Thursday, July 31, 2014

Legal Intelligencer Award

The Legal Intelligencer has named Meyer, Unkovic & Scott as the 2014 Litigation Department of the Year in the midsize category. Read more in the Pittsburgh Business Times article.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Social Media Risk Management

Ronald Hicks will be speaking at the 11th Annual NGLCC National Business & Leadership Conference tomorrow. Details below:

Social Media Risk Management
Are you experiencing difficulty navigating the ever changing landscape of social media? Learn how to effectively and efficiently utilize social media to drive business and create more innovative opportunities. Learn about what every business needs to understand in order to operate and survive in today’s Digital Era from experts in social media risk management. Attendees will be able to identify some of the common social media risks that businesses face and understand why it is important to adopt and implement a social media policy.

Date: Wednesday, July 30
Time: 11:30 a.m. -  12:45 p.m.
Location: Caesars Palace - Promenade Level, Turin

  • Ronald Hicks, Jr., Esquire, Meyer, Unkovic & Scott LLP
  • Evan Urbania, CEO, ChatterBlast Media
  • Josh Vezza, Account Associate, SMB Services, Google

Friday, July 25, 2014

Radio Show - Importance of a Will and Powers of Attorney

Tune in this Saturday to hear Michele Conti discuss the importance of a Will and Powers of Attorney. The broadcast begins at 11:30 a.m. on 101.5 WORD-FM.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Employees Must Receive Compensation For Signing Non-Competes

Beth Slagle's article "Employees Must Receive Compensation For Signing Non-Competes" recently appeared on the front page of the PHRA’s publication Perspectives. You can click here to download it.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Nine Attorneys Named Super Lawyers

Meyer, Unkovic & Scott recently had nine attorneys named as Super Lawyers 2014. Congratulations Thomas Berret, Patricia Dodge, Andrea Geraghty, Ronald Hicks, Jr., Richard Kotarba, James Mall, Kevin McKeegan, Russell Ober, Jr. and David Oberdick.

You can see the full release here, "9 Attorneys Named Super Lawyers".

*About Super Lawyers®
Super Lawyers®, a Thompson Reuters business, is a rating service of outstanding lawyers from more than 70 practice areas who have attained a high degree of peer recognition and professional achievement.  The annual selections are made using a patented multiphase process that includes a statewide survey of lawyers, an independent research evaluation of candidates and peer reviews by practice area.  The result is a credible, comprehensive and diverse listing of exceptional attorneys.

Please click here to learn more about Super Lawyers® ratings.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Broker Protocol: What Exactly is a Raiding Claim?

Brian J. Sommer 
By following the Protocol for Broker Recruiting (the "Protocol"), a departing financial advisor can reasonably expect to solicit their former clients without the threat of their former firm filing an injunction to stop the solicitations - provided, of course, that either the advisor's old firm, or their new firm, or both firms are Protocol signatories. However, contrary to what many think, compliance with the Protocol does not eliminate the threat of all legal action against the departing advisor because Protocol signatories have expressly reserved the right to pursue raiding claims. Consequently, advisors - and more likely a team of advisors - can be sued by their former firm regardless of their Protocol compliance.

What then is a raiding claim and under what circumstances does a financial advisor or a group/team of advisors need to worry about a raiding claim being brought against them?

First, raiding is not an independent, freestanding cause of action. Rather, for pleading purposes, a raiding claim must be brought as a breach of contract claim, a tortious interference with a contractual relationship claim, a breach of a fiduciary duty claim, and/or a theft of trade secrets claim. Next, raiding claims are unlikely when only one individual financial advisor is moving from one firm to another as the former firm's size allows it to absorb the loss of one advisor's book of business. On the other hand, as a general rule, a raiding lawsuit is much more likely when a whole group or team of producers is recruited to leave one firm by another firm as the impact to the former firm is greater and thus more devastating.

So what can advisors and the firms recruiting them do to manage the risk of a raiding lawsuit?

At the outset, advisors need to review their agreements with their current firm for non-solicitation language that bars them from (a) soliciting other employees to join with them in transferring to a competitor and/or (b) soliciting client accounts that were assigned to them by the firm. If such language exists in their agreements, it is advisable to have counsel analyze in order to determine whether it is legally enforceable and, if so, and, if possible, how to avoid triggering liability for violating such provisions.

Next, if the desire to change firms is even partially motivated by grievances about the current work environment, then it is worth considering discussing those grievances with current management in order to effect change. In the event that the grievances are discussed but the advisor's current firm does nothing to address them, having documented an attempt to raise and resolve any grievances will help support both a number of affirmative defenses against any raiding claim as well as certain counterclaims.

Finally, complete compliance with the Protocol is necessary. By making sure that all members of the departing team do not take any client information beyond what the Protocol allows, advisors can avoid certain kinds of claims being filed against them such as theft of trade secret, breach of duty of loyalty, and some kinds of breach of contract. Alternatively, Protocol compliance creates a compelling defense to such claims should they be filed by the former firm.

But more than these steps, and others that can be taken, it is absolutely critical for teams or groups of advisors planning to move together work with counsel to be proactive in order to avoid or at least minimize raiding lawsuits.

This material is for informational purposes only.  It is not and should not be solely relied on as legal advice in dealing with any specific situation.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Beware of Legal Obligations as Your Business Grows

Elaina Smiley’s article “Beware of Legal Obligations as Your Business Grows” appears in the current issue of the SMC’s Working PArts. You can download the full magazine here. The article is on page 25.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Build Your Business Network

Interesting article that highlights questions you can ask to build up your business network and improve connections. Read it at "Build Your Network By Asking 3 Simple Questions".