Securities Litigation and Enforcement
Morgan Lewis securities litigators provide our clients with a range of knowledge and experience that few firms can match. In a time of increased corporate scrutiny, this makes an important difference. More than 30 lawyers at Morgan Lewis have worked at the SEC, including a former Chief Trial Counsel for the SEC’s Division of Enforcement and a former General Counsel to the SEC’s Chief Accountant. Our team also includes a fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers.
Our litigators have experience in all aspects of securities claims, from federal and state shareholder class actions to investigations by the SEC, state securities regulators or one of the exchanges, claims under state law (including derivative claims) and securities industry arbitration. Morgan Lewis is one of the few firms regularly called upon to defend investment banks and brokerage firms in cutting-edge, high-stakes litigation. We provide clients with a strategic advantage by our ability to draw upon our seasoned securities industry lawyers and transactional lawyers, as well as lawyers in our Investment Management, White Collar Litigation & Government Investigations, and Tax Practices.
Morgan Lewis securities litigators have been involved in the defense of more than 60 shareholder class actions since enactment of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Our clients include issuers and their officers and directors, underwriters, accountants, and individual officers and directors. We have handled claims arising out of restatements or other accounting issues, initial public offerings, earnings warnings and failures to meet projections. We frequently obtain dismissals or favorable settlements of cases, minimizing the cost and distraction to management caused by protracted litigation.
In 2009, Law360 ranked Morgan Lewis as the "busiest" class action practice in the United States, based on the number of cases the firm was retained to defend.
SEC Investigations and Other Regulatory Investigations and Enforcement Proceedings
No law firm can rival the SEC enforcement and regulatory experience of Morgan Lewis. We represent many of the largest firms and financial institutions, as well as their senior executives and other employees in regulatory investigations and enforcement proceedings conducted by the SEC and other governmental agencies such as the Department of Justice, all major self-regulatory organizations including the NYSE and NASD, and state securities commissions. We also represent public companies and their senior executives in SEC investigations and enforcement proceedings, including those focusing on accounting issues and insider trading. Morgan Lewis lawyers, through their experience and credibility with the SEC staff, have consistently obtained optimal results for clients involved in SEC actions.
State Shareholder Litigation Practice
Morgan Lewis has nationwide experience litigating shareholder claims arising under state law. Our experience includes defending state law class actions, handling shareholder derivative actions, litigating claims against officers, directors and controlling shareholders for breaches of fiduciary duty and other claims arising out of mergers and acquisitions and going-private transactions, and advising special committees, as well as representing both controlling and dissenting shareholders in statutory appraisal proceedings to determine the "fair value" of shares in closely held corporations. Morgan Lewis securities litigators have briefed and argued cases of first impression before state supreme courts, resulting in the adoption of significant portions of the American Law Institute’s Principles of Corporate Governance.
Securities Industry Arbitration
Morgan Lewis securities litigators have represented broker-dealer clients in hundreds of securities industry arbitrations across the country brought by public customers and by other broker-dealers in the NASD and NYSE arbitration forums and in other private arbitration venues. Lawyers in our Labor and Employment Practice represent securities broker-dealers in industry arbitrations commenced by registered representatives asserting employment law and defamation claims. We litigate in the state and federal courts questions regarding the scope of arbitration clauses and arbitrator jurisdiction, as well as petitions to vacate and to confirm arbitration awards. Our in-depth knowledge of the business of our broker-dealer clients and the regulatory framework in which they operate, coupled with our skills as trial lawyers, consistently produces favorable results in securities industry arbitration.
Lawyers to the Securities Industry
The investment banks and brokerage firms that provide issuers with access to the capital markets are frequent targets of securities litigation. As a result, securities firms know the law firms that provide the best results and the best value. Morgan Lewis is one of those firms. We are frequently called upon by leading securities firms to represent them in cutting edge, high stakes litigation and enforcement matters. A few representative clients include Merrill Lynch, Lehman Brothers, Deutsche Bank, Salomon Smith Barney, Jefferies & Company, Citigroup, E*TRADE, and TD Ameritrade. We are also regularly retained as amicus counsel to the Securities Industries and Financial Markets Association.