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The Sidley Podcast

Author: Sidley Austin LLP

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Welcome to The Sidley Podcast. Join us as we bring a unique perspective to complex issues at the intersection of law and business.
23 Episodes
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It’s not just “varsity blues.” Universities are facing different kinds of crises than they ever imagined before, from COVID and Title IX to sports scandals and cyber breaches. As these institutions find themselves in legal and political crosshairs, their legal counsel are called on to mitigate and even preempt potential disaster. How do they plan and execute these strategies, and what makes universities unique compared to other institutions? Our latest episode of The Sidley Podcast grapples with those questions and many others. Join host and Sidley partner, Sam Gandhi, as he speaks with two of the firm’s thought leaders on the subject — Wendy Lazerson and Karen Popp. Wendy is co-chair of Sidley’s Labor, Employment, and Immigration practice and is a partner in the firm’s San Francisco and Palo Alto offices. She also serves on the firm’s COVID-19 Task Force. Karen is the global co-leader of the firm’s White Collar: Government Litigation and Investigations practice and is a partner in the firm’s Washington, D.C. office. Executive Producer: John Metaxas, WallStreetNorth Communications, Inc.
Life is getting harder for boards of directors of public companies. Increased scrutiny of companies — particularly in heavily regulated industries — has led to greater risk of criminal and civil liability. And recent Delaware cases have ratcheted up the pressure, allowing lawsuits to proceed against boards for failure of oversight. What should directors know about their oversight responsibilities?  And what can boards do to mitigate their risk? Our latest episode of The Sidley Podcast grapples with those questions and many others. Join host and Sidley partner, Sam Gandhi, as he speaks with two of the firm’s thought leaders on the subject — Holly Gregory and Dr. Paul Kalb.Holly is co-chair of Sidley’s global Corporate Governance and Executive Compensation practice, and currently serves as the president of the American College of Governance Counsel. Paul serves as the global leader of Sidley’s Healthcare and FDA group and leader of the firm’s COVID-19 Task Force. He is also a member of the firm’s Executive Committee. Executive Producer: John Metaxas, WallStreetNorth Communications, Inc.
Recent events have given the term “corporate crisis” a whole new meaning. From cyberattacks and pandemic disruptions to political divisions and tweets that go viral, companies are being challenged in ways they never have before. How should they respond in a fast-moving crisis? How can they identify risks and mitigate them? And who should execute their strategy? Our latest episode of The Sidley Podcast grapples with those questions and many others. Join host and Sidley partner, Sam Gandhi, as he speaks with two of the firm’s thought leaders on crisis management and corporate risk — Yvette Ostolaza and Raymond Bonner.  Yvette is chair-elect of Sidley’s Management Committee. She is also a member of the firm’s Executive Committee and global co-leader of its Litigation practice. Ray founded the firm’s Food, Drug, and Medical Compliance and Enforcement practice. He is lead counsel for the firm’s Risk Management and Critical Matters team and a member of the firm’s Executive Committee. Executive Producer: John Metaxas, WallStreetNorth Communications, Inc.
Three COVID-19 vaccines are now authorized for use in the U.S., and more than half of all U.S. adults have received at least one shot. The push for vaccinations is raising ethical and legal questions. Can private employers mandate vaccinations for their workers? What are the ramifications if they do? How should businesses navigate federal and state requirements? Our latest episode of The Sidley Podcast grapples with those questions and many others. Join host and Sidley partner, Sam Gandhi, as he speaks with two of the firm’s thought leaders on the subject — Wendy Lazerson and Rebecca Wood.Wendy is the co-chair of Sidley’s Labor, Employment, and Immigration practice and a partner in the firm’s San Francisco and Palo Alto offices. She also serves on the firm’s COVID-19 Task Force. Becky serves on the firm’s Global Life Sciences Leadership Council and leads our Washington, D.C. Healthcare and FDA group. She was a founding member of the firm’s COVID-19 Task Force and recently served at the FDA as chief counsel — the general counsel role — under former commissioner Scott Gottlieb.Executive Producer: John Metaxas, WallStreetNorth Communications, Inc.
Special purpose acquisition companies (SPACs) have raised more money in the first quarter of this year than they did in all of last year. And 2020 was already being labeled “The Year of the SPAC,” with hundreds launched. Now, more and more sponsors are stepping up. Why are SPACs so hot, and how have they evolved from their origins in the ‘90s? What are their risks, and where can we find new opportunities in the SPAC landscape? Our latest episode of The Sidley Podcast grapples with those questions and many others. Join host and Sidley partner, Sam Gandhi, as he speaks with four of the firm’s thought leaders on SPACs — Joshua DuClos, Michael Heinz, David Ni, and Jeffrey Smith — co-leaders of Sidley’s SPAC practice. Josh, Mike, David, and Jeffrey have more than a decade of experience in counseling clients on this alternative deal structure, representing operating companies, SPACs, and investors in complex, multibillion dollar de-SPACs and IPO transactions, as well as in a host of other corporate transaction structures. Executive Producer: John Metaxas, WallStreetNorth Communications, Inc.
Impeachment is behind us, and President Joe Biden is working to bring to fruition an ambitious agenda. Georgia’s voters gave Democrats a 50/50 Senate, with Vice President Kamala Harris as the tie-breaker. Now comes the hard part — getting things done. From COVID-19 relief to infrastructure to immigration, how much of the Biden agenda can make it through a still-divided Congress? What does it all mean for business? And what are relationships really like behind the scenes?Our latest episode of The Sidley Podcast grapples with those questions and many others. Join host and Sidley partner, Sam Gandhi, as he speaks with three of the firm’s thought leaders at the intersection of government, policy, and the law — Peter Roskam, Michael Borden, and Patricia DeLoatche.Peter is a member of Sidley’s Government Strategies practice and a former six-term U.S. Representative from Illinois. He held some of the most significant positions in the U.S. House of Representatives during his tenure from 2007 to 2019. Michael leads the firm’s Government Strategies practice and is also a member of the White Collar: Government Litigation and Investigations practice. He joined the firm after working for nearly a decade on Capitol Hill, including as senior counsel of the U.S. House Committee on Financial Services during the financial crisis and the enactment of the Dodd-Frank Act. Patricia is a member of the firm’s Government Strategies and Food, Drug, and Medical Device Compliance and Enforcement practices. Prior to joining Sidley, she served for more than 25 years as a leading health policy adviser to key members of Congress. Executive Producer: John Metaxas, WallStreetNorth Communications, Inc.
It’s proxy season, and for most companies, the time for annual meetings is just around the bend. Publicly traded companies are coming off a tumultuous year. The link between corporation and community has never been more at the forefront — from COVID-19 to racial justice to worker treatment. And businesses are facing activist pressure. How should they navigate this complex environment? Our latest episode of The Sidley Podcast grapples with that question and many others. Join host and Sidley partner, Sam Gandhi, as he speaks with three of the firm’s thought leaders on proxy season — Beth Berg, Kai Liekefett, and Derek Zaba. Beth has more than 18 years of experience in advising companies on shareholder activism, proxy contests, and takeover defense. She is a partner in the firm’s Chicago office.Kai is a partner in Sidley’s New York office and co-chairs the firm’s Shareholder Activism practice. In the last five years, he has been involved in more than 50 proxy contests — more than any defense lawyer in the country.Derek is a partner in the firm’s Palo Alto and New York offices and co-chairs the Shareholder Activism practice. Over the past two decades, he has been involved in dozens of activist campaigns and proxy contests. Executive Producer: John Metaxas, WallStreetNorth Communications, Inc.
 Brexit is finally here. It’s been four and a half years since citizens of the United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union. A deal has been struck, and the UK is out. Companies worldwide are still asking questions. What laws now apply in the UK? Are investment and trade easier — or does bureaucracy reign? And what opportunities exist amid the uncertainty? Our latest episode of The Sidley Podcast grapples with those questions and many others. Join host and Sidley partner, Sam Gandhi, as he speaks with two of the firm’s thought leaders on Brexit — Nick Brittain and Nicolas Lockhart.Nick Brittain is a senior counsel in Sidley’s London office and a member of the firm’s Global Finance, Investment Funds, and Real Estate practices. He has a broad range of experience in the area of structured finance and securitization. Nicolas Lockhart is a partner in Sidley’s Geneva office and a member of the firm’s Global Arbitration, Trade, and Advocacy practice. He focuses on the development of enforcement of international trade rules, particularly at the World Trade Organization.  Executive Producer: John Metaxas, WallStreetNorth Communications, Inc.
The Supreme Court of the United States has been transformed with the passing of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and the confirmation of Justice Amy Coney Barrett. These events shift the high court further to the right. What will this mean for President-elect Joe Biden’s agenda? How will the new court rule on business cases? What are the cases to watch in 2021? Our latest episode of The Sidley Podcast grapples with those questions and many others. Join host and Sidley partner, Sam Gandhi, as he speaks with two of the firm’s thought leaders on the Supreme Court — Carter Phillips and Peter Keisler.Carter is one of the most experienced Supreme Court and appellate lawyers in the country. Since joining Sidley, he has argued 79 cases before the high court, more than any other lawyer in private practice. Peter is a former acting attorney general. His practice before the Supreme Court, federal courts of appeals and federal district courts has included the leading role in the nation’s most important and successful commercial and regulatory cases of the past several years. Executive Producer: John Metaxas, WallStreetNorth Communications, Inc.
The voters have spoken. A Biden administration waits in the wings and could soon pursue an agenda that could change the way companies are regulated and the way they do business. How will the new administration respond to COVID-19, and which companies should now worry about being investigated? Our latest episode of The Sidley Podcast grapples with those questions and many others. Join host and Sidley partner, Sam Gandhi, as he speaks with three of the firm’s thought leaders at the intersection of government, policy, and the law — Peter Roskam, Michael Borden, and Patricia DeLoatche.   Peter is a member of Sidley’s Government Strategies practice and a former six-term U.S. Representative from Illinois. He held some of the most significant positions in the U.S. House of Representatives during his tenure from 2007 to 2019. Michael leads the firm’s Government Strategies practice and is also a member of the White Collar: Government Litigation and Investigations practice. He joined the firm after working for nearly a decade on Capitol Hill, including as senior counsel of the U.S. House Committee on Financial Services during the financial crisis and the enactment of the Dodd-Frank Act. Patricia is a member of the firm’s Government Strategies and Food, Drug, and Medical Device Compliance and Enforcement practices. Prior to joining Sidley, she served for more than 25 years as a leading health policy adviser to key members of Congress.This episode includes topics discussed on a recent webinar . Executive Producer: John Metaxas, WallStreetNorth Communications, Inc. 
As the presidential election looms, a new report by the House Judiciary Committee’s Antitrust Subcommittee is taking aim at giant technology companies. It charges that these once-underdog startups have been transformed into monopolies, and proposes changes to antitrust law that could lead to the breakup of these companies. How has antitrust evolved, and where is it going? Is this the dawn of a new era of trustbusting? Our latest episode of The Sidley Podcast grapples with those questions and many others. Join host and Sidley partner Sam Gandhi as he speaks with one of the firm’s thought leaders on the subject — Senior Counsel Tim Muris, a member of Sidley’s Antitrust/Competition practice and the only person ever to be the director of both of the Federal Trade Commission’s enforcement bureaus, Competition and Consumer Protection, prior to serving as its chairman from 2001 to 2004. 
Volatile stock markets are creating more opportunities for insider trading. As U.S. businesses try to return to normal amid COVID-19, the SEC is ramping up its response to potential securities violations. In the UK, the Financial Conduct Authority is warning companies to further protect inside information. How has enforcement of insider trading changed, and how can companies mitigate their risks?Our latest episode of The Sidley Podcast grapples with those questions and many others. Join host and Sidley partner, Sam Gandhi, as he speaks with two of Sidley’s thought leaders on insider trading — Nader Salehi, co-head of Sidley’s global Securities Enforcement and Regulatory practice, who works with virtually every major bank on Wall Street, and Sara George, a former prosecutor of insider trading for the UK Financial Services Authority and a partner in the firm’s White Collar: Government Investigations and Securities Enforcement and Regulatory practices.Executive Producer: John Metaxas, WallStreetNorth Communications, Inc.
The classic yellow school bus is turning green. Electric buses may continue to grow in popularity, and the so-called “vehicle-to-grid” technology enables the new buses both to store and draw power. Yet, there is a state-versus-federal regulatory battle that could stifle this innovation. Who can benefit from this technology, and how can companies, utilities, and school districts navigate the opportunities and challenges? Our latest episode of The Sidley Podcast grapples with those questions and many others. Join host and Sidley partner, Sam Gandhi, as he speaks with one of Sidley’s thought leaders on the subject — Ken Irvin, coleader of Sidley’s global Energy practice, who represents clients on matters involving the wholesale electricity and gas markets. He has extensive experience representing businesses in investigations and regulatory proceedings before the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC).Executive Producer: John Metaxas, WallStreetNorth Communications, Inc.
The COVID-19 pandemic poses unprecedented challenges for businesses and their boards of directors. One of the critical matters boards always contend with is the threat of shareholder activism. Now, there is increased scrutiny of how well boards are managing the COVID-19 crisis. How are activists responding, and how can companies plan and react effectively? Our latest episode of The Sidley Podcast grapples with those questions and many others. Join host and Sidley partner, Sam Gandhi, as he speaks with two of Sidley’s thought leaders on shareholder activism — Beth Berg, who has over 18 years of experience in advising companies on shareholder activism, proxy contests, and takeover defense, and Kai Liekefett, co-chair of the firm’s Shareholder Activism practice, who focuses his practice solely on activism campaigns and proxy fights. Executive Producer: John Metaxas, WallStreetNorth Communications, Inc.
Two distinct and important trends have emerged in the COVID-19 era for businesses and their boards. Corporate social responsibility and expanding concerns about social justice have become amplified amid the pandemic. Added to this is that investors and Delaware courts are focusing on the role of boards of directors in oversight. The courts are now allowing claims for failures in oversight to be litigated. How has the virus affected these trends and how can boards prepare? Our latest episode of The Sidley Podcast grapples with those questions and many others. Join host and Sidley partner Sam Gandhi as he speaks with one of Sidley’s thought leaders on governance and the risks for boards — Holly Gregory, co-chair of Sidley’s global Corporate Governance and Executive Compensation practice and president of the American College of Governance Counsel. Holly and Sam address what businesses and their boards can do in anticipation of the challenges and opportunities posed by the current landscape.Executive Producer: John Metaxas, WallStreetNorth Communications, Inc.
The COVID-19 pandemic poses unprecedented challenges for employers. Businesses must walk the line between keeping workers safe and respecting their privacy. How do employers ensure a safe and healthy workplace? And how do they manage layoffs, furloughs and benefits in this rapidly deteriorating economic environment? Our latest episode of The Sidley Podcast grapples with those questions and many others. Join host and Sidley partner Sam Gandhi as he speaks with two of Sidley’s thought leaders on the critical issues that employers face—Wendy Lazerson, co-chair of Sidley’s Labor and Employment practice, and Kate Heinzelman, who advises clients on privacy and cybersecurity issues.
The cannabis business is booming. Social acceptance of marijuana has led jurisdictions to legalize its sale and use for both medicinal and recreational reasons. Companies see enormous business opportunities in it. But marijuana is still illegal under federal law. And the political landscape about its regulation is complicated. What should companies know about the opportunities and risks to participating in the market? Our latest episode of The Sidley Podcast grapples with that question and many others. Join host and Sidley partner Sam Gandhi as he speaks with one of Sidley’s thought leaders on cannabis — James Cole, the former deputy attorney general of the United States, where he was the primary author of the “Cole Memo,” a Justice Department memorandum regarding the enforcement of the federal laws prohibiting the sale and distribution of marijuana. Jim is also the global co-leader of Sidley’s White Collar: Government Litigation and Investigations practice. Jim and Sam address what businesses can do in anticipation of the challenges and opportunities posed by this market. 
Life sciences companies are rushing to find ways to diagnose, prevent and treat the COVID-19 virus. They face legal challenges, from regulatory oversight to supply chain disruption and product liability. What are the opportunities in trying to solve the COVID-19 virus puzzle? And how do these global innovators handle the risks? Our latest episode of The Sidley Podcast grapples with those questions and many others. Join host and Sidley partner Sam Gandhi as he speaks with two of Sidley’s thought leaders on the critical issues that life sciences companies face—Becky Wood, who leads Sidley’s FDA regulatory practice, and Doro Schramm, an international arbitration partner in the firm’s Geneva, Switzerland office. Together, they address what businesses can do in anticipation of the challenges ahead. 
The COVID-19 virus is spreading around the world and is officially a pandemic. With global markets falling to their lowest since the financial crisis, fears of a recession have increased. As companies scramble to deal with this rapidly evolving and dangerous reality, how do boards of directors react? How do they navigate an M&A transaction or avoid litigation? Our latest episode of The Sidley Podcast grapples with those questions and many others. Join host and Sidley partner Sam Gandhi as he speaks with two of Sidley’s thought leaders on the critical issues that boards face—Yvette Ostolaza, co-global practice leader of Sidley’s Litigation practice, and Brian Fahrney, global practice leader of Sidley’s M&A and Private Equity practices. Together, they address what businesses can do in anticipation of the challenges ahead.
Just as the coronavirus  (COVID-19) has the whole world in crisis, an oil price war is now further roiling global markets and the business world. These seismic events raise substantial legal issues for the energy industry. What is the impact on energy market participants? How can businesses navigate the storm?Our latest episode of The Sidley Podcast grapples with those questions and many others. Join host and Sidley partner Sam Gandhi as he speaks with one of Sidley’s thought leaders on the energy industry, Cliff Vrielink, co-managing partner of Sidley’s Houston office and global leader of the firm’s Energy and Infrastructure practice. Together, they address what businesses can do in anticipation of the challenges ahead.
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