Little League World Series

January 21, 2011

A baseball enthusiast, John Hallal currently serves as a Coach with the Andover Little League, in Massachusetts. Little League teams participate in competitions across the United States with the hope of reaching the championship tournament, called the Little League World Series. Before the start of the tournament in August, Little Leagues across the globe form All-Star teams to represent the league in a district tournament. Winning teams advance through divisional and regional rounds until each state crowns a champion. Due to their size and geographical diversity, large states, such as California and Texas, send two teams to the next qualifying round. State champions then compete in additional regional tournaments to determine which eight teams will compete in the Little League World Series, which is held in Williamsport, Pennsylvania.

The tournament itself contains 16 participants: 8 teams from the United States and 8 from other countries around the world. The competitors are split into the United States Bracket and the International Bracket. Both brackets contain two groups of four teams, which compete in a round robin format to determine a group winner and a runner-up. The first-place team from one pool plays the second-place finisher from the other pool in a bracket semi-final that precedes either the United States or International Final. The winners of these semi-final matches play each other to determine the best in each bracket, and then the International champion and the United States champion play in the Little League World Series Championship Game.

The all-time series between American and international teams is currently square at 32 victories apiece. California leads all states with six championships, followed closely by Connecticut, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania, which each have four. The Republic of China, also known as Taiwan, has experienced the most success out of all the international teams, capturing 17 total championships. A number of famous athletes have participated in the Little League World Series, including NFL quarterback Matt Cassell, MLB star Gary Sheffield, and 2004 MLB National League Rookie of the Year Jason Bay.

High-growth Sectors

January 3, 2011

by John Hallal

As founder and Principal of Acceleration Law Group in Andover, Massachusetts, I focus on meeting the needs of early-stage firms in high-growth sectors such as information technology, software, biotechnology, and pharmaceuticals. Understanding the needs of emerging businesses in these sectors, I provide aggressive legal counsel on an affordable basis.

My experience in the high-growth and start-up sector is extensive. I spent seven years as an Associate and four as a Partner with Gadsby Hannah, LLP (now McCarter English LLP), handling business disputes, employment issues, and mergers. In 2005, I participated in establishing a start-up company, co-founding Orthosupply Management, LLP. This gave me firsthand experience in many aspects of early-stage business management, from raising money via a hedge fund to designing effective employee compensation structures. In my current practice, I translate this knowledge into focused, no-nonsense legal advice.

Acceleration Law Group represents growth companies in all phases of their life cycles, including business plan development, incorporation, seed capital financing, and venture capital acquisition. We focus on intellectual property protection, employment structures, business partnership strategies, licensing deals, and initial public offerings. Additionally, we offer experience in the sectors in which venture capital funds invest, and we understand the dynamics allowing start-ups to achieve substantial capital investment. We also work with company principals in structuring key employment relationships, arranging equity deals among founders and new employees that offer fair compensation and incentives for growth.

I work extensively with young firms in valuing patents, weighing licensing options, and negotiating deals that benefit them in both the short and long term. In many cases, I work with technology transfer companies as well, crafting viable business strategies.

For further information on how Acceleration Law Group can assist your firm through expertly negotiated and structured venture finance arrangements, carefully managed intellectual property assets, and well-designed employment structure and compensation packages, visit our website at

Little League Baseball Quiz

December 16, 2010

by John Hallal

1. Who founded Little League Baseball?
a. Babe Ruth, who spoke on baseball’s valuable influence in his youth
b. Lumberyard clerk and enthusiastic uncle Carl Stotz
c. President Franklin D. Roosevelt, who saw the game as a way to promote community despite bleak economics
d. Big Brothers founder Ernest Coulter

2. Where was the first Little League game played?
a. Williamsport, Pennsylvania
b. Shreveport, Louisiana
c. Albuquerque, New Mexico
d. Fayetteville, Arkansas

3. In which year did Little League Baseball grow to include female players?
a. 1953
b. 1944
c. 1974
d. None of the above. Little League Baseball only offers membership to males.

4. Which of the following was NOT a name of one of the first Little League teams?
a. Lycoming Dairy
b. Jumbo Pretzel
c. Funham Flapjacks
d. Lundy Lumber

5. True or False:
Baseball player Jackie Robinson acted as a community advocate for Little League Baseball and organized a number of fundraisers between 1940 and 1945.

6. True or False:
Joey Jay, who played Little League Baseball as a child, was the first participant to make it to the major leagues when he joined the Milwaukee Braves.

7. True or False:
The length between the Little League home plate and the pitcher’s mound is nearly 15 feet shorter than in the major leagues.

8. True or False:
In 1955, Little League fought against racial prejudice by barring more than 60 South Carolina teams from play because they would not share the field with African Americans.

Answers: 1.b 2.a 3.c 4.c 5.F 6.T 7.T 8.T

John Irving

December 8, 2010

An avid reader, Mr. John Hallal counts American screenwriter and novelist John Irving among his favorite authors. Irving published his first novel, Setting Free the Bears, at the age of 26 and, although it received positive reviews, it did not gain him a strong following. Frustrated by the similar fates of his next two novels, he began teaching as an Assistant Professor at Mount Holyoke College. Irving continued to write, submitting his fourth novel, The World According to Garp, to a new publisher who promised to market the book extensively. The novel quickly became an international bestseller, winning an award from the National Book Foundation and earning him widespread acclaim. Irving’s subsequent novels, including The Cider House Rules, A Prayer for Owen Meany, and A Widow for One Year, all became bestsellers. Irving later wrote My Movie Business, a nonfiction account of his experiences turning The Cider House Rules into a major motion picture. Most recently, Irving released Last Night in Twisted River, a fictional memoir that reflects upon his own career. The World According to Garp, which brought Irving into the public eye, follows T.S. Garp, the son of a single mother with whom he shares little in common. As an adult, Garp becomes a writer, marries the daughter of a wrestling coach, and has three children. As a devoted father, he continually struggles with the anxiety that fatherhood causes him and his instinctual drive to keep his children safe. Irving breaks up his novel with pieces of Garp’s own writing, keeping the story fresh and intriguing.