• Ethics,  Lawyers

    How To Avoid Being GM’ed: The Wrongs and Rights of Clients and Lawyers

    The GM internal-investigation report  about ignition-switch problems raises a host of issues, one of which is its unusually sharp criticism of GM internal lawyers.  Criticism of lawyers is nothing new, of course.  Lawyer-jokes always blame lawyers; lawyers’ spouses frequently blame lawyers; clients sometimes blame lawyers. But public reports drafted by lawyers infrequently blame lawyers, so this one merits attention, most especially by internal lawyers in large organizations; by the outside counsel who serve them; and by the businesspeople who are the true clients.   What are the key takeaways? The Normal, Uneasy.   Skim the report.  (Just skim it — it’s too long to read cover to cover without heroin.  If…

  • Ethics,  Law Practice Management

    The Super Bowl, Jamie Casino and the Rights and Wrongs of White-Collar Defense

    As a football game, the Super Bowl was dreadful, at least in terms of entertainment value.  As a cultural petri dish, its television advertisements (and the reactions to the advertisements) were invaluable.  And the most mind-blowing bacillus in the dish, by consensus, had to be the commercial by Savannah plaintiffs’ lawyer Jamie Casino.  In the midst of the spot’s pageantry, if that is the word, most seemed to have missed a significant issue that Mr. Casino, inadvertently, raises for businesses and those white-collar or compliance lawyers who help them.   First, let’s take Mr. Casino at his word: he is a plaintiffs’ personal-injury lawyer with a predeliction for over-the-top advertisements, the…

  • Compliance,  Ethics

    McKinsey, General Lee and the Culture of Compliance

    Except perhaps for “paradigm” and “silo,” the word “culture” is one of the most abused in the vocabulary of compliance, ethics and consultants.  (I once heard a consultant say that he needed “a high hover over the silos.”  I thought it an ironic mash-up about drones and agriculture; it was not).  Yet, “culture” has a meaning in the broader world; in commerce; and in compliance.  “Culture” represents a gear-shift in compliance and ethics, and can be smooth or bone-rattling. Consider this story about  McKinsey’s culture in the wake of insider-trading scandals: For a quarter of a century, except for a brief stint as a currency analyst at Rothschild, Mr. Barton has…

  • Cocktails,  Compliance,  Ethics

    Weekend: GCs on Boards and Gin in Ice

     Notes For the Weekend:   I tend to agree:  No, General Counsels Should Not Be On The Board.  The conflicts can be too great.  GCs sometimes have a hard enough time, as it is, being honest brokers and, as the saying goes, speaking truth to power. Especially good corruption, bribery and FCPA collection from Corruption Currents  (via@WSJRisk).               As always, a good summary of white-collar news from @WaltPavlo and 500 Pearl Street.   And finally . . . The best “coffee-table” book I have read on martinis is The Martini: An Illustrated History of an American Classic by Barnaby Conrad III: A chilled, crystal…

  • Brady/Giglio,  Ethics,  Trials, Judges and Jurors

    Fourth Circuit Rips United States Attorney’s Office For Brady Non-Disclosure

    As noted by the White Collar Law Prof blog, here — Fourth Circuit Rebukes United States Attorney’s Office — this criticism of a United States Attorney’s Office for repeated Brady-disclosure problems is unusual.  If nothing else, the Fourth Circuit is generally a law-and-order bench, which lends the criticism greater force.  Here are some highlights: A cursory review of this Court’s opinions reveals recent consideration of at least three cases involving discovery abuse by government counsel in this district.   Mistakes happen. Flawless trials are desirable but rarely attainable. Nevertheless, the frequency of the “flubs” committed by this office raises questions regarding whether the errors are fairly characterized as unintentional.  …