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Subject: Policy-Discussion

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[CAcert-Policy] Re: CAcert-Policy Digest, Vol 6, Issue 20


Chronological Thread 
  • From: Regina Mullen <rmullen AT litigationdataservices.com>
  • To: cacert-policy AT lists.cacert.org
  • Subject: [CAcert-Policy] Re: CAcert-Policy Digest, Vol 6, Issue 20
  • Date: Sat, 28 May 2005 11:49:47 -0400
  • List-archive: <http://lists.cacert.org/cgi-bin/mailman/private/cacert-policy>
  • List-id: Policy-Discussion <cacert-policy.lists.cacert.org>

on 5/27/2005 10:00 PM cacert-policy-request AT lists.cacert.org said the following:

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Today's Topics:

  1. RE: Propose Study Group for legal issues (Peter Williams)


----------------------------------------------------------------------

Message: 1
Date: Fri, 27 May 2005 09:04:13 -0700
From: "Peter Williams" 
<home_pw AT msn.com>
Subject: RE: [CAcert-Policy] Propose Study Group for legal issues
To: "'Policy-Discussion'" 
<cacert-policy AT lists.cacert.org>
Message-ID: 
<BAY103-DAV1641154B07FECAD3AF894592000 AT phx.gbl>
Content-Type: text/plain;       charset="us-ascii"

I can't offer any counsel on legal issues; but I can counsel on legal
counsel selection, based on my experiences:

(a) really understanding the underlying legal "model" at
http://www.abanet.org/scitech/ec/isc/dsgfree.html will prepare one well in
to interact with counsel in the design of enforceable contracts in this
specialised area of law.

(b) If CACert has a lot of international commerce interaction, a business
framework conducted under international e-commerce law (bills of lading,
notes, etc, consignment practices, reinsurance), a different set of
contractual provisions become relevant - that requires a legal team with
different capabilities.

(c) If most of the use of the system is for visa-credit card based sales
contracts, a third set of contract design issues are relevant: you force the
transaction into the visa model so one leverages all its (very practical)
legal framework (in return for a visa transaction fee...)

Hope this helps the group select the right type of legal specialist.

Ethical and cultural issues also prevail when choosing a legal team here, in
my experience: US lawyers are often much better educated in the area, are
more articulate when working with ventures, and generally understand power
and negotiation processes better, when assisting business navigate licensing
and competitive practices in the actual market.
However, the business goals of the contract writing units of the larger
firms are often focused on revenue generation - a process that biases them
to researching new problems create by the novelty of the venture (for the
litigation half of the firm to solve later) rather than address the problem
of the client needs to avoid litigation by scoping problems, and making
tradeoffs. IN the area of digital signatures, its likely that someone will
attempt to sell legal research services, in the guise of writing a
specialized contract: so beware.
Summary: in addition to the set of business practices that drive the choice
of legal framework, you have to choose the right legal team for the goals of
the group.

Peter.



-----Original Message-----
From: 
cacert-policy-bounces AT lists.cacert.org
 [mailto:cacert-policy-
bounces AT lists.cacert.org]
 On Behalf Of Alaric Dailey
Sent: Thursday, May 26, 2005 6:42 PM
To: 
cacert-policy AT lists.cacert.org
Subject: [CAcert-Policy] Propose Study Group for legal issues

To follow up to my email as promised.

I would have sworn that I had seen more offers to help with legal
issues, but this is the 1 artical I found looking thru the archives.

http://lists.cacert.org/cgi-bin/mailman/private/cacert-support/2005-
March/001615.html




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End of CAcert-Policy Digest, Vol 6, Issue 20
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I think this is generally on the mark, which is why I would generally NOT recommend using one of the big firms. The other reason is practical: you have to FIRST rule out a conflict of interest. Law firm policy doesn't require turning down a client just because the interests may conflict in theory, so if a firm has a client roster that includes interests that YOU think are antithetical to those of CACert, then that is one of the questions YOU have to ask. At least in the U.S., the lawyer does not have to ask this question. So, any firm that represents even a stakeholder in a competitor would be problematical.

As for padding research,--yes of course they do pad research, but the question is one of trade offs. Sometimes, you can learn something from their research,--you just have to know where your money is going. Some lawyers don't pad for research, it's built into their billable hours, so you can't win this battle. you have to have a good relationship with your lawyer FIRST, then worry about the bill later. Lawyers who have good relationships with clients, don't screw them.

As for international,--i have worked internationally on software licensing contracts and I can tell you, it's NOT rocket science. In the U.S. we fight battles over the dotted i, but overseas there tends to be more of a willingness to work a relationship as partners, and work out problems informally. Unfortunately, the balance of power will control what happens there, so again, you can't always pick your partners and expect a good deal. A savvy lawyer can study the problem and get the right answer, even if s/he doesn't have 20 years in drafting contracts...would you REALLY want an attorney who has spent 20 years drafting paperwork?? I wouldn't.

Politics and media exposure can get you a long way. You need a lawyer who can handle the politics of the thing and another to focus on the "art of the deal." I would say that more than two lawyers/firms is overkill, but there is value in separating that function.

Finally, you need someone on the inside to manage the outside lawyers. This is what I offered to do. This person doesn't have to be a subject matter expert or a political wonk, s/he just has to be able to translate CACert's needs into language the attorneys can act upon and visa versa.

HTH

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