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Bar News - October 16, 2009

Bar Journal Tackles Legal Issues Spawned by ‘Hard Times’

Foreclosures, bankruptcies, insolvent clients and institutions, layoffs and furloughs, dissolving institutions and distress sales – these are the issues addressed in the Fall 2009 issue of the Bar Journal, with the appropriate theme of "Hard Times."

The online-only issue of the Bar Journal drew interest from many contributors; in the end, we were able to publish 11 articles involving 19 co-authors, 10 members of the NH Bar, and one soon-to-be, all marshaled by Michael L. DeLucia, Issue Editor and the chair of the Bar Journal Editorial Advisory Board.

The 90-page issue can be downloaded as a single PDF, in one of three sub-sections (Hard Times for Individuals, Hard Times at the Workplace, Hard Times for Nonprofits) or individual article PDFs to download and print for easier reading.

Later this month, an addendum will be posted –the latest installment of Lex Loci, as written by guest author David Ruoff, whose contribution was not included due to a later deadline provided by the Bar Journal editorial staff.

Along with the headline of each article is a selected quote:

By Michael Delucia
"As this issue was being finalized, two developments threw a spotlight on why these economic events may reoccur. These developments deserve comment, since they go the core issue of why the existing regulatory structures failed so profoundly to protect all of us."

Foreclosures & Consumers: Subprime Mortgage Crisis
(Some Thoughts About Law, Economics and Morality)
By Walter L. Maroney
"It is no exaggeration to suggest that, from its inception, the subprime mortgage market was constructed for inevitable failure; and when markets suffer a widespread failure without an adequate resolution mechanism in place, the result is bound to be widespread dislocation and serious damage to some participants in that market."

Creditor Issues & Estate Administration
By Leila Dal Pos
"This article discusses the payment of creditors in the ordinary solvent course, when the value of estate assets exceeds estate liabilities, and in the insolvent course, when estate liabilities exceed the value of estate assets."

Debts, Divorce and Bankruptcy: Representing Family Law Clients in a Down Economy
By Mark P. Cornell and Kelly Ovitt Puc
"…during difficult economic times, divorcing parties (and the courts) are frequently faced with the more daunting task of dealing with a marital home with negative equity…parties are often arguing over allocation of debts instead of distribution of assets."

Lawyers and Insolvent Clients: Risks Known and Unknown
By Attorneys John C. Kissinger, Jr., Richard L. Levine, and William C. Saturley
"After a brief review of the risks involved in an attorney’s representation of consumer debtors in bankruptcy proceedings, this article focuses on the risks facing counsel who may fail to realize they are representing an insolvent party."

Wage and Hour Compliance in Tough Times: The Need for Increased Compliance with Labor Laws
By James P. Reidy and Nicole E. Negowetti
"This article will discuss recent developments in federal and NH wage and hour laws to help employers and their representatives navigate this ever-changing and often vexing area of labor law."

Employee Releases: Layoffs and Severance Packages: When is a Release Not a Release?
By Karen Aframe and Terry Shumaker
"This article will explore the law concerning employment releases, specifically in the context of an offer of severance in exchange for a release at the termination of employment."

Furloughs and RIFs: Use of Furloughs and Reductions in Force to Cut Costs
By Debra Weiss Ford and Nancy E. Oliver
"With the current economic downturn, more employers are forced to resort to furloughs, layoffs and individual terminations to help boost the bottom line and stabilize the company. Although such actions create risk of litigation, careful advanced planning can assist in preventing lawsuits and limiting liability."

Traps to Avoid in Cutting Payroll Costs
By Charla Bizios Stevens and Colleen Karpinsky
"When companies reduce their workforces to trim the bottom line, they sometimes look to alternative, less expensive forms of labor to fill the gap…Examples include independent contractors, unpaid interns and volunteers. Each of these poses its own set of considerations with which an employer should be thoroughly familiar before entering into relationships with such individuals."

Nonprofit Borrowers & the Credit Crisis: The End of Easy Access to Inexpensive Capital?
By Stephen E. Weyl
"Investment bankers, known for their creativity in developing corporate financing structures such as leveraged buyouts and initial public offerings, realized that the expansion of tax-exempt borrowing could be further fueled by new structures as well."

Managing Mergers & Dissolutions: Options for Faltering Nonprofits
By Todd C. Fahey
"Charitable organizations are different from business organizations. At their best, they are born of altruism and exist to perpetuate a charitable mission. When they die, the best of them leave a void for their clients like the loss of a cherished friend."

Rescue of Nonprofit Institutions in Distress: A Case Study – The Sale of Daniel Webster College to ITT Educational Services
By Ovide M. Lamontagne and Ryan M. Williams
"…for-profit acquisitions [of nonprofit institutions] are gradually becoming a staple of modern business in the education realm. But despite their increased prevalence, these transactions continue to raise interesting, and often unsettled legal questions as they result in an uncommon interaction between the nonprofit and for-profit worlds."

The Bar Journal and other online versions of regular Bar publications can be found in the Publications/Publications Archives sections of

If you are in doubt about the status of any meeting, please call the Bar Center at 603-224-6942 before you head out.

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