Law School Discussion

Law Students => Job Search => Topic started by: rider06 on July 01, 2008, 08:16:59 AM

Title: Best Firms for Securities Enforcement/regulation/litigation?
Post by: rider06 on July 01, 2008, 08:16:59 AM
I go to a high T2, with very average grades.  However, I have a very decent resume working for various US regulatory agencies and SRO's.  So two questions:

1) What are the firms that specialize in those areas?
2) Do I have a shot at any of those firms?

Thanks
Title: Re: Best Firms for Securities Enforcement/regulation/litigation?
Post by: Veil on July 13, 2008, 04:06:56 PM
You should take a look at Chambers and Partners, an excellent, free, online resource for firms and their practice area strengths. Though that last statement must sound like a plug, I swear I do not work for them.

Glancing quickly at the top firms for Financial Services Regulation: Banking and Securities (the practice area I think you're referring to), we see:

Cleary
Sullivan & Cromwell
Arnold & Porter
Davis Polk
Debevoise
Mayer Brown
MoFo
Sidley Austin
Simpson Thacher
Skadden

Many national firms have their security reg. practices located in D.C., one of the toughest legal markets in the country. Whether you have a shot at any of the above really depends upon which market you apply to and the strengths of your past experiences.

Not to state the obvious, but if you are a median student at a T2, it will be tough to get into any of the above firms. You may have an "easier" time cracking into one office of the above (for example, Arnold & Porter's NY office) and then moving to the office where the bulk of that firm's regulatory practice group resides.

Another option to consider is going back to work at any of the US regulatory agencies you've worked for in the past. If you have the opportunity to "climb the ladder" at certain agencies, you may have a much better chance of lateraling into firms such as the above.

Good luck to you!
Title: Re: Best Firms for Securities Enforcement/regulation/litigation?
Post by: themanwithnoname on July 14, 2008, 09:02:35 PM
yeah, securities = biglaw, and not only biglaw but very profitable NY and DC biglaw. About as selective as it gets, aside from maybe  M&A.
Title: Re: Best Firms for Securities Enforcement/regulation/litigation?
Post by: kenpostudent on July 14, 2008, 10:12:39 PM
yeah, securities = biglaw, and not only biglaw but very profitable NY and DC biglaw. About as selective as it gets, aside from maybe  M&A.

There are a good mix of firms that do securities law... but when you say securities law, so you mean litigation or consulting? Some smaller firms (from 3 to upwards of 50 attorneys) practice securities law all over the country. The smaller firms tend to specialize in certain industries or focus on micro-cap companies. There many types of securities firms. Some do document review for SEC filings. Others do SEC defense work (mostly big firms). Referring to securities law is like referring to corporate law: it's a big field. My accounting firm works with smaller firms like Sichenzia Ross (NY) and Crone Rozynko (Cupertino, CA) and larger firms like Munger, Tolles and Olson (LA).

If you want to do hardcore litigation, the bigger firms get more such cases. However, it may be quite some time before a new hire gets to open his/her mouth inside a courtroom. The bigger the firm, the longer it will take to work your way up to a position of responsibility. If you want to do securities defense (like defense work for SEC Enforcement proceedings), the fastest route to that kind of practice is to spend 10-20 years in SEC Enforcement. The firms that specialize in that kind of defense hire former SEC prosecutors to litigate their cases. I doubt you will break into that by working your way up through a firm without an act of God... you would be competing with people with 15 to 20 years of litigation experience in highly technical cases.
Title: Re: Best Firms for Securities Enforcement/regulation/litigation?
Post by: LittleRussianPrincess, Esq. on August 06, 2008, 03:08:59 AM
General securities and M&A practices are NOT doing well right now.
Title: Re: Best Firms for Securities Enforcement/regulation/litigation?
Post by: kenpostudent on August 06, 2008, 07:25:21 AM
"Well" is a relative term, but, yes, business is down. Public shells are selling for hundreds of thousands less than they were six months ago. Hopefully, the economy rebounds after the election. The plummeting dollar is killing the foreign M&A market. However, there still is hope on the horizon for a great year in 2009, provided that SOX 404B is not delayed for another year by Congress or the SEC.
Title: Re: Best Firms for Securities Enforcement/regulation/litigation?
Post by: LittleRussianPrincess, Esq. on August 06, 2008, 07:45:12 AM
"Well" is a relative term, but, yes, business is down. Public shells are selling for hundreds of thousands less than they were six months ago. Hopefully, the economy rebounds after the election. The plummeting dollar is killing the foreign M&A market. However, there still is hope on the horizon for a great year in 2009, provided that SOX 404B is not delayed for another year by Congress or the SEC.

When hundreds of corporate attorneys are being laid off from national law firms and those who are lucky enough to hang on to their jobs are being restaffed on litigation projects, it's not very relative at all. Corporate work is, well, in the shitter.
Title: Re: Best Firms for Securities Enforcement/regulation/litigation?
Post by: kenpostudent on August 06, 2008, 03:13:37 PM
Only hundreds? That sounds like a market correction rather than a crisis to me. Thousands would be cause for concern. Hundreds sounds like the shedding of dead weight. There will be plenty of work for securities firms in coming years. Especially, with the impending adoption of IFRS. Trust me, that will swell the ranks of the largest firms yet again. Accounting and law firms alike will rake in billions from that forthcoming clusterf**k. SOX 404b compliance will generate business, too. Mark my words, securities law will be a thriving practice area for years to come. The down turn is temporary... providing that more firms do not adopt fixed-fee billing arrangements. That will only mean slower job growth and fewer salary increases but not a general decline in the volume of business.
Title: Re: Best Firms for Securities Enforcement/regulation/litigation?
Post by: OConnorScribe on August 07, 2008, 02:10:48 PM
Also, Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft has a top-notch B-D/I-A regulation practice. The partner who heads their efforts is Steven Lofchie, who is probably the foremost expert in the country on the topic. He previously worked at David Polk. So CWT is definitely on the top of the heap. Skadden is also highly regarded.
Title: Re: Best Firms for Securities Enforcement/regulation/litigation?
Post by: malty on August 11, 2008, 05:28:59 PM
Also, Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft has a top-notch B-D/I-A regulation practice. The partner who heads their efforts is Steven Lofchie, who is probably the foremost expert in the country on the topic. He previously worked at David Polk. So CWT is definitely on the top of the heap. Skadden is also highly regarded.

Cadwalader has laid off over 100 attorneys this year... almost all in securities/capital/m&a practice groups... not a place you should be looking for a job at.
Title: Re: Best Firms for Securities Enforcement/regulation/litigation?
Post by: OConnorScribe on August 11, 2008, 05:53:03 PM
Yes, a bad year for CWT, but Lofchie's group is still in tact.
Title: Re: Best Firms for Securities Enforcement/regulation/litigation?
Post by: LittleRussianPrincess, Esq. on August 12, 2008, 02:37:50 AM
Only hundreds? That sounds like a market correction rather than a crisis to me. Thousands would be cause for concern. Hundreds sounds like the shedding of dead weight. There will be plenty of work for securities firms in coming years. Especially, with the impending adoption of IFRS. Trust me, that will swell the ranks of the largest firms yet again. Accounting and law firms alike will rake in billions from that forthcoming clusterf**k. SOX 404b compliance will generate business, too. Mark my words, securities law will be a thriving practice area for years to come. The down turn is temporary... providing that more firms do not adopt fixed-fee billing arrangements. That will only mean slower job growth and fewer salary increases but not a general decline in the volume of business.

As someone who is practicing securities law in the most thriving securities market in the world right now, I can without hesitation say that there has indeed been a general decline, not only in the volume of business but in the number of deals that close. And this isn't just my firm. It's every firm in the city. My friend started at top 10 firm a month before I did (last Sept) and has only been staffed on one deal so far. Until she was staffed on this particular IPO last month she had not done ANY work. That is, she came in at 11, left at 4, went on long lunches and surfed the internet all day because there wasn't anything to do.

The markets WILL recover, but to say that they are healthy now is simply delusional. The markets are suffering, deals aren't closing and people are getting laid off. That IS the reality of corporate practice right now. Anyone interested in this field deserves to know this reality.
Title: Re: Best Firms for Securities Enforcement/regulation/litigation?
Post by: kenpostudent on August 12, 2008, 07:26:24 AM
You're probably right... I've observed the same from my side of the business. The value of public shells is steadily dropping and has been for about six to nine months. A shell that would go for $750,00 six months ago is lucky to net a $400k return now. Furthermore, every one of my clients is in aggressive cost-cutting frenzy , especially concerning professional fees. Yet, I think this is only temporary. Since our economy lives and dies on foreign investment, I attribute this to election year jitters and a falling dollar. Hopefully, this trend will reverse in Q1 of 2009. You are very correct in your analysis that securities law and corporate law may be bad choices for recent grads. However, why should anyone pick a practice area simply based upon current employment trends that could easily change in the near term? It is a relevant disclosure item for new grads, but I believe these results are simply not indicative of future trends. If come April 1, 2009, I am proven wrong, then the beer is on me, since we'll all need something to drown our sorrows.
Title: Re: Best Firms for Securities Enforcement/regulation/litigation?
Post by: LittleRussianPrincess, Esq. on August 12, 2008, 08:50:44 AM
"Could change" isn't a lot to hang your hat on. Just letting folks out there know what is happening on the inside and that they should probably look for signs of recovering markets before gunning for a securities job, if there are other options. In most firms (mine is an exception) you can fairly easily go from one practice group to another once you are in, so maybe starting out in litigation or something else that's got business right now would be better. Then you could always move into corporate finance if that's your thing.
Title: Re: Best Firms for Securities Enforcement/regulation/litigation?
Post by: kenpostudent on August 12, 2008, 02:21:56 PM
Just out of curiosity, what kind of moron puts all of their eggs in one basket anyway? It's sad that law school graduates need to be told such things. It's patently obvious that if there are a limited number of jobs in the field now, that another practice area might be a better choice for the short term. However, if someone really wants to practice securities law, I am sure that they will find a way to break into the profession, regardless of how the market performs. If the market doesn't rebound in six months or sixty years, there will still be work... only less of it. Besides, don't failing markets precipitate securities lawsuits? How many class action lawsuits have been brought against a companies because their stock soared?
Title: Re: Best Firms for Securities Enforcement/regulation/litigation?
Post by: LittleRussianPrincess, Esq. on August 13, 2008, 02:29:31 AM
Just out of curiosity, what kind of moron puts all of their eggs in one basket anyway? It's sad that law school graduates need to be told such things. It's patently obvious that if there are a limited number of jobs in the field now, that another practice area might be a better choice for the short term. However, if someone really wants to practice securities law, I am sure that they will find a way to break into the profession, regardless of how the market performs. If the market doesn't rebound in six months or sixty years, there will still be work... only less of it. Besides, don't failing markets precipitate securities lawsuits? How many class action lawsuits have been brought against a companies because their stock soared?

Sure, that's exactly what I am warning people about.

Regarding more securities work when the markets are bad, well, that's not necessarily true. As you know, most securities suits are on the basis of some form of fraud or misrep. Bad markets are just bad luck and not necessarily fraud by the company/BOD.
Title: Re: Best Firms for Securities Enforcement/regulation/litigation?
Post by: kenpostudent on August 13, 2008, 07:35:07 AM
I get what you are saying. Yet, Bill Lerach made a career and a fortune nearly the size of the GDP of small nations by bringing frivolous lawsuits against companies in the early to mid-1990s. Besides the changes to discovery provisions in the mid-1990s, are there any other changes in the industry to prevent that from happening again? Lawsuits don't have to be valid to be filed.

On a different note, I wonder how much of the current "crisis" stems from the fact that nearly every major company or hedge fund hedges so much of their market risk with a derivative or anohter security, or even with a derivative of a derivative. The derivatives of derivatives are traded just like stocks or bonds. If funds, companies, and investors are so heavily diversified, when the market tanks, who are the losers? It makes sense to me that everyone loses (to a lesser degree than total loss of investment) because all players are hedged against each other. Whereas before the hedging proliferation, one segment of the market or one industry lost value, while another industry or segment won big. Now everyone loses more uniformly in down markets. Am I off base or does this make sense?
Title: Re: Best Firms for Securities Enforcement/regulation/litigation?
Post by: themanwithnoname on August 15, 2008, 08:13:36 AM
"Could change" isn't a lot to hang your hat on. Just letting folks out there know what is happening on the inside and that they should probably look for signs of recovering markets before gunning for a securities job, if there are other options. In most firms (mine is an exception) you can fairly easily go from one practice group to another once you are in, so maybe starting out in litigation or something else that's got business right now would be better. Then you could always move into corporate finance if that's your thing.

thanks for the bad advice, again. While most firms will let you switch practice groups, that does not make it a good idea, since the way you gain value to a firm is by building up expertise in a particular area.
Title: Re: Best Firms for Securities Enforcement/regulation/litigation?
Post by: themanwithnoname on August 15, 2008, 08:20:40 AM
Just out of curiosity, what kind of moron puts all of their eggs in one basket anyway? It's sad that law school graduates need to be told such things. It's patently obvious that if there are a limited number of jobs in the field now, that another practice area might be a better choice for the short term. However, if someone really wants to practice securities law, I am sure that they will find a way to break into the profession, regardless of how the market performs. If the market doesn't rebound in six months or sixty years, there will still be work... only less of it. Besides, don't failing markets precipitate securities lawsuits? How many class action lawsuits have been brought against a companies because their stock soared?

Sure, that's exactly what I am warning people about.

Regarding more securities work when the markets are bad, well, that's not necessarily true. As you know, most securities suits are on the basis of some form of fraud or misrep. Bad markets are just bad luck and not necessarily fraud by the company/BOD.

wow you are the princess of wrong. Securities fraud suits happen in bad markets because 1) you need to prove loss causation in order to win a fraud case and a plummeting stock price makes it a whole lot easier. Stock prices plummet in bad economies. 2) People often commit securities fraud because their company is struggling and they are trying to boost the stock price to buy themselves time to fix thing. Companies struggle in bad economies. It's no coincidence that Enron/Tyco/Dynegy/Worldcom all happened when the economy went south at the beginning of the decade.
Title: Re: Best Firms for Securities Enforcement/regulation/litigation?
Post by: LittleRussianPrincess, Esq. on August 15, 2008, 08:59:36 AM
"Could change" isn't a lot to hang your hat on. Just letting folks out there know what is happening on the inside and that they should probably look for signs of recovering markets before gunning for a securities job, if there are other options. In most firms (mine is an exception) you can fairly easily go from one practice group to another once you are in, so maybe starting out in litigation or something else that's got business right now would be better. Then you could always move into corporate finance if that's your thing.

thanks for the bad advice, again. While most firms will let you switch practice groups, that does not make it a good idea, since the way you gain value to a firm is by building up expertise in a particular area.

no *&^%? really? i had no idea!

anyway, last i checked job in litigation with plans to move pracitce groups was better than no job at all (because few securities positions are available).
Title: Re: Best Firms for Securities Enforcement/regulation/litigation?
Post by: LittleRussianPrincess, Esq. on August 15, 2008, 09:01:13 AM
Just out of curiosity, what kind of moron puts all of their eggs in one basket anyway? It's sad that law school graduates need to be told such things. It's patently obvious that if there are a limited number of jobs in the field now, that another practice area might be a better choice for the short term. However, if someone really wants to practice securities law, I am sure that they will find a way to break into the profession, regardless of how the market performs. If the market doesn't rebound in six months or sixty years, there will still be work... only less of it. Besides, don't failing markets precipitate securities lawsuits? How many class action lawsuits have been brought against a companies because their stock soared?

Sure, that's exactly what I am warning people about.

Regarding more securities work when the markets are bad, well, that's not necessarily true. As you know, most securities suits are on the basis of some form of fraud or misrep. Bad markets are just bad luck and not necessarily fraud by the company/BOD.

wow you are the princess of wrong. Securities fraud suits happen in bad markets because 1) you need to prove loss causation in order to win a fraud case and a plummeting stock price makes it a whole lot easier. Stock prices plummet in bad economies. 2) People often commit securities fraud because their company is struggling and they are trying to boost the stock price to buy themselves time to fix thing. Companies struggle in bad economies. It's no coincidence that Enron/Tyco/Dynegy/Worldcom all happened when the economy went south at the beginning of the decade.

You missed an operative word up there. If you're too dense to see it, I'm not going to waste my time pointing it out to you.
Title: Re: Best Firms for Securities Enforcement/regulation/litigation?
Post by: themanwithnoname on August 15, 2008, 09:23:46 AM
Ok so you give bad advice and make stupid observations and now you try to weasel out of it. You said a job in litigation is better than no job at all, but most firms that do transactional work in securities do not do that exclusively, and it is certainly not a requirement at almost any firm that you declare an interest in doing securities work or litigation or anything in particular prior to getting a job. You say you are interested in securities and some other stuff and hope work picks up before you start in september. There is no need to go into litigation now in order to get a job because firms typically offer you a job and then talk practice area, and if they do not need securities peopel they will tell you. I understand that you say that it is not necessarily true, but it is typically true. Also, while some firms have stock values drop in a recession for totally innocent reasons, you can count on enough bad apples to say that you can expect more securities litigation when markets are bad.