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Paul, Weiss Presents Webinar on Biden Administration Policy and Regulatory Agenda

On November 17, Paul, Weiss hosted a webinar, “Transition to a Biden Administration: Strategies and Insights,” that offered insights into the likely policy, legislative and regulatory priorities of the new administration. The webinar, which drew over 600 attendees, featured firm Chairman Brad Karp and four partners who served in the White House or in other top government roles: Jeh Johnson, Loretta Lynch, Karen Dunn and Roberto Gonzalez. The firm’s Chief Sustainability and ESG Officer David Curran moderated the discussion.

Panelists discussed what President-Elect Biden’s policy, regulatory and enforcement agenda might mean for our clients, touching on the transition process; the impact of a divided government on the new administration’s ability to execute its agenda; changing regulatory and DOJ enforcement priorities; the likelihood of increased scrutiny of the financial services and technology industries; the anticipated reinvigoration of the CFPB; bipartisan interest in data privacy regulation; and what’s ahead for Congressional investigations.

Panelists reflected on the unique impact of the pandemic and how it may influence corporate America’s approach to larger societal issues. “This pandemic has shed light on inequality in this society like nothing else, ever,” Loretta said. “You’re going to see scrutiny that goes beyond regulatory scrutiny to environmental justice, to racial inequality and ESG more broadly. Certain industries that may have been seen as contributors to systemic inequality may want to look at their role in undoing that inequality.”

In a Biden Administration, ESG is “going to become extraordinarily important,” Brad said. “The SEC will likely standardize disclosure terms related to ESG. We’re likely to see increased ESG enforcement and regulatory activity across industries. If I’m a general counsel or chief legal officer, I would try to get ahead of these issues so that companies are not caught flat-footed as this new reality takes hold.”

Panelists agreed that the pendulum is certain to swing back towards more enforcement and a more staid and predictable style of governance. “There will certainly be a return to normalcy, but we will still see a hangover from a Twitter presidency,” Karen said. “It is not instantly reversible. Moreover, there will continue to be fast-moving news cycles and a spotlight on corporations as public actors; that will continue to be an issue for C-suite executives generally.”

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