Audit Analytics recently introduced a new field designed to answer the question “who counsels who”. On our Company Profile pages, we now show which law firm most recently represented the given company.
In addition to showing the outside counsel on the overview section of the profile page, a fuller history of legal representation over the last two years is also available.
In the screenshot above of Apple’s Company Profile, you can see that Hogan Lovells is listed as the outside counsel. Selecting the ‘More Detail’ hyperlink or the “Legal” tab will show the expanded results. Counsel activity is separated into two sections: “Outside Counsel – Corporate” and “Outside Counsel – Litigation”. Both display law firm engagements over the previous two years.
Audit Analytics will soon be introducing the ability to search by law firm – allowing you to see a list of clients for a given firm – as well as view and export historical results.
We populate this field with data from multiple sources, including our own corporate counsel, comment letters, securities registrations, and litigation databases.
For SEC Registrants, corporate counsel details are also obtained from annual reports, websites, and direct inquiries. Several different types of counsel are captured, including Corporate, Special, Intellectual Property, Executive Compensation, Tax, Environmental, and M&A counsel.
Securities counsel information can be obtained from SEC comment letters, which often involve the registrant’s securities lawyer, especially in the case of S-1 filings.
Finally, other counsel representation can be identified from Federal securities class actions, SEC actions, or material Federal civil litigation. Federal District dockets provide a detailed description of the entire legal proceeding regarding the claim, including all plaintiffs and defendants along with respective representation.
Audit Analytics has noticed that although some claims are comparable to others, various representation is used by the company for similar proprietary issues. For example, within the past two years an SEC registrant has been involved in eight patent lawsuits in the Federal District Court. For the eight cases, they were represented by eleven different outside counsels.
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