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.
Priya Morganstern, Director of the Partnership’s Connecticut Program in the Hartford office, wrote that these selections “speak volumes about the depth of commitment at Robinson+Cole.”
Ms. Morganstern went on to say that she “nominated Robinson+Cole because of its sustained, multi-year commitment to our program; the number of projects its attorneys have taken; their willingness to jump in quickly if necessary; the high quality of their work; and the Firm’s generosity and graciousness in hosting our program in its offices for almost eleven years now. Really, the support Robinson+Cole has provided to our program is extraordinary.”
In a similar manner, she lauded Mr. Aronson for “responding to the smallest questions or the most significant, challenging issues in a timely, efficient, and enthusiastic way. He has helped so many nonprofits and has done it so well. He is a true partner.” The Partnership noted that Mr. Aronson’s employment experience is in high demand given that more than 25 percent of the Partnership’s matters are employment-related.
Each year, more than 250 corporations and law firms and as many as 1,400 individual attorneys respond to the Pro Bono Partnership’s call to provide free legal assistance to its clients, nonprofit organizations serving the poor or providing other important social and community services in Connecticut, New Jersey and New York.
In any given year, the dedication of some volunteers rises well above the ordinary, distinguished by the complexity or transformative nature of a pro bono project, the extraordinary responsiveness of a volunteer or volunteers, or the sheer volume of matters or time committed to pro bono service through the Partnership. It is the Partnership’s practice to celebrate the commitment of these extraordinary volunteers by naming them Volunteers of the Year.
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.
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.
Robinson+Cole lawyers John P. Casey and Evan J. Seeman represented the New London Maritime Society pro bono in litigation that resulted in the New London Harbor Lighthouse being reopened to the public after the City issued a cease and desist order that prohibited public tours. Read more in the press release.
Manufacturing Industry Team lawyer Jeffrey J. White was invited to the White House to participate in a manufacturing roundtable on March 14, 2019. The roundtable brought together manufacturing business leaders and government officials to discuss the issues facing both publicly traded and privately held U.S. manufacturing businesses. Issues discussed included the sustained growth of U.S. manufacturing and how manufacturers are successfully using both developments in technology and workforce training to expand into new markets and grow internationally. Read more and view a photo in the press release.
The Business Transactions Group welcomes Barrett P. Wilson-Murphy as an associate in the firm’s Boston office. Mr. Wilson-Murphy advises clients on legal matters relating to middle market domestic and international financings and restructuring transactions. Read more in the press release.
Robinson+Cole made a contribution to the Boys & Girls Clubs of Hartford (BGCH) during a private reception hosted prior to the Hartford Stage performance of Detroit ’67 on February 27, 2019. Robinson+Cole, a longtime supporter of Hartford Stage and a lead sponsor for the production, continued to demonstrate its commitment to community, education, and diversity and inclusion by selecting the BGCH to receive this year’s contribution. Read more and view a photo 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.
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.”
Insurance + Reinsurance Group lawyer Gregory P. Varga has been elected a Fellow of the American College of Coverage Counsel (College). The College is a prestigious international organization of approximately 300 preeminent lawyers who specialize in the fields of insurance coverage counseling and litigation and extracontractual liability litigation. Fellows are drawn from the policyholder and defense bars, as well as academia.
The mission of the College is to advance the creative, ethical and efficient resolution of insurance coverage and extracontractual disputes; to enhance the civility and quality of the practice of insurance law; to provide peer-reviewed scholarship; and to improve the relationships among the members of the legal profession. The College focuses on educating all sectors involved in the field of insurance law – including the judiciary, legal and insurance professionals, law students and businesses – on cutting edge, emerging, and critical issues such as developing trends in insurance law and bad faith, trial practice and alternative dispute resolution, policy formation and claims handling.
Before being elected a Fellow of the College, a lawyer undergoes an extensive vetting and peer review process that examines the lawyer’s character, skill and knowledge. Steve Goldman and Rhonda Tobin are also Fellows of the College.
Environmental, Energy + Telecommunications Group lawyer James P. Ray authored the article “PFAS Litigation: Just Getting Started?,” featured in the Winter 2019 issue of the American Bar Association’s (ABA) Environmental and Energy Litigation, a publication of the ABA Section of Litigation. The article focuses on some of the more significant types and examples of PFAS lawsuits pending or recently settled in courts across the country. Jim describes the proliferation in the second half of the 20th century of materials that contained PFAS, including non-stick pans, waterproof and stain-proof clothing, and improved firefighting foams, and the potential health risks of exposure to even low levels that are now becoming apparent. He cautions that there is no indication that PFAS-related litigation, in which plaintiffs are claiming damages for personal injury, medical monitoring, and loss of property value, is likely to slow down anytime soon.
Construction Group lawyer Joseph A. Barra authored the article “Engineers Beware: The Massachusetts Prompt Pay Act Contains Hidden Pitfalls for the Uninformed,” published in the February 2019 issue of BSCES News, a monthly publication of the Boston Society of Civil Engineers Section/ASCE. The article covers the impact of the recent law “on the way that pay requisitions and change orders are managed on projects that fall within the Act’s orbit.” It examines the Act’s impact on current practice, including setting “specific time limits for the preparation, submission, review, approval and rejection of applications for payment among all project participants.” Further, the Act also holds all project participants to “specific timeframes and protocols for processing, reviewing, approving and rejecting proposed change orders.”
Tax Group lawyer Christine E. Bromberg and Health Law Group lawyer Leslie J. Levinson have been selected to serve on Law360 Editorial Advisory Boards for 2019. Ms. Bromberg has been re-named to Law360’s Tax Editorial Advisory Board. She has served on the board since 2016. Mr. Levinson has been re-named to Law360’s Health Editorial Advisory Board. He has served on the board since 2015. The purpose of these editorial advisory boards is to get feedback on Law360's coverage and to gain insight from experts in the field on how best to shape future coverage.
Environmental, Energy + Telecommunications Group lawyer Diana E. Neeves recently graduated from the New York City Environmental Law Leadership Institute (NYCELLI), a non-profit organized by the New York City Bar Environmental Committee. Participants each year comprise a select class of only 12 young lawyers who have worked at least two years in environmental law, and who have demonstrated a commitment to service, leadership, and advocating for environmental health. The Institute’s alumni have been described as a “Who’s Who” of environmental law in the city.
The course is a year-long program that explores the legal landscape, history, and policies behind the environmental challenges confronting New York City. In order to receive a Certificate of Completion, participants must attend eight class sessions and at least two tours of environmentally significant sites in and around the city, as well as develop and implement a one-year project designed to improve the quality of the city’s environment and the health of its residents.
Manufacturing Industry Group Chair, Jeffrey J. White, presented as a guest lecturer during a course on "Global Compliance and the Organization" at the University of Connecticut School of Business in Hartford, Connecticut on February 20, 2019. The class is offered to J.D. and MBA students by the UConn School of Law in partnership with the School of Business. It examines the multifaceted nature of compliance from a global perspective, incorporating ethical, legal and cultural challenges and opportunities, as well as how compliance leaders introduce and sustain an ethical culture of integrity. Joined by James Pelletier of the Barnes Group, they presented on the topic of building ethics and compliance programs and engaged students in a Foreign Corrupt Practices Act scenario.