Practical advice. Flat rates. Plain language.


by

Perhaps opening the “H1-B visa door” wider for highly skilled workers will promote growth in the tech industry. Many tech companies believe so.

President Obama spoke in Nevada today about the need for widespread immigration reform. Many of the proposals President Obama mentioned, which are weaving their way through Congress, would increase the number of highly skilled immigrant workers allowed in the U.S. By “highly skilled,” we are referring mainly to highly skilled workers in the technology sector. Currently, 65,000 highly skilled workers are allowed to enter the U.S. to work each year under the H1-B visa—the H1-B visa is a specific visa to allow companies to temporarily employ foreign workers in a specialty occupation. It is thought that this may increase to as many as 300,000 per year.

What does this mean for the Seattle business community? An increase in the number of highly skilled…

Read More


by

President Obama named Mary Jo White, the first female United States attorney in Manhattan, to the head the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

Yesterday, President Obama named Mary Jo White, the first female United States attorney in Manhattan, to the head the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Many believe that the appointment of White, a former prosecutor and the first prosecutor to head the SEC, signals a renewed resolve to hold Wall Street accountable for any wrongdoing. White is well-known for her aggressive prosecution tactics.

White spent more than a decade as a federal prosecutor in New York City, where she pursued white-collar crime and Wall Street fraud. One of her most infamous cases involved prosecuting former crime boss John Gotti. Another one of White’s better known cases involved prosecuting those individuals responsible for the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. For a more extensive…

Read More


by

New study by Cornerstone Research notes 152 federal class-action lawsuits were filed in 2012, well below the average of 193 for the prior 15 years.

The stock market improved in 2012 and the demand for federal shareholder lawsuits slowed down. Coincidence? I think not. The better the market is performing, the happier shareholders will be.

A new study by Cornerstone Research reports that 152 federal class-action securities lawsuits were filed in 2012. This number of cases is well below the average of 193 suits in the prior 15 years, and significantly less than the 188 cases in 2011. According to the study, the drop in lawsuits was consistent across a broad spectrum of legal areas. For example, merger-related lawsuits fell by nearly 33 percent in 2012 from 2011.

Another interesting fact is that filings against Chinese companies that pursued stock listings in the U.S. fell to 10…

Read More


by

Yesterday the Washington Court of Appeals released an opinion providing a good example of how you can position yourself to win a contract dispute.

Yesterday the Washington Court of Appeals released an opinion providing a good example of how you can position yourself to win a contract dispute. The opinion affirmed a summary judgment awarding more than $300,000 plus fees and interest to GLV International, Inc. against American Rodsmiths, Inc. and its president Robert Scherer.

The Facts of the Case
American Rodsmiths purchased more than $300,000 in goods from GLV. American Rodsmiths then failed to pay its outstanding balance. GLV extended credit to American Rodsmiths based on a personal guaranty from the company president, Mr. Scherer. The personal guaranty included a provision awarding attorney fees to GLV if it prevailed in a suit against Mr. Scherer to enforce the terms of the personal guaranty. GLV offered…

Read More


by

NASAA decided to look further into these crowdfunding sites in an effort to reduce fraud and crack down on those companies that have jumped the gun.

I read a Wall Street Journal article today about the recent investigation into websites claiming to be crowdfunding platforms. Of the reported 9,000 websites that contain the word “crowdfund” in their website names, the North American Securities Administrators Association (NASAA)—the organization that represents state securities regulators—has investigated roughly 2,000, and plans to give a closer look at 200 of those.

Why the investigation in the first place? Well, many securities regulators are concerned that the “relaxed” rules governing securities offerings for private companies might present an opportunity for fraud. NASAA has decided to look further into these crowdfunding sites in an effort to reduce the likelihood of fraud and crack down on those companies that have jumped the gun on crowdfunding…

Read More


by

Six states have now prohibited employers from requesting social media passwords during the hiring process. Bill Carleton, at his blog Counselor @ Law, had a number of attorneys (including myself) grade the various legislative attempts to statutorily define employment law. Take a few minutes to check out Bill’s post, which you can find here.

Thanks to Bill for first compiling the definitions and links in a single document and then compiling the opinions and posting the results on his blog!

Here are the full grades and comments I sent to Bill:

California

As used in this chapter, “social media” means an electronic service or account, or electronic content, including, but not limited to, videos, still photographs, blogs, video blogs, podcasts, instant and text messages,…

Read More


by

SEC MD&A report states that it will work to implement the JOBS Act in a “practical manner that reflects the entrepreneurial dynamics" of digital age.

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) released its annual financial report recently. At various points throughout the report, the SEC notes that it has worked and will continue to work to implement the JOBS Act in a quick, pragmatic manner.  Also, the report points out that the SEC will attempt to maintain the congressional intent behind the Act in its rulemaking.

The Commission stated in its Management Discussion and Analysis report that it will work to implement the JOBS Act in a “practical manner that reflects the entrepreneurial dynamics of the digital age.” Our interpretation: The SEC will attempt to tailor the rules in a way that recognizes the importance of modern technology’s impact on the private placement markets. The SEC also…

Read More


by

Here are tips to reduce your overhead expenses and maximize efficiency in your practice (these tips are directed generally to small firms and solos).

I recently read an article detailing the impact of the market downturn on U.S. law firms. Relying heavily on data presented by the Hildebrandt/Citi Private Bank 2012 Client Advisory, the article discussed the steady—if not drastic—decline in revenue, demand, and “realization” since September 2008. One of the most alarming statistics was the decline in the collected realization rate against the standard, i.e. the percentage of work performed at a particular firm’s standard rates that is actually collected from clients. It reveals that U.S. law firms are collecting less than 85 cents on the dollar, essentially an industry-wide client discount of 15% on every transaction. The effects of this decline include downsizing, lack of hiring, and significant pricing pressures.

So what can we…

Read More


by

FINRA has issued a voluntary form for funding portals, which is designed to collect information from prospective funding portals under the JOBS Act.

Last week we wrote about the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) announcing the creation of a form for prospective funding portals. Just one week later, FINRA has issued the voluntary interim form for funding portals, which is designed to collect information from prospective crowdfunding portals under the JOBS Act. Those prospective funding portals may voluntarily submit information about their company, and FINRA will use the information it receives to develop rules specific to the regulation of crowdfunding portals.

Once FINRA and the SEC adopt funding portal rules, FINRA will create and issue a funding portal application. The interim form asks the funding portals for information regarding: ownership, funding, management, and business model and relationships.

It will be interesting to see how many prospective funding…

Read More


by

Today's post offers a rundown of the timeline of events since the JOBS Act was signed into law.

Flashback to April 5, 2012: President Obama puts pen to paper and signs the Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act (the JOBS Act). The President declares that startups and small businesses will “now have access to a big new pool of American investors—namely the American people.” Entrepreneurs rejoice as the potential impacts of this bill could be huge for startups and small businesses. The bill provided a framework and the SEC was handed the reins to draft rules that would govern much of new legislation. The SEC was given a 90-day deadline to implement the JOBS Act.

Flash forward more than 9 months (roughly 270 days later) to January 9, 2013: The SEC has yet to finalize the rules governing the JOBS…

Read More