ALM Properties, Inc.
Page printed from: Corporate Counsel
Select 'Print' in your browser menu to print this document.
We Know What You're Reading
Some new additions came to our newsroom recently. They're big flat-screen TV monitors, but they aren't showing CNN or any other news channel, nor the kinds of programs the folks in our lunchroom tend to watch on their breaks, like (I am not joking) Judge Judy.
No, these monitors are tethered to HP netbooks running a website that tells us which online articles are being read, and by how many readers, in real time. It may not be as gripping as, say, the recent hunt for the Boston Marathon bombers, but the service has its charms. First of all, the screens (there are four of them) are set to our "national" websites, those of The National Law Journal, Law Technology News, The American Lawyer, and last but certainly not least, Corporate Counsel. It's sparked a bit of a horse race among us editors, who sit here rooting for our team. It's great when a story goes viral.
All kidding aside, it's given yours truly and our other editors a good idea of what our readers are really interested in. And one well-read story proved our working thesis about which issues concern you. You can say these stories fall under the uninspiring rubric of "compliance." (If I utter the word to a colleague, he literally starts to yawn.) The story was a column by our regular online writer Ryan McConnell, a former federal prosecutor who is now a partner at Morgan, Lewis & Bockius in Houston. McConnell teaches law at the University of Houston Law Center, and he says he may have found a way to deal with the surplus of law graduates created by the economic crisis: have them work in compliance. Few law schools are currently offering specific compliance courses, so McConnell decided that he'd try to remedy that by teaching a course in that discipline. His students, he says, may actually graduate with some job skills. He may be onto something.
We do save some features to run in this magazine first, rather than online, and our cover story is one of them. It's about Gerson Zweifach, the general counsel of Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation. Talk about risk. He was hired to clean up the operation following a tabloid-worthy scandal of tapped mobile phones, police officers tipping off reporters, and a culture that prized scoops over their subject's privacy.
This lawyer had—has, actually, it's a continuing process—his work cut out for him. Senior reporter Sue Reisinger describes how he's struggled to overcome the hidebound practices of scores of editors and reporters. And in the middle of it, he's helped engineer a corporate divorce, and will end up the general counsel of two companies.
Zweifach believes in keeping the compliance function in the legal department. It's increasingly a minority position, especially with U.S. regulators, who believe that there's an inherent conflict between being the legal representative of the board and company and having to take a dispassionate eye to corporate policy and practices.
What's your opinion? We'd like to know. Drop me a line, and offer to write an essay. Add your voice to the conversation. You never know, maybe your writing will end up on top of our flat-screen list of most-read articles.