The Brief No. 52: The Brief Turns 1 🎉

 
 
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August 28, 2019

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Announcing Talent Pools: It’s the 1st birthday of The Brief! And on our birthday, we’re thrilled to announce a new product feature—Talent Pools! Read more about how this new feature will help you organize and connect with the right contractor at the right time.

Our content team will be taking a break for Labor Day. We’ll see you back in The Brief and on the blog September 4th where we’ll be announcing some changes to The Brief based on what we’ve learned in year 1!

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Nothing but a G Thing: The annual Group of 7 countries (aka G7) meeting this weekend underscored building international economic and diplomatic tensions. As the leaders of the exclusive group of the wealthiest nations arrived at the summit, POTUS and China exchanged trade gunfire upping the amount and types of tariffs on one another’s goods. After taking a break from the east-west rivalry to renew a tariff threat on French wine as payback for France’s 3% digital service tax on tech companies approved last month, Trump (falsely) claimed that he had the authority to order US companies out of China under the Emergency Economic Powers Act. During the summit, POTUS advocated bringing Russia (exiled from the G7 upon their 2014 invasion of the Ukrainian territory Crimea) back into the fold while wavering on his China Tariff stance as world leaders pressured him to de-escalate the trade war. As domestic and global markets teeter, the legal community is thinking about how to survive a potential upcoming recession.  

Gasping for Air: Climate change was also front and center at the G7. While POTUS skipped the climate meeting, leaders declared an international crisis as the Amazon aka “the Earth’s lungs” (supplying around 20% of the world’s oxygen) were ravaged by fire and offered a $20M aid package to fight the fires. Pro-business Brazilian President Bolsonaro was initially resistant to fighting the fires which conveniently make room for expanding cattle production but softened under international pressure. He flip-flopped on the $20M aid offer while throwing some serious shade at France. These escalating environmental crises seemed a fitting exit for David Koch, one half of the famous Koch Brothers. David and his brother Charles are best known for creating modern corporate lobbying and their outsized influence on legislation and the political landscape over the last two decades— including aggressively fighting environmental protections. It’s TBD how the environment will stack up as an election issue and whether new policies and regulations will make environmental law a post-2020 growth area.

OK Court: Oklahoma Judge Thad Balkman on Monday at 4 PM, cut to the chase in a televised statement summarizing the court’s 42-page decision by stating that “The state met its burden” in the trial against Janssen and Johnson & Johnson for misleading marketing of opioids. The state had to prove that J&J had “created a nuisance” and “compromised the health and safety” of Oklahomans. The initial cost to the pharmaceutical giant is $572M, but Judge Balkman was quick to state that this does not discount any future or additional programs that they may be required to fund. An appeal is, of course, coming, but there’s no doubt that this decision will impact other ongoing opioid trials as well as other industries already concerned about the liability impact if the case's expansion of the “public nuisance” doctrine stands.

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It’s a little early for spooky stories, but The American Lawyer’s in-depth piece on LeClairRyan’s unraveling is the stuff of legal nightmares. LeClairRyan was a firm seemingly on top with rapidly rising revenue numbers from 2014 to 2015, but strategic missteps and bloated overhead led to a major layoff by October 2018. ALM dove deep into all the factors that led to the firm quickly winding down and shuddering this summer.

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Staffing up for a project or growing your legal team? Learn more about how Hire An Esquire can help.