MCC Interactive - Digging Deeper With Westlaw

Friday, September 1, 2006 - 00:00

Craig Miller,
Thomson West

The September issue of The Metropolitan Corporate Counsel includes a Special Report on Compliance Readiness that alerts corporate counsel to their compliance responsibilities in the post Sarbanes-Oxley world and provides them with intellectual ammunition to convince the board and senior management of the legal departments' need to have the necessary tools, staff and status. With this issue, which includes a Special Section on Texas, The Metropolitan Corporate Counsel kicks off its Southwest edition. It also continues its coverage of Pro Bono in a Special Section. Craig Miller, vice president and general manager, Corporate Division, Thomson West, recommends that current Westlaw subscribers dig deeper into these issues through direct links to Westlaw from The Metropolitan Corporate Counsel's Web site, www.metrocorpcounsel.com.

A number of interviews and articles in the Special Report on Compliance Readiness highlight the current stock option backdating scandals as illustrative of the kinds of unpleasant surprises that escaped detection even well after the Sarbanes Oxley Act increased attention to securities and accounting information and reporting. See pages 37, 38, 40 and 41. This legislation is considered the most important reform measures since the SEC Act of '34. Westlaw is corporate counsel's source for insight and guidance to Sarbanes Oxley. The weekly updates in Corporate Counsel Guidelines reviews general principles unique to corporate counsel and applies them to possible real-life situations. A joint project of Thomson West and the Association of Corporate Counsel, Corporate Counsel Guidelines is divided into separate sections: attorney-client privilege and in-house corporate counsel, work-product doctrine and in-house corporate counsel, ethical issues for inside counsel, overseeing civil litigation, overseeing corporate criminal investigations and litigation, individual rights and liabilities of corporate counsel certification and recordkeeping obligations, and an inside counsels' Sarbanes-Oxley primer.

Additionally, Sarbanes Oxley in Perspective provides analysis of the legal principles and rules unique to the act. For a quick weekly reference, the PLI Counselor is also available.

An article on page 66 stresses the numerous pressures on legal departments today. Legal departments continue to be under budget pressure and must not only meet their responsibilities under Sarbanes-Oxley, but must also comply with its mandate to maintain internal controls on expenditures. Utilizing state of the art technology is one answer. Thomson West continues to stay in the forefront of technology with West km, Version 3.0, a knowledge management system that enables corporate counsel to leverage internal documents and previous work product to better serve the corporate client. Its software avoids unnecessary expenditures to reinvent the wheel by facilitating reuse of corporate counsel's best work. It combines a company's work product - its briefs, memoranda and other authored work - with Key Cite and Westlaw , allowing practitioners to find relevant documents and gain insight from their collective experience.

The interview with Governor Rick Perry on the cover of this month's Special Section on Texas (Page 51) captures that state's commitment to dynamic business growth. It is essential that corporate counsel be familiar with Texas law if they are to effectively counsel corporate clients wishing to participate in that growth. Westlaw offers Texas Jurisprudence 3d and Texas Legal and Business Forms to help you analyze Texas law. From insights into Texas statutes, case law and administrative materials to practical drafting aids to help you avoid pitfalls, no roads are left unexplored.

To support the activities of general counsel and managing corporate counsel in Texas and the Southwest, Thomson West announced a formal partnership with the Texas General Counsel Forum (TXGCF) in June 1995. TXGCF is an association whose mission is to facilitate communication and information sharing of best practices for legal department management among General Counsel and outside counsel and for effective communication between the legal department and executive management. Thomson West supports TXGCF's impressive growth as a preeminent association of general and managing counsel and assists TXGCF members in accessing legal research resources, legal software, and continuing legal education. If you are interested in joining the Texas General Counsel Forum, visit www.txgcf.com.

For information on becoming a Westlaw subscriber, please visit west.thomson.com or call Jocelyn Tollin at (212) 548-7438. Visit www.metrocorpcounsel.com to access the live links in this article and more.