The mix of disbelief, anger, and depression that often develops in the wake of major financial losses can be very unsettling.  Propelled by those dynamics, many investors will eventually begin taking steps to retain legal counsel.  Given the ever-increasing level of complexity that accompanies the vast number of niche areas and specialty fields in which attorneys currently practice, common sense dictates that a premium should be placed on the specific attributes that are likely to heighten the odds of success.  Along those lines, investors may find it beneficial to consider information indicating that a particular attorney truly appreciates and understands the manner in which the securities industry operates on a day-to-day basis, the extent to which he or she has demonstrated excellence in the courtroom or the arbitration arena, and the level of commitment the attorney has dedicated to investor representation.  After all, there are scores of lawyers who may focus their practice on the securities law area, but when a more detailed examination is conducted, it becomes apparent that the bulk of their experience stems from engagements involving securities industry regulatory proceedings, or perhaps disputes between brokerage firms and registered representatives (who are commonly referred to as “financial advisers,” “stockbrokers,” or simply “brokers”).  Alternatively, an aggrieved investor might be captivated by a website featuring a set of complex securities industry concepts, and thereby conclude that the attorney in question must be regarded as an accomplished, distinguished securities law specialist.  While such a perception might be entirely accurate, it would nonetheless yield no benefit if, upon closer inspection, it became clear that the lawyer at issue had actually devoted the majority of his or her career to the preparation of private placement materials and other private offering documents.  Under those circumstances, a lawyer may possess an immense amount of securities law experience — but nonetheless be a virtual stranger to securities litigation, securities arbitration, and the overall advocacy process.

On a more fundamental level, however, it is of utmost importance that people who have been victimized in the financial markets exercise diligence so as to avoid a similar fate on a legal representation level.  To that end, those in search of a securities law attorney must “keep their guard up.”  Included in that admonition is the recognition that attorneys are prohibited from guaranteeing success — and any lawyer who offers such a guarantee should be avoided.  Investors who are in search of a securities law attorney to represent them should also be wary of a lawyer who is audacious (and foolish) enough to proclaim himself or herself as the “‘Best Attorney’ in the state,” or the “‘Best Lawyer’ in the area.”  From a state bar regulatory perspective, it is doubtful that any lawyer would be authorized to confer such a grandiose accolade upon himself.  Stated otherwise, any attorney who touted such a portrayal would almost certainly be acting in violation of state bar ethical standards.  Further, it is virtually inconceivable that an attorney could assemble the evidence necessary to support the application of such a boastful superlative.  Simply put, numerous variables must be taken into account in connection with such an assessment (e.g., persuasive speaking attributes, writing ability, analytical capacity, knowledge of pertinent legal intricacies, and the ongoing display of perseverance).  As an additional matter, investors should be hesitant to place too much weight on a large jury verdict (or arbitration award) that was obtained by a particular attorney.  Simply put, in the absence of a detailed understanding of the unique facts and circumstances of the pertinent case, it can be extraordinarily difficult to gauge the true level of success that was actually attained; numerous lawyers may have obtained an even larger verdict (or arbitration award).

To be sure, most lawyers are capable, hard-working people who strive to advance the interests of their clients in an ethical manner.  Regrettably, however, that observation does not always hold true.  With these principles in mind, it is imperative that investors who have sustained losses call upon common sense and good judgment in connection with their efforts to “separate the wheat from the chaff” so as to select a securities lawyer who possesses the requisite skill, background, experience, knowledge, expertise, and tenacity that will increase the prospects of success.

Chris Bebel is a securities law attorney who has focused on the investment fraud area for over three decades.  After earning a graduate law degree (LL.M.) in Securities Regulation from Georgetown University Law School, Mr. Bebel began his career at the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).  While serving as an SEC attorney, Mr. Bebel’s excellence was recognized, in that, he was the only attorney in the Division Of Enforcement who was selected to represent that agency in connection with the Washington, D.C. American Inn of Court program.  Mr. Bebel thereafter served as a federal prosecutor, U.S. Attorney’s Office, District of Minnesota, where he gained invaluable trial experience.  For purposes of obtaining a deeper, more thorough, understanding of the securities markets, and the securities industry in general, Mr. Bebel then moved to the NASD, which operated the NASDAQ Stock Market.  During Mr. Bebel’s tenure at the NASD (which is now known as FINRA), Mr. Bebel was immersed in the nuances of the securities industry on a daily basis.  While working on behalf of the NASD, Mr. Bebel was called upon to educate NASD examiners, as well as those participating in the securities industry.  In addition, he was asked to serve as a Special Assistant United States Attorney at the request of the U.S. Solicitor General’s Office.

In 2000, Mr. Bebel entered private practice, where he continued to concentrate on cases tied to the securities industry, the stock market, and fraudulent conduct (via false statements and material omissions).  During the course of his career in private practice, Mr. Bebel has represented numerous investors situated throughout the country.  Framed in concise terms, Mr. Bebel has utilized the unique blend of knowledge, skill, and experience he has accumulated to build a track record of success.  Among other things, he has taken advantage of those qualities so as to deliver devastating cross-examinations of securities industry professionals and expert witnesses.

Significantly, Mr. Bebel does not work alone.  He functions as part of a team to advance the interests of investors who have been deceived.  The teamwork approach that has been used to promote client objectives has not been limited to attorneys.  Crisply stated, Bradley Ellison, who enjoyed a stellar military career, plays an essential role in the representation of investors.  Mr. Ellison, a veteran of the U.S. Air Force, holds three master’s degrees.  University of Maryland University College, Texas A&M University – Commerce, Wayland Baptist University, and LeTourneau University are among the schools from which Mr. Ellison has earned degrees.  Mr. Ellison is an especially gifted writer.