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Attorney Profiles

Mark J. Astarita

Managing Member.
Mark J. Astarita is admitted to practice law before all state and federal courts in the States of New York and New Jersey as well as the United States Supreme Court. Since his graduation cum laude from New York Law School in 1981, Mr. Astarita has been resolving legal issues for the financial community.

From 1984 through 2000 as a partner in the law firm of Gusrae, Kaplan & Bruno, and today, as a founding member of Beam & Astarita, LLC, Mr. Astarita has concentrated his work in the area of securities regulation and litigation. During his career he has primarily represented stock brokers, investment advisors, compliance officers as well as their firms, in all aspects of their business and regulatory affairs. His representation includes all regulatory and compliance matters related to brokerage firms, hedge funds and investment advisors including federal and state registration and examinations, court litigation, securities arbitrations, disciplinary proceedings, and regulatory investigations. A summary of Mr. Astarita's more interesting and novel cases is contained in the document Beam & Astarita Significant Cases and Decisions. Mr. Astarita also represents investors on exceptional cases, and is one of the few attorneys to obtain (and receive payment of) a million dollar punitive damage and attorney fee award against a brokerage firm for misconduct.

Martindale-Hubbell, the most respected and impartial source of information about attorneys in the U.S., Canada and worldwide, has given Mr. Astarita their highest rating ("AV"), and have determined that his legal ability is very high to preeminent and his ethical standards are very high. An attorney in the US cannot receive a higher rating than this rating from Martindale-Hubbell.

Financial Regulatory Matters

Since 1984 Mr. Astarita has been assisting brokers and brokerage firms in their registration and compliance matters, including the startup of new broker-dealers. From incorporation through shareholder and employment agreements, and throughout the registration process with the SEC and FINRA, Mr. Astarita has assisted dozens of firms in their navigation of the web of securities rules and regulations. When firms need to expand their operations and require FINRA approval, Mr. Astarita has guided those firms through the 1017 process, working closely with the firm's in-house staff to obtain the necessary approvals.

As the regulatory environment has become more onerous and complex, Mr. Astarita began encouraging, and assisting, brokers and financial professionals to become independent financial advisers, either through agreements with some of the nation's top independent brokerage firms, or through the creation of registered investment advisers or private investment partnerships. These alternate vehicles can vastly improve the business operations and overhead of a smaller financial firm, while at the same time maintaining the quality of research, customer service and investor protection of a large broker-dealer.

Regulatory Enforcement Matters

In addition to his work as a securities arbitration attorney, Mr. Astarita represents financial professional in regulatory investigations, from the SEC, FINRA, state securities commissions, and the various commodity exchanges. Mr. Astarita is one of the few practicing attorneys to have passed the Series 7 Examination, the licensing examination for securities brokers. His 25 years of experience in investigations and enforcement proceedings have enabled him to provide invaluable assistance to his clients, not only during the actual proceedings, but in the development of a comprehensive strategy and plan for dealing with actual, and potential, enforcement proceedings.

Securities Employment Issues

During his career, Mr. Astarita has represented over 60 brokerage firms and hundreds of financial professionals in their regulatory, litigation and employment issues. Mr. Astarita's experience and knowledge of this highly specialized area of employment law enables him to provide guidance and assistance, to firms as well as professionals, in the negotiation of compensation packages and upfront loans, as well as severance agreements, promissory note settlements and restructuring, and non-compete waivers. Mr. Astarita has negotiated broker compensation agreements for individuals with every major Wall Street firm. The use of upfront bonuses, or employee forgivable loans as inducements and compensation for a broker to change firms, has a series of issues, pitfalls and dangers, for the firm, and for the broker. This experience, coupled with a continual monitoring of legal decision and trends enables him to effectively negotiate securities employment agreements for his clients.

As noted below, the transition from a brokerage firm to an investment advisory firm involves its own unique set of issues, and an entirely different regulatory environment, with different regulators, and different rules. As more and more professionals realize the advantages of using a fee-based model for the benefit of their clients, they realize the advantage of leaving the brokerage world and moving to the investment advisory side of the business. Mr. Astarita has been at the forefront of this move away from commission business and the overwhelming regulatory environment and has helped transition brokers to advisors for decades.

That same experience provides the foundation for the negotiation and resolution of employment separation agreements, waivers and modifications to non-compete agreements and promissory notes.

If the employment relationship does not go as planned, Mr. Astarita also provides representation and counsel in post-employment disputes, including severance agreements, re-negotiation of promissory notes and non-compete agreements, as well as ongoing counsel in post-termination investigations by FINRA and the SEC, as well as in litigation over the employer-employee relationship.

Securities Arbitration Proceedings

A significant portion of Mr. Astarita's practice is in the area of securities arbitration. For over 25 years Mr. Astarita has been the attorney of record, representing customers, brokers and brokerage firms in NASD and NYSE arbitrations, in over 500 securities arbitrations. Mr. Astarita prides himself on his dedication to his clients, and his desire to champion their cause and position. He represents clients in matters across the country, and has represented parties in proceedings held in New York, New Jersey, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, Washington DC, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Missouri, Texas, North Dakota, Montana, Colorado, California, Louisiana, Nebraska, Minnesota, Utah, and Oregon. Mr. Astarita has written extensively on the topic of customer arbitrations, and most of his articles appear at The Securities Law Home Page.

Securities Industry Knowledge

In July, 1995, Mr. Astarita created the The Securities Law Home Page, now known simply as SECLaw.com, the Internet site for information regarding United States securities and commodities law, including corporate finance, public offerings, stock broker regulation, securities arbitration and related topics. The site, which has been rated one of the Top 10 law firm web sites available on the Internet, and consistently rated "Best of the Web" by every major survey, contains original articles and commentary of interest to participants in the United States financial markets, as well as attorneys and educators. The site receives over 12,000 unique visitors a month, making it one of the most popular legal topic sites in the world.

Background and Related Information

In addition to his securities and litigation work, Mr. Astarita is an avid computer enthusiast. He has been online since 1986, and an Internet user since 1989. Mr. Astarita's experience in the online community, coupled with his legal background, have enabled him to provide advice and counsel to a variety of online information services, sysop groups, and Web site owners and developers. His computer experience and familiarity with network and personal computing technology have enabled him to successfully represent parties in computer-related litigation, including matters relating to theft of software, and  copyright infringement relating to software. A self-described "computer geek wanna-be" Mr. Astarita has been quoted as saying that he knows more about computers and computer people than any lawyer should know.

Various media sources have relied upon Mr. Astarita for commentary on issues relating to the securities laws and online legal issues, and he has been quoted in a number of publications, including the Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Fortune Magazine, Forbes Magazine, The Los Angeles Times, The New York Law Journal, Ticker Magazine, Research Magazine, Registered Representative, On Wall Street, The Recorder, Legal Times, the New Jersey Star Ledger, the Internet Compliance Reporter,  Investment Dealers' Digest, Compliance Reporter, Financial NetNews, Securities Industry Daily, the Bergen Record and the New York Post. Click here for a sampling of his media quotes.

In recent years, he has been a regular guest on CNBC's Power Lunch, was a member of the faculty for the 2002 Practicing Law Institute's Securities Arbitration Seminar, and has been a guest lecturer at Pace University's Securities Arbitration Clinic, on the topic of preparing and conducting a securities arbitration hearing. In October 2005 he was an invited speaker at the Connecticut Securities Division's Securities Forum 2005, and is often invited to speak at broker and investment advisor forums and seminars.

Mr. Astarita frequently writes articles for various publications relating to the securities laws. From 1996 through 2000 he was the legal columnist for Research: Magazine. Most of his columns appear at The Securities Law Home Page. Some of those articles include: Introduction to Securities Arbitration, Introduction to the Federal Securities Laws, Registration of Investment Advisors, Hearing, Hearing, and Honoring and Enforcement of Arbitration Awards. A complete list of Mr. Astarita's articles, papers and commentaries is available online. He is also the principal commentator at the Securities Law Blog, which is updated weekly, and is well known on Twitter and LinkedIn.

Mr. Astarita has served as the Chairman of the Legal Committee of the National Association of Investment Professionals, is active in a number of community organizations, including his membership on his local town's Board of Adjustment, hearing and deciding zoning variances.

Mr. Astarita can be reached by mail or telephone at the above address, or by email at astarita@beamlaw.com.

Education

New York Law School, New York, New York, J.D., 1981, Cum Laude
Honors: Order of the Barrister, Moot Court Executive Board
Queens College of the City University of New York
Flushing, New York, B.A., 1978

Professional Affiliations

New York County Lawyers Association
Essex County Bar Association
SIFMA-CL Member

Court Admissions

State of New York, 1982; State of New Jersey, 1982; United States Supreme Court, 2008; United States Circuit Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, 1983; United States Circuit Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, 1983; United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, 1982; United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York, 1982; United States District Court for the Northern District of New York, 1983; United States District Court for the Western District of New York, 1983; United States District Court for the District of New Jersey, 1983; United States Tax Court, 1984



E-mail: astarita at beamlaw.com

Raymond R. Beam, Jr.


Member. Raymond R. Beam Jr. is admitted to practice law in the courts of the State of New Jersey. After serving a judicial clerkship for the Honorable Ralph L. Fusco, J.S.C., Mr. Beam began his career as an Essex County Prosecutor, wherein he handled over 500 criminal cases. He then was selected to be the Chief Assistant Prosecutor in charge of White Collar Crime and Government Corruption Unit, in the Passaic County Prosecutor's Office, where he handled over 600 criminal cases, most involving the investigation and prosecution of white collar crime or investigations of government corruption.

In 1981 Mr. Beam left government and entered private practice. As a criminal defense attorney Mr. Beam has tried over 100 felony cases, including a number of high profile matters. Much of his criminal defense work has been before trial, where he has successfully represented targets, subjects and witnesses of state and federal grand jury investigations.

Mr. Beam's practice is focused on the defense of criminal matters, at the state and local level, as well as civil litigation and regulatory matters.

Mr. Beam is a 1972 graduate of Seton Hall Law School, and he received his undergraduate degree from the College of the Holy Cross.


E-mail: beam at beamlaw.com

Richard I. Alvarez

Of Counsel. Richard I. Alvarez is primarily involved in the firm’s corporate finance, transactional and blue sky practice. Mr. Alvarez has experience in all aspects of federal and state securities law compliance for corporate capital market financings. In addition, Mr. Alvarez has extensive experience in the area of broker-dealer and investment adviser regulation. He has represented issuers and underwriters in connection with public and private offerings of securities and represented private companies in connection with mergers and acquisitions.

Mr. Alvarez is a member of the American Bar Association’s State Regulation of Securities Committee, having previously served as Chair of the Subcommittee on Municipal, Banking, Nonprofit and Other Exempt Securities. He is admitted to the Bar of the State of New York. He is also admitted to practice before the United States District Court for the Southern and Eastern Districts of New York.

Prior to joining Beam & Astarita, Mr. Alvarez was Of Counsel to Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliff, and was a senior associate at the international law firms of Dewey Ballantine LLP, Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy and Mudge Rose Guthrie Alexander & Ferdon. Previously, he was an associate at Friedman & Shaftan, P.C. and at Gusrae, Kaplan & Bruno.

Mr. Alvarez also maintains his own practice in New York in corporate and securities law. He earned a J.D. in 1981 from New York Law School. He received a B.A. In 1978 from the State University College at Oneonta.

Email: alvarez at beamlaw.com


Stephen J. Caccavale

Of Counsel. Mr. Caccavale concentrates his practice in the areas of commercial and corporate transactions, commercial litigation, bankruptcy and debtor-creditor relations law, commercial and residential real estate transactions, and estate planning and administration (including asset protection and elder law).

Mr. Caccavale is admitted to the New Jersey Bar and U.S. District Court, District of New Jersey, and is a member of the New Jersey State Bar Association (bankruptcy and elder law sections) and the Ocean County Bar Association. Membership/Affiliations: The American Bankruptcy Institute, Marquis Who’s Who in American Law, Lions Clubs International. Consultant, Rutgers University Small Business Development Center (1990-91). Author, “Does a Hotel Guest Have the Same Legal Relationship with Hotelier as a Tenant Does with a Landlord?” Innovator, New Jersey Hotel/Motel Association (August 1990).

Mr. Caccavale maintains his own practice in southern New Jersey. He earned a J.D. from Seton Hall University School of Law; a Masters of Business Administration (M.B.A.) in Finance from Rutgers University, The State University of New Jersey; and a Bachelor of Arts in Economics from Bethany College.


Email: caccavale at beamlaw.com




 
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