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EBay Deputy GC Back at Firm, Warns Fellow GCs: The Hours Are ... LONG

EBay Deputy GC Back at Firm, Warns Fellow GCs: The Hours Are ... LONG

The Recorder

April 16, 2010

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SAN FRANCISCO Mary Huser has some advice for law firm veterans thinking about going in house: Do it, but know that the hours are longer and you'll never get to be in the courtroom again.

Huser, 46, returned to Bingham McCutchen this week after a two-year stint at eBay, where she headed IP and litigation.

"It's a wonderful opportunity to expand your skills and gain new knowledge," Huser said Tuesday. "At the same time, you have to know if you want to be up there litigating cases in court, that's not that role."

During her brief tenure at eBay, Huser oversaw some wins for the online auction company. On April 5, the Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals affirmed a lower court ruling that found eBay wasn't liable for fake Tiffany jewelry being sold on its site.

In France, eBay saw mixed results in the past two years. In 2009, it beat L'Oreal in a counterfeiting case, but lost one to luxury handbag maker Louis Vuitton. In the loss, the French court fined eBay $2.55 million for not policing the sale of fake bags on its site. That came on the heels of a $61 million fine in a similar French case, which Huser said was before her time.

Huser said the in-house job had her working more hours than at a law firm. EBay was a seven-days-a-week job, with the Blackberry always on.

Huser said her reason for going back into private practice was because she missed litigating cases herself.

"I decided to get back in the courtroom and focus on hands-on litigation," said Huser.

She left Bingham for eBay in February 2008. At the time she was the co-head of the firm's IP practice and the office managing partner in Silicon Valley. She left at a time when a number of other prominent Bingham partners were hitting the exits.

Now, she'll be joining another recent hire in Bingham's Silicon Valley office: former Apple Inc. General Counsel Daniel Cooperman, who also rejoined his old firm in March.

Huser said that economics had nothing to do with either of her moves.

However, an average equity partner made nearly $1.45 million at Bingham in 2009, according to The Am Law Daily, a Recorder affiliate. A person at Huser's level at eBay would probably make between $200,000 and $400,000, according to a person familiar with the pay scale. A lot of the upside for in-housers comes from stock grants. And although eBay's stock has done better in recent months, trading around $25 a share, it hasn't really gone anywhere since 2004.

Huser, who has represented companies like Blockbuster in patent fights, also has a new client now: eBay. She's currently working on a consulting matter for the company.


Exposing the sleazery of ebaY and PayPal


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