Jonathan B. Wilson

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Jonathan Wilson is an Atlanta attorney with more than 19 years of experience guiding growing private and public companies.  He currently serves as the outside general counsel of several companies and is the former general counsel of (NASDAQ: WWWW) and EasyLink Services (NASDAQ: ESIC).  He is also the founding chair of the Renewable Energy Committee of the American Bar Association's Public Utility Section.

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Friday, February 27, 2009

Layoffs at Latham
Latham & Watkins confirmed that it is letting go of 190 associates, or roughly 12% of its associates.
4:38 pm est 

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

ABA Coloring Book
Always ready to do its part to educate Americans on the rule of law and the role of lawyers in our society, the ABA has announced its release of . . . . (wait for it) . . . . the Presidential lawyers coloring book (featuring Barack Obama).


3:47 pm est 

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Remember the 80s
If comparisons to the recession of 1980-81 aren't enough for you, along comes another reminder of the era of big hair and bigger shoulder pads: Spinal Tap is releasing new music.

Spinal Tap - a spoof of a fading British hard rock band - created a movie in 1984 - This is Spinal Tap - that succeeding in spoofing itself.  When the "band" performed on Saturday Night Live, many fans thought that it was real, fueling the cult status of the comedy.


8:31 am est 

Sunday, February 15, 2009

What is American History?
The Museum of American History comes in for some criticism in this piece in the Wall Street Journal.  The writer argues that the museum's approach is muddled and doesn't tell a coherent story.

What is the story of American history? Increasingly, Americans themselves do not know.

A recent survey of American high school students is shockinglly disappointing.  57% did not know when the civil war was fought.  50% could not identify the purpose of the Federalist Papers.

American public education is failing on many levels and the recent emphasis on restoring diligence to our math and science programs is important.  But on another level we are losing our future to a generation of young Americans who will lack a basic understanding of their past.

Our civil society holds together to the extent we share common values and a sense of community.  When our citizens and voters can no longer articulate why individual liberties are important and can no longer understand the history of sacrifice behind the civil war, and World Wars I and II, those voters are less likely to elect leaders who will respect those traditions.  They are also less likely to support laws that reflect those traditions. 
8:12 am est 

Comparisons to the Great Depression
According to Bradley Schiller, they are overwrought:

Job losses in the Great Depression were of an entirely different magnitude. In 1930, the economy shed 4.8% of the labor force. In 1931, 6.5%. And then in 1932, another 7.1%. Jobs were being lost at double or triple the rate of 2008-09 or 1981-82.

This was reflected in unemployment rates. The latest survey pegs U.S. unemployment at 7.6%. That's more than three percentage points below the 1982 peak (10.8%) and not even a third of the peak in 1932 (25.2%). You simply can't equate 7.6% unemployment with the Great Depression.

Other economic statistics also dispel any analogy between today's economic woes and the Great Depression. Real gross domestic product (GDP) rose in 2008, despite a bad fourth quarter. The Congressional Budget Office projects a GDP decline of 2% in 2009. That's comparable to 1982, when GDP contracted by 1.9%. It is nothing like 1930, when GDP fell by 9%, or 1931, when GDP contracted by another 8%, or 1932, when it fell yet another 13%.

Auto production last year declined by roughly 25%. That looks good compared to 1932, when production shriveled by 90%. The failure of a couple of dozen banks in 2008 just doesn't compare to over 10,000 bank failures in 1933, or even the 3,000-plus bank (Savings & Loan) failures in 1987-88. Stockholders can take some solace from the fact that the recent stock market debacle doesn't come close to the 90% devaluation of the early 1930s.

7:49 am est 

Friday, February 13, 2009

Competitive Law Firms Thrive
According to another article from the ABA Journal. 

Presumably, all of the purchasing of used office equipment must also be stimulating the economy!
1:45 pm est 

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

New Amendments to Regulation D, Rule 503
New requirements for securities issuers who rely on Rule 503 under Regulation D will take effect on March 16, 2009.  (Link to the SEC release available here). 

Rule 503 allows issuers to avoid the registration requirements of the 1933 Securities Act for limited public offerings.  Previously, issuers would file a Form D within 15 days of the first sale of securities in reliance on the rule and would be required to file an amended Form D only if there were a material change to the information in the previously filing.

Under new Rule 503 and issuer will need to file an amended Form D on an annual basis whenever continuous offerings are involved.

Issuers who have issued securities under Rule 503 should consult with securities counsel to determine whether they will have any additional filing obligations under the new rule.
7:02 am est 

Choices, Choices
Bob Iger, the CEO of Disney, recently blamed the profusion of consumer choices for falling DVD sales.  As alternatives multiply, he argued, consumers must allocate less time to some choices in exchange for others.

Smart consumer businesses will help to focus consumer choice in a way that leave consumers satisfied.
6:47 am est 

Sunday, February 1, 2009

The Coming Wave of Employment Discrimination Lawsuits
Stuart Taylor takes on the Ledbetter Act in a new column.  As he describes it:

The new law will virtually wipe out the 300-day time limit (180 days in Alabama and some other states) during which employees can file claims of discrimination under Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. Disgruntled employees will now be free to wait many years before hauling employers into court for supposedly discriminatory raises, promotions, or any other actions affecting pay.

The longer the wait, the more difficult it will be for the employer to contest an employee's one-sided and perhaps false account of the case, because key witnesses may have retired or died and records such as performance evaluations may have been discarded.

Employers should be concerned.  Former employees who can sue up to five years after leaving employment will be able to commence lawsuits after supervisors move on or retire or after key documents are misplaced or discarded.  Because the employer is often reliant on management witnesses and internal documents to defend itself, the staleness of these new claims will tend to make it harder for employers to prevail.

8:12 am est 

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Jonathan B. Wilson is an Atlanta attorney at the law firm of Taylor English Duma LLP.  Jonathan B. Wilson provides legal advice to investors, companies and business executives involving corporate law, securities law, SEC matters, intellectual property, website and Internet legal issues, start-ups, limited liability companies, partnerships, 1934 Act matters, outsourcing, strategic alliance agreements, contracts, and other matters of importance to growing private and publicly-traded companies.