As early as middle school I knew I wanted to be a trial lawyer. I attended Baylor Law School in Texas principally because of its nationally recognized trial advocacy program; U.S. News & World Report ranks Baylor’s Trial Advocacy program as the 3rd best in the nation. As discussed below, in 1993 I earned a Master of Laws degree (L.L.M.) in Securities Regulation from Georgetown University Law Center.
After law school, I attended the U.S. Marine Corps’ Officer Candidate School in Quantico, Virginia. I joined the Marines because I wanted to serve my country and because I wanted to get a significant amount of “first chair” trial experience. Upon graduation, I was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant. Thereafter, I attended The Basic School, which is also located in Quantico. Then, I attended Naval Justice School in Newport, Rhode Island. Upon graduation, I received orders to Okinawa, Japan, where I began my legal career as a Judge Advocate. As a prosecutor, and later, defense counsel, in the Marine Corps, every week I tried courts-martial and administrative hearings. Most importantly, after almost every case that I tried, I received helpful feedback from accomplished military judges and other senior lawyers. I subsequently served as a Legal Assistance Officer at Headquarters Marine Corps in Arlington, Virginia. There, I assisted primarily flag and field-grade officers, as well as enlisted personnel, with legal issues.
Upon completing military service, I joined the Enforcement Division of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission in Washington, D.C. While with the SEC from 1990-1993, I investigated and/or litigated civil violations of the federal securities laws, including insider trading, market manipulation, and accounting fraud. Along with other Commission attorneys, I successfully brought claims against two notorious penny stock promoters, Meyer Blinder and Robert E. Brennan. I also was a principal attorney in an investigation of almost 100 banks and brokerage firms, which led to a Rule 21(e) Report regarding wrongful bidding practices for bonds issued by government-sponsored enterprises, including Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. While in Washington, D.C., I attended Georgetown University Law Center as a night student and earned a Master of Laws degree (Securities Regulation).
I was then selected by the Head of the Division of Enforcement to serve as a federal prosecutor (Special Assistant U.S. Attorney) in Miami and Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, assigned to the Securities Fraud Unit. While assigned to that Unit, I prosecuted criminal violations of the federal securities laws, including insider trading, market manipulation, money laundering, mail and wire fraud, perjury, and making false statements to a government agency. I obtained convictions in cases involving a nationwide broker payoff scheme; a multi-state financial fraud involving cellular telecommunications; insider trading by principals of a publicly traded company; and embezzlement by a registered agent. Representative of the nature of the cases that I handled, I also investigated the marketing and sale of certain limited partnerships by a major broker-dealer, resulting in the establishment of a $292.5 million claims fund for investors, and the payment of fines to the U.S. Treasury. In addition to securities cases, I successfully prosecuted other criminal cases, including obtaining a conviction of a major cocaine importer after a weeklong trial.
I next entered private practice as a partner with a national law firm based in Richmond, Virginia, where my practice was concentrated on the representation of a major brokerage firm. In 1999, I left the large law firm to exclusively represent individuals and small businesses in civil litigation. I am drawn to the “little guy.” That is whom I generally represent.
While in private practice, I have worked very hard and won a number of notable cases. Among other cases, I secured a very substantial verdict in a case involving the death of an inmate at the Richmond City Jail. Also, I obtained a large settlement after prevailing in a groundbreaking appeal before the Supreme Court of Virginia. I have obtained countless six, as well as seven-figure settlements/awards in securities arbitrations. I have also successfully litigated numerous wrongful-death cases.
I have served on a number of leadership positions in national, state, and local Bar associations. National. I served as both Co-Chair and Chair of the Securities Arbitration Subcommittee (Corporate and Business Litigation Committee) of the Business Law Section of the American Bar Association. Also, I previously held the position of Chair of the ABA’s Securities Enforcement Subcommittee (Business Law Section). I also served as Vice-Chair, and then Chair, of the Criminal Laws Committee of the ABA’s Section of Business Law.
In 2003, I was appointed by then-ABA President Dennis Archer to serve on a 14-member commission called the Kennedy Commission. This special commission was formed to examine criticisms of mandatory minimum sentences raised by U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy in his August 2003 speech to the Opening Assembly at the ABA’s Annual Meeting in San Francisco. The Commission made many recommendations that are now a part of U.S. criminal law.
Virginia. I am an active member of the Virginia Trial Lawyer’s Association. I currently serve on the VTLA’s Judicial Relations, Continuing Legal Education, and Annual Convention committees. I have spoken at VTLA CLEs on the arbitration of claims against stockbrokers and the trial of prisoner wrongful death cases. I recently co-drafted an amicus curie brief on behalf of the VTLA concerning the liability of Virginia jail authorities.
Local. I have been active in the Richmond Bar Association. For a number of years, I have served on RBA committees, including the Administration of Justice Committee, which facilitates a dialogue between the bench and the bar on best practices.
I previously served as an Adjunct Professor at the University of Richmond School of Law, where he taught a course entitled, “Enforcement of the Federal Securities Laws.” Also, I have taught, or moderated, many continuing legal education classes throughout the U.S., and specifically in Virginia, concerning litigating cases involving, among other things, the following issues: accounting fraud, audit committee liability, insider trading, securities fraud, purchases of unsuitable securities, overconcentration of assets, white- collar crime, international securities issues, civil rights claims, and prisoner death claims.
Since soon after opening my own law firm over 15 years ago, I have always received Martindale-Hubbell’s highest rating, “AV.” I have repeatedly been included in “Super Lawyers,” a listing of the top 5% of lawyers in Virginia, as voted by their peers. I have a 10.0 rating (Superb, highest possible rating) from the national attorney rating service, Avvo. Favorable client reviews resulted in Avvo providing me their “Clients’ Choice Award.” Click here for my Avvo reviews.
Pro bono Representation
I seek to dedicate a specific percentage of my practice to pro bono representation. Believing that it is important work, I have served as a court-appointed criminal defense counsel in state and federal court.