Arbitration: A Double-Edged Sword for Start-Up Employees

By: Michael Fleming*| Guest Writer many, start-ups represent an opportunity to become a part of the next Uber, Venmo, Tinder, or to the most auspicious, Apple or Google.  Employees are willing to work longer than normal hours not only to be a part of something bigger, but also because they are rewarded with perks like daily catered lunches, company sponsored happy hours, and lavish trips.  In 2013, over 47% of college graduates were working for companies who employed less than 100 employees. A start-up’s mission goal, the culture, the pay scale, and the perks are simply too tempting for a college graduate to turn down. Continue reading »

UNIT APPRECIATION RIGHTS When Cash Does Not Equal Ownership

By: Khalif Timberlake*| Guest Writer publicly traded companies (“PTC”) continue to grow both in revenue and profits, non-publicly traded companies (“NPTC”) have found themselves competing for employees. For many employees, an important factor when choosing where to work is compensation. One form of compensation in which PTC have historically prioritized are stock grants and also stock options. In essence, PTC either award stock or present a favorable price at which to buy stock in the company for a particular employee. Largely reserved for key executive employees, such compensation increasingly became an attractive incentive for employees. The benefits also favored companies, for now the employees had an additional incentive to increase the value of the company. The utilization of stock options and grants has incentivized competing employers within the same markets to offer alternative employee packages to maintain and attract desired employees. This usually resulted in an increase in other forms of compensation areas such as base salary, vacation time, insurance benefits etc. Continue reading »

Beer Serious: 500 Years of Beer Regulation

By: Libby Casale*| Guest Writer

There is a German word, bierernst, which literally translates to “beer serious.”  And in Germany, beer is serious business.  Beer purity laws, known as Reinheitsgebot, govern what specifications beer must conform to in Germany.  The law is celebrating its 500th birthday this year.

Duke Wilhelm IV of Bavaria issued the regulation in 1516, and some regard it as the oldest currently valid consumer protection law in the world.  The law was aimed at quality in sixteenth century breweries.  Beer was a dietary staple, and breweries in the sixteenth century were not very hygienic.  Brewers often added questionable ingredients, such as wood shavings and roots to their beers.  The laws also helped protect consumers from high prices. Continue reading »

USA Binges Pokémon Go while World Waits

By: Rachel Raimondi*| Guest Writer

It’s beginning to look a lot like the ‘90s.

On July 6, Pokémon Go launched using smartphone cameras to create an “augmented reality” in which animated, mystical creatures originally introduced in 1996 are displayed in real-life settings like parks, offices and living rooms.  GPS puts players’ human avatars on a real map of their surroundings and encourages local exploration and exercise on the quest to “catch ‘em all.” Continue reading »

Insider Trading & Gambling Debts Taint Phil Mickelson

By: Dominic Interlicchia*| Guest Writer

On May 19, 2016, U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara announced insider trading charges against Billy Walters, a well known Las Vegas sports gambler, as well as insider trading charges against Tom Davis.  Davis is the former chairman of the board of Dean Foods, the largest provider of fresh milk in the United States.  Andrew Ceresney also announced Phil Mickelson as a relief defendant to repay the benefits he received from the stock deal as well as interest. Continue reading »

Episode II: The Cloud Wars

By: Rachel Raimondi*| Guest Writer

On June 13, Microsoft announced it would take over LinkedIn in a $26.2 billion cash deal; it’s biggest acquisition to date.  Microsoft plans to merge its “professional cloud” with LinkedIn’s “professional network,” to put users’ LinkedIn profiles at the center of standard Microsoft products like Outlook, Excel and Skype.

Additionally, Microsoft wants LinkedIn’s data about companies’ workers for use with its digital assistant, Cortana.  CEO Satya Nadella described the Cortana experience to investors, saying:

“Just imagine you’re walking into a meeting, and Cortana now wakes up and tells you about the people you’re meeting for the first time, but tells you all the things that you want to know before walking into meeting someone.” Continue reading »

Deregulating the American Dream

By: Rachel Raimondi*| Guest Writer

By Bizking2u – Eget arbejde, CC BY-SA 4.0,

Since May 16 the Securities and Exchange Commission has allowed the 99 percent to join top investors in the Securities-based Crowdfunding of private companies.  Crowdfunding is a financing method that allows companies to solicit small individual investments from the general public during the start-up and beginning stages of development.  While the basic premise is similar to that of Kickstarter, which launched in 2009, Securities-based Crowdfunding allows investors to receive an equity stake in the fledgling company, rather than first dibs on the future product or experience.  The SEC and its new rules regulate only Securities-based Crowdfunding. Continue reading »

Finders Keepers: Not The Case In Design Patent Suits

By: Hunt Harris*| Staff Writer,0.5,0,0&iccEmbed=0&layer=comp&.v=RZ0lL2

Back in December of 2015, Samsung agreed to pay Apple $548 million in damages stemming from a 2011 lawsuit filed by Apple.  In the lawsuit, Apple argued that Samsung infringed on three design patents that represent the essence of the iPhone.  Design patents are meant to protect items whose design is central to the product.  As part of the deal, Samsung and Apple agreed to withdraw all patent lawsuits outside of the United States. Samsung also reserved the right to reclaim the funds if the verdict is subsequently overturned.  In March of this year, the Supreme Court agreed to hear an appeal from Samsung over the appropriate amount of damages to be paid to Apple. Continue reading »

Attorneys: The Real Winners In Class Action Settlements

By: Hunt Harris*| Staff Writer

In 2011, Walmart agreed to settle a class action lawsuit worth $27.5 million by paying participants via check or gift card.  The settlement was in response to a deal made in 2005, in which the CEOs of Walmart and Netflix allegedly agreed to share the DVD market.  Both parties agreed that Walmart would not rent DVDs if Netflix promised not to sell them.  The deal was designed as a promotional agreement to help each party market one another’s specific movie business on their own websites. Continue reading »

DIY Home Funeral

By: Molly Pearce* | Staff Writer

Caitlin Doughty and Amber Carvaly founded a business in California called Undertaking LA. Their business encourages and teaches families how to be more involved in end-of-life-rituals. Another similar company, the Fitting Tribute Funeral Services, offers green burials, witness cremations and post-cremation memorial services. Fitting Tribute is known for offering “anything that makes celebrating a life live more personalized and more meaningful.” For many, traditional funerals are not preferable or economically feasible, and home funerals offer a more intimate alternative. For many, eco-friendly alternatives are more appealing. This movement towards more natural funeral experiences has also expanded to burial decisions. David Wolfe’s website discusses innovative ideas for using organic burial pods to turn remains into trees. These biodegradable urns and pods could be utilized to create a “memory forest” as opposed to a cemetery. Continue reading »