This week, the Securities and Exchange Commission released new proposed rules that would permit but regulate the offer and sale of securities through crowdfunding. Sounds pretty awesome, except maybe for the “regulate” part.
Crowdfunding, for those of you whose artsy friends have not already solicited Kickstarter donations from you, is an internet-based fundraising method. It typically involves musicians, filmmakers, artists, or designers gathering small financial contributions from a large number of individuals. In exchange for a pledge to the project or startup, backers usually receive some token of appreciation related to the project they are funding — a CD, tickets to live recording session of an orchestral arrangement of music from the Pokemon video game franchise, a signed copy of a book, well wishes from a psychic goat, etc. Websites such as Kickstarter and Indiegogo serve as exchanges where interested investors link up with aspiring artists, entrepreneurs, and inventors.
Currently, crowdfunded projects are not selling ownership rights in the projects to their financial contributors. Those who pledge money for you to open your dreamed-of cheese bar are not buying stock in your cheese bar. Offering contributors a share of future financial returns, after all, usually triggers the application of federal securities regulations. However, thanks to these new rules proposed by the SEC, pushed forward by 2012’s Jumpstart Our Business Startups (JOBS) Act, this may now change. Subject, of course, to some oversight by the Feds. Let’s take a look at the rules and see if they are likely to Kickstart, er, jumpstart our nation’s business startups….
* If the government shuts down and then defaults on its debt, Wall Street worries that it would “shake the foundations of the global financial system.” Hooray for political asshattery! [DealBook / New York Times]
* At least six of the Supreme Court’s judicial precedents are up for reconsideration in the upcoming Term, and high court commentators think the resulting decisions could be a mixed bag. [National Law Journal]
* Apparently low-income New Yorkers’ legal problems are “not worthy of a ‘real lawyer,’” or at least that’s the message that will be given if non-lawyers are allowed to provide legal services. [New York Law Journal]
* Sorry, lady, not enough prestige. A Brazilian journalist was allegedly on the receiving end of some “extremely violent” police behavior at Yale Law School after attempting to interview Justice Joaquim Barbosa at a private event. [The Guardian]
* Mark Cuban’s insider trading case is heading to trial today, but we genuinely wonder how he’ll be able to convince a jury that he’s “humble and affable,” rather than the “master of the universe.” [Boston Herald]
* Paul Bergrin, more commonly known as the “Baddest Lawyer in the History of Jersey,” was handed a life sentence yesterday. At least he’ll have street cred with his gen pop friends. [WSJ Law Blog (sub. req.)]
Here’s some friendly advice: when you’re drunk, try to keep your mouth shut. Or at least keep your work-related thoughts to yourself. This is certainly true for junior lawyers, but it goes for partners as well.
According to a complaint just filed by the Securities and Exchange Commission, an IP partner at a leading law firm had a few too many drinks, then got a little “TMII” — “too much (inside) information” — with his investment adviser. That adviser then traded on the material, nonpublic information, the SEC alleges….
* The speed (or lack thereof) of justice: The DOJ filed suit against Bank of America, alleging that the bank defrauded mortgage-backed securities investors in 2008. [DealBook / New York Times]
* Sri Srinivasan, the newest member of the D.C. Circuit’s bench, is getting ready to hear his first arguments, while litigants try to commit the spelling of his last name to memory. [Legal Times]
* The LSAT is not to blame for the dearth of minority enrollment in law schools, said a UVA Law professor, and then a Cooley Law professor had to swoop in to slap him down. [National Law Journal]
* After teaming up with Touro, the University of Central Florida is working with Barry on an accelerated degree program. The dean of FAMU is upset. Don’t worry, you’ll get your turn, too. [Orlando Sentinel]
* New Jersey is in no rush to legalize gay marriage. To support their views, officials point out that people with civil unions are just like married couples — except for the married part. [New Jersey Law Journal]
* Meanwhile, a judge in Illinois will decide whether she’ll dismiss a challenge to the state’s gay marriage ban by the end of September. In her defense, early fall is a great time for a wedding. [Daily Herald]
* Belvin Perry, the judge who presided over the Casey Anthony murder trial, may be getting his own Judge Judy-esque television show. Oh, Flori-duh, you never, ever cease to entertain us. [MSN News]
At the end of the day, he probably could have done the right thing. But he chose to play the game. It didn’t leave me feeling good about Wall Street.
– Evelyn Linares, a 61-year-old principal who served as a juror in the Fabrice Tourre civil fraud trial, sharing her feelings about Fabulous Fab — he “disappointed” her — after the verdict was announced.
This is what you could call a slow news week. It’s kind of the exact opposite of the week that inspired me to start writing these missives. Back then, the Supreme Court was handing down rulings and the Zimmerman trial was getting off to a disastrous start for the defense. It all seems so long ago.
The latter days of the summer are always slow in law as partners and judges go on vacation and students await the return to school. The bar exam provides some light entertainment and OCI generally provides a gem or two, but otherwise it’s a slow period.
And that’s when people can get tripped up by satire masquerading as news.
Here’s a short round-up of a few key stories from the week including how satire fooled a lot of the ATL-verse and some high profile cases that had milestone moments…
“For example, on or about July 29, 2009, a recently hired SAC PM (the ‘New PM’) sent an instant message to [Steve Cohen] and relayed that, due to some ‘recent research,’ the New PM planned to short Nokia when he started work 10 days later. The New PM apologized for being ‘cryptic’ but noted that the head of SAC compliance ‘was giving me Rules 101 yesterday – so I won’t be saying much[.] [T]oo scary.’”
Possibly the weirdest part here is that new hires got compliance lectures two weeks before they showed up at the firm? But maybe not; the DOJ takes a pretty dim view of SAC’s hiring process generally, and if you believe the DOJ that SAC’s main hiring criterion was “is good at insider trading,” then you could imagine the need for a little pre-start-date warning in email etiquette:
* It’s just business as usual: Amid accusations of liberal court-packing, D.C. Circuit nominee Nina Pillard faced questions on abortion and religion during her testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee. [USA Today]
* Biglaw isn’t as dead as we’ve been told and made to believe. Some of the largest firms are actually doing quite well, says American Lawyer’s editor-in-chief, who’d like her job to retain some meaning for now. [Am Law Daily]
* Fried Frank knew that it’d take a banker to pull the firm from its monetary funk, so it picked up David Greenwald, deputy general counsel of Goldman Sachs, to act as co-chair through 2015. [New York Law Journal]
* With the change in SEC policy, from allowing companies to use neither-admit-nor-deny language, to forcing them to admit guilt in “egregious” cases, lawyers may soon be very busy. [Corporate Counsel]
* Raj Rajaratnam is a firm believer in the “three strikes and you’re out” theory of law. A month after the Second Circuit affirmed his insider trading conviction, he’s asking for a rehearing en banc. [Bloomberg]
Ed. note: The Asia Chronicles column is authored by Kinney Recruiting. Kinney has made more placements of U.S. associates, counsels and partners in Asia than any other recruiting firm in each of the past six years. You can reach them by email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
We currently have a very exciting and rare type of in-house opening in China at one of the world’s leading internet and social media companies. Our client is looking for an IP Transactional / TMT / Licensing attorney with 2 to 6 years experience. The new hire will be based in Shenzhen or Shanghai. Mandarin is not required (deal documentation will be in English) but is preferred. A solid reason to be in China and a commitment to that market is required of course. This new hire will likely be US qualified (but could also be qualified in UK or other jurisdictions) and with experience and training at a top law firm’s IP transactional / TMT practice and could be currently at a law firm or in-house. Qualified candidates currently Asia based, Europe based or US based will be considered. The new hire’s supervisors in this technology transactions in-house team are very well regarded US trained IP transactional lawyers, with substantial experience at Silicon Valley firms. The culture and atmosphere in this in-house group and the company in general is entrepreneurial, team oriented, and the work is cutting edge, even for a cutting edge industry. The upside of being in an important strategic in-house position in this fast growing and world leading internet company is of the “sky is the limit” variety. Its a very exciting place to be in China for a rising IP transactional lawyer in our opinion, for many reasons beyond the basic info we can share here in this ad / post. This is a special A+ opportunity.
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