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Ethical Rules for Social Media Gain Clarity - 03.26.2015

On March 10, 2015, the New York County Lawyers Association ("NYCLA") weighed in on the ethical implications for lawyers who use social media websites for professional self-promotion. In Formal Opinion 748, NYCLA addressed the widespread use of LinkedIn and specifically examined (1) whether a LinkedIn profile is considered "Attorney Advertising;" (2) when it is appropriate for attorneys to accept endorsements and recommendations; and (3) what information attorneys should include and exclude from social media profiles. Although the NYCLA opinion does not resolve all open questions about the nature and extent of the information attorneys can post on LinkedIn without running afoul of the New York Rules of Professional Conduct, it answers significant questions left open by two Committees of the New York State Bar Association ("NYSBA"). [...]

Discharging Tax Debts in Bankruptcy: When is a Return not a Return? - 03.19.2015

Falling behind on one’s taxes often leads to a downward spiral, and it is not uncommon for a taxpayer who cannot pay her tax obligations to decide not to file a return. Not only does such a failure to file expose the taxpayer to additional penalties and potential criminal liability, but it can have devastating ramifications if she subsequently files for bankruptcy. This article discusses In re Fahey, in which the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit joined the Fifth and Tenth Circuits in concluding that filing deadlines are “filing requirements” under 11 U.S.C. Section 523(a)(*) and thus that the tax liabilities reflected on untimely returns are not subject to discharge. While these Courts of Appeals have all interpreted the so-called “hanging paragraph” in a manner that precludes virtually all late-filers from discharging tax liabilities in bankruptcy, there are compelling reasons to exclude returns accepted by the relevant taxing authority from such a harsh rule. Clearly, there is more to come on this issue. In the meantime, Fahey provides yet another reason for practitioners to urge their clients to file their returns on a timely basis.

Meet the Fokker: Continued Judicial Skepticism toward Deferred Prosecution Agreements - 03.12.2015

In recent years, the Department of Justice has come to rely on Deferred Prosecution Agreements (DPAs) to resolve many high-profile investigations of corporate wrongdoing. Under DPAs, criminal charges are filed in district court, and prosecution is deferred pending a corporate defendant’s fulfillment of remedial obligations, including payments to the government. [...]

Partner Catherine M. Foti Testifies Before the United States Sentencing Commission - 03.12.2015

NEW YORK, March 12, 2015 - Partner Catherine M. Foti gave testimony on behalf of the New York Council of Defense Lawyers (“NYCDL”) before the United States Sentencing Commission (“Commission”) for the hearing on 2015 Proposed Amendments to the Federal Sentencing Guidelines. In her capacity as the Chair of the NYCDL’s Sentencing Guidelines Committee, Cathy addressed the Commission with respect to the proposed amendments to the economic crime guidelines under consideration during this amendment cycle.
 
Please click here to read Cathy’s full testimony.

White-Collar Enforcement Under Attorney General Eric Holder - 03.04.2015

When Attorney General Eric Holder took office in February 2009, the country was in the midst of a financial crisis, and many voices called for holding companies and individuals accountable for alleged criminal conduct. In this article, we discuss how the Department of Justice responded to the financial crisis, highlight key initiatives separate from the financial crisis, and address likely Department priorities going forward.

A Small Barracuda in a Big Pond: New York’s Department of Financial Services - 02.27.2015

World-wide financial institutions take notice – New York has a new regulator on the scene. Newsweek describes him as “body-slamming” one of the world’s largest banks, “the man the banks fear most.” The Wall Street Journal has labeled him “one of Wall Street’s most dogged pursuers.” American Banker characterizes him as “pushing the envelope” of bank regulation. In three years on the job, this regulator and the new agency he rules have extracted more than $3 billion in fines from global banks. In a speech he delivered at Columbia University this Wednesday, the regulator made clear that, in all likelihood, these headline-grabbing events are just a sign of things to come. [...]

Recurring Challenges to Privilege and Work Product Doctrine - 02.18.2015

In this article, we discuss three recent decisions by judges of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York which expose some common misconceptions regarding the attorney-client privilege and work product doctrine and offer some valuable guidance for those litigating privilege and work product disputes.

The Surprise Cost of Whistleblowing - 02.12.2015

On February 3, 2015, in United States v. Huron Consulting Group, Inc., U.S. District Judge Jed S. Rakoff, took the unusual – but not unprecedented – step of ordering a False Claims Act (“FCA”) relator to pay thousands of dollars of costs to the prevailing defendants Huron Consulting Group, Inc. and Empire Health Choice Assurance, Inc. This opinion highlights the financial dangers faced by individuals who try to blow the whistle on potentially illegal behavior. [...]

Waning Influence of Sentencing Guidelines in White-Collar Cases - 02.04.2015

The restoration of sentencing judges’ discretion in the post-Booker era has rendered the federal sentencing guidelines—widely perceived as unduly punitive—less important in the white-collar context. Statistics confirm that courts increasingly have chosen to impose non-guideline sentences and, in some recent high profile cases, even the prosecution has proposed sentences below the guideline range. The U.S. Sentencing Commission recently has responded to complaints about the guidelines’ application by proposing a series of amendments to the guidelines governing economic crimes. We discuss all of this in our latest New York Law Journal article.

Internal Revenue Service Budget Cuts Spell Trouble - 01.29.2015

According to its mission statement, the Internal Revenue Service’s goal is “to provide America’s taxpayers top quality service by helping them understand and meet their tax responsibilities and enforce the law with integrity and fairness to all.” Over the past few years, the IRS has had to fulfill this mission with shrinking resources, and National Taxpayer Advocate Nina E. Olson has noted that “the budget environment of the last five years has brought about a devastating erosion of taxpayer service, harming taxpayers individually and collectively.” In this article, we discuss concerns that the additional cuts implemented as part of the recent budget deal will undermine both revenue collection and the fair enforcement of the Internal Revenue Code. 

Benchmark Litigation Names Morvillo Abramowitz White Collar Crime/Enforcement/Securities Firm of the Year 2015 - 01.29.2015

NEW YORK, January 29, 2015 - Benchmark Litigation named Morvillo Abramowitz White Collar Crime/Enforcement/Securities Law Firm of the Year at its Annual Awards ceremony.

In addition to winning this award, the recently released Benchmark Litigation 2015 guide identifies Morvillo Abramowitz as a “Highly Recommended” firm (the guide's top honor) in New York, and ranks the firm in the top tier nationally in White Collar Crime/Enforcement/Investigations. Further, 12 individual Morvillo Abramowitz lawyers were named as “Litigation Stars” in the publication. According to Benchmark, “client feedback on the firm is resounding and plentiful; one such client in particular cheers, ‘[…] Integrity and talent to defend on principle: sadly, a novel concept these days, but not with this firm.’”

Benchmark Litigation is the definitive guide to America's leading litigation firms and attorneys.

Benchmark Litigation Names Morvillo Abramowitz White Collar Crime/Enforcement/Securities Firm of the Year 2015 - 01.29.2015

On Thursday, January 29, 2015, Benchmark Litigation named Morvillo Abramowitz White Collar Crime/Enforcement/Securities Law Firm of the Year at its Annual Awards ceremony.

In addition to winning this award, the recently released Benchmark Litigation 2015 guide identifies Morvillo Abramowitz as a “Highly Recommended” firm (the guide's top honor) in New York, and ranks the firm in the top tier nationally in White Collar Crime/Enforcement/Investigations. Further, 12 individual Morvillo Abramowitz lawyers were named as “Litigation Stars” in the publication. According to Benchmark, “client feedback on the firm is resounding and plentiful; one such client in particular cheers, ‘[…] Integrity and talent to defend on principle: sadly, a novel concept these days, but not with this firm.’”

Benchmark Litigation is the definitive guide to America's leading litigation firms and attorneys.

American Conference Institute's 4th National Forum on Securities Litigation & Enforcement - 01.23.2015

On Friday, January 23, 2015, Morvillo Abramowitz partner Jonathan Sack will speak at the American Conference Institute's 4th National Forum on Securities Litigation & Enforcement. Mr. Sack will speak on a panel entitled "Industry Response to Emerging Enforcement and Regulatory Initiatives and Strategies for Defending a Company in a Claim Brought by the Government in Today’s Challenging Climate," which will address discernible trends. The event will be held on January 22 -23 at The Carlton Hotel in Manhattan. For more information, please visit www.americanconference.com/seclit.

Implications of Second Circuit Reversal of Insider Trading Convictions - 01.09.2015

The Department of Justice has brought few high-profile criminal cases against individuals arising from the 2008-2009 financial crisis. The department’s cases have tended to charge large financial institutions, not senior officials. A number of the high-profile cases arising from the collapse of mortgage-backed securities have resulted in civil, not criminal, charges and settlements. And the typical sanction has been the payment of substantial (often multi-billion dollar) sums to the government, not imprisonment.

The Year in White-Collar Crime: A Look Back Helps Us See Ahead - 01.08.2015

The Justice Department’s white-collar agenda in 2014 was marked by skyrocketing corporate settlements and continued reliance on deferred and non-prosecution agreements, coupled with compliance monitors. Several significant decisions with long-term implications for white-collar cases also were issued by federal courts in 2014. A look at the Justice Department’s approach and these decisions offer a clue as to what to expect in white-collar cases in 2015. [...]