CABLJ Forum

The Corporate and Business Law Journal Forum is a companion to the Corporate and Business Law Journal. It features short responses to scholarship and comments on legal news.

We welcome submissions from professors, practitioners, judges, legislators, and law students. Submissions should be a minimum of 500 words. Each submission is subject to similar editorial standards as the articles published in the Journal.

How Will the CARES Act Change Consumer Bankruptcy?

By: Kate Peterson

The CARES Act, signed into law on March 27th, 2020, intended to provide quick economic assistance to American individuals and businesses. The Act amended the Bankruptcy Code to provide relief to those who file for bankruptcy, with a sunset provision of one year from enactment. In consumer bankruptcies, these changes have implications for both individual debtors and their creditors, who are often businesses of all sizes.

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Businesses Beware: The Use of Artificial Intelligence in Hiring in a ‘Work from Home’ Economy

By: Masden Griffiths
The COVID-19 pandemic has affected nearly every aspect of our lives. Arguably, one of the biggest changes has been the transition to a ‘Work from Home’ economy. Both employers and employees have had to combat the challenges of garnering productivity from within the walls of their homes. In an attempt to keep going and growing, businesses have also had to abandon traditional in-person interviews and job assessments in favor of virtual meetings and online tools to measure potential employees’ cognitive capabilities, emotional intelligence, personality traits, and skill sets. Employers have also opened their doors to new hiring practices by using Artificial Intelligence (A.I.) for recruiting and assessment in hiring decisions to help eliminate bias. However, “[l]ike any new technology, artificial intelligence is capable of immensely good or bad outcomes.” Businesses have found themselves in a dilemma when it comes to replacing a typical human review process with a ‘bot.’

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Big-Tech Mergers and Acquisitions in the Era of Covid-19

By: Matthew French

2020 began with a surging economic climate that appeared to foreshadow a heavily prosperous set of fiscal quarters that would likely present not only an opportunity for growth in the startup technology spectrum, but also one which would naturally give rise to countless mergers and acquisitions. However, as the world began to experience the true impact of the emerging Coronavirus pandemic, that optimistic outlook slowly transposed into a bleak twilight of economic uncertainty. The following months showcased the utter fragility of the inter-personal corporate marketplace, as social distancing restrictions forced capable entities to transition to remote-work platforms and catalyzed less fortunate corporations into bankruptcy. To the average entrepreneur, this landscape appeared to set the stage for a surge of innovative opportunities arising out of the startup and Big-Tech spectrums; after all, social distancing cultivated both an optimal setting for technological need and a captivated consumer marketplace. Yet the reality of the startup and Big-Tech spectrum was far more constricted.

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Arizona’s Remote Sales Tax: A Look at How We Got Here

By: Vanessa Stockwill

We often muse that “nothing is certain but death and taxes.” However, remote sellers were able to evade the latter until 2018 because a series of Supreme Court decisions held that sales taxes levied against out-of-state businesses are unconstitutional unless the seller has a physical presence inside the state. Because of this requirement, Arizona—like many states—requires customers to pay a use tax on any purchase for which the seller doesn’t collect a sales tax. Since it is impractical to enforce this schema, the physical presence requirement effectively gave remote sellers a tax advantage over businesses with in-state employees, stores, or other physical presence.

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THE U.S. AND TIKTOK: TIME’S UP?

By: Catherine Bradshaw
Viral social media star machine TikTok has announced a potential deal with two American companies in an effort to skirt President Trump’s executive order promising to ban the app if it remains under Chinese control. ByteDance, TikTok’s Chinese owner, is in talks to create a new U.S.-based company, TikTok Global, of which Oracle and Walmart, both American companies, would own 20 percent. President Trump voiced approval of the deal, stating he has “given the deal [his] blessing.” This statement came following weeks of increasing tensions between the U.S. government and the social media giant over allegations from Trump officials that the Chinese government could use the app to steal data from American users and threatens U.S. national security.

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In re Grand Jury Proceeding: Insights into Discovery in Corporate Criminal Investigation

By: Jacob Stock
The facts underlying In re: Grand Jury Proceeding read as well as any legal thriller: Felix Sater, a man wrapped up in fraud and racketeering for the mob, becomes an informant for the feds and helps to track down US law enforcement’s most wanted. Hot on his tail is Frederick Oberlander, a lawyer working hard for his clients to recover the funds lost in Sater’s former schemes. As Oberlander works the cases, however, he discovers information related to Sater’s cooperation with the government is sealed, and the Second Circuit enjoins Oberlander from publicly disclosing the information. Frustrated by the red tape, Oberlander releases the information anyway, resulting in several grand juries being impaneled to initiate a criminal investigation.

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Arizona Becomes the First State to Approve Nonlawyer Participants in and Ownership of Law Firms

By: Lingyun Ye

On August 27, 2020, the Arizona Supreme Court voted to make two changes in the Court’s rules regulating the practice of law. The Court approved a licensure process that will allow nonlawyers, called “Legal Paraprofessionals (LPs)” to provide limited legal services to the public. The Court also voted to eliminate ER 5.4 in the Rules of Professional Conduct which barred nonlawyers from sharing fees and having an economic interest in a law firm. Both changes will take effect on January 1, 2021.

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From Runway to No Way: COVID-19’s Impact on the Fashion Industry

By: BethEl Nager

COVID-19 has impacted every element of our lives. Grocery shopping, chatting with friends, and going to work have either become a virtual experience or an opportunity to mask up and brave the world. This pandemic has also greatly affected the fashion industry. Despite the athleisure market boom, there are some apparel companies facing economic unrest. Major retailers including J.Crew, Neiman Marcus, JCPenney, and Stein Mart have filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. In fact, approximately 25 “retailers, big and small, have filed for Chapter 11 protection this year, far exceeding the number for all of last year.” Chapter 11 bankruptcy permits a business organization to devise a plan for the reorganization of its financial situation. Each company creates a strategy that will benefit them and satisfy their creditors. This reorganization plan is approved or denied by the court.

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Illinois Bankruptcy Court Holds Pandemics Can Trigger Force Majeure

By: Josh Bethea

COVID-19 has forced hundreds of businesses into bankruptcy while taking thousands of American lives. But can it excuse failure to perform a contract?
A bankruptcy court in Illinois held yes. Although much about this issue remains unclear, the Court’s decision reinforced the rights of contracted parties whose agreements contain force majeure provisions. This post will briefly explain the law of force majeure and then explore the impact of the Court’s ruling.

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