President Abraham Lincoln enacted the False Claims Act during the Civil War when bullets were filled with sawdust instead of gunpowder, the government received sand instead of sugar, and horses arrived decrepit or blind. Regrettably, fraud against the Government is still a pervasive problem and extends widely across industries. Employees, including managers and executives, are often in a position to identify situations where an entity is defrauding the Government. Understanding the ins and outs of the False Claims Act and its qui tam and retaliation provisions may provide those who observe fraud against the government a way to stop the conduct.
MINNEAPOLIS – (April 3, 2017) Halunen Law has named Melissa Wolchansky as an equity partner in the Minneapolis-based employment, whistleblower and class action law firm. Wolchansky chairs the firm’s complex litigation and class action law practice.
“Melissa has been instrumental in elevating our class action law practice to national prominence,” says Clayton Halunen, founder and managing partner of Halunen Law. “She’s passionate about defending the rights of individuals and consumers in their pursuit of justice against corporate wrong-doers.”
The firm’s willingness to vest her as an equity partner “speaks volumes” about its commitment to equity in the workplace, says Wolchansky. “It’s still not easy for women, especially young women, to break the glass ceiling in much of the legal industry. No such barriers exist at Halunen Law. The sky is really the limit.”
Halunen Law Partner, and Chair of the consumer class action practice group, Melissa Wolchansky was invited to speak at the 2nd International Conference on Dispute Resolution of Consumer Mass Disputes held at the University of Haifa in Tel Aviv, Israel on March 17-18. Ms. Wolchansky was one of 25 international attorneys and law professors invited to speak at the conference. Ms. Wolchansky shared her expertise on a panel discussing United States Class Action Case Management and Class Member Communication. The panel addressed avenues for communicating with and managing class members throughout the life cycle of a class action. Additionally, the panel discussed communication methodologies including the dissemination of class action and fund distribution notices, as well as the interplay between the settlement administrator and class counsel.
It’s no secret; Halunen Law has an exceptional team of attorneys helping consumers, whistleblowers, and employees Take A Stand for justice and fairness. Thanks to the Super Lawyers 2016 list of “Top Women Lawyers” and “Rising Stars” published in the recent issue of Mpls/St. Paul Magazine, even more people now know about our extraordinary team. We’re pleased to announce partner, and chair of the False Claims Act practice group Susan Coler, was included in the “Top 50 Women Lawyers” list, and partner Barbara Felt was included in the “Women Super Lawyers” list. We’re also proud that partner and chair of the employment practice group Kaarin Nelson Schaffer, and partner and chair of the class action practice group Melissa Wolchansky were listed as “Rising Stars.” Congratulations to this stellar group of professionals on this prestigious recognition.
Learn more about these outstanding Halunen Law attorneys:
Titled “This Summer and Beyond,” the Affinity Bar Student Job Symposium gave law students a unique opportunity to network with their peers, hear from legal professionals, and explore job opportunities with a host of potential employers. The March 21st event featured a jobs panel moderated by Halunen Law attorney, and President of the Minnesota Asian Pacific American Bar Association, Benjamin Kwan. The panel discussed various practice areas, the need for increased diversity in the legal field, job search strategies, and more. Kwan co-organized the event, which drew nearly 100 law students and more than 70 lawyers from 54 different legal employers to the networking portion of the evening. Employers came from all over Minnesota. Halunen Law is proud to support Benjamin Kwan’s continued leadership role in the legal community, and his dedication to support and mentor the next generation of attorneys.
I get calls several times a week from executives and professionals who want me to review a severance agreement that was just presented to them by their employer. When I ask if they think they have any potential claims against the company, people seem bewildered. I’m often told they just want me to review the severance—that they don’t want to risk losing what is offered, and have no interest in seeing if they could get more. I, on the other hand, am often dumbfounded. After all, negotiation is part of business—right? As an executive or professional part of your job typically includes some form of negotiation. So then, why would you not negotiate over a severance?
New data from the Minnesota Lawyer Registration Office indicates that lawyers of color are significantly underrepresented in Minnesota. The demographic data about Minnesota attorneys is being collected for the very first time. The report indicates that of the 25,229 lawyers in active practice in our state, nearly 80% self-identify as White/Caucasian. In this recent Minnesota Lawyer article, Halunen Law attorney, and Minnesota Asian Pacific Bar Association board President Ben Kwan provides his insight on the report’s findings and the impetus for change.
In the ever-evolving world of consumer purchasing, companies are placing contracts in increasingly inconspicuous places. And the small print document that came with your recent electronics purchase, chances are it includes an arbitration clause. The clause likely prevents the purchaser from filing a lawsuit against the manufacturer in court, and allows for resolution of disputes only by a paid arbitrator. More than ever companies are attempting to force consumers to arbitrate any and all disputes by burying an arbitration clause deep within a booklet contained in a “shrink wrapped” product box—and if you don’t reject the clause within a certain period of time, you are deemed to have agreed with it. At Halunen Law, we think that’s not right.
If you are a service member, especially a National Guard reservist, you may have questions about how, or even if, to include your military status on your resume. It’s a troubling question that we get frequently. We often get callers suspecting they missed out on a great job opportunity or a second round interview, suspecting it was due to the National Guard status on their resumes.
Our initial reaction matches their own reasons for including the detail: we’re proud of their service and thank them for it. To us, a reservist suggests a loyal, dedicated, hard-working, and organized individual. What employer wouldn’t want that? But then our “Spidey Senses” go to work—and providing advice becomes a bit trickier.
File this note under practical advice—because while we have a legal response, your gut may tell you that sometimes your service is a huge “plus” on your resume and sometimes you may decide otherwise.
Halunen Law’s João da Fonseca reports on an important presentation “Addressing Barriers to Voting by Persons with Disabilities.”
Minnesota Chapter Sponsors CLE and Webinar Addressing Barriers to Voting by Persons with Disabilities
By João da Fonseca
Protecting the right of every American to vote is most fundamental to a robust democratic process. Yet, this right has not been enjoyed by every American. For example, only sixty years ago, African Americans were mostly disenfranchised because of legal mechanisms, such as poll taxes, designed to prohibit them from voting. This, despite the constitutional force of the Fifteenth Amendment, which was passed in the 1870s with the explicit purpose of securing the rights of African American men to vote. Things only changed in the 1960s with the passage of the Voting Rights Act, which dismantled these longstanding barriers to voting. Despite these significant victories, up to this day, there remain members of our population who are deprived of the right to vote, including persons with cognitive disabilities.
President Abraham Lincoln enacted the False Claims Act during the Civil War when bullets were filled with sawd...
MINNEAPOLIS – (April 3, 2017) Halunen Law has named Melissa Wolchansky as an equity partner in the Minneapol...
Halunen Law Partner, and Chair of the consumer class action practice group, Melissa Wolchansky was invited to ...
It’s no secret; Halunen Law has an exceptional team of attorneys helping consumers, whistleblowers, and empl...
Titled \"This Summer and Beyond,\" the Affinity Bar Student Job Symposium gave law students a unique opportunit...
I get calls several times a week from executives and professionals who want me to review a severance agreement...
New data from the Minnesota Lawyer Registration Office indicates that lawyers of color are significantly under...
In the ever-evolving world of consumer purchasing, companies are placing contracts in increasingly inconspicu...
If you are a service member, especially a National Guard reservist, you may have questions about how, or even...
Halunen Law’s João da Fonseca reports on an important presentation “Addressing Barriers to Voting by Per...
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