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GC Under Attack Over Law License

The Virginia State Bar is investigating Richard J.M. Poulson of Smithfield Foods over his lack of bar admission, according to a report in the Virginia newspaper The Daily Press. Poulson dropped his bar membership in 2001, but a 2004 change in Virginia law requires anyone acting as a company lawyer to become a member of the bar or get a special certificate. Virginia legal ethics expert Jim McCauley, who is ethics counsel for the Virginia State Bar, told The Daily Press that the investigation could result in a letter telling Poulson to discontinue the practice of law.

Oddly, Smithfield's Web site does not identify Poulson as GC, but as "executive vice president and senior advisor to the chairman" responsible for overseeing the company's merger and acquisition activity. In fact, the site identifies no one as GC, although it does name a deputy GC. But according to another news report, Poulson is named as GC in the company's most recent 10-K report, filed June 30.

Poulson has not spoken publicly about the matter. A company spokesman told a reporter that this issue arose as part of a union campaign against Smithfield, but that the company is looking into it nonetheless. "Even though this is union motivated, we are taking the matter seriously," he said.

Posted by Robert J. Ambrogi on August 18, 2006 at 02:39 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

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