PLI: You have developed a collection of tips for new associates on how to succeed in law firm life. Can you share them with us?
DARRICK L. McDUFFIE: Before I begin, I must give my standard disclaimer that advice is never one-size-fits-all. The tips for success [that follow] may not work for certain situations or for certain people. A young associate must apply judgment when deciding whether and how to apply the advice given in this paper, or any advice for that matter.
PLI: A big firm offers new associates human resources most of all —
other lawyers. How can young lawyers most take advantage of what they
have to offer?
DARRICK L. MCDUFFIE: Seek Feedback. To grow as a lawyer, you must take every opportunity to allow a more senior attorney to critique your work and give you feedback on areas for improvement. This seems like a simple tip, but I have found that new associates often do not ask for feed back on their work product.
Process by which Federal Reserve (or any other central bank) helps ease
government debt burden by printing money and using it to purchase debt
issued by the government.
And finally, 2009 grinds to a finish. But was it really all that bad?
It's hard to remember. We started the year on the cusp of Great
Depression II, and we end shooting out of recession — heck, we didn't
even lose many jobs last month. 2009 is dead; long live 2010. And just
when you were sure (because everyone said it was so) the commercial
real estate market was going to come crashing down, you see a report
"warning" of an impending commercial real estate rebound. Hey, long
live the commercial real estate market — which is perhaps an unintended
subtext of this odd year's last download,
From Boom to Bust to Opportunity: The Effect of New Market Realities on Real Estate Contracts,
by Jonathan L. Mechanic (Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson
LLP). Since the hallmark of this economic mess was real estate, it's as
good a way to close out '09 as any other.
Toolbox just noticed that the title of this section implies that it
will teach you how to launder money. While that may be an inadvertent
effect of today's adventure, let's disclaim any intent on that front.
Rather, of course we're looking at what money laundering is from a
legal perspective and how to spot money laundering. And of course, it
has little to do with leaving a few dollars in your pockets and
marveling at how indestructible the greenback is, at least when it
comes to a bout with Tide, if not when it comes to a bout (these days,
anyway) with foreign currencies. So how do you know when this money,
which looks clean, used to be that money, which has been run through
the spin cycle a few times?
Time to put a coda on 2009, and what a year (two years) it's been. When
this newsletter began back in 2004, the compliance issues the CC dealt
with had a decidedly domestic bent: the new rules of the revolutionary
Sarbanes-Oxley Act, HIPAA and other concerns of a new era of digital
communication and a highly mobile workforce. Six years later, and a
review of the publication schedule shows we've taken a big step off the
shores of the U.S. and, along with American business, found ourselves
well-entrenched with issues arising from global trade. As the formerly
"emerging markets" emerge and then surge, your clients use them more
and more as producers, servicers and customers. That has expanded
compliance into a worldwide phenomenon.
Globalization has brought the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) into sharper focus, and the CC has periodically looked at how it impacts business overseas. To close out volume six, we'll do so again. The BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, India and China) are large drivers of economic development and represent huge and growing markets for U.S. companies. And the cultural and business practice differences between those countries and the U.S. can make FCPA compliance tricky. But trickiness doesn't excuse compliance with the letter of the law. So, assuming things continue on the current path and these countries (particularly, the B, the I and the C) dominate particular arenas of future business growth, your clients have to be concerned with FCPA matters. How do you guide them so they don't end up with violations that hit them like a ton of bricks?
PLI: Untruthful clients can undermine their own cases, but they also
put their relationships with their lawyers on the line, owing to the
duty of candor. When does a lawyer have to "rat out" a dishonest
MARY ROBINSON: Clients who do not want to tell the truth put their lawyers in a world of ethical jeopardy where they must try to honor the clashing duties of loyalty, confidentiality and diligent representation to the client and candor to the court. Some clients, maybe even most clients, underestimate the solemnity of the lawyer's obligations to the court and the consequences that can follow a breach, while overestimating the protection of the attorney-client privilege. That miscalculation is likely to be stronger for purposes of the discovery process simply because discovery is conducted outside the courtroom, but a lawyer's conduct in discovery is considered conduct before a tribunal, subject to the same duty of candor that pertains in proceedings before the judge. See ABA Model Rules of Professional Conduct, Rule 3.3, Comment . And whether in the presence of the court or in the course of discovery, the lawyer's duty of candor to the court will, for most purposes, trump the duty of confidentiality to the client when the two duties clash.
PLI: What benefits can audit committees derive from working closely with general counsel?
HOWARD B. DICKER: An audit committee can improve its effectiveness if it has a good working relationship with the general counsel. Sometimes the general counsel is an underutilized resource. However, the general counsel may also need to be more proactive.
Money not backed by a physical commodity.
Our legal system being what it is, companies get used to being sued.
Despite having never worked as in-house counsel, Toolbox imagines most
complaints go away ("your product made me hear aliens") or can be made
to go away ("I thought my license extended to cell-phone holograms" —
see article 1, above) in short order. But, again, our legal system
being what it is, some cannot be so easily disposed of, and the
pressures of processing those to a conclusion can result in major
damage to a company's bottom line, even if the result is corporate
vindication (and more so if the company finds itself on the hook at the
end). That pressure to reduce costs has to be part of a lawyer's
thinking when presented with complex litigation. Ideally, you'd love to
pull out all the stops all the time. The financial reality is that you
can't. The practice answer is to become an expert at "litigation
assessment." At what? Thanks for asking.