Mr. Lawrence dedicates his practice to representing individuals and corporations, both nationally and internationally, in all phases of complex civil, white collar, and regulatory matters, including those involving allegations of insider trading, accounting and disclosure irregularities, violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, stock options backdating, market manipulation, and financial fraud. Mr. Lawrence has achieved notable and landmark victories for clients in these matters. His success in regulatory defense matters includes a rare defeat of the Securities and Exchange Commission on behalf of a client in a high-profile securities fraud prosecution, which was widely reported in the press. His success in private securities litigation includes securing an $80.8 million consequential damages award for a client in a FINRA arbitration, which was the largest such award in FINRA’s history and the largest reported consequential damages award or verdict in the United States.
For six years prior to forming Conti Fenn & Lawrence, Mr. Lawrence spearheaded high-profile investigations and litigation at the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission in its Enforcement Division. Most notably, Mr. Lawrence headed the SEC’s landmark investigation of AOL Time Warner, which resulted in a $300 million civil penalty–the second largest penalty in history for financial reporting violations at the time. The Los Angeles Times published a feature article about Mr. Lawrence in which defense lawyers in the AOL Time Warner matter described him as a “smart, fair and intensely methodical lawyer” who is “well organized.”
In recognition for his achievements on behalf of clients, Mr. Lawrence has been designated a “Litigation Star” by Benchmark Litigation, and he regularly speaks at professional functions and roundtables concerning securities law and complex litigation issues. Mr. Lawrence is also an Adjunct Law Professor at the University of Baltimore School of Law, where he teaches Securities Regulation, and he is Vice Chair of the Maryland State Bar Association’s Committee on Securities Law.
View Mr. Lawrence’s winning argument in his rare defeat of the SEC in a high-profile case at minutes 10:07-17:30 and 42:39-46:00:
To see video on SEC website, go to: https://www.sec.gov/video/webcast-archive-player.shtml?document_id=011516openmeeting
Securities Litigation and Enforcement
- Senior U.S. investment banker in parallel SEC and DOJ investigations concerning potential FCPA violations arising out of Asian operations.
- Trader in an SEC administrative action concerning alleged naked short selling in violations of Reg SHO and Exchange Act Rule 10b-21.
- Hedge fund and hedge fund adviser in an SEC investigation concerning potential false performance reporting, insider trading, and market manipulation.
- Financial adviser in an SEC investigation concerning potential insider trading and market manipulation.
- Investment adviser in an investigation by the Securities Division of Maryland Attorney General’s office.
- Private equity fund advisers in an SEC investigation concerning fiduciary issues related to fund fee allocations.
- Financial services professionals and firms in multiple SEC and FINRA investigations relating to potential accounting fraud and insider trading.
- Attorney in parallel SEC, CFTC, and DOJ investigations, civil actions, and criminal prosecutions concerning a suspected Ponzi scheme.
- Multiple register representatives of broker-dealers in several investigations by FINRA concerning suspected improper sales practices.
- CEO in SEC civil enforcement action brought in federal court alleging accounting fraud.
- Financial institution and several executives in an SEC investigation and enforcement action concerning alleged violations of MSRB rules.
- Cell phone company in an arbitration against its broker-dealer alleging fraud in connection with corporate cash management.
- Institutional consultants in federal court TRO proceeding concerning alleged violations of non-solicitation agreements and Protocol for Broker Recruiting and follow-on FINRA arbitration concerning same allegations.
- Financial services firm in FINRA arbitration alleging fraud, failure to supervise, and other sales practice abuses
- Investigations by the Maryland Insurance Commission.
- Business in litigation brought by the U.S. Department of Energy concerning energy efficiency regulations.
- Several executives of a public company in a shareholder derivative lawsuit.
- Independent Board Members of publicly listed bank in shareholder derivative lawsuit.
- Partner in partnership dispute.
- Businesses in disputes concerning business torts, including misappropriation of trade secrets, unfair competition, and patent infringement.
- Successfully argued appeal in the U.S. Circuit Court for the Fourth Circuit on behalf of title insurer.
- Successfully argued appeal in the Maryland Court of Special Appeals concerning mortgage fraud allegations.
Real Estate Litigation
- Class members in certified class action in federal court based on violations of the RESPA (Real Estate Settlement and Procedures Act).
- Real estate professionals and consumers in several matters concerning sales, easements, and title disputes.
Labor & Employment Litigation
- Businesses and executives in discrimination claims filed in federal court and brought before the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and Maryland Commission on Human Rights.
Estates and Trusts Litigation
- Will contest proceedings.
Insurance Coverage Litigation
- Declaratory judgment actions in federal court concerning insurance coverage dispute.