Law Firm Documents

Law Firm Client Memos, Updates, Articles, Etc.

Here’s a good way to learn more about a wide range of business law and business lawyering topics. BATLAW collects examples of client alerts and other law firm memos and articles on a variety of substantive topics. They can benefit students in several ways. One, they often provide summaries of recent decisions, new regulations and other substantive law developments. Sometimes, if you’re lucky, they even provide overviews of broader substantive law topics. Two, they provide exposure to the incredible breadth of business law. While not even real lawyers are, or are expected to be, familiar with each and every aspect of business law – or even a fraction of them – gaining awareness of a broad range of legal issues of importance to business clients is helpful to practitioners in much the same way that familiarity with a broad range of medical issues is helpful to doctors who specialize in a narrow area of medicine. From a student’s perspective, even a passing familiarity with the topics discussed in the materials collected here will likely make you look a lot more impressive in a job interview. Three, many of the materials collected here are, broadly termed, client updates (which sometimes are also characterized as marketing memos).
Law firms, like other businesses, must market themselves. One of the ways in which they do so is by alerting clients and prospective clients to new developments, in hopes that they will be sufficiently impressed and grateful that they will turn to the firm to handle matters arising as a result of the developments highlighted in the firm’s memo. Students who understand the importance of client development improve their chances of landing jobs. Four, client updates and related law firm memos are often terrific examples of terse, clean, well-written summaries of sophisticated or complex issues.
Learning to write like that is a critical legal skill. It is much harder to write a complete, easy-to-understand short memo than it is to write a longer one. But no one – not clients, judges, partners, businesspeople – no one wants to read or is likely to bother to read more than a few paragraphs, much less a whole page, unless they absolutely have to. Students can benefit enormously by learning the art of writing short-but-complete summaries of complicated issues.

Articles, Updates, and Client Memos

Sidley Austin: SEC Addresses Social Media Disclosures under Regulation FD

The SEC has concluded that social media can be a “recognized channel of distribution” for communication of material, nonpublic information to investors in conformity with Reg FD if, among other things, proper advance notice is given of the social media sites to be used. (4/5/13)

Reed Smith: Market Sourcing Comes to New Jersey … Or Not

The New Jersey Division of Taxation is expected to propose a regulation that will adopt a market-based approach to source receipts from services. This regulation may conflict with current New Jersey tax law. The article discusses the options businesses face in complying with the regulation. (04/08/13).

Jones Day: Update on Qualified Small Business Stock: New Federal Legislation and Status of California Rules

This article discusses the recent developments that have expanded the federal but reduced the California tax benefits associated with qualified small business stock. (03/2013).

Mayer Brown: Two Recent New York Decisions Provide Guidance on FCPA’s Reach Over Foreign Nationals

Details the breadth of the government’s authority under the FCPA to enforce regulations upon individuals not based in the United States with almost no regard to the statute of limitations defense. (3/12/13).

Jenner & Block: Forty-three firm partners to be recognized in 2013 edition of Chambers USA

Forty three Jenner & Block attorneys are recognized in the 2013 edition of Chambers USA.  Chambers USA selects attorneys who exhibit “technical legal ability, professional conduct, client service, commercial astuteness, diligence, commitment and other qualities most valued” by clients.  (03/01/2013).

Jones Day: California Supreme Court Allows Parol Evidence to Prove Fraud

In the California case Riverisland Cold Storage v. Fresno-Madera Production Credit Ass’n the Supreme Court of California overturned case law and made it so parol evidence is now admissible in fraud cases. This is causing businesses a lot of anxiety. The article discusses the decision’s effects on business in California. (2/20/13)

Blank Rome LLP: Blank Rome’s Trademark Practice Recognized for Most Filings in 2012

Blank Rome named among the most prolific firms in filing trademark applications in 2012 by Corsearch.  (02/05/2013).

Whyte Hirschboeck Dudek: Proposed Federal Legislation Changes For Online Retailers

Currently, an online retailer must only collect sales tax from customers in a state in which the online retailer has a physical presence. Proposed legislation may impose tax collection obligations in every jurisdiction in which sales occur. (1/13/2013)

Foley & Lardner LLP: CFPB Gives Heads Up to Mortgage Servicers

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau recently issued guidance for mortgage servicers to help avoid harm to consumers in the mortgage servicing transfer process. This article discusses what the CFPB examiners will be paying particular attention to when determining whether the guidelines were followed. (02/14/2013)

SNR Denton: Salans, SNR Denton and FMC Law Firms to Combine to Form Largest Global Real Estate Platform

Salans, SNR Denton, and Fraser Milner Casgrain (FMC) are combining their services to form a new, international law firm to be know as Dentons.  Dentons will combine the experience of over 2,500 professionals in 79 locations world-wide.  This new firm will result in the world’s largest global real estate platform.  (12/5/2012)

Faegre Baker Daniels: Reinstatement of Exempt Status Following Revocation for Failure to File a Return

Since the enactment of the Pension Protection Act in 2006, most tax-exempt organizations are required to file an annual return with the IRS. Many have failed to do this and now some 270,000 organizations have received notices of tax-exempt revocation for failing to file returns. This memo outlines the process that an organization must go through in order to keep or reinstate their tax exempt status. (12/10/12)

McDermott Will & Emery: 2013 Expiring and Changing Employee Tax Provisions

This article discusses a number of possible tax changes that employers need to prepare for as several favorable tax provisions are set expire. (11/28/2012)

Jones Day: Public Disclosure Requirements for Private Companies: U.S. vs. Europe

The public disclosure requirements for private companies in Europe are significantly greater than the public disclosure requirements of private companies in the U.S. This article explains many of these differences in the disclosure requirements between U.S. and European private companies. (10/2012).

Covington & Burling LLP: Covington Opens New Office in Seoul

Covington & Burling LLP becomes one of the first major US based firms to gain approval from the Korean Ministry of Justice and the Korean Bar Association and open an office in Seoul. (11/01/2012).

Much Shelist: A Cautionary Tale for Businesses Leveraging Search Engine Optimization

A recent Fourth Circuit decision held that Google infringed on Rosetta Stone’s trademarks by allowing competitors to use its name in keyword searches. Businesses need to be aware that internet marketing is not devoid of traditional law. (11/15/12)

Reed Smith: Is interest still interesting for the commodities sector?

Currently, the law provides interest to those who receive late payment. But what about the loss of the expected return on an investment that a creditor could have invested in if they were paid on time? The article contends that there should be a reassessment to the common practice of placing a low interest rate on late payments. (10/12/ 12)

Whyte Hirschboeck Dudek: “To Exit or Not to Exit Isn’t the Question”

A business owner will always exit the business at some point. So, the question isn’t whether to exit. The question is in what form. This article examines the ten most common exit strategies. (9/12)

Robins Kaplan Miller & Ciresi: 5 Things Your Outside Counsel Won’t Tell You

Outside counsel is often reluctant to tell in-house counsel several things that, if acknowledged, may facilitate better and more efficient representation of the client.  There are five things in particular: in-house counsel teams should coordinate their messages to outside counsel, in-house counsel should clearly articulate the overall business strategy, there are some aspects of litigation that outside counsel cannot control, e-discovery is expensive and time-consuming, and there is inherent risk in going to trial.  (11/9/2012)

White Hirschboeck Dudek S.C.: Cloud Computing: Forecasting Turbulence for IT Operations

Many companies are beginning to outsource their technology processes that were previously managed internally to third parties via the “cloud.”  Companies need to appropriately prepare for and manage the emerging risks such a transition poses to privacy, security, intellectual property, and disaster recovery. (09/10/2012)

Faegre Baker Daniels: SEC Staff Formally Announces “Presence Examination” Initiative for Newly-registered Private Fund Advisers

The SEC published formal notification of its new “Presence Examination” initiative that applies to private investment fund advisers that have recently registered with the SEC as a result of Dodd-Frank. This update explains the three phases of the initiative: engagement, examination and reporting. (10/12/2012)

Akin Gump: Akin Gump Secures Settlement Valued at $447 Million in First-Ever RICO Claim by Foreign Company

With the legal aid provided by Akin Group, Aluminium Bahrain, secured a settlement deal worth $447 Million from U.S. based Alcoa, Inc. The case was first filed in 2008 and alleged a pattern of corrupt activities by Alcoa. This marks the first time that a foreign company has successfully sued a U.S. company in federal court for allegations of corrupt activity. (10/9/2012)

Sidley Austin: Further Sanctions Imposed on Iran

In August, President Obama signed a new law increasing Iranian sanctions and imposing new sanctions on individuals involved with human rights abuses in Syria. U.S. parent companies are now liable for their foreign-owned or controlled subsidiaries’ violations of this law as if they were U.S. citizens. (09/28/2012)

Reed Smith: Higher UK Anti-Trust Fines on the Way

The U.K. Office of Fair Trading (OFT) decided to raise the penalty and ensure the application of anti-trust penalties because a recent tribunal substantially reduced fines imposed by the OFT. The refinement of the fining guideline will deter anticompetitive behavior among businesses. (9/25/2012)

Covington and Burlington LLP: Securities Fraud Element Relaxed for SEC

A new ruling by the 2nd US Court of Appeals issued a decision interpreting the element of “substantial assistance” in securities fraud cases in a way that makes it easier for the SEC to plead and prove this element. The memo includes a summary of the impact the decision will have on this area of litigation as well as where the decision fits among other recent decisions.   (9/20/12)

Faegre Baker Daniels: Medical Device Manufacturers “Taxed” by New FDA Listing Regulations

The Medical Device Excise Tax (MDET) applies to sales of taxable medical devices beginning January 1, 2013. The interaction between IRS and FDA regulations related to MDET could have the effect of broadening the category of “taxable medical devices” to include device components and finished devices manufactured by contract manufactures on behalf of other entities. (09/17/2012).

Wilmer Hale: String of Recent Circuit Court Opinions Impact SEC Enforcement Program

The article includes a summary of four recent circuit court opinions that directly affect the way the SEC seeks to police the financial markets and punish misconduct. All four cases are likely to immediately and broadly impact current and future litigated matters involving SEC investigations. (09/13/2012)

Robins Kaplan Miller & Ciresi LLP: Knowing What’s Next For In-House Counsel

In-house counsel must “keep an eye on” developments in case law and legal trends.  By looking to the future, in-house counsel can more effectively manage litigation risk.  Recent decisions indicate that e-discovery, copy-righted material, and attorney-client privilege could soon assume more prominent roles in business litigation.  In addition, in-house counsel must consider growing pressure to balance value and performance as well as the continued impact of globalization on litigation.  (8/30/2012).

Faegre Baker Daniels: SEC (Finally) Acts on Conflict Minerals Rule

The SEC voted to approve the Conflict Minerals Rule in the Dodd-Frank Act.  The rule requires the SEC to regulate and, to a lesser extent, audit publically traded companies which use “conflict minerals” – tantalum, tin, gold and tungsten from the Democratic Republic of the Congo.  The rule will impact more than 5,000 companies, and implantation will cost an estimated three to four billion dollars industry-wide.  (8/30/2012)

Pillsbury Law: Senior Federal Employees Sue to Protect Privacy Rights

Seven high-level federal government employees filed a privacy lawsuit against the United States asserting the Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge (STOCK) Act violates the constitutional right to “informational privacy” of the federal employees. This case balances the need of the government to ensure knowledge of current employees are public against the right to keep vital information irrelevant to their jobs out of the public’s hands. (8/3/12)

Munger Tolles & Olson L.L.P.: Minnesota Supreme Court Tosses ‘Light’ Cigarette Case

Minnesota Supreme Court overturned an appellate court ruling involving “light” cigarettes, ruling in favor of Philip Morris USA.  The Minnesota Supreme Court dismissed the case because a 1998 settlement precludes it. (May 2012)

Sidley Austin: IRS Releases FATCA Proposed Regulations Tax Update

The U.S. Treasury Department released proposed regulations commonly known as the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act, which would require foreign financial institutions to report information about U.S. account holders to the IRS. This update guides the reader through the requirements of this new legislation. 02/09/2012

Baker & McKenzie: “2012: What to Expect on the European Competition Policy Front”

This article is an overview of likely changes in European competition policy now that the new Commissioner for Competition has settled into his position a bit. (January 2012)

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