ILN Today Post
March 30, 2015
The International Lawyers Network (ILN) is a leading association of 91 high-quality, full-service independent law firms.
Since 1988, the ILN has helped its members keep pace with today’s global economy, through access to the tremendous strength and depth of the combined expertise of 5,000 lawyers in 67 countries on six continents.
ILN member firms are among the most respected and most experienced counsel in their jurisdictions. Clients’ increasing need for reliable foreign counsel is well-met by the personalized, high-quality and cost-effective legal services provided by ILN member firms. Unique to the ILN are the strong personal and professional relationships among its members and their clients developed over the past 26 years. Far from a mere directory, the ILN is an affiliation of lawyers who gather on a regional and worldwide basis annually and work routinely with each other to address client requirements and needs.
Each of the ILN’s member firms is international in outlook and staffed by highly trained senior attorneys, who are experts in a broad range of practice areas. ILN members have demonstrated experience in working successfully with international companies. They are independent, mid-sized firms within their jurisdictions, and are committed to the focus of the International Lawyers Network, admitted to the Network only after a rigorous application process. The ILN provides clients with high-quality service from experienced local counsel who work in firms that maintain excellent reputations in their own countries. This means that clients have immediate access to attorneys who are native, both linguistically and culturally, to the country of interest.
The ILN’s international directory app is available for iPhone, Android and BlackBerry smartphones. To access the app, click here or log on to ILNmobile.com from your smartphone.
ILN Today Post
May 6, 2015
The “anti-offshore” law relating to the use of public funds, introduced in 2011, aimed to prevent off-shore companies with unidentifiable ownership structure from acquiring grants out of domestic and EU public funds. The original intention of the legislation seriously distorted, however. Numerous innocent foreign-owned firms, including Hungarian subsidiaries of US-based multinational firms got trapped by the rules.
The “transparent organisation”
The act on national assets introduced in 2011, re-regulated the conditions for the application to public funds. One of the main purpose of the new regulation was to prevent off-shore companies from acquiring public funds. To this end, the act introduced the concept of “transparent organisation”. All enterprises that apply for governmental or European Union grants need to comply with this definition – not only at the time of the application, but also as long as the applicant has any obligation arising from the subsidy agreement. Participants of public procurement tenders need to comply with a very similar set of criteria. More…
May 5, 2015
(Washington, D.C.)— Today, McDonald Hopkins Government Strategies LLC (MHGS) named Christopher Barron as Director of Communications. Barron is the former president of CapSouth Consulting, a full-service communications firm, and the former co-founder and Chairman of the Board of GOProud. For the last two years, Barron has served as a consultant to MHGS, a Washington, D.C.-based subsidiary of McDonald Hopkins LLC. The president of MHGS is former U.S. Rep. Steve LaTourette (R-OH).
“McDonald Hopkins Government Strategies is thrilled to announce that Chris Barron will serve as the Director of our Communications Practice,” LaTourette said. “Chris brings a wealth of experience and expertise to our firm.” Barron is a communications specialist with a history of communicating complex issues to a wide variety of audiences. He has worked with a wide range of clients and represented individuals and interests across the political spectrum.
May 5, 2015
Today, Law360 published our article “Considering Best Data Practices for ERISA Fiduciaries.” (Read the full version here — Law360 subscription required.)
In this article, we outline steps that ERISA plan fiduciaries can take to develop a policy concerning protection of plan data and prudent selection and monitoring of plan service providers who handle PII. Benefit plan service providers, including technology-based outsourcing companies, should also consider these important guidelines and implement the appropriate safeguards to protect against infringement of plan and participant data. These issues must be addressed in service arrangements and will continue to evolve.
May 5, 2015
Hospitals and others are increasingly implementing telehealth programs as part of their service offerings. As health technology becomes more sophisticated and hospitals look to provide more services to more patients, telehealth technologies are being incorporated by hospitals by hospitals in diverse and innovative ways. As telehealth utilization continues to increase, however, hospitals should be aware that there are various significant legal and regulatory issues that must be closely analyzed to ensure that adoption of telehealth technologies is consistent and compliant with the various federal and state laws and regulations that may be implicated by telehealth. In conjunction with the American Hospital Association, my colleague Amy Lerman and I have co-written a white paper focusing on the some of the significant legal and regulatory issues implicated by telehealth including:
ILN Today Post
May 5, 2015
With the recent surge in e-commerce, the use of electronic means for executing contracts in India is becoming increasingly common. This brings to the fore the question of whether such electronic contracts (or as more popularly known as e-contracts) can constitute valid contracts under Indian laws.
While the (Indian) Contract Act, 1872 (“ICA”) does not specifically discuss the concept of “electronic” contracts it does not prohibit them per se. Like any other form of contract, an electronic contract is also primarily governed by the codified provisions of ICA, as applicable to contracts in general.
May 5, 2015
With the 2015 Federal Budget significantly (and immediately) increasing the amount that Canadians can contribute to their Tax-Free Savings Accounts (TFSAs), it’s a good time to review your beneficiary designations on your TFSAs, RRSPs and other registered accounts as part of your overall estate planning. Here are eight crucial things to consider about your designations:
- There’s more than one way to make a designation. You can designate beneficiaries by filling out the form that your financial institution or account trustee has prepared for that purpose. You can also make a designation in your will or in a separate document and notify the financial institution after the fact. All of these methods are equally effective under BC law.
- Assets passing to designated beneficiaries don’t go through probate. On death, your registered accounts pass to your designated beneficiaries directly, outside of your estate. The distribution of those assets is not held up waiting for a grant of probate of your will to be issued, and the assets are not subject to BC probate fees of 1.4%.
- A designation protects your assets. Assets passing to designated beneficiaries are not subject to claims of creditors of your estate. They are also safe from any risk of a wills variation claim by a disappointed spouse or child.
- You can designate more than one beneficiary. You can designate several beneficiaries, and specify the share that each one takes. If you don’t specify the proportions, the beneficiaries will take equal shares.
- You can designate alternate beneficiaries. It’s possible, and common, to designate alternate beneficiaries. For example, you can designate your spouse, but state that if your spouse does not survive you then your children or your chosen charities are the beneficiaries.
- You can designate a trustee. If you are designating children under 19 as beneficiaries, at a minimum you should name a trustee to receive and hold their share for them until they turn 19. It’s possible to set up longer term and more tailored trust terms for any beneficiary in a will or trust document drafted by a estates and trusts lawyer.
- Make your spouse a “successor holder” of your TFSA. If you designate your spouse as beneficiary of your TFSA, then on your death the TFSA is collapsed and paid out to them, making future income on those investments taxable. But if you name your spouse as “successor holder” of your TFSA, then on your death they inherit your TFSA contribution room, allowing them to effectively add your tax-free investments to theirs. Using the right wording could make an enormous difference to your spouse’s tax liability after your death.
- Consider the taxes on your RRSP. When you die, the value of your RRSP investments are taxed as ordinary income unless you leave them to your spouse. When you die with a non-spouse beneficiary named, the related taxes are paid from your estate assets and not by the beneficiary, unless your estate is insolvent. Your estate planning should plan for this liability.
May 5, 2015
I know, I know, I should probably change this regular feature to Two “Content” Tips for Tuesdays. I may get back to adding in other tips at some point, but for now, content is such a meaty and worthwhile topic that I’m happy to continue to use the Two for Tuesdays platform to opine on it.
Today, I want to talk about digestibility.
May 5, 2015
The Manhattan District Attorney’s office last week prevailed over Sergey Aleynikov, the former Goldman Sachs high frequency trading programmer accused of stealing computer source code from the bank, on just one count of the three of which he was charged. It is somewhat hard to imagine how one might be found guilty of “unlawful use of secret scientific material” (N.Y. Penal Law § 165.07 as defined in § 155.00(6)), yet not get convicted for “unlawful duplication of computer related material” (N.Y. Penal Law § 156.30).
With Mr. Aleynikov previously avoiding federal charges of theft of trade secrets under the Economic Espionage Act and National Stolen Property Act, state prosecutors tried their hand on somewhat equivalent state statutes concerning computer crimes. Whether the split decision will withstand review by the trial court judge and ultimately on appeal remains to be seen.
May 4, 2015
With the ever-increasing amount of information available on social media, employers should remember to exercise caution when utilizing social media as a part of their Human Resources/ Recruitment related activities. As we have discussed in a prior blog post, “Should Employers and Facebook Be Friends?” we live in a digital-age, and how people choose to define themselves is often readily showcased on social networking sites. Whether – and how – employers choose to interact with the online presence of their workforce will continue to develop as the relevant legal standards try to catch up.
May 4, 2015
On April 29, 2015, the California Supreme Court granted the employee’s petition for review of the Court of Appeal’s decision in Augustus v. ABM Security Services, Inc., which reversed a near-$90 million judgment awarded in the favor of a certified class of current and former security guards on rest period claims, and also held that while “an on-call guard must return to duty if called to do so,  remaining available to work is not the same as actually working.” We previously wrote about the Augustus decision here. Importantly, because the California Supreme Court has decided to review the Augustus case, it may no longer be relied upon as precedent. We will keep you advised of any updates, although we should not expect a decision from the California Supreme Court until at least next year.