In furtherance of its commitment to fostering an inclusive environment, Robinson+Cole’s Managing Committee and Diversity, Equity + Inclusion (DE+I) Committee recently announced several initiatives including providing billable-hour credit for DE&I activities, instituting the use of personal pronouns in email signatures and online bios and providing as an employee benefit access to a breast milk storage and delivery service for use when nursing mothers are traveling. In addition, the firm is hosting a second annual Town Hall program for Juneteenth to commemorate the emancipation of those who had been enslaved in the United States. The firm highlights inclusion as one of its core values, an outcome of its recent Strategic Plan that called for a continued commitment to DE&I activities.
“Fostering diversity, equity and inclusion in our community is integral to Robinson+Cole’s core values of collaboration, civility and inclusion,” said Rhonda J. Tobin, Managing Partner, Robinson+Cole. “We are pleased to launch these initiatives and to host this important Juneteenth program in an effort to enhance our culture, promote meaningful engagement in DE&I efforts, and to continue to create an environment of inclusion for all employees.” Read more in the press release.
In its 2021 edition, the legal directory Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business has recognized 19 Robinson+Cole lawyers, including one that has been recognized nationwide. In addition, the firm received rankings in seven practice area categories that the publication covers in Connecticut. Read more in the press release.
Robinson+Cole is pleased to announce the addition of Benjamin M. Daniels as counsel in the firm’s Business Litigation Group. Daniels’ practice focuses on complex litigation and education law. He will be resident in the firm’s Hartford and New York offices.
“Ben has developed a strong record of handling the sophisticated legal matters before regulators and trial courts, including the U.S. Supreme Court. His deep and varied experience will further expand our national platform,” said Edward J. Heath, Chair of Robinson+Cole’s Business Litigation Group. “The respect of his clients is well-deserved, and we’re thrilled to bring him on board.” Read more in the press release.
Construction Law Group member Joseph A. Barra was quoted in the article “Condo collapse prompts calls to fix flaws in laws” published in Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly on July 22, 2021. With regard to the recent collapse of the Champlain Towers South high rise apartment building in Miami, FL, the article discusses how Florida’s Statute of Repose could shield design professionals from liability should it be found that the collapse was caused, in part, by a design error.
In the article, Joe explains how statutes of repose generally apply in such situations and describes the differences between its applicability to the design of a building and the design of a manufactured product. Barra states, “’In product liability cases, a manufacturer has many, many chances to get the design of its product correct’ adding, “In some instances, courts will not even permit evidence at trial of subsequent remedial measures. In contrast to the building construction industry,” he states, “a building designer has only one opportunity to get it right. As a result, the law holds [building] designers not to a standard of “perfection”…rather, the designer must meet the professional standard of care.” Subscribers can read the full article.
Labor and Employment Group lawyers Alisha N. Sullivan, Abby M. Warren and Emily A. Zaklukiewicz authored the article “What the EEOC Says about Requiring Vaccines at Work” published in Industry Week on July 21, 2021. Referencing the updated technical-assistance guidance issued by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) in May, Alisha, Abby and Emily cover mandatory vaccination policies, reasonable accommodations, employee medical information, the potential for disparate impact of vaccination policies and vaccination incentive programs. Read the full article.
Manufacturing Industry Team Chair Jeffrey J. White was quoted in the article “Biden faces headwinds bringing critical drug manufacturing to U.S.” published in POLITICO Pro on July 7, 2021. The article focuses on President Joe Biden’s desire to have more essential drugs made in the United States and examines the notion from experts that reshoring production “would require spending billions of dollars for research and development and workforce training, and a revamp of quality control incentives.” For example, there is an emphasis by federal agencies for U.S.-based drug companies to invest in advanced or continuous manufacturing, which produces less waste and has less potential for contamination for lower costs. However, the research and development necessary to reconfigure manufacturing lines is expensive and time consuming. “If you say to a manufacturer, ‘Go invest in a new machine,’ [it will] respond, ‘How will that help me compete on cost?” said Jeff White, a lawyer at Robinson+Cole in Hartford, who works with manufacturing and distributing companies nationally. “Cost is a significant barrier, second is the ability of skilled labor and third is making the business case.”
On July 14, 2021, Robinson+Cole’s Professional Development Committee (PDC) presented a “virtual fireside chat” with an in-house counsel panel of R+C alumnae. The panelists included Cara Bilotta, Senior Counsel, North America, Products and Platforms, Mastercard; Cynthia Christie, Lead Counsel, Employee Benefits & Executive Compensation, MassMutual; Nicole Najam, Chief Employment Counsel, Hubbell, Incorporated and Elizabeth Wright, Associate Director, Real Estate Legal Services, MIT Investment Management Company. Moderated by PDC members Matthew J. Lawlor and Jonathan H. Schaefer, the panelists discussed their roles and responsibilities, current business priorities, and how COVID-19 has impacted their roles and the way they work, both internally and externally. Diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I) efforts and environmental, social, and governance (ESG) awareness were also among the topics covered during the open discussion. In addition, Cara, Cynthia, Nicole, and Elizabeth offered insight on seeking and maintaining outside counsel relationships as well as tips for effectively working with in-house counsel.
Environmental, Energy + Telecommunications Group lawyers Brian C. Freeman, Earl W. Phillips Jr. and Jonathan H. Schaefer co-authored the article “Auto Shredder Regulators Attentive to Emissions and Environmental Justice,” published in Recycling Today on June 18, 2021. While the intersection of shredder operations, related air emissions and environmental justice (EJ) regulations is not new, Brian, Earl and Jon acknowledge that the issue is “receiving significant new scrutiny from federal, state and local environmental regulators, as well as from neighborhood activists and environmental groups.” The article highlights recent EJ initiatives, covers some of the air permitting and EJ basics and offers some questions to consider regarding emissions and EJ. “Air permitting always has been a complicated and cumbersome process that can bring lengthy permitting battles or significant enforcement actions. With an increased focus on EJ, air permitting for recycling facilities in general, and especially those with shredders, will only become a more important process for which a facility must prepare and handle appropriately from the outset.” Read the full article.
Real Estate + Development Group lawyer Deirdre M. Robinson has been elected to serve on the board of directors for Preservation Massachusetts, the statewide non-profit historic preservation organization dedicated to preserving the Commonwealth’s historic and cultural heritage. Preservation Massachusetts works in partnership with national, state and local organizations and individuals across the Commonwealth to advance and understanding, appreciation and utilization of our historic built and natural landscapes. Learn more about Preservation Massachusetts.
Transactional Health Law Group co-chair Leslie J. Levinson was re-quoted in the article “Help at Home Rounds Out Leadership Team” published Home Health Care News (HHCN) on July 15, 2021. While the article focuses on private equity-backed home-based care company Help at Home solidifying its leadership team, Les is re-quoted from an earlier HHCN article published on June 10, 2021 about Help at Home being rumored to be exploring a public offering. There appears to be a trend in the industry as more providers are considering public exits thanks to an increasing demand for home-based care, promising outlooks for public at-home care companies and advantageous demographics in the U.S. Les believes there is some “truth to the idea that companies are trying to capitalize off trends.” “Most of the publicly traded home care companies, all of their stocks seem to be doing quite well. I think people are looking at home care in a different way post pandemic than they had been in the past.” Read the full article.
Robinson+Cole Director of Information Governance & Business Intake, James A. Merrifield, has been appointed by the International Legal Technology Association (ILTA) to serve as an Intapp Strategic Partner Liaison. In this capacity he will serve as an advocate with ILTA members to facilitate connections to support educational and product programming with Intapp; provide feedback from members in future product/service development and ensure that ILTA is involved in standard-setting initiatives.
Intapp is a leading provider of industry-specific, cloud-based software solution that helps more than 1,600 of the premier private capital, investment banking, legal, accounting, and consulting firms connect their most important assets: people, processes, and data. ILTA is a global volunteer-led, staff-managed association offerings support to professionals in law firms, corporate, and government legal departments with a focus education and peer support on the use of technology.
Real Estate + Development Group lawyer Candace M. Cunningham has been elected to serve on the board of trustees of The Independent Day School (IDS), a pre-k through 8th grade private school located in Middlefield, Connecticut. The school’s mission statement is “by knowing students deeply both as individuals and learners, IDS inspires a community of independent thinkers who are resilient and confident to take risks as they connect with others in the joyful pursuit of learning.” Members of the Board serve as the guardians of the school mission and focus on strategic direction and financial stewardship of IDS. Learn more about IDS.
Robinson+Cole's Andrew A. DePeau, Thomas J. Donlon, and Evan J. Seeman were all presenters during the Connecticut Bar Association's 2021 Connecticut Legal Conference, the largest annual gathering of legal professionals in the state.
Andrew co-presented the session, "Commercial Law and Bankruptcy: The Year in Review," which addressed recent case law in commercial litigation, consumer bankruptcy, and business bankruptcy.
Tom served as moderator for the session, "The Appealing Road to Ethical Ruin." The program covered ethical pitfalls and issues related to modern appellate practice in the context of a series of scenarios—some hypothetical, some real with panelists Justice Ecker of the Connecticut Supreme Court and Dean Jennifer Brown of Quinnipiac Law School. Tom serves as co-chair of the CBA’s Appellate Advocacy Section, which presented the session.
Evan co-presented the session, "The Top 10 Things Every Lawyer Should Know about Land Use Law." This session provided insights about land use law and how land use can impact private property rights. Evan serves as the Legislative Liaison for the CBA’s Planning & Zoning Section.
Labor and Employment Law Group lawyer Abby M. Warren discussed COVID-19 vaccine mandates during a guest segment on NBC CT’s political talk show, “Face the Facts,” on Sunday, July 11, 2021. Show host, Mike Hydeck, asked Abby about whether employers can legally require employees to get vaccinated, do employees face termination for refusing to be vaccinated, are there ramifications for employers who do not offer employees the opportunity to get vaccinated, and are there a number of legal challenges expected as a result of these mandates? View the segment, which begins at the 8:34 mark.
Insurance + Reinsurance Group lawyer Denis J. O’Malley has been appointed to serve as chair of the Connecticut Bar Association’s (CBA) Media and the Law Section for the 2021-2022 term. Prior to entering law school, Denis spent several years as a journalist, primarily covering police, emergency services, and courts for daily newspapers in Scranton, PA; Bridgeport, CT; and Danbury, CT. He previously served as the Section’s education liaison, a role in which he coordinated media relations CLE programs. The Media and the Law Section aims to provide a forum for CBA members to discuss and take action on legal issues related to the media, journalism, social media, and entertainment industries.
Insurance + Reinsurance Group lawyer Daniel E. Bryer has been admitted to the Federation of Defense & Corporate Counsel (FDCC), an organization dedicated to promoting knowledge, fellowship, and professionalism of its members as they pursue the course of a balanced justice system and represent those in need of a defense in civil lawsuits. The FDCC is composed of recognized leaders in the legal community who have achieved professional distinction and membership is limited to approximately 1,200 lawyers internationally. The rigorous vetting process for admission involves outreach to judges, mediators, opposing counsel and clients to inquire not only about a nominee’s skill as a counselor and advocate, but also the nominee’s collegiality and strength of character. Read more about the FDCC.
Robinson+Cole Managing Partner Rhonda J. Tobin was profiled in the article "Rhonda Tobin Making History as Robinson & Cole's First Female Leader" published in the Connecticut Law Tribune, New York Law Journal and New Jersey Law Journal on July 9, 2021. The article covers Robinson+Cole's 175th anniversary celebration; the execution of the firm's strategic plan; Robinson+Cole's culture of collaboration, including the launch of new diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives; and how the COVID-19 pandemic presented some unexpected opportunities to embrace change. "Across all practices, Tobin said Robinson & Cole attorneys and staff deserve kudos for demonstrating resilience amid last year’s challenges, particularly with regard to pro bono efforts and community service. They really kept the mission and the culture of the firm going." Reflecting on her own career path, Rhonda also discusses the firm's willingness to support individual initiative. "In all of her leadership roles, Tobin said, she regularly tells associates at Robinson & Cole that those who take initiative will invariably find more rewarding and fulfilling careers at the firm." Read the full article.
Bankruptcy + Reorganizations Group member Steven J. Boyajian and Insurance + Reinsurance Group lawyer Dana M. Horton have been reappointed to serve as members of the Rhode Island Bar Association’s (RIBA) House of Delegates. In addition, Dana was re-elected to a third term to the RIBA Executive Committee. The Executive Committee meets monthly and the House of Delegates, which includes eighty elected delegates, meets quarterly to oversee the administration of the RIBA’s affairs. Steve has served as a member of the RIBA House of Delegates since 2013 and Dana since 2009.
Robinson+Cole Real Estate + Development Group lawyer, Amanda S. Eckhoff, was recognized as a “Massachusetts Go To Lawyer” in the area of Commercial Real Estate by Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly (MLW) and profiled in a special section published in the June 28, 2021 edition. The “Massachusetts Go To Lawyers” feature was debuted by MLW in 2020 to showcase leaders in the Massachusetts legal community by practice area. A “Go To Lawyer” is: an expert in his or her field; a senior attorney well-versed in case law, statutes and regulations; experienced, with a record of success in cases and/or transactions; a lawyer to whom other lawyers make referrals because of his or her expertise and accomplishments; and a lawyer who can think creatively and identify all options for a client.
Environmental, Energy + Telecommunications Group member James P. Ray authored the article “Centredale Manor (Again): First Circuit Affirms Approval of Consent Decree” published in Litigation News, a monthly member newsletter from the American Bar Association (ABA) Litigation Section, on June 23, 2021. The article discusses a recent decision from the First Circuit approving the Consent Decree between the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Emhart Industries for the cleanup of the Centredale Manor Restoration Project Superfund Site in North Providence, RI. Jim is actively involved in the Section’s Environmental & Energy Litigation Committee and has represented several parties in the Centredale Manor litigation. Members can read the article here.
Intellectual Property + Technology Group Co-Chair, Jacqueline Pennino Scheib, has been named an IP Star in the 2021 edition of “IP STARS,” published by Managing IP magazine, one of the industry’s leading publications and specialist guides to Intellectual Property law firms and practitioners worldwide. Honorees are recognized as “the top practitioners in private practice who have performed exceptionally well for their clients and firms in the past year.” Jackie was once again highlighted as both a Trade Mark Star and a Copyright Star in Connecticut. In addition to these accolades, Robinson+Cole was one of only six firms ranked as a “Recommended” law firm in Connecticut.
IP Stars provides in-depth analysis and rankings of some 1,900 IP firms and 5,200 practitioners globally. The IP Stars lawyers and firms are selected through a rigorous process and weighted review of information that includes interviews and surveys of partners and law firms across the world. Read more about its research, methodology and rankings.
Robinson+Cole Business Transactions Group Senior Counsel, Norman H. Roos, was quoted in the article “State challenges to fintech charters a losing battle so far” in CQ Roll Call on June 29, 2021. The article discusses a major setback to a New York State financial regulator’s lawsuit attempting to challenge a federal decision to grant special types of national bank charters to fintech firms. On June 3, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit dismissed a suit brought by the New York Department of Financial Services Superintendent, which sought to block the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency from issuing the charters. Norm is quoted as saying that it appears the Court took “a somewhat moderate middle-of-the-road approach” in rejecting New York’s claims on “procedural grounds,” but “left the door open for the agency to reassert its claim at a later date.” Legal experts following the case are wondering whether this is just another losing round in the state’s continuing battle or is, perhaps, a more decisive, even final victory for federal authority over fintech. CQ Roll Call is part of FiscalNote, a self-described “global technology and media company that provides policy data, news, analytics and, and workflow tools to help organizations assess and act on risk.” Read the full article here.
Congratulations to Bankruptcy + Reorganizations Group co-chair Natalie Ramsey and partner Jamie Edmonson on being presented with the "e-Commerce Restructuring of the Year" Award as part of Global M&A Network LLC’s 13th Annual Turnaround Atlas Awards, hosted virtually June 23-25, 2021. The award was given in recognition of the RTW Retailwinds, Inc. sale of e-commerce business, including the New York & Company and Fashion to Figure e-commerce intellectual property, to the Saadia Group LLC. Natalie and Jamie represented Jack Saadia, Principal and Co-Founder of Saadia Group, in closing the purchase of RTW Retailwinds, Inc., an online specialty apparel retail platform for celebrity and consumer brands, including the New York & Company and Fashion to Figure brands. A robust sales process concluded in an active auction that resulted in the sale of RTW Retailwinds’ e-commerce assets for $40 million. The sale was approved by the United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of New Jersey on September 4, 2020, and the successful closing of the sale to Saadia Group LLC took place on October 1, 2020.
Robinson+Cole Managing Partner, Rhonda J. Tobin, was featured on CBIA's Bizcast program on Friday, June 25, 2021. During the conversation with the Connecticut Business & Industry Association's Molly Hammack, Rhonda highlighted the firm’s 175th anniversary celebrations, including discussion of Robinson+Cole's core values of collaboration, civility, and inclusion, as well as addressing equity issues. Rhonda emphasized the value and strength of collaboration, noting that “It’s how we’ve always worked across geographies and what has gotten us through the these last 15 months.” You can listen to the full Bizcast here.
Labor Relations Group chair Natale V. DiNatale and member Kayla N. West authored the article “7 policies in your employee handbook that need review soon” published in Human Resource Executive magazine on June 25, 2021. The article shares insight on the ways in which a new presidential administration may impact a company’s employee handbook and offers seven considerations for employers to be mindful of when reviewing and revising their employee handbook. Read the full article.
Labor and Employment Group lawyer Britt-Marie K. Cole-Johnson was featured in three-part episode series titled “Racism and Your Small Business,” the first of which was released on June 17, 2021, as part of the “Courageous Conversations with Fran Pastore” podcast presented by the Women’s Business Development Council (WBDC). The series originated from a WBDC roundtable discussion hosted in June 2020. Podcast host and WBDC Chief Executive Officer, Fran Pastore, engages in a conversation with “a panel of prominent women,” including Britt-Marie; Robin Imbrogno, President of The Human Resource Consulting Group and Joelle Murchison, Founder & Principal of ExecMommyGroup LLC and Executive Director of the Lawyers Collaborative for Diversity, to explore steps that can be taken to make a difference in the journey toward social, economic, and racial equity and justice. Listen to the podcast.
Data Privacy + Cybersecurity Team chair Linn F. Freedman was quoted in the article “U.S.-Russia Ransomware Cooperation Is Open Question After Summit” published by Bloomberg Law on June 18, 2021. The article focuses on the cybersecurity warning made by President Biden to Russian President Vladimir Putin that “16 kinds of critical infrastructure should be ‘off limits’.” “Biden’s remarks to Putin in Geneva are a first step in pushing back against the Russian president’s inaction when it comes to apprehending cybercriminals that launch attacks on the U.S. government and companies,” said Linn. She also acknowledges that it will be a challenge to get Russia to cooperate with the U.S. given how long nation-state hackers on their soil have been targeting American companies but that President Biden’s remarks “set the tone” for a future in which Russia’s enabling of cybercrime is no longer acceptable. Read the article.
Insurance + Reinsurance Group member Jessica A. Hamilton and Appellate Practice Group Chair Linda L. Morkan each authored articles published in the ABA Tort Trial & Insurance Practice Section (TIPS) Appellate Advocacy Committee Spring 2021 newsletter. Jess’ piece, titled “Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s Appellate Legacy,” examines the late United States Supreme Court Justice’s role in a series of landmark opinions before the Supreme Court as an appellate advocate and champion of gender equity. Linda’s article, “Video Calls and Video Hearings Primer," offers some tips on effectively engaging with colleagues, clients, opposing counsel and even judges on virtual platforms. Linda serves as the Committee’s Membership Vice-Chair and Jess is the Technology Vice-Chair of the TIPS Property Insurance Law General Committee. Read the articles.
Manufacturing Industry Team chair Jeffrey J. White has been appointed to serve on the board of directors for ManufactureCT, a statewide forum for community and business leaders focused on sharing perspectives from inside manufacturing facilities to build collective strength for the sector. Founded in 1913, ManufactureCT, (formerly New Haven Manufacturers Association) is among the longest-running industry groups to serve manufacturers in the United States. Learn more about the organization.
Robinson+Cole Managing Partner Rhonda J. Tobin was quoted in the article “Connecticut Law Firms Mark Juneteenth With Closings, Presentations” published in the Connecticut Law Tribune on June 16, 2021. The article highlights what some area law firms are doing to commemorate Juneteenth in celebration of the emancipation of those who had been enslaved in the United States. Robinson+Cole hosted its second annual Town Hall program in recognition of Juneteenth on June 16, 2021 featuring Shawn Rochester, author of The Black Tax: The Cost of Being Black in America. The program was moderated by Joelle Murchison, Founder & Principal, ExecMommyGroup, LLC and Executive Director of Lawyers Collaborative for Diversity. “’The purpose of [the Town Hall] is to educate people and open people’s minds to some of the history of African Americans in this country,’ Tobin said. ‘The book has some powerful statistics about the treatment of African Americans in U.S. history and the financial impact on those communities which continues to today.’” Read the article.
Labor and Employment Group lawyer Abby M. Warren was quoted in the article “Vaccine mandates may be on the horizon” published in the Hartford Business Journal on June 14, 2021. The article focuses on anticipated litigation surrounding employee rights in the workplace and employers’ responsibility to provide a safe workplace as a result of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) guidance clarifying that employers can mandate their workers to get a COVID-19 vaccine with several important caveats. While many Connecticut businesses aren’t requiring employees to be vaccinated, Abby thinks that mandates may be on the horizon. “And when employers move to that system and it results in loss of employment for people who don’t get vaccinated, that — I think — is going to be the next big area [of legal disputes].” Abby also describes employer obligations under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and state law, which dictate that employers must engage in interactive dialogue with employees with regard to the need for a reasonable accommodations for workers who cannot receive vaccinations due to medical conditions or religious reasons, and may require that accommodation be provided, depending on the circumstances. Read the article.
Transactional Health Law Group co-chair Leslie J. Levinson was quoted extensively in the article Help at Home Reportedly Planning to Go Public by Year’s End” published in Home Health Care News on June 10, 2021. The article focuses on how Help at Home, a provider of home- and community-based service, is considering going public and preparing for an IPO later this year. This appears to be a trend in the industry as more providers are considering public exits thanks to an increasing demand for home-based care, promising outlooks for public at-home care companies and advantageous demographics in the U.S. Les believes there is some “truth to the idea that companies are trying to capitalize off trends.” “People are …seeing the value proposition that home care has, in terms of being able to take care of patients in a non-congregant setting, which is certainly appealing,” he said. “That’s the reason why you’re also seeing continued private equity and other investment-type interest in the space. Going public seems like a natural extension of that.” Read the full article.
Managing Partner Rhonda J. Tobin was the focus of the MetroHartford Alliance (MHA) Q&A feature titled “Robinson+Cole Managing Partner Enjoys Living And Working In The Hartford Region” published on June 9, 2021. Robinson+Cole is a Strategic Partner of the MHA, which publishes features like these to honor and recognize newly appointed leaders in the Hartford community. Rhonda spoke with MHA Content Manager Nan Price about the evolution of her legal career at Robinson+Cole, ways the firm impacts the region’s economy and what she enjoys most about Connecticut’s capital city. On building a career at Robinson+Cole Rhonda said, “It’s been a tremendous career. The firm has a collaborative and inclusive culture that allows you to follow your passion and find what you love to do.” She went on to say that “Robinson+Cole is a place where many of people spend their entire career. We still have a lot of people join us from law school who plan to stay and spend their careers here. I think they find that they have the opportunity to get involved in various community boards and professional organizations, not just come and practice law. It’s a much more robust experience.” Read the full article.
Congratulations to Land Use and Real Estate + Development Groups member, Evan Seeman, who was appointed Chair of the Connecticut Chapter of the American Planning Association (CCAPA) Program Committee and a member of its executive board. Evan’s appointment is effectively immediately. He recently moderated the first and third webinar sessions – “A Deep Dive on Housing in Connecticut” and “What Should We Be Building?” - of CCAPA’s four-part FROM THE GROUND UP Housing Series, and was instrumental in coordinating the first program and in organizing the series. R+C is pleased to sponsor this important and timely series. Evan also is a member of CCAPA’s Government Affairs Committee.
Labor Relations Group chair Natale V. DiNatale and member Emily A. Zaklukiewicz authored the article “NLRB still refining test for adjunct faculty unionization” published in University Business on June 8, 2021. The article highlights the increasing relevancy of whether adjunct faculty, and other non-tenure-track faculty, may organize with a labor organization. Natale and Emily reference the National Labor Relations Board’s (NLRB) recent decision in Elon University “as a reminder to private colleges and universities that adjunct faculty members have greater rights to organize, especially to the extent that the nature of their employment relationships keeps them uninvolved in the institution’s governance and decision-making committees.” Read the full article.
Robinson+Cole Managing Partner Rhonda J. Tobin was quoted in the article "Robinson & Cole Launches New D&I Initiatives" published in Law360 Pulse on June 4, 2021. The feature article focuses on the launch of the firm's latest diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I) initiatives including providing billable-hour credit for DE&I activities, instituting the use of personal pronouns in email signatures and online bios and providing as an employee benefit access to a breast milk storage and delivery service for use when nursing mothers are traveling. In addition, the firm is hosting a second annual Town Hall program for Juneteenth on June 16, 2021.
"Managing partner Rhonda J. Tobin told Law360 Pulse that the effort is part of Robinson & Cole's strategic plan, which is in year two of a three-year process." "'It's a central part of our strategy plan, and one of the core elements of that focuses on our talent, which includes increasing our diversity,' she said." Read the article.
Data Privacy + Cybersecurity Team Chair Linn F. Freedman was quoted in the article “Yes, there is a risk in uploading a photo of your vaccine card to enter an online contest” published by VERIFY on June 4, 2021. The premise of the article is to respond to the question, “Is there a risk in uploading a photo of your vaccine card to enter an online contest?” Linn is among the sources cited to determine “Yes” as the answer. “’What many people don't understand is that there are individuals, bad guys, out in the world, out in cyberspace, that find these things and they are spending eight hours a day assembling and getting information on people so that they can target them for scams — and they can use this information in other ways,’ said Freedman. ‘Everything is vulnerable and the intrusions are getting more and more sophisticated, so you can't assume that it will be secure.’” Read the full article.
Data Privacy + Cybersecurity Team member Kathryn M. Rattigan was quoted in the article “Massive Ransomware Hits Likely to Hasten Cloud Security Shift” published in Bloomberg Law on June 4, 2021. The article covers how recent ransomware attacks have resulted in more organizations shifting toward cloud-based tools in lieu of traditional information technology security in an effort to better guard against cybercrime. Given that cloud companies can still be attacked, Kathryn stresses the importance of vetting vendors “since data breaches or other incidents can make companies incur large costs.” She also acknowledges that “[n]egotiating indemnification terms with larger cloud providers...can be difficult since they have so much sway in the market. But businesses can and should ‘shop around’ with small- to medium-sized cloud providers to make sure their security posture and contract provisions are up to snuff.” Read the full article.
Robinson+Cole immediate past Managing Partner Stephen E. Goldman and Diversity, Equity + Inclusion Committee Chair John B. Lynch, Jr. were featured in recent Connecticut Law Tribune articles covering the recognitions they received as part of the publication's 2021 Connecticut Legal Awards hosted on May 12, 2021.
Steve was one of two lawyers to be presented with the Lifetime Achievement Award and was profiled in the article "Indelible Impact: This Year's Lifetime Achievement Awards" published on June 4, 2021. In addition to sharing highlights from Steve's legal career, the piece describes the Award as one that "often encompasses aspects of all other honors, epitomizing true greatness." Read the article.
A write-up on John was included in the article "Keeping the Conversation Going: 2021's Diversity Initiative Awards," also published on June 4, 2021. John was among the finalists for the first-ever Diversity Initiative Award. The article describes these leaders as "people who are dedicated to fairness and equity on the job and in their provision of legal services." Read the article.
Bankruptcy + Reorganizations Group member Steven J. Boyajian and Insurance + Reinsurance Group lawyer Dana M. Horton were among the lawyers recognized in Rhode Island Monthly’s 2021 Professional Excellence in Law awards. Nominated and chosen by their peers, the honorees “exemplify the leading local lawyers in their respective areas of practice, from general counsel and personal injury to civil litigation and criminal defense.” Steve was recognized in the area of Bankruptcy And Workout and, for the second consecutive year, Dana is one of four lawyers, and the only woman, recognized in the Insurance practice area. View the complete list of honorees.
Environmental, Energy + Telecommunications Group lawyers Megan E. Baroni and Jonathan H. Schaefer co-authored the article “OSHA Inspections in a Time of COVID-19” published in Construction Executive on May 26, 2021. The article focuses on how employer best practices to follow during an OSHA inspection are complicated as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, with a particular emphasis on the construction industry. Megan and Jon offer insight on OSHA’s Updated Interim Enforcement Response Plan and National Emphasis Program, Multi-Employer Citation Policy, and general whistleblower protections as well as implementing a COVID-19 prevention program. Read the full article.
Environmental, Energy + Telecommunications Group lawyers Megan E. Baroni, Christopher Y. Eddy, Peter R. Knight and Jonathan H. Schaefer authored the article “COVID-19 and its Impact on the OSHA Inspection Process” published in ISHN (Industrial Safety & Hygiene News) on May 27, 2021. Taking into consideration how COVID-19 has brought significant changes to OSHA’s inspection and enforcement focus, the article offers best practices for managing facility inspections, both generally and with specific references to COVID considerations. Read the article.
Intellectual Property +Technology Group Chair Jacqueline Pennino Scheib co-authored the chapter on “Open Source Software Licenses” as part of the American Bar Association’s (ABA) Director’s Technology Handbook: Tips and Strategies for Advising Corporate Directors. Sponsored by the ABA Business Law Section, the practical handbook was designed as a quick reference tool providing guidance to help boards of directors and lawyers understand and decipher critical technology matters and potential legal implications that can affect an organization. The guide covers a variety of subjects from the lawyer’s role in communications and fiduciary duties to regulatory compliance, cloud computing agreements, and more. The chapter on open source software licenses highlights the risks to the organization of using software provided under several different types of open source licenses, and it identifies the key questions the board should ask of the organization’s management. Jackie serves on the Cyberspace Law Committee of the ABA Business Law Section. Read more about the guide.
Business Transactions Group members Eric M. Kogan and Frank W. Eucalitto represented Metacomet Group Holdings LLC (TMG), a contract manufacturing investment consortium, as legal counsel in its asset acquisition of Fluid Mechanisms of Hauppauge, Inc., a precision manufacturer of structural components and assemblies for the aerospace and defense industries, through a new wholly owned entity, Fluid Mechanisms of Hauppauge, LLC. Aerospace Supply Chain leader, Jeffrey J. White, and Business Transactions member Taylor A. Shea also assisted in the deal. Read more in the press release.
Robinson+Cole’s Transactional Health Law Group, led by co-chair Leslie J. Levinson, represented Visiting Nurse Association (VNA), a 125-year-old nonprofit in Omaha, NE and Council Bluffs, IA in the purchase of its home health and hospice operations by Amedisys, a leading national provider of home health, hospice, and personal care. Les served as prime counsel and led the team of Michael J. Kearney, Ryan V. Leichsenring, Virginia E. McGarrity, Kathryn M. Rattigan, Conor O. Duffy, Samuel C. Maduabueke and R+C alum Adam Tamzoke. The transaction is expected to close on or around July 1, 2021. Read more in the VNA press release.
In addition, the Transactional Health Law Group represented Connecticut-based Simione Healthcare Consultants and Pennsylvania-based BlackTree Healthcare Consulting in the execution of “a strategic and equal combination” to form SimiTree Healthcare Consulting. SimiTree will help post-acute healthcare organizations achieve clinical and financial excellence through consulting, outsourcing, and talent solutions. The merger is backed by Chicago-based health care PE firm Sheridan Capital, which focuses on lower-middle market buyouts and growth equity in the U.S. and Canada. Les led the team of Adam Anderson, Shant H. Chalian, Michael Kearney, Eric M. Kogan, Virginia McGarrity, Endicott Peabody IV, Kathryn Rattigan, Frank W. Eucalitto, and Michael G. Lisitano. Read more in Home Health Care News.
Data Privacy + Cybersecurity Team Chair Linn F. Freedman was quoted in the article “Cyber Order Is a Start, But Voluntary Info Sharing Is Heavier Lift” published in Bloomberg Law on May 14, 2021. The article focuses on the impact of President Biden’s executive order signed on May 12, 2021 in response to the cyber-attack against Colonial Pipeline Co., which suffered a major ransomware attack resulting in supply chain issues. The Order is intended to demonstrate that the federal government is taking a leadership role by improving the cyber defense of the government and its subcontractors, including software vendors who do business with the federal government. The executive order also compels the National Institute of Standards and Technology to publish guidelines for enhancing software supply chain security. “Those standards will prove critical for software developers and may help prevent the ‘ripple’ of cyberattacks throughout the supply chain going forward, said Linn Freedman, a Providence, R.I.-based partner at Robinson & Cole LLP.” She also acknowledges that the executive order’s requirement of multifactor authentication and encryption across the federal government is significant, but long overdue. “’These attacks are a wake-up call for the federal government that it needs to have a better vendor management program,’ [Linn] said. ‘Now the government has the clout and the leverage to say, ‘If you want to do business with us, you need to change.’” Read the full article.
Environmental, Energy + Telecommunications Group member, Jonathan H. Schaefer, has been named Vice Chair of the Connecticut Chapter of the Environmental Business Council (EBC) of New England. According to its website, the mission of the EBC Connecticut Chapter is to identify and address issues of concern and of interest to EBC members and their clients in Connecticut. Issues include legislative, regulatory and policy developments in Connecticut, recent project successes and how they were accomplished, and networking and business development opportunities at the federal, state, regional, and local level. To address these issues the EBC Connecticut Chapter provides objective information from up-to-date and reliable sources including government officials, technology developers, and business experts. Jon also serves on EBC’s Site Remediation and Redevelopment Committee.
Labor and Employment Group lawyers Stephen W. Aronson, Britt-Marie K. Cole-Johnson, Natale V. DiNatale, Abby M. Warren, Kayla N. West and Emily A. Zaklukiewicz authored the article “The big-ticket question: Can (or should) employers require the COVID-19 vaccine of employees in the workplace?” published in ISHN (Industrial Safety & Hygiene News) on May 12, 2021. With many employees deciding to forgo getting the COVID-19 vaccine, despite the fact that is now widely available for adults in most states, employers are grappling with whether to adopt a policy requiring the COVID-19 vaccine in an effort to provide a safe and healthy work environment. The article offers an overview of the many legal and practical risks associated with adopting a mandatory vaccine policy, which employers are encouraged to recognize and evaluate before its implementing. Read the full article.
The Connecticut Law Tribune recognized Robinson+Cole lawyers Stephen E. Goldman, Lina M. Morkan, John B. Lynch, Jr., Gregory J. Bennici, Conor O. Duffy, Emilee Mooney Scott, and Jennifer L. Shanley during the publication’s annual Connecticut Legal Awards on May 12, 2021. Hosted virtually, the awards honor those attorneys and judges who have made a remarkable difference in the legal profession in Connecticut - whether in shaping the law, achieving outsized results for their clients, being an outstanding jurist or assisting those in need of legal services.
Steve was presented with the Lifetime Achievement Award, which recognizes a lawyer “who has left a lasting imprint on the legal community of Connecticut.” Linda received the Distinguished Leader Award for achieving “impressive results in 2020 and demonstrating clear leadership skills that helped achieve those results.” John was honored as a finalist for the Diversity Initiative Award. A new recognition to the awards slate, the distinction honors a lawyer or firm who has made a significant contribution to diversity and inclusion efforts in Connecticut’s legal community. Greg, Conor, Emilee and Jen were all recognized as “New Leaders in the Law,” a distinction that spotlights lawyers under the age of 40 who have excelled in the courtroom, in client service and cultivation, in service to bar associations, and in performing pro bono work or community service in a volunteer capacity. View the complete list of honorees.
Labor and Employment Group lawyers Abby M. Warren and Emily A. Zaklukiewicz authored the article “What is the current state of drug testing programs in today’s workplaces?” published in ISHN (Industrial Safety & Hygiene News) on May 6, 2021. The article examines how many employers are re-thinking their drug testing approach in light of legal changes and societal shifts related to drug use and, more specifically, marijuana use. Abby and Emily offer insight on the states that have legalized medical or recreational marijuana , laws prohibiting employers from making employment decisions based on lawful off-duty conduct and how many employers are re-thinking whether pre-employment drug testing is needed at all. Read the full article.