Follow all the coverage of Hewlett-Packard’s boardroom spying scandal � and the continuing legal fallout.
Baskins joined HP in 1982 after briefly working at Crosby, Heafey, Roach & May. She worked her way up the ranks and, less than a year after Carly Fiorina became HP’s CEO in 1999, was tapped to succeed Jack Brigham, the first corporate attorney at Hewlett-Packard and GC since 1976.
HP’s legal department has more than 300 lawyers. It dishes work to a long list of firms, including Wilson, as well as Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher; DLA Piper; Hunton & Williams; Littler Mendelson; Morgan, Lewis & Bockius and Irell & Manella.
During her career, Baskins has steered HP through a series of deals and suits and, more recently, mergers and related corporate restructurings.
She helped with the spin-off of Agilent Technologies, which she described in 2000 as part of HP’s “reinvention process.”
Baskins played a visible role in the legal infighting that came with Fiorina’s decision to acquire Compaq Computer in 2002. When dissident HP heirs tried to block the acquisition, Baskins teamed up with Sonsini and other Wilson lawyers to defeat that effort in court.
Though the drama has yet to play out, there are already calls, in some quarters, for Baskins to be fired.
“By all accounts, HP’s general counsel Ann Baskins showed extremely bad judgment during the affair,” wrote David Kirkpatrick, a Fortune senior editor, in a Sept. 7 analysis. “CEO Mark Hurd ought to fire her immediately, along with anyone else who is determined to have played a critical role in hiring or defending investigators who behaved improperly.”