Goldberg Segalla LLP

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Broker-Dealers, Financial Advisors, and Registered Representatives

Professionals in the securities industry understand risk. Broker-dealers and registered representatives, financial planners, investment advisers, and brokerage and investment firm executives operate in a market predicated on assessing, avoiding, accepting, and mitigating various risks to suit each client’s or customer’s goals and interests. But in addition to the known risks presented in regards to advising customers and making/managing customer investments, professionals in the industry also face the ever-present and ever-changing risks of liabilities, claims, disputes, investigations, enforcement actions, and regulatory burdens. This includes the risks presented to broker-dealers and financial services firms arising from employment disputes with their registered representatives and financial advisors.

Our team’s experience defending and counseling broker-dealers, registered representatives, financial advisors, and related financial industry service professionals stretches back past the market upheavals of the 80s, the dotcom boom and bust, and the Great Recession, and through the current claims and regulatory landscape. We have the experience and insight to recognize the trends in professional liability claims and enforcement actions that follow market cycles and affect our clients — and we recognize the special risks these professionals face advising and managing their customers’ accounts today.

We represent clients in securities litigations and Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) arbitrations nationwide, and also counsel clients through issues involving the full spectrum of securities industry-specific claims, investigations, and enforcement actions. With an authoritative understanding of the applicable regulations and an unsurpassed knowledge of how to navigate the process of arbitration and regulatory inquiries, we help clients minimize the impact of regulatory enforcement and customer complaints. Our services include:

  • Providing legal counsel during regulatory inquiries
  • Defending clients under investigation for regulatory matters
  • Guiding clients through the arbitration process, from complaint through hearing
  • Using alternative dispute resolution methods to obtain quick settlements of claims
Assessing and advising clients on evolving FINRA and other self-regulatory organizations (SROs) rules, regulations, and procedures
Securities Litigation Defense
Our attorneys have counseled and represented broker-dealers and their registered representatives in FINRA arbitrations, Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) matters, and litigation under federal and state securities and corporate banking laws, including matters involving:

  • Accounting fraud allegations
  • Breach of contract
  • Breach of fiduciary duty
  • Churning
  • Claims arising from stock acquisitions and other corporate transfers
  • ERISA and trust law claims
  • Failure to diversify
  • Failure to use due diligence
  • Federal and state securities litigation
  • FINRA dispute resolution arbitrations
  • Fraud and misrepresentation
  • Negligent supervision
  • Public offering litigation
  • Proxy litigation and contests for control
  • Selling away claims
  • Shareholder derivative litigation
  • Suitability disputes
  • Underperformance
  • Violation of blue sky laws
We also represent broker-dealers and registered representatives in intra-industry disputes, including disputes related to buying and selling agreements, promissory notes, and trade secrets.

Regulatory Investigations and Actions
We frequently represent brokers and advisors in securities-related regulatory investigations, acting quickly to assess the investigation and limit its impact on our clients’ business and professional reputation, either through dismissal of the matter or negotiation to contain the investigation’s scope. Our experience covers regulatory investigations pertaining to allegedly unlawful conduct including:

  • Advisor compensation
  • Advisor registration
  • Client solicitation arrangements
  • Custody of client assets
  • Fiduciary obligations
  • FINRA investigations and proceedings
  • Marketing of investment services
  • Registration/Form U4 and U5 issues
  • Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) investigations and
  • State enforcement and regulatory investigations and proceedings
  • Undisclosed judgments or liens
Risk and Litigation Avoidance and Ongoing Counsel
We offer our clients ongoing counsel and risk-management advice on a range of general securities fraud/litigation and compliance issues, including:

  • Adherence to new regulatory enactments
  • Books and records concerns
  • Clearance, prime broker, and settlement issues
  • Competing PATRIOT Act and Privacy Act requirements
  • Electronic communications network (ECN) issues
  • Financial responsibility concerns
  • Front office and sales practice regulations
  • Marketing and advertising initiatives
  • Preparation of Supervisory Procedures
  • Quote and order display rules
  • Registration and qualification
  • Sarbanes-Oxley Act requirements
  • Security Futures product advertising
Industry-Specific Legal Counsel and Other Business Services
Goldberg Segalla’s clients often develop close professional relationships with one or two attorneys who act as trusted counselors — but those same clients know that each attorney is backed by the might, experience, and collaborative capabilities of the entire national, full-service, 400-lawyer firm. Our Management and Professional Liability attorneys understand the industry-specific risks that broker-dealers, financial advisors, registered representatives, and other financial industry professionals face. But when their clients confront legal issues of any other nature — from discriminatory employment or hiring practices claims to issues involving the intellectual property underlying trading platforms — they can quickly mobilize attorneys across the rest of the firm’s footprint and practices to help the client reach the best-informed strategic legal solution.

We regularly assemble tailored, interdisciplinary teams to handle the diverse needs of our clients. We have particularly deep experience representing securities and finance industry clients in the context of complex employment and labor issues and employment practices disputes. We also have exceptionally qualified attorneys, recognized as leaders in their fields, in practices including Cybersecurity and Data Privacy, E-Discovery, Intellectual Property, Global Insurance Services, Class Action Litigation, Mergers and Acquisitions, International Commercial Transactions, Bankruptcy, White Collar Defense, and Appellate Law — all of whom are ready to leverage their skills for any client, anywhere, at any time.

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Managing Partner  
Buffalo, NY
London, England
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4.7/5.0 (1253 reviews)
  • Legal Knowledge

    4.7/5.0
  • Analytical Capability

    4.7/5.0
  • Judgment

    4.7/5.0
  • Communication

    4.7/5.0
  • Legal Experience

    4.6/5.0
  • 5.0/5.0 Review for John M. Allen by a Associate on 05/04/16 in General Liability

    John is an excellent civil defense attorney. Most importantly, he seeks resolutions that are fair to the parties. This is a trait not often found in litigation matters. Given that John and I were on opposite sides of the fence in a recent case, my... Read more

    Read more

    John is an excellent civil defense attorney. Most importantly, he seeks resolutions that are fair to the parties. This is a trait not often found in litigation matters. Given that John and I were on opposite sides of the fence in a recent case, my comments stem from personal knowledge of this gentleman. Read less

    Read less
  • 5.0/5.0 Review for Michael Rubin by a Partner on 05/28/15 in Civil Litigation

    Mike is an excellent attorney, a strong client advocate and worthy adversary.

    Mike is an excellent attorney, a strong client advocate and worthy adversary. Read less

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Diversity

Both within our own firm and across the wider business and legal communities, Goldberg Segalla’s commitment to diversity is strong, sincere, and a critical component of our firm’s mission and culture. Our philosophy has always been that we hire people who are excellent at what they do, and even better human beings. Period. We feel we would be doing a disservice to our firm and to our clients if we didn’t include contributions from every available resource.


We are extremely proud that our commitment has received regional and national recognition for the innovative programs we have developed and the results we have been able to achieve. The following is a sampling of the firm-wide or individual honors we have received for implementing initiatives that make a difference:


  • George B. Vashon Innovator Award, Minority Corporate Counsel Association
  • MCCA Firm Affiliate Network
  • Vault/MCCA Commitment to Diversity
  • Community Service Award, Defense Research Institute
  • Good Works Award, American Bar Association Section of Litigation
  • Outstanding Committee Chair, ABA Section of Litigation
  • Diversity Trailblazer Award, New York State Bar Association
  • Legal Service Award, Minority Bar Association of Western New York
  • Lawyer of the Year, Bar Association of Erie County
  • Legal Community Leader Award, National Federation for Just Communities of Western New York
  • Diversity Excellence Award, Buffalo Niagara Human Resource Association
  • Value Award for Diversity, Leadership Buffalo
  • Western New York Game Changers, Buffalo Spree magazine

What we are most proud of, though, is that our efforts have shown significant results and continue to make a lasting impact on the lives of many.

Leadership and Action

To put our philosophy and commitment into practice, we have a Diversity Task Force, which includes our managing partner, in place to conceptualize and implement diversity-focused programs as well as give diversity a voice in our decision-making at the highest level. The individuals on this task force share the firm’s strong commitment to increasing diversity, and they use their unique experiences and backgrounds to support and advance that goal. The team meets regularly to create programs, schedule events, establish diversity initiatives both inside and outside of the firm, set long-term goals, and develop the strategy to recruit and retain people from diverse backgrounds.


The chair of our Diversity Task Force, Joseph M. Hanna, has spearheaded numerous diversity initiatives in various organizations and outreach programs, serves on several diversity-related committees, and is a frequent author and speaker on diversity. Among other positions, he is co-chair of the American Bar Association (ABA) Young Lawyer Leadership Program, former chair of the association’s Minority Trial Lawyer Committee and its Special Committee on Human Rights, and former editor-in-chief of the ABA’s Minority Trial Lawyer; a 2014 fellow of the Leadership Council on Legal Diversity (LCLD); a past president of the Minority Bar Association of Western New York (MBAWNY) and the MBAWNY Foundation; and the Diversity Liaison for several committees at the 22,000-member DRI.


For more than a decade, Goldberg Segalla has proudly supported the ABA’s Judicial Internship Opportunity Program, which provides racial and ethnic minority law students, along with members of other groups underrepresented in the legal profession, opportunities to serve as an intern with a judge during the summer after their first or second year of law school. Joe Hanna — an alumni of the program himself — acts as a mentor and leader in the program, through which he has conducted more than 100 interviews for students across the country.

In 2017, Goldberg Segalla participated in the Thurgood Marshall Summer Law Internship Program, the New York City Bar Association’s flagship pipeline program for high school students. As a participating legal employer, we hosted high-achieving inner-city students for the summer and collaborate with the NYC Bar to provide them with additional programming before, during, and after the summer designed to help them prepare for a legal career.

Each summer, Goldberg Segalla proudly welcomes interns through a formal Diversity Clerkship Program that was conceived by Joe while he served as president of the MBAWNY. The program was developed in collaboration with the MBAWNY and the SUNY Buffalo Law School to provide opportunities for minority UB Law students to gain firsthand experience in the legal system. Since it was launched in 2011, the program has placed more than 100 students in clerkships in area courts as well as in several area law firms, with more judges and law firms asking to participate every day. It provides participants with an in-depth look at the legal process and the interaction between the bench and the bar that they would not otherwise get. At our firm, a dedicated team of partners monitors the work of these law clerks and ensures they obtain valuable experience to help develop important legal research, writing, case management, and client service skills critical to their long-term success. Our program earned the firm the Minority Corporate Counsel Association’s 2012 George B. Vashon Innovator Award.


We also have sponsored Success in the City, an annual diversity networking and mentoring event developed by Joe that brought together students, legal and business professionals, educators, nonprofits, and political leaders to make lasting partnerships. Many employment, business, and mentoring relationships resulted from this event. Past events have drawn more than 500 political and business leaders, legal professionals, and students. Success in the City has influenced the development of similar programs in Baltimore, Cleveland, Birmingham, Dallas, and elsewhere.


Our firm is committed to spreading the message throughout the broad legal and business communities that embracing diversity contributes to greater overall success. We conduct training sessions for in-house counsel at Fortune 500 corporations on increasing and promoting diversity. Our attorneys have authored articles and delivered presentations on diversity for various legal organizations, including DRI and the ABA, and our efforts and accomplishments in this area have been profiled in publications such as Law360, the New York State Bar Association’s State Bar News, Business First of Buffalo, the Buffalo Law Journal, and others.


In one example of our work to provide inspiration and raise awareness of diversity and women’s issues in the legal community, Caroline Berdzik, chair of our Employer and Labor Practice Group, spoke to Law360 for the publication’s “Female Powerbrokers” series. In the interview, Caroline discussed her career, the challenges of being a woman at a senior level at a law firm, the work-family life balance, and the importance of taking risks. She also offered guidance to female attorneys on moving their careers forward and advice to law firms on both increasing the number of women partners and retaining top female talent. Her longtime advocacy for women (at her previous firm, she served on the Women’s Business Development Committee and was a member of what became the national Women’s Presidents Organization) helped earn her a spot on the 2015 NJBIZ list of New Jersey’s Best 50 Women in Business.


Joe Hanna also was featured by Law360 in its “Minority Powerbrokers” series, in which he shared his perspective on breaking the glass ceiling in the legal industry, the challenges of being a lawyer of color at a senior level, how law firms can increase diversity in their partner ranks, and Goldberg Segalla’s core commitment to diversity.

Partnerships

Goldberg Segalla is proud to be a member of the Minority Corporate Counsel Association Firm Affiliate Network, which was created by the MCCA to assist and acknowledge law firms that are committed to advancing diversity and inclusion in the legal profession.


We are also a member of the Leadership Council on Legal Diversity (LCLD), a national organization of leaders in law firms and corporate legal departments dedicated to creating a truly diverse legal profession. As noted earlier, Joe Hanna was a fellow of the LCLD in 2014. In this position, he played a critical role in organizing the first-ever New York City LCLD Fellows Roundtable event, and he was instrumental in establishing a mentorship program in Hartford for local diverse first-year law students.


We support the diversity efforts of numerous organizations, including:

  • American Bar Association
  • Asian American Bar Association of New York
  • Columbian Lawyers Association
  • Defense Research Institute
  • Federal Bar Association
  • Korean American Association of Greater New York
  • League of First Nations
  • Minority Bar Association of Western New York
  • National Bar Association
  • Native American Rights Fund
  • National Association of Asian American Professionals
  • National Congress of American Indians
  • New York State Bar Association
  • Seneca Free Trade Association
  • SUNY Buffalo Law School
  • Women’s Bar Association of the State of New York

Our outreach efforts led to the creation of a comprehensive database of more than 500 minority law organizations throughout the United States. Contact between these organizations takes place in anticipation of bringing CLE and legal programs together. This group of minority bar associations includes both local and national organizations, such as:

  • National Association of Women Lawyers
  • National Association of Muslim Lawyers
  • Hispanic National Bar Association
  • National Asian Pacific American Bar
  • Black Women Lawyers Association of Los Angeles
  • South Asian Bar Association of Philadelphia
  • Vietnamese American Bar Association of North Carolina

A Talented and Diverse Team

Diversity is further evident within our firm through the many languages and dialects spoken by members of our team, including Albanian, Arabic, Croatian, French, German, Greek, Hebrew, Hindi, Italian, Korean, Malayalam, Mandarin, Marathi, Norwegian, Portuguese, Punjabi, Russian, Spanish, Swedish, Tagalog, Tamil, Thai, and Urdu.


Goldberg Segalla’s culture is one that values team-spiritedness, collegiality, and interpersonal harmony within our working community. We are a firm that believes in diversity in the workplace, and we are proud to offer a professional and positive work environment for each and every member of our team.


On these values, and on our commitment to diversity, we will never waver. We are proud of what we have accomplished thus far, but we also realize that this is a long-term mission. We will continue to innovate and to improve diversity in law and business — both within Goldberg Segalla and across the communities in which we live and work.

Diversity Matters — Join the Conversation

If you have questions regarding any of the firm’s diversity initiatives or would like to discuss ideas regarding increasing diversity in the legal profession, please contact Joe Hanna (716.566.5447; [email protected]) or another member of our Diversity Task Force:

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