– General Electric GC Alex Dimitrief, speaking at a recent event in NYC about the many regulations imposed on global companies.
Question of the week –
In each briefing, we’ll answer a question for in-house attorneys by going to top practitioners in those areas. If you have a question, email me.
This week’s question: With more than a year before the United Kingdom is scheduled to leave the European Union in March 2019, what should I be thinking about now?
What are some of the top considerations in-house counsel should be thinking about with respect to Brexit?
➤➤ Evaluate the potential impact of different Brexit scenarios (deal versus no deal, hard or soft Brexit, standstill and transitional periods etc.) across the business, including organisational structures, product and service lines, people issues (immigration, health, tax etc.), data flows, taxation, treasury flows and funding, as well as regulatory and licensing regimes likely to be affected.
Consider the impact on investment decisions and other forward planning decisions and the related timing issue. Review key vendor/supply arrangements and customer agreements, renegotiate as needed and/or obtain assurance of supply etc.
Going forward, in-house counsel should be thinking about legal issues such as legal privilege (e.g. for competition law advice, since advice in respect of EU law only attracts privilege if it is given by an independent lawyer qualified in an EU Member State). In-house counsel should also work with the business to establish future business opportunities, for example as the UK negotiates its own Free Trade Agreements with the likes of Australia, Indonesia, New Zealand and the US.
What can and should in-house counsel be doing now to prepare for Brexit?
➤➤ Participate in and advise the working group or project team established to prepare the business for Brexit. At present the particular focus should be on impact analysis and contingency planning. Contingency planning will consider different Brexit outcomes, but the bottom line is that businesses needs to be prepared for a so-called “hard” Brexit in March 2019, especially given the perceived lack of progress in the negotiations.
The December meeting of the European Council is an important key milestone. It will consider if sufficient progress is made to move talks onto the future relationship between the EU and the UK. Maintain a “watching brief” over developments in order to be able to adjust plans and implement accordingly as the process unfolds. If businesses don’t get a sense of progress being made, expect to see acceleration of plans and implementation activities.
- Tim Wright, partner at Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman and leader of the firm’s London Global Sourcing team. (Edited for clarity and length.)
Don’t miss –
Monday, Nov. 27 and Tuesday, Nov. 28 – The Supreme Court is slated to hear arguments in a case that questions the constitutionality of inter partes review. With a number of in-house counsel already weighing in on both sides of the debate, this is sure to be a closely watched case for companies. Can’t make it? Don’t fret. My colleague Scott Graham will be in Washington, D.C. for oral arguments and he will also host a conference call with Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe partner Mark Davies on the 28th to share key takeaways. Sign up here.
Wednesday, Nov. 29 – Recruiting firm Major, Lindsey & Africa has invited in-house counsel to discuss trends in GC compensation. If you’ve always wondered how to maximize your salary – and if you’re in Los Angeles – this seems like an event you won’t want to miss.
Monday, Dec. 4 and Tuesday, Dec. 5 –Held in NYC, ALM’s cyberSecureconference will look at everything from how to avoid becoming the next target of an attack to what cyber insurance policies should look like. Counsel from MasterCard, eHarmony, General Electric, Oracle and more are scheduled to speak over the course of the two days, and ALM reporters will be there bringing you all the details.
If you like Inside Track, check the other new briefings from Law.com writers. Sign up here for a complimentary trial subscription.
On the move –
YOU’RE OUT. Uber revealed Tuesday that the information of 57 million users and drivers has been impacted by a 2016 data security incident. The ride-hailing giant failed to notify consumers for over a year, new CEO Dara Khosrowshahi wrote in a company blog post. And that’s just the start of it. Bloomberg has now reported that the company paid hackers $100,000 to keep this hack quiet. Heads have rolled already, starting with former chief security officer Joe Sullivan and Craig Clark, a senior in-house attorney who reported to Sullivan. Stay tuned for more reporting from us on the breach in the coming days and weeks.
PERFECT FIT. Online investment and lending marketplace YieldStreet named its first-ever general counsel this month. Taking on the role is Ivor Wolk, who was a partner with Cohen Tauber Spievack & Wagner and who has also been in-house at NewOak Capital, Lehman Brothers and Barclays Capital. Wolk told my colleague Stephanie Forshee that 2018 is going to be “a very big year” for YieldStreet.
SPEAKING OF EQUIFAX. At some point in October, Equifax quietly named in-house attorney Julia Houston the company’s chief transformation officer. In this role, Houston is responsible for guiding the company through the aftermath of the breach and will help coordinate the company’s efforts to “build a new future.”
Thanks for reading. I’ll be back next week with more in-house news.
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