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Recruitment and Employment Law

Practices

With increasing frequency, stockbrokers and investment advisors leave their firms for competitors in search of greener pastures. However, these moves are fraught with legal risk for all of the parties involved. Many registered representatives are contractually prohibited from soliciting their clients following resignation. Most representatives are forbidden from removing client files or records. With so much at stake, it’s not unusual for suit to be filed shortly after the resignation occurs. For twenty-five years, our firm has represented broker-dealers and registered representatives in these kinds of actions. We regularly appear on our clients’ behalf in the FINRA arbitration forum as well as state and federal court.

Experience: We handle brokerage recruiting cases nationwide

We represent broker-dealers, registered representatives and investment advisors in matters involving non-solicitation agreements, trade secrets, and breach of loyalty or fiduciary duty. We represent both firms seeking to enforce these claims and representatives seeking to defend them. Over the years, our attorneys have handled hundreds of these cases from Maine to Alaska on behalf of both brokerage firms and registered representatives.

Counsel: Firms rely on our pre-employment counsel to avoid recruiting claims

Firms that recruit registered representatives from their competitors are often held accountable for the actions of their recruits. Our firm routinely provides pre-employment counseling to identify legal risks and avoid costly litigation. We have experience with numerous forms of agreements and have dealt with nearly every brokerage firm in this business. With this experience, we can provide a strategy that will best protect your firm and your new recruit from the risk and expense of litigation.

The Broker Protocol: Can the Broker Protocol protect your recruits?

In 2004, three of the largest brokerage firms created “The Protocol for Broker Recruiting.” This agreement established what brokers and investment advisors can and cannot do in moving from one firm to another. Today, there are over 800 brokerage and investment advisory firms who have joined the Protocol. Registered representatives who comply with this agreement can move from one firm to another without the fear of litigation over their non-solicit and non-compete contracts. Our firm was one of the first to counsel and litigate issues related to the Protocol. We created a website dedicated to the Broker Protocol http://www.thebrokerprotocol.com/ that reports all of the current member firms and is updated as each week as a new list is becomes available. We also provide counsel to clients planning to join the Broker Protocol, file the necessary agreements, and help representatives comply with its terms. Our attorneys have testified as expert witnesses in arbitrations and state court and regulatory proceedings upon the creation, meaning and application of the Broker Protocol.

Litigation: Experienced counsel to defend injunctive claims.

Actions enforcing or defending non-solicitation and confidentiality claims move very quickly. Typically, the firm losing the employee, will go to court with very little notice and seek temporary or preliminary injunctive relief prohibiting a former employee from contacting, soliciting or even serving his former customers. If the employee is a FINRA registered broker, the matter must then be sent to FINRA arbitration where special rules were created to deal with these kinds of cases. Our firm responds immediately in these kinds of cases and can often defuse a newly filed action at limited cost to our clients. We also have significant experience with raiding cases, claims in which one firm is accused of systematically hiring the employees or representatives of the other firm often times devastating the former branch. From cases involving small firms and individual brokers to complex raiding cases involving hundreds of representatives, we offer practical and efficient solutions for our clients.

We represent clients who are asserting or defending recruiting, covenant and trade secret claims in state or federal court, FINRA and the AAA, including those involving:

  • Breach of employment agreement
  • Trade secrets and confidentiality
  • Non-compete and non-solicitation agreements
  • Unfair competition
  • Breach of fiduciary duty
  • Duty of loyalty
  • Raiding
  • Promissory note disputes
  • U-5 defamation claims

Employment Law

All of the traditional HR issues that arise out of the employee/employer relationship also occur in the context of the securities industry and are often the subject of FINRA arbitrations. Our lawyers have successfully handled race, gender, and age-based claims, wage and hour claims, and unlawful termination claims before FINRA panels.

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