Wednesday, May 25, 2011

The Best Legal Department of 2011

According to the Legal Times Corporate Counsel blog, the best law department is  Google. Here are a few paragraphs from the article:

Many of their cases are cutting-edge. "Bleeding-edge," an in-house lawyer amends. They test the limits of laws perpetually lagging behind new technology. Can advertisers use trademarked terms in Google ads? Can Google scan and make available copyrighted but out-of-print books? Is the company liable if results of its search engine direct users to counterfeit or pirated products? These are just a few of the questions that courts-and Google's lawyers-have been grappling with.

It's an exciting time to be Google's general counsel, says Kent Walker. They win a lot of cases that define the boundaries of the law. The biggest was the summary judgment last June in which a judge ruled that Google's YouTube was not liable for the posting of Viacom Inc.'s video clips. "We lose some," Walker adds, "as we did today," referring to the decision by another judge rejecting the Book Search settlement Google had reached with the Authors Guild and the Association of American Publishers. The ruling leaves years of legal work in limbo.

The company has only been around for a dozen years, so the lawyers aren't exactly encumbered by tradition. They're trying to craft approaches of their own, says Walker, sitting in a conference room near his office-er, make that desk. There are no offices. The renovation of their building that Walker ordered last year for the law department was part of an "open style" in hierarchy and architecture. "We don't have an open-door policy," he explains. "We have a no-door policy."


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