With the national elections two weeks away, Baker Botts lawyers provide insight into areas such as cybersecurity risks, environmental and energy trends, international sanctions and Brexit, and enforcement risks.
Baker Botts lawyers are available to discuss the overarching concerns and the prominent questions raised in their panels.
- Managing Your Risks from Hackers and Insiders - Partner Doug Henkin and Senior Associate Guillermo Christensen provided an overview of the cybersecurity threat spectrum, including the quickly emerging threats from connected devices and best practices for navigating the threat landscape.
“The internet wasn’t designed for the security threats we now face. Hacking is a different threat now than it has been in the past, in part because it’s now conducted by state actors, business organizations, and individuals that are launching attack in ways that are evolving rapidly, forcing companies to modify their defenses in new ways,” said Henkin.
“The velocity of attacks are hard to prepare for, and they tend not to happen in isolation. Companies need to be prepared to respond to threats they cannot fully predict, so there should be an overall plan in place and the plan needs to be rehearsed,” said Christensen.
- Environmental and Energy Trends and Emerging Issues - Partners Joshua Frank and Brooksany Barrowes discussed ongoing trends in environmental litigation, emerging challenges to energy projects, and issues to watch around EPA, CAA and CWA, among others.
“The growing reliance on natural gas to fuel the U.S. power industry, which was a trend even without the EPA’s Clean Power Plan, presents serious challenges of natural gas deliverability which are not easily resolved because of limits on jurisdictional reach of the Federal and State regulators. In addition, the increase in renewable generation in the U.S., and particularly in renewable supply supported by State incentives, combined with power fueled by low-priced natural gas, is creating pricing challenges for markets across the country,” said Barrowes.
- Impacts of International Sanctions and Brexit on Cross -Border Transactions - Partners Chris Caulfield and Ginger Faulk discussed how recent changes to US and EU foreign policy are affecting companies, with a special focus on Iran and Russia, and gave an update on the trade implications of “Brexit.”
“Brexit is not a decision that is likely to be positive from a trade perspective; it was driven primarily by considerations other than trade. A wider concern is whether Brexit, particularly a “hard” Brexit, will cause further economic problems in the EU. If it were to do so, that could have a significant impact on global trade,” said Caulfield.
“The main outcome of the Iran sanctions deal was the relaxation of ‘secondary’ sanctions affecting non-U.S. companies, though the primary sanctions against U.S. persons and companies remain in place. The Russia sanctions are challenging to companies with operations in Russia, especially under the ‘sectoral sanctions’ that prohibit certain targeted activity in banking, defense and oil and gas development and production. The two presidential candidates, unsurprisingly, have dramatically different views on U.S. sanctions policy,” said Faulk.
- Enforcement Risks and Liability Issues for Officers and Directors - Partners Kyle Clark, Alex Bourelly and Joe Ostoyich discussed enforcement risks, liability issues, and a suggested plan of action surrounding the “Yates” memo, SEC and DOJ Antitrust policies, prosecutions, and settlements.
“Corporate antitrust prosecutions get the headlines because DOJ has obtained billions in fines from corporate cartel participants in recent years. But, it has been longstanding DOJ policy that corporate deterrence also requires that individual executives who participate in cartels are held accountable, and more than 350 CEOs, Presidents, Vice Presidents, CFOs, and other executives have been charged with criminal antitrust violations since 2010. That works out to more than one executive charged per week on average over that six year period. Regardless of who wins the election, the ‘Yates memo’ will continue to put additional emphasis on prosecuting individual executives for criminal and potentially civil antitrust wrongs,” said Ostoyich.
“Whether Executives are prosecuted or not under the ‘Yates’ memo, the cost of going through the legal process is expensive. Companies need to have a plan to cover that professional liability as these investigations become more common,” said Bourelly.
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