BLT: March 2014

The Importance of Bilateral Investment Treaties (BITs) When Investing in Emerging Markets

Feature Articles

The Importance of Bilateral Investment Treaties (BITs) When Investing in Emerging Markets

This article discusses what bilateral investment treaties (BITs) are, how investors can enforce claims under BITs, and why using a Dutch or Curaçao entity and the associated extensive BIT treaty network of the Netherlands and Curaçao may prove useful when investing in countries that are perceived to be politically unstable. This article will also briefly address BIT developments in the EU.

On February 26, 2014, the Supreme Court held that state-law fraud class actions brought against attorneys, insurance brokers, and others arising from Ponzi-scheme claims involving R. Allen Stanford could proceed. In Chadbourne & Parke LLP v. Troice, the Court held that such claims were not prevented by the Securities Litigation Uniform Standards Act (SLUSA). The Court’s decision narrows the extent of the preclusive effect of SLUSA on state-law fraud claims that bear some relationship to nationally traded securities.

On March 4, 2014, the U.S. Supreme Court issued its opinion in Lawson v. FMR LLC, No. 12-3, ruling that Section 806 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX), which bans retaliation against whistleblowers, applies not only to employees of public companies but also to employees of contractors and subcontractors who carry out work for public companies, significantly expanding the coverage of SOX.

In Great Hill Equity Partners IV, LP v. SIG Growth Equity Fund I, LLLP, the Delaware Court of Chancery recently considered whether the attorney-client privilege over pre-merger communications between a target company and its counsel passes to the surviving corporation in a merger governed by Delaware law. The decision highlights the possibility that pre-merger communications made with the expectation that they would be privileged could wind up in the hands of an adverse party, and provides guidance on how to avoid this unintended consequence of a merger.

Most lawyers are ineffective in presenting expert testimony. Business lawyers are often too dependent on experts to decide what testimony to present or how to present the expert testimony. The purpose of this article is to help trial lawyers recognize that only the trial lawyer can decide the most effective use of expert testimony and to show the best way to present it.

George, an in-house lawyer employed by Acme Corporation, is licensed to practice law in New York. Fifteen years ago, George moved to Acme’s headquarters in Chicago, where he has worked ever since. He is not a member of the Illinois bar. Is George engaged in the unauthorized practice of law, and if so, what might be the consequences?

Maury B. Poscover, Past Chair of the Business Law Section, delivered the invocation at the February 10, 2014, session of the ABA House of Delegates during the Midyear Meeting in Chicago. Just prior to the invocation, the ABA played host to a naturalization ceremony for 24 new U.S. citizens.

Increasingly over the last few years, businesses and their lawyers have been grappling with the issue of businesses’ social responsibility and sustainability. Within that time period, numerous committees within the Business Law Section have undertaken initiatives and presented CLE programs aimed at keeping Section members at the heart of developments in this area of the law. This month's “Inside Business Law” highlights some of those efforts and introduces a new Corporate Social Responsibility Law Task Force, which has been formed to coordinate the Section's efforts.



Nominations Sought for Section Leadership Positions

Do you know anyone who has what it takes to be a good Section leader? The Nominating Committee of the Section needs your recommendations for leadership positions for the 2017-2018 association year. Nominees will be selected for: Chair-elect (who automatically assumes the position of chair the following year); Secretary (who automatically assumes the position of vice chair the following year); Content Officer; two Section Delegates to the ABA House of Delegates; and five additional Council members for a four-year term expiring in 2021. The Nominating Committee will take into account the following principles in making its selections. It will: select nominees who have been substantial and active contributors to the Section; seek geographic diversity in the leadership of the Section; strive for representation from a broad cross-section of the areas of law represented in the Section; and seek to draw leaders from a broad cross-section of the various sectors of practice, including corporate law departments, government, academia and private law firms; and actively recruit nominees that reflect the diversity of the Section. Please send your nominations by email to susan.tobias@americanbar.org no later than November 18.

Question: Between November 2, 2015 and November 4, 2015, Harris Poll conducted an online survey of 2,017 adults ages 18 and older on behalf of NerdWallet, Inc. to understand U.S. consumers’ credit card payment habits and feelings around different types of debt. The results of this study were published in the 2015 American Household Credit Card Debt Study. According to the 2015 American Household Credit Card Debt Study, what percentage of U.S. adults would be more embarrassed to tell others about credit card debt than any other type of debt?
A. 10%
B. 35%
C. 55%
D. 90%

Question: From the late 1600s to the early 1800s, “debtors’ prisons” were commonplace with many cities and states operating brick-and-mortar detention facilities that were designed for incarcerating individuals who were unable or unwilling to pay their debts. Imprisonment for indebtedness was so commonplace that two signatories of the Declaration of Independence were jailed for failure to pay their debts. Can you name those two signatories?

The November issue of Business Law Today will focus on Nonprofits. Articles will range from the “Delaware Advantage” to nonprofit organizations needing nonprofit lawyers. In addition, other features include keeping pace with disruptive technological change, insurance bad faith recoveries, and constitutional issues in granting Americans a “Right to Dispute.”

Do you have a great idea for a BLT article? Would you like to see more of a featured column? Let us know how we can make Business Law Today the best resource for you and your clients. We welcome any suggestions. Please send us your feedback here.

Business Law Section Fall Meeting
November 18-19, 2016
Washington, DC

Business Law Section Spring Meeting
April 6-8, 2017
New Orleans, LA

Miscellaneous IT Related Legal News (MIRLN) 25 September - 15 October 2016 (v19.14)

BLT is a web-based publication drawing upon the best of the Section's resources, including featured articles and other information from around the Section. Stay informed on the latest business law practice news and information that will benefit you and your clients.