S&C Critical Insights

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October 4, 2022  

Lessons from the 2022 Proxy Season—Episode 2: Environmental Proposals

Corporate Governance co-heads Marc Treviño and Melissa Sawyer and associate June Hu continue their discussion of shareholder proposal trends from the 2022 proxy season, discussing trends in environmental proposals, as well as how to prepare for 2023.

Environmental proposals have steadily increased over the past decade, with an explosion in 2021 and 2022. In 2021, these proposals rose 40 percent year-over-year and this year they jumped a further 38 percent.

With proponents more reluctant to settle and the Securities and Exchange Commission less likely to grant no-action relief, 78 percent more environmental proposals reached a shareholder vote compared to 2021. One of the most notable trends was the increased granularity of these proposals. Correlated with this increasing granularity, however, the 2022 environmental proposals received lower levels of shareholder support. 

Looking forward, they expect that companies will have an even harder time negotiating a compromise or excluding environmental shareholder proposals, which may become even more granular in their demands.

Learn more from S&C’s 2022 Proxy Season Review and watch our recent webinar.

October 3, 2022  

Lessons from the 2022 Proxy Season—Episode 1: The Impact of the SEC

Corporate Governance co-heads Marc Treviño and Melissa Sawyer and associate June Hu open a four-part series discussing prevalent shareholder proposal trends from the 2022 proxy season. They outline the significant impact of recent actions by the Securities and Exchange Commission on this proxy season and discuss how SEC rulemaking could affect the 2023 season.

 

SEC Staff Legal Bulletin No. 14L—which reversed prior SEC guidance and altered the staff’s approach to the ordinary business and economic relevance exclusions—had a significant impact on the submission and voting trends this year. The SEC’s new approach correlated with a significant decrease in the likelihood of companies obtaining no-action relief, as the staff now assesses whether a proposal raises issues with a broad societal impact in determining whether a proposal is excludable.

 

As a result, shareholder proposals made it to a vote much more frequently this proxy season. Yet the number of passing proposals decreased, as shareholder support for social, environmental and political proposals decreased after steadily rising throughout the last decade.

 

Looking ahead, they expect ESG proponents to continue to submit more proscriptive and granular proposals to attract shareholder support. They also expect increased focus by the SEC on director qualifications, cyber security and human capital management disclosure.

 

Click here to learn more about S&C’s 2022 Proxy Season Review and watch our recent webinar.

September 29, 2022  

Three Corporate Tax Changes Under the Inflation Reduction Act

: In this episode of S&C’s Critical Insights, Davis Wang and Isaac Wheeler, co-heads of S&C’s Tax Group, are joined by Lauren Boehmke, partner in the Firm’s M&A practice, to discuss the recently enacted Inflation Reduction Act and a few of its key impacts on companies and corporate transactions.

 

They analyze three key changes introduced by the Act: the corporate minimum tax, the one percent buyback tax and clean energy initiatives. 

 

September 19, 2022  

Supreme Court Business Review: Viking River Cruises v. Moriana and Southwest Airlines Co. v. Saxon

In the fourth episode of S&C’s Supreme Court Business Review series, hosts Judd Littleton, Julia Malkina and Morgan Ratner are joined by partners Diane McGimsey and Annie Ostrager to discuss two employment arbitration cases from the past term and their implications for employers.

In Viking River Cruises v. Moriana, the Supreme Court held that the Federal Arbitration Act preempts a California Supreme Court ruling insofar as it prohibits bringing certain state law claims to arbitration and reaffirmed that no party can be made to arbitrate a claim without expressly agreeing to do so. In Southwest Airlines Co. v. Saxon, the Court held that certain airline workers, baggage handlers and some of their supervisors, qualify for an exemption under Section 1 of the FAA for workers involved in interstate commerce or the transportation of goods or people.

September 16, 2022  

S&C Critical Insights – Impact of Illumina/GRAIL on M&A Deals Going Forward

In this episode of S&C’s Critical Insights, Melissa Sawyer, the Global Head of S&C’s M&A practice, is joined by the Co-Heads of the Firm’s Antitrust group, Renata Hesse and Juan Rodriguez, to discuss recent developments surrounding the vertical merger of Illumina and GRAIL, which make DNA sequencing devices and blood-based tests for cancer screening, respectively.

 

In the United States, an administrative law judge recently denied the Federal Trade Commission’s request to prohibit the transaction on competition grounds. In Europe,  the European Commission opened a highly publicized suspensory investigation into the transaction, which is seen as a test case for the EC’s recently revised policy on reviewing mergers that do not require mandatory reporting to the EC. The partners discuss these developments and how they might impact M&A deals going forward, especially in the pharmaceutical and tech sectors.

September 15, 2022  

Impact of Proposed European Union ESG Laws and Regulations on non-EU Issuers

In this episode of S&C’s Critical Insights, Paris partner Olivier de Vilmorin, London partner John Horsfield-Bradbury and London associate Sarah Mishkin discuss the unexpected ways that the European Union’s new ESG laws and regulations may affect U.S. and other non-EU companies. They discuss how the laws will apply to certain companies with EU-listed securities or whose operations in the EU meet certain thresholds.

 

They also touch on how the new climate-related disclosure requirements proposed by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission compare to the new EU laws.

August 26, 2022  

Recent Developments Concerning ESG-Labelled Bonds and ESG Ratings

In this episode of S&C’s Critical Insights, Vanessa Blackmore, Kirsten Rodger and Sam Saunders take a look at recent developments in the regulation of ESG-labelled bonds and ESG data and rating services, focusing in particular on recent UK regulatory statements signaling that use of proceeds frameworks are likely to be subject to enhanced regulatory scrutiny. They also touch on ESG developments globally, noting that international businesses are likely to find themselves facing multiple, complex ESG reporting requirements, with the potential for increased regulatory scrutiny and liability for misstatements. 

August 22, 2022  

Supreme Court Business Review: ZF Automotive v. Luxshare, Badgerow v. Walters and Morgan v. Sundance

In the third episode of S&C’s Supreme Court Business Review series, hosts Judd Littleton, Julia Malkina and Morgan Ratner are joined by partner Andrew Finn, the coordinator of S&C’s International Arbitration and Global Dispute Resolution Group, to discuss three arbitration cases that the Supreme Court decided last Term and the key takeaways from those decisions for businesses.

August 15, 2022  

S&C Critical Insights – Supreme Court Business Review: Cassirer v. Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection Foundation

In the second episode of S&C’s Supreme Court Business Review series, hosts Judd Littleton, Julia Malkina and Morgan Ratner are joined by Sharon Cohen Levin, former head of the Money Laundering and Asset Forfeiture Unit in the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York, to discuss the Supreme Court’s recent decision in Cassirer v. Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection Foundation.

The decision addresses the correct choice-of-law rule in a dispute between the family of a German Jewish woman who surrendered a painting to the Nazi regime in 1939 to obtain an exit visa and the Spanish museum that currently displays it. 

Sharon brings unique insight to this area of law and explains the legal landscape for heirs seeking restitution of property looted as part of severe violations of international law. She also discusses the implications of the Court’s decision for the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act more generally.

S&C's Appellate Practice

Led by former Acting Solicitor General of the United States Jeffrey Wall—who has argued more than 30 times before the U.S. Supreme Court—and drawing on the experience of 17 former U.S. Supreme Court clerks and more than 80 former federal circuit court clerks, S&C’s Supreme Court and Appellate Practice adeptly handles challenging and high-profile appeals around the country. Our Supreme Court and Appellate lawyers collectively have significant experience before the Supreme Court and scores of other federal and state courts of appeals.

August 3, 2022  

Supreme Court Business Review: Introduction, NFIB v. OSHA and West Virginia v. EPA

In this episode of S&C Critical Insights, Judd Littleton, Julia Malkina and Morgan Ratner introduce the third annual podcast series accompanying S&C’s Supreme Court Business Review. The Review summarizes the decisions from each Term that are most relevant to business leaders, and offers practical guidance on the implications of those decisions.

Judd, Julia and Morgan preview upcoming episodes and discuss two closely watched administrative law decisions from this Term. The first is National Federation of Independent Business v. OSHA, in which the Court considered whether the Occupational Safety and Health Administration had the authority to implement a national COVID-19 vaccine mandate. The second is West Virginia v. EPA, in which the Court considered whether the Environmental Protection Agency had the authority to issue the Clean Power Plan, which established carbon dioxide emissions limits for coal power plants. They also briefly touch on the Court’s decision in American Hospital Association v. Becerra, in which the Court declined to address the continued viability of the Chevron doctrine in a case addressing how the Department of Health and Human Services sets drug reimbursement rates for hospitals treating Medicare patients.

S&C's Supreme Court and Appellate Practice

Led by former Acting Solicitor General of the United States Jeffrey Wall—who has argued more than 30 times before the U.S. Supreme Court—and drawing on the experience of 17 former U.S. Supreme Court clerks and more than 80 former federal circuit court clerks, S&C’s Supreme Court and Appellate Practice adeptly handles challenging and high-profile appeals around the country. Our Supreme Court and Appellate lawyers collectively have significant experience before the Supreme Court and scores of other federal and state courts of appeals.

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