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New Hampshire SEC Defense Lawyers

March 21, 2024 Uncategorized


New Hampshire SEC Defense Lawyers

Dealing with an SEC investigation can be stressful and frightening, but having an experienced SEC defense lawyer on your side can make all the difference. Here in New Hampshire, there are a number of skilled attorneys who regularly handle these complex cases and can provide you with the representation you need to achieve the best possible outcome.

An SEC investigation often begins with a subpoena requesting documents or testimony related to possible securities law violations. At this early stage, it is critical to have legal counsel to help you respond appropriately and protect your rights. A knowledgeable lawyer can analyze the issues being investigated and advise you on how to proceed.

Responding to Subpoenas and Requests

SEC subpoenas can require producing huge volumes of documents and data. Your lawyer can work with you to collect responsive information, review it for privileged or confidential material, and produce it to the SEC in an organized fashion. This is no small task, but an experienced SEC defense attorney has the resources and expertise to handle it efficiently.

Your lawyer can also represent you if asked to provide sworn testimony. They can prepare you for questioning, argue to limit its scope, and be by your side during a deposition or investigative hearing to object to improper questions.

Mounting a Vigorous Defense

Once the fact-finding stage concludes, your lawyer’s role shifts to constructing a defense. This involves developing legal arguments and affirmative defenses that may convince the SEC not to pursue an enforcement action. For example, your lawyer may argue that:

  • The SEC lacks jurisdiction
  • No securities laws were actually violated
  • You acted in good faith and had no intent to defraud
  • The statute of limitations has expired

Negotiating with the SEC directly or through a process known as Wells submissions, your attorney can advocate powerfully on your behalf. Their goal is to persuade the SEC that an enforcement action is unwarranted.

Settling Charges

If the SEC does initiate an administrative proceeding or federal court action, your lawyer can seek to settle the charges. Settlements typically involve agreeing to sanctions, penalties and injunctive relief in exchange for avoiding litigation. Your attorney can negotiate to minimize the impact on you.

For example, instead of a permanent industry ban, your lawyer may secure a time-limited suspension or negotiated resignation. Monetary penalties may be reduced. Your attorney can also craft settlement language in a way that mitigates damage to your reputation.

Litigating and Trial

If a favorable settlement cannot be reached, skilled SEC defense lawyers are prepared to bring your case all the way to trial. Your attorney will file motions seeking to dismiss the action or limit the claims against you. At trial, they will aggressively contest the SEC’s allegations and evidence through cross-examination of witnesses and presentation of countervailing facts and expert testimony.

SEC trials are bench trials, meaning the verdict is decided by a judge rather than a jury. But the dynamics of trial practice still apply, and an experienced trial lawyer can advocate persuasively before a judge to attack the SEC’s case and present defenses showing you should prevail.

Appealing Adverse Decisions

If the defense is unsuccessful at trial, your lawyer can pursue appeals to overturn or modify the outcome. For SEC administrative proceedings, appeals are heard by the SEC’s own appellate body. Federal court decisions can be appealed to the federal Circuit Court of Appeals and ultimately the U.S. Supreme Court.

The appeals process provides opportunities to challenge any legal or procedural errors. Your lawyer will craft arguments aimed at reducing sanctions imposed or reversing adverse findings entirely. With their appellate experience, your attorney can effectively advocate for you before appellate judges.

Key Skills SEC Defense Lawyers Need

When facing an SEC investigation, you want an attorney who:

  • Has extensive knowledge of SEC rules, regulations and procedures
  • Understands complex securities law issues
  • Has experience handling SEC inquiries and enforcement actions
  • Will mount an aggressive defense of your interests
  • Is an effective negotiator
  • Has strong litigation and trial skills
  • Knows how to navigate appeals
  • Provides responsive, trustworthy representation

Finding the Right SEC Defense Attorney

New Hampshire has many capable securities enforcement defense lawyers to consider. The New Hampshire Bar Association provides a lawyer referral service that can match you with attorneys based on location and area of practice. Online attorney directories like Justia and Avvo are other good resources.

Look for lawyers with specific experience defending SEC cases, not just general securities or litigation backgrounds. Ask about the types of SEC cases and issues they have handled, their knowledge of SEC rules and procedures, their trial and negotiation track record, and outcomes achieved for past clients.

A good SEC defense lawyer will listen closely to the details of your situation, offer an honest assessment, and work tirelessly to protect your interests. They will keep you informed each step and provide clarity on the process. With the right legal representation, you can approach an SEC investigation with confidence.

Beyond thoroughly vetting credentials and experience, consider lawyers who demonstrate these qualities:

  • Strong communicators who explain legal issues in understandable terms
  • Creative problem-solvers who think strategically
  • Tireless advocates who fight aggressively on your behalf
  • Discreet professionals who handle matters sensitively
  • Diligent attorneys who are organized, prepared, and responsive
  • Reassuring counselors who support you through a difficult process

A skilled SEC defense lawyer becomes your trusted advisor, thoroughly investigating the facts, assessing possible defenses, and charting the most advantageous course through the SEC inquiry. They serve as your guide, negotiator and champion all at once.

The Investigation Process and Stages

A typical SEC investigation unfolds across several phases:

  1. Initial inquiry – The SEC makes preliminary inquiries to determine if a full investigation is warranted.
  2. Formal investigation – The SEC issues subpoenas seeking documents and testimony to probe possible violations.
  3. Wells notice – This indicates the SEC staff intends to recommend bringing an enforcement action.
  4. Settlement negotiations – Many cases settle at this stage, but charges may be filed if no deal is reached.
  5. SEC enforcement action – An administrative proceeding or federal court action is initiated.
  6. Litigation or trial – The SEC’s case is contested before a judge or administrative law judge.
  7. Appeals – Adverse decisions can potentially be appealed to the SEC and federal courts.

Your lawyer’s role evolves at each step, but their advocacy on your behalf remains constant throughout. Thorough preparation and assertive representation improves outcomes regardless of how far an inquiry progresses.

Areas Frequently Investigated

While the SEC examines many types of securities law violations, common issues that arise include:

  • Accounting fraud – Misstating financials, false disclosures, improper revenue recognition, etc.
  • Insider trading – Trading on material nonpublic information in breach of duty.
  • Market manipulation – Rigging or artificially affecting securities prices.
  • Offering fraud – Misrepresentations or omissions in stock or investment offerings.
  • Registration violations – Failure to properly register securities or submit required filings.
  • FCPA violations – Bribing foreign officials to obtain business overseas.

Skilled SEC defense lawyers have experience handling inquiries across the spectrum of securities issues and understand the rules and typical investigative approaches inside and out.

SEC vs. Criminal Prosecution

The SEC has civil enforcement powers only. For criminal prosecution, the U.S. Department of Justice becomes involved. Your lawyer can sometimes negotiate to keep matters confined to the SEC’s civil jurisdiction only. This may involve cooperating with the SEC investigation. Criminal charges mean harsher penalties and should be avoided if at all possible.

Avoiding SEC Scrutiny

The best protection is taking steps to avoid SEC attention in the first place:

  • Implement strong compliance programs
  • Provide employee training on securities regulations
  • Establish internal controls and reporting procedures
  • Conduct periodic risk assessments
  • Seek legal guidance when unsure about an activity or disclosure

Staying out of the crosshairs is ideal. But if you do land on the SEC’s radar, turn to an experienced SEC defense attorney right away. With skilled legal counsel guiding you, the path becomes clearer and an SEC investigation less daunting.

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