September 18, 2006
HP's Pretexting and Lawyers
The secret investigation of directors at Hewlett Packard necessarily involves lawyers. One lawyer, Sonsini, was on the board and asked for assurances from the companies Chief Legal Officer, Baskins that the investigation was on the up and up. Baskins assured him that it was. She, we now know, was wrong and may have had a heavy hand in supervising the program. Another lawyer in Boston,Kiernan, wrote an opinion letter for HP advising that the methods of the outside investigator were legal; he was mistaken and conflicted. These kinds of assurances from lawyers are routinely requested by managers and without affirmative responses managers do not go ahead with their planned activities. Lawyers then are often integral to any scheme of managerial misbehavior. As participants, lawyers should be held accountable, both in criminal and civil prosecutions and in bar investigations. Once a few lawyers are sanctioned, opinions and assurances on what turn out to be questionable actions will be harder to secure.
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I blogged on this last night -- the most outrageous part of this is that Kiernan was apparently counsel to Security Outsourcing/Ron DeLia (I saw a piece earlier in the week where Kiernan refused to speak due to an attorney-client relationship), not HP, and HP didn't get their own counsel to back it up. Also, HP should have been a little concerned that Security Outsourcing actually shares an address and phone number with Kiernan.
Posted by: Alex Simpson | Sep 18, 2006 2:31:00 PM