Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Not All Trial Lawyers Can Handle All Kinds Of Trials

Great article from Above The Law. Although it is directed at young attorneys deciding on a career path, it provides great advice to clients as well.

I am a trial lawyer, a litigator, and have been at it for over 30 years. While I have represented clients at trial, in state and federal courts, most of my trial experience is in securities arbitrations, and virtually all of my work is in the securities area.

The point is that while I am an experienced trial attorney, my expertise and experience is limited to securities matters - SEC and FINRA enforcement proceedings, and arbitrations between customers and brokers, and arbitrations between brokers and firms. So, while I represent brokers in employment disputes, I am by no means a labor lawyer and do not represent employees outside of the securities industry. For those cases, I refer potential clients to true labor lawyers.

And the reverse is true. My labor and employment colleagues do not represent brokers in disputes with their securities firms. There is just too much that they need to learn about the securities industry in order to provide effective representation. I send the business employee disputes to them, they send the securities employee disputes to me.

Think about that when you are hiring an attorney. For securities attorneys, check their website, search FINRA's arbitration award database,  FINRA's enforcement proceedings, the SEC administrative proceeding database. You can also search the federal court database at pacer.gov (but it is court specific), and depending on the state, check your state court system's database.

Keep in mind that your attorney need not be licensed in your state in order to represent you in an arbitration or enforcement proceeding (I have represented clients in over 20 different states in such matters) but this research will give you some insight into your potential attorney's experience.

And most importantly - ask him or her about their experience, what type of cases they have handled in the past, and think hard about retaining a divorce attorney for your customer dispute, or a union labor attorney for your promissory not case.

From the article:

"[S]omeone who specializes in personal injury probably does a better job of knowing what the juries want in those cases—a more raw sense of justice, theatrics, I’m not sure—than I would as someone who has not yet tried such a case. And as experienced as I’d like to think I am, I’d be a fish out of water in landlord-tenant court or a tax court, and I don’t simply mean not knowing the rules, I mean handling myself on my feet. There are differences."


Not All Trial Lawyers Can Handle All Kinds Of Trials | Above the Law

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Mark J. Astarita is a partner in the securities law firm of Sallah Astarita & Cox. He represents brokerage firms, financial advisers, and investors in securities enforcement, litigation and arbitration matters across the country. Have a question? Email him at mja@sallahlaw.com.
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