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Daily News

SPRINGFIELD — Bulkley Richardson recently launched a Blockchain and Cryptocurrency practice group to provide solutions for businesses adopting blockchain technology in a complex and changing regulatory landscape.

The group’s attorneys have broad-based experience in key areas affecting blockchain technologies, including financial services and banking, intellectual property, securities regulation, emerging businesses, corporate law, mergers and acquisitions, taxation, and digital privacy and cybersecurity.

Blockchain technologies like cryptocurrencies and non-fungible tokens (NFTs) are changing the way businesses operate. The rise of the blockchain has spurred a wave of innovation that is disrupting the market and spawning new areas of the digital economy. As blockchain innovation continues to grow and evolve, so do the legal, regulatory, and business challenges.

The Blockchain and Cryptocurrency practice group includes attorneys Mark Cress, Dan Finnegan, Scott Foster, Bart Galvin, Lauren Ostberg, Ron Weiss, and Sarah Willey. With a cross-disciplinary approach, Bulkley Richardson aims to assist clients in capitalizing on new business opportunities and meeting the challenges in this rapidly evolving industry.

Daily News

SPRINGFIELD — Margaret Mack has joined Bulkley Richardson as a member of the law firm’s real-estate practice group.

Mack earned her juris doctor degree from Suffolk University Law School in 2019 and a bachelor’s degree, cum laude, from the Catholic University of America in 2016.

Prior to joining Bulkley Richardson, she was an attorney at the Global 200 law firm of Fragomen, Del Ray, Bernsen, and Lowey in New York City and a law clerk at Seyfarth Shaw in Boston, ranked 75th and 74th, respectively, among all law firms globally. She was also a research assistant for Suffolk University Law School and a legal associate at Integreon, a global provider of alternative legal solutions to leading law firms, corporations, and professional service firms.

“Our real-estate practice continues to thrive, and Maggie’s interpersonal and analytical skills will make her an excellent addition to our team,” said Kathy Bernardo, chair of Bulkley Richardson’s real-estate practice group. “She brings with her the legal experience from exceptional firms, plus a rounded education that includes travel abroad, giving her the perspective and discipline to excel at our firm.”

Daily News

SPRINGFIELD — Bart Galvin joined the law firm of Bulkley Richardson as a member of two practice groups: business, mergers, and acquisitions; and finance, banking, and bankruptcy.

Galvin earned his juris doctor cum laude from Harvard Law School in 2013 and a bachelor’s degree from Brown University in 2009. Most recently, he was an attorney at the AmLaw100 law firms White & Case in Milan, Italy and Ropes & Gray in Boston, ranked ninth and 13th, respectively, by revenue among all law firms globally. He was also a law clerk for the U.S. District Court, Southern District of Iowa and the Massachusetts State Ethics Commission.

“Bart embodies the traits of a great hire — stellar education, impressive résumé of past firms, and an entrepreneurial spirit,” said Scott Foster, chair of Bulkley Richardson’s business department. “We think he will do exceptionally well here and be a great addition to our team.”

Added Galvin, “I was seeking an opportunity to continue working with high-level clients on sophisticated matters. But I was also looking for that rare opportunity that allows some work-life balance. Bulkley Richardson was able to offer up both, so it was the perfect fit for me at this stage of my career.”

Daily News

SPRINGFIELD — John Pucci, a partner at Bulkley Richardson, and Jennifer Levi, professor of Law at Western New England University School of Law, were named members of a bipartisan advisory committee to review and provide recommendations on U.S. attorney candidates for the District of Massachusetts. The announcement was made on Dec. 18 by U.S. Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Edward Markey.

The advisory committee will solicit, interview, and comment on applications for the position of U.S. attorney for the District of Massachusetts, the state’s top federal law-enforcement officer. The committee is comprised of members of the Massachusetts legal community, including prominent academics and litigators, and is chaired by former U.S. District Court Judge Nancy Gertner.

Levi noted that “the strength of our justice system depends on the inclusion and participation of people from every community and walk of life. It’s an honor to serve on this committee and get the chance to work to build a strong, diverse pool of candidates for such an important position.”

Other members of the committee include Elissa Flynn-Poppey, former deputy legal counsel to Gov. Mitt Romney and executive director of the judicial nominating commission for the Office of the Governor of Massachusetts; Angela Onwuachi-Willig, dean of Boston University School of Law; Walter Prince, partner at Prince Lobel and former president of the Massachusetts Black Lawyers Assoc; and Georgia Katsoulomitis, executive director of the Massachusetts Law Reform Institute.

“The advisory committee plays an important role ensuring that a highly qualified, fair-minded, and justice-seeking candidate is appointed as U.S. attorney for the District of Massachusetts,” Warren and Markey said in a joint statement. “We look forward to receiving the committee’s recommendations.”

Daily News

SPRINGFIELDBest Lawyers, in partnership with U.S. News and World Report, ranks Bulkley Richardson as 2021 Best Law Firm in the following 11 practice areas: banking and finance law, bankruptcy and creditor-debtor rights/insolvency and reorganization law, commercial litigation, corporate law, criminal defense: white collar, criminal defense: general practice, litigation: labor and employment, medical-malpractice law: defendants, personal-injury litigation: defendants, tax law, and trusts and estates law.

To be eligible for a ranking, a law firm must have at least one lawyer who is included on the Best Lawyers list. Bulkley Richardson has 14 lawyers included on the 2021 list, and two of the firm’s partners, Liz Sillin and John Pucci, were named 2021 Springfield Lawyers of the Year. Rankings are based on a rigorous evaluation process that includes the collection of client and lawyer evaluations and peer reviews from leading attorneys in their field.

Daily News

SPRINGFIELD — Chris St. Martin, an associate at Bulkley Richardson, was named a 2021 up-and-coming lawyer by Best Lawyers in its new “Ones to Watch” category. This honor is given to attorneys who are earlier in their careers, recognizing them for outstanding professional excellence in private practice.

St. Martin joined Bulkley Richardson in 2019 and is an associate in the firm’s litigation department.

Daily News

SPRINGFIELD — Bulkley Richardson partners Liz Sillin and John Pucci were named 2021 Lawyer of the Year recipients in their respective practice areas by Best Lawyers, in partnership with U.S. News Media Group. Sillin was recognized for trusts and estates, and Pucci was recognized for criminal defense (general practice), an honor he has held for the past 11 years.

Lawyer of the Year rankings are awarded to one lawyer per practice area and region, making it a distinguished accolade. Honorees receive this award based on their high overall peer feedback within specific practice areas and metropolitan regions.

Daily News

SPRINGFIELD — Bulkley Richardson announced it has joined the Law Firm Antiracism Alliance (LFAA), a national collaboration of more than 260 law firms united in identifying and dismantling structural or systemic racism in the law.

The alliance’s charter states its purpose is to “leverage the resources of the private bar in partnership with legal-services organizations to amplify the voices of communities and individuals oppressed by racism, to better use the law as a vehicle for change that benefits communities of color, and to promote racial equity in the law.”

“We are joining some of the country’s most prominent law firms to shine a spotlight on systemic racism,” said Jeff Poindexter, co-chair of Bulkley Richardson’s litigation department. “Recognizing that racism is a public crisis, the firm has made a pledge to reject racism, hate, bigotry, and all forms of discrimination. By joining the LFAA, we can be a part of the solution and support an initiative to advance racial equity.”

Daily News

SPRINGFIELD Bulkley Richardson announced that 14 lawyers from the firm were recently selected by their peers for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America© 2021. Bulkley Richardson had more honorees than any other law firm in Springfield. These 14 lawyers were recognized in 20 unique areas of practice.

  • Peter Barry — Construction Law
  • Michael Burke – Medical Malpractice Law (defendants), Personal Injury Litigation (defendants)
  • Mark Cress — Banking and Finance Law, Bankruptcy and Creditor Debtor Rights / Insolvency and Reorganization Law, Corporate Law
  • Francis Dibble, Jr. — Bet-the-Company Litigation, Commercial Litigation, Criminal Defense (White-Collar), Litigation (Antitrust), Litigation (Labor and Employment), Litigation (Securities)
  • Daniel Finnegan – Administrative / Regulatory Law, Litigation (Construction)
  • Robert Gelinas — Personal Injury Litigation (defendants)
  • Kevin Maynard — Commercial Litigation, Litigation (Banking and Finance), Litigation (Construction)
  • David Parke — Corporate Law
  • Melinda Phelps — Medical Malpractice Law (defendants), Personal Injury Litigation (defendants)
  • Jeff Poindexter – Commercial Litigation
  • John Pucci – Bet-the-Company Litigation, Criminal Defense (General Practice), Criminal Defense (White-Collar)
  • Elizabeth Sillin – Nonprofit / Charities Law, Trusts and Estates
  • Ronald Weiss – Corporate Law, Mergers and Acquisitions Law, Tax Law
Daily News

SPRINGFIELD — During COVID-19, the world has turned upside down. For parents with babies at the Davis Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at Baystate Children’s Hospital, the pandemic brings especially tough choices.

Due to the coronavirus, Baystate Health’s NICU allows just one parent to visit at a time. To ease the stress of separation, the NICU team keeps families connected through personal webcams attached to many of the bassinettes. Using a unique password, parents can log onto a secure website anytime, day or night, to visit their baby virtually.

Recently, Bulkley Richardson generously donated $10,000 to support the purchase of additional cameras.

Peter Barry, former managing partner at Bulkley Richardson, knows firsthand the difference these resources make for families. His grandchild was in the care of Baystate Children’s Hospital Neonatal Continuing Care Unit when he was born.

“The skill and caring of the team were truly impressive,” Barry said. “These cameras will make a very difficult situation a bit easier for parents and grandparents. Bulkley Richardson is proud to provide philanthropic support for this level of life-saving expertise in our region.”

The Davis Family Neonatal Intensive Care Unit is the only one of its kind in Western Mass., providing the highest level of care available for sick or premature newborns. NICU patients often have prolonged hospital stays of weeks or months.

“At Baystate, parents are key members of the care team,” said Stephanie Adam, manager of the Davis Neonatal Intensive Care Unit and Continuing Care Nursery. “In normal times, these cameras have enabled family members to stay connected when work, military service, or other children have limited their visits. During the pandemic, the connection these cameras offer is crucial. We are thankful to all the donors over the years who have supported this project.”

Scott Berg, vice president of Philanthropy at Baystate Health and executive director of the Baystate Health Foundation, added that “we are so thankful for the generosity of Bulkley Richardson in helping our youngest patients and their families. These cameras provide comfort to parents during a very challenging time for their families.”

Daily News

SPRINGFIELD — Bulkley Richardson announced that Christopher Gelino will be spending the next several weeks at the firm as a summer associate. During this assignment, he will have the opportunity to assist with legal work from all practice areas within the firm.

Gelino is currently attending the University of Connecticut School of Law with an expected graduation date of May 2021. He is a 2014 graduate of the University of Connecticut, where he received degrees in both political science and human rights, and was recognized as a university honors scholar. He also earned a master’s degree in international politics in 2017 from the School of Oriental and African Studies at the University of London.

“Christopher’s education in political science and human rights demonstrates his commitment to justice,” said Kevin Maynard, chair of the firm’s hiring committee. “I believe this foundation, combined with his studies in political science and law, will help make him a better, more compassionate lawyer. Our goal this summer is to introduce him to the inner workings of a law firm, provide mentorship from lawyers ranging from firm leaders and retired judges all the way through the ranks to junior associates, and expose him to real-life legal matters.”

Bulkley Richardson continues to accept résumés from future summer associates and recent law-school graduates and attorneys considering a lateral move. Visit bulkley.com/careers for more information.

COVID-19 Daily News

SPRINGFIELD — With record-breaking speed, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has begun providing guidance on how the recently created Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) will work in practice, attorneys at Bulkley Richardson note.

The PPP is one of the new programs created by the CARES Act, the more than $2 trillion emergency relief package fast-tracked through Congress in less than a week. The PPP is designed to encourage employers to keep employees on the payroll throughout the coronavirus crisis.

The SBA is starting to publish its guidance and sample forms. Click here for more information.

Perhaps the most important guidance is that “lenders may begin processing loan applications as soon as April 3, 2020,” which is this Friday — a week after the CARES Act was signed into law by President Trump.

Some of the guidance is at odds with the CARES Act. The guidance states that PPP loans have a maturity of two years and an interest rate of 0.5% while the CARES Act states that the PPP loans would bear interest at 4% and have a maximum maturity of 10 years. The guidance confirms that “any federally insured depository institution, federally insured credit union, and Farm Credit System institution” can make a PPP loan, in addition to the existing SBA 7(a) approved lenders. This greatly expands the universe of potential lenders, which is important since all PPP loans need to be originated and closed by June 30, 2020.

The first sample form (available by clicking here) is the proposed application for the PPP loans, which reveals several details that are either not addressed in the CARES Act or are directly contrary to the language in the CARES Act. For example, the CARES Act provides that the maximum PPP loan amount is based on “payroll costs incurred during the one-year period before the date on which the loan is made.” The proposed application’s instructions instead direct applicants to “use the average monthly payroll for 2019.” In each case, the maximum loan amount is 2.5 times this average monthly payroll.

Another discrepancy affects the amount of the loan that can be forgiven. The CARES Act simply provides that the forgiveness amount cannot exceed the sum of the following costs incurred by the business in the eight-week period immediately following the closing of the loan: payroll costs; any payment of interest on any covered mortgage obligation (which shall not include any prepayment or payment of principal on a covered mortgage obligation); any payment on any covered rent obligation; or any covered utility payment.

While the application does state that “loan forgiveness will be provided for the sum of documented payroll costs, covered mortgage interest payments, covered rent payments, and covered utilities,” the application also requires the business to certify that, “due to likely high subscription, it is anticipated that not more than 25% of the forgiven amount may be for non-payroll costs.”

The sample form also confirms that applicants and any individual owning 20% or more of an applicant must be able to certify that each of them are U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents (so any businesses where 20% of more is owned by an undocumented immigrant or a foreign citizen may not apply for or receive a PPP loan); and that none of them are “presently subject to an indictment, criminal information, arraignment, or other means by which formal criminal charges are brought in any jurisdiction, or presently incarcerated, or probation, or parole.” The breadth of that last provision is striking, in that anyone merely accused of a crime may not apply for or receive a PPP loan.

Visit bulkley.com for more resources from Bulkley Richardson’s COVID-19 Response Team.

Coronavirus

Bold Response to a Crisis

By Scott Foster

The CoronaCrisis has been a roller coaster for business owners. Starting almost a month ago, the rumblings of disruption began and have now erupted into complete and utter chaos. Business owners have been forced to make stark decisions — restaurant owners laying off their entire workforce; ‘non-essential’ businesses shutting down on 36 hours notice; whether and how to support employees facing three, then six weeks of cancelled school; supply-chain disruptions; canceled orders; canceled events; and more. Business owners have openly wondered, ‘how will my business survive?’

Fortunately, once the legislation pending in the U.S. Senate becomes law, which is widely expected, business owners — including sole proprietors and gig-economy workers — will be receiving a lifeline from the federal government that is unprecedented in scope, speed, and breadth.

Coined the Keeping American Workers Paid and Employed Act, the proposed provisions would appear to apply to every for-profit business with fewer than 500 employees (again, including sole proprietors). The act would allow these businesses (whether a corporation, LLC, partnership, or some other form of entity) to obtain a loan to cover payroll costs, including healthcare premiums and paid time off, rent, utilities, mortgage payments (interest, not principal), and interest on other pre-existing loans for an eight-week period falling between Feb. 15 and June 30, with a maximum loan amount of $10 million. The loan would be non-recourse, require no security or personal guarantees, and bear interest of only 4% with a repayment period of 10 years.

But this is not like any other loan ever offered. This loan would be forgiven in an amount equal to the sum of payroll costs, payments of interest on any covered mortgage, payments on any covered rent obligations, and covered utility payments. The amount to be forgiven would be reduced if the business reduced its workforce, and the forgiveness would not apply to payroll costs of any employees who were paid more than $100,000 in 2019. And the best part, unlike other debt that is forgiven by the lender, any amount forgiven under this program will be excluded from gross income.

To summarize, if you are a business and are willing to keep your employees on the payroll, pay your rent or mortgage, and stay in business, the federal government is prepared to pay your rent, your utilities, and your payroll (for employees making under $100,000 annually) for eight weeks, and the payment is tax-free. It sounds too good to be true, but the public policy is sound — the easiest and best way to get financial support to the most Americans is through their employers (especially in this time of historically low unemployment). 

We would expect loans under this program to start being processed by late April or early May, with funding happening as soon as the loans can be closed. The program is relying on banks and commercial lenders to aggressively participate as the primary lenders under the program, so you should be able to continue working with your current bank. 

Given the tight timeframe and the unprecedented scope of this program, Bulkley Richardson is preparing for an unusually high level of lending in the local market and will be prepared to help our clients navigate this new program, get the necessary loans, and submit the backup needed to qualify for the forgiveness.

Scott Foster is a partner at Bulkley Richardson.

Coronavirus Features

Taking Action

If your business, or one or more of your major customers’ or suppliers’ businesses, have been or could be adversely impacted by the effects of the coronavirus outbreak, Bulkley Richardson recommends considering the following proactive actions:

1. Review Insurance Coverage. Most standard business insurance packages include ‘business-interruption’ coverage. Business-interruption insurance is designed to replace income lost in the event that a business is halted for some reason, such as a fire or a natural disaster. It can also cover government lockdowns or mandatory curfews or closings such as those becoming more widespread as a result of the coronavirus. In addition to lost income, such coverage may also include items such as operating expenses, a move to a temporary location if necessary, payroll, taxes, and rent or loan payments. Since the language that addresses the terms of business-interruption coverage and exclusions can be lengthy and complex, it can be helpful to have your policy reviewed by a qualified expert.

2. Review Critical Contracts. It is quite common for certain types of contracts, such as supply contracts that require future performance on the part of one or both parties, to include a contract provision that allows a party to suspend or terminate the performance of its obligations when certain circumstances beyond their control arise, making performance inadvisable, commercially impracticable, illegal, or impossible. Such provisions are most often referred to and appear under a ‘force majeure’ clause of a contract. If disaster strikes or the unanticipated occurs beyond the control of a party, such in the case of coronavirus, a force majeure clause may excuse one or both parties from performance of their contractual obligations without liability to the other party.

Determining which types of circumstances will be covered by the force majeure clause is obviously essential. Standard provisions often cover natural disasters like hurricanes, floods, earthquakes, and weather disturbances sometimes referred to as ‘acts of God.’ Other covered events can include war, terrorism or threats of terrorism, civil disorder, labor strikes or disruptions, fire, disease, or medical epidemics, pandemics, or other outbreaks. Such provisions can also place certain obligations on a party seeking to take advantage of excused performance such as undertaking reasonable actions to minimize potential damages to the other party. As with insurance coverage, it can be very helpful to have the assistance of a qualified expert in reviewing contracts critical to the survival of your business.

3. Communications. Once you have reviewed the terms of your business-insurance coverage and critical contracts, you will be in a much better position to effectively communicate with your insurers, suppliers, customers, vendors, creditors, and other parties with whom your business has relationships concerning the uncertainties facing your business and the businesses of those with whom you have significant ongoing relationships.

Actions like placing an insurance carrier on notice of or making a business-interruption insurance claim, advising another party of your intention to exercise your rights under a force majeure clause of a contract or being prepared for another party with whom you have an important relationship to do so, or effectively communicating with a lender, landlord, or other creditor to productively address disruptions to such relationships are all critical to minimizing losses and ensuring the survival of your business. As with the interpretation of insurance policies and other contracts, input from experts can be very helpful in developing effective communications and providing advice concerning the parties to whom such communications should be directed.

Bulkley Richardson launched a COVID-19 Response Team to address issues critical to businesses and their employees. Call (413) 272-6200 to reach the team.

 

COVID-19 Daily News

SPRINGFIELD — As developments surrounding COVID-19 continue to escalate daily, concerns beyond personal health and safety have quickly emerged. The virus has already made a significant impact on the global economy, altering the way businesses operate, as well as potentially seismic shifts in consumer activity.

To address issues critical to businesses and their employees, Bulkley Richardson has launched a COVID-19 response team comprised of seasoned attorneys in the areas of business, finance, employment, schools, healthcare, and cybersecurity. In this time of great uncertainty, businesses are seeking legal counsel to help navigate this fluid landscape and prepare as we enter a period of uncertainty and rapid change.

Bulkley Richardson understands that each business will be affected differently and that taking proactive measures may help to minimize the risk of business interruptions. This COVID-19 response team has prepared an initial catalog of issues to be considered by each business owner or manager and has posted this information at bulkley.com. In the upcoming days, we will be expanding on this list and providing further detailed guidance. If you have specific questions, contact a member of the COVID-19 response team below or call (413) 272-6200.

The team consists Scott Foster (business, cybersecurity), Mark Cress (business, banking and finance), Mary Jo Kennedy (employment), Ryan Barry (business, banking and finance, healthcare, schools, colleges, and universities), Judge John Greaney (strategy), and Christopher St. Martin (employment, teleservices).

Daily News

SPRINGFIELD — Bulkley Richardson continues its CyberSafe series on Wednesday, March 11 with a discussion on legal, technical, and law-enforcement responses to common cybersecurity incidents. “There Has Been a Security Breach. Now What?” will take place from 4 to 5:30 p.m. at Bulkley Richardson’s office in downtown Springfield.

This will be an interactive, scenario-based discussion, providing a unique opportunity to understand causes and consequences of these thefts and key lessons learned: from the CEO of a company that has twice been the victim of cybersecurity crimes; from the head of an IT company that was responsible for uncovering and responding to those and hundreds of other events (and who will include a demonstration of the depth of the dark web); from a national law-enforcement official responsible for investigating these crimes locally, but in a national and international context, and who is keenly aware of the issues of timing and cooperation; and from a cybersecurity attorney who will discuss what should — and should not — be done to fulfill associated legal responsibilities.

Speakers include attorneys Jim Duda and Lauren Ostberg of Bulkley Richardson’s Cybersecurity Group, Delcie Bean of Paragus Strategic IT, Julie Cowley of the FBI, and Eric Hagopian of Pilot Precision Products.

A networking reception will follow the program. Registration is required by e-mailing [email protected].

Daily News

SPRINGFIELD — Bulkley Richardson announced that Betsey Quick, executive director, was named the “Excellence in the Law” honoree for Firm Administration and Operations by Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly.

Quick joined the firm in September 2017 and, during her short tenure in this role, has made a significant impact, including increasing the firm’s productivity, implementing policies, and advancing the overall mission of the firm.

Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly honors individuals in the categories of Firm Administration and Operations, Alternative Dispute Resolution, Marketing, Paralegal Work, Pro Bono, and Up & Coming Lawyers. Quick will be recognized at a reception on Thursday, April 30 at the Marriott Long Wharf Hotel in Boston.