This program will provide guidance for attorneys representing financial advisors, hedge fund managers, investment bankers, research analysts and other securities industry members accused of crimes or otherwise involved in criminal investigations.
The United States financial markets are governed by a complex scheme of laws, regulations, and rules enforced by both government actors and self-regulatory organizations, including the Securities & Exchange Commission, the Commodities Futures Trading Commission, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority and state “Blue Sky” authorities. Within this scheme, financial professionals are subject to various disclosure obligations, including the duty to promptly report certain types of arrests, convictions and other criminal justice events that become part of the individual’s publicly-accessible industry profile. In addition, financial regulators are considered civil enforcement authorities and, as such, possess the power to compel the production of documents, data, and testimony without being subject to Fifth Amendment constraints. As a result, financial professionals often seek counsel whether to provide potentially incriminating information to financial regulators or refuse to do so and risk losing their securities licenses for failing to cooperate.
Finally, given that criminal prosecutions and regulatory inquiries often involve overlapping subject matter, criminal attorneys need to be ready to interface with regulators when necessary. Accordingly, this program will provide criminal practitioners with the helpful tools they need to represent financial professionals.
Jeff Kern is a partner in the Government Contracts, Investigations, and International Trade Practice Group in the firm's New York office. He is admitted to practice in New York and Massachusetts.
Mr. Kern's practice encompasses securities and insurance regulation, compliance, and litigation as well as internal investigations and white collar defense. He represents broker-dealers and associated individuals who are the focus of SEC, FINRA and other regulatory investigations and provides guidance in the FINRA membership application and business expansion process. He has particular expertise with SRO litigation, corporate investigations and investigative testimony.
In addition, Mr. Kern is a seasoned litigator who has conducted over 70 trials and SRO disciplinary hearings. He has also conducted numerous criminal, regulatory and private sector investigations. He speaks frequently on litigation and investigative strategy and has appeared numerous times in print and on network television as a legal commentator. Mr. Kern over-sees the firm's New York summer associate trial advocacy program.
Before joining Sheppard Mullin, Mr. Kern served as Senior Regional Counsel in FINRA's Department of Enforcement and Senior Trial Counsel in the New York Stock Exchange Enforcement Division. In both positions, he investigated and prosecuted violations of NYSE, NASD, FINRA and SEC rules and federal securities laws. His work at the NYSE and FINRA included investigations, trials and appeals involving Rule 10b-5 fraud, insider trading, market manipulation, mutual fund switching, supervision, research, advertising, private placements, anti-money laundering, financial reporting, sales practice violations, outside business, conversion, and trading improprieties committed on the Exchange Floor.
At FINRA, Mr. Kern served as the District 10 liaison to the greater New York law enforcement community and oversaw the training program for Member Regulation staff in New York and Long Island. He was also a frequent presenter at FINRA conferences and training exercises. In November 2010, Mr., Kern received the FINRA Outstanding Achievement Award for his work on a complex investigation involving a prominent financial commentator and US Senate candidate.
Prior to FINRA, Mr. Kern spent 11 years in the Brooklyn District Attorney's Office, prosecuting and investigating homicides and other high profile cases and serving as Director of Training and Chief of the Investigations Bureau. He has served as Managing Director and Regional Counsel for Decision Strategies, an international investigative services provider, and as Senior Trial Consultant for DOAR Communications, a litigation consulting firm.
For the past 20 years, Mr. Kern has been an adjunct professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, teaching a curriculum he developed on the use of strategic planning and persuasive presentation in the law. He is also a volunteer instructor in Cardozo Law's Intensive Trial Advocacy Program and a guest lecturer at Columbia, Fordham, Brooklyn and St. John's Law Schools.
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