North America

David Sugar to conduct condo, co-op association seminar

David Sugar

Chicago Partner David Sugar will lead a discussion on how condominium and cooperative board members and residents can protect their community association. The seminar will be held on May 3 at First Saint Paul’s Lutheran Church in Chicago. Topics will include board and homeowner disputes, protecting the board and association from litigation, how to respond when the board or association is sued, delinquent payment issues and foreclosures. The free event is sponsored by The Building Group, a Chicago-based firm that manages residential, office, retail and industrial properties, as part of its ongoing First Tuesdays educational series.

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Paul Starkman offers Business Insurance Magazine his thoughts on how the Supreme Court is likely to rule on the huge Wal-Mart gender discrimination class action lawsuit

Paul E. Starkman

Chicago Partner Paul Starkman provided his thoughts in an April 4 Business Insurance article, “Supreme Court expected to overturn Wal-Mart ruling” on a recent 9th Circuit appeals court decision that approved a massive class action lawsuit alleging gender discrimination by Wal-Mart Stores Inc. To read the article in full, please click here.

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Thomas White article on annuities in 401(k) plans appears in May issue of Benefits magazine

Arnstein & Lehr attorney Thomas M. White 

Thomas M. White

Benefits Magazine article Tom White May 2011Arnstein & Lehr Chicago Partner Thomas White‘s article “Annuities in 401(k) Plans: What a Plan Sponsor Should Keep in Mind” was published in the May issue of Benefits Magazine. Benefits Magazine is a monthly magazine of the International Foundation, a nonprofit, impartial educational association for those who work with employee benefit and compensation plans. The magazine addresses benefit issues affecting multiemployer, single employer and public employee plan representatives. Health care, retirement and other related trends are addressed. Redesigned to capture more cases studies and profiles of those shaping the industry, it also includes Legal & Legislative Reporter.

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Thomas White offers his perspective in a Benefitspro.com article on the growing public pension crisis

Arnstein & Lehr attorney Thomas M. White

Thomas M. White

Arnstein & Lehr Chicago Partner Thomas White provided his thoughts on the growing public pension crisis in an online article that appeared April 7 at Benefitspro.com. The article, “Pensions Under Fire,” examines the crisis public employees, government officials, and taxpayers are facing as a result of increasingly difficult municipal budget concerns at the local and state level and the difficulty these municipalities are having in funding their defined benefit plans.

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Effectively Leveraging Social Media as a Business Development & Marketing Tool – An LMA Recap

You may not be surprised to learn that during the 2011 Legal Marketing Association Annual Conference, I attended the session on Effectively Leveraging Social Media as a Business Development & Marketing Tool. And it was definitely a valuable session.  

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British Columbia’s IPP Supply (with updated map)

According to information released today from BC Hydro, as of April 1, 2011, BC Hydro has 68 electricity purchase agreements (EPAs) with independent power producers (IPPs) [ie, non-BC Hydro] whose projects are delivering power to BC Hydro.

The projects are located all over British Columbia and generate 12,524 GWh annually of mostly clean electrictiy. This represents 3,183 MWs of capacity and comes from the following fuel sources:

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Sarbanes-Oxley "Protected Activity" Wins a Broad Interpretation – But Is the Decision Faithful to Congressional Intent?

By: Allen B. Roberts, Stuart M. Gerson and Daniel J. Schuch

In a case packed with allegations of the kind rarely found beyond the script of a soap opera, the U.S. Department of Labor (“DOL”) Administrative Review Board (“ARB”) determined that protected activity under the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 (“SOX”) does not require a showing of fraud against shareholders. Rather, per the ARB, it is sufficient that an employee reasonably believes conventional mail or wire fraud has occurred. The holding in Brown v. Lockheed Martin Corp. (pdf) evidences the ARB’s adherence to a literal, and clinical, construction of SOX – and serves as a clear indication of the ARB’s willingness to reach beyond the underlying objectives envisioned by Congress in the wake of the infamous collapse of Enron and WorldCom. If upheld and followed, Brown effectively expands SOX whistleblower protections well beyond the intended beneficiary of the law – the “innocent investor.”

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Disney’s Approach to Business Excellence – An LMA Recap

 

As you know if you’ve been following my Twitter stream, or checking Zen in the last couple of months, last week, I attended the Legal Marketing Association’s Annual Conference in Orlando.

Tuesday morning, the conference business sessions officially kicked off with our keynote from Jeff Williford from the Disney Institute, who talked about Disney’s Approach to Business Excellence.  When he began by telling us that he’d be speaking for 90 minutes, I think the audience was worried, but the presentation was so engaging and informative that the time really flew.  And although his presentation was about how Disney creates a truly magical experience here, there were a lot of parallels for the legal industry – we’re also a service industry after all!  Any of the particularly important points that relate to law firms will be in bold throughout the post.

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How I love Twitter, Let me Count the Ways

Dear Twitter, how I love you.

Okay, you all know that I love social media, and I fully support people using it, blah, blah, blah.

But it’s not just some new tool that I’m excited about using and have jumped on the bandwagon for. It can be incredibly useful professionally. That was particularly clear to me this week.

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Making Accountable Care a Reality: Multiple Federal Agencies Issue Proposed Guidance on the Medicare Shared Savings Program

by Shawn M. Gilman, Douglas A. Hastings, Mark E. Lutes, David E. Matyas, Lynn Shapiro Snyder, Carrie Valiant, Dale C. Van Demark, Patricia M. Wagner, and Lesley R. Yeung

On March 31, 2011, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (“CMS”) released for public comment a much-anticipated Notice of Proposed Rulemaking implementing the voluntary Medicare Shared Savings Program (“Program”) for accountable care organizations (“ACOs”). Also on March 31, the Office of Inspector General, along with CMS, released a Notice with Comment Period to solicit comments regarding proposed waivers from the federal health care program fraud and abuse laws for provider payments made in connection with the Program. On the same day, the Federal Trade Commission and the Department of Justice issued a Notice with Comment Period soliciting comments regarding a “Proposed Statement of Antitrust Enforcement Policy Regarding Accountable Care Organizations Participating in the Medicare Shared Savings Program,” and the Internal Revenue Service issued a notice outlining its analysis of tax-exempt organization participation in Medicare ACOs.

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