The Weekly BLB General Counsel Column

Every week, Big Law Business chronicles top developments in the general counsel community. Below are the most recent highlights.

 

The Atlantic’s Top Lawyer

• Atlantic Media general counsel Aretae Wyler is combating scammers posing as editors and senior staff.

Over the past few months, the scammers have sent out fraudulent job offerings to gain personal information from hopeful employees, according to Wyler.

“The imposters have created numerous misleading email accounts, including gmail addresses in the names of editors, gmail addresses that include The Atlantic’s name (e.g., recruitment.atlanticmagazine@gmail.com), and addresses employing fake domains (e.g., @atlanticmediagroup.net),” Wyler explained in an online post.

Atlantic Media's Katherine Cusani (L) and General Counsel Aretae Wyler attend the Atlantic Private Dinner on April 24, 2015 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Mark Sagliocco/Getty Images)
Atlantic Media’s Katherine Cusani (L) and General Counsel Aretae Wyler attend the Atlantic Private Dinner on April 24, 2015 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Mark Sagliocco/Getty Images)

Wyler said that “the aim of the scam is to obtain personal information such as social security numbers, addresses, and bank account information from the intended victims.”

The perpetrators have even conducted interviews by phone and Gchat in an attempt to gather direct deposit and tax forms, Wyler said. And, in some cases, they mailed fake checks to people with the hope that they’ll cash them and will be able to get further banking information.

So far, over 50 people in touch with the scammers have contacted The Atlantic.

We’ve reached out to Wyler to see if she can speak any more to how she’s handling the situation. We’ll keep you posted if we hear back.

 

New General Counsel at Apple 

Apple Computers announced on Friday that its longtime general counsel Bruce Sewell will retire at the end of 2017 and be replaced by Katherine Adams, the former general counsel of Honeywell.

The transition is significant because Sewell has played a prominent role at the company since he took over as general counsel in 2009: he led the law department at a time when it was in a long running patent feud with Samsung, where billions of dollars were in the balance and defended the company’s refusal to unlock a terrorist’s iPhone data in the wake of a deadly shooting in San Bernardino.

He has also placed at the top of our annual GC compensation report for two years running.

Bruce Sewell, senior vice president of legal and global security and general counsel at Apple Inc., pauses during a House Judiciary Committee hearing in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Tuesday, March 1, 2016. As members of Congress grilled Apple Inc. Tuesday on why it refused to help the FBI unlock a terrorists iPhone, the company is fresh from a courtroom victory that bolsters its case against the government. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg
Bruce Sewell, senior vice president of legal and global security and general counsel at Apple Inc., paused during a House Judiciary Committee hearing in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Tuesday, March 1, 2016. Members of Congress grilled Apple Inc. on why it refused to help the FBI unlock a terrorist’s iPhone. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg

Big Law Business rounded up key biographical facts about Adams, of Honeywell, to provide some insight into what to expect from the transition.

A former Sidley Austin attorney, Adams guided the conglomerate as general counsel since 2008. Her duties have included SEC disclosures, human resources, mergers, intellectual property, litigation, environmental compliance, government relations and security.

She worked at Sidley for nearly a decade, joining first in 1994, and working across the firm’s environmental, appellate and complex commercial litigation teams.

She also experience managing work-life balance: several years after joining Sidley, she gave birth to a son, but credited Sidley’s maternity leave and other policies with making it possible to return with an 80 percent workload and still make partner.

 

Sewell Still Managing Litigation 

Meanwhile, Sewell finds himself managing a dispute between his company and technology engineering giant Qualcomm.

According to a report in Businessweek, Qualcomm is accusing Apple of conspiring with Samsung to influence Korean regulators to go after Qualcomm in a global effort to force them to reduce the price of their wireless modems.

This piece from Max Chafkin and Ian King is worthy of your time and details how Sewell is handling the situation.

 

 

ICYMI: CBS Lawyer Fired 

CBS had to let go of a vice president and senior counsel in its law department after a social media posting gone bad.

Following the massive shooting in Las Vegas that left 59 dead and hundreds wounded, Hayley Geftman-Gold wrote in a now-deleted Facebook post that country music fans are often “Republican gun toters” and she wasn’t sympathetic because of it.

The CBS Corp. Television City studio complex stands in Los Angeles, California, U.S., on Thursday, Aug. 3, 2017. CBS is scheduled to release earnings figures on August 7. Photographer: Patrick T. Fallon/Bloomberg
The CBS Corp. Television City studio complex stands in Los Angeles, California, U.S., on Thursday, Aug. 3, 2017. Photographer: Patrick T. Fallon/Bloomberg

She later apologized for the comment, but was fired last Monday after the post went viral.

CBS said her comments “are deeply unacceptable.”

 

Vulcan Inc. Top Lawyer to Combat Illegal Fishing

Microsoft Corp. co-founder Paul Allen is concerned about illegal fishing depleting fish populations and will spend $40 million to develop a system that uses satellite imagery and data-analysis software to help countries spot and catch unlicensed fishing boats.

That’s from Dina Bass of Bloomberg News.

“The stakes are high and the threat is real,” Dave Stewart, general counsel of Allen’s Vulcan Inc., told Bloomberg. The company has its hand in a wide range of activities from documentary film to space exploration.

“Very few countries have access to timely, actionable intelligence and technology to address this issue. We are developing an illegal fishing intelligence network that will bring this to them,” Stewart said.

Paul G. Allen, left, co-founder of Microsoft Corp and owner of Vulcan Inc. talks with Jeffrey Katzenberg, partner, DreamWorks SKG, outside the Inn in the Sun Valley resort during the Allen & Co conference in Sun Valley, Idaho July 9, 2004. Photographer: Matthew Staver/ Bloomberg News.
Paul G. Allen, left, co-founder of Microsoft Corp and owner of Vulcan Inc. talks with Jeffrey Katzenberg, partner, DreamWorks SKG, outside the Inn in the Sun Valley resort during the Allen & Co conference in Sun Valley, Idaho July 9, 2004. Photographer: Matthew Staver/ Bloomberg News.

Stewart and Allen intend to combating illegal fishing through a cloud-based service called SkyLight, which will allow countries to communicate locations of illegal fishing fleets as they move across international lines.

Stewart is based in Seattle, Washington, and has been in-house at Vulcan Inc. since 2012, according to his LinkedIn profile. He was previously a partner at Wilson Sonsini Goodrich and Rosati between 2011 and 2012, and before that was a partner at Howrey between 2007 and 2011.

 

 

 

Case to Watch: Uber v. Waymo Heats Up

Uber and Waymo are set to face off at a high stakes trade secrets trial that could involve Uber’s top lawyer Salle Yoo.

Waymo, an Alphabet unit, is expected to argue that Uber hired an engineer to lead its driverless car program last year, even after its own research revealed red flags about how much proprietary information he took from Waymo.

Now, Waymo has asked a San Francisco federal judge to postpone the trial so it can dig into documents that support its case and draw a fully-fleshed picture of what happened.

The trial is slated to begin December 4.

General Counsel of Uber Technologies Salle Yoo attends the Step It Up For Gender Equality Celebration of the 20th Anniversary Of The Fourth World Conference On Women In Beijing at the Hammerstein Ballroom on March 10, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by J. Countess/WireImage)
General Counsel of Uber Technologies Salle Yoo attends the Step It Up For Gender Equality Celebration of the 20th Anniversary Of The Fourth World Conference On Women In Beijing at the Hammerstein Ballroom on March 10, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by J. Countess/WireImage)

Among the documents Waymo wishes to sift through is a report by risk management firm Stroz Friedberg, produced on behalf of Uber, that dissects what the employee knew before starting Ottomoto, a similar company that was bought by Uber.

Law.com reported that members of the legal department saw the report prior to the acquisition of Ottomotto. Salle Yoo saw it in after the litigation was filed.

 

 

On the Move:

• Healthcare tech and intelligence company Outcome Health just took on a new general counsel, Seth Darmstadter.

Darmstadter comes to the company from the Chicago outpost of Michelman & Robinson LLP, where he was a partner and member of the commercial and business litigation practice group.

Darmstadter was also an attorney at K&L Gates and was a founding member of the Brunch app, a proximity based message board for groups of friends according to his Linkedin profile. He also occasionally pens “The Counsel’s Table,” a reoccurring column about food for the Chicago Lawyer Magazine.

 

• Michael Kolloway will succeed Clyde Ellis as the new general counsel of Parsons, an engineering and construction company that serves several different industries across the globe.

Kolloway was promoted from vice president and deputy general counsel for the Americas for Parsons. Ellis will be retiring, the company said in a release.

Kolloway was formerly senior vice president and assistant general counsel for operations and risk management at AECOM, another global engineering firm.

 

• Boston Scientific Corporation has appointed Desiree Ralls-Morrison as senior vice president, general counsel and corporate secretary. Ralls-Morrison will join the company in November and will oversee compliance matters and will provide legal counsel across the company’s global businesses.

Ralls-Morrison comes to the medical devices manufacturer from Behringer Ingelheim USA, a German pharmaceutical company, where she was general counsel, senior vice president and corporate secretary among other roles.

She has also held positions at Johnson & Johnson’s consumer group and was an attorney at Merck & Co. Inc, according to her Linkedin. Ralls-Morrison is a Harvard Law School grad and serves on the board of The Inner-City Foundation for Charity and Education, a non-profit based in Connecticut.

 

• Cable ONE, Inc. will bid farewell to Alan H. Silverman, its senior vice president, secretary and general counsel. The company has announced his retirement will be effective December 29. Silverman has been with the company for decades, according to a company release. He was promoted to his current position in 2015.

Cable ONE will begin a national search to find a replacement, which Silverman will assist with. Matthew E. Stoloff, current associate general counsel will serve as an interim general counsel after Silverman retires. A graduate University of Pennsylvania Law School, Silverman serves on the endowment board of the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University.

• Bane Phillippi was named general counsel of McCoy Corporation, a Texas based construction supplier.  He will oversee McCoy’s transaction work, litigation and other compliance matters. Phillippi began his career at Haynes and Boone, LLP, where he focused on regulatory and compliance work.

In 2012, he joined Weisbart Springer Hayes, LLP where he advised corporate clients and landowners on litigation, regulatory enforcement and compliance matters. Phillipi specialized in land use issues, water rights and other issues relevant for the energy industry, according to his archived profile on the firm’s website.

UPDATED: This article has been updated to reflect a correction in a story reported in Law.com, which Big Law Business cited. 

Contact the reporter responsible for this column at maxsiegelbaum@gmail.com.

Contact the editor responsible for this column at csullivan@bloomberglaw.com.