April 2021

Business News Digest

4 min

Feature Articles

Windmills

This month's feature articles by attorneys in Venable's Corporate Group examine current SEC initiatives regarding climate change and other ESG disclosures.

SEC Invites Public Input on Climate Change Disclosures

On March 15, 2021, Acting Chair of the SEC Allison Herren Lee issued a statement requesting input from investors, public companies and other market participants on climate change disclosures. The statement follows Acting Chair Lee's previous statement that the SEC plans to evaluate and update the 2010 Commission Guidance Regarding Disclosure Related to Climate Change. The 2010 Guidance discussed disclosure of climate change-related information within the framework of existing non-financial disclosure rules, including the business description, legal proceedings, risk factors and MD&A. The SEC Staff will evaluate the current rules "with an eye toward facilitating the disclosure of consistent, comparable, and reliable information on climate change." Interested members of the public have 90 days from March 15, 2021 to submit comments for the SEC's review.

Comments on ESG Disclosures by Acting Director of Division of Corporation Finance

On March 11, 2021, John Coates, Acting Director of the Division of Corporation Finance of the SEC, issued a statement on ESG Disclosures in connection with remarks made at the 33rd Annual Tulane Corporate Law Institute. Mr. Coates stated his belief that the SEC's policies on ESG disclosures should continue to adapt existing rules and standards to the realities of climate change and the fact that investors increasingly are asking for ESG information to help them make informed investment and voting decisions. As the debate over ESG disclosures continues, Mr. Coates stated that an effective ESG disclosure system should reflect consensus among investors and companies about useful, reliable and comparable disclosures under standards that are sufficiently flexible so as to remain relevant.


Upcoming Event

Fintech 101: Regulatory, Privacy and Corporate Considerations

April 13, 2021 | Bar of San Francisco's Arbitrations Section

Venable partners will be speaking on "Fintech 101: Regulatory, Privacy and Corporate Considerations" at the Bar of San Francisco's Arbitrations Section on April 13. Their discussion will provide an overview of the regulatory framework fintechs should be aware of when operating in the space, privacy considerations since data and the treatment of data are often at the center of a fintech's business model, and general corporate considerations to keep in mind for any emerging growth fintech company.


Corporate Group Alert

A JPG File sells for $69 Million and Historic tweets Up for Auction as Blockchain and NFTs Explode

On Thursday, March 11, a piece of digital art – a JPG file – sold for $69 million. Why would a purely digital work of art ever sell for that much? Scarcity and proof of ownership. That's right, the underpinning of popular cryptocurrencies – blockchain – is being used to create NFTs (nonfungible tokens) to mint unique pieces of art and other digital collectibles.


New Corporate Group Attorney Announcements

Liz Sanders, Counsel

Liz Sanders has spent much of her career working in-house for businesses ranging from start-ups to Fortune 500 companies, bringing critical perspective to her practice. Liz also has a breadth of industry experience and has managed numerous legal and executive functions in her roles. Her areas of focus include M&A, corporate finance transactions, product development and commercialization, compliance, and commercial leases, among others.

Lauren N. Fields, Associate

Lauren Fields brings experience in bankruptcy law and mergers and acquisitions to the Corporate Practice Group. While in law school, Lauren worked as an intern at the United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of Maryland, and as a summer law clerk in the Maryland Office of Administrative Hearings. Prior to joining Venable, she was a law clerk for the Court of Appeals of Maryland.

Valerie A. Wilson, Associate

Valerie Wilson focuses her practice on corporate law. During law school, Valerie worked as a judicial intern for the Honorable Thomas G. Ross in the Circuit Court for Queen Anne's County, where she conducted legal research, reviewed case histories, and prepared bench briefs to assist with trial preparation.

Joshua P. McWhorter, Associate

Joshua P. McWhorter assists corporate clients and well-known individuals with a wide range of business deals, focusing on the intellectual property aspects of transactions. Josh has experience drafting agreements related to copyright, trademark, and other intellectual property licensing, marketing and distribution, endorsements, employment, and consulting services. While at USC Gould School of Law, he was a member of the Entertainment Law Society, Sports Law Society, and the Black Law Students Association, and was a summer associate at Venable LLP. Before his legal career, Josh founded and ran a lifestyle brand company.


Relevant Alerts from other Venable Practice Groups

For your convenience, we have assembled below a collection of certain Venable alerts covering a variety of topics and practice areas.

Congress Says Employers May Swap Paid Leave for Tax Credits: How the American Rescue Plan Act Can Reduce Employer Tax Payments

New York State's New COVID-19 Vaccination Leave Law and Employer Vaccination Incentive Plans: Practical Considerations for Employers

$1.9 Trillion American Rescue Plan Expands Relief to Nonprofits, Restaurants, Entertainment Venues, and Small Businesses


Event Recap

WAVe Presents: A Conversation with "the Watergate Girl," Jill Wine-Banks