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The main focus of Mr. Stephens’ legal practice is representing clients in binding securities arbitration before the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) seeking to recover damages (compensatory and punitive) caused by improper stockbroker conduct, such as fraud, broken promises, excessive trading, unauthorized trades, or unsuitable investments.

Mr. Stephens, who has been interviewed by CNBC and "MONEY" magazine, is a former Attorney with the U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission and currently serves on the "Chairman" arbitrator roster of FINRA.

Some notable Awards highlighted by articles in the Wall Street Journal were Warren v. Morgan Stanley ($1,500,000 compensatory, $3,500,000 punitives), Saccheri v. A.G. Edwards ($750,000 compensatory, $2,250,000 punitives), and Boll v. Merrill Lynch ($625,000 compensatory, $938,000 punitives). Prospective clients may not obtain the same or similar results.

Mr. Stephens has handled FINRA arbitration hearings for clients in such diverse locations as New York City, Boca Raton, Anchorage, Seattle, San Francisco, Louisville, and Washington, D.C., and represented clients in many more parts of the United States and abroad.

Originally from New York, Mr. Stephens graduated from the University of Michigan with “High Distinction” and Phi Beta Kappa honors with a major in Economics. During college breaks, he was employed in New York on Wall Street by Lazard Freres & Co., the international investment banking firm.

Subsequent to college, he graduated with a Juris Doctor degree from Cornell University and practiced law in New York City on Park Avenue with Otterbourg, Steindler, Houston & Rosen, primarily business litigation.

Accepting the invitation for a Fellowship with the Center for Study of Financial Institutions and Securities Markets, at the University of Pennsylvania, Mr. Stephens performed research on intricate legal questions under the Securities Act of 1933 and the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, and published several legal articles in law reviews. Following the Fellowship, which included finance course work at the Wharton School, Mr. Stephens was awarded an LL.M. (Master of Laws) post-doctorate degree in Securities Regulation from the University of Pennsylvania Law School.

Mr. Stephens then accepted a position as Attorney-Advisor with the U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission in Washington, D.C., initially with the Division of Investment Management, regulating investment advisors under the Investment Advisors Act, and mutual funds under the Investment Company Act. Thereafter, the Enforcement Division sought his services in its Organized Crime Branch, where Mr. Stephens presided over the first case to use the new U.S.-Swiss Treaty to open up Swiss bank accounts in a criminal investigation. In the evenings, Mr. Stephens, as an Adjunct Professor, taught business law to college students.

Accepting an offer to relocate to California, Mr. Stephens served as a Senior Attorney with the Atlantic Richfield Company (“ARCO”) at its corporate headquarters involving major litigation defending ARCO. At one point, he was responsible for supervising ARCO’s defense in most of its litigation cases nationwide. While at ARCO, Mr. Stephens underwent training in the Trial Attorneys Program sponsored by the Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office, and performed pro bono services as a criminal prosecutor in Los Angeles.

Mr. Stephens decided to open his own litigation practice in Los Angeles, and ARCO became his principal client. Moreover, he was appointed by the Courts as a Judge pro tem, and sat on the bench for cases in the Los Angeles Municipal Court and Los Angeles Superior Court. Active in civic matters, Mr. Stephens was appointed and later reappointed to the State Architects Board by the Governor of California, where Mr. Stephens served as Vice-Chairman of the Enforcement Committee.

Mr. Stephens is a Member of the following Bars: California, Florida, New York, Washington, D.C., U.S. Supreme Court, U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit, 11th Circuit, and D.C. Circuit, U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida, and numerous other courts.

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