We had planned a post celebrating our one-year launch anniversary; but the unnecessary death of George Floyd in Minneapolis compels us to instead speak out for justice. Both the firm’s founders served in law enforcement, and we appreciate that most people who serve do so honorably with the best intentions. As lawyers, we are also mindful that the justice process must play out for the rule of law to prevail. But police misconduct and biases destroy the trust our justice system requires. It is incumbent on everyone to speak out—loudly—against the abuse of authority. We grieve for Mr. Floyd and too many others to name. We hope firms with bigger voices than ours will join us in calling for accountability.
Ray D. McKenzie and Warren T. Allen II
The COVID-19 pandemic places enormous strain on businesses as they attempt to comply with ever-shifting laws and regulations. Many companies’ employees are doing their best to meet unprecedented business challenges while they are physically dispersed and distracted by both personal and professional stressors. Our firm’s founding principle is that human and relationship capital are the most important assets in any business. From that perspective, Warren T. Allen II shared advice with Thomson Reuters on measures businesses can take to continue meeting their compliance obligations while simultaneously doing what they can to foster employees’ wellbeing.
In response to the strains that COVID-19 and recommended responsive measures have placed on employers and employees, on March 18, 2020, Congress passed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (H.R. 6201) (“FFCRA” or the “Act”), which President Trump signed the same day. Key features of the FFCRA that will be of interest to businesses include: (1) extending and expanding Family Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”) coverage to address certain absences relating to the current pandemic and requiring paid FMLA leave benefits in some cases; (2) establishing a new paid sick leave entitlement for similar absences; and (3) providing certain tax credits to help employers shoulder some of the costs of these benefits.
In the alert linked below, we have provided answers to common questions business have posed about some of the FFCRA’s provisions.
On January 30, 2020, the World Health Organization declared the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (“SARS-CoV-2”) outbreak a “public health emergency of international concern,” and, on March 11, 2020, characterized the outbreak as a “pandemic.” Both the disease that SARS-CoV-2 causes—“coronavirus disease” or “COVID-19”—and measures intended to combat its spread have hampered businesses’ operations and will continue to do so. Though circumstances change rapidly, for now, the following high-level summary describes federal and state responses in the greater Washington, D.C. area. The summary also includes observations about potential commercial measures businesses might explore in response to economic disruptions.
WTAII PLLC nominated Ray D. McKenzie to be a member of the 2020 class of Leadership Council on Legal Diversity (LCLD) Fellows. The LCLD Fellows initiative was created to identify, train, and advance the next generation of leaders in the legal profession. The year-long program has its initial meetings February 21–23, 2020. Mr. McKenzie is thrilled to learn from others in the program and to contribute to the growth and development of this next generation of legal leaders.
Litigants Should Expressly and Unequivocally Assert Arbitration Rights Early in Foreign Litigation—Fourth Circuit Ruling Suggests Failure to Do So Might Result in Forfeiture
In Iraq Middle Market Development Foundation v. Mohommad Ali Mohammad Harmoosh, the Fourth Circuit clarified the standard district courts should apply to determine whether an arbitration clause provides a viable means of invalidating an adverse foreign judgment. The Fourth Circuit explained that a party seeking to enforce an arbitration clause must expressly assert the right to arbitrate in both domestic litigation and in foreign tribunals.
On January 22, 2020, Warren T. Allen II was admitted to the bar of the State of Maryland. As a result, our firm is now able to assist clients with their legal needs in Maryland, Virginia, and the District of Columbia.
In December 2019, Ray D. McKenzie was appointed as an adjunct faculty member at Georgetown University Law Center. Drawing upon his courtroom experience, Mr. McKenzie will be teaching a course in Trial Practice.