HANDLE WITH CARE – The tidal wave of layoffs sweeping through the tech industry is putting legal departments to the test, as in-house counsel seek to mitigate risk and ensure their companies carry out the cuts as humanely (and, not to mention, legally) as possible, Law.com’s Maria Dinzeo reports. Foster Sayers, general counsel at contract management software company Pramata, said in-house counsel should try to make the best of a bad situation for laid-off employees by ensuring they tailor separation agreements to ensure employees don’t feel cheated. He noted that a friend who was laid off from Twitter revoked his separation agreement because it did not account for the equity that had been part of his compensation. “He felt that he was very clearly promised one outcome, but the severance package offered was not what was promised,” Sayers said. “I’m sure it was drafted from some boilerplate language that outside counsel had. In-house needs to be ready to rise to the occasion and rapidly develop some competency around separation agreements. You have to take the time to own your separation agreement and not just rely on outside counsel.”
DON’T WRITE IT OFF – Big Law’s track record of charging clients lots of money is—and continues to be—unassailable. Its track record when it comes to collecting all that money? Not as good. As Law.com’s Andrew Maloney reports, almost three-quarters of law firms in North America and more than two-thirds in the U.K. say write-offs have increased this year, according to a new report from legal tech company BigHand, with about half of respondents in each jurisdiction confirming write-offs have grown by more than 10%. That type of increase—along with the more than a quarter of firms in each region that say they’re discounting to collect payments—”should be raising eyebrows,” the analysts wrote in a 37-page report this week. They added that kind of profit leakage is also “driving lawyers hard to increase billable hours” and that could jeopardize talent if it continues. “The speed with which write-offs have increased this year should be sounding loud alarm bells. Not only have 75% of NA and 64% of UK firms confirmed an increase this year, but 55% of NA and 48% of UK firms confirm that write-offs have increased by more than 10%,” the report stated.
ON THE RADAR – Edelson PC filed a consumer class action Monday in California Northern District Court against Samuel Bankman-Fried, founder of the failed cryptocurrency exchange FTX, once valued at $32 billion, and members of his ‘inner circle.’ The complaint accuses Bankman-Fried, currently under investigation by multiple agencies, of using FTX as his own personal slush fund, using FTX to fund his personal investments and inflating the value of FTT, FTX’s cryptocurrency. Counsel have not yet appeared for the defendants. The case is 3:22-cv-07666, Jessup v. Bankman-Fried et al. Stay up on the latest deals and litigation with the new Law.com Radar.
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