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ABA Journal Top 100 Legal Blogs: An Embarrassment of Riches

Posted by Molly DiBiancaOn November 26, 2013In: Delaware Specific, YCST

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Well, it’s happened again.  The Delaware Employment Law Blog was selected as one of the Top 100 Legal Blogs in the country for the fifth consecutive year.  In my world, this is the most prestigious award a legal blogger can receive and it is such an honor to have been selected again.  It is, as the saying goes, truly an embarrassment of riches. 


To those who nominated us for the award, thank you. To all of our readers, thank you.  And to all of the many, many, many employment law bloggers whose posts continue to set an incredibly high standard for the rest of us, thank you.

I share the honor this year with six other employment-law bloggers, each of which does a tremendous job reporting on the various aspects our shared practice area.  Most of you likely already read the blogs of my co-winners but, if you don't, you should. 

Here's the list of winners—we’re all repeat honorees, except for Trading Secrets, which we extend a warm welcome to the Winner’s Circle:

I’ve said it before but will say it again here because it’s more true than ever—I am in awe of my fellow honorees.  The time and work that they consistently devote to their blogs is just amazing.  I continue to be humbled by the company I have been permitted to keep. 

Writing a legal blog is a labor of love. And, by that, I mean that it doesn't pay the bills. To consistently put up quality posts that are original and interesting to readers is no easy feat--especially when the demands of our day jobs can be, well, demanding. To be recognized for the hard work that goes into writing a legal blog really does mean so much. Almost as much as knowing that our readers find value in the content that we generate.

You can vote for your favorite in the employment-law category at the ABA Journal site . . . but no pressure, really. You can find all of the Top 100 bloggers on Twitter through the ABA Journal's list. So, as Frank and Ed used to say in those classic Bartles & James commercials, "Thank you for your support."

Delaware Commission on Law and Technology

Posted by Molly DiBiancaOn October 25, 2013In: Delaware Specific, Locally Speaking, YCST

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Technology effects every workplace.  Readers of this blog know this well enough, as many of my posts address the wide variety of problems faced by employers that arise from employee use of technology, particularly social media.  Lawyers, too, face these problems.  The legal profession is, by no means, immune from the woes of social-media or the difficulties of trying to keep up with changing technology.  Technology’s impact on the legal profession is a topic near and dear to my heart. Delaware Commission on Law and Technology

Which is why I am so honored to have been appointed to Delaware’s newly formed Commission on Law and Technology.  The Commission was created by the Supreme Court of Delaware in response to a recent amendment to the State’s rules of professional responsibility requiring lawyers to maintain competence in technology.  Supreme Court Justice Henry duPont Ridgely, who will serve as the judicial liaison to the Commission, has explained that the Commission will be charged with creating a set of best practices in a variety of areas, including cloud computing, e-discovery, and, of course, social media.

The purpose of the Commission is to provide Delaware lawyers with sufficient guidance and education in the aspects of technology and the practice of law so as to facilitate compliance with our rules of professional conduct.  Although several states’ bar associations have issued advisory opinions on certain aspects of technology and its use, the opinions can be limited in scope, as they apply only to the specific set of facts posed by the inquiring attorney.  Thus, it is very exciting to be part of an official effort to broaden the information available to Delaware lawyers.

The collaborative nature of the Commission between the bench and bar is very reflective of our State’s cooperative spirit.  And the affirmative effort to provide guidance is very much in line with my preventative-practices philosophy.  For all of these reasons, I am looking forward to making a contribution to the Commission’s laudable mission and am proud (although not surprised) that our State is the first to launch such a commendable endeavor.

Why Employers Settle Lawsuits

Posted by Molly DiBiancaOn June 24, 2013In: YCST

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I’ve spent the past four weeks preparing for and in trial in Delaware’s Court of Chancery.  As evidenced by the absence of any posts in the past several weeks, virtually all of my waking hours have been devoted to the case as we neared the big day at the courthouse.  Now that trial has concluded and we switch gears to focus on the impending post-trial briefing and oral argument, I’ve been able to to catch my breath and to reflect. judge's gavel

In the employment context, trials are few and far between.  Most cases are dismissed or settled prior to trial.  Clients often struggle with the idea of settlement, though, and, at least initially, find the idea difficult to stomach.  This automatic bias against settlement is unfortunately, though, as there are can be many good reasons to settle a case—both for the plaintiff and defendant. 

Good lawyers will discuss those reasons with their clients early in the case in a frank and honest way.  And good lawyers will keep an eye on those reasons throughout the case and will not hesitate to remind their clients about them when appropriate.  A lawyer who discourages his client from considering settlement is, in my opinion, doing his client a tremendous disservice.

Here are some of the points I urge clients to consider when discussing the idea of settlement:

1.  Control

Unlike a decision left in the hands of the court or a jury, a negotiated settlement is left in the parties’ control. You agree only to what you are willing to agree and you know exactly what you will get in return.  A settlement eliminates the possibility of an unexpected adverse decision.

2.  Confidentiality (Or Not)

Unlike a court order or jury decision, the terms (and even the existence) of a settlement agreement can be subject to a confidentiality provision.  Alternatively, the parties can agree to a limited confidentiality provision. This may be desirable in cases where the employer wants to be able to communicate some limited information about the result to its workforce, for example.

3.  The Value of Non-Monetary Relief

Contrary to popular belief, there are plenty of cases in which non-monetary relief is included in the parties’ final settlement agreement.  Although money is often a driving force in reaching agreement, readers may be surprised by how many cases involve certain important non-monetary terms.  For example, in cases in which the plaintiff-employee alleges wrongful termination, a positive, or even neutral, letter of reference can be an important term.  In cases where the plaintiff is still employed, the settlement may include the removal of a disciplinary write-up from the employee’s personnel file.

4.  A Return to Normal

Often times, employers find that the most attractive part of settlement is the ability to put an end to the drain on resources that litigation absolutely involves.  Litigation is costly in attorney’s fees and other expenses.  But there are other critical costs, too, including the time key decision makers must devote to the case and the general distraction that it causes in the workplace.  Every hour spent in depositions and discovery is an hour that cannot be devoted to achieving the organization’s objectives.  I’ve never had a client who didn’t take a deep sigh of relief once the case was resolved and they realize they’re able to return to running their business.

2013 Annual Employment Law Seminar

Posted by Molly DiBiancaOn March 19, 2013In: Seminars, YCST

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Registration is now open for Young Conaway’s 2013 Annual Employment Law Seminar.  This year’s event will be held on May 9 at the Chase Center on the Riverfront.  We are looking forward to it and hope to see you there!


The details about the day-long program and online registration can be found at the event’s webpage here.

A New Year, A New Honor, and A Lot of Thanks

Posted by Molly DiBiancaOn January 8, 2013In: Delaware Specific, YCST

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I took a week off of blogging last week in a largely unsuccessful attempt at vacation. Although my vacation plans did not turn out quite as I'd expected, I did manage to tear myself away from the computer, my smartphone, Twitter, and the Internet as a whole for three entire days. For me, this is no small feat.

The draws of the digital world are many. For me, the strongest pull is the thought of a client trying to reach me. I'm in the service business, after all. So it's my business to make sure my clients are getting the services they need, when they need it.

My three-day reprieve was a reasonable success. I was able to see a few sights, take a few good pictures, and even managed to make some time for a little retail therapy. And, despite my digital absence, no client suffered as a result.

Maintaining a "work-life balance" (whatever that is), has never been my strong suit. But my long weekend has given me a bit of perspective. It's good to get some fresh air once in a while. It's good to get away from the daily grind every so often. And it's really good not to be tied to the iPhone 24-7.

Now, all that being said, I'll finally get to the point of this post. During my brief respite, I learned that this blog was voted into the top spot in the Labor & Employment category of ABA Journal's Top 100 Blawgs. Lest you think that I was anything other than extremely grateful for your votes, I thought it best to let you know why my thanks have been somewhat delayed.


Delayed or not, my thanks are sincere. I've said it before but I'll say it again--thank you for your support.

For those of you who visit the blog irregularly, consider subscribing via email, which you can do by entering your email address in the box at the top right side of this page. That way, you'll get the day's post delivered before lunch. Seems that email has its advantages after all.

Thoughts on Writing a Legal Blog

Posted by Molly DiBiancaOn December 17, 2012In: Purely Legal, YCST

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Being selected as a Top 100 Blawg by the ABA Journal again this year is such an honor. What makes this honor even more remarkable is the popularity of our field. According to the State of the AmLaw 200 Blogosphere report, Labor and Employment is the single most popular category for legal blogs among the country's largest law firms. Put that fact together with the fact that we are not a big law firm and I'm even more flattered than I dare express.

For those of you who have already cast your vote for us in the Labor & Employment category, thank you, thank you, thank you. If you haven't yet voted, there's still time--voting closes at the end of this week.

As I've said a number of times, blogging is a real labor of love. It doesn't pay--just the opposite, it takes time that I would otherwise spend doing billable work. So why do it? Honestly, there are more reasons than I could fit in a single post.

If you're considering starting a blog or if you just want to learn more about it, take a stroll around the newest blog written by Ernie Svenson. Ernie is a practicing attorney in New Orleans who also happens to be a prolific blogger. He's written a great new book for the ABA titled, Blogging In One Hour for Lawyers.

Ernie was kind enough to mention me in the book's Acknowledgment and has posted my answers to 5 questions he asked several law bloggers. Check out his blog post to get a sense of why I love blogging and how I got started. While you're there, be sure to check out the answers that other bloggers shared, as well.

And thanks again for your ongoing support of our humble endeavor at the Delaware Employment Law Blog!!

Everybody Loves a Winner

Posted by Molly DiBiancaOn November 30, 2012In: Locally Speaking, YCST

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It's so nice to get a compliment. And when the compliment comes from the ABA Journal for the fourth year in a row, it's really, really, really nice. Yes, that's right, the Delaware Employment Law Blog was selected as one of the Top 100 Legal Blogs in the country in the 6th Annual edition of the Top 100. This is the fourth consecutive year in which we've been awarded this incredible honor and, I can assure you, it is no less a surprise or a thrill this year than it was four years ago.


To those who nominated us for the award, thank you. To all of our readers, thank you. And to all of the many, many, many employment law bloggers whose posts continue to set a very high bar, thank you.

I share the honor this year with five other employment-law bloggers, each of which does a tremendous job reporting on the various aspects our shared practice area. Most of you likely already read the blogs of my co-winners but, if you don't, you should. Here's the list:

You can vote for your favorite in the employment-law category at the ABA Journal site . . . but no pressure, really. You can find all of the Top 100 bloggers on Twitter through the ABA Journal's list.

Writing a legal blog is a labor of love. And, by that, I mean that it doesn't pay the bills. To consistently put up quality posts that are original and interesting to readers is no easy feat--especially when the demands of our day jobs can be, well, demanding. To be recognized for the hard work that goes into writing a legal blog really does mean so much. Almost as much as knowing that our readers find value in the content that we generate.

So, as Frank and Ed used to say in the class Bartles and James commercials, "Thank you for your support."

YCST Attorneys Present at DELPELRA Conference

Posted by Molly DiBiancaOn September 27, 2012In: Delaware Specific, Locally Speaking, Public Sector, Seminars, Past, YCST

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Attorneys from Young Conaway traveled to Dover today to present at the Annual Training Conference for the Delaware Public Employer Labor Relations Association (DELPELRA).
DELPELRA logo.jpg

Tim Snyder presented on the impact of health care reform on public employers. He also gave an overview of what public employers are doing to address the challenges of funding their pension plans.

Scott Holt provided practical tips on avoiding claims and litigation under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Scott addressed misclassification of employees and failure to pay properly for breaks, training time, and travel time.

David Hansen wrapped up the Young Conaway portion of the program by speaking efforts of the IRS to tax employee benefits such payments for uniforms and the like.

Debbie Murray-Sheppard, the Executive Director of the Delaware Public Employment Relations Board (PERB), was the luncheon speaker. She updated the group on the activities of the Board over the past year.

After conclusion of the Conference, DELPELA held its annual meeting. Alan Kujala, Chief Human Resources Officer of Kent County, was elected its new President. Young Conaway's Bill Bowser was reelected as General Counsel.

YCST Annual Employment Law Seminar

Posted by Molly DiBiancaOn May 10, 2012In: Locally Speaking, Seminars, Past, YCST

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The Annual Employment Law Seminar held yesterday at the Chase Center on the Riverfront in Wilmington, Delaware, was a huge success. Thank you to all of the attendees for participating--your enthusiasm and engagement is the key to the program's success.

An extra dose of thanks is due to all of the brave souls who participated in Employment Law Jeopardy, hosted by Bill Bowser.

Next year's seminar will be held on May 9, so be sure to mark your calendars. In the meantime, we always welcome your comments and thoughts about ways we can improve the seminar.

Keepin' It In the (Blog) Family

Posted by Molly DiBiancaOn January 9, 2012In: Newsworthy, YCST

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Employers have more resources than ever when it comes to employment-related questions. The Internet is chock full of fantastic references for all things employment law. This blog was selected as one of the best in the country by the ABA Journal for the third time this year (thanks, ABA Journal!!), along with several other terrific employment-law blogs. There's a connection between this blog and some of the other winners this year, though, that deserves my attention.

Young Conaway is a long-time member of the Employer's Counsel Network (ECN). Through this affiliation, we publish our monthly Delaware Employment Law Letter (the only monthly newsletter for Delaware employers). The ECN's presence in the blogosphere has multiplied in the past few years and I'm proud to say that 4 of us were selected as Top 100 blogs this year. In addition to the Delaware Employment Law Blog, the following three ECN members also were 2011 award winners (in alphabetical order):

Arizoneout is the newest addition to ECN's blogging family. Written by Dinita James of Ford & Harrison, the blog's focus is narrow but deep--with posts only about the medical marijuana law in Arizona. Dinita's blog is sure to be a go-to resource for employers across the country who will be dealing with questions about managing card-carrying employees. I have a particular fondness for Dinita's blog because, so she says, she was, in part, inspired to finally put pen to ink (or fingertips to keys) after hearing me and my fellow ECN bloggers talk about why we love blogging at an ECN meeting last year. Dinita tweets at @Arizoneout.

That's What She Said is another blog written by Ford & Harrison lawyers. This blog is the longest-running among all of the ECN blogs. The blog makes the Top 100 each year but not in the employment category. Instead, it is listed in the Humor category--and for good reason. Posts track the TV sitcom, The Office. Each week, its authors comment on the various workplace missteps that the show's characters make. They even give estimates of the costs of those missteps if the same facts were to occur in the real world, which surely would result in lots of litigation. The gang can be found on Twitter at @HRHero.

Work Matters is written by our friend, Mike Maslanka, in Dallas. Mike is a prolific writer and constant scholar, who always seems to find the deeper meaning of otherwise everyday events. Mike's take on employment matters is almost holistic--he tends to analyze issues in a highly insightful way. Follow Mike on Twitter @worklawyer.

Although technically not a member of the ECN, Robin Shea's Employment & Labor Insider is almost in the ECN family, since she and Mike Maslanka both are partners with Constangy Brooks & Smith. So maybe her blog is a blog-in-law of some sort. Either way, Robin, who practices in North Carolina, writes in a style that is very easy to read and as entertaining as it is practical. She's been blogging since late 2010 and posts as frequently as ever. Follow her on Twitter @RobinEShea.

Although not in my ECN family, fellow Top 100 bloggers Dan Schwartz and Jon Hyman certainly are members of my blogging family. Dan, who writes the Connecticut Employment Law Blog, is one of true innovators in legal blogging. Jon somehow manages to generate an enormous amount of content on his Ohio Employer's Law Blog. Each blogger also tweets like crazy. Follow them on Twitter at @danielschwartz and @jonhyman.

Eric Meyer also blogs more frequently than most and his new blog, The Employer Handbook, was honored as a Top 100 this year, as well. Follow him on Twitter at @Eric_B_Meyer.

Finally, there are two other winners this year, each of whom have made my Top 100 Employment Law Blogs list in past years. First, there's FMLA Insights, written by Jeff Nowak of Chicago. For any employer with 50 or more employees, there is hardly a more relevant topic than the FMLA and the constant challenges that it presents. Follow Jeff on Twitter @JeffreySNowak.

Second, is Donna Ballman's Screw You Guys I'm Going Home. For reasons that escape me, plaintiff's employment lawyers are largely absent from the blogosphere. But, of the handful of quality blogs written for employees, perhaps none has a better name than Donna's. You can follow her on Twitter @EmployeeAtty.

We're Baaaack

Posted by Molly DiBiancaOn October 27, 2011In: YCST

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Apologies to our loyal readers for the lack of posts for the past two weeks. Hopefully, it will be worth the wait. We've been hard at work behind the scenes upgrading the blog. Now that we're back online, posts will resume as normal and, in the weeks ahead, we'll finally be giving our blogroll a much-needed facelift. In the meantime, thanks again for your patience!

Three YCST Attorneys Selected to Participate in Federal Trial Practice Seminar

Posted by Molly DiBiancaOn March 21, 2011In: YCST

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A quick note of congratulations to three of our colleagues, who were selected to participate in the Federal Trial Practice seminar.  The program, which is hosted by the U.S. District Court in the District of Delaware, is in its second year and is designed to provide hands-on experience and valuable courtroom training.  Congratulations to Michele Sherretta Budicak and Jeffrey T. Castellano, of Young Conaway's Intellectual Property Litigation Section, and Erika R. Caesar, of the Commercial Litigation Section.  For more about the program, see an earlier post by the Delaware IP Law Blog.

Congratulations Michele, Jeff, and Erika!

Welcome, Delaware Non-Compete Law Blog

Posted by Molly DiBiancaOn July 12, 2010In: YCST

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Delaware Employment Law Blog is pleased to welcome a new employment-law blog to the blogosphere.  Young Conaway's Non-Compete and Unfair Competition practice group recently launched the Delaware Non-Compete Law Blog, focusing on, you guessed it, non-competition agreements and unfair competition litigation in Delaware. 

"The blog is an acknowledgement that the Delaware Court of Chancery, frequently recognized for its expertise in handling corporate disputes, has developed into a leading forum for the enforcement of non-competition agreements and cases involving misappropriation of trade secrets," says Scott A. Holt, a partner in the firm's Non-Compete and Unfair Competition practice group.  "Companies continue to value the Chancery Court's ability to handle these disputes in a quick and equitable manner, which is critical for any business that needs to protect its goodwill and assets."

Readers (and authors!) of the Delaware Employment Law Blog are certain to find the Non-Compete Law Blog a very useful resource.

Blogging Towards a More Productive Workday

Posted by Molly DiBiancaOn January 15, 2010In: YCST

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Just a short announcement that I’ve started a second blog, which is now live, called Going Paperless.  There, I’ll be posting about the ways we can put technology to use for improved productivity and efficiency at work.  There are so many times that I come across helpful tips or tutorials but, until now, haven’t had a forum through which I could share them.  Some of the content will be legal-centric, with an eye to productivity for lawyers and legal professionals, but most of the tips will be equally applicable for anyone who wants to make work easier. 

I hope you’ll join me in the exciting conversation at my new blog.  And, of course, you can keep up to speed on what’s happening at Going Paperless and at DELB via my Twitter feed by following me at @MollyDiBi.

How to Make Your Summer Program One of the Best in the Country

Posted by Molly DiBiancaOn October 23, 2008In: Hiring, YCST

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Joe Biden isn't the only national news out of Delaware these days--Young Conaway's Summer-Associates Program ranked first in Delaware and 4th nationally (out of 162 participating firms) in The American Lawyer’s latest survey. The survey was conducted from early June to mid-August, and drew responses from 7,633 Summer Associates.  

This is a program to which we devote a lot of effort--not just funds, but effort--in the form of attorney event attendance, one-on-one mentoring, and real-time substantive feedback.  Young Conaway approaches recruiting and development from a fairly unique perspective--when we make hiring decisions, we do so with the expectation that the new lawyer will join the Firm and stay with us, well, forever.  That long-term-investment approach definitely carries into the amount of hard work and attention that is given to our Summer program.

Associates were asked how interesting the work was, how much "real" work was assigned, how the training and guidance measured up, how positive the interactions were with partners and associates, how well the firm communicated its goals and expectations, how accurately the firm portrayed itself in interviews, and the respondents' inclination to accept a position if one were offered.  The respondents were also asked to rate the firm overall as a place to work.

Eligible summer associates were first- and second-year law students (classes of 2009 and 2010) clerking at firms for at least three weeks during the summer. Respondents were guaranteed anonymity.

So what makes the program great enough to rank among the best in the country?  A number of things, starting with the hiring philosophy discussed above.  But philosophy alone cannot carry the day.  Real, live, people, must play a role, as well.  In that respect, although all of the firm's attorneys are given some credit because all participate in some way, the real accolades are deserved by two lawyers in particular. 

Tricia A. Widdoss, Esq., who had responsibility for firm recruitment and associate development, as well as the Summer programs for the past three years, deserves countless kudos for her creative ideas, innovative initiatives, and her unyielding enthusiasm and devotion to making the program a success and to each of the Summer Associates placed in her care.  There is a tremendous amount of hand-holding to be done--of the lawyers' hands, mostly--to make sure that all candidates are given a broad range of assignments from as many practice groups as possible.  (This can be particularly difficult when one group falls in love with a candidate and doesn't want to share their new all-star.  Not such a bad thing from the Summer's perspective, of course).

Danielle Gibbs, Esq., is the other half of the winning equation.  Danielle is the Hiring Partner, which means that she has the responsibility to manage all of the behind-the-scenes choreographing to make sure candidates are getting enough exposure to the departments where they may want to be placed.  It also means countless hours spent at committee meetings and at the two formal evaluation meetings provided to every summer associate.  It also requires review of enough writing samples to make your eyes cross and twice as many work-product memos and assignments generated by the Summer Associates over the course of the summer.

The ultimate goal of the Summer Program is to provide summer associates with a structured program emphasizing continued development of their legal skills while also allowing them a sampling of private practice. Young Conaway accomplishes this goal through a centrally coordinated assignment allocation process, a summer-long writing program, and extensive mentoring and feedback, all fostered by the firm’s open-door and accessible culture.  Most important, though, are the exceptional candidates who seem to get more brilliant every year, who make the attorneys actually look forward to their arrival each summer.  They are truly a remarkable group of students who we are thrilled to have join us as colleagues.

See the full American Lawyer survey results.  Or, see more information on Young Conaway's recruiting program.