Posts

Duane Morris Celebrates Black History Month

Following the killing of George Floyd, protest erupted throughout the United States and the world, demanding change and an end to police brutality. Sadly, Floyd’s murder was the only the latest in a series of unnecessary tragedies, captured on video, that revealed to the world why every parent with Black children, especially sons, has to have “The Talk.” Joseph K. West, partner and Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officer of Duane Morris, explained it in a widely covered Legal Intelligencer article as:

“It is that discussion wherein we inform our sons that even the most benign interactions could turn lethal in an instant, often at the hands of public servants charged with protecting and serving them. I usually give that talk to my teenage boys once per year. Unfortunately, I have had to deliver it four times in the last week, alone.”

In this unprecedented moment of reckoning and awakening, Duane Morris held a series of events and discussions on racial inequality and the systemic changes that are needed for a more just society in America.

In a firm wide event to honour Juneteenth, the oldest nationally celebrated commemoration of the ending of slavery in the United States, the acclaimed actor, director and producer Laurence Fishburne spoke about the much-heralded Juneteenth episode of his hit show, “`black•ish,” which he co-created, produces and co-stars in. Mr. West moderated the discussion, which featured highlights of culturally significant projects from Mr. Fishburne’s celebrated career, including #Free Rayshawn, Contagion, Slavery by Another Name, Akeelah and the Bee, Miss Evers’ Boys, Thurgood, Boyz n the Hood and School Daze.

Read Bloomberg Law’s coverage of the town hall.

The public protests in the summer of 2020 also forced the business world to examine its practices and find ways to address systemic racism and inequality in meaningful ways.

In the ABC News story “As Corporate America Faces Racial Reckoning, Here’s How Experts Say Change Can Be Made,” Mr. West said, “I’m cautiously optimistic that it is a tipping point… The lines have really been blurred between what you see playing out in the streets and what you see playing out in the corridors of power.”

Mr. West also noted that “Companies are concluding that they face heightened expectations from their customers and employees to respond to racial concerns in the moment,” in the Wall Street Journal article “Companies Make Big Pledges Toward Initiatives on Race.”

To continue the discussion in the legal industry, Mr. West created “Black Lawyers in America: A National Town Hall Series,” a webinar series co-sponsored by Duane Morris LLP, the American Bar Association, the Commercial Law Section of the National Bar Association, the Black Entertainment and Sports Lawyers Association, the Association of Law Firm Diversity Professionals and the Leadership Council on Legal Diversity. With Mr. West as moderator, the sessions examined the struggle for change and racial equity in the legal profession from the past, present and future, with prominent speakers including Dennis Archer, Paulette Brown and Robert Grey, Jr., the three African American former presidents of the American Bar Association; Judy Perry Martinez, president, American Bar Association (2019-2020); John O. Gaidoo, assistant general counsel, Cummins Inc.; Michele Coleman Mayes, vice president, general counsel and secretary, The New York Public Library; Benjamin F. Wilson, chairman, Beveridge & Diamond, P.C.; Matthew A. Taylor, chairman and chief executive officer, Duane Morris LLP; Tiffany Harper, first deputy treasurer, chief of staff and general counsel, Office of the Treasurer, City of Chicago; Brandon Harrell, deputy general counsel, Los Angeles 2028 Olympic and Paralympic Games Organising Committee; Karl Riley, clerk for the Hon. Johnnie B. Rawlinson, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit; Muriel Bowser, mayor of Washington, D.C.; Stacey E. Plaskett, U.S. representative, U.S. Virgin Islands’ at-large Congressional District; and Wendell Edward Pierce, actor and activist.

Duane Morris adds manager and staff accountant

The Duane Morris Tax Accounting Group (TAG) has added Galina Morgovsky, CPA, as a manager and Thomas Maag as a staff accountant.

“We are thrilled to welcome Galina and Tom to our rapidly expanding team,” said Michael A. Gillen, CPA, director of Duane Morris’ Tax Accounting Group. “With their addition, we have added strong talent and deepened our bench of highly skilled CPAs and lawyers, all of whom share a common vision, which emphasises an unwavering commitment to best-in-class client service. Due to continued robust growth in our domestic and international high-wealth client base, we are especially excited to add Galina and Tom to our stellar team and continue to grow our client service group in the areas of comprehensive tax planning, compliance and representation for high-wealth individuals, closely held businesses and family offices.

Galina Morgovsky will be primarily responsible for tax planning and compliance activities, including tax minimisation strategies, for a diverse client base including high-net-worth individuals and closely held businesses. She will also devote time and energies to tax representation activities for high-net-worth individuals and businesses.

Morgovsky is a certified public accountant and graduated cum laude from Drexel University with a Bachelor of Science in business administration with a concentration in accounting. Prior to joining TAG, she was a tax director with a national CPA firm.

Thomas Maag will be primarily responsible for tax planning and compliance activities, including tax minimisation strategies, for a diverse client base including family offices, estates, trusts and non-profit organisations. He will also devote time and energies to accounting and reporting activities for non-profit organisations.

Maag is a certified public accountant candidate and graduated from Rutgers University with a Bachelor of Science in accounting. Prior to joining TAG, he was a tax accountant with an estate planning and family office law firm.

Duane Morris receive Women’s Impact Network for Success awards

The Duane Morris Women’s Impact Network for Success (WINS) has honoured three attorneys for their efforts to advance women in the legal profession. Manita Rawat, managing partner of the firm’s Silicon Valley office, and Chicago partner Lisa T. Scruggs received the Cheryl Bryson Leadership Award. Philadelphia partner Linda B. Hollinshead received the Margery Reed Professional Excellence Award. Rawat, Scruggs and Hollinshead received the awards at Duane Morris’ virtual annual firmwide meeting.

The Cheryl Bryson Leadership Award recognises significant contributions, including professional development, leadership and mentoring, made by a lawyer to women in the legal profession. The award is named in honour of the late Cheryl Blackwell Bryson, a Duane Morris partner in Chicago who died in January 2012 after a long battle with cancer. Bryson was a leader in many significant civic and community causes, and she was repeatedly honoured throughout her career as a major pioneer, both as a female lawyer and as a lawyer of colour.

Likewise, Margery Reed spent her entire professional career as an attorney at Duane Morris, including 24 years as a partner of the firm. As demonstrated by her numerous awards, including her admission as a fellow in the prestigious American College of Bankruptcy, Reed was repeatedly recognised as one of the best commercial bankruptcy lawyers in the country. A consummate partner, Reed was incomparably selfless in giving of her time and talents to assist her colleagues and mentor junior lawyers. She was a true professional in every sense, and her unwavering commitment to her clients and colleagues, the firm and the profession of law is the reason this award for professional excellence is given in her name.

Despite her extremely busy schedule, Manita Rawat was chosen for going out of her way to work with young female lawyers and serve as a mentor to them in terms of “work product, marketing and what it means to be a good firm citizen.” She is committed to having open and honest discussions with young attorneys related to practice and personal issues.

Rawat is the managing partner of the firm’s Silicon Valley office and a member of the firm’s Intellectual Property Practice Group. She counsels clients on a variety of issues related to intellectual property, working primarily with software, mechanical and aerospace technologies. Rawat also has significant experience with patent office post grant proceedings (including inter-parts review and re-examination). She also has substantial experience in supporting intellectual property issues related to corporate deals, such as mergers and acquisitions and investment funding. Rawat also assists clients in patent licensing and transactional matters, including structuring, negotiating and drafting agreements. She has significant experience with providing technical support on patent litigation matters at various stages of a case as well. In 2020, Rawat was honoured with a Women of Influence Award from Silicon Valley Business Journal. She is a member of the firm’s governing Partners Board and serves on the firm’s Diversity and Inclusion Committee.

Lisa T. Scruggs was chosen for her dedication to mentoring young female attorneys. “In a profession that can often be dominated by competitiveness and egos, she goes out of her way to provide kind leadership.”

A core member of the Education Industry group at Duane Morris, Scruggs provides litigation and counselling services for education and school reform organisations, including individual charter and private schools, early childhood centres, charter school networks, charter and education management organisations, school districts and other education non-profit and for-profit organisations and service providers. She has handled a wide range of litigation, regulatory and policy matters for clients relating to new school development, teacher evaluation, credentialing and certification reforms, public/private education ventures, virtual education/remote learning, school finance and parent and student civil rights. Scruggs has been recognised by Crain’s Chicago Business on its listing of Notable Minorities in Law (2019) and as an Illinois Super Lawyer (Business Litigation and Education Law) for eight years running. She was awarded the firm’s Pro Bono Leadership Award for her work handling a legal challenge to the school funding system in Illinois and is a Pahara-Aspen Education Fellow, joining a cohort of leaders who are “reimagining America’s public schools.”

Although employment issues surrounding COVID-19 have left Linda B. Hollinshead incredibly busy, she is still taking the time to support her colleagues during these unexpected times. She was chosen for the “advice, resources and humour she has contributed to fellow parents these past few months while coping with the new normal.”

Hollinshead practices in the area of employment law. She provides training and counselling to employers throughout the country on a variety of subjects, including monitoring employee attendance, FMLA compliance, medical and religious accommodations, leaves of absence policies, harassment and discrimination prevention, responding to harassment and discrimination claims, FLSA and wage and hour compliance, including employee misclassification, diversity and inclusion, termination of employees, hiring practices, performance appraisals and performance management. Hollinshead also advises public accommodations as well as recipients of federal financial assistance on program accessibility and other compliance obligations. She advises clients in numerous industries, including colleges and universities, manufacturing and retail companies, hospitals and other healthcare organisations, technology companies, financial services organisations, energy companies and not-for-profit entities. Hollinshead is also a member of the firm’s Cannabis Industry Group. She also assists employers by drafting employees policies and handbooks, confidentiality and restrictive covenant agreements, employment agreements, termination and severance agreements as well as independent contractor agreements. Hollinshead is a member of the firm’s COVID-19 Strategy Team.

Duane Morris named a Standout Firm by BTI Consulting Group

Duane Morris has been named a Standout Firm in Class Actions Litigation, Cybersecurity Litigation and Complex Commercial Litigation by BTI Consulting Group.

According to BTI:

  • As litigation (of all types) is starting to pile up in what is expected to be a tsunami of litigation, corporate counsel re-evaluate their options of law firms based on current performance, response-to-date to the pandemic, ongoing interactions and prior performance.
  • Top legal decision makers identified the firms best suited to meet their most pressing litigation needs.

If you would like to find out more information about BTI Consulting Group, please visit: https://bticonsulting.com/

About Duane Morris

Duane Morris LLP, a law firm with more than 800 attorneys in offices across the United States and internationally, is asked by a broad array of clients to provide innovative solutions to today’s legal and business challenges.

Duane Morris partner named Washington, DC trailblazer

Duane Morris partner Michael E. Barnicle has been named a Washington, DC trailblazer by National Law Journal. The inaugural list honours individuals who are “truly agents of change.”

In law school, Michael Barnicle read about U.S. military veterans who were not receiving the benefits they deserved. He was so upset that he started a free legal clinic to help veterans obtain what the government owned them. But that wasn’t enough. “I said, ‘well, if I’m going to walk the walk and talk the talk. …'” He enlisted in the U.S. Army, where he became a paratrooper and served in Iraq. The experience informs his private practice, in which he facilitates government contracts – including defence contracts – for his clients. “I’m a bridge a lot of times,” spanning the worlds of business and the military. “I speak (both) languages and that really facilitates difficult things.”

Barnicle entered the Army through a pilot program that provided legal advisers to military commanders in areas of conflict. “The more difficult the place in the world, the more difficult the legal problems.” In the four years since he left the Army, Barnicle became a partner at Duane Morris and helped create the firm’s government contracts and international trade practice group. His client list includes many defence contractors, and at least half his practice involves international markets. Although attached to the firm’s Washington office, Barnicle works mostly out of Chicago. “Federal government contracts don’t have geographic limitations.”

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Barnicle has spent much of his time “helping suppliers think creatively to work with both the federal and state governments” to maintain the supply chain for medicines and medical equipment. When the pandemic subsides, he will resume working with technology companies that he thinks are key to supporting military operations. “They’re kind of the new Lockheeds and the new Raytheons and the new large defence industrial base contractors. It’s really important that they understand how to work with the government.”

Duane Morris launch Meals for Healthcare Heroes program

Duane Morris’ Meals for Healthcare Heroes program provided meals for more than 20,000 medical professionals in 16 cities. Duane Morris’ COVID-19 Strategy Team established the initiative, funded by donations from Duane Morris attorneys and staff, to honour healthcare workers and support local restaurants.

The medical facilities and restaurants included:

  • Atlanta: Piedmont Hospital, Kale Me Crazy
  • Austin: St. David’s Medical Center, Rudy’s
  • Baltimore: University of Maryland Medical Center, Miss Shirley’s
  • Boca Raton: Boca Raton Regional Hospital, Shake Shack
  • Boston: Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Saltie Girl
  • Chicago: Saint Anthony Hospital, Wishbone Chicago
  • Houston: Ben Taub Hospital, Los Tios
  • Los Angeles: Memorial Hospital of Gardena, Panda Express
  • Miami: Doctors Hospital – Baptist Health South Florida, Chick-fil-A
  • Newark: Saint Michael’s Medical Center, SuzyQue’s BBQ & Bar
  • New York: Mount Sinai West, Shake Shack
  • Philadelphia: Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Murray’s Deli
  • Pittsburgh: UPMC Shadyside, Market Street Grocery
  • San Diego: Stepping Stone of San Diego, Sisters Pizza
  • San Francisco: Laguna Honda Hospital, West of Pecos
  • Wilmington: ChristianaCare, Olympic Subs and Steaks

About the Duane Morris COVID-19 Strategy Team

The Duane Morris COVID-19 Strategy Team advises clients on all aspects of the legal issues and implications of the COVID-19 pandemic including contractual, employment, insurance and healthcare issues. Duane Morris attorneys are fielding inquiries and providing advice in a wide range of areas, including human resources, travel and transportation, immigration and border entry, hospital and healthcare operations, medical and pharmaceutical supply, FDA, food handling and preparation, OSHA, ADA compliance, data privacy, HIPAA, environmental and EPA, international transactions, shipping, supply chain and logistics, financial reporting, insurance liability, real estate issues, including landlord and tenant matters, and all types of contracts and quasi-contracts. Duane Morris has established a blog dedicated to COVID-19 issues and is distributing Alerts and sharing information via webinars and media interviews.