Microsoft Deal Unlikely to Shake Up LinkedIn Legal Dept

Source: Corporate Counsel

By Kristen Rasmussen

At least for the time being, Microsoft Corp. seems unlikely to make major changes to the legal department of LinkedIn Corp., which it announced on Monday it is acquiring for $26.2 billion. But if down the road the two companies seek to consolidate in-house legal work, there are concerns to be mindful of, including the potential for a culture clash between LinkedIn and Microsoft lawyers, according to consultants who specialize in legal department consolidation.

After the announcement, LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner sent out a companywide email reassuring employees that LinkedIn will "operate as a fully independent entity within Microsoft" and that "little is expected to change." Those words were undoubtedly a relief to LinkedIn's legal department, which according to California bar records currently has 29 in-house lawyers—a small fraction of the number at Microsoft (a 2014 Corporate Counsel article put Microsoft's global legal department at 566 lawyers).

From Microsoft's statements, it's clear that it "acknowledges and recognizes that they want [the LinkedIn brand] to be part of what they bring into the Microsoft family," says Alisa Tazioli, managing director of the Seattle office of Major, Lindsey & Africa, which has done legal placement work for Microsoft. She says that she expects LinkedIn to maintain a "strong presence" in Mountain View, California, where it's headquartered, and that the bulk of its employees will likely remain there.

Read more of this feature at Corporate Counsel.

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