Minimum Competence - Daily Legal News Podcast
Minimum Competence
Mon 11/6 - Stroock Goes Kaboom, SCOTUS Case Pits DV and Gun Rights, "X" Restructuring Hampers Misinformation Research

Mon 11/6 - Stroock Goes Kaboom, SCOTUS Case Pits DV and Gun Rights, "X" Restructuring Hampers Misinformation Research

We have the implosion of Stroock, private equity wants clarity, SCOTUS case will pit domestic violence prevention and gun rights against each other, and X restructuring hampers disinformation research

A pencil sketch of a grandfather clock.

On this day in legal history, November 6, 1917, New York state adopted a state constitutional amendment granting the vote to women. 

On November 6, 1917, a pivotal moment in legal history unfolded as the state of New York adopted Amendment 1, a legislatively referred constitutional amendment, which granted women equal voting rights. This landmark decision was the culmination of nearly seven decades of tireless advocacy since the first women’s rights convention in Seneca Falls, New York, in 1848​. The suffrage movement in New York was spearheaded by notable figures such as Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and Sojourner Truth, among others, who were instrumental in pushing for this change.

The approval of women’s suffrage in New York was significant not only for the state but also for the national movement, setting a precedent three years prior to the ratification of the 19th Amendment, which would grant women the right to vote across the United States​. The efforts of suffragists like Alice Paul, who demonstrated and were arrested for protesting outside the White House, were crucial in influencing President Wilson to support what would eventually become the 19th Amendment​.

This adoption represented a significant leap forward for women's rights and was a testament to the dedicated activism of the suffrage movement. New York’s decision to enfranchise women was a critical step towards the broader national recognition of women's suffrage, reinforcing the state's role as a leader in the fight for gender equality.

Stroock & Stroock & Lavan, a venerable New York law firm with a storied 150-year history, has commenced layoffs of 140 employees as it initiates its dissolution. Founded in 1876, Stroock became a legal institution, renowned for its work in corporate and financial law, with offices across the United States. Despite its longevity and the respect garnered in legal circles, reflected in its attorneys' recognition in industry publications, the firm faced an insurmountable crisis leading to a mass exodus of partners to Hogan Lovells and an eventual vote by the remaining partners to dissolve the firm in late October 2023​. The firm's closure marks the end of an era for a law firm that once played a pivotal role in New York's legal landscape, having advised multinational corporations and cultivated long-standing relationships with Wall Street's financial companies since its early days​.

Stroock to Lay Off 140 Employees in New York as Firm Collapses

Private equity firms are seeking legal advice regarding the Department of Justice's (DOJ) new policy on M&A disclosures, which offers a safe harbor for self-reporting misconduct. This new initiative provides a clearer path for buyers to avoid prosecution and is causing a stir among companies that are habitual acquirers. The policy resonates due to clearer self-reporting timelines and is under scrutiny for potentially increasing M&A activity, which some criticize for fostering market concentration. The DOJ now gives companies six months post-acquisition to self-report for declinations and a year to rectify misconduct. This has prompted companies to be more diligent in due diligence, with law firms coordinating corporate and white-collar expertise to advise on identifying potential offenses during this process. While some lawyers don't see this as a significant change, it does offer more concrete guidance for in-house compliance and could encourage more rigorous post-acquisition reviews. However, the complexity of deciding to self-disclose remains, with reputational and investigative costs being significant considerations.

Private Equity Seeks Legal Guidance on New M&A Disclosure Policy

The U.S. Supreme Court is set to hear a case challenging a federal law that prohibits individuals under domestic violence restraining orders from possessing firearms. The appeal comes after the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled the law unconstitutional, influenced by the Supreme Court's Bruen decision, which dictates that gun laws must align with the nation's historical tradition of firearm regulation. While gun rights advocates back the challenge, the Biden administration, some prosecutors, and former state chief justices argue for the law's necessity in protecting domestic violence victims. The case has crossed typical partisan lines, with some conservative figures supporting the law and public defenders, typically liberal, challenging it on grounds of over-criminalization and procedural fairness. The Supreme Court's decision will address the balance between gun rights and public safety in cases of domestic violence.

Guns rights and domestic violence protections collide at US Supreme Court | Reuters

Elon Musk's restructuring of Twitter, now referred to as 'X', has significantly impacted disinformation research. Over 100 studies were canceled or altered due to limited access to Twitter's data, affecting researchers' ability to analyze misinformation spread during critical events. A previously free data tool used by researchers was discontinued in a cost-cutting move, with paid tiers now too expensive for most academics. This has led to concerns about the ability to conduct research ahead of major elections. Musk's legal action against the Center for Countering Digital Hate has also instilled fear of legal repercussions among researchers, further stifling independent scrutiny of the platform's handling of disinformation. This comes amid investigations by the EU into Twitter's compliance with new internet laws, which demand access to data for researchers under certain conditions.

Elon Musk's X restructuring curtails disinformation research, spurs legal fears | Reuters

Minimum Competence - Daily Legal News Podcast
Minimum Competence
The idea is that this podcast can accompany you on your commute home and will render you minimally competent on the major legal news stories of the day. The transcript is available in the form of a newsletter at