Brad Smith is Microsoft's general counsel and executive vice president of Legal and Corporate Affairs. He leads the company's Department of Legal and Corporate Affairs (LCA), which has approximately 1,100 employees located in 55 countries. Mr. Smith is responsible for the company's legal work, its intellectual property portfolio and patent licensing business as well as its government affairs and philanthropic work. He also serves as Microsoft's corporate secretary and its chief compliance officer.
Mr. Smith currently co-chairs the board of directors of Kids in Need of Defense (KIND) and is the chair-elect of the Leadership Council on Legal Diversity. In Washington state, Mr. Smith has served as chair of the Washington Roundtable, a leading Washington state-based business organization, and he has advanced several statewide education initiatives.
Mr. Smith currently serves as president of the Association of General Counsel. Earlier this year, he was named by the National Law Journal as one of the 100 most influential lawyers in the United States.
Mr. Smith has been general counsel since 2002. He can be followed on Twitter at http://twitter.com/#BradSmi.
By Brad Smith Senior Vice President and General Counsel
Today I had the opportunity to speak at the annual regional leadership conference sponsored by the Greater Seattle Chamber of Commerce. Although the name might suggest that this is just about business issues, in fact the conference attendance extended far beyond the leadership of the business community. It included leaders from organized labor, the environmental community, social service organizations, and many other stakeholder groups.
As I had a chance to meet and chat with various conference attendees, I was struck not by our differences, but by what we all have in common. While different individuals sometimes come from different political stripes and have different priorities, everyone shared a genuine desire to make our state the best possible place in which to live, work, and raise a family. And, regardless of the election’s outcomes, it is more important than ever that we continue to come together to think and talk in the broadest possible terms about what is in the best interest of the state.
Of course we’ll never agree on everything when it comes to a vision for what our state should be. But if we can start by focusing on long-term goals and discuss each other’s perspectives, there is a real opportunity to develop a consensus vision that is more powerful than anything that any one constituency can advance by itself.
Posted by Brad Smith Senior Vice President and General Counsel
Microsoft is very pleased to announce another $3 million, three-year donation to Kids in Need of Defense (KIND), just two years after we helped establish the organization with a similar investment.
KIND is a pro bono organization dedicated to providing legal representation to the roughly 8,000 unaccompanied immigrant and refugee children in the U.S. who face deportation hearings. It is great to see the progress KIND has made since its launch. Up and running in seven cities throughout the U.S., KIND has helped nearly 2,000 children, ranging from 2 to 18 years old, from more than 35 countries. This has been possible through the training and support of lawyers from more than 60 law firms and corporate legal departments who have donated their time to represent these children in immigration court proceedings.
Posted by Brad SmithSenior Vice President and General Counsel
Today, more than 10,000 friends, neighbors, colleagues and citizens will participate in the United Way of King County Day of Caring. It’s an opportunity for people to connect with their local community and make a difference – whether it’s helping people who have become homeless, assisting with the completion of a tax return, reading to kids, or undertaking a habitat restoration project. People can make a difference.
On a personal note, today also marks an important part of co-chairing the United Way of King County’s annual campaign with my wife Kathy Surace-Smith. When we agreed to co-chair together, we toured many of the service agencies supported by United Way and experienced first-hand, the challenges facing local community organizations. It’s one of the reasons we are both excited to take part in an event that benefits a huge cross-section of our community in a direct way.
The turnout for this year’s Day of Caring is the biggest ever and is a great testament to the leadership the United Way has shown encouraging and helping people get involved by volunteering. There’s no question that more and more people in our society feel an increased desire to connect to their community. The need is more acute in today’s struggling economy, and a volunteer’s impact is greater than ever.
Microsoft Senior Vice President and General Counsel Brad Smith took a moment after testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee to talk about security and privacy issues, particularly with regard to cloud computing and how proposed policy can influence technological development and growth as well as the impact on consumers and society in general.
You can find the full transcript of Brad Smith's remarks in front of the Senate Judiciary Hearing here.
For more about cloud computing policy issues and the importance of the decision in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee, please see our earlier blog post by Fred Humphries, Microsoft Managing Director for Government Affairs.
Posted by Brad SmithSenior Vice President and Microsoft General Counsel
(Cross-posted from the Official Microsoft Blog)
A story in yesterday’s New York Times reports on anti-piracy enforcement actions in Russia that have been used for more nefarious purposes than protecting intellectual property rights.
As General Counsel for Microsoft, it was not the type of story that felt good to read. It described instances in which authorities had used piracy charges concerning Microsoft software to confiscate computers and harass non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and others engaged in public advocacy. It suggested that there had been cases when our own counsel at law firms had failed to help clear things up and had made matters worse instead. Whatever the circumstances of the particular cases the New York Times described, we want to be clear that we unequivocally abhor any attempt to leverage intellectual property rights to stifle political advocacy or pursue improper personal gain. We are moving swiftly to seek to remove any incentive or ability to engage in such behavior.
Some of our internal teams around the world were already looking at these issues, and they had turned to human rights advocates to ask for advice. We pulled these internal teams together to assess the issues raised in the New York Times story, and yesterday morning we had our internal counsel in Moscow, Paris, and London on the phone with a number of our senior Legal and Corporate Affairs personnel from the Seattle area.
Posted by Brad SmithSVP and General Counsel, Microsoft Corporation
In today’s Seattle Times, I wrote an op-ed calling upon Washington state to take new steps to improve education. While much of this responsibility falls on legislators and educators, it’s also important for businesses to play a role in supporting positive educational reforms. So, I’d like to describe what we are doing, at Microsoft, to support education at local, national and global levels.
Posted by Brad Smith Senior Vice President and General Counsel
Over the past few months, starting with my January speech at the Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C., I’ve talked a lot about the great potential for cloud computing to increase the efficiency and productivity of governments, businesses and individual consumers. To realize those benefits, we need to establish regulatory and industry protections that give computer users confidence in the privacy and security of cloud data.
Today, I returned to Washington to continue the discussion as one of the plenary speakers at the Gov 2.0 Expo 2010.
As I shared during my presentation, we are constantly seeing powerful new evidence of the value of cloud computing.
Today, for example, we announced that the University of Arizona chose Microsoft’s cloud platform to facilitate communications and collaboration among the school’s 18,000 faculty and staff. After initially looking at various supposedly “free” online services, the institution selected Microsoft’s Business Productivity Online Suite to update its aging e-mail system and to provide new calendaring and collaboration tools. U. of A. officials concluded that, as a research university that conducts $530 million in research annually, it needed the enterprise-level security and privacy protections that BPOS could provide, but which the alternative services could not match.