ABA Journal

The National Pulse

448 ABA Journal The National Pulse articles.

The goal of DEI is not without legal risk for corporate America

States are quietly stepping up antitrust enforcement to ensure fair competition

As Big Tech companies like Amazon and Google have come under scrutiny in recent years for their economic power, antitrust challenges are no longer being driven just by players in the federal government. As in California, the states are now coming for the companies too.

Return-to-office push prompts law firms to reconsider child care benefits

As calls for a return to the office grow, the stressor of juggling child care weighs heavily on working parents at law firms—namely for those whose livelihoods are often tied to billable hours.

High-risk, high-reward world of mass torts is a billion-dollar business

It’s a practice area that can yield blockbuster verdicts against deep-pocket corporations—the kinds of cases frequently featured in the news. Mass torts is a field that’s often misunderstood and mischaracterized, praised by some for prompting consumer safeguards and forcing corporate change but also viewed as overwhelmingly white and male with high barriers to entry. And the field has plenty of detractors.

Nation’s first youth climate lawsuits to go to trial

Held v. State of Montana is part of a growing trend in climate-related litigation: shifting away from lawsuits targeting specific fossil fuel projects and toward a bigger-picture approach focusing on fundamental rights and broad violations of public trust.

School districts sue social media platforms, saying they’re harming youths’ mental health

School districts across the country are joining the fray. They argue they have been forced to hire additional counselors, develop resources and train staff to handle the burgeoning number of students succumbing to what they describe as a youth mental health crisis.

Municipal ordinances can banish low-level offenders for petty offenses

Although St. Louis is not the only U.S. city with an exclusion law for low-level offenders, critics say these types of measures raise constitutional concerns and result in sending troubled people elsewhere—often within the same municipality—while acute social problems are ignored. Proponents of the laws say they help deter illegal activity.

Policy allowing migrants to be expelled during COVID-19 emergency has ended; what will be its legacy?

A federal policy used to expel migrants expired May 11, when the COVID-19 pandemic public health emergency ended. The government’s authority to invoke the public health policy had been used to expel migrants without evaluating their potential asylum claims. Legal analysts are now turning their attention to the longer-term influence of the policy and potential precedents.

Protecting Polyamory: Municipalities expand rights, domestic partnerships to include nontraditional relationships

Polyamory is a slightly narrower form of consensual nonmonogamy in which people agree to have multiple, loving relationships openly and with full consent. Structure and agreements vary widely.

Firms are helping employers navigate post-Dobbs health benefits and abortion coverage

With dozens of state legislatures holding their first sessions of the post-Roe v. Wade era, some firms are proactively counseling clients on the highly complex, politically charged and quickly shifting landscape surrounding employee benefits and abortion laws. In doing so, attorneys have to consider real and hypothetical civil and criminal liabilities.

When artists gain fame after death, questions can arise over copyright ownership

Several legal fights have pitted family members of an artist who died without a will against parties accused of commercially exploiting the artist’s work. Collectors or entrepreneurs who have obtained an artist’s physical work may then be tempted to try to profit from its underlying intellectual property, but they are different things.

Legal community supports Ukrainians displaced by Russia’s war against Ukraine

The Ukrainian Mothers and Children Transport initiative, or UMACT, is a collaboration of lawyers, professors and law students that helps Ukrainian families secure travel visas. Its name aims to evoke the Kindertransport, which brought 10,000 Jewish children to the United Kingdom as World War II loomed, says law professor Michael Bazyler, a former refugee from Poland of Ukrainian descent.

New recreational cannabis laws could make it harder for employers to fire impaired workers

New Jersey now has the equivalent of hall monitors in some workplaces. Except these hall monitors—known officially as workplace impairment recognition experts—are keeping an eye on the adults in the building. They are looking for signs the adults are high.

Should disbarred lawyers be given second chances?

Currently, disbarment is always permanent in New Jersey and a minority of other states. In some other states, including Louisiana, disbarment can either be permanent or temporary. But in the majority of states and in the District of Columbia, disbarred lawyers may apply for readmission after a period of time—often at least five years.

State laws targeting social media platforms face First Amendment challenges

Social media platforms say they have a First Amendment right to curate content and should not be compelled to host content that they don’t want. But supporters of laws in Florida and Texas regulating social media platforms say the measures are necessary to avoid what they term “Big Tech” or “Silicon Valley” censorship.

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