Politics & Legislation

Legal Responsibility: 2014 Legal Who’s Who

Here are some of the best and brightest in the legal community.

By The Editors

Corporate Responsibility Magazine is pleased to present our 2014 Legal Who’s Who. Taking our key from the triple bottom line—money, people and planet—we’ve chosen to focus on three practice areas: securities, employment law, and environmental law.

One of our key measurements was litigation; many lawyers made this list for their participation in litigating major, high- impact cases. We wanted other measurements besides that, so we did a brief survey to gather nominees from the legal community. Finally, we reached out to a panel of business people and asked them to nominate outstanding lawyers they’ve worked with. We think you’ll find the results useful.

Editor’s Note: Securities litigation begins with successfully pleading a claim, and it’s meant to be a difficult process.

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Spectacle of Inspiration

A celebration of diversity by MGM that looks squarely at stereotypes—then blows them sky high.

By Dirk Olin

The 2013 COMMIT!Forum opened with a bang. Andre Barry, vice president of diversity and inclusion for the MGM Resorts International, served as emcee for an opening act that brought the house down.

The musical performance, called Inspiring Our World, was a recreation of the same one used by the company for its 62,000 employees worldwide. It was genuinely thrilling and tear-jerking.

“We truly believe if we are going to successful as an organization then everyone needs to be on the same page when it comes to our companies mission, vision, and values,” said Barry. Invoking the South African greeting of “Sawa Bona,” he explained that its rough translation is, “I see you.”

The implications, he added, were plain: “We invoke each other’s potential by our willingness to see the essence in the person.

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Corporate Compassion

How to reduce risks in the supply chain’s sourcing from land and labor.

By R. Paul Herman and Srdana Pokrajac

Capital One’s ad campaign asks, “What’s in your wallet?” But do you know what’s in your mobile phone? Specifically, the value of the minerals in your phone could be worth more than the cash you carry in your wallet.
Many minerals used in electronics—from gold and silver to tin and tungsten—are discovered, dug up, and distilled from war- torn countries such as the Democratic Republic of the Congo, where labor is not necessarily free and worker safety can be overrun by violence.

If you Google “corporate activism,” the first search result is “anti-corporate activism,” which presumes that corporations are detrimental to the public good and democracy.

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The Unconvention: Two Deficits

Why conservatives and progressives are both right.

By Bill Shireman

Conservatives are right: As a nation, we are out of money and deep in debt. Progressives are also right: We can’t pay off our debt by extracting it from the poor, the middle class, or the environment.

But many right and left leaders are wrong about the solution.

To reduce the outflow of wealth, some on the right would radically cut government spending now. To increase the inflow of wealth, many would “drill, baby drill” the nation’s resources, as fast as we can. To reduce the concentration of wealth, some on the left would tax prosperity, or simply redistribute it, now. To increase the inflow of wealth, many would spend, baby spend—and pay off our debts by printing more money, as fast as we can.

The right and left often overlook a simple fact: There is a difference between spending money and earning money.

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CRO Responsible CEO of the Year Award Nominees 2009

For three reasons, this 2nd-annual CRO’s Responsible CEO of the Year Award is different than any other business honor. First, it recognizes individual CEO expertise in articulating the common good and then convincing thousands of others to make a good business out of it. Second, it’s a trophy for leadership in progress, because perfection in Corporate Responsibility is a goal that’s always moving just beyond our grasp. And third, it reflects the professional chauvinism of the corporate responsibility-
obsessed editorial team at CRO Magazine, the only publication solely focused on the four professional domains in Corporate Responsibility—GRC, sustainability, CSR and philanthropy.

Last year’s CRO Responsible CEO of the Year Awards only featured seven categories, but this year we added an eighth, Private Companies. We’re adding the Privates because the 2008-2009 stock market swoon is forcing a number of CR-savvy public companies to go private, a phenomenon that is permanently raising the bar for private company CR practices.

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HP, Intel Add Voices to Say on Pay

Some companies, U.S. House support advisory votes on executive compensation

By James Hyatt

In mid-January, Hewlett-Packard said directors would allow shareholders at its 2010 annual meeting to vote on whether the company should conduct an annual nonbinding advisory stockholder vote on executive compensation.

If it is approved, the advisory vote will be taken at the 2011 annual meeting “and each year thereafter,” the company said. And, HP added, it supports federal legislation giving shareholders “an opportunity to express their views on the executive compensation policies of publicly held companies.”

Two weeks later, Intel Corp. also agreed to include an advisory vote on executive compensation at its 2009 annual meeting. An Intel spokesman said, “In our view, the proxy proposal on executive compensation is a reasonable thing to do. So we took the suggestion and will go forward with the advisory vote. There’s no good reason to wait for Congressional legislation to have this kind of dialogue on such an important issue.

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Treasury Restricts Executive Pay for Bailed Out Companies

Some companies expected to avoid regulation by rejecting recovery

By James Hyatt

The simmering executive pay pot boiled over the first week of February.

President Barack Obama and the treasury department moved to restrict executive pay packages at financial firms receiving “exceptional financial recovery assistance.”

At such firms:

  • The policy limits senior executives to $500,000 in total annual compensation, except for restricted stock awards. The stock could be cashed in when the government has been repaid.
  • The senior pay structure and strategy at such firms must be fully disclosed and subject to a “say on pay” shareholder resolution.
  • A clawback provision would permit recovery of bonuses and compensation from top executives found to have knowingly provided inaccurate information or performance metrics to calculate their own incentive pay.
  • Top executives would be barred from receiving golden parachute payments.

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President Attacks Wall Street Bonus Practices

Obama deems paying out of billions in compensation "height of irresponsibility"

By James Hyatt

When the president calls your behavior “shameful,” you know you have a problem on your hands.

Wall Street’s hat-in-the-hand clamoring for taxpayer help amid the financial meltdown—while shoveling out billions of dollars on bonuses—has triggered a wave of reaction against the financial industry’s traditional compensation gravy train.

President Barack Obama’s tirade in late January—perhaps the most public scolding of an industry since President Kennedy thumped steel industry executives for raising prices in 1962— was quite remarkable. He said that paying out bonuses “at a time when most of these institutions were teetering on collapse and they are asking for taxpayers to help sustain them, and when taxpayers find themselves in the difficult position that if they don't provide help that the entire system could come down on top of our heads—that is the height of irresponsibility.

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Obama Urges End to Politics as Usual

President Obama focuses on sagging national confidence and economy in inauguration address

By Danielle Lee

Barack Obama called Americans into a "new era of responsibility" during his inauguration Tuesday as the 44th president of the United States, echoing the words and planned policies of his past few months' transition to power. The financial crisis was one of the first issues Obama touched on in his address to the 2 million people gathered in Washington, D.C. and billions more watching on screens around the world.

"Our economy is badly weakened, a consequence of greed and irresponsibility on the part of some, but also our collective failure to make hard choices and prepare the nation for a new age," Obama said. Calling on examples of the nation's history of struggle and sacrifice, Obama said U.S. greatness must be earned, both domestically and abroad.

"Those of us who manage the public's dollars will be held to account," Obama said, "to spend wisely, reform bad habits, and do our business in the light of day--because only then can we restore the vital trust between a people and their government.

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Obama Takes on Responsibility With Cabinet Appointment

President-elect charges new chief performance officer with restoring accountability and transparency to D.C.

By Danielle Lee

As part of his plan to bring “a new sense of responsibility to Washington,” President-elect Barack Obama announced Wednesday that he named Nancy Killefer to the newly created role of chief performance officer.

In what Obama called “one of the most important” appointments to his cabinet, Killefer will be responsible for budget and government reformation.

Killefer is senior director of management consulting firm McKinsey & Co. and was previously assistant secretary of the treasury in the Clinton administration.

“Nancy has built a career out of making major American corporations and public institutions more efficient, effective and transparent,” Obama said. “Nancy is an expert in streamlining processes and wringing out inefficiencies so that taxpayers and consumers get more for their money.”

Obama made the announcement on the day the Congressional Budget Office announced a $1.

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