⏩ A tidal wave of work is headed toward GCs
This week: Budgets are headed down for GCs just as work picks up, and Biden sets a commission to study the Supreme Court. Plus: Epic and Apple prepare for a May 3 court hearing in their big lawsuit.
🌊 Why GCs are staring down increased work and slashed budgets
A new survey of GCs, reported by Law360, reveals they are about to be inundated with new work just as companies skimp on legal department budgets.
As Cornelius Grossman of EY Global Law put it to Law360, “More than we even thought, the general counsel are feeling the pressure of doing more with less.”
1,000 GCs were surveyed by EY Law and Harvard: The main findings show that legal work was expected to increase by 25% over the next three years. As the workload increases, few GCs believe their resources will match. In fact, 88% of GCs think they will be forced to cut costs.
And it’s not like legal departments are flush with cash and resources now: GCs were already working long hours, and cuts happened in 2020. Another report, by the firm Wolters Kluwer, found 16% of all corporate attorney-client relationships were put on hold last year.
The key to staying afloat
Experts from Harvard say legal departments will need to use data and tech to better streamline their operations.
Of course, it may also be necessary for GCs to find outside talent that can be efficient and affordable. Lawtrades has plenty of lawyers who can help with that 😉.
👩⚖️ Biden creates commission to rethink the Supreme Court
Will America soon have 15 Supreme Court Justices?
The possibility remains far off, but President Joe Biden took a first step to at least considering it.
This week, he established a commission to study the Supreme Court: The commission has 36 members and is tasked with looking into term limits and the size of the Supreme Court.
SCOTUS started with six justices in 1789: The number of justices was as high as 10 under Abraham Lincoln, and has been set at nine since 1869. Congress can change the number because the Constitution sets no rules for it.
The commission contains plenty of boldface legal names: Former Obama White House Counsel Bob Bauer and Yale professor Cristina Rodriguez are the chairs. Members include several conservatives, including from the American Enterprise Institute.
This will be about more than the size of the court, too
Expect the legal minds to get wonky: Biden’s staff says the commission may also explore the Court’s case selection methods and its Constitutional role.
Whatever the commission recommends, changes to SCOTUS will be difficult. Democrats would likely need to abolish the filibuster first.
🕹️ Apple and Epic reveal legal strategies in new lawsuit filings
Last year, video game maker Epic set up its own payment system to bypass the App Store from taking 30% of its fees and ended up challenging the model of the App Store itself. The two parties have been in litigation since and filed their proposed findings of fact last week.
Here are the key strategies for each side based on the filings and analyses from The Verge, Seeking Alpha and CNBC:
Epic and the monopoly route: Yes, Epic plans to go there, and it is ready to argue the App Store is not just anti-competitive but bad for consumers. Why? Because Epic says Apple’s 30% commission charge for app developers leads to higher prices, and its dominance has made it necessary for many customers to switch to or stay with Apple.
Apple and flexibility: Apple appears ready to argue consumers actually have plenty of choices, even if developers don’t. For instance, PlayStation and Xbox have similar “store” systems, and people can play Epic games on those platforms. There’s also the Google store on Android. On top of that, Apple will claim its App Store is a necessary component of its hardware and not separate from iOS.
💌 What else we’re forwarding
Nike settles up with MSCHF: That was quick! Nike and MSCHF are no longer fighting over the Lil Nas X Satan shoes, and any confused customers who thought they were buying an approved Nike remix can return their pair.
Texas digs up a secret ad project in its antitrust suit with Google: There will be many more “secret” projects to come as the tech antitrust cases unwind and in this one, it was revealed Google used its own data from its own advertising exchange to dominate against other companies in the exchange. Whew.
🎧 Music we’re working to
Today we're listening to Sam Gendel, an LA-based multi-instrumentalist. His latest album, Fresh Bread, includes 52 tracks recorded over the last 2 years and feels much more like a personal archive than a polished release. His tracks are beautiful and soothing, perfect for mellow spring afternoons.
Fresh Bread - Sam Gendel (220m, occasional light vocals)
Spotify / Apple Music / YouTube Music / Amazon Music / Tidal
💬 Discussion threads
What are the differences in work-life balance in big law versus in-house?
Would you recommend any training programs that help to make the move in-house?
See ya next week.