Broker Dealer Defense
We have represented virtually every national retail brokerage firm, as well as many of the nation’s regional firms, in litigation involving both retail and institutional clientele. We regularly defend against claims involving retail sales practices, supervision, market manipulation, trading and marketing strategies. Our lawyers are experienced in regulatory compliance, as well as derivative instruments, direct investments, research conflict of interest cases, “selling away,” the liabilities of discount and clearing brokers, judicial enforcement of arbitration eligibility rules and court proceedings involving arbitration awards.
For over three decades we have contributed to the development of the securities laws through our trial and appellate results in the federal and state courts. We have secured numerous reported decisions protecting securities industry professionals from an expansive definition of liability under the securities, racketeering and consumer protection statutes.
As arbitration began to gain judicial recognition as a respected method of resolving broker-customer disputes, we were among the first to argue that predispute arbitration agreements should be honored in cases arising under the federal securities and racketeering laws, as well as under ERISA, ADEA and Title VII. We developed a cadre of lawyers capable of handling arbitrable disputes in a streamlined and cost-effective manner.
We recognize the importance of open communication, early risk evaluation, proper budgeting and appropriate staffing. We seek to staff a case commensurate with its size or complexity. If the case can be handled by a more junior associate instead of a partner, it will be and those savings will be passed on to the client. Our experience and extensive resources enable us to cut right to the heart of a matter without unnecessary effort or a learning curve.
Even those brokerage firms which maintain substantial legal departments and generally handle matters in-house regularly engage us when separate representation for a current or former employee is needed or when busy dockets result in overflow work that cannot be handled in-house.
A meaningful part of our securities industry practice includes disputes with present or former employees involving allegations of defamation or wrongful termination, issues regarding “bonuses”, the collection of promissory notes, indemnification of the firm by the employee for awards and settlements, disputes over employee benefits, and claims of discrimination under Title VII and ADEA as well as their state law counterparts.
We regularly represent our securities industry clients both in compelling arbitration of these disputes and in litigating them on their merits. These matters run the gamut from five-figure note collections to multimillion dollar bonus or deferred compensation claims.
The firm has represented both national and regional firms in recruiting disputes in both litigation and arbitration. Our experience in this area has enabled us to litigate applications for emergent injunctive relief in a swift, forceful and successful manner.
We have represented national brokerage firms in ERISA disputes involving life insurance benefits, deferred compensation and potential fiduciary liability. In addition to representing our clients in cases involving their employees, we represent them in lawsuits by third parties such as executive recruiters and employment agencies, assisted by the firm’s Labor and Employment Group.
Drinker Biddle’s securities lawyers also represent members of the securities and financial services industry, and others in a wide array of regulatory matters involving the Securities and Exchange Commission, state securities regulators and all major exchanges and other self-regulatory organizations.
We defended a securities industry professional through trial in an insider trading case brought by the Securities and Exchange Commission involving the “misappropriation” theory. We served as special counsel in a highly publicized case involving insider trading based on advance copies of a major financial publication. We have also represented broker-dealers and individual registered representatives in regulatory proceedings alleging market manipulation, excessive mark-ups, net capital violations, failure to supervise, and virtually every kind of sales practice.