |

Social media should be a force multiplier for your firm — something that dramatically increases the effectiveness of the group.

High-Tech GCs Reimagine Their Roles

By Sue Reisinger |

They apply their industry’s values to legal work.

Happiness Eludes Big Firm Lawyers

By Vivia Chen |

Study finds that lawyers in lucrative, prestigious positions are miserable.

Attorney Osvaldo Miranda Diaz provides an overview of the Cuban legal system describing the role of lawyers in Cuba and the legal services provided at his firm, Cuban Law Collective.

IN BRIEF: U.S. Lawyers in Cuba

The Cuban bar has no compunctions in voicing its displeasure with that country's legal system to government officials. Yet, Havana attorney Osvaldo Miranda Diaz said they are "getting tired of complaining." Plus more from and other ALM publications.

Robert Plant (left) and Jimmy Page (right) of Led Zeppelin, in concert in Chicago, Illinois.  1977.

VOIR DIRE: Whole Lotta Self-Love

The surviving members of Led Zeppelin would like it known how much they rock. Also, they didn't steal from another band's song to create their most enduring hit. Plus more in this week's column.

United States Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito Jr.

INADMISSIBLE: Alito's Son Leaves Gibson For U.S. Senate

Philip Alito, the son of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito Jr., has a new job that is drawing criticism as a potential liability for the court itself. Plus more in this week's column.

Paige Bass, general counsel of SONIC.

In-House Counsel Profile: Sonic Corp.'s Paige Bass

By June D. Bell |

"When I was in private practice I did litigation, and we'd get bogged down in discovery dispute. But in-house, I'm on the front line of helping business get done."


New arrivals and lateral moves in this week's column.

Is a 5-4 Ruling Really Enough to Undo Laws?

By Aaron S. Bayer |

Amid an increase in the invalidation of statutes, some call for high court to follow states' leads.

Tread With Caution When Representing Marijuana Clients

By Courtney G. Saleski and Mark A. Kasten |

As state laws permitting the use and distribution of marijuana—medical or recreational—are enacted, many entrepreneurs see an opportunity to be part of this "budding" industry. But because marijuana distribution, even intrastate, remains categorically illegal under federal law, federal authorities may seek to prosecute marijuana distributors, those who aid such distribution and those who launder the proceeds from that distribution, among others.

Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia.

VOIR DIRE: A Song for Soldiers

Attorney George Kieffer is well-known for his civic involvement: A member of the University of California Board of Regents, he also helped write the city charter of Los Angeles. But he's also a lifelong musician. Plus more in this week's column.

Rising to the Top Of the Maybe Pile

By Adrian Dayton |

We all want more business, not more maybes. But if you really want more business, you need to be on the radar of many more people than just those who will end up hiring you.

<b>WEIGHTY ISSUE:</b> Ruling involving the dietary supplement has created uncertainty for lawyers.

Third Circuit Creates Turmoil Over Certification

By Arthur H. Bryant |

Appeals court won't rehear case that changes long-standing inquiry regarding class definition.

Yelp general counsel Lawrence Wilson

In-House Counsel Profile: Yelp Inc.'s Laurence Wilson

By Richard Acello |

Wilson gave up early ambitions for a biotechnology career. "I didn't enjoy being in a lab; it was kind of lonely and repetitive," he said.


New arrivals and laterals in this week's column.


Laterals and new arrivals in this week's column.

Ben Affleck, wearing Batman's traditional black and gray, in the film <i>Batman v Superman:  Dawn of Justice.</i>

VOIR DIRE: The Fluorescent Knight

A man shows up for a meeting with his attorney in a "fluorescent green Batman" outfit, and the attorney suspects "drink had been taken." Plus: noodle wars and Fitbit fights in this week's column.

Atlanta skyline.

IN BRIEF: City Held in Contempt

A federal judge has held the city of Atlanta in contempt and imposed sanctions for its failure to meet the terms of a settlement with a woman arrested by police while she filmed them arresting her neighbor. Plus more from and other ALM publications.

Rick Chung, general counsel of Bowlmor AMF Corp.

In-House Counsel Profile: Bowlmor AMF Corp.'s Rick Chung

By June D. Bell |

"I know the processes that need to be put in place to create a foundation for adequate growth."

<b>TAKE NOTE:</b> Leslie Caldwell, assistant attorney general in charge of the DOJ’s Criminal Division, recently discussed internal corporate investigations.

Valuable Insight from DOJ's Criminal Division

By George J. Terwilliger III |

Assistant attorney general reveals details that corporations should know about investigations.

U.S. District Court judge Amy Berman Jackson.

INADMISSIBLE: Justice Dept. Loses Laptop Search Dispute

Federal agents do not have unlimited power to search laptops and other electronic devices without a warrant at the border, including airports, a federal judge in Washington has ruled. Plus more in this week's column.

What Do Men Want, Anyway?

By Vivia Chen |

Few men want housewives these days.

DOJ’s Cybersecurity Do’s and Don’ts

By Rebekah Mintzer |

The department offers a best-practices guide.

Josh Faddis, general counsel of Veeva Inc.

In-House Counsel Profile: Veeva Systems Inc.'s Josh Faddis

By Richard Acello |

"I hire based on the team, not so much the firm."

VOIR DIRE: Know Your Craft

A beer aficionado says Blue Moon isn't really "craft beer," and an attempted exorcism at King & Spalding in this week's column.

Delaware Gov. Jack Markell has signed a new arbitration law.

Big Changes To Delaware's Arbitration Laws

By William Savitt |

Newly enacted legislation speeds up the resolution process. More controversial revisions could be next.

A Chuck Close painting hangs in Paris museum.

IN BRIEF: Art Royalties Law Trimmed

An en banc federal appellate panel has struck down part of a California law requiring sellers of fine art to pay royalties to the artists. Plus more from and other ALM publications.

Rapper Snoop Dogg, right, and Texas state trooper Billy Spears, left, in Austin in March.

VOIR DIRE: Deputy Dogged

Texas state trooper Billy Spears was disciplined in early April for allowing himself to be photographed in uniform with rapper Snoop Dogg at the South by Southwest music festival in Austin. Now he's firing back. Plus more in this week's column.

Vice President Joe Biden, left, administers the oath while Attorney General Loretta Lynch placed her hand on a bible held by her father, Rev. Lorenzo Lynch, second from left, and husband Stephen Hargrove, second from right, at the U.S. Department of Justice.  April 27, 2015.

INADMISSIBLE: Loretta Lynch Vows 'Even Greater Heights'

In her remarks, Lynch said her role was to "not just represent the law and enforce the law, but to use it to make real the promise of America: the promise of fairness, the promise of equality, of liberty and justice for all." Plus more in this week's column.

Jennifer Borg, general counsel and vice president of North Jersey Media Group.

In-House Counsel Profile: North Jersey Media Group Inc.'s Jennifer Borg

By Richard Acello |

North Jersey Media Group Inc. publishes The Record, which the company says reaches nearly half a million readers a day in Northern New Jersey, plus a second daily publication and 49 community newspapers.

Your Best Precedent Is Unpublished — Now What?

By Cameron W. Gilbert |

There may be ways around local rules against citing to such rulings, but proceed with caution.


Lateral moves and new arrivals in this week's column.

EEOC Offers Advice About Wellness Plans

By Rebekah Mintzer |

Preliminary regulations provide some definitions.

Women Don't Gain By Networking

By Vivia Chen |

Business school study puts a damper on female bonding.

John Nichols, director & general counsel of Creative Services Inc.

In-House Counsel Profile: Creative Services Inc.'s John Nichols

By Richard Acello |

Creative Services Inc. specializes in pre-employment screening, background investigations and security consulting. General counsel John Nichols is the sole attorney at the company.

Judge Janice Rogers Brown

INADMISSIBLE: Word of Advice From D.C. Circuit Judge

"I do not wish to have an encounter with the police right now. Am I free to leave?" That's advice from Judge Janice Rogers Brown about what to say to police on patrol in Washington for illegal guns. Plus more in this week's column.

Barry Bonds

IN BRIEF: Barry Bonds Wins Appeal

Former San Francisco Giants slugger Barry Bonds is out from under the threat of criminal penalties for his evasive responses before the grand jury in a steroids investigation. Plus more from and other ALM publications.

<b>PROTEST:</b> A demonstration following Michael Brown’s death at the old courthouse building in St. Louis.

The Lawyer Ethics Lesson from Ferguson

By Michael Downey |

Did attorneys cross a line by benefiting from a justice system that harmed the unrepresented?


Laterals and new arrivals in this week's column.

Sam Waterston as Jack McCoy in the television series

VOIR DIRE: The Real McCoy

They don't play one on TV, but according to a recent survey lawyers really identify with Jack McCoy, the unconventional district attorney on "Law & Order." Plus more in this week's column.

In-House Counsel Profile: Mohawk Industries Inc.'s David Patton

By June D. Bell |

"We try to run the business very efficiently and very lean."

VOIR DIRE: Free the Snowden Bust!

A bust of Edward Snowden that was erected overnight in a Brooklyn park is now the property of the 88th Precinct. Attorney Ron Kuby is attempting to help the artists bust out their bust. Plus more in this week's column.

Lessons from the Defanging in 'Dental Examiners'

By Janet McDavid and Logan Breed |

Supreme Court's ruling in teeth-whitening case puts limits on professional boards' sovereign immunity.


New arrivals and lateral moves in this week's column.

The $11M Lesson in Telephone Consumer Protection Compliance

By Rebekah Mintzer |

Want to let your customers know with a phone call or text that the items they need are ready for pickup? Think twice before you dial.

The Relevance of Howard University School of Law

By Vivia Chen |

One-fifth of its law school grads go into Big Law, despite its No. 110 rank.


Laterals and new arrivals in this week's column.

Hugh Welsh, general counsel and president of DSM North America.

In-House Counsel Profile: DSM North America's Hugh Welsh

DSM North America is a division of Koninklijke DSM N.V., a Dutch firm that North America president and general counsel Hugh Welsh calls "the biggest company you’ve never heard of."

White-Collar Defendants Turn to Coercion Claims

By Laurie L. Levenson |

Ninth Circuit decision improves odds for individuals who say they were forced to commit crimes.

Orin Kerr, left, and John Roberts Jr., right.

INADMISSIBLE: A Response to Roberts' Law-Review Gripe

Chief Justice John Roberts Jr.'s offhand 2011 criticism of law review articles has stung legal academics ever since. Nearly four years later, his comment has finally met its match in the form of … a law review article. Plus more in this week's column.

Jennifer Lawrence in <i>American Hustle</i>.

VOIR DIRE: 'Hustle' Tussle

Science writer Paul Brodeur says America's been hustled by "American Hustle." Plus, an energy drink suit gets sapped and a joyride with an owl gets a Florida man caught in federal talons in this week's column.

How to Handle the Deposition 'Do-Over'

By Robert L. Byman |

Procedural rules permit witnesses to submit changes to transcripts — but proceed with caution.

VOIR DIRE: No Anchovies, Please

They may be an acquired taste, but anchovies are integral ingredients in the making of Lea & Perrins Worcestershire sauce. A New Jersey industrial landlord is claiming it found that out the hard way.

Federal Circuit Must Heed Trial Court Findings

By Lewis R. Clayton |

U.S. Supreme Court has determined that some patent law appeals aren't so special after all.

Matthew Jacobs, General Counsel of CalPERS.  HANDOUT.

In-House Counsel Profile: California Public Employees’ Retirement System's Matthew Jacobs

By June D. Bell |

General counsel Matthew Jacobs oversees 32 attorneys split into three groups: the advice team, which handles tax matters and helps interpret pension law; the investments group; and the litigation group.


Laterals and new arrivals in this week's column.

Springsteen farms

VOIR DIRE: Promised Land?

Famous New Jersey residents like Bruce Springsteen may have their tax breaks cropped. Plus more in this week's column.

art for Practice column

When Client Advocacy Becomes Personal Attack

By Douglas S. Lavine |

Portrayal of sniping, cut-throat trial lawyers in popular culture is influencing attorney conduct.


Lateral moves and new arrivals in this week's column.

Marc Bell, vice president, general counsel and secretary of Vector Group Ltd.

In-House Counsel Profile: Vector Group Ltd.'s Marc Bell

By Lisa Hoffman |

General counsel Marc Bell oversees corporate affairs and risk management at the holding-company level, and manages litigation for each of Vector's subsidiaries.

<b>NOT INCLUDED IN THE SALE:</b> The Brooklyn Bridge

VOIR DIRE: The Italian Job, Redux

It's the 21st century, and selling the Brooklyn Bridge is for amateurs. Plus more in this week's column.

Take Some Pride In Your Profession

By Adrian Dayton |

I hope that all lawyers can not only be proud of what they do, but have confidence that their knowledge can benefit their community both online and off.

Tom Daschle

INADMISSIBLE: Daschle Registers As A Lobbyist At Last

Former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle registered with the federal government as a lobbyist for the first time in his career last week. Plus more in this week's column.

Ripple Effects from the High Court's Fishing Case

By Dan Webb and Robb Adkins |

The justices' narrow reading of a Sarbanes-Oxley provision could doom future obstruction charges.

VOIR DIRE: Informing on Idlers

New York City has a pretty tough law on the books aimed at drivers who idle too long in one spot, with fines of up to $220. City Council member Donovan Richards Jr. says the law isn't being enforced, and he has a better idea. Plus more in this week's column.


Laterals and new arrivals in this week's column.

Paul Ryan.

INADMISSIBLE: Paul Ryan, Chief of Staff Sued Over Crash

U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wisconsin, and his chief of staff, Kevin Seifert, face a $100,000 lawsuit over a car crash Seifert was involved in while driving Ryan's car last year. Plus more in this week's column.

William Reilly Jr., senior vice president and corporate general counsel of Ansell Ltd.

In-House Counsel Profile: Ansell Healthcare Products LLC's William Reilly Jr.

By Richard Acello |

"There are lots of alternative creative ways to bill, and the hourly fee is slowly but surely dying."

Five Reasons To Share Online

By Adrian Dayton |

When it comes to sharing articles on LinkedIn, Twitter and even by email, we need to embrace our inner toy-sharing toddler.


Laterals and new arrivals in this week's column.

INADMISSIBLE: Petraeus Pleads to Secrecy Violation

David Petraeus, the former CIA director who resigned in 2012 amid a sex scandal, will plead guilty to mishandling classified information. Prosecutors have agreed not to seek any jail time. Plus more in this week's column.

Delicate Lawyering Needed for Special-Needs Kids

By Mary Kay Kisthardt and Barbara Handschu |

More children than ever are diagnosed with medical and psychiatric difficulties. Attorneys must be ready.

Jae Kim, senior vice president and general counsel of Rambus.

In-House Counsel Profile: Rambus Inc.'s Jae Kim

By Richard Acello |

"I'm hands-off to the extent I can be, but I will roll up my sleeves and get involved in things where appropriate."