Employment Law and the Metaverse: What attorneys need to know

Laura Lawless
Melissa Legault
Nathan A. Leber
Alexis Montano
Laura Lawless | Squire Patton Boggs
Melissa Legault | Squire Patton Boggs
Nathan A. Leber | Squire Patton Boggs
Alexis Montano | Squire Patton Boggs
On-Demand: November 4, 2022
Employment Law and the Metaverse: What attorneys need to know

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Program Summary

Employment law in real life (IRL) is vexing enough, with employers required to navigate the complex federal, state and local laws and regulations that impact the employment relationship. Now businesses are making the leap into the virtual world, where employment law takes an even more challenging turn. The metaverse has opened the door to new risks that employers must anticipate and carefully consider. This webinar will provide an overview of evolving legal issues employers face in the employment space, comparing IRL to virtual, and risk mitigation strategies.

Key topics to be discussed:

  • A brief introduction to the Metaverse
  • Employment issues in real life vs. employment issues in the Metaverse
  • Risk mitigation strategies
  • Real life examples of lessons learned from businesses with cryptocurrency projects

Date: November 4, 2022

Closed-captioning available

Speakers

Laura-Lawless_Squire-Patton-Boggs_myLawCLELaura Lawless | Squire Patton Boggs

Laura Lawless is a trial lawyer who represents employers before federal and state courts and administrative agencies, as well as in arbitration and mediation proceedings, defending employers in matters arising under federal and state employment laws, including claims of discrimination, harassment, retaliation, whistleblower retaliation, wrongful termination, wage and hour violations, and breach of contract, as well as in noncompetition, nonsolicitation, nondisclosure, trade secret and unfair competition cases.

Laura also counsels and collaborates with human resources professionals, including assisting in workplace investigations, auditing wage and hour practices under the Fair Labor Standards Act and analogous state laws, reviewing and advising on leaves of absence, preparing executive employment agreements and separation agreements, drafting employment policies and handbooks, advising on drug and alcohol testing and workplace violence prevention, delivering interactive management and executive training, and advising on reduction-in-force planning and implementation. She is also a frequent contributor and speaker on employment and labor law topics, including at state and local affiliates of the Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM).

In addition to her labor and employment practice, Laura assists private business owners in complying with Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act and analogous state laws, requiring disability accessibility in places of public accommodation.

Representative Experience

Won summary judgment on behalf of large supply chain management software developer on a former employee’s claims of Title VII pregnancy discrimination and retaliation, federal and state Equal Pay Act violations and retaliation under the Family and Medical Leave Act.

Won summary judgment in case brought against transportation safety solutions provider alleging violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Conducted company-wide internal audit of large software developer for compliance with the Fair Labor Standards Act and multi-state wage and hour laws;

Defended special event company in comprehensive Department of Labor investigation, including successfully defending claims of exempt employee and independent contractor misclassification.

Won summary judgment on behalf of solar energy client in case brought by former executive alleging fraud and unjust enrichment, and obtained a substantial award of attorneys’ fees.

Successfully moved to dismiss claims brought by a competitor healthcare provider alleging breach of restrictive covenant agreements and unfair competition, and obtained a substantial award of attorneys’ fees.

Defeated claims brought by the Arizona Department of Economic Security against process service company alleging independent contractor misclassification.

Memberships And Affiliations

  • Member, Schools and Scholarships Committee, Harvard Club of Phoenix, 2005-present
  • Member, Board of Directors, Maricopa County Bar Association Labor and Employment Section, 2006-2016
  • Member, Board of Directors, Recovery Innovations, Inc. (nka RI International), 2002-2015
  • Member, Board of Directors, Arizona Foundation for Behavioral Health, 2012-2014
  • Member, Board of Directors, Mental Health America – Arizona, 2006-2013
  • Member, Board of Directors, Harvard Club of Phoenix, 2005-2013
  • Member, Board of Directors, Institute for Mental Health Research, 2003-2009
  • Member, Board of Directors, HOPE, Inc., 2002-2004

RECOGNITIONS

Listed in The Best Lawyers in America since 2014 for Employment Law – Management and Litigation – Labor and Employment

Received recognition in Chambers USA on the strength of feedback received from clients who comment that “she is excellent: very practical and knowledgeable, and very good at guiding us in the right direction”

Recognized every year since 2012 by Southwest Super Lawyers as a Rising Star, which names the top 5% of lawyers in the region under the age of 40

Chosen as an Outstanding Woman in Business by the Phoenix Business Journal in 2016 and recognized as one of the Forty Under 40 Phoenix-area business professionals by the Phoenix Business Journal in 2006

Publications & Speaking Engagements

Publications

Co-author, “The ADA and Website Accessibility Post-Domino’s: Detangling Employers’ and Business Owners’ Web and Mobile Accessibility Observations,” TIPS Law Journal: Tort Trial & Insurance Practice Law, Winter 2021.

Contributor, “Experts Give Their Solutions to Difficult Workplace Problems,” CFO & Controller Alert, March 26, 2021.

Co-author, “Top 10 Employee Benefits Issues in a Slowing Economy,” Law.com – Corporate Counsel, March 23, 2020.

Author, “Exploring the Limits of the At-Will Employment Doctrine,” Law360.com, August 2016.

Co-author, “Determining Supervisory Status in Harassment Cases,” Arizona Business Magazine, June 2013.

Author, “Two Recent Cases Analyze Classification of Nurses Under the National Labor Relations Act,” AHLA Labor & Employment Practice Group Newsletter, January 2013.

Chapter author, “Military Leave and Veteran’s Rights” and “Settlement,” Arizona Employment Handbook, T. Rogers ed., 2007 (and 2013 supplement).

Columnist, “Ask the Employment Law Expert,” Arizona Republic, 2012-present.

Cited, employment law-related articles in the Arizona Republic, WorkCompCentral.com, Bloomberg BNA and Phoenix Business Journal.

Speaking Engagements

Presenter, “Legal Power Hour Webinar: COVID-19 Preparedness for the Salon and Spa Industry,” Professional Beauty Association, June 2020

Roundtable participant, “How to Restart Your Business? Potential Employment Issues After a Prolonged Government Stay-at-Home Order,” United States – Mexico Chamber of Commerce, May 2020.

Roundtable participant, “The ADA and Website Accessibility Post-Domino’s: Detangling Employers’ and Business Owners’ Web and Mobile Accessibility Obligations [CC],” American Bar Association, May 2020.

Roundtable participant, “The Covid-19 Crisis: Update on US Labor & Employment Law,” Gartner Webinar, April 2020.

Commentary, “EEOC Coronavirus Guidance No Silver Bullet For ADA Risks,” Law360.com, April 2020.

Commentary, “Rapid Rollout of Economic Aid Presents Host of Challenges,” Crain’s Cleveland Business, April 2020.

Roundtable participant, “Healthcare Industry on Employment and Benefits Impact of COVID-19,” Willis Towers Watson, April 2020.

 

Melissa-Legault_Squire-Patton-Boggs_myLawCLEMelissa Legault | Squire Patton Boggs

Melissa Legault is an associate in the Phoenix office, where she focuses her practice on labor and employment matters. Melissa assists employers in diverse matters related to their employment relationships to help them achieve their goals while complying with frequently changing regulations.

Melissa represents employers before federal and state courts and administrative agencies, as well as in arbitration and mediation proceedings, defending employers in matters arising under federal and state employment laws, including claims of discrimination, harassment, retaliation, whistleblower retaliation, wrongful termination, wage and hour violations, and breach of contract cases.

In addition, Melissa counsels employers on compliance with all US federal and state labor and employment laws, and on topics such as workplace harassment, workplace violence, terminations, mass layoffs, unfair labor practices, drug and alcohol testing, employee handbooks and policies, and employment agreements.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Melissa has advised clients on the associated legal issues, including return-to-work procedures, vaccination policies, mask requirements and mitigation strategies. She continues to stay up to date on the federal, state and local legal implications and best practices for employers as they navigate the complex legal issues resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Prior to joining the firm, Melissa graduated magna cum laude from the University of Arizona, where she was a note editor for the Arizona Law Review and earned CALI Excellence for the Future Awards in Legal Writing and Legal Research. While in law school, Melissa externed for the Honorable Judge Steven P. Logan at the US District Court for the District of Arizona.

RECOGNITIONS

Recognized in Best Lawyers: Ones to Watch in America for Employee Benefits (ERISA) Law and Labor and Employment Law – Management, 2022-2023

Recipient of the National Law Review’s Go-To Thought Leadership Awards, 2019

PUBLICATIONS

Author, “‘I Don’t Want to Die, But I Am Dying’: Reexamining Physician-Assisted Suicide in a New Age of Substantive Due Process,” 60 Ariz. L. Rev. 509, 2018.

 

Nathan-A.-Leber_Squire-Patton-Boggs_myLawCLENathan A. Leber | Squire Patton Boggs

Nate Leber is a litigator and cryptocurrency lawyer that frequently represents corporations, startup entities and sports and entertainment figures in high-profile matters. Nate has a unique level of experience in trial, having been a key member of four federal court trial teams. Nate has taken and defended numerous expert and fact-witness depositions and has negotiated the resolution of cases and discovery disputes. Nate’s experience includes representation of clients in a variety of complex litigation matters, including MDLs, class actions, complex civil lawsuits and administrative proceedings. He also has experience representing clients in internal investigations. Nate has represented Fortune 500 and global companies in various industries, including chemicals, manufacturing, computer software, insurance, healthcare, education and financial services.

Nate’s representative experience includes serving as external general counsel to a number of companies, including on cryptocurrency projects.

Nate’s representative experience also includes his participation on the core defense and trial team for a Fortune 500 global science company in federal multidistrict litigation involving perfluorinated compounds.

Nate has also defended clients in a variety of commercial matters, including serving as lead counsel for an overseas manufacturer of construction equipment in a products liability dispute and working with a team of lawyers representing a global bank in cross-border class actions.

Nate maintains an active pro bono practice, including drafting a clemency petition on behalf of a federal inmate originally given a life sentence for a non-violent offense. President Obama granted the petition and Nate’s client was released from federal incarceration.

Nate sits on the board of directors for Linking Employment, Abilities, and Potential, which is a nonprofit agency that works to advance equality for people with disabilities in Northeast Ohio.

REPRESENTATIVE EXPERIENCE

  •  External legal counsel for significant cryptocurrency projects, including Kitty Inu
  • Representation of a Fortune 500 global science company in multidistrict litigation and various suits filed in state and federal courts
  • Representation of foreign officials and foreign banking executives in suits filed in federal court in New York
  • Representation of a software-as-a-service company in a suit alleging antitrust and trademark violations
  •  Representation of an overseas manufacturer of construction equipment in a products liability suit
  • Representation of a global bank in cross-border class actions and various state court proceedings involving breach of contract, fraud and unfair business practices claims relating to complex loan products
  • Representing a healthcare industry client in individual action brought in Ohio state court
  • Handling matters arising in the course of business for an NBA superstar
  • Obtaining a verdict in favor of a pro bono client in a bench trial involving child custody matters

 

Alexis-Montano_Squire-Patton-Boggs_myLawCLEAlexis Montano | Squire Patton Boggs

Alexis Montano is an associate in the Phoenix office. Her practice focuses on commercial real estate transactions, such as leasing, purchase and sale agreements and due diligence, for national clients in a broad range of industries.

While attending Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law, Alexis was a contributor to the Sports & Entertainment Law Journal, served as vice-president of internal relations for the Chicano Latino Law Students Association and was an active member of the Women’s Law Student Association. She volunteered with the Florence Immigration Project, as well as the Human Rights Global Brigades, to bring free legal services to indigenous communities in Panama. She graduated with the highest distinction in pro bono.

Alexis is an alumni of the Beta Delta chapter of Kappa Alpha Theta. She is a current active member of Los Abogados Hispanic National Bar Association and part of the Advocates Program for Valley Partnership. Alexis is also a member of the Young Professionals Board for Treasure House, a unique active living community for young adults with cognitive and developmental disabilities.

REPRESENTATIVE EXPERIENCE

  •  Representing the owner of low-income housing complexes with all tax credit, acquisitions, dispositions, financings and limited partnership restructuring across the US
  • Representing a land banker for acquisitions and several forms of dispositions, including option agreements, bulk sales and buy backs with top-rated home builders across the US, dealing with international tenant-in-common investor interests
  • Represented a private university on a “swap” of college campuses with the satellite campus of a large state university
  • Completed real estate due diligence for a US$328 million stock purchase of a vehicle manufacturer company
  • Represented landlords and tenants in drafting lease agreements for dispensaries in Arizona and Florida, as well as drafted purchase agreements for medical marijuana companies looking to purchase property for dispensaries in Arizona and California
  • Represented lenders drafting and negotiating construction loans
  • Represented mezzanine lenders drafting and negotiating mezzanine loans
  • Representing a local credit union in selling its portfolio of property and in the enforcement of its mortgages
  • Represented a solar company in drafting lease and easement agreements as it related to their work in renting open land to install solar panels in Arizona
  • Representing a developer in creating joint ventures, drafting purchase agreements and option agreements, and facilitating lot takedowns for the term of the agreements
  • Representing both landlords and tenants in drafting and reviewing retail leases all across the US

PUBLICATIONS

  •  Author, “Real Estate Law May Soon Play A Role In The Metaverse.” Law360, February 15, 2022

Agenda

I. A brief introduction to the Metaverse | 12:00pm – 12:30pm
II. Employment issues in real life vs. employment issues in the Metaverse | 12:30pm – 1:00pm

Break | 1:00pm – 1:10pm

III. Risk mitigation strategies | 1:10pm – 1:40pm
IV. Real life examples of lessons learned from businesses with cryptocurrency projects | 1:40pm – 2:10pm