Cades Schutte LLP is proud to be ranked number one once again in Pacific Business News (PBN)’s Book of Lists ranking the Top 50 law firms in Hawai‘i.
As part of PBN’s feature, several Cades Schutte attorneys including Partner and Management Committee member Ryan M. Wilson, as well as David F.E. Banks, Amanda M. Jones, Theodore D.C. Young and Cheryl L.M.T. Itagaki answered questions regarding how law firms have been preparing to help businesses after a turbulent year.
Are there any practice areas or specializations that your firm has added or eliminated in the last year?
In 2020, our firm established a dedicated Coronavirus Response Team consisting of attorneys across numerous practices to efficiently address the effects of the pandemic on businesses and individuals. We also bolstered our Environmental Law Team by welcoming Of Counsel Lindsay N. McAneeley to the firm, who has extensive experience in environmental litigation.
Which important legal issues currently impact business owners and managers in Hawai‘i?
- Employment Law: The change in administrations in Washington D.C. will likely result in changes at the National Labor Relations Board and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission; however, it will take some time for those changes to be implemented and it remains unclear what changes will be made that will affect workplaces. Employee entitlement to leave under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) expired on Dec. 31, but employers should be on the lookout for an extension or new leave programs or requirements that the new Congress may impose this year in response to the continuing impacts of the pandemic. Employers will also be challenged this year with legal issues surrounding employees who may refuse to get vaccinated after it becomes widely available.
- Corporate: Business owners in Hawai‘i should monitor (a) possible changes in federal estate taxes, which could impact the timing of succession planning for family-owned businesses; (b) the changing legal landscape impacting short term rentals of vacation properties; (c) changing federal and state laws impacting the gig economy (and the ability to use short-term, temporary, or independent contractors); (d) legal requirements regarding the maintenance of pandemic-era cleaning and service standards upon the relaunch of the travel industry; (e) environmental, cultural and community activism seeking to significantly change the business of tourism in Hawai‘i; and (f) business opportunities in the areas of food security and alternative energy.
- Bankruptcy: In view of the economic turmoil and uncertainties created by the Covid-19 pandemic and related government shutdowns, 2021 should continue the trend of increased bankruptcy filings on the corporate and consumer levels. Certain sectors such as retail, restaurant, hospitality and travel may also see an increase in bankruptcy filings and loan defaults. Creditors or landlords whose economic interests are negatively impacted by these bankruptcy filings should be proactive and may want to consider engaging knowledgeable counsel to assist them with their claims and to provide advice as to their legal options to ensure that their interests are protected.
- Pension and Employee Benefits: Plan sponsors of qualified retirement plans are interested in adding flexibility to plan provisions for both the plan sponsors and participants during these uncertain times. Business owners are looking for IRS and DOL clarification of the changes brought about by the SECURE and CARES Acts and their progeny, particularly with respect to PPP loans.