As happens in most Decembers, when I pause to look back on the year immediately behind me, my first thought is, "Where did the time go?" Thankfully, my home life remained relatively tame. My husband and I, lucky enough to have jobs, continued to work hard and raise our son, who we've watched go from being a baby to a little boy.
But for the world--and business specifically--2010 proved to be a challenging year, despite early reports the struggling economy would start to regain some of its steam. Many salaries remained frozen, many furloughs remained in place, many budgets continued to be cut and many previously larger staffs remained thin. (This year's Legal Department Operations Survey, discusses the economy's impact on legal departments and how some GCs are rising to the challenge.)
But the economic troubles were only part of the problem for some companies. Early in the year, Toyota, for example, found itself dealing with the massive recall of many of its cars and defending itself against the PR firestorm that resulted. BP had it even worse when, in April, it landed smack in the middle of the largest-ever oil spill in U.S. history.
While these two stories may not have directly affected the daily work of most in-house counsel, they certainly caused you to take notice. Maybe you paid more attention to product liability issues or decided to take a closer look at your crisis management plans. These are just two examples of big stories that affected the in-house bar in 2010, and there are many more with an equal or even greater effect.
In this issue, InsideCounsel's cover story (see "Year in Review") highlights the top 20 stories that gave in-house counsel a reason to pause this past year. A lot has happened in 2010--from class action lawsuits that could change the employment litigation landscape and the impact health care reform may have on business to the Supreme Court's decision in Bilski and the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act.
So if you're like me, asking yourself, "Where did the time go?," our cover story will help answer