Philosophy of Practice
Representing clients is personal, and we believe we provide truly personal representation. Every client has something near and dear at stake, whether it is their life's savings, their career, their reputation, their license, their ability to earn a living, or a little bit of all of the above. It is rare that clients engage in litigation or arbitration for sport, or for which the outcome doesn't mean something. As their attorney, I remind myself that my client has something very personal at stake, that they have chosen me and my staff to represent them, and guide them in the decisions that must be made about every representation. Practicing law for someone is personal, and it should be.
As an attorney representing a customer, a brokerage firm, stockbroker or other market participant, I take the time to understand what my client wants, and just as important, what outcome may be extremely consequential to them. We take a lot of time to investigate a case before we propose an engagement, and every engagement is tailored to the client and the case. We explore what is the likely course the dispute will take, what are the potential outcomes, and most importantly, whether there are solutions to the dispute that can be achieved economically in the beginning. Litigation and arbitration can be devastatingly expensive, even when the stakes are not high, and I believe that as an attorney I am duty-bound to explore mutual resolution whenever appropriate, rather than simply rush to battle. Should an economic "win/win" not be feasible without filing a formal dispute, then a comprehensive strategy for prosecution or defense is developed with the client, and we begin the intense process of zealously preparing the case for trial.
Lawyers are human (most of them), and should be treated with the same respect and dignity I demand. But you don't pull any punches in litigation or arbitration, you hit your opponent as hard as you can. We represent our clients zealously, and meticulously, and our results are outstanding. Ethically, lawyers should not advertise their past results, but they are available for anyone that requests, and we are proud of what we have achieved for our clients.
When we represent victims of investment fraud, a common denominator is that the financial professional failed to give our clients all of the information they needed in order to make a really informed decision. Key risks, material facts, and other considerations are often intentionally concealed, or conveniently overlooked. Most of the time, if our clients had had the benefit of real disclosure from someone who was putting our client's interest before their own, the situation would have been different. In our practice, we provide our clients endless amounts of information, and well-researched and well-reasoned advice, and we help our clients make decisions with more information then they may have ever had before. We strive to make sure that no client ever says "...if you had only told me that before....". Because of our truly personal representation, we don't hear such complaints from our clients.
A lot of our cases are before arbitrators, including arbitration before the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority. FINRA includes the following quote from Aristotle in its arbitrator training materials, and it is a worth reminder of what is, indeed, equitable.
"Equity bids us be merciful to the weakness of human nature; to think less about the laws than about the man who framed them, and less about what he said than about what he meant; not to consider the actions of the accused so much as his intentions, nor this or that detail so much as the whole story; to ask not what a man is now but what he has always or usually been. It bids us remember benefits rather than injuries, and benefits received rather than benefits conferred; to be patient when we are wronged; to settle a dispute by negotiation and not by force; to prefer arbitration to litigation -- for an arbitrator goes by the equity of a case, a judge by the strict law, and arbitration was invented with the express purpose of securing full power for equity."
Aristotle, Rhetoric, Book I, ch. 13.