Skip to main content

In-House Attorneys Feel Targeted by Hyper Regulation

The Daily Business Report has an excellent article, wherein they report that key players, including corporate counsel, are increasingly finding themselves under intense regulatory scrutiny. As a result, in-house lawyer liability for corporate misconduct is edging up.

It is reported that between six and nine criminal or civil and administrative cases are brought against  companies' top attorney every year. However panelists at the Association of Corporate Counsel annual meeting in Denver were unable to agree on the severity of the problem. Some have suggested that the job of general counsel is not safe. Others counter than the SEC is not on a witch-hunt for inside lawyers. Nevertheless, regulatory and economic pressures on in-house lawyers are underlying themes across many of the annual meeting's 80-plus panels and other events.

Corporate counsel were generally considered exempt from scrutiny, as they were considered a corporation's legal advisers. However, corporate counsel are now considered key players and therefore prime targets for government investigations. Some speculate that when the top lawyer gets in trouble, it is because that individual was wearing "two hats" by doubling in another senior management level position, such as chief financial officer. However where the top lawyer relied on the advice of outside counsel for similar matters, they have almost never been targeted.

This advice that should be taken away from this article is that the general counsel of a company has the broadest responsibility for the well-being of a company. As a result, the general counsel should not allow their advocacy skills to overwhelm their role as counselor and should rely more on the advice of outside counsel when faced with a corporate dilemma.

If you are interested in receiving a complete copy of the DBR article or wish to contact me, you may do so at or


Popular posts from this blog

Maritime Law--U.S. Crewmember Required to Arbitrate Claims Applying Norwegian Law

In Alberts v. Royal Caribbean Cruises, Ltd., No. 15-14775 (11th Cir. Aug. 23, 2016), the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit held that a U.S. citizen, working aboard a Royal Caribbean cruise ship is required to arbitrate his claims against Royal Caribbean.
Plaintiff, a United States citizen, worked as the lead trumpeter on a passenger Royal Caribbean cruise ship. The ship is a Bahamian flagged vessel with a home port in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Royal Caribbean, the operator of the vessel, is a Liberian corporation with its principal place of business in Florida. After plaintiff became ill while working for Royal Caribbean, he filed suit alleging unseaworthiness, negligence, negligence under the Jones Act, maintenance and cure, and seaman’s wages and penalties. Royal Caribbean moved to compel arbitration, and the district court granted the motion. This appeal presented an issue of first impression: Whether a seaman’s work in international waters on a cruise ship that calls o…

Maritime Law--Jury Hits Royal Caribbean Cruises With $20.3M Verdict for Officer's Hand Injury

In Spearman v. Royal Caribbean Cruises, Case No. 2011-023730-CA-01, a Miami-Dade County, Florida jury has awarded $20.3 million to a former crewmember of Royal Caribbean Cruises, whose hand was crushed while coming to the aid of a fellow worker during an emergency test in 2008. After a three-week trial, the jury found the Miami-based cruise company negligent in operating an unseaworthy ship and 100 percent liable for the injuries suffered by Lisa Spearman, who was working an officer on Royal Caribbean’s Voyager of the Seas.

Spearman sued the company in 2011, three years after her right hand was caught in a watertight power door during a fire-safety drill. According to her lawyers, Spearman was trying to prevent the door from closing on the ship’s nurse when her hand was pulled into a recess pocket of the sliding door and crushed. The nurse allegedly breached the company’s safety protocol when she stumbled through the door, prompting the response from Spearman.
According to allegations m…

Maritime Law--Tour Boat Captain Implicated in Tragedy Off Nicaragua

As reported in the Daily Business Review on January 25, 2016, Nicaragua's police, army and navy will investigate the captain of a tourist boat and his assistant for the deaths of 13 Costa Rican passengers killed on January 23rd when the vessel capsized in bad weather. The Reina del Caribe, Spanish for "Caribbean Queen," was carrying 33 people when it went down Saturday amid rain and strong winds as it ferried between the Corn Islands, a popular tourist destination, off Nicaragua's Caribbean coast. The Daily Business Review article can be accessed here=> Daily Business Review article.

The government clarified on the 24th that the boat was carrying 25 Costa Ricans, two Americans, two British citizens, a Brazilian and three Nicaraguans. Previous reports had said there were 32 people on board, including four Americans. All the dead were Costa Ricans.

Nicaragua's naval commander for the southern Caribbean region said the boat's captain was detained because the …