Finance

Winner of our 2013 Halloween costume contest.

Winner of our 2013 Halloween costume contest.

* Thanks to Wonkette for pointing out that we were on this whole Ruth Baby Ginsburg thing last year. [Wonkette]

* Speaking of our legally themed Halloween costume contest, please send us your nominations. [Above the Law]

* Salacious allegations about a high-flying investment banker invite comparisons to The Wolf of Wall Street. [Dealbreaker]

* The Second Circuit puts a stop to a legal challenge to the stop-and-frisk settlement. [How Appealing]

* You’d expect a former lawmaker to have a better understanding of… the law. [Lexington Herald-Leader]

* The Wall Street Journal reviews Paul Barrett’s new book (affiliate link) about the never-ending Chevron/Ecuador litigation. [Wall Street Journal]

* Speaking of the Chevron/Ecuador matter, here’s more about the Canadian Bar Association’s controversial involvement, which Canada columnist Steve Dykstra covered earlier. [rabble.ca]

* Some thoughts from Jonathan Mermin on something lawyers see every day: bad arguments. [Green Bag]

* Here’s a great new resource for our fellow aficionados of appellate arguments. [Free Law Project]

file-cabinet1-300x299Ed. note: This is the latest installment in a series of posts from the ATL Career Center’s team of expert contributors. Today, Carrie Smith of Betterment offers reading recommendations for Biglaw associates interested in investing.

We believe investors are made, not born. And for even the most advanced financial whizzes, ongoing education remains a key part of managing money well.

Blogs, magazines, and newspapers are a good source of learning, but a word of warning: Be mindful of what you’re consuming — too much market news can lead to overconfidence bias and might compel you to try to time the market, which rarely leads to better outcomes, research shows.

So, whether you’re just out of law school and new to investing, or you’re getting close to retiring, consider these 10 popular reads to get you started on the path of good financial habits.

Continue reading at the ATL Career Center…

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On October 9th the SEC brought a settled administrative action against E*Trade Securities and G1 Execution Services (formerly E*Trade Capital Markets) for their part in the unregistered sales of billions of shares of penny stocks between 2007 and 2011. Suffice it to say that they weren’t the only ones. On the same day the Commission also (1) released FAQs on a broker-dealer’s duties on when trying to rely on the reasonable inquiry exemption when executing customer orders; and (2) issued a Risk Alert on broker-dealer controls regarding customer sales of penny stocks. The gist is, broker-dealers cannot turn a blind eye when executing its customers’ sales of securities of dubious or uncertain origin. These documents are all part of the SEC’s larger effort to focus on financial system gatekeepers and thereby save staff resources that would otherwise be spent chasing individual bad actors. What’s most interesting to me about the case and accompanying educational materials is how old the underlying principles are. The SEC has been preaching about broker-dealer oversight of little-known securities for literally half a century. And yet here we are.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “SEC Issues Risk Alert, Smacks E*Trade on Penny Stock Sales”

depressed head in handsSometimes, lawyers struggling with difficult cases resort to the worst when unable to conquer their legal challenges.

Late last week, Calogero Gambino, a 41-year-old associate general counsel at Deutsche Bank, was found dead in his home, hanging from a stairway bannister with a rope around his neck.

Gambino is the second Deutsche Bank executive to commit suicide this year…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Big Bank’s Associate GC Found Dead In Apparent Suicide”

Supreme Court SCOTUS photo by David Lat* Some observers do not appreciate the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent Delphic pronouncements on a slew of hot-button issues. [New York Times]

* The New York Court of Appeals does international banks a solid — but is it bad policy? [Reuters]

* Fired Canadian radio host Jian Ghomeshi hires Dentons to sue CBC, which dismissed him over allegations of sexual misconduct. [American Lawyer]

* Is post-Citizens United money polluting judicial elections? [New York Times via How Appealing]

* An Englishman sues Sotheby’s, alleging that the auction house negligently failed to inform him that a painting he sold through Sotheby’s was by Caravaggio and worth millions. [BBC]

* If you’re a lawyer looking for extra income, check out Avvo’s new service, which offers consumers on-demand legal advice for a fixed fee. [Law Sites via ABA Journal]

* Is it reversible error for a judge to refuse to ask voir dire questions related to sexual-preference prejudices? [Southern District of Florida via How Appealing]

gavel money

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) reached a $16 million deal with a Utah bank recently, settling charges that the financial institution engaged in unfair and deceptive acts and practices.

Merrick Bank violated Section 5 of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Act in the marketing and servicing of its credit card add-on products, the regulator alleged. From 2008 to 2013, the bank touted its “PAYS Plan” as a payment protection card add-on product that provided a benefit payment toward a customer’s monthly credit card payment when triggered by life events such as involuntary unemployment, disability or hospitalization.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Bank Pays $16M to Settle FDIC Charges Over Credit Card Add-On Products”

Gold Pen with Signature Line of Document

Most large venture deals require that the Company’s outside legal counsel issue a customary legal opinion, addressed to the investors in the financing, in order to give the investors comfort that the company’s legal affairs are in order. For companies that have been represented since formation by large regional or national counsel with venture capital experience, this requirement generally is not overly burdensome. However, where counsel has not represented the company since formation or is unfamiliar with VC deals, the legal opinion can become an expensive part of the process and a potential delay in the timing of the financing. Below is a short primer on why VCs require legal opinions and the process and cost typically required for a law firm to issue such an opinion.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Why do VCs require legal opinions in venture deals?”

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As reported this week by Law360 (subscription required), the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) recently issued a reminder (Regulatory Notice 14-40) warning firms against the use of confidentiality provisions in settlement agreements that prohibit or otherwise restrict customers or anyone else (such as current employees) from communicating with the Securities Exchange Commission (SEC), FINRA, or any federal or state regulatory authority regarding a possible securities law violation.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “FINRA Again Cautions Against Confidentiality Provisions Silencing Whistleblowers”

Supreme Court SCOTUS photo by David Lat

Could the third time be the charm? Today, the U.S. Supreme Court granted the petition for certiorari filed in May 2014 by the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs (Texas DHCA) in Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs v. The Inclusive Communities Project, Inc.

The case gives the Supreme Court its third opportunity since 2012 to rule on the issue of whether disparate impact claims are cognizable under the Fair Housing Act. The prior two cases, Twp. Of Mount Holly v. Mt. Holly Gardens Citizens in Action, Inc. and Magner v. Gallagher, were both settled after the completion of briefing but before the Court could hear oral argument and answer the question presented. This time around the Court granted the certiorari petition without first soliciting the views of the Solicitor General.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “U.S. Supreme Court grants certiorari (again) in FHA disparate impact case”

house home RF

The CFPB has issued a white paper on the manufactured housing market, including how manufactured housing is financed and the types of consumers who purchase or rent such housing. In the paper’s introduction, the CFPB explains that although manufactured housing only accounts for six percent of all occupied housing and a much smaller fraction of U.S. home loan originations, such housing is of interest to the CFPB because it is a source of affordable housing particularly for rural and low income consumers and may raise consumer protection concerns due to the nature of the retail and financing markets for such housing. The report relies on publicly available data, including HMDA data, proprietary data voluntarily provided to the CFPB and information obtained through outreach to industry groups, consumer groups, government agencies and “a variety of market participants and observers.”

The paper’s key findings include:

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “CFPB Manufactured Housing White Paper May Presage Future Regulation”

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