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NAME AND TITLE: Catherine R. Flickinger, executive vice president, general counsel and secretary AGE: 50 THE RISE AND FALL OF ‘GEORGE’: George magazine provided Catherine Flickinger with her proudest and saddest moments as general counsel for Hachette Filipacchi Media U.S. Inc. In early 1995, Flickinger was among the HFM managers who met with John F. Kennedy Jr. to discuss his idea for a glossy, mass-market magazine on politics, to be named after the first president. Many industry observers and political pundits pooh-poohed the proposal, but Flickinger — the daughter of former Life magazine reporter Josephine Sheehan Raymond — was intrigued by Kennedy’s plan. Flickinger led joint-venture negotiations and worked closely with Kennedy before and after the magazine’s launch in 1995. Kennedy’s editorial perspective was shaped by his family’s political involvement, his lifetime in the limelight and his training as a lawyer, said Flickinger. As editor, Kennedy didn’t pull any punches in articles on controversial political figures, said Flickinger, but as a frequent tabloid target, he was more mindful than many editors about the effect of journalism on its subject matter. The magazine struggled financially, but maintained impressive circulation and advertising figures, Flickinger said. The death of Kennedy and his wife, Carolyn Bessette, in a plane crash in July 1999 was a “hugely emotional time throughout the company,” said Flickinger, and HFM remained committed to carrying on Kennedy’s creation after his death. However, the economics of a tight magazine market finally caught up with George, which published its last issue in March 2001, leaving Flickinger with the unhappy tasks of winding down the joint venture, terminating freelance and other contracts, and dealing with the legal paperwork related to the layoff of George‘s staff. MEDIA CONGLOMERATE: HFM is the New York-based, privately held subsidiary of the French media company Hachette Filipacchi Médias, which is owned by Lagardère SCA — the world’s largest magazine publisher, with operations in 34 countries. With just less than 1,000 nonunion employees, HFM reaches 50 million U.S. readers through its 18 magazines, including American Photo, Car and Driver, Cycle World, Elle, Flying, Home, Premiere, Road & Track and Woman’s Day. Each magazine has its own editorial and advertising staff, while relying on centralized law, circulation, finance, distribution and manufacturing departments. LEGAL TEAM: Flickinger supervises two in-house attorneys, Katherine Daniels and Jennifer Bernheim, and reports to CEO Jack Kliger. HFM’s three lawyers work collectively on corporate and employment matters, contracts, magazine acquisitions and divestitures, intellectual property matters (including cease-and-desist letters to trademark infringers) and litigation oversight. PREPUBLICATION REVIEW: At editors’ request, HFM in-house counsel will review article drafts for libel, privacy and copyright concerns. This prepublication vetting varies greatly by publication, said Flickinger, who used to read George nearly cover-to-cover, frequently previews investigative reports in Elle and Woman’s Day, but rarely checks out Cycle World. Flickinger said the lawyers’ role is to flag potential liability issues, not to soften hard-hitting journalism. “In any company, in-house counsel walk a balancing line — to give real legal advice where it’s needed and not to be so negative as to turn off your client so they don’t come to you,” she said. Flickinger said she tries to build a rapport with editors so that they are comfortable calling her as soon as they become concerned about possible legal issues. “If they call just before shipping to the printer, it’s a problem,” she said. LITIGATION: Whether through good editing, smart lawyering or plain luck, HFM has managed to avoid big libel lawsuits, according to Flickinger, who said that the company is not involved in any pending defamation actions. HFM’s editorial side may have caused few legal headaches recently, but the same can’t be said for the company’s advertising and marketing activities. In 1996, for example, New York photographer Jacob Getz sued HFM, advertiser Eicon Communication and clothing maker Morsly Inc. over unauthorized republication in Elle of photographs of comedian Alan King and fashion models draped in Morsly garments. The next year, a New York federal judge awarded summary judgment to Getz on his copyright claims, ruling that the defendants had no proof that the photographer had signed over his copyright to the photos. Flickinger said that HFM was indemnified by the advertiser under its standard contract, and thus had little role in the litigation. Also in 1996, Williamson Printing Co. filed a patent infringement suit against HFM over a Mercedes Benz advertising insert in Car and Driver and Road & Track magazines. Williamson alleged that the insert — a booklet enclosed within a perforated paper jacket that was itself bound to the magazine — infringed its patented design. According to Flickinger, the Hachette employees who designed the one-time insert had no knowledge of the prior 1992 patent. In 1997, the federal court in Chicago granted summary judgment to HFM on claims of literal infringement, but allowed the case to proceed on a “doctrine of equivalents” theory. More recently, the magazine publisher has been in the news as an antitrust defendant. In 1990, plaintiffs’ class action firms filed several antitrust cases against Magazine Publishers of America (MPA) and publishers including HFM, Time Inc., and Hearst Corp. At issue is an MPA guideline prohibiting publishers’ agents from discounting subscription rates by more than 50 percent. The parties have recently negotiated a settlement of the case, which has received preliminary approval from a federal court. PRINCIPAL OUTSIDE COUNSEL: Hachette’s main corporate counsel is John J. Hyland of Jones, Day, Reavis & Pogue’s New York office. IP matters are handled by the New York offices of Baker Botts and Brown Raysman Millstein Felder & Steiner. Flickinger hires outside litigators on an ad hoc basis, depending on the location and type of case. CLIMBING THE MASTHEAD: Flickinger graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in 1973 with a B.A. in history, and received her law degree from Columbia University Law School in 1976. After a clerkship with 2nd Circuit Judge Leonard P. Moore, Flickinger joined Cravath, Swaine & Moore of New York. Her first assignment was representing Sports Illustrated in its lawsuit against Major League Baseball and the New York Yankees, challenging the Yankees’ ban on female reporters entering the players’ locker room. To support a successful motion for summary judgment, Flickinger collected affidavits from sportswriters on the importance of locker room interviews, and floor plans and videotapes showing that shy athletes could get naked and shower in privacy. Later, Flickinger teamed with then-Cravath partner David Boies to defend CBS Inc. in the libel suit by William C. Westmoreland over a “60 Minutes” piece charging that the former Army general inflated enemy body counts during the Vietnam War. On the eve of the 1984 trial, Flickinger joined the in-house counsel office at CBS, where she continued on the Westmoreland defense team throughout the trial. In 1987, Flickinger joined other CBS managers in a leveraged buyout of the company’s magazine division, becoming general counsel of the new Diamandis Communications Inc. She stayed on as legal chief when Hachette Filipacchi acquired Diamandis in June 1988. PERSONAL: Flickinger lives in New York with husband Burt Flickinger and sons David, 15, and Nicholas, 13. LAST BOOK READ: “A Prayer for Owen Meany,” by John Irving.

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