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Securities Litigation & Enforcement

Mayer Brown's Securities Litigation & Enforcement practice offers a complete package of enforcement and litigation services that can address any development in the course of a securities-related dispute.

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Securities Investigations: Internal, Civil and Criminal

Securities Investigations: Internal, Civil and Criminal

Securities Litigation Practice Receives Top-Tier Rankings from U.S. News’ “Best Law Firms”

Mayer Brown’s Securities Litigation practice was ranked first-tier nationally in Litigation – Securities, among other areas, in the 2012-2013 US News/Best Lawyers “Best Law Firms” rankings.

Current Issues in Internal Corporate Investigations


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Standout Firm for Securities and Finance Litigation

Mayer Brown ranked as a “standout firm” for securities and finance litigation by The BTI Consulting Group’s Litigation Outlook 2013 report. The report was based on a survey of 240 corporate counsel.

Mayer Brown has one of the world’s leading securities litigation and enforcement practices, representing clients in a wide variety of securities-related matters around the world. Mayer Brown’s Securities Litigation practice was recognized as a top tier firm in US News’ “Best Law Firms” report for 2013 and was also ranked as a “standout firm” for securities and finance litigation by The BTI Consulting Group’s Litigation Outlook 2013 report. From our global offices, we offer “on-the-ground” representation in the leading financial centers of Europe, Asia and the United States. As financial transactions increasingly transcend international borders and affect securities exchanges around the globe, and as capital markets continue to converge, our lawyers are fully prepared to respond to enhanced investigation, enforcement and litigation that are increasingly pursued beyond home country geographical boundaries.

Our securities litigation and enforcement team includes a deep bench of former federal prosecutors and other government officials; a collection of seasoned trial lawyers, each with dozens of trials and arbitrations under their belts; and a corps of appellate lawyers who are routinely ranked at the highest levels. What makes this extraordinary collection of talent and experience particularly effective, however, and distinguishes Mayer Brown’s securities litigation and enforcement practice from those of other leading firms is the close integration of these professionals in addressing every aspect of potential and actual disputes involving the applications of securities laws and regulations. The integration of Mayer Brown’s compliance, investigation, enforcement, litigation and appellate capabilities means that Mayer Brown’s representation of its clients in multi-faceted securities matters is seamless. As a result, we provide our clients with a complete package of enforcement and litigation services that can effectively and efficiently address any development in the course of a securities-related dispute.

While we often take charge of a matter at the first sign of regulatory interest, clients also retain us near the culmination of an investigation to assess their litigation options, to vigorously defend against enforcement proceedings in court or before regulatory tribunals or to negotiate favorable resolutions. Given our extensive experience with securities law enforcement, we are able to defend all aspects of any criminal or enforcement action, from the onset of an inspection, examination or investigation through the grand jury stage, to the administrative proceeding, trial and appeals.

Enforcement Capabilities

We defend and represent companies and individuals in the broad array of investigations conducted by virtually any financial products regulator in the United States, including the SEC, Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA, formerly NYSE and NASD), Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB), individual states, and self-regulatory organizations (SROs). In addition, we regularly handle investigations and related proceedings conducted by the Financial Services Authority (FSA) in the UK, the Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission, the Hong Kong Monetary Authority, the China Securities Regulatory Commission in Asia, and other regulators worldwide.

The best defense to an enforcement action is to prevent one from ever occurring, and we regularly counsel clients to be proactive and aggressive in developing, implementing, and administering internal compliance programs. When compliance problems arise, we help our clients by conducting internal investigations and developing strategies to mitigate the regulatory exposure and resulting risks to their public reputation. And our knowledge of, and experience in conducting, internal investigations is crucial in helping us advise clients regarding potential litigation and regulatory action, civil discovery, privilege issues, and government cooperation.

Regulatory Enforcement Compliance

Mayer Brown's enforcement team often conducts independent internal investigations on behalf of corporate management, boards of directors, government agencies and other investigators, and reviews internal policies and procedures for compliance with regulatory standards. That includes issues relating to alleged insider trading or options backdating. We also assist clients with securities-related investigations by the SEC, DOJ, state and federal grand juries, state attorneys general, and regulatory authorities worldwide. Audit committees and individual corporate directors seek our advice on fiduciary responsibilities, corporate governance, Sarbanes-Oxley compliance, and financial reporting obligations.

Regulatory Enforcement Defense

Due in large part to our emphasis on compliance and our ability to conduct reliable internal investigations, our lawyers are
frequently successful in convincing regulators not to institute enforcement actions against our corporate and individual clients. We have also helped clients reach favorable settlements. In doing so, we seek to avoid the risk of litigation, but when a favorable resolution outside of litigation is not possible, we routinely take on the government in civil, criminal and administrative proceedings. Often Mayer Brown is retained after an investigation has begun, in order to assess client options and develop the most effective litigation or settlement strategy. As a result, we have litigated extensively and successfully against the SEC and other government regulators and SROs. In the United Kingdom, our lawyers have experience in representing companies and individual officers in regulatory investigations and proceedings brought by the FSA. This covers a broad range of matters, from technical regulatory compliance issues to broad-based allegations of securities fraud.

Litigation Capabilities

The integration of our experience and skill as investigators and compliance counselors with our trial and appellate capabilities is particularly beneficial to clients in securities litigation, where heightened pleading standards, accelerated consideration of class certification issues and other judicial decisions have made it easier to seek dismissal of securities cases and to develop and assert defenses earlier in the litigation process. Our detailed understanding of the unique defenses available in class, derivative and securities cases, coupled with our mastery of fact development and our proven record as trial lawyers, frequently makes the difference in achieving ultimate, or even early, victory. Mayer Brown lawyers have been the driving force behind many of the most significant securities decisions and developments before the US Supreme Court. That includes the recent victory in Stoneridge Investment Partners v. Scientific-Atlanta (called by The Wall Street Journal “the biggest securities-litigation court clash in a generation”). We have argued hundreds more cases in federal and state appellate courts, often involving enormous stakes and issues.

Trial Litigation Experience

Our success in securities fraud litigation extends to many key cases decided in federal and state courts and in arbitration fora. In fact, since the passage of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, Mayer Brown has handled several hundred securities lawsuits. In addition, many of our securities litigators have extensive experience handling ERISA claims involving many of the issues that regularly appear in securities cases, such as claims of financial statement and disclosure fraud, imprudent investments, and breaches of fiduciary duties.

We have broad experience in private securities litigation, having handled many securities fraud, class action, and shareholder derivative suits. We also regularly defend senior executives, employees, and other individuals in class action litigation alleging violations of the securities laws and RICO statutes.

Other Dispute Resolution Experience

Mayer Brown represents clients before the SEC, FINRA and the New York Stock Exchange, as well as in securities-related investigations conducted by state attorneys general, securities regulators and grand juries. Our team advises publicly held companies and their officers and directors when they are confronted with potential litigation involving allegations of financial fraud, insider trading, stock options backdating, and violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and Sarbanes-Oxley Act. We also resolve controversies that center on aiding and abetting, secondary liability and financial disclosure rules.

In addition to public companies, we represent investment firms and broker-dealers in dispute resolution. Our lawyers have handled hundreds of disputes in arbitration and in court by customers alleging inappropriate investment and trading strategies, fraud, market manipulation, yield burning, insider trading, and late trading. Our litigators also regularly represent broker-dealers in regulatory and disciplinary matters before state and federal regulators as well as the securities exchanges. We have experience in alternative dispute resolution techniques as applied to securities and other complex business disputes and routinely represent brokerage firms and brokers in arbitration proceedings before FINRA. We also are leaders in the use of mediation and other strategies for achieving negotiated resolutions.

In today’s climate of aggressive government investigation and prosecution of alleged business misconduct, Mayer Brown is renowned for our ability to counsel and defend corporate clients – as well as their officers, directors and employees – in complex criminal, civil and administrative investigations and enforcement proceedings anywhere in the world. Using our intimate understanding of the techniques employed by government investigators and the key facts they are trying to uncover, our experienced team has the global resources to provide informed and insightful answers and effective defenses that are designed to avoid or minimize legal exposure.

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