June 27, 2007

Nasdaq Issues Additional Equity Compensation FAQs

Recently, the Nasdaq Staff posted 52 additional FAQs on equity compensation that were mentioned during our “Nasdaq Speaks” webcast. This brings the total number of FAQs related to listings to almost 300; they also have summaries of over 200 interpretive letters that also provide guidance on the corporate governance standards.

FIN 48 Developments

In this podcast, Steve Kunkel and Bill Smith, both from CBIZ Accounting, Tax & Advisory Services and Mayer Hoffman McCann, explain how the IRS may well turn FIN 48 into a roadmap and treasure map for audits, including:

– What are the latest FIN 48 developments?
– What is the most common uncertain tax position that you have seen?
– What is the best approach in addressing staffing needs for initial compliance for FIN 48? What is an “advisory accountant”? What role will our independent auditor play in evaluating tax positions for FIN 48 purposes?
– What do you anticipate the IRS will do with FIN 48 disclosures?
– How will FIN 48 affect tax positions that companies take in the future?
– How does a company determine a “unit of account”?
– What impact can FIN 48 have on a company’s banking covenants?

More Serious Thoughts about Avvo

A few weeks ago, I poked a little fun about Avvo in this blog. But what do I really think? I believe Avvo gets it “right” in that some aspects of practicing law are on the verge of being revolutionized. Too many industries are being transformed to think that the legal field will go unscathed. Exhibit A are the web sites we have launched, they are unique – and to be honest, I think they merely scratch the surface of where I think they can evolve to in the not-too-distinct future. With Dave Lynn on board here, there is now room for the creative juices to flow.

I predict that Avvo will listen to what their audience wants – and that the end product could be truly something breathtaking. It might end up being a Facebook for lawyers; who among us would ever think that something like that would happen so fast? If you check the legal blogosphere, Avvo became a household name overnight. That alone would be unthinkable a decade ago.

In today’s world, each lawyer should be branding and marketing themselves as much as they can. That probably was always true, but real opportunities weren’t there for most of us. Now, someone can make their “name” on the Web even before they graduate from law school. It’s truly every man and woman for themselves, as job-hopping is not frowned upon as it was in the not-too-distant past.

And trust me, all these changes are gonna be for the “good” as hopefully the traditional lawyer lifestyle will become more balanced and away from billable hours and tedious meetings.

Note that Avvo isn’t alone, it appears that has a similar goal to allow folks to endorse lawyers, with one feature that I am surprised hasn’t created more of a buzz – the site allows evaluators to identify how much per hour the lawyer charged them (not too many lawyers have endorsements that identify rates but I did find a few). In theory, this feature could put downward pressure on billing rates. As expected from a relatively new site (been up little more than a year), this one has bugs too (e.g. Alan Beller listed as Corp Fin Director).

Martindale-Hubbell has long “peer reviewed” lawyers, but conducts that mysterious process off-line.

– Broc Romanek