Facing a subpoena can be a daunting experience for individuals and businesses involved in securities-related matters. The SEC wields substantial authority to investigate potential violations of securities laws, and responding to a subpoena demands a keen understanding of the legal process and regulations.
However, I often see individuals who decide to respond by using a corporate attorney, or a general litigation attorney. This is a significant mistake. First, every securities law violation has the potential to be a crime, and to be prosecuted as such. Second, you have no idea how long the investigation has been ongoine, and whether there are on going fraud inquiries when you receive your SEC subpoena.
The simple fact is that your responses, and documents submitted could lead to further inquiries and potential problems.
Therefore, you should retain an attorney who is well-versed in navigating SEC investigations.To navigate this complex terrain successfully, it’s essential to hire a qualified securities defense attorney.
Understanding SEC Subpoenas
Before delving into the hiring process, let’s first understand what an SEC subpoena entails. An SEC subpoena is a legal document issued by the SEC as part of its investigation into possible securities law violations. This document compels individuals or entities to produce documents, provide testimony, or both, related to the investigation.
Why Hiring an Attorney is Crucial
Responding to an SEC subpoena is not something you should attempt on your own. The SEC Staff attorneys are not your friends, despite how friendly they may appear when you speak to them. The legal complexities, potential consequences of mishandling the process, and the need to protect your rights demand the expertise of a securities defense attorney. Here’s how you can choose the right one:
- Research and Compile a List of Potential Attorneys
Start by researching attorneys who specialize in securities defense. Compile a list of potential candidates based on online research, referrals from trusted sources, or recommendations from colleagues.
- Evaluate Their Experience in Securities Law and SEC Investigations
Not all attorneys are equal when it comes to securities law and SEC investigations. Look for attorneys with a proven track record in handling similar cases. Their experience in dealing with the SEC is invaluable. The attorneys at Sallah Astarita & Cox, LLC have over 100 years of combined experience in defending SEC investigations and are former SEC Staff Attorneys and Brokerage Firm defense attorneys.
- Schedule Consultations with Potential Attorneys
Set up initial consultations with the attorneys on your list. These meetings are crucial for assessing their suitability for your specific situation. We can do the initial consultation by Zoom or by telephone, at your convenience.
- Ask Important Questions During Consultations
During consultations, ask critical questions such as:
- How familiar are you with SEC investigations?
- What strategies would you employ in responding to an SEC subpoena?
- Can you provide references from past clients involved in similar cases?
- What is your fee structure, and what costs should I anticipate?
- Evaluate Their Communication Skills and Approachability
Effective communication with your attorney is paramount throughout the process. Ensure that the attorney you choose is approachable, responsive, and willing to keep you informed at every step.
Costs and Fee Structures
The costs associated with hiring a securities defense attorney can vary widely. We typically charge by the hour and use the lowest-cost attorney who is appropriate for the task at hand. In some instances, we are able to offer flat fees for specific services. While cost is a factor, it should not be the sole determinant in your decision. Quality legal representation can make a significant difference in the outcome of your SEC subpoena response. We have been successful in shutting down investigations before they become lawsuits, and resolving enforcement proceedings with favorable results for our clients.
Case Studies and Success Stories
Reputable securities defense attorneys often have case studies and success stories to share. These real-life examples can illustrate how they successfully guided clients through SEC investigations and highlight their ability to protect their client’s interests. During your consultation, ask us for examples of cases that we have handled that are similar to yours. Mark Astarita’s compilation of his significant cases are available at SECLaw.com.
How Serious Is an SEC Investigation?
SEC investigations should never be taken lightly. The consequences of securities law violations can range from fines and penalties to criminal charges. Therefore, hiring a skilled attorney to respond to an SEC subpoena is not just an option but a necessity.
Conclusion and Next Steps
In conclusion, when facing an SEC subpoena, your choice of a securities defense attorney can significantly impact the outcome of the investigation. Thorough research, evaluations, and consultations are essential in selecting the right attorney who can navigate the complexities of SEC investigations effectively.
Remember that an experienced attorney can not only help you respond to the SEC subpoena but also guide you in maintaining compliance with securities laws and regulations in the future. Take your time to make an informed decision, and once you’ve hired the right attorney, collaborate closely with them to ensure the best possible outcome.
If you’re ready to take the first step in protecting your interests during an SEC investigation, reach out to us for a consultation. You can call our office at 212-509-6544 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Our team of experienced securities defense attorneys is here to assist you every step of the way.
Mark Astarita is a nationally recognized securities attorney, who represents investors, financial professionals and firms in securities litigation, arbitration and regulatory matters, including SEC and FINRA investigations and enforcement proceedings.
He is a partner in the national securities law firm Sallah Astarita & Cox, LLC, and the founder of The Securities Law Home Page - SECLaw.com, which was one of the first legal topic sites on the Internet. It went online in 1995 and is updated daily with news, commentary and securities law related links.