If you are reading this blog, chances are you have suffered losses in an investment and believe that you have been the victim of investment fraud. However, it is not always the case that investment losses are caused by fraud. To have a claim for investment fraud you must be able to establish that there was a misrepresentation, or an omission, of a material fact to you regarding the investment and that you relied upon that misrepresentation in making or maintaining the investment, leading to monetary loss. Investment fraud can be perpetrated through oral statements as well as through written materials, or by information published on the internet. It can be accomplished by both making a false statement or by omitting facts that should be disclosed.
What to Look for In Hiring an Investment Fraud Attorney
When looking for an attorney to bring your investment fraud case, it’s crucial that you find someone who has experience in this area. This is because, in most cases, you must arbitrate your investment fraud case through FINRA (the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority). If you lost money in your investment account at a brokerage firm such as Merrill Lynch, Morgan Stanley, UBS, Charles Schwab and even a self-directed account on an app such as Robinhood , your account agreement likely contains an arbitration agreement requiring that your claims be arbitrated through FINRA. The claims in FINRA are subject to the FINRA Code of Arbitration Procedure which sets out the procedures to be followed. Hiring an investment fraud lawyer who knows these rules, as well as one who is familiar with the arbitration process, can maximize any recovery you might get in your case.
When deciding whether to hire an investment fraud attorney, you should ask the following questions to be certain that you’ve found the right attorney to help recover your investment fraud losses. You should ask these things:
1. WHAT’S YOUR EXPERIENCE? While there are lots of attorneys advertising on the Internet that they handle investment fraud cases, there are very few of them who have actually have 20 or more years of experience handling FINRA arbitration cases—which is the place where most cases are required to be arbitrated if you’re suing a brokerage firm or stockbroker. Be sure that you discuss with the prospective lawyer just how many investment fraud cases that attorney has handled and exactly how many years of experience that attorney has worked in this legal area. An experienced investment fraud lawyer will more than likely know the lawyers who regularly represent the defendant brokerage firms, and these relationships are important to advancing your case to hearing as well as in settlement discussions. Additionally, an experienced FINRA arbitration attorney will also be familiar with the pool of FINRA arbitrations who might be deciding your case. Knowing which arbitrators to select (and most importantly who not to select) to hear your potential case can go a long way in affecting the results of your case. Also , hiring an attorney who knows the special FINRA discovery process knows what documents and information to ask the brokerage firm to ask for to help you prove your case. Knowing where the smoking gun documents are buried can go a long way in proving your claim.
2. WHO AT YOUR FIRM WILL HANDLE MY POTENTIAL CASE? Be sure to ask who will be working on your case on a day to day basis and who will communicate with you regarding your case. It’s important that the main attorney you will be hiring will also be the person who’s handling your case. Ask how the case will be staffed internally and who will be responsible to update you on the status of your case . Additionally, ask whether the lead attorney will be drafting or at least reviewing all of the pleadings and motions as they are filed in your investment fraud case, and make sure you know who will be the lead trial attorney.. Finally, you must find out if there is a paralegal or other assistant who can help you assemble and send the documents you will need to gather to assist you in proving your case. While you might want to hire a bigger firm to handle your investment fraud case, make sure that you know exactly who at the firm will be the responsible attorney on a daily basis.
3. ASK HOW MANY CASES HAVE YOU TRIED? Be sure to ask the lawyers how many cases they have brought to a final arbitration hearing or trial, and inquire as to the results of those hearings or trials. While many attorneys say that they handle FINRA arbitration claims, some are notorious for settling their claims and not taking them all the way through a trial. Yes, it is true that a large percentage of FINRA arbitration cases settle prior to the final hearing date—but you still want to be sure that the investment fraud lawyer has enough experience to try your case if it doesn’t settle. If the defendant brokerage firm attorneys already know that your lawyer settles all of their cases, and never (or very rarely) tries cases, you may not get a good settlement offer . The ideal way to position yourself to get the best settlement offer is hiring an attorney who the brokerage firm knows will be prepared and experienced enough to take your FINRA arbitration to a final hearing.
4. Are you a Contingency Fee Lawyer For Investment Fraud cases? Many of the investment fraud victims who come to our law offices have suffered staggering losses and want an attorney who will take their case on a contingency fee basis. In this type of contingency fee arrangement, the lawyer takes a percentage of the recovery received (from a settlement or arbitration award) which is paid by the defendant brokerage firm. These fees generally range between 25-33% depending on how complex the case is, whether the case resolves early or late( either before or after a hearing or trial) as well as the size of the investment losses. In addition to the attorney’s fees you will pay, costs of the case are usually the client’s responsibility, so be sure you ask about these additional costs before hiring an attorney. In FINRA arbitration contingency cases, the largest costs are usually the FINRA filing fees, hearing fees for the arbitrators who are deciding your case and expert witness fees.
5. HOW WELL DO YOU RELATE TO THE LAWYER? Incurring devastating investment losses, whether it’s through the intentional act of your stockbroker, or simply through broker negligence, can be a life altering event. This can affect entire families and marriages as well. When interviewing an Investment Fraud Attorney make sure that person fully listens to you and understands your concerns and fears. Victims of investment fraud or broker negligence often feel betrayed when they arrive at our law firm. This is especially true for retirees, divorced women and older people, because they have no means to earn back the money they have lost. They come to us worried that they cannot now trust any professional after their experience. For this reason, be certain that your attorney is someone you trust to listen to you and to help you. After all, selecting a lawyer who can relate to you (or your family member) who has lost money could turn out to be the most important decision of all. Once you have hired an investment fraud attorney, you will need to work closely with them on your case.
Hire an Experienced an Responsive Investment Fraud Attorney
When you or a loved one has been the victim of investment fraud or has suffered investment losses as a result of broker negligence, this can be very traumatic. Losing your money through the acts of a trusted person is an emotional blow, as your savings can represent all of the security for your future. Our investment fraud attorneys , we know this. We will handle your case like you are a family member. You will be represented by lead attorneys who have decades of experience in handling Investment Fraud cases, as well our team of experienced attorneys and paralegals who will take the time to communicate with you and will guide you through every step of the way. Although we have handled hundreds of cases, this is often your first (and only) case. We know this and will be there when you need us.
CONTACT US TODAY FOR A FREE CONSULTATION
If you or your loved one has suffered investment losses as a result of investment fraud or broker negligence, contact the offices of Investment Fraud lawyer Melanie Cherdack for a free consultation. Because she has been in the trenches as a former Wall Street attorney, Melanie Cherdack and her team of experienced attorneys have seen just about every type of investment fraud or investment scam. While almost every investment carries a degree of uncertainty and risk, you may have been unnecessarily exposed to such risk. Former Wall Street securities attorney Melanie S. Cherdack and her team of lawyers represent individual and institutional investors who are unwitting victims of investment fraud and broker negligence. She heads up a group of attorneys who represent investors across the United States and the Americas. Contact us by filling out our online contact form, or calling 844-635-1609.