Washington

Herskovits PLLC represents investment advisors, broker-dealers, and other participants in the financial services industry. We have experience representing clients in state and federal court and in a variety of mediation and arbitration settings. Although we are a small firm, our size is one of our best assets, and it allows us to provide exceptional client service at affordable and predictable rates. Our office is located in New York City, but we can at times provide legal counsel to individuals in Seattle, Spokane, Tacoma, Vancouver, and the surrounding areas of Washington, subject to admission pro hac vice. We are licensed to practice law in New York only and this webpage is for general informational purposes only.

Washington "Blue Sky" Laws

At the federal level, the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is the primary regulator and enforcer of the securities laws. The SEC oversees the key participants in the securities industry to protect against fraud, ensure fair dealing, and protect investors. To help protect individuals from investment risks, it requires public companies to release particular financial information to the public. Moreover, it investigates alleged violations of the securities laws and has the ability to bring enforcement proceedings and refer cases for criminal prosecution.

At the local level, each state has its own securities laws, known as "Blue Sky" laws, and in Washington, this law is the Securities Act of Washington. The Washington State Department of Financial Institutions' Securities Division (the "Division") administers and enforces the Securities Act. It has numerous responsibilities, including: reviewing securities offerings; licensing broker-dealers, investment advisors, and registered representatives; implementing investor education programs; and bringing civil and criminal proceedings for violations of the Securities Act.

Because of the complexities involved in securities matters and the enormity of the awards issued in these disputes, it is prudent to obtain the representation of an experienced securities attorney to handle these claims. In March 2012, for example, an arbitration panel in Seattle awarded Claimants over $1.8 million at eight percent interest and $200,000 in attorneys fees. [In the Matter of the FINRA Arbitration Between Joseph F. Lightfbot on Behalf of Himself and as Trustee of the Lightfoot Living Trust and Marilyn C. Lightfoot on Behalf of Herself and as Trustee of the Lightfoot Living Trust, Claimants, v. Pacific West Financial Group et al., Respondents (FINRA Arbitration 11-00230, March 6, 2012)].

In the above proceeding, Claimants alleged that Respondents improperly sold them tenant in common real estate interests that were unsuitable for them given their age, risk tolerance, financial condition, and numerous other considerations. The panel decided that the Respondents were jointly and severally liable for damages as a result of these sales. Although arbitration panels rarely explain their findings, this panel noted that due to Claimants' age and financial position, the timing of these sales, and Respondents' conduct in concluding the sales, including material omissions, these interests were sold in violation of the Washington Securities Act. Moreover, Respondents did not act with reasonable care in deciding the sales were appropriate under the given circumstances.

Herskovits PLLC Can Help You Navigate Federal and State Securities Laws

If you are a participant in the financial services industry and need assistance with a state or federal securities dispute, you should contact an experienced securities lawyer. At Herskovits PLLC, we have the knowledge and skill to resolve your case. Our managing partner has handled over 200 FINRA arbitrations with an impressive record of success, and we also have experience before state and federal courts and in other arbitration and mediation settings. We are a small firm, but our size allows us to provide exceptional client service and avoid the conflicts of interest faced by larger firms.

Although we are located in New York, we can represent industry participants in cities throughout the country. If you would like to obtain our assistance or find out more about our firm, please feel free to contact us at 212.897.5410. You may also fill out a contact form, and we will promptly respond to your inquiry.