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by Vault Law Editors | March 12, 2024


Securities litigators represent individuals and corporations in securities class actions, stock-drop cases, and derivative actions. The work is in some ways similar to criminal defense work, determining what your client has done, whether it violates securities regulations, and how to defend the case. Securities litigators perform internal investigations on behalf of corporate audit committees and represent those audit committees, individuals, and companies in SEC investigations. Securities litigators also advise corporations on director and officer liability insurance issues. The cases can be complicated and involve complex facts patterns; practitioners will spend a lot of time reviewing documents and interviewing witnesses to develop the facts.

In our 2023 edition of Practice Perspectives: Vault Law's Guide to Legal Practice Areas, attorneys from law firms with top-ranked Securities Litigation practices share insights about their practice, including what a typical day is like and what training they recommend for interested jobseekers. Keep reading for their insights!

What is a typical day like and/or what are some common tasks you perform?

Lauren M. Rosenberg, Partner—Cravath: Other than regular meetings with the associates on my team—where we collaborate on the strategy of our cases—most days are incredibly varied. On any given day, I might be writing or editing a brief; taking or defending a deposition; meeting with my partners, clients, and/or opposing counsel; attending a court appearance; and more. I tend to work on several different matters at once, so each day typically includes a combination of many different tasks, all of which I am able to accomplish with the assistance of our amazing associates.

Sarah D. Efronson, Partner—Jones Day: As a partner, a typical day includes communicating and interfacing with our clients, coordinating strategy with senior partners, supervising teams of associates, and providing them with feedback on their work product. Substantively, I work on a wide range of projects, such as drafting dispositive motions, working with expert witnesses, and developing overarching defense strategies for our matters, including for trial.

Linton Mann III, Partner—Simpson Thacher
On any given day I might work with witnesses, take a deposition, lead a meeting with experts, read cases and internal legal memoranda, revise a brief, or prepare for an upcoming argument. The cases we handle often involve significant potential damages and are among the biggest matters on the court’s docket, so the client is very invested and we’re in regular contact.

What training, classes, experience, or skills development would you recommend to someone who wishes to enter your practice area?

Lauren M. Rosenberg: I would recommend that law students take key procedural classes, such as Federal Courts and Evidence. Litigators utilize these foundational procedural aspects all the time, and they are critical to know in assessing the best strategy for our clients.

I also recommend that students take small seminars in areas of interest. Unlike a large lecture, seminars allow you to really get to know the other students as well as your professor, and to collaborate openly. While substantive areas of the law can be learned later, it may be difficult to replicate the environment of a collaborative seminar in any other way. Additionally, seminars often lead to incredible mentorship from professors.

Finally, I highly recommend clerkship opportunities for those who are interested in litigation. Clerkships are a rare opportunity to obtain a behind-the-scenes understanding of how judges evaluate legal issues. I learned so much during my clerkship and feel incredibly grateful for that once-in-a-career opportunity.

Sarah D. Efronson: If I had known while I was in law school that I was going to pursue securities litigation, I would have taken courses in government regulation and securities regulation, among others. However, there is no requirement that you have coursework or other relevant experience in order to join the Securities Litigation & SEC Enforcement practice. The law school classes that I felt set me up for success were the legal clinics and internships that I participated in where I got to hone my legal research and writing skills and through which I obtained standup oral advocacy experience. These are skills that you need to continue to hone as a litigator throughout your career. Because I felt confident in my legal research abilities as a junior associate, I felt I had the tools to research and learn the substantive law despite not having the specific prior coursework or work experience.

Linton Mann III: Simpson has a robust training program—we will teach you the law and the skills you need to litigate these types of matters. For now, I’d recommend that students take advantage of clinical opportunities; roll up your sleeves and work with a client! I learned more from my death penalty clinic, the children’s education law clinic, and moot court than I did in any substantive class. Developing empathy and learning to advocate on someone’s behalf and tell their story in a persuasive way are incredibly instructive experiences.