When choosing an attorney to represent you in an investment dispute, it is important that you look for someone who is knowledgeable and experienced regarding the securities laws, who is responsive to your needs no matter what they are, and who shares your sensibilities and point of view.

The attorney you choose should fully understand the intricacies and nuances of the laws, rules, and procedures that might affect your claims and defenses. He (or she) should know the federal and state securities laws — and the regulatory rules that govern the securities industry — and be familiar with how they are interpreted and applied in the jurisdiction in which you will be filing your claim. Your attorney should also understand the rules and procedures that govern FINRA arbitrations, which can be very different from the standard court rules and procedures with which most lawyers are familiar.

You should also look for an attorney who already has substantial hands-on experience representing parties in investment disputes and FINRA arbitrations. There is a big difference between knowing how to try a securities case “in theory” and actually trying a securities case in real life.

In addition, you should look for an attorney who will be responsive to your questions and concerns and who will always keep you in the loop as to the status of your case. If your attorney works for a so-called litigation “mill,” you run the risk of having your case taking a backseat to other bigger cases or being pawned off on a less experienced associate instead of a partner. Your attorney should always be able to return your telephone calls in a timely manner, and he (or she) should be able to take the time to walk you through every step of your case whenever you want. If you have a question or a concern, you should not have to wait to have it addressed.

Most importantly, you should look for an attorney who shares your sensibilities and world-view and with whom you are compatible. Your attorney will represent you throughout your case and speak for you at the final hearing (and at any preliminary hearings). It is important to know that your attorney will not say or do anything that will embarrass you or make you feel uncomfortable. In addition, and on a more practical level, you will need to spend considerable time with your attorney as you prepare your case and at the final hearing. It is therefore critical that you hire someone who you actually like and with whom can get along.