Twitter Nabs a Lawyer from Google

Twitter, the popular micro-blogging service, has stolen a prominent Google lawyer.

The startup has hired Alexander Macgillivray, deputy general counsel for products and intellectual property at Google, to be its general counsel, according to a person with knowledge of the hiring.

Mr. Macgillivray has been an important member of the Google legal team, spearheading the controversial settlement with authors and book publishers over Google’s scanning of millions of out of-print library books. The settlement, if accepted by a federal judge, will clear the way for Google to make available online millions of historic books that would otherwise be difficult to access. The Justice Department has said it is inquiring into whether that settlement violates anti-trust laws.

Mr. Macgillivray, 36, has also represented Google in a wide variety of other matters, including Viacom’s copyright lawsuit against YouTube and complaints from the Associated Press that Google improperly used its content.

Before he joined Google, Macgillivray was with Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati, the prominent Silicon Valley law firm.

Twitter’s legal issues, at least for now, revolve around issues of trademark and impersonation. Tony La Russa, St. Louis Cardinals manager, sued the company earlier this year, saying it did not do enough to prevent someone from falsely using the service in his name. He later dropped the suit.

Twitter is looking to expand its staff as it tries to evolve from online phenomenon to a money-making business. In addition to about a dozen engineering jobs that are listed on the site, the San Francisco startup has been interviewing possible candidates for the position of chief financial officer, according to a person familiar with the search.