Friday, February 27, 2009
Layoffs at Latham
4:38 pm est
Latham & Watkins confirmed
that it is letting go of 190 associates, or roughly 12% of its associates.
Wednesday, February 25, 2009
ABA Coloring Book
3:47 pm est
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).
Tuesday, February 17, 2009
Remember the 80s
8:31 am est
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.
Sunday, February 15, 2009
What is American History?
8:12 am est
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
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.
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.
Comparisons to the Great Depression
7:49 am est
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
Friday, February 13, 2009
Competitive Law Firms Thrive
1:45 pm est
According to another article
from the ABA Journal.
Presumably, all of the purchasing of used office equipment must also be stimulating
Wednesday, February 4, 2009
New Amendments to Regulation D, Rule 503
7:02 am est
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
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.
6:47 am est
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.
Sunday, February 1, 2009
The Coming Wave of Employment Discrimination Lawsuits
8:12 am est
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