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Last spring, Corporate Counsel chose ten in-house lawyers we predicted would become chief legal officer of a Fortune 500 company by 2010. One of them was Donald Rosenberg, vice president and assistant GC for litigation at International Business Machines Corporation. Rosenberg, 54, didn’t have to wait long. In October IBM promoted him to senior vice president and GC. He replaced Ed Lineen, who retired in January after 36 years with the company. IBM also decided to draft some outside talent, hiring Robert Weber from Jones Day for a newly created post, senior vice president � legal and regulatory affairs. Rosenberg held a variety of positions at the Armonk, New York � based company, including counsel to IBM’s mainframe division. He took over leadership of litigation in 1995 and personally negotiated the antitrust settlement with Microsoft Corporation in 2005. The latter paid IBM $775 million in cash and $75 million in software credits, concluding an antitrust suit the U.S. Department of Justice brought against Microsoft in 1995. Rosenberg, like his predecessor, has spent his entire legal career at Big Blue. “When I joined IBM, the company only hired their lawyers directly out of law schools,” he says. “The idea was that [IBM] ought to get the same type of people the firms were competing for.” The company later changed its philosophy and now hires laterals. “There’s a huge pool of talent located in the New York City firms, [and] we have benefited from that.” The best example of a talented lateral hire may be Weber, Rosenberg’s new boss. He represented IBM in the first “toxic torts” trial in the microelectronics industry, in which workers claimed to have been poisoned by chemical exposures at IBM’s disk drive plant in San Jose. IBM won a unanimous verdict in the case in February 2004. Legal challenges ahead for Weber and Rosenberg include a lawsuit alleging age discrimination in IBM’s pension plan, which is now on appeal before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit. IBM is also involved in an ongoing battle with SCO Group Inc. over copyrights to source code in the Linux operating system. That case is currently in federal district court in Salt Lake City.

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