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Lewis & Llewellyn Announces Pro Bono Program for Small Businesses in Need

By Announcements

In the United States, there are nearly 27 million small businesses which account for approximately half of the country’s GDP.  As we all know, the unprecedented coronavirus crisis is taking a disproportionate toll on this critical part of our economy. 

As a firm, we are highly fortunate to represent some of the largest and most well-known companies in the world.  Yet many small businesses do not have access to the same caliber of legal services, and, particularly during this economic contraction, do not have the financial resources to afford them.  So we are stepping up to help.

We want to play our part to help small businesses and startups during this time of need.  We believe it is our duty to offer free legal advice and guidance so that these small business and startups can focus on continuing to provide income to their employees, and goods and services to their communities. 

Accordingly, starting this week, we will be rolling out a pro bono program designed to provide free counseling and consultation services to small businesses and startups in need.  These sessions will be by videoconference and phone, and will be targeted to address the legal issues small businesses and startups are currently facing. 

If you own, or know someone who owns, a small business or startup, and have questions about an actual or potential dispute, business negotiation, rent abatement or reduction, or similar legal issues, we stand ready to help.  These sessions will be entirely free, confidential, and without any expectation whatsoever to retain our services thereafter. 

All inquiries should be directed to probono@lewisllewellyn.com with a brief description of the issue or issues you would like to discuss and we will get back to you as soon as possible.

Similarly, if you are a professional services provider or other business who may be in a position to help small businesses in their hour of need, please let us know so we can assemble a cadre of potential resources.

Lewis & Llewellyn.  We are here to help.

Paul Llewellyn Presents Webinar on COVID-19 and Commercial Real Estate

By Speaking Engagements

On April 14 at 3:00 p.m., Lewis & Llewellyn partner Paul Llewellyn will join Ryan Harding and Jennifer Frisk of commercial real estate firm Newmark Knight Frank, to present a free webinar on COVID-19 and Commercial Real Estate.  The panel will share their insights and tips on, among other things, rent abatement and reduction during the current crisis, the outlook for commercial real estate, as well as more general tips about working remotely and keeping a team motivated and engaged during the current climate.  To learn more about the webinar, or to register, click here.

Ryan Erickson and Paul Llewellyn Lecture in Europe

By Speaking Engagements

In early March, Lewis & Llewellyn partners Ryan Erickson and Paul Llewellyn traveled to Europe to discuss the firm’s groundbreaking work bringing civil lawsuits on behalf of survivors of sexual violence.  The pair first traveled to University College Dublin where, at the invitation of the University’s Institute of Criminology and Criminal Justice, they delivered the faculty’s Distinguished Guest Lecture.  They then traveled to the United Kingdom where, in conjunction with the University of Oxford’s Faculty of Law, the Bonavero Institute of Human Rights, and Oxford Lawyers Without Borders, they addressed students and faculty in a presentation entitled “Fighting Back: U.S. Litigation In The #MeToo Era.”  Lewis & Llewellyn looks forward to fostering closer ties with these prestigious universities.

An Individual Cure is a Class Cure Under California’s New Privacy Act

By Litigation Tips

As most business leaders know, the most stringent privacy law in the United States—the California Consumer Privacy Act (“CCPA”)—went into effect this year and applies to all companies that do business in the Golden State.  The CCPA’s private right of action gives California residents the right to sue companies when their personal information is subject to unauthorized access, theft, or disclosure stemming from a company’s failure “to implement and maintain reasonable security procedures and practices.”  Because the CCPA creates a right to statutory damages (ranging from $100 to $750 per violation) without the need to prove actual harm, companies should prepare for a deluge of CCPA class actions. 

One critical aspect of such preparation should be to implement a security breach response plan that will promptly and effectively respond to individual consumer notices following an alleged security breach.  Under the “notice and cure” provision of the CCPA, a private plaintiff must provide a company with 30 days’ written notice prior to filing a lawsuit.  “In the event a cure is possible,” a company can avoid “individual statutory damages of class-wide statutory damages” if it “actually cures” the violation within 30 days and provides the consumer with a written statement to that effect.  The notice and cure provision thus provides a promising avenue for companies seeking to sidestep CCPA class actions.  That said, this section is sure to be one of the most hotly contested parts of the CCPA because the term “cure” is undefined by the statute. 

The attorneys at Lewis & Llewellyn are fully prepared to defend our clients’ interests in single plaintiff and putative class actions based on alleged CCPA violations.  Contact us to learn more about the CCPA or our deep experience addressing privacy issues in litigation. 

Paul Llewellyn and Ryan Erickson to Lecture at the University of Oxford and University College Dublin

By Speaking Engagements

In two weeks, Lewis & Llewellyn partners Paul Llewellyn and Ryan Erickson will travel to Europe to discuss the firm’s groundbreaking work pursuing civil lawsuits on behalf of survivors of sexual violence.  In 2012, before the #MeToo movement had begun, the firm represented a childhood survivor of horrific sexual abuse perpetrated by two California teachers.  The case garnered worldwide media attention and together with two other victims from the same school, concluded with the largest ever sexual abuse settlement by a school district in United States history.  Since then, in addition to its core business litigation expertise, the firm has earned a reputation as one of the country’s leading firms pursuing justice on behalf of survivors of sexual abuse.

In conjunction with the University of Oxford’s Faculty of Law, the Bonavero Institute of Human Rights, and Oxford Lawyers Without Borders, Llewellyn and Erickson will address students and faculty from this prestigious university in a presentation entitled “Fighting Back: U.S. Litigation In The #MeToo Era.”  More information about the lecture can be found here.

Llewellyn and Erickson will then head to University College Dublin.  2020 marks the 20th anniversary of the establishment of University’s Institute of Criminology and Criminal Justice.  The Institute has planned a series of special events to celebrate this landmark occasion, and the pair are honored to have been invited to give a lecture to students and faculty there as part of the special events.

Lewis & Llewellyn Has Moved!

By Uncategorized

We are pleased to announce that the firm began 2020 in its new office space.  In order to accommodate our continued growth, we relocated to a newly renovated space on the top floor of a building directly across from the Transamerica Pyramid, and just down Montgomery Street from our prior location.  Please stop by if you are in the neighborhood.

Our new address is 601 Montgomery Street, Suite 2000, San Francisco, CA 94111.

Major Change to Mandatory Arbitration Agreements

By Litigation Tips

Many employers insist that their employees sign mandatory arbitration agreements as a condition of employment.  However, on October 10, 2019, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed a bill into law that will prohibit employers from requiring mandatory arbitration agreements for nearly all types of employment claims.  The bill adds a new Section 432.6 to the California Labor Code prohibiting any person (including employers) from requiring an applicant or employee (as a condition of employment, continued employment, or the receipt of any employment-related benefit) to “waive any right, forum, or procedure” for alleged violations of the Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) and the California Labor Code.  

In light of the sweeping reach of the new law, many anticipate a successful legal challenge on the ground that it is preempted by the Federal Arbitration Act.  This could lead to years of litigation, and ultimately, the issue may need to be resolved by the U.S. Supreme Court.  Given the current uncertainty, employers would be well-advised to consult with experienced employment counsel when considering whether to continue to use mandatory arbitration agreements or whether existing agreements need to be modified.

Lewis & Llewellyn in the Community

By Speaking Engagements

Our attorneys were busy last month presenting on all aspects of civil litigation.  Ryan Erickson and Evan Burbidge returned to the California Superior Court Boot Camp Conference hosted by Pincus Professional Education, giving presentations on “Mastering Oral Argument” and “How to Prepare for Trial.”  Becca Furman moderated a panel for the Bar Association of San Francisco on best practices for working with in-house counsel.  Paul Llewellyn presented at Bridgeport CLE’s trial preparation program on preparing witnesses for trial.  And Ryan Erickson and Nick Saenz traveled to UCLA to speak to law students about prosecuting and defending trade secret disputes.

Also in October, Marc Lewis spent two intensive days at NPR’s How I Built This Summit, a gathering of successful entrepreneurs.  Marc met with many groundbreaking builders and innovators including the founders of Instagram, JetBlue, Bliss, Slack, Away, Urban One, and others.  Programming included several small sessions where Marc discussed business fundamentals, personal and organizational leadership, and innovation with other entrepreneurs.

Lewis & Llewellyn Recognized as One of California’s Top Boutique Law Firms by The Daily Journal

By Announcements

Each year the Daily Journal, California’s leading legal publication, selects 20 law firms across the State as a “Top Boutique.”  This year, Lewis & Llewellyn earned a spot on the coveted list—the only firm selected in Northern California for complex litigation.  The Daily Journal recognized Lewis & Llewellyn’s success in handling complex business disputes, as well as the firm’s niche practice bringing civil lawsuits on behalf of survivors of sexual abuse.  This is the second time the firm has been included on the elite list, the first being in 2017.

See the Daily Journal’s full article on the firm below.

Lewis & Llewellyn Recognized by Benchmark Litigation

By Announcements

Last week, Benchmark Litigation, the definitive guide to America’s leading litigation firms and attorneys, released its 2020 rankings.  Lewis & Llewellyn is pleased to have once again been recognized as one of the few “Recommended Firms” in both San Francisco and California—meaning Benchmark deems the firm a “leader” in both markets.  Additionally, Marc Lewis was named as a Labor & Employment Star, with an emphasis on his burgeoning employee mobility practice.  And Paul Llewellyn was named as a Benchmark Litigation Star, a category which Benchmark identifies as the preeminent litigation practitioners in the U.S.