Help with employment termination investigations – new case Jameson v. PG&E

See, Jameson v. Pacific Gas and Electric Company, California Court of Appeal, First Appellate District, October 5, 2017, Case A147515

In relevant part, plaintiff employee claimed that PG&E fired him in breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing, that he would not be fired for other than good cause, and in retaliation. PG&E countered that it was an at-will employment, and that in the alternative that PG&E had good cause and that its investigation established good case. Plaintiff employee further claimed that PG&E’s investigation was inadequate and that the investigator, who was an attorney, failed to interview all of the identified witnesses or sufficiently consider plaintiff employee’s arguments and evidence. See below clip from the court’s opinion.

Of course, whether or not the investigation was sufficient and appropriately performed by a competent and qualified person will vary and depend on the facts and circumstances of each case and investigation.

David Tate, Esq.

With respect to the sufficiency of the investigation, in relevant part, the court held:

Jameson v. PG&E - employment termination investigation case 11042017-1

Audit Committee Survey Discussion – Corporate Board Member – Video

The following is another worthwhile video from Corporate Board Member, discussing their audit committee survey results, Click Here For Video.

Enjoy, Dave Tate, Esq. (San Francisco)

The Law Student / Lawyer Trail

The Law Student / Lawyer Trail

For people who want to go to law school or who are lawyers, the following is my view of the law student / lawyer trail, or stated differently, the primary steps, time periods and activities in the development of a lawyer.

My list includes 8 primary steps, times and activities. And each step, time or activity will in some manner impact and influence what follows, but not necessarily in an absolute way.  The law is a constantly changing environment – for every challenge or change in the law, your practice, or the legal profession different opportunities develop, and people, firms and clients are always looking for better solutions and results or ROI (return on investment).  And these steps or processes should be a collaborative endeavor because working in silos makes it more difficult to identify and evaluate the risks/uncertainties, opportunities and solutions, and to achieve the objectives and results.

Of course this list isn’t the be-all and end-all, as obviously the primary steps, times and activities can be expanded and tweaked.

Although step one is extremely important and covers a long period of time and development, and what you do in step one will significantly impact whether you go to law school, which law school, and your path as a lawyer, you will also note that step one is the only step, time or activity that occurs prior to the law school application process.

Thus, a tremendous amount of development occurs or can occur leading up to and at the time of the law school application and thereafter.

Of course each lawyer’s trail will be different and individual, and also in some respects similar, but each of the 8 steps, times and activities requires that you:

(1) Develop or learn, and continually learn or update;

(2) Current qualifications, expertise, experience and interests that are needed and valued in the legal services market and are available for immediate use;

(3) While engaging in effective outreach and personally connecting and appropriately promoting yourself with the right people so that they (1) really get to know you or of you, (2) respect your reputation and what you are doing and can do for them, and (3) think of you as a go-to person and want you to work for them or much better yet they want to work with you.

1.  First or step one, the lawyer’s personality, life experiences and education before the law school application process.

2.  Second, as a law school applicant, the connection between the applicant and the prospective law schools.

3.  Third, law student mentoring and career development during law school.

4.  Fourth, law student education, experience, training and qualifications developed during law school including both the academic education and the hands-on practical experience.

5.  Fifth, bar passage.

6.  Sixth, as a law school graduate/lawyer, the connection between the lawyer and prospective employers and prospective clients, including the market need and pricing for legal services and practice areas.

7.  Seventh, alumni/lawyer mentoring, career development and connecting after law school.

8.  And eighth, the lawyer’s ongoing continuing education, professional and life experiences, relationships, training and qualifications throughout the lawyer’s career.

Each one of these steps, times and activities is important and will impact development and opportunities, happiness and satisfaction: because there are different and better opportunities available for you; changes do occur in the law and legal services marketplace; sometimes people decide that they no longer want to work with you; sometimes you decide that you no longer want to work with certain people; and sometimes you just want to do something different.

Thanks for listening.

How to make your third-party provider a true partner – article from Inside Counsel

An article worthwhile reading, from Inside Counsel, How to make your third-party provider a true partner (and the importance of that relationship), for article link Click Here.

Dave Tate, Esq. (San Francisco)

Witnesses, Don’t Get Too Comfortable – post from the Persuasive Litigator

Another good discussion from the Persuasive Litigator (good for witnesses and public speakers in general about dealing with the stress of testifying), Witnesses, Don’t Get Too Comfortable, Click Here For Article.

Enjoy, Dave Tate, Esq. (San Francisco)

Introducing risk management to the board (and executives)

Two blog post links, discussing introducing risk management to the board, and I added “and executives.”  The initial link is to a discussion by John Fraser; the second link is to a discussion by Norman Marks commenting about Mr. Fraser’s discussion.

Discussion by John Fraser, Click Here.

Discussion by Norman Marks, Click Here.

And a follow-up blog post by Norman, Why it makes sense to consider GRC, Click Here.

Also interesting, but not discussed in detail here, new guideline requirements enacted for offshore drilling operations: train/instruct employees and contractors about safety, injury and environmental risk/uncertainty management, risk/uncertainty management is ongoing all the time 24/7, all employees and contractors can/should report any situation that presents safety, injury or environmental risk or danger, evaluate risks (e.g., likelihood of occurrence and possible resulting injury or damage) and design and implement risk/uncertainty plans and processes, have those plans and processes audited to determine sufficiency and need to modify and improve, appoint people who are unilaterally authorized to stop operations at anytime when they deem appropriate, etc.  Sounds good to me.  I support drilling; I have also previously written about the need for improved risk/uncertainty management, and safety and risk/uncertainty management cooperation and collaboration between operators and operations.  Also good stuff for boards to oversee.

Dave Tate, Esq. (San Francisco)

Focus on internal audit – the path to excellence – from a Norman Marks post

If you’re an executive officer, or a director, or involved in internal audit, governance, risk/uncertainty management or audit committee activities, click on the following link for another interesting and worthwhile post by Norman Marks about the path to excellence in internal audit, and please also read the informed comments below the article, Click Here For Article.

In some respects internal audit continues to search for respect and appreciation.  It is internal audit that must sell itself and its value to executive management, the board, audit and risk committees and professionals, shareholders, governance professionals, and other stakeholders.

Thanks for listening, Dave Tate, Esq. (San Francisco).

GCs using social media to select law firms, video from Bloomberg Law . . . .

The following video from Bloomberg Law discusses general counsel using social media to select law firms.  My thoughts on the topic.  Social/business media are here to stay.  Each firm needs to determine its approach based on its practice mix and resources that it will commit to the effort.  As with any marketing, there are no guarantees of success.  Some efforts will be viewed successful.  Others won’t.  Strategy should be reviewed and changed as prudent.  Consider the efforts from a ROI viewpoint – but you still need to determine how you will calculate ROI.  New social/business media opportunities are developing regularly.  Overall, any firm that does not evaluate and implement a program that works for that firm is missing an opportunity, and eventually sooner or later will fall behind the competition.  And, lawyers also must be involved in both the design/strategy and the effort – this isn’t something that you can simply assign.

Dave Tate, Esq., (San Francisco)

Click Here To View Video.

Predictive coding – a worthwhile overview article from JD Supra

The following is a worthwhile article from JD Supra, On Predictive Coding – A JD Supra e-Discovery Reader, Click Here For Article.

Dave Tate, Esq. (San Francisco)