New areas of focus in Chambers research
Discover the new research areas from the latest Chambers USA Guide and learn why these practice areas have become a point of focus.
What are the most significant new areas of focus?
The enhanced profile of both False Claims Act and Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) counsel have quickly led to more developments and client requirements in ever more specialised practice areas. These are the two most significant new areas of focus in our research this year, and we know they will be a useful inclusion in guide our for clients seeking out specialist counsel for their issues in these sectors.
False Claims Act
Specialist False Claims Act counsel have been seen with increasing regularity in our healthcare, government contracts and litigation research over the last few years, but it’s something that’s very quickly become a bigger and more distinct area of practice.
On the client side, we’ve seen a broader range of companies face whistle-blower litigation and so what we’ve seen on the law firm side is a greater recognition of this as they are turning towards specialist advice as it is no longer something that’s handled by white-collar litigators and healthcare as part of their broader regulatory practices.
One indication that False Claims Act (FCA) enforcement is on the rise is that the Department of Justice (DOJ) collected $5.6 billion in recoveries last year, however we have also seen a broadening scope of these cases over the years as we’ve spoken to hundreds of clients about defending both intervened and non-intervened FCA cases, with the majority being in the healthcare and defense contracting sections.
The DOJ has also announced a new initiative in the cybersecurity space that could potentially go after contractors whose data protection and cyber security isn’t quite up to scratch, which has led to both clients and law firms and beefing up their compliance programs and risk monitoring.
The market is also expecting a significant wave of enforcement after trillions of dollars were spent as part of the CARES Act for coronavirus relief, with companies who made use of the Paycheck Protection Programme expected to be placed under scrutiny.
Occupational Health and Safety
This year, the Chambers research team spent a significant amount of time investigating attorneys that really specialize in providing OSHA counsel and defend against enforcement actions given the events of the past two years.
Occupational Health and Safety is something that was front of mind for both in-house and private practice lawyers that we spoke to this year during our labor and employment research, as big employers started grappling with compliance across large, dispersed workforces.
Though the Emergency Standard that the Government used for the mandate was quickly tied up in litigation and then eventually withdrawn in January of this year. OSHA has suggested it’s still working on a permanent healthcare standard for Covid-19 safety, so clients are still wary of potential additional hurdles and compliance headaches later down the line.
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