Robinson+Cole lawyer Noel B. Vales was installed as President of the Filipino American Lawyers Association of New York (FALA New York) at the organization’s 6th Anniversary dinner at Aureole Restaurant in New York City on May 30, 2019. Mr. Vales was one of nine founding attorneys of FALA New York, which was established in 2013 through a shared interest in creating a formal professional affiliation group for Filipino Americans in the legal profession. Mr. Vales is a member of Robinson+Cole’s Real Estate + Development Group and serves on the firm’s Diversity + Inclusion Committee. He is also a regional governor for the National Filipino American Bar Association. Read more in the press release.
Robinson+Cole (R+C) is pleased to announce the addition of Jamie L. Edmonson to the firm’s growing Bankruptcy + Reorganizations practice. She joins as partner in the Wilmington, Delaware office, from Venable LLP, where she was partner-in-charge of the office.
Edmonson joins R+C following a significant expansion of the firm’s bankruptcy practice in January when R+C welcomed five attorneys and opened new offices in Philadelphia and Wilmington. Natalie D. Ramsey, Mark A. Fink, and Davis Lee Wright, all of whom practice bankruptcy in Delaware, joined as partners, bringing their decades of experience in bankruptcy, corporate reorganization and litigation matters throughout the United States. Read more in the press release.
Today, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross presented Robinson & Cole LLP with the President’s “E” Award for Export Service at a ceremony in Washington, D.C. In total, Secretary Ross honored 48 U.S. companies with the President’s “E” Award, the highest recognition any U.S. entity can receive for making a significant contribution to the expansion of U.S. exports. Read more in the press release.
Robinson+Cole was honored with the “Volunteer of the Year” distinction by the Pro Bono Partnership (the Partnership) during an event hosted by the organization in celebration of volunteer lawyers who provided free legal services to nonprofit organizations throughout Connecticut in 2018. In addition to the firm’s Hartford law department being recognized, employment litigator and counselor Stephen W. Aronson was presented with an individual “Volunteer of the Year” honor for his outstanding individual contributions. This is the first time the Partnership has had an individual honoree come from the law firm honoree. Read more in the press release.
The legal directory Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business has recognized the law firm of Robinson+Cole in twelve practice area categories that Chambers USA covers in Connecticut, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island in its 2019 edition. In addition, seventeen lawyers were individually ranked including one that has been recognized nationwide. Read more in the press release.
Real Estate + Development Group lawyer Charles F. Martin, III represented FactSet Research Systems Inc. (NYSE, NASDAQ: FDS) in a commercial real estate lease recognized by NAIOP Connecticut & Suburban New York as “Fairfield County Lease of the Year 2018”. The award was presented during the organization’s annual Night of the Stars Awards Gala held at The Woodway Country Club in Darien, Connecticut on March 7, 2019. Read more in the press release.
The Connecticut Law Tribune honored four Robinson+Cole lawyers at the publication’s 2019 Connecticut Legal Awards “Professional Excellence” event on May 16, 2019 at the Bond Ballroom in Hartford. The awards recognize both new and seasoned lawyers who have demonstrated knowledge, skill and compassion, making their mark in the legal field and earning the trust and respect of their clients and peers alike.
Business Litigation Group lawyer Jim Wade received the Tribune’s Lifetime Achievement Award as a lawyer “who has left a lasting imprint on the legal community of Connecticut.” Bankruptcy and Reorganizations Group lawyer Patrick Birney was given the Distinguished Leader Award as one who “achieved impressive results in 2018 and demonstrated clear leadership skills that helped (him) achieve those results.”
Ben Jensen, Business Litigation, and Abby Warren, Labor and Employment, were named New Leaders in the Law. This distinction spotlights lawyers under the age of 40 who have excelled in the courtroom, in client service and cultivation, in service to bar associations, and/or in performing pro bono work or community service in a volunteer capacity. Also in attendance were Robinson+Cole lawyers Bruce Barth, Frank Coulom, Eric Daniels, Ed Heath, Keisha Palmer, Jim Ray and Rhonda Tobin. To see a photo of R+C at the event, Click Here for our LinkedIn post and feel free to like/share with your LinkedIn connections.
Data Privacy + Cybersecurity Team member Deborah George took part in the Rhode Island Bar Association’s 2019 Annual Meeting in Providence on June 14, 2019. Deborah was part of a workshop panel that addressed “The Latest on Cyber Threats & Cyber Liability Insurance: How You Can Protect Your Law Firm and Your Clients.” The workshop was presented in three sections: first, a brief description of recent cyberattacks and general overview of data privacy and cybersecurity hot topics; second, an introduction to cyber liability insurance and the types of coverages provided; and third, a discussion of the legal and ethical issues for lawyers involving data protection and security, recent court decisions involving cyber liability insurance, and tips for lawyers about how to protect data in their firm.
Intellectual Property and Technology lawyer Jackie Scheib participated at two recent Red Cross events, the “Women Who Lead Luncheon” presented by the American Red Cross Greater New York on May 14, 2019 in New York City, and the “Humanitarian Luncheon” presented by the American Red Cross of Connecticut and Rhode Island on June 4, 2019 in Darien, CT. Savannah Guthrie, co-anchor of NBC’s Today show, was the featured guest at the “Women Who Lead Luncheon,” and was interviewed by legal analyst Ashleigh Banfield. Both events were fundraisers highlighting the organization’s Tiffany Circle, a global community of women leaders who advance the Red Cross humanitarian mission. Jackie is a Tiffany Circle member, and addressed the “Humanitarian Luncheon” audience of some 100 people. To view a photo from the “Women Who Lead Luncheon” of some of the Tiffany Circle members with Ashleigh Banfield, please click here.
Business Litigation Group lawyer Je'Quana Orr was the subject of the Alumni Profile in the UConn School of Law’s June 2019 newsletter. The story in the quarterly online publication highlights her early engagement with the law as a high school student in Hartford participating in the first Summer Mock Trial Competition at UConn, where she is remembered as an attentive and engaged student. Je’Quana credits hands-on experiences in law school and a summer internship at Robinson+Cole with preparing her for a professional career. To read the article, click here.
Data Privacy + Cybersecurity Group lawyer Kathryn Rattigan presented “Drones in the National Airspace: Threats and Mitigation of Risk” at the INFORM 2019 conference at Princeton University in Princeton, New Jersey on June 13, 2019. In her program, Kathryn discussed advances in drone technology and the related implications.
Kathryn also was part of the panel “Surviving a Data Breach.” The panel discussion included experts in the fields of privacy, data security, public relations and reputation management, and addressed critical and sensitive issues such as:
• protecting your company from a data breach
• the reporting/notification requirements for different industries
• how to work with the FBI
• evidence preservation and maintaining logs for internal use and law enforcement
• handling requests from regulators, credit monitoring companies, and others
• managing your reputation internally and externally, and
• moving past a data breach.
The conference was a two-day Information Management event hosted by ARMA New Jersey, which offered sessions focused on Records and Information Management & Information Governance (IG) practices, Privacy, Security & Risk issues, and Strategy & Communications, as well as other trending IG updates to cutting-edge technology impacting the way we work.
Jim Ray and Emilee Mooney Scott spoke on technical and legal challenges and litigation associated with PFAS (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances) at the Connecticut Business & Industry Association’s (CBIA) 2019 Energy & Environment Conference in Cromwell, CT on June 13, 2019. Jim discussed "What Are the Health, Environmental, and Litigation Challenges of PFAS?" Emilee presented on "How Are the Technical, Regulatory, and Legal Challenges of PFAS Being Addressed?" Both panels also included scientists from GZA GeoEnvironmental, an engineering and science consulting firm. The keynote speaker for the conference was Katie Dykes, Commissioner of the state’s Department of Energy and Environmental Protection. Robinson+Cole was a sponsor of the event.
Litigation Section Co-Chair Rhonda Tobin presented to some 250 insurance professionals at the Defense Research Institute’s “Insurance Bad Faith and Extra-Contractual Liability” seminar in Washington, D.C. on June 5, 2019. Rhonda presented with Naomi Kinderman, Assistant Vice President Claims, Senior Counsel at firm client W.R. Berkley Corporation, headquartered in Greenwich, CT. Their topic was “Fear of Trials: An In-House Perspective on the Vanishing Jury Trial and Outside Counsel’s Perspective on How to Manage a Bad Faith Case.” Representing the viewpoints of both in-house and outside counsel, they examined the growing perception that insurers are afraid to try cases and shared their perspectives on how to identify and defend those cases that can be won at trial.
Members of the Hartford office’s Environmental, Energy + Telecommunications Group participated in the Keney Park Sustainability Project in Hartford, CT on the afternoon of June 6, 2019. The community service team - including Keney Park Sustainability Project Board member Emily Deans, Brian Freeman, Bob Melvin, Jim Ray, Jon Schaefer, Emilee Mooney Scott, and UConn legal extern James Zimmer - assisted with weeding and planting cucumbers and zucchini.
The goals of the Project include:
The vision of the Project is “to create the next generation of healthy, productive and environmentally conscious citizens” by providing hands-on training, on-site demonstrations, outreach and community collaborations that help families become more self-sustainable and environmentally aware. At 693 acres, Keney Park is the largest park within the Hartford city system. It was a gift from the investor and wholesale grocer, Henry Keney in 1894, and was designed by the architectural firm led by the sons of Frederick Law Olmsted, the great American landscape artist who designed Central Park in New York City.
Health Law Group and Data Privacy + Cybersecurity Team member Conor Duffy has been invited to join the Fellows of the American Bar Foundation (ABF). Fellows comprise a global honorary society of attorneys, judges, law faculty and legal scholars whose careers “have demonstrated outstanding dedication to the highest principles of the legal profession and to the welfare of their communities.” They are recommended by their peers and elected by the Board of the ABF. The prestigious invitation was extended in recognition of Conor’s contributions that support “the ABF’s groundbreaking research on the role and impact of law, lawyers and the legal process on society,” which help in the advancement of justice.
We congratulate Data Privacy + Cybersecurity Team Chair Linn Freedman on winning one of LexBlog's three inaugural "Reader's Choice Awards" for the month of May. Her post, "FBI Flash: Ryuk Ransomware Continues to Attack U.S. Businesses," which detailed a ransomware attack that has hit more than 100 U.S. companies since August 2018, was one of the most popular on the website.
In recognizing Linn's work as one of the Data Privacy + Cybersecurity Team’s most prolific bloggers, LexBlog wrote, "Authoring some of the most widely read content on LexBlog is no small feat; our network of 22,000 legal bloggers (and growing) brings in about 200 blog posts daily, adding up to almost 6000 new posts every month... The criteria is simple; the bloggers who authored the most trafficked blog posts during the specified month will receive the award. Their blog page on LexBlog will also receive an official emblem that will link to the winning post." You can read about Linn's selection here, and visit Robinson+Cole's Data Privacy + Security "Insider" blog here.
Business Transactions lawyer Kathleen Porter spoke at the 20th Annual Practicing Law Institute's (PLI) Privacy and Data Security Law Conference in Chicago on June 4, 2019. She presented the program "Vendor Management: Ensuring Compliance with Privacy and Cybersecurity Requirements," which discussed a range of issues, including evaluating vendors from a privacy and security perspective, privacy and security provisions in vendor contracts, and developing a compliant vendor management program. Kathleen has been an invited presenter on this general topic at the Chicago PLI Conference since 2013.
The 2019 conference was focused on the critical issues of information privacy, cybersecurity and data protection that are increasingly faced by businesses. As the Internet and other information technologies have prompted the development of powerful tools for the collection, use, processing, storage, and disposal of personal information, a wide range of compliance risk and liability issues have emerged. Legislators, regulators and the courts are rapidly developing new law and compliance obligations to address the privacy and security implications of our expanding information economy and its evolving risks. This annual conference addressed these developments, with the goal of keeping attorneys and other privacy professionals informed and up-to-date in this complex and dynamic area of laws and regulations.
Data Privacy + Cybersecurity Team Chair Linn Freedman presented the program “Recent Cybersecurity Risks and Tips to Mitigate Them” at the annual meeting of the Greater Boston Chapter of the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners on May 30, 2019. The theme of the all-day meeting and training was “Fraud in Many Forms.” Attendees also heard presentations on the subjects of "Stolen Identity Refund Fraud" from Ryan Talbot, a Special Agent of the Internal Revenue Service; "Business Email Compromise" offered by Josh Hatter, of the Financial Crimes Section of the U.S. Secret Service; "Healthcare Fraud-A Public Perspective" given by Toby Unger, Chief of the Medicaid Fraud Division, Office of the Attorney General, Commonwealth of Massachusetts; and "Healthcare Fraud-A Private Perspective" from Joshua Orr, Associate General Counsel and Director of Fraud Prevention and Recovery for Tufts Health Plans.
Data Privacy + Cybersecurity Team Chair Linn Freedman spoke at the 2nd annual New England Litigation Technology Professional's "Connect 2019," in Boston, MA on May 30, 2019. The one-day conference brought together industry experts and leaders from within the litigation and technology communities. Linn was featured on the "Privacy Panel," which offered practical insights covering the latest trends and developments in data privacy and technology. Other topics of panel discussion included "Trends in AI and Future Lawyering," "Proportionality in eDiscovery – From Mobile Devices to TAR" and "Anti-Money Laundering – New Battlegrounds for Due Diligence and Enforcement." The Honorable F. Dennis Saylor IV, U.S. District Court Judge for the District of Massachusetts, was the event’s keynote speaker.
Health Law Group member Lisa Thompson was a featured speaker at the Boston Bar Association’s inaugural Health Care Conference in Boston, MA on May 30, 2019. Lisa spoke as a panelist on the program “Data Sharing Across the Health Care Industry.” She also participated as a member of the conference’s Advisory Committee.
The event covered a variety of legal trends and developments affecting health care providers and institutions, payers, insurers, physicians, and medical groups, medical device and pharmaceutical companies, offering programs that included “Innovations in Health Care,” “Drug Pricing,” “Health Care Enforcement: What’s On the Horizon?” and the “Right to Try and Expanded Access to Investigational Drugs.” The full day of education and networking brought together firm experts, in-house counsel, regulators and policy leaders, and healthcare specialists – practitioners with the skills to help guide clients through the legal and regulatory changes they may face, as well as the industry knowledge to seize opportunities for growth and collaboration that can drive further improvement in the health care system.
Employee Benefits + Compensation Group lawyer Virginia McGarrity authored the article “ACA Employer Shared Responsibility Mandate,” published as a Practice Note in Lexis Practice Advisor® on March 19, 2019. The article describes the shared responsibility rules for so-called applicable large employers (ALE) implemented by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA).
Commonly referred to as the employer mandate or pay-or-play provisions of the ACA, the rules were designed to promote employers’ traditional role in providing access to health insurance for their employees despite rising health care costs, and to complement the ACA’s individual mandate, which requires individuals to obtain health coverage or pay an excise tax. And while tax reform legislation enacted in November 2017 effectively repeals the individual mandate as of 2019, the employer shared responsibility rules remain intact. Click here to read the full article.
Intellectual Property + Technology Group Chair Jackie Scheib presented at BioCT's "Legal & Tax Considerations for Life Sciences Companies Licensing Technology" event in New Haven, CT on May 30, 2019. Her presentation addressed a variety of topics, including:
• Models for capturing revenue, negotiating for flexibility (or restrictions) in licenses, provisions to control for success as well as failure including bankruptcy, dispute resolution, and failure to commercialize, and mechanisms for controlling risk and containing liability.
The program also included remarks from representatives of CohnReznick LLP who spoke about revenue recognition considerations in licensing transactions and the new revenue standard applicable to collaborative licenses of IP. The presentation was capped by Sean Cassidy, CFO of the Bio-pharma company Arvinas, Inc. He discussed its partnerships with two well-known pharmaceuticals/biotechs and negotiations for multi-year, strategic license agreements and research collaborations. The event was sponsored by Robinson+Cole and CohnReznick.
Britt-Marie Cole-Johnson, Rachel Kushel, Natale Di Natale, and Abby Warren hosted the Association of Workplace Investigators’ (AWI) New England Local Circle meeting at Robinson+Cole’s Boston office on May 23, 2019. The meeting featured a lively roundtable discussion on the topics of Investigative Reports and Findings, and offered networking opportunities.
AWI is an international professional membership association for attorneys, human resource professionals, private investigators and others who conduct, manage, or have a professional interest in workplace investigations, with a membership of more than 1,000 professionals. The organization is dedicated to promoting and enhancing the quality of impartial workplace investigations, as well as offering training and education programs. Britt-Marie is a co-convener of the New England Local Circle and serves as a member of the Board of Directors for AWI.
Jim Ray gave a webinar presentation on May 22 to public- and private-sector environmental professionals on litigation involving claims of health risks and environmental harm from the PFAS family of chemical compounds (per- and poly-fluorinated alkyl substances). The webinar, “PFAS: It’s Not Just a Groundwater Issue,” was presented by the New England Section of the Air & Waste Management Association. PFAS chemicals are found in Teflon coatings, water-proof fabrics, fire-fighting foams, food packaging, and a broad array of other products and applications. Jim was joined on the panel by technical leads at the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services and the multi-national consulting firm TRC Environmental.
Robinson+Cole received the Presidential Award for Export Service - the only law firm recognized among 48 awardees from across the U.S. Jeff White and Kevin Daly accepted the award on behalf of the firm presented by U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross and Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade Gilbert B. Kaplan at a ceremony in Washington, D.C. on May 23, 2019. The "E" Award is the highest recognition any U.S. entity can receive for making a significant contribution to the expansion of U.S. exports.
In a congratulatory letter to the firm, Secretary Ross said “Robinson+Cole has demonstrated a sustained commitment to export expansion. The "E" Awards Committee was very impressed with Robinson+Cole's work of broad impact within the business community to further expand U.S. exports. Your company's case studies demonstrating measurable export growth achieved by its clients were also particularly notable. Robinson+Cole's achievements have undoubtedly contributed to national export expansion efforts that support the U.S. economy and create American jobs.” The firm was honored to have R+C alumna, Joanne Rapuano, Chief Compliance Officer, North America for Embraer Executive Aircraft, Inc. join us at the ceremony. Jeff, Kevin and Joanne also met with U.S. Senators Chris Murphy and Richard Blumenthal while in D.C. yesterday. Please see photos posted to R+C’s LinkedIn.
Keisha Palmer attended the 16th Annual Latinas and Power Symposium at the invitation of Hartford City Treasurer, Adam Cloud, and Assistant City Treasurer, Carmen Sierra, held in Hartford, CT on May 16, 2019. Ms. Sierra received the Community Service award for her many years of service to the Latina community and the community in general. Former Robinson & Cole partner, Stanford "Sandy" Cloud, Jr., received the Honorary Latina Award for his consistent support throughout the years for the Latina community. Welcoming remarks were made by Connecticut State Treasurer Shawn Wooden and Sara Bronin, on behalf of her husband, Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin.
Brian Freeman and Emilee Mooney Scott were featured speakers at the recent half-day meeting of the Massachusetts Chemistry & Technology Alliance in Westfield, MA. Robinson+Cole was a sponsor of the event, titled “Air Permitting & Compliance: What to Know, What to Do, What Not to Do.” Brian presented “Case Studies: Taking the Air Pollution Control Program from the Theoretical to the Practical,” and moderated a panel discussion on “Regulation, Permitting, Compliance & Enforcement.” Emilee presented a program on compliance audits and self-disclosure. The meeting also offered remarks from representatives of the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection, as well as Tighe & Bond, an engineering and environmental consulting company, and Trinity Consultants, an environmental health and safety solutions firm.
Data Privacy + Cybersecurity Group lawyer Kathryn Rattigan presented the program "Cybersecurity in the Commercial Drone Industry: Threats and Mitigation of Risk," hosted by the Boston Bar Association on May 23, 2019. As drones extend further into areas of modern life, from package delivery to commercial surveillance, the law is straining to keep pace with technological advancements.
During the brown bag seminar, Kathryn discussed how drones can be used to collect valuable data and increase the productivity, safety, and efficiency of organizations across many industries. She also provided an overview of the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) Part 107 regulations, waivers, the FAA “DroneZone,” and the FAA’s LAANC portal. In addition, she spoke about the onslaught of cybersecurity concerns and threats that must be better understood in order to allow drones to continue to operate safely in the national airspace.
Several members of Robinson+Cole's Appellate Practice Group recently contributed to the Connecticut Bar Association's (CBA) Appellate Advocacy Institute, an intensive two-day CLE program aimed at sharpening practitioner's appellate advocacy skills. Linda Morkan and Denis O'Malley, joined by Jeff Babbin of Wiggin & Dana, sat on a panel entitled "The Road to Appellate Review: How and When Your Case Can Get a Second (or Third) Look." Linda and Denis discussed drafting effective petitions for certification to the Connecticut Supreme Court - Linda drawing on her extensive experience as an appellate practitioner in Connecticut and Denis drawing on his recent experience as a clerk for the Court. Thomas Donlon, who serve as co-chair of the CBA's Appellate Advocacy Section, helped plan the Appellate Advocacy Institute. Jeff White also served as a faculty member at the Institute.
Earlier this month, Peter Lacouture and Brenda Vucci were honored at the United Way of Rhode Island’s "Campaign Leaders Thank You Luncheon" held at Hope Artiste Village in Pawtucket, Rhode Island. The luncheon celebrated contributions and success in the 2018-2019 United Way campaign and recognized the top fundraisers among small, mid-size, and major companies in Rhode Island. Brenda and Peter were honored by the organization as “Change Makers,” defined as “dedicated Campaign Leaders and Committee members who inspire their colleagues to change lives and strengthen our community.” Kathryn Rattigan and Brenda attended the luncheon on behalf of Robinson+Cole.
Jackie Scheib, Maria Scungio and Alaine Doolan attended the International Trademark Association's Annual Meeting in Boston from May 18-22, 2019. The meeting highlighted a number of trending topics that are transforming the global IP landscape for the law, brand management and trademark protection, including "A Year of the EU GDPR and Access to WHOIS Data: Impact and Outlook for Brand Enforcement” and “Brexit: The Implications for Trademarks in the United Kingdom and the European Union." In addition to the general sessions, Jackie, Maria and Alaine hosted and attended a number of networking events, and held meetings with clients and law firms they work with from around the world.
Robinson+Cole was a sponsor of the International Space Trade Summit in Hartford, CT on May 19-21, 2019, presented by the U.S. Department of Commerce. Kevin Daly was a panelist during the session “Export Compliance – An Industry Perspective: OEM & Supply Chain Perspectives on Meeting the Technological Challenges of Space.” Jeff White served as chair of the steering committee for the compliance track of programs. Ed Heath spoke on a panel focused on “Government Contracting and Related Compliance Strategies,” which covered topics including anti-bribery laws (such as the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act), government contracting, and cybersecurity requirements.
The Summit focused on aerospace and defense, advanced manufacturing and IT companies from the "5 Eyes" alliance countries - U.S., Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the U.K. - bringing those capabilities and the countries’ high-tech supply chains into the global space sector conversation. Current and future capabilities required to be in the sector as well as available opportunities were discussed, and companies were introduced to the space agencies, original equipment manufacturers, and supply chain subject matter experts in the 5 Eyes countries, allowing the firms to gain a better understanding of their respective space sectors. Check out news and photos from the conference on LinkedIn.
Jackie Scheib, Nathaniel Arden, Anna Wang, David Gilboa and Michelle Mattera attended the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation’s “Laugh for Life: New York” event in New York City on May 7, 2019. Robinson+Cole is proud to support the Foundation's goal of finding a cure for multiple myeloma in our lifetime as a “Friends of Laugh” event sponsor. To help achieve that ambitious pursuit, the patient-founded MMRF collects, interprets and activates patient data as well as information from the realms of science and technology, directing it into cancer research and related programs.
Virginia McGarrity and Lauren Sigg attended the 2019 Annual Meeting of the Harriet Beecher Stowe Center in Hartford on May 14, 2019. Virginia was honored by the Board of Trustees for her years of service to the Stowe Center. She retired from the Board after fulfilling two three-year terms, serving as Secretary during the second term. At the Annual Meeting, the Board of Trustees welcomed new board members, elected new officers, and honored funders and volunteers. The Stowe Center is dedicated to preserving and interpreting the Hartford home of Harriet Beecher Stowe – known worldwide as the author of “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” - promoting discussion of her life and work, and inspiring continued pursuit and commitment to social justice and positive change.
Ed Heath and Jeff White were among the participants at the Chief Executives Group’s 2019 Smart Manufacturing Summit in Dallas Texas on May 14 and 15, 2019. The meeting was designed for executives from mid-market companies, who shared best practices, principles and processes and heard insights from manufacturing pioneers and global powerhouses alike—with a focus on the complicated realities of today’s global manufacturing environment.
Robinson+Cole was a sponsor of the Summit and participated in an interactive Peer-to-Peer Roundtable, “Global Growth Without Friction,” during which Ed and Jeff discussed the legal regulations and problems manufacturing CEOs may need to navigate while growing their business internationally. The roundtable highlighted the essential considerations for global growth and showed how to begin developing ways of working internationally that can dramatically reduce friction and become a true competitive advantage. As the influence of economic uncertainty and disruptive technologies spreads into every industry, CEOs of manufacturing companies must plan smarter and work harder to capture opportunity. Expanding into new global markets is a key element of any growth strategy, but entering new international supply chains, developing relationships with foreign partners, and selling to new customers often triggers complex, daunting legal hurdles.
Lisa Thompson participated in a panel presentation titled “The Complexities of International & Domestic Life Sciences Disputes,” sponsored by the American Arbitration Association (AAA), on May 1, 2019 in Philadelphia, PA. The presentation was part of a half-day conference focused on topics related to the arbitration of pharmaceutical, biotech, and medical device disputes, which was organized by the AAA and its global division, the International Centre for Dispute Resolution .
Data Privacy + Cybersecurity Team Chair, Linn Freedman, was among the panelists who presented during the ISACA New England and Rhode Island “SheLeadsTech” Conference at Stonehill College on April 22, 2019. The conference featured the panel discussion “Building Gender Balance in Information Technology and Cyber Security for a Better Future,” and afforded an opportunity for professionals to engage with information technology and cybersecurity industry leaders who presented on current topics in their respective fields. The panel discussed ways to break down barriers between the genders in information technology and how to support women with careers in cybersecurity.
Linn’s co-panelists included Leslie Owens, Executive Director of the MIT Center for Information Systems Research; Sandy Silk, Director of IT Security Education and consulting at Harvard University; V. Susan Peediyakkal, Cyber Threat Intelligence Program Lead Consultant with Booz Allen Hamilton; and Kim Dickerson, Managing Director, Risk & Compliance with Protiviti.
Alisha Sullivan organized and moderated the CLE program “Hot Topics in Employment: Discrimination & Harassment,” presented by the Connecticut Bar Association’s Young Lawyers Section. She is a member of the Section's Executive Committee. Abby Warren served as a panelist for the program, which examined the history of civil rights in the employment context, the evolution of law in Connecticut based on shifts in society’s general thought, and how sexual harassment and discrimination looks different in the #MeToo era. The panel also discussed counseling employers on dealing with implicit bias and micro-aggressions in the workplace; how Connecticut has been seen as a leader with respect to workplace protections for LGBTQ individuals; how employers are handling claims of discrimination relating to the medical use of marijuana; and different ways employers can limit the risks presented by the electronic communications of employees and supervisors.
Business Transactions Group lawyers Eric Kogan and Les Levinson presented a lunchtime webinar, “Getting Your Business Ready for a Sale Transaction” on May 15, 2019. Joined by Martin Magida, Managing Director, Berkery Noyes, the panel of industry professionals discussed key issues facing businesses as they contemplate and prepare for a sale transaction, including identifying transaction resources, preparing early stage documentation, maximizing value, and managing risks. In today's fast-paced business world, preparedness is as critical to the success of a deal as execution. The panel addressed questions such as how to determine if an organization has the resources it needs to move forward and how to identify and avoid pitfalls along the way.
Kathryn Rattigan presented a webinar on "Data Privacy and Security in the Cannabis Industry" hosted by myLawCLE and the Federal Bar Association on May 7, 2019. There are currently 33 states that allow some form of medical marijuana and 10 states (plus the District of Columbia) that have legalized recreational use. This has created a multitude of business opportunities, but it has also raised questions and created uncertainties for businesses. Beyond the regulatory requirements, businesses must consider the data privacy and security risks to their business as well. It is not only important for companies in the cannabis industry to keep up with the changing legislative landscape, but also with the cyber-threats that can pose a substantial risk to both their businesses and their customers. The two-hour broadcast covered:
• The current landscape for medical and recreational use of marijuana across the country;
• The types of sensitive—and protected—information that companies in the cannabis industry collect and possess;
• Recent and continued risks and threats to data; and
• Tips for protecting and securing the data collected by these businesses.
Managed Care and Employee Benefit Litigation lawyers Greg Bennici and Pat Begos co-authored the Connecticut chapter in the recently published 2019 Defense Research Institute’s (DRI) Rescission Compendium. The Compendium, which surveys the law on insurance policy rescission in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and 10 provinces in Canada, is a comprehensive resource for insurance carriers, claim professionals, defense and coverage counsel, and the judiciary. Offering both an historical and current perspective on the law of rescission in Connecticut, the chapter Pat and Greg authored provides a roadmap for how to successfully analyze rescission challenges under Connecticut law. Publication in the Compendium highlights their standing as thought leaders in this area of the law. To view the chapter, click HERE.
Labor, Employment, Benefits + Immigration Group lawyer Britt-Marie Cole-Johnson served as a presenting faculty member at the 2019 Chicago Area Training Institute for Workplace Investigators in St. Charles, Illinois. The Institute, sponsored by the Association of Workplace Investigators, Inc. (AWI), was held from April 29-May 3, 2019.
AWI established the Training Institute to promote and enhance the specialized knowledge and skills required of investigators to successfully conduct the critical function of impartial workplace investigations. The four-day accredited course included 10 hours of small group sessions, followed by a day of assessments. Students who passed the test received a certificate indicating mastery of the materials and are permitted to place the designation ‘AWI-CH’ after their name. Britt-Marie taught the Ethics Module and also conducted a Mock Investigation and Report Writing Exercise. She is a part-time faculty member for AWI.
Dan Sullivan and Dana Horton presented “A Defense Attorney’s Perspective for the Fire Investigator” as part of the Connecticut Fire Academy’s 24th Annual Advanced Fire Investigation School on May 1, 2019. The Connecticut Fire Academy, located in Windsor Locks, Connecticut, is a training facility operated under the guidance and administration of the Connecticut Commission on Fire Prevention and Control. The Advanced Fire Investigation School is a multi-week program sponsored by the Connecticut State Police Fire and Explosion Investigation Unit in cooperation with the Connecticut Chapter of the International Association of Arson Investigators. The School focuses on various aspects of fire investigation and litigation associated with those investigations. Dan and Dana presented to a large class of state and local fire marshals and shared their experience with the cross-examination of experts, discussed various grounds on which expert opinions are challenged, and offered advice for preparation and testimony in a fire case.
Robinson+Cole hosted the U.S. Dept. of Commerce presentation "Aerospace and Defense Industrial Buying Trends: How Does It Impact Your Business?" at the firm’s Hartford office on Tuesday, April 30, 2019. Thomas Publishing Company CEO and President, Tony Uphoff, was the featured guest speaker. He shared proprietary data on sourcing trends nationally, in Connecticut, and for the aerospace/defense sector. 2019 buying habits, the dynamics presented by today’s multi-generational workforce, and the digital transformation happening in industrial sales, marketing, and supply chain management also were topics of discussion. Jeff White, leader of Robinson+Cole's Manufacturing Industry Team, offered opening remarks to the manufacturing and aerospace leaders in attendance.
As the number of women practicing law continues to grow, firms are striving to accommodate women attorneys who want to both practice and have a family. The New York Law Journal reported recently that a number of young female attorneys intent on pursuing their careers are becoming more interested in freezing their eggs, in order to have more time to focus on advancement toward partnership. In this article from the CT Law Tribune on April 24, 2019, Connecticut attorneys identified flexibility as being an integral element in developing supportive policies.
Partner Rachel Kushel, a mother of two and co-vice chair of the firm’s women’s committee, said that while she hasn’t heard from female colleagues about freezing their eggs, she agrees that supportiveness and flexibility are important at the management level to ensure all lawyers are free to raise families. “We just revamped our parental leave policy to provide even greater support to our attorneys who are embarking on family planning issues, and we have family leave mentors. One of the tenets of the new program is flexibility. We wanted a program that works for individuals and families,” Kushel said.
Kushel explained that Robinson+Cole has broadened its parental leave policy, opening it up to both child-bearing and non-birthing parents, regardless of gender. She said, “I think there is less perception that it’s only a women’s issue. It’s a family issue that’s applicable to both genders.” Kushel said that results in firms like R+C expanding their family leave policies to women and men across the board, in traditional and same-sex couples. And, that the firm’s policies are constantly evolving.
“Our parental leave policy can be used intermittently by both parents, regardless of gender, and families can be adaptive,” continued Kushel. “We have embraced all of those issues, recognizing that no one policy fits all, so we have really increased the flexibility in how to best support families.”
Health Law Group lawyer Les Levinson was among the panelists who presented during the webinar “Home Health & Hospice: The Future of Healthcare Delivery” on April 25, 2019. Presented by Irving Levin Associates, the webinar covered the rising costs and continuing preference for home health care and hospice companies. With the elderly population growing at a much faster rate than the increase in the number of caregivers, there is a question as to whether the home care business can grow as fast as people expect it to. Despite some of these concerns, demand for home healthcare and hospice companies continues to grow, as investors believe it will be part of the solution to containing costs and providing continuity of care to patients.
The topics the webinar addressed included: how active has the acquisition market been in the past few years; what are buyers paying, and how the multiples change depending on size; who the sellers are, and whether now is the time to sell; if labor pressures are squeezing profits enough to dampen investors’ appetite; and whether it makes sense for hospitals to get into, or continue in, the home care business.
Adam Anderson, Nathaniel Arden and Alaine Doolan facilitated the workshop “Contracts 101: Drafting and Negotiating Tips and Strategies” in Hartford, Connecticut on April 24, 2019. The event was sponsored by the MIT Enterprise Forum Connecticut. On any given day, a company might need to write, sign or negotiate a number of different contract types. “Contracts 101” presented the basics on the elements of an agreement and contract negotiation and offered critical tips and best practices to help save money and head off problems in both the short and long term. The workshop was the first in a series that will address legal, finance, strategy, operations, and marketing issues for startup founders. Robinson+Cole is a sponsor of the Connecticut Chapter of MIT Enterprise Forum.
Business Litigation Group lawyer Jim Wade presented on “The Art of Jury Selection” at Robinson+Cole’s Hartford office on April 23, 2019. The program was sponsored by the Hartford County Bar Association's Criminal Law Committee. During the presentation, Jim used his half-century of trial experience to show how to navigate Connecticut's unique individual voir dire process. He discussed jury selection techniques, what rules he uses in voir dire, and when he breaks those rules. The program featured a demonstration of voir dire questioning by interviewing "jurors" on a mock case, showing how to tailor questioning to specific case facts. Attendees learned the tricks of the trade in getting to know potential jurors (and how they'll vote!) in the limited time they have in state court. This program was equally applicable to civil and criminal practitioners, and to both new and vastly experienced attorneys looking for a voir dire edge.
Data Privacy + Cybersecurity Team lawyer Linn F. Freedman was interviewed and quoted in the article “From GDPR to Golden State Killer, DNA Sharing Presents Privacy Challenges,” published in the March 4, 2019 issue of Corporate Counsel. The article evaluates the growing collection and use of genetic data by private genetic testing companies in the modern era. It highlights the privacy concerns associated with the collection and use of this information, particularly what such companies can and cannot do with genetic information they collect, the gray areas in U.S. privacy law concerning the collection and disclosure of genetic data, and the understanding of consumers with regard to how their sensitive information might be shared.
Real Estate and Development Group lawyer Jerome Garciano presented a program on the "Massachusetts SMART Program, Federal Opportunity Zones and Green Tax Credits and the Implications for Microgrid" as part of ACI’;s in Boston, Massachusetts on April 17, 2019. Microgrids are quickly becoming a popular trend in energy distribution, expanding the availability of resilient infrastructure, sustainable energy, and independence that can't be achieved by relying on the traditional power grid. Installations such as military bases, hospitals, universities and rural communities are already switching to this method of power supply. Key topics included regulatory framework, strategies for workforce growth, military applications, and California’s historic SB-100, passed in 2018, which has the ambitious goal of making the state’s electricity production emissions-free by 2045.
Health Law Group lawyer Les Levinson authored the article “Healthcare Financing Anti-assignment Limitations” published as a Lexis Practice Advisor® Practice Note on March 22, 2019. The article describes how to structure financing transactions for healthcare providers to overcome anti-assignment and collection limitations on Medicare and Medicaid receivables.
The Uniform Commercial Code (UCC) generally prohibits restrictions on assignment, making it possible for secured lenders to obtain a perfected security interest in these assets. Other regulations, however, make it difficult for lenders to collect on those receivables. The Practice Note addresses the structure and legal status of the “double lockbox” mechanism that lawyers commonly use to work around these federal regulations. To read the full article, click here.
Environmental, Energy + Telecommunications lawyer Jon Schaefer has been named to the Leadership Team of the Environmental Business Council of New England’s (EBC) Site Remediation and Redevelopment Committee. Jon's appointment is effective as of April 9, 2019. The purpose of the Committee is to identify and address remediation and redevelopment issues of importance to EBC members and their clients. Those issues can include legislative, regulatory and policy developments, innovative technologies, and business and development opportunities at all levels of government. Members of the team meet regularly with the committee chair to identify topics for future EBC programs, whose goal is to provide objective information from up-to-date and reliable sources, including government officials, technology developers, and business experts.
Insurance + Reinsurance Group lawyer Ray DeMeo was a panelist at the American Law Institute’s Restatement of Law Liability Insurance conference, The World Turned Upside Down, at the UConn Law School in Hartford, Connecticut on April 5, 2019. Ray spoke as part of a panel entitled “Plain Meaning and Ambiguity in Insurance Contracts.” In his role as an education director on the Connecticut Bar Association’s Insurance Law Section board, Insurance + Reinsurance Group lawyer J. Tyler Butts helped design the CLE-eligible event and assisted in organizing the panel on which Ray spoke.
The American Law Institute adopted its Restatement of the Law, Liability Insurance in May 2018 after years of study, debate and controversy. It remains a work in progress, however, as lawyers and courts consider whether to utilize and adopt Restatement positions, while its opponents continue to lobby against it with regulators as well as in state legislatures and the courts. The conference brought together academics and practicing lawyers who have worked on the Restatement to discuss and debate these issues.
Pat Begos, Jeannine Jacobson, and Ted Tucci were among the featured faculty speaking during the Defense Research Institute's (DRI) Life, Health, Disability, and ERISA seminar in Chicago, Illinois held April 3-5, 2019. As program chair for the 2019 DRI seminar, Pat delivered welcome remarks and introductions. Jeannine presented a session on "Conversion, Portability, and Evidence of Insurability," while Ted presented a program entitled "Managing Care: E.R. Reimbursement and Other Participating Provider Issues." The annual seminar featured more than 20 presentations from leading practitioners who offered insights into trends and developments in the law. Areas of discussion included the impact of the U.S. Department of Labor’s 2018 disability claims regulations; practical tips for defending health insurance class actions; updates on life, health, disability, and ERISA litigation; and what to expect from the U.S. Supreme Court in the near future.
Data Privacy and Cybersecurity Team Chair Linn F. Freedman was quoted in the article “600,000 affected by huge data breach in Michigan,” published in the March 15, 2019 issue of Health Data Management. The article focused on a September 2018 ransomware attack against Wolverine Solutions Group, a billing company and business associate which serves health insurers and provider organizations, including Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan. The data breach was sophisticated and went undetected for two months. And while it was, and remains, damaging to Wolverine Solutions and its customers, it is by no means a unique situation, said Linn. She noted that, “The healthcare industry has been hit hard with intrusions over the past few years and will continue to be targeted because it has been successful for hackers.”
Labor + Employment Group lawyer Britt-Marie Cole-Johnson was among the speakers who presented during a program entitled "Your Top 11 Employment Law Questions: Answered" in Waterbury, Connecticut on April 1, 2019. The program was presented by the National Business Institute (NBI) as part of a full-day course that offered legal guidance for attorneys, HR managers, CFOs and other management professionals in complying with employment laws and avoiding lawsuits. The program examined complex legal questions for employers that are found in everyday HR situations, including how to best handle difficult hiring and firing issues; navigating intermittent Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) challenges; addressing Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and state agency charges; untangling workers’ compensation, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the FMLA; preserving attorney-client privilege during internal workplace investigations; and ethical issues in employment law.
Robinson+Cole was pleased to be an Investor Sponsor for the 14th Annual American Red Cross Heroes Ball, which was attended by more than 600 people and raised over $390,000 for the organization. Jacqueline Pennino Scheib, Intellectual Property + Technology Group lawyer served as a member of the event’s Steering Committee. The 2019 Community Impact Award was presented “to those who help save lives through blood donation,” honoring the individuals and organizations who help make it possible for the Red Cross “to collect and deliver lifesaving blood to patients in need,” according to Mario Bruno, CEO of American Red Cross of Connecticut and Rhode Island. Jackie Scheib also serves on the board of directors of the American Red Cross, Connecticut Chapter.
JD Supra’s 2019 Readers’ Choice Awards named Robinson+Cole the Top Firm on the subject of cybersecurity for the fourth consecutive year as well as a thought leader in that area, recognizing the firm “for achieving the highest visibility and engagement among readers for (its) particular expertise.” Data Privacy + Cybersecurity Team lawyers Linn F. Freedman and Kathryn M. Rattigan and Health Law Group lawyer Conor O. Duffy were recognized as outstanding authors among some 50,000 authors who published insights and commentary on JD Supra in 2018. Linn was announced as the #1 author in the area of cybersecurity and a Top Author in the area of class action. She is the editor of the firm’s Data Privacy + Security Insider blog. Kathryn was recognized as the #1 author in the area of airlines/aviation as well as a Top Author in the area of class action. She also contributes to the Data Privacy + Security Insider blog. Conor was named a Top Author in the area of healthcare. He contributes to the Data Privacy + Security Insider as well as the firm’s Health Law Diagnosis blog. The Readers’ Choice Awards recognize top authors and firms who were read by C-suite executives, in-house counsel, media, and other professionals across the JD Supra platform during 2018.
Data Privacy and Cybersecurity lawyers Benjamin C. Jensen, Kathleen M. Porter and Kathryn M. Rattigan were panelists at the 2019 Health Law Symposium in Boston on March 22, 2019. The day-long event, “Privacy, Cybersecurity, and the Health Care Industry: Threats, Risks and Mitigation,” was presented by the Massachusetts Bar Association and attended by some 60 people.
Kathy and Ben spoke on “General Data Protection Regulation 101: What You Need to Know,” which addressed key elements of the European Economic Area’s recently adopted General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and what it means for U.S. companies. They highlighted the importance of understanding the different meaning of key terms such as “sensitive personal data,” “controller,” and “processing,” and some of the key changes the GDPR presents, such as its extraterritorial reach and the fact that simply complying with existing U.S. data privacy and security regulations is no longer sufficient. The presentation pointed out that the GDPR also brings with it greater accountability for companies and greater control for individuals, including changes to disclosure language and a strengthened emphasis on the “lawful basis” of consent of an individual data subject.
Kathryn presented “How Safe Is Your Organization from Hackers? Recent Risks and Tips from an Insider,” which included an FBI Intelligence Analyst with the Bureau’s Cyber Task Force. They discussed how to identify and protect high risk data and reviewed recent and ongoing threats to information, such as phishing, ransomware, malware, and man-in-the-middle attacks, and the kinds of disruption they can cause organizations. The presentation also highlighted the laws that apply to such situations and how law enforcement and other government resources can assist businesses in addressing cyber threats.
Robinson+Cole was an event sponsor for the World Affairs Council of Connecticut’s Diplomat Reception 2019, to help foster global connections and expand the international reach of Hartford and Connecticut businesses. Held at the Wadsworth Atheneum in Hartford on March 19, 2019, diplomats from around the greater Connecticut region and representing more than 20 nations from the four corners of the globe. Firm attorneys William Egan, Stephen Goldman and Jeffrey White were pleased to attend the sold-out evening.
Environmental and Maritime attorney Peter R. Knight authored the article “The IMO 2020 Sulfur Cap in the United States: Compliance Issues,” published in the March 19, 2019 edition of The Maritime Executive. The article covers the fast-approaching low sulphur fuel requirements and discusses compliance and enforcement issues, particularly as they apply to shipping companies trading to the United States. To view the article, please click here.
Real Estate + Development Group lawyer Amanda S. Eckhoff co-presented a program entitled “Fundamentals of Commercial Real Estate Loan Documentation” on March 20, 2019, in Boston. Mandy reviewed basic loan documentation and important due diligence concerns, and highlighted key issues in negotiation from the perspective of both lenders and borrowers. More than 60 people attended the program, which was sponsored by the Real Estate Finance Association (REFA), a division of Greater Boston Real Estate Board, a commercial real estate business association that provides members with networking and educational opportunities.
Real Estate + Development Group lawyer Karla L. Chaffee was among the speakers who presented in a webinar on "How Land Use and Natural Resource Regulations are Shaping the Legal Cannabis Industry" on March 21, 2019. Hosted by the American Planning Association's Planning & Law Division, the webinar explored how various land use and natural resource regulations are shaping the development of the legal cannabis industry. The scope of the conversation ranged from regulatory options municipalities might consider from a land use perspective as the legal cannabis industry develops to how individual businesses are fostered or stifled as a result of certain regulations. A goal of the webinar was to help practitioners identify key cannabis industry issues to consider in working with either government officials or business owners.
On March 20, 2019, the Connecticut Bar Association’s Appellate Advocacy Section held an informal meeting with Connecticut Supreme Court Chief Justice Richard Robinson at the firm’s Hartford Office. Business Litigation Group lawyer Thomas J. Donlon, Section Co-Chair, arranged for Robinson+Cole to host the meeting, one of a series for which the Section invites Justices and Judges to discuss issues of concern to the bench and bar. Chief Justice Robinson offered thoughtful and engaging comments on an array of matters facing the Court. He expressed particular concern over the issue of implicit bias, challenging the attorneys to constantly monitor their own conduct. Chief Justice Robinson also spoke of the importance of appellate advocates working closely with trial attorneys, not only to share their expertise but also to insure a proper record is made at trial. He noted that often an issue is raised on appeal, but the failure to preserve below requires the court to reject it. A Q&A session with Section members followed, and included discussion of the Supreme Court’s new procedure for inviting amicus briefs and the public’s response to high-profile decisions.
Real Estate + Development Group lawyer Timothy C. Twardowski was a co-presenter on “Zoning Due Diligence, Zoning Opinions & Use of Zoning Endorsements” at an open meeting of the Massachusetts Real Estate Bar Association’s (REBA) Commercial Real Estate Finance Section in Boston on March 6, 2019. The panel focused on zoning due diligence from the perspective of the developer and the lender, different approaches to zoning opinion practice, and the use of zoning endorsements to satisfy lender requirements. The panel also discussed the different types of zoning endorsements available and when they are typically required. Tim’s presentation addressed the scope and content of zoning opinions, the certifications and other documents that authors commonly rely upon in preparing a zoning opinion, and included a discussion of common traps for the unwary that can arise when reviewing zoning due diligence.
Britt-Marie Cole-Johnson, Abby Warren and Natale Di Natale hosted the Inaugural Meeting of the New England Local Circle Kick Off Meeting of Association of Workplace Investigators (AWI) at the Boston office on March 21, 2019. Britt-Marie and Dinamary Horvath of Maxe Law will serve as co-conveners for the New England Local Circle, which will meet five times per year in the Boston office. Participants were offered an overview and history of AWI and the benefits of membership in the New England Local Circle, which include an online idea-sharing forum hosted in a private group on LinkedIn and referral and learning opportunities.
AWI is an international professional membership association for attorneys, human resource professionals, private investigators and others who conduct, manage, or have a professional interest in workplace investigations, and has a current membership of more than 1,000 professionals. Britt-Marie serves as a member of the Board of Directors for AWI and will be a faculty member at the upcoming AWI Training Institute for Workplace Investigators in Chicago.
Employee Benefits + Compensation Group lawyer Alisha N. Sullivan moderated a panel focused on the practice of tax law at Quinnipiac University’s School of Law on March 4, 2019. The discussion was sponsored by the Connecticut Bar Association (CBA) Young Lawyer’s Section (YLS) Tax Section, of which Alisha is the Chair, the Tax Section and Estates & Probate Section of the CBA and Quinnipiac University School of Law’s Tax Law Society. The four-person panel was comprised of lawyers from the tax and estate planning divisions of three law firms in Connecticut and New York as well as a representative from the Connecticut Department of Revenue Services. They offered perspectives on the practice of tax law, including what tax lawyers do, challenges to breaking into tax law and how to overcome them, career trajectories and decision points, and what the future holds for this area of the law.
Robinson+Cole hosted a reception sponsored by the Connecticut Asian Pacific American Bar Association (CAPABA) honoring newly-elected Connecticut Attorney General, William Tong, on Thursday evening, March 14, 2019. Business Litigation Group lawyer Dan Brody, Vice President of CAPABA, welcomed some 50 attendees, including judges, general counsels, in-house counsels, members of the Attorney General’s office, and attorneys from across the state, offering a few remarks about the historic nature of the evening. CAPABA President, Prerna Rao, then introduced Attorney General Tong, who is the first Asian-American elected to the office in Connecticut, and only the second in the nation. He spoke about his background as an immigrant, sharing his thoughts on the importance of diversity and his hopes for his work in the office. CAPABA is the Connecticut affiliate of the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA), an organization that is the voice of more than 40,000 Asian Pacific American attorneys nationwide through over 45 chapters and affiliates.
Labor + Employment Group lawyer Britt-Marie K. Cole-Johnson has been reappointed to the Federal Grievance Committee of the U.S. District Court for the District of Connecticut. She will serve a three-year term through December 31, 2021. The Federal Grievance Committee reviews complaints alleging attorney misconduct relating to matters relevant to an attorney's qualifications to practice before the U.S. District Court for the District of Connecticut.
Insurance + Reinsurance Group lawyer J. Tyler Butts co-presented a webinar entitled “Dealing With Difficult Contractors” on March 14, 2019. The program was sponsored by the Property and Liability Resource Bureau as part of its On-The-Go Training series and attracted more than 800 participants.
From hurricanes and hailstorms to widespread fires and unprecedented rains and flooding, disastrous events are likely to attract policyholders’ contractors eager to “assist” with recovery. Oftentimes, however, contractors can hinder the process more than they help. The webinar focused on identifying and working with unreasonable or challenging contractors that an adjuster might encounter during the adjustment of a claim. Tyler’s presentation offered practical tips and tricks to make the adjustment process run more smoothly when working with difficult contractors.
Participants learned to identify the various ways in which a difficult contractor may stand as an impediment to resolving a claim, and discussed adjustment and negotiation strategies to use with difficult contractors to make an adjustment run smoother, including: how to evaluate the law governing assignment of benefits in various jurisdictions; how to work with a contractor holding an assignment of benefits; how to communicate with a difficult contractor throughout the course of a claim; how to push back on a contractor’s inflated or unsubstantiated estimates; and how to document a claim file where a difficult contractor is involved.
Labor and Employment Group lawyer Rachel V. Kushel presented on the many facets of “Sexual Harassment in the Workplace” at the monthly meeting of the New England Claim Executives Association (NECEA), held in Hartford, Connecticut on Tuesday, March 12, 2019.
Rachel’s presentation focused on several topics such as sexual harassment education, awareness, training, compliance and prevention. As part of the educational component, she explained the legal concepts of harassment, discrimination, retaliation and other related elements necessary to analyzing employment claims. Rachel highlighted the value to employers to an improved workplace culture, avoiding situations that can give rise to claims, and to fostering positive employee interactions.
A detailed Q&A session led to discussions about how these issues relate to a variety of seemingly different industries, the impact of employment practices liability insurance on defending claims, and the evidentiary impact of social medial and electronic devices.
Insurance + Reinsurance Group lawyer Daniel Bryer was a co-presenter on “The Opioid Epidemic: Trending Insurance Coverage Issues” at the 2019 Claims and Litigation Management (CLM) Annual Conference in Orlando, Florida on Friday, March 15, 2019. Robinson+Cole lawyers Jason DePatie and Rhonda Tobin also attended the conference.
The presentation outlined the factual allegations asserted in more than 2,000 opioid-related lawsuits nationwide and analyzed insurance coverage issues presented by those cases. Specifically, the panel discussed cases analyzing whether the lawsuits implicate “bodily injury” coverage, assert an “occurrence”, and implicate any exclusions. The presentation highlighted Dan’s experience investigating and litigating complex insurance coverage issues. The panel also included the perspectives of a financial services litigation adjustor, a board-certified pharmacist and clinical pharmacy manager, and an insurance coverage litigator whose practice focuses on coverage for healthcare providers ranging from hospitals to small practices and individual doctors.
CLM is dedicated to meeting the professional development needs of the claims and litigation management industries. The annual industry event attracts some 2,000 participants and features more than 100 collaborative educational sessions as well as networking events.
Transactional Health Law Group co-chair Leslie J. Levinson was quoted in two Part B News articles published on January 7, 2019. The first article, "2019 Predictions: E/M doc changes, ’remote’ consult services will grow slowly in 2019,” saw Les forecast that 2019 will be a robust year for health care mergers and acquisitions. “Multiples have been healthy and all indications are that (these) phenomena will continue well into 2019,” he said. Les predicts that one area of growth to watch is behavioral health, with increasing government payment for services being a spur to investment. “The market here continues to move from what used to be more of a private-pay orientation to interest in government-funded behavioral health programs.”
Les was also quoted in the article “2018 Predictions: Some came true, some did not, some a mixed bag," which looked back on the actual outcomes of a number of predictions for 2018. Commenting on last year’s prediction that mergers and acquisitions among medical practices would be strong in 2018, Les confirmed that outlook. “2018 has been extremely active across virtually all sectors of the health care M&A space,” he said. “The physician practice area, with dermatology and opthalmology leading the way, hospice and homecare, health care IT and other data and revenue management businesses have been very active areas, with interest from both private equity and strategic-type buyers.”