Businesses of all types and sizes throughout the United States, Mexico and beyond bring their disputes to Gardere's litigation team and receive practical, responsive, boutique-style attention in return. Our clients have access to the firepower and value of a well-known and highly-regarded Firm's capabilities and interdisciplinary strengths.
Gardere has a national and international energy practice formed around our Energy Industry Team, which is a multidisciplinary group of approximately 80 attorneys with diverse backgrounds, experience and skills specific to the energy industry. Our team includes attorneys who have served as in-house counsel for major energy companies, providing a depth of insight into our clients' needs, issues and concerns. We understand and regularly practice in virtually every sector of the energy, and we represent a wide variety of industry participants from multinational corporations to individuals.
From our offices in the United States and Mexico, our International Practice helps clients operate in today’s global economy. We have more than 30 professionals operating as a boutique within an Am Law 200 law firm and are able to provide focused service with the resources of a large firm. We understand that clients who are engaged in the global marketplace need lawyers who can operate seamlessly across multiple jurisdictions. Our international experts are multi-lingual, are culturally fluent and intimately familiar with various legal systems across the world, especially those in Latin America. Whether you need help with commercial transactions, regulatory matters, customs and import regulations, immigration matters, M&A and joint ventures, international disputes, or international tax planning, Gardere’s international team is here to assist you.
We represent domestic and foreign private funds in all aspects of fund formation, fund operations, platform and add-on acquisitions, and portfolio company operations. Our team has a reputation for being the go-to-lawyers for private equity funds, hedge funds, venture capital funds and family offices. We are known for our vast deal experience, the efficient way we staff and manage our work, and the way we maintain our relationships. We get deals done with sophisticated, strategic, and practical advice tailored to the needs of our clients.
*Not admitted to practice law.
There is no question over the last few years that risk management has been an increasing topic of discussion for boards of directors and the subject of legislative and regulatory actions. A board of directors, along with management, is faced with the task of identifying, assessing and managing risks, whether general to business, industry-specific or unique to the company. Add in an ever-changing landscape of risks on each front and it is a daunting task.
Risks may arise in any area of a company’s operations. As a director, how do you ensure that you aware of possible risks and whether your company may have exposure? There is no single approach. Certainly, you must focus on key aspects of operations. You also want to stay abreast of regulatory trends and developments.
As a risk illustration, we know that a fundamental part of every company is its labor force. So a move this year by the Internal Revenue Service and the Department of Labor to “target” employer misclassification of independent contractors not only presents an enhanced compliance issue for a public company, it also may identify an area for the board’s risk management oversight. As discussed in an Employment Alert from Gardere’s Labor and Employment Team, both agencies are deploying significant new resources to identify misclassifications, prosecute related Fair Labor Standards Act violations and recover lost tax revenues. Additionally, companies are exposed to workers’ claims for financial recovery and future employment benefits.
Public companies, often being larger employers and with more lost revenue potential, may especially be in the crosshairs. This could lead to payment of back taxes and penalties to the government and claims for back pay and benefits from the misclassified workers. Although not recent news, a $97 million settlement by Microsoft in 2000 with “temporary” workers contracted through third parties highlights the exposure of large companies, in this case settling claims of the workers themselves. It started with an IRS audit.
As a director, how well do you know the structure of your company’s labor force? Does your company utilize independent contractors? Is it in compliance with the applicable legal standards? Given the new regulatory focus, has the risk profile increased? This is just one issue in isolation, and these are just some of the questions that a board and individual directors may be asking.
OUR TAKE: Risks may come from different areas and in different forms, and they are constantly changing. Independent contractor misclassification may be just one risk issue in isolation, but it is one of many that management and boards of directors must tackle. Directors must ensure that company-wide and board-level systems are in place in support of risk management, and that they develop their own individual approaches to risk to augment those systems.
The publications contained in this site do not constitute legal advice. Legal advice can only be given with knowledge of the client's specific facts. By putting these publications on our website we do not intend to create a lawyer-client relationship with the user. Materials may not reflect the most current legal developments, verdicts or settlements. This information should in no way be taken as an indication of future results.
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