Teresa J. Verges joined the University of Miami School of Law faculty in the fall of 2011. She is the founding director of Miami Law’s Investor Rights Clinic, which represents investors who have claims against their brokers in arbitration proceedings before FINRA, but whose claims are too small for them to be able to find legal representation. Professor Verges supervises the clinic’s student interns and teaches a seminar on the substantive law of securities arbitration, professional responsibility and practical skills allowing the students to undertake all aspects of client representation. She also teaches a separate course on broker-dealer regulation.
Prior to joining the School of Law’s faculty, Professor Verges served as Assistant Director of Enforcement for the Securities and Exchange Commission at the Miami Regional Office, where she led investigations of potential violations of the federal securities laws, including cases involving financial fraud, pay-to-play and municipal securities offerings, market manipulation, insider trading, offering fraud, violations by broker-dealers and investment advisers, and violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. Before her appointment as Assistant Director, Professor Verges served as Regional Trial Counsel, where she supervised litigation of civil injunctive actions and administrative proceedings instituted by the SEC’s Miami Office.
While at the Commission, Professor Verges led the investigative or litigation teams on some of the most significant cases brought by the SEC, and received awards and recognition for her work, including the SEC’s 2011 Arthur F. Matthews Award. Ms. Verges has been recognized as one of “The Top Government Attorneys” in South Florida Business Guide, 2004-2009 is a 2009 Recipient of noted “Florida Legal Elite Government Attorney” in Florida Trend. Ms. Verges was also selected for Women of Color Magazine’s 2010 Top Women in Finance.
Prior to joining the Commission in 1998, Ms. Verges was in private practice for 8 years in Chicago and Miami. Ms. Verges has an undergraduate degree from Elmhurst College (1985) and a law degree with highest honors from DePaul University College of Law, Chicago, Illinois (1989).
Ms. Verges has published articles and participated on panels discussing securities arbitration, SEC investigations and enforcement, regulation of financial intermediaries and ethical issues in securities litigation and arbitration. She served on FINRA’s National Arbitration and Mediation Committee (2014-2018) and FINRA’s Discovery Task Force (2018-2021).
Beverly Jo Slaughter is a Senior Managing Counsel in the Wealth Investment Management Litigation Section of the Wells Fargo Corporate Legal Department. Her team defends the company and its Financial Advisors in litigation before FINRA and various state and federal courts. The team also administers the Protocol for Broker Recruiting for Wells Fargo and advises on risk mitigation generally.
Ms. Slaughter obtained her J.D. from the Fordham University School of Law in 1997.
Ms. Slaughter regularly speaks on securities litigation and regulation and employee mobility before the NBA, the SIFMA Legal and Compliance Section and the Federal Bar Council.
Nicole C. Haynes is the Associate Director of Recruitment and Training in the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority’s (FINRA) Office of Dispute Resolution (ODR). She oversees the arbitrator recruitment efforts for the Neutral Management Department, with the goal of expanding and broadening the depth and diversity of the neutral roster. Prior to serving in this capacity, Nicole was the Case Assistant Manager for the Northeast Regional Office of ODR where she oversaw the arbitration case docket and issued decisions on various procedural motions. Nicole joined FINRA, then NASD, in 2000 as a Staff Attorney.
Nicole received her undergraduate degree from Williams College and received her law degree from Boston University School of Law where she was a member of the Public Interest Law Journal. Nicole is a member of the New York Bar.
Professor Jill I. Gross is a nationally known expert in the field of securities dispute resolution, and teaches courses in the areas of dispute resolution, ethics, securities law and lawyering skills. She was the James D. Hopkins Professor of Law, a two-year rotating endowed Chair, from 2013-2015, Director of the Investor Rights Clinic from 1999-2015, and Director of Legal Skills Programs from 2010-2015. She also has taught at Cornell Law School, UNLV’s Boyd School of Law and Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law.
She is an author of the preeminent hornbook, Broker-Dealer Law and Regulation (Wolters Kluwer 4th ed. annually updated) (with J. Fanto and N. Poser), has published dozens of book chapters and articles on the negotiation, mediation and arbitration of securities and other commercial disputes, and is a Senior Contributing Editor to the Securities Online Litigation Alert. She has chaired the AALS Section of Dispute Resolution, the Securities ADR Committee of the ABA Section of Dispute Resolution and the Practising Law Institute’s annual Securities Arbitration program. She is an arbitrator for the American Arbitration Association, FINRA’s Office of Dispute Resolution, and the National Futures Association, and a member of the Securities Experts Roundtable. She is a former public member of the FINRA National Arbitration and Mediation Committee, and a current member of the President’s Council of Cornell Women. She has been quoted dozens of times in the national media, and retained as an expert in securities arbitrations, litigations and enforcement proceedings.Before entering legal education, Professor Gross was an attorney in the New York City firms of Kaye Scholer LLP, Morvillo Abramowitz Grand Iason & Silberberg, and Parcher Hayes & Snyder, representing clients in white collar criminal and securities enforcement proceedings, securities arbitrations, and other commercial litigation. She received an A.B. magna cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa, from Cornell University and a J.D. cum laude from Harvard Law School.
Robyn Weinstein is currently the ADR Administrator at the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York. Prior to her current role, Ms. Weinstein served as a fellow at the Kukin Program for Conflict Resolution at Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, where she currently serves as an adjunct professor of mediation and negotiation. Previously, Ms. Weinstein served as the program director for the Los Angeles office of Arts Arbitration and Mediation Services at California Lawyers for the Arts and as an adjunct clinical professor of mediation at the Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution at Pepperdine School of Law. In 2015, Ms. Weinstein was the president of the Southern California Mediation Association. Throughout her career, Ms. Weinstein has mediated a wide range of state and federal matters including employment discrimination, wage and hour, commercial, real estate, and family disputes.
Tracey Salmon-Smith is a partner at Faegre Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP in the Business Litigation Department. She is a member of the Financial Services and Best Interest Compliance teams. Tracey represents broker-dealers before FINRA in arbitrations and mediations related to allegations of sales practice violations and failure to supervise claims. She also handles regulatory inquires, as well as discrimination, whistleblower claims, work-place harassment, wrongful discharge, U5 defamation matters, and expungement proceedings. Previously, Tracey served as in-house counsel at UBS Financial Services Inc. in the litigation group and served seven years as an Assistant United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York (EDNY). She graduated from Villanova University School of Law. She received her undergraduate degree in English from Dartmouth College.
Allison D. Patton has been with Morgan Stanley and its predecessor firms for over 30 years. Allison graduated from Georgia State University with a BA in Finance while working in the financial services industry. After graduating from Georgia State University law school, Allison joined the Atlanta law firm of Rogers & Hardin, representing brokerage firms in litigation, arbitration and regulatory matters. In 1996, she returned to Morgan Stanley as a staff attorney in the Florida Litigation Unit. In 2006 Allison became Head of the Florida Litigation Unit. She is currently Head of Client Litigation for Morgan Stanley Wealth Management, responsible for handling customer complaint intake and responses, subpoenas, customer litigation and arbitration matters, regulatory investigations, enforcement matters and internal investigations.
Benjamin J. Biard focuses his practice on securities litigation, securities regulation and commercial litigation. Mr. Biard has extensive experience representing broker-dealers, registered investment advisors, registered representatives, insurance brokers and hedge funds throughout the United States in a wide array of customer and industry disputes in federal and state courts, as well as before the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) Dispute Resolution. Additionally, Mr. Biard represents clients in regulatory actions before FINRA Department of Enforcement and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Mr. Biard also assists clients in commercial litigation and transactional matters.
Prior to joining Winget, Spadafora & Schwartzberg, LLP, Mr. Biard was the head of the securities litigation and regulatory practice in the Miami office of an Am Law 100 international law firm. Mr. Biard also previously served as in-house trial counsel at Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith Incorporated in New York City and Miami. During his time in-house, Mr. Biard gained first-hand knowledge of what clients expect from their outside counsel to ensure effective litigation. Mr. Biard also draws on his experience to counsel clients on market and regulatory changes that could impact their business.
Mr. Biard is admitted to practice law in Florida. He is also admitted to the Florida State Bar, the U.S. Court of Appeals, Eleventh Circuit and the U.S. District Court, Middle, Northern and Southern Districts of Florida. Mr. Biard is a member of the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association ("SIFMA"), Legal and Compliance Division, a Board Member of the Florida Securities Dealers Association ("FSDA"). Mr. Biard has also been selected to Florida's Super Lawyer Rising Stars for years 2012, 2013 and 2014.
Mr. Biard graduated from Florida State University where he earned his B.S., the University Of Baltimore Merrick School Of Business, where he earned his M.B.A. and the University of Baltimore School of Law, where he received his J.D.
Bert H. Ware is a of Counsel in Jackson Lewis PC’s Boston offices.
American Employment Law Council (global high-level management-side labor & employment in-house and outside counsel by invitation-only organization – past panelist / speaker and active member), Association of Workplace Investigators (active member), American Bar Association (member), Massachusetts Bar Association (member), Boston Bar Association (member), New York University School of Law Black & Latino Alumni Association (member), The Partnership Alumni Association (multicultural professional talent advancement, development & retention program in corporate Boston – past Program Fellow ’91-’92), The Boston Men’s Dinner Group.
Bar & Court Admissions
Massachusetts 1992. New York 1986.
Court of Appeals of the State of New York, 1986. US District Court, Southern District of New York, 1986. US District Court, Eastern District of New York, 1986. Supreme Judicial Court of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, 1992. US District Court, District of Massachusetts, 1992. US District Court, District of the District of Columbia, 2017.
Cheryl Agris is an arbitrator and mediator located in New York, NY. In view of her experience and scientific background, since 2000, Dr. Agris has been called upon to act as a neutral in a variety of commercial/technology disputes. She has taken training as an e-discovery neutral and is a fellow of the American College of e-Neutrals.
Dr. Agris has been listed with the International Chamber of Commerce and USCIB as an Arbitrator and Mediator since 2004. Additionally, Dr. Agris is a member of the International Institute for Conflict Prevention & Resolution (CPR) Biotechnology, Healthcare and Life Sciences, Trademark and Technology Panels (2009-present); American Arbitration Association’s Commercial, Large Complex Case, Mergers and Acquisitions and Mediation Panels (2003-present as a AAA panelist); National Futures Association (NFA) Arbitrator (2002-present); FINRA Arbitrator (2000-present) and FINRA mediator (2017-present); and World Intellectual Property Organization’s List of Mediators and Arbitrators (2004-present). Dr. Agris has also served as a Member of the Westchester County Attorney Fee Dispute Resolution Arbitration Panel (2004-2016) and Arbitrator for the Westchester Mediation Center’s Lemon Law Program (administered by NYSDRA) (2004-2009); Mediator for NJ Supreme Court (Hudson, Union, Essex, Bergen, Middlesex, Monmouth counties) 2009-present); Panelist on the EDNY Mediation and Arbitration Panels (2004-present); Member of NY Supreme Court, Commercial Division Mediation Panels (NY, Westchester, Suffolk and Queens Counties) (2004-present); Special Master for 1st Department, Appellate Division, NY Supreme Court (2009-2012). Beyond serving as an arbitrator and mediator, Dr. Agris belongs to the ADR committee of the American Intellectual Property Law Association, is a member of the Alternative Dispute Resolution Committee of the New York City Bar and was a member of the Executive Committee and served as co-chair of the Website and Technology Resources committee of the Dispute Resolution section of the (NYSBA). Dr. Agris has received over 200 hours of training in arbitration and mediation practice and has written and lectured extensively in the ADR field.
In addition to serving as an arbitrator and mediator, Dr. Agris is a registered patent attorney and has been involved in the intellectual property field for over 30 years. She is currently a partner in Agris & von Natzmer, LLP , whose practice encompasses all aspects of intellectual property law with special emphasis on biotechnology, pharmaceutical and chemical patent practice and in particular includes preparing and prosecuting U.S. patent applications (over 270 issued patents to date), overseeing the filing and prosecution of foreign patent applications, conducting reviews of IP portfolios for strategic planning and due diligence studies, conducting patent and literature prior art searches, preparing patentability, validity and infringement opinions, preparing and reviewing agreements (e.g, licensing, collaboration, consortium, consulting and confidentiality agreements), and drafting and prosecuting trademark applications. She is the principal author of the Practitioner’s Manual of Patent Examining Procedure and Patent Practitioner’s Guidelines, published by Thomson-Reuters. Dr. Agris, in addition to being a registered patent attorney is admitted to practice in New York, New Jersey and the Southern and Eastern Districts of New York.
Dr. Agris received a B.A. in Chemistry from Goucher College, a Ph.D. in Biochemistry from the Johns Hopkins University and a J.D. from Brooklyn Law School. Previous positions have included Research Fellow, Sloan Kettering Institute, Law Clerk and Patent Agent, Biotechnology group, Pennie and Edmonds and Patent Attorney, Novo Nordisk of North America.
Christine M. Lazaro is a Professor of Clinical Legal Education and the Director of the Securities Arbitration Clinic at St. John’s University School of Law. The students in the Clinic represent investors in arbitration claims against brokerage firms and brokers on a pro bono basis. Professor Lazaro also teaches Broker-Dealer Regulation and Business Basics at St. John’s, and is a faculty advisor for the Corporate and Securities Law Society. She joined St. John’s in 2007 as a Supervising Attorney for the Clinic. Professor Lazaro is also currently Of Counsel to the Law Offices of Brent A. Burns, LLC, where she consults on securities arbitration and regulatory matters.
Professor Lazaro has been a member of the Public Investors Arbitration Bar Association (PIABA) since 2008. She currently serves as the President of PIABA and on the Board of Directors. Professor Lazaro is also a member of the New York State Bar Association, and serves on the Association’s Securities Litigation and Arbitration Committee.
Professor Lazaro holds a B.A. from New York University and a J.D. from Fordham Law School. After graduating from law school and prior to joining St. John’s, she was an associate at Davidson & Grannum, LLP, representing broker-dealers and individual brokers in disputes with clients in both arbitration and mediation, and handling employment law cases and debt collection cases. She also advised broker-dealers regarding investment contracts they had with various municipalities and government entities.
She speaks and writes regularly on the topics of securities arbitration and the duties of brokers and brokerage firms.
Courtney R. Reid is Lead Counsel within the Broker-Dealer and Investment Adviser practice group at MassMutual. In this role, she is the primary regulatory attorney on FINRA and state securities matters that impact MassMutual’s retail broker-dealer, MML Investors Services, LLC. She also provides general consultation and advice to her broker-dealer and compliance clients on issues relating to U4/U5 and 4530 questions, books and records, seniors, and other regulatory-related topics that arise.
Before joining MassMutual, Courtney was an industry litigator for over 14 years as both in-house and outside counsel. She has represented broker-dealers and brokers in customer and industry disputes before FINRA’s Dispute Resolution Forum. In addition, she currently serves on FINRA’s National Arbitration and Mediation Committee.
Courtney has been passionate about advancing diversity throughout her career. She is the Chair of Passages Business Resource Group, which focuses on issues relating to the advancement, retention, and development of Black and African-American employees at MassMutual. She was a 2017 Fellow with the Leadership Council on Legal Diversity. Also, she served on the executive board for Minnesota Association of Black Lawyers and was an adjunct at William Mitchell College of Law in St. Paul, Minnesota (now known as Mitchell Hamline School of Law.)
Elissa Germaine is the Director of the Investor Rights Clinic at the Elisabeth Haub School of Law at Pace University and Executive Director of John Jay Legal Services. The Pace Investor Rights Clinic represents investors of modest means, who are unable to obtain legal representation because of the small amount of their claims, in disputes with their brokers in arbitrations at FINRA Dispute Resolution. She serves as a public member of FINRA’s National Arbitration and Mediation Committee.
Professor Germaine also has taught legal skills and legal writing at Pace Law and New York Law School. Before entering legal education, she practiced securities litigation and arbitration, government investigations, and complex commercial litigation at Latham & Watkins LLP in San Francisco. She served as a law clerk for the Honorable John S. Rhoades, Sr. in the United States District Court, Southern District of California.
She received her JD from Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law and her BA from Dartmouth College.
Greg Libertiny has been involved professionally in the Conflict Prevention & Alternative Dispute Resolution (CPR/ADR) arena for approximately fifteen years. Selected accreditations and affiliations include:
Additional efforts in the CPR/ADR sector include being a mentor to new entrants in the field, and speaker / panelist at industry specific events.
Mr. Libertiny’s career is well suited towards the field of dispute resolution. Achievements included creating and/or developing businesses globally through all lifecycle phases - from inception through acquisition, merger, restructure and/or sale. CPR/ADR evolved from his extensive international business experience and C-Suite roles (CEO, COO, CFO, CRO and more), having done business in more 75+ countries on behalf Fortune 50, private, start up, and private equity backed companies. It was in these environs that Greg earned his reputation as a creative problem-solver, change catalyst, and first-rate negotiator who interacted seamlessly with political and business leadership in challenging circumstances and locales.
In addition to his CPR/ADR accomplishments, Greg is a founding partner at NBT Associates LLC, a consulting firm that enhances the value and effectiveness of business leaders and their companies. He is an actively licensed CPA with longstanding membership in the American Institute of CPAs (https://www.aicpa.org) – and was a subject matter expert for them in the past - and the New York State Society of CPAs. He also holds credentials in the fields of business valuation and financial forensics.
On the pro bono front, Greg co-chairs the Business Outreach Center, a not-for-profit organization whose mission is to improve the economic prospects of traditionally underserved groups, with a focus on low- and moderate-income entrepreneurs and their communities, and thereby create genuinely brighter futures for its constituents.
I am presently retired from law practice. I had practiced law in New Haven and Hamden, CT for over forty years. My concentration was been general civil practice, including litigation, real estate, wills and probate and administrative law. I represented many parties in litigation of all types, such as civil court and jury trials, administrative appeals, domestic relations and landlord tenant matters. My litigation experience included civil and criminal cases, trials and appearances in the Connecticut Appellate Court and Supreme Court, U.S. Second Circuit Court of Appeals and Bankruptcy Court. I also represented the Town of Hamden, CT and City of New Haven, CT in private practice in cases involving municipal taxation, condemnation, assessment appeals and land use issues.
I have engaged in the following Arbitration and Mediation Activities:
My Educational Background is as follows:
Jenice L. Malecki is a well-known New York securities attorney and has been a FINRA arbitrator and Chairperson. She represents investors from individuals to institutional investors in arbitration and litigation, as well as licensed industry participants in regulatory hearings, employment disputes and whistleblower matters. She has represented private and public companies around the world, as well as individuals from blue-collar workers to athletes, musicians, and billionaire founders of well-known international companies. Malecki Law represents clients in the US, many Western European countries, India, China, Hong Kong, Singapore, Israel, Puerto Rico and South American countries.
Ms. Malecki has been a member of FINRA’s National Arbitration and Mediation Committee, on the Board of Directors (and an Officer of) of both the Public Investors Arbitration Bar Association (PIABA) and the PIABA Foundation, as well as has been a member of the Securities and Exchanges Committee at the New York City Bar Association. She has been a member of the American and New York State Bar Associations. Ms. Malecki has spoken at the Practicing Law Institute (PLI), the New York City and State Bar Associations, as well as the New York County Lawyers Association. Ms. Malecki also regularly appears in the classrooms at Columbia Law School, Fordham Law School, St. John’s Law School, Brooklyn Law School and New York Law School, in addition to speaking at PIABA’s annual conferences. Ms. Malecki has also participated in mock trials at Yale, Columbia, Albany, Fordham and FINRA.
Jenice L. Malecki’s experience as a New York securities attorney began in class action litigation, In re Crazy Eddie, counsel’s office of the lead plaintiffs. Throughout the 1990s she represented numerous broker dealers and was instrumental in regulatory matters against well-known “boiler room” stock fraud of the era, including working with people and firms associated with the notorious “Wolf of Wall Street.” In 1999, Ms. Malecki founded her own practice, MALECKI LAW, in Manhattan.
Since 2012, Ms. Malecki has been named a Top Attorney by Super Lawyers and the National Law Journal, featured in the New York Times Magazine, New York Magazine, National Law Journal and other publications, as well as being named as one of “New York’s Women Leaders in the Law 2014.” Ms. Malecki is Martindale-Hubbell’s highest legal ability rating of “AV Preeminent.” She appears regularly on TV, in the news and on the radio. She is a seasoned authority on FINRA Rules and securities laws, frequently filing official comments for consideration on new rules and laws. In 2014, 2015 and 2019, she visited Senators and House of Representatives members’ offices to garner support for investor related laws. She is also a trained mediator and has been qualified by FINRA arbitrators as an expert witness.
Kenneth Crowley is a Managing Director at UBS AG, where he has worked since 2001. As a member of the Americas Litigation Group, and the head of the GWM US Litigation Group, Ken oversees the firm's defenses in a wide range of securities litigations, including class actions, complex court matters and hundreds of sales practice arbitrations. Prior to joining UBS Ken was a senior litigator at Simpson Thacher & Bartlett, where he handled large complex commercial litigations and internal investigations. Ken began his legal career in 1988 as an Assistant District Attorney in the New York County District Attorney's Office under Robert M. Morgenthau, where he was lead counsel in several felony jury trials and also argued over a dozen appeals before the New York Appellate Division. He received a JD from the NYU School of Law in 1988, and a BA from Yale in 1983.
Marcia Adelson’s practice is limited to alternate dispute resolution. She is an active mediator and has mediated more than 50 cases, primarily employment and commercial disputes.
She is on the Southern District of New York, New York City Supreme – Commercial Division, Westchester County Supreme – Commercial and FINRA mediation panels. As a member of the Eastern District of New York’s Mediation Advocacy Program, she serves as counsel for pro se plaintiffs for the limited purpose of mediation. Currently she is serving a two year term as a member on the Southern District of New York Mediation Advisory Council where she is working to improve the structure and outcomes in the use of mediation by the court.
She is also on the American Arbitration Association Commercial and Consumer Arbitration Panels, is a non-public arbitrator for FINRA and is on the NFA Panel of Arbitrators. Prior to focusing on alternate dispute resolution, Ms. Adelson was a commercial litigator for more than ten years. She represented customers and employees of financial services organizations.
She also ran a successful financial planning business in which she achieved a 95 percent client satisfaction rating, among the highest ranking of the more than 10,000 financial planners in the organization. She is admitted to the New York State bar and is a graduate of Swarthmore College, Columbia University, Graduate School of Business and Pace University, School of Law. Her contact information is firstname.lastname@example.org. Phone: 917-699-3685.
Mr. Bakhtiari represents clients in securities disputes before FINRA (NASD, NYSE), state and federal courts. He served on the Board of Directors of the Public Investors Arbitration Bar Association (PIABA) from 2008 to 2013 and served as President for the 2011 to 2012 term. PIABA is a nationwide organization of securities lawyers that represent investors in disputes with the financial service industry.
In June 2013, Mr. Bakhtiari was named Chairman of the National Arbitration and Mediation Committee (“NAMC”) of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA). The NAMC is an advisory group that makes recommendations on rules, regulations and procedures governing FINRA arbitration, mediation and dispute resolution. In June 2011, Mr. Bakhtiari was nominated to serve as a public member of the Nasdaq OMX BX Arbitration Committee, which is the advisory group that provides recommendations on rules, regulations and procedures governing arbitrations, mediations and dispute resolution for the Nasdaq and Boston Stock Exchanges. In 2009, Mr. Bakhtiari was nominated to serve as a public member of the National Arbitration and Mediation Committee of FINRA.
Mr. Bakhtiari served on the faculty of the Practicing Law Institute (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017, 2019) and New York City Bar Association's presentation of Securities Arbitration and Mediation Hot Topics (2012). Mr. Bakhtiari is a past member of the board of editors, managing editor of the PIABA Bar Journal and edited the “Recent Arbitration Awards” column covering significant NASD and NYSE arbitration awards. Mr. Bakhtiari has spoken at the Public Investors Arbitration Bar Association annual meeting, California mid-year meeting, authored and co-authored several articles. He was a teaching assistant and extern to the Honorable James N. Barr, United States Bankruptcy Judge for the Central District of California and presently serves as a FINRA securities arbitrator.
In addressing investors right's issues, Mr. Bakhtiari has been quoted by the press in publications that include the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, Los Angeles Times, Reuters, Dow Jones Business News, NY Post, Los Angeles Business Journal, The American Banker and Cleveland Plains Dealer.Mr. Bakhtiari was recognized from 2014 to 2020 as a Southern California Super Lawyer. Between 2005 and 2013 he was recognized as a Southern California Super Lawyer Rising Star
Nicole Iannarone, assistant professor of law, is a scholar and leader in the practice community whose work focuses on an array of issues including regulation of financial intermediaries, the consumer’s experience in resolving securities disputes, professional ethics, and law and technology. Before joining the Drexel Kline faculty in 2019, Professor Iannarone directed the Investor Advocacy Clinic at Georgia State University College of Law. There, she oversaw students’ representation of consumer investors with small claims against their brokers before the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), their efforts to educate investors, and their work representing the voice of retail investors in evaluating and commenting on FINRA and SEC rule proposals. Previously, Professor Iannarone taught at Mercer Law School and at Vanderbilt Law School.
Professor Iannarone has published extensively on an array of topics that includes financial technology, regulation of financial intermediaries, resolution of securities disputes, technology and ethics in legal practice, as well as experiential education. Her articles have appeared or are forthcoming in the Washington Law Review, Cardozo Law Review, University of Nevada Las Vegas Law Forum, Tennessee Journal of Business Law, Chicago Kent Law Review, and the University of Toledo Law Review.
Before entering academia, Professor Iannarone practiced at Bondurant, Mixson & Elmore, where she was deputy general counsel and her practice focused on complex litigation.
Professor Iannarone is the immediate past chair of the AALS Section on Employee Benefits and Executive Compensation and a member of the Section on Professional Responsibility. She is also a member of the FINRA National Arbitration and Mediation Committee and chairs the Neutral Roster Subcommittee. A past president of the Atlanta Bar Association, Professor Iannarone previously served on numerous committees and held diverse leadership roles during her years in Georgia. She is a fellow of the American Bar Foundation. From 2017-2019, she served as chair of the State Bar of Georgia’s Professionalism Committee and as a liaison to the Georgia Chief Justice’s Commission on Professionalism.
She received her JD from Yale Law School, where she served on the Yale Journal on Regulation.
Peter Mougey is a shareholder and the Chair of Levin Papantonio’s Securities and Business Litigation department, recognized as one of Florida’s top 100 trial lawyers and a Florida Super Lawyer. Mr. Mougey has dedicated his career to championing individuals’ rights against the world’s largest companies. His peers have rated him AV Preeminent, the highest possible rating. Mr. Mougey concentrates his practice in the areas of complex litigation, financial services and securities litigation, and whistleblower or qui tam litigation. Mr. Mougey has represented over 1,500 state, municipal, and institutional entities, as well as tribal sovereign nations, in litigation and arbitration around the globe. In addition, he has represented more than 3,000 individual fraud victims in state and federal court and arbitrations. Most recently, in the National Prescription Opiate Litigation MDL, he was selected to serve as Co-Lead of the Distributor case and serves on the Plaintiff’s Executive Committee in what has been called “the largest and most complex case in the history of juris prudence” by the Washington Post.
Mr. Mougey routinely lectures on issues confronting the legal and business industry including, “Bet the Company Litigation,” Broker-Dealer Regulation, Structured Finance, the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform Act, Managing Large Datasets for use in Litigation, and Quantitative Modeling. He is frequently quoted in the national press including The Wall Street Journal, Forbes, New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, Barron’s, Kiplinger, Business Week, and Investment News.
Mr. Mougey advocates for the rights on investors as both the past President and member of the Board of Directors of the national securities bar, PIABA. He has also served as Chairman of the NASAA Committee, Executive Committee and FINRA’s Improving Arbitration Task Force. Currently, Mr. Mougey serves on the PIABA Foundation charged with educating investors in conjunction with the SEC. In recognition of his long-term and sustained dedication to promote the interests of investors, he received the PIABA Lifetime Distinguished Service Award from his peers.
Mr. Mougey received his Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, majoring in Finance, from Creighton University. He earned a Master of Business Administration from the University of Portland and graduated from Samford University’s Cumberland School of Law.
Richard W. Berry is Executive Vice President and Director, Office of Dispute Resolution.
Prior to serving in this capacity, Mr. Berry was Senior Vice President, Dispute Resolution. In that role, he oversaw the four regional offices—New York, Boca Raton, Chicago and Los Angeles—and the New York Case Administration unit.
Mr. Berry joined FINRA, then NASD, in 1995 as head of Dispute Resolution's Los Angeles satellite office. In 2001, he was named Director of Case Administration in the New York City office. Mr. Berry serves as Executive Champion of FINRA’s Toastmasters Clubs. Mr. Berry earned his Certified Regulatory and Compliance Professional™ designation through the FINRA Institute.
Prior to joining FINRA, he taught American law for one year in Budapest. Mr. Berry began his career practicing law in San Francisco. He is a graduate of the University of California at Santa Barbara and Hastings College of the Law. Mr. Berry is a member of the California Bar.
Sandra Dawn Grannum is a Partner in the Business Litigation Group at Faegre Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP where she serves on the Firm’s governing board and is co-chair of the Firm’s nationwide Securities and Financial Services Litigation Team. Sandy is a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers and concentrates her practice on securities, broker/dealer arbitration, litigation, mediation and regulatory defense. Sandy has written and lectured widely on securities and ethics issues. She assists in preparing clients for SEC Regulation Best Interest and Interpretation RIA. She chairs the full-day PLI Securities Arbitration Seminar conducted annually in New York City and regularly speaks at the SIFMA C&L Annual Conference, ABA Conferences and on other CLE programs addressing securities, broker-dealer and employment law issues. Sandy was one of 13 individuals on the FINRA Dispute Resolution Task Force. FINRA impaneled this group to collaborate and suggest strategies to enhance the transparency, impartiality, and efficiency of FINRA's securities dispute resolution forum for all participants. On December 16, 2015, the task force issued its recommendations detailed in the Final Report and Recommendations of the FINRA Dispute Resolution Task Force. Sandy earned her law degree from Harvard Law School and her bachelor’s degree from New York University. She began her career as a litigation associate at the New York law firm of Cravath, Swaine & Moore before moving to Tenzer Greenblatt to practice securities litigation. Sandy moved in-house to be an Associate General Counsel handling securities litigation at PaineWebber (now UBS Financial Services) in 1997. In November 2001, she became Senior Vice President and Senior Associate General Counsel in UBS’s Employment Law Unit. In 2003, she formed her own firm, Davidson & Grannum, with a former PaineWebber/UBS colleague. She joined Drinker in January 2016 and that firm merged to become Faegre Drinker in February 2020.
Sara Soto’s practice encompasses a broad range of business litigation and arbitration matters. She has represented brokerage firms, banks, corporations and individuals in arbitration and litigation involving customers, employees, other institutions and individuals.
Sara offers her clients decades of tangible experience representing broker-dealers in arbitrations brought by customers involving equities, fixed income, structured products, limited partnerships, options, managed accounts, margin and other financial products. She is also adept in navigating her clients through regulatory proceedings and internal investigations.
A tenacious litigator and problem solver, Sara is involved in state and federal court litigation and in arbitrations involving commercial and employment disputes, such as claims for injunctive relief and damages for violation of restrictive covenants, theft of trade secrets, wrongful/constructive termination, whistleblowing, raiding, breach of contract, fraud and tortious interference, among many other topics. Sara has also resolved literally hundreds of business disputes through negotiation and mediation, eliminating both the cost and risk of litigation. She is valued by her clients for her pragmatic approach toward business litigation.
Sara is also a member of Bressler's Senior and Vulnerable Investor Group.The lawyers in this group have a shared interest in providing counsel to corporate clients who confront issues affecting seniors.
Stefanie Kendall is a Principal Analyst for FINRA Dispute Resolution Services. Stefanie joined FINRA in 2014 as a Neutral Management Coordinator, and was responsible for vetting new arbitrator applicants and assisting arbitrators in the management of their Arbitrator Disclosure Reports. Stefanie was promoted to Regional Operations Manager for the Northeast Regional Office in January 2016. She moved into her current position in December 2016. As a Principal Analyst in the Case Administration group, Stefanie is primarily responsible for external communication and education and developing staff procedures and training modules. Stefanie enjoys yoga, reading, and spending time with friends and family.
Stefanie is a graduate of Hofstra University’s Maurice A. Deane School of Law (J.D., 2014), and CUNY College of Staten Island (B.A., 2010). She is admitted to practice law in New York and New Jersey.
Steven B. Caruso, the Resident Partner in the New York City office of Maddox Hargett & Caruso, P.C. (www.investorprotection.com), concentrates his practice on the representation of individual, high net worth and institutional investors in securities arbitration and litigation proceedings.
Mr. Caruso is the Chairman and a public member of the National Arbitration and Mediation Committee (“NAMC”) of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (“FINRA”); former Chairman of the Discovery Task Force Committee of FINRA; former member of the Nasdaq OMX BX Arbitration Committee; former member of the Securities Investor Protection Corporation (SIPC) Modernization Task Force; Director Emeritus and former President of the Public Investors Arbitration Bar Association (“PIABA”); and has testified before the U.S. House of Representatives, Committee on Financial Services, Subcommittee on Capital Markets, Insurance and Government Sponsored Enterprises, in March 2012 and September 2010.
Among the publications that Mr. Caruso has authored are Arbitrator Withdrawals Undermine the Arbitration Process, The Neutral Corner, FINRA Dispute Resolution, Vol. No. 3 (2019); An Introduction to FINRA’s National Arbitration and Mediation Committee, The Neutral Corner, FINRA Dispute Resolution, Vol. No. 1 (2018); Post-Settlement Expungements: An Investor Protection Problem that Continues to Wait for a FINRA Solution, Practising Law Institute, Securities Arbitration (September 2017); Non-Attorney Representatives – Do They Present a Clear & Present Danger to the Integrity of FINRA Arbitration, Association of the Bar of the City of New York, New York, N.Y. (May 2017); Arbitrator Disclosures: Requests for Additional Information, The Neutral Corner, FINRA Dispute Resolution, Vol. No. 4 (December 2016); Ethical Implications of the Phantom Designation of Expert Witnesses in FINRA Securities Arbitration Proceedings, Practising Law Institute, Securities Arbitration (September 2016); Definition of a FINRA Customer: To Be or Not To Be – That Is the Ultimate Question, Practising Law Institute, Securities Arbitration (July 2015); Discovery in FINRA Arbitration, The Neutral Corner, FINRA Dispute Resolution, Vol. No. 2 (2015); FINRA Six-Year Eligibility Rule 12206: The Purchase Date is Often Not the Triggering Occurrence or Event Giving Rise to the Claim, PIABA Bar Journal, Volume 20, No. 1 (September 2013); All Public Arbitrator Panels: A More Level Playing Field, Practising Law Institute, Securities Arbitration (August 2013); Arbitrator Challenges Under the FINRA Code of Arbitration Procedure for Customer Disputes, Practicing Law Institute, Securities Arbitration (August 2010); The Mandatory Industry Arbitrator: An Endangered Species on the Precipice of Extinction, Practising Law Institute, Securities Arbitration (August 2009); Sunshine May be the Best Disinfectant for What Ails Securities Arbitration: A Discussion of the 2008 SICA Empirical Study of Fairness, Practising Law Institute, Securities Arbitration (August 2008); Effective Closing Statements From the Perspective of Counsel for the Customer-Claimant, New York State Bar Association, Securities Arbitration 2007 (November 2007); Essential Principles for Honorable Arbitrators, Practising Law Institute, Securities Arbitration (August 2007); Motions to Dismiss: A Predatory Tactic That Must be Extinguished, Association of the Bar of the City of New York, New York, N.Y. (June 2007); Ethical Standards for Securities Arbitrators: A Statistical Perspective of Potential Partiality (Bias), Practising Law Institute, Securities Arbitration (August 2006); Arbitrator Training in the Securities Dispute Arena, The Review of Securities & Commodities Regulation (January 2005); Discovery Objections Which are Irrelevant, Unduly Burdensome and are Reasonably Calculated to Lead to the Concealment of Admissible Evidence, New York State Bar Association, Securities Arbitration 2004 (October 2004); Model Arbitrator Instructions: Luxury or Emerging Necessity, Practising Law Institute, Securities Arbitration (August 2004); Ethical Considerations in Settlement Agreements, Association of the Bar of the City of New York, New York, N.Y. (June 2004); Examination of the Adverse Broker: Unimpeachable Questions with an Internet Twist, Practising Law Institute, Securities Arbitration (August 2001); On-Line Trading: The New Frontier, Practising Law Institute, Securities Arbitration (July 1999); and NASD Arbitration Discovery Procedures : Knowing Your Customer From the Securities Professional Perspective, American Bar Association, Section of Litigation, Committee on Securities Litigation (August 1995).
Mr. Caruso is a frequent speaker at various securities-related seminars and events which have included numerous securities arbitration programs at the Practising Law Institute (2019, 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2013, 2010, 2007 and 2004); FINRA Annual Conferences (2018, 2015, 2013 and 2010); FINRA Dispute Resolution Offsite Staff Conferences (2019 and 2017); FINRA Arbitrator Recruitment Events (2018); the Association of the Bar of the City of New York (2017, 2008, 2007, 2005 and 2004); the New York State Bar Association (2007 and 2004); the American Bar Association (2016 and 2008); the North American Securities Administrators Association (1999); and at various law schools including Pace University Law School, Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, St. John’s University School of Law, Brooklyn Law School and Seton Hall University Law School.