Category Archives: CLE

Free One-Hour Briefing on Accessing Justice: Ethics and Lawsuit Financing in a New Era

The expense of bringing a case to trial for attorneys, firms, and the parties themselves can be astronomical. How often in your practice do you reject cases because neither your firm nor the client will be able to shoulder the costs of litigation, particularly in cases that will be complicated or protracted? Have you found yourself at the receiving end of a scorched-earth defense strategy that has swallowed up firm resources and profits? Have your clients struggled to meet operating expenses while waiting for their day in court? What options do litigators without deep pockets have to properly prepare and bring cases to trial and appeal?

The use of alternative litigation finance (“ALF”) has engendered spirited debate within the legal community, largely centered upon its impact on attorney ethics requirements. Does a third party’s investment impact an attorney’s duty to use independent professional judgment? Can it cause impermissible conflicts of interest? Does it potentially threaten sacred attorney-client and work product privileges?

In this engaging and informative program, James Batson, an attorney with over 20 years of litigation expertise and an Investment Manager and Legal Counsel to Bentham IMF, will introduce the use of litigation funding as a modern means to ensure meritorious cases get the commitment of resources they deserve. In addition to introducing the basics of alternative litigation finance, Jim will address numerous Rules of Professional Responsibility and how they intersect with litigation funding.

A detailed appendix will be provided containing the ethics opinions and additional contents discussed during the program.

Register now and don’t miss this important free briefing!


PLI Free Fridays

Each Friday, PLI offers everyone one week of free access to one web segment or One-Hour Audio Briefing from its catalog of more than 3,500 hours of on-demand offerings. These Free Friday segments are good for one full hour of CLE credit, and can be passed along to clients, colleagues, or anyone in need of training.

As a reminder, PLI Privileged Members have access to all of PLI’s live programs, Webcasts, and on-demand programs.

Free One-Hour Briefing on Kiobel v. Royal Dutch Petroleum Co.

May 8, 2013, 1:00 pm – 2:00 pm (E.D.T.)

On April 17, 2013, the Supreme Court held in Kiobel v. Royal Dutch Petroleum Co. that the Alien Tort Statute (ATS), which allows suits in federal courts for violations of international law (including international human rights law), is subject to the presumption against extraterritoriality. Chief Justice Roberts’s five-justice majority dismissed the Kiobel case, ruling that cases under the ATS must “touch and concern” the United States, and that the “mere corporate presence” of a foreign multinational was insufficient to allow the presumption to be rebutted. The Kiobel case involved allegations that Royal Dutch/Shell, a Dutch/British conglomerate, was complicit in crimes against humanity and other abuses in Nigeria in the 1990s; although the lower courts had found that Shell was sufficiently present in the U.S. to be subject to personal jurisdiction, the Supreme Court ruled that this was not enough to proceed under the ATS. Justice Kennedy’s brief concurrence, however, suggested that many questions remain open after this decision, indicating that the majority opinion may not automatically be read to extend beyond the facts presented. A concurrence by Justice Alito and Justice Thomas argued that ATS suits should only be allowed where conduct within the United States violates international law, but the majority did not go this far. A separate concurrence in the judgment by Justice Breyer, joined by Justices Ginsburg, Sotomayor, and Kagan, argued that the presumption against extraterritoriality should not apply, but that nonetheless some international law basis for jurisdiction needed to be present, and that it was lacking here. The Court declined to address the original question certified – whether corporations were subject to suit under the ATS.
Join Paul L. Hoffman, a partner at Schonbrun DeSimone Seplow Harris Hoffman & Harrison, LLP, who argued the case before the Second Circuit and the Supreme Court on behalf of the Kiobel plaintiffs, and Marco Simons, Legal Director of EarthRights International, which submitted several amicus briefs at all stages of the Kiobel case, as they discuss the case and its implications, including:

  • What is the status of corporate liability for ATS suits after Kiobel
  • What sorts of cases might meet the new “touch and concern” test, i.e., cases involving U.S. defendants, defendants residing in the U.S., substantial conduct within the U.S., or cases that would go forward in the U.S. regardless of ATS claims
  • What other avenues for bringing suits to remedy international human rights violations remain

To register, click here.

PLI MP3s and MP4s Qualify as Participatory Credit in CA

Good news for our California attorneys! PLI has recently received confirmation from the California State Bar that our MP3s and MP4s qualify for participatory credit under the Bar’s MCLE rules. They had previously been classified as self-study.  As such, all certificates issued to attorneys in California for MP3s and MP4s now indicate participatory credit.  Librarians, let your California-based lawyers know!