SEC Regulatory & Criminal Defense

Centarus is one of the oldest boutique securities concentration firms in the United States today. Our securities legal team is comprised entirely of veteran securities prosecution attorneys, securities litigators, and securities criminal defense attorneys, with a range of experience between ten years and thirty year of legal experience, and an average of 20 years’ experience per lawyer. Unlike most large law firms, we are not an “associate training mill,” where we use our client’s work to train junior lawyers. In addition, our regulatory defense engagements are far more robust than most firms.

The Centarus Difference: You Are Hiring a Veteran Defense Team- Not Just One Lawyer:

  • Most clients are not aware that the SEC will typically have a minimum of two SEC enforcement attorneys on their side, and frequently they will add a SEC litigator and an SEC accountant. Specifically, most regulatory defense law practices will designate one or occasionally two experienced securities lawyers to a defense case. This is especially obvious if a firm has only one or two attorneys in total. At our firm, we assign a staff of three veteran attorneys to work on our SEC regulatory defense cases: two expert securities attorneys, one of which is a civil litigator, and one veteran securities criminal defense litigator. Frankly, a well-qualified single SEC defense attorney, is no match for two SEC enforcement attorneys on the other side of the table. Imagine a tennis game with one professional player on one side of the net and two professional players on the other. The side with two pro players will almost always win.

Why Other Firms Can’t Offer a Team Defense:

  • The challenge for small firms, however, is that they quite simply don’t have sufficient staff to allow them to devote two securities attorneys and a securities criminal defense attorney a client’s case. In contrast, midsize and large firms will almost always use two or three lawyers in SEC defense matters, but unless you are rich and unless you enjoy paying too much, the total bills at the end of the representation will be shocking. The reason for legal billing “sticker shock” is that midsize and large law firms typically bill between $600 and $1300/ hour, and they are generally not typically very efficient or conservative with their billing.
  • Because we are a boutique firm in the Midwest, and we don’t have New York or California law firm bill rates, and because we pride ourselves in not overcharging our clients, your cost of representation will be similar to that of a well-qualified small to midsize law firm’s total billing. However, our representation will meet or exceed the capability of the most well recognized small, midsize and large law firms.What is Our Defense Objective:
  • Our objective in our SEC regulatory defense representation is, first, to go to great lengths to avoid any possibility of criminal enforcement, which would result in the loss of freedom and liberty of our client. Our second priority is to avoid civil enforcement, fines and regulatory limitations.
  • We are nationally recognized as “Lawyer’s Lawyers”:Centarus is a nationally recognized boutique law firm that is frequently referred to as a firm of “lawyer’s lawyers.” This means that our firm is a “go to” law firm for other securities firms in the US when their clients encounter SEC and state regulatory difficulties.A Defense Team is Far Superior to a Single Defense Attorney:
  • When a client hires Centarus, they aren’t hiring a single experienced lawyer, they are hiring a team of experienced securities lawyers, litigators and criminal defense attorneys. The legal team devoted to a regulatory defense engagement will comprise three lawyers: two expert securities attorneys, one of which is a litigator, and one veteran securities criminal defense litigator. While most former SEC enforcement attorneys are certainly qualified to defend clients in regulatory defense actions, they individually don’t possess the skill and experience that our diverse team of veteran attorneys possess.
  • Specifically, most former SEC enforcement attorneys (1) have never spent a decade or more drafting complex securities offerings at a partner level, (2) most have never litigated a civil securities matter, and (3) most have no experience representing securities issuers who have been charged with a securities related crime by the US Attorney’s office. Our team has experience in each of these three areas, and the reason it is of paramount importance to our clients is that the primary objectives of a regulatory defense strategy are (1) to avoid being charged criminally and (2) to avoid civil lawsuits and penalties.
  • Most clients are not aware that the SEC will typically have a minimum of two enforcement attorneys on their side, and frequently they will add an SEC litigator and an SEC accountant. In addition, the SEC is focused on identifying cases for criminal and civil enforcement, but SEC enforcement attorneys must refer these matters to SEC litigators or to the US Attorney’s office for enforcement. Our defense team is designed to preempt such referrals at the beginning by having civil and criminal defense litigators involved at the beginning of the process. In our experience having litigators join a defense at the end of the process is too late to prevent damage because it will already be done.
  • We like to remind clients that even a well-qualified single SEC defense attorney, is no match for two SEC attorneys. Imagine a tennis game with one professional player on one side of the net and two professional players on the other. The side with two pro players will almost always win.

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