Elements of Practice
Securities attorney practices a law that requires a few things. That attorney has to have some basic background and understanding of what the laws are. This would be in the form of training and education.
This is whether it’s in law school or a specialty certification after law school. The second component of this is experience. You need somebody who has experience prosecuting or defending claims involving securities law. That’s a wide breadth in and of itself.
Securities Law at TALG
We handle the civil side of securities issues, whether as the plaintiff or for the defendant. We also understand all the other related claims that pertain to securities litigation. This includes securities fraud, fraud in general, breach of fiduciary duty, or negligence. Additionally, in this area, you would need experience with arbitration proceedings. This is because many civil-side securities issues relate to each other. And this is through very specific FINRA arbitration proceedings. This also includes other arbitration proceedings outside of the FINRA process.
Selecting a Securities Attorney
There are some things that business owners should look for when selecting counsel. They should be aware of the amount of experience that a particular lawyer has in the field. So for example, if I’m a CEO and I have been hit with securities fraud allegation that’s pretty material and scary. I’d want to ensure that the counsel I select has the right experience. I would want to know if they have experience defending that particular type of claim. I would want to know the success record or failure record of that counsel.
Also, I would caution clients or prospective clients from going with the generic brand name law firm. There are some great boutique law firms out there. They have excellent training, experience, and reputation in the field. So I would look at experience, I’d look at training. I’d look at actual data if possible. I would look at the lawyer’s experience in defending or bringing securities claims. I would consider if they are the type of securities claim that the business owner has.
There are different ways to look at actual data. Oftentimes, over 90% of the times, civil matters are resolved via settlement. Those settlements often have confidentiality provisions. So, unfortunately, attorneys sometimes cannot share the results of an underlying case with the client. This is whether it’s on the plaintiff side or the defense side.
Tools for Finding a Securities Attorney
Having said that, there are cases that go to trial to verdict, and those are readily shareable. They’re on the case dockets, whether it’s the federal court or state court. There are different search engines out there. They allow you to research a firm’s success rate in obtaining verdicts or settlements. Some of that software is pretty nuanced. It’s not the most user-friendly as it relates to the general consumer or the public, but it’s available.
What’s Not Expected from a Securities Attorney
There’s a big pitfall that I’ve seen with attorneys in the securities world. That is raising funds for prospective clients or clients. We as lawyers cannot do that. By definition, we would need a FINRA license or an SEC certification through the Series 6 or 7 exams. Then there are other exams and certifications. We don’t have the training experience for the most part.
There are some lawyers that do. But for the most part, we’re legal advisors. We’re not investment advisors, and we don’t have the ability to raise funds. So the biggest issue of concern for me as a lawyer is giving ethical advice to a client who’s trying to raise funds. If I’m ever put in a position where the client has asked me to raise funds. I’ve got to politely decline because lawyers shouldn’t have a role in doing that.