The national law firm Ballard Spahr LLP and Stillman & Friedman, P.C., a Manhattan litigation boutique widely regarded as one of the top white collar criminal defense firms, have formed a new partnership in New York—Ballard Spahr Stillman & Friedman LLP. The partnership, which gives Ballard Spahr its 14th U.S. location and a prominent presence in New York, brings together two firms with dynamic litigation practices and creates a powerful force in white collar defense and securities litigation and enforcement.

The partnership strengthens Ballard Spahr’s Municipal Securities Regulation and Enforcement Group, comprising attorneys from all 14 offices, in response to client needs arising from federal regulators’ increasing scrutiny of the $3 trillion municipal bond market. The practice combines the firm’s substantial public finance capabilities with its experience in securities, securities litigation, and white collar/internal investigations.

“Our clients are confronting a rapidly evolving regulatory, investigative, and enforcement environment in the municipal securities market,” said William C. Rhodes, Chair of the firm’s Public Finance Department. “A multidisciplinary practice that marries the strength of our public finance practice with a team of experienced litigators who are well versed in this market will enable us to provide comprehensive services to clients.”

The integrated resources and leveraged capabilities of the two firms position Ballard Spahr Stillman & Friedman as a national leader in white collar defense and complex civil litigation. The practice is led by Mr. Rhodes; M. Norman Goldberger, Practice Leader of Ballard Spahr’s Securities Enforcement and Litigation Group; and litigation partner John C. Grugan, who is known for his work in securities litigation.

Attorneys in the Municipal Securities Regulation and Enforcement practice advise local governments, financial and trading intermediaries, municipal advisers, and broker-dealers on a wide range of matters related to the municipal securities market. Their work includes assisting clients on improving disclosure practices, educating them on new regulations and enforcement actions, and defending them against allegations of securities law violations. Attorneys at the firm also have significant experience in securities enforcement and litigation—including matters arising from the municipal securities market—professional liability, and appellate work.

There is new and intense scrutiny on municipal securities and participants in the municipal securities market by a wide variety of regulators, as Mr. Grugan explained: “Municipal securities market regulators have dramatically increased their focus on investigations and enforcement in recent years. We want clients to be aware of this trend and ready to respond.”

Moreover, the penalties for violations continue to escalate.

“Participants in the municipal securities market face increasing demands for accountability and disclosure—and swift sanctions for noncompliance,” said Mr. Goldberger. “We can provide clients with the tools they need to ensure compliance before regulators come knocking, and these tools will equip them with a strong response if they find themselves subject to an investigation or an enforcement action.”

Members of the practice include James A. Mitchell, one of 14 Stillman & Friedman lawyers who are now part of Ballard Spahr Stillman & Friedman. These attorneys have represented public figures, political leaders, and Fortune 500 corporations and executives in a range of high-profile, high-stakes litigation and investigations.

Mr. Mitchell is known for his representation of a former banking executive in a bid-rigging case in New York that involved allegations of a conspiracy to defraud municipal bond issuers.

“While it’s rare for these types of cases to go to trial, it’s important for us to be prepared to advocate for our clients in court if a trial is necessary,” said Mr. Mitchell. “But providing preemptive advice so that municipal market participants can avoid being targeted by regulators in the first place is an equally important part of the equation.”

Related Practices

Commercial Litigation
Municipal Securities Regulation and Enforcement
Professional Liability
Securities Enforcement and Litigation
White Collar Defense/Internal Investigations