M&A activity in US on track to set record | US auto demands threaten to stall NAFTA talks | Yellen to depart Fed when successor is sworn in
November 21, 2017
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Corporate Spotlight
M&A activity in US on track to set record
Throughout the US economy, major corporations are looking for deals to protect themselves from competitive challenges by online giants such as Amazon, Facebook, Google and Netflix. Roughly $200 billion worth of mergers and acquisitions have been announced this month, according to Dealogic, and at this pace, November could be the second-biggest month for M&A since the company started collecting data in 1995.
The Wall Street Journal (tiered subscription model) (11/20) 
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National News
US auto demands threaten to stall NAFTA talks
Efforts to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement are likely to reach a stalemate as the fifth round of talks ends today. Mexico and Canada have refused to bend to US pressure to increase the minimum threshold for NAFTA autos from 62.5% to 85% and to require that half of the content come from the US, a demand even US automakers have questioned.
Reuters (11/21) 
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Financial and Tax Update
Yellen to depart Fed when successor is sworn in
Yellen to depart Fed when successor is sworn in
Yellen (Hannelore Foerster/Getty Images)
Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen said she will leave the central bank's board of governors as soon as her presumed successor, Jerome Powell, is sworn in. Her departure will give President Donald Trump a fourth vacancy to fill on the seven-member board.
Bloomberg (free registration) (11/20),  Politico Pro (subscription required) (11/20) 
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Trump looking for Fed support of tax plan
The Trump administration is expecting the Federal Reserve to support any economic growth resulting from corporate tax cuts included in the Republican tax bill. The Fed is projecting three interest rate hikes next year but could increase that number to four if inflation picks up as a result of tax cuts, economists say.
Bloomberg (free registration) (11/20) 
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Employment Focus
Employee whistleblower protection denied on offshore oil rigs
The Chemical Safety Board has decided to scrap its recommendations for worker participation and whistleblower protection on offshore oil rigs after the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement said it wouldn't enforce such regulations. The recommendations were put forward following the Deepwater Horizon explosion in 2010.
Houston Chronicle (tiered subscription model) (11/17) 
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Supreme Court and Federal Court Watch
DOJ sues to halt $85.4B AT&T-Time Warner merger
The Justice Department has filed an antitrust lawsuit to block an $85.4 billion merger of AT&T and Time Warner. Makan Delrahim, assistant attorney general for antitrust matters, says combining the companies would weaken competition and would harm consumers by increasing the cost of video services and by stifling innovation.
The New York Times (free-article access for SmartBrief readers) (11/20),  Bloomberg (free registration) (11/20),  Politico (11/20) 
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DOJ's stance changes on challenges of prison sentences
A Florida man who pleaded guilty to a federal gun charge has sought to challenge his sentence of more than 17 years, arguing that it does not comport with the law. The Justice Department has changed its position on the issue of whether such challenges should be allowed and, in a brief filed last month, requested that the Supreme Court decline to hear the appeal.
The New York Times (free-article access for SmartBrief readers) (11/20) 
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Other Legal News
Court delays arguments on challenge to Labor fiduciary rule
The US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit has delayed oral arguments in a lawsuit brought by the National Association for Fixed Annuities challenging the Labor Department's fiduciary rule. The court granted the postponement to wait for a decision by the US Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit on another case related to the fiduciary rule.
ThinkAdvisor (free registration) (11/20) 
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Professional and Business Development
Always include an action item in your networking emails
Many professionals fail to make their purpose clear when reaching out to others for networking reasons, Jane Burnett writes. Suggest a time and date to meet up, ask for an introduction to a third party or make another actionable request.
Ladders (11/16) 
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Accepting career advice is always optional
Maintain your perspective as the ultimate decision-making factor in your career when taking professional advice, Alyse Kalish writes. "Once you see others' advice as something you can take rather than something you have to take, the pressure's off, and you can make decisions that align with your values," she writes.
The Muse (11/16) 
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PLI News
Statutory Authority and Recent Initiatives Impacting the Financial Services Industry
New York's Attorney General and its Department of Financial Services (DFS) play a significant role in the financial services industry. These state-level agencies continue to exert significant power over the financial services industry, especially with federal oversight potentially shrinking. Attend the Dec. 13 One-Hour Briefing, Statutory Authority and Recent Initiatives Impacting the Financial Services Industry. Discussion includes the statutory powers of the New York A.G. and the NY DFS and recent legislative efforts to expand enforcement authority.
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CAFC Reverses on Erroneous Application of BRI
A court reviewing a decision of the Patent Office is obligated to apply the "broadest reasonable interpretation" ("BRI") of the Office's decisions. But the Federal Circuit concluded that the PTAB could not make the interpretation so broad that it would encompass an unreasonable construction under claim construction principles, or an interpretation that is divorced from the specification and record evidence. The interpretation must be consistent with the specification, as further discussed on PLI's Patent Law Practice Center.
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