James L. Kopecky
Jim brings a wealth of litigation and regulatory experience to the firm. Early in his career, Jim represented defendants in commercial disputes, including complex, federal court multi-district litigation matters. Jim joined the United States Securities and Exchange Commission ("SEC") in 1999, rising to the level of Branch Chief in the Division of Enforcement. At the SEC, Jim led a team of attorneys and staff that investigated and prosecuted securities fraud, including insider trading, accounting fraud, complicated market manipulation actions, ponzi schemes, offering frauds and sales practice actions.
Jim heads the firm's regulatory services practice, and frequently litigates matters on behalf of public companies, broker-dealers, hedge fund managers and individuals in both state and federal courts across the country, as well as arbitrations before the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority ("FINRA"), the National Futures Association, and the American Arbitration Association. Jim regularly defends securities firms and financial professionals being investigated or sued by regulatory and self-regulatory agencies such as the SEC, The New York Stock Exchange, Inc., and FINRA. Jim also acts as an independent investigator for investigations under Sarbanes Oxley and as an independent expert consultant to companies disciplined by Self Regulatory Organizations.
Jim has been quoted in the Wall Street Journal, The Chicago Tribune, and other nationally syndicated newspapers. He has practiced in courts around the country, including California, Texas, Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana and Colorado.
Jim graduated from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign with a degree in Economics. He went on to obtain a Doctor of Jurisprudence from Loyola University of Chicago School of Law where Jim was a Senior Member of the Loyola Law Journal, winner of two American Jurisprudence Awards for Highest Grades in Legal Writing and Moot Court, and a recipient of a 1994 Leadership and Service Award.
Honors & Achievements
In 2013, Jim was recognized in Chicago Magazine by his peers and for professional achievement as one of the Top 100 Attorneys in Illinois.
The Law Bulletin Publishing Company recognized Jim as one of 2004's "40 Illinois Attorneys Under 40 to Watch" based on nominations from prominent Chicago area lawyers.
Jim has been named by Illinois Super Lawyers magazine as one of Illinois' top attorneys in Illinois in 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013. Only five percent of the lawyers in the state are recognized by Illinois Super Lawyers magazine.
In 2004 the State of Illinois Department of Securities appointed Jim to act as an Administrative Hearing Officer. In his capacity as an Administrative Hearing Officer, Jim presides over evidentiary enforcement proceedings, and issues rulings based on federal and state law. Jim's service as an Administrative Hearing Officer continues to this day.
Jim also has taught as an adjunct Professor of Securities Litigation at Loyola University of Chicago School of Law and previously taught there as an adjunct Professor of Legal Writing.
Investigations and SEC Defense Work
Jim currently represents clients in an array of securities fraud investigations brought by the SEC.
Jim also represents individuals and entities investigations and disciplinary proceedings before FINRA and SROs.
Upon the recommendation of the United States Securities and Exchange Commission, Jim was appointed Receiver in SEC v. Weaver, et al., pending in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois. The action involved a $30 million dollar fraudulent investment scheme.
Upon the recommendation of the United States Securities and Exchange Commission, Jim was appointed Receiver in SEC v. House Asset Management, LLC et al., pending in the United States District Court for the Central District of Illinois. The action involved a $2.9 million dollar fraudulent investment scheme.
Upon the recommendation of the United States Securities and Exchange Commission, Jim was appointed Receiver in SEC v. Lipson, in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois. There, Jim was responsible for the management and distribution of a disgorgement fund.
Upon the recommendation of the staff of the United States Securities and Exchange Commission, the Commission appointed Jim Administrator of the Fair Fund in In the Matter of Grant Thornton LLP, et al., Admin. Proc. File No. 3-11377, to administer a $1.6 million "Fair Fund" created pursuant to the Sarbanes-Oxley Act.
Jim obtained $4 million and $2.8 million judgments on behalf of investors who lost money in connection with Ponzi schemes.
Jim represents numerous retail securities customers victimized by fraudulent conduct in connection with the handling of their investment accounts.
Jim defends broker dealers and registered representatives against allegations of improper handling of customer accounts.
Jim represents hedge funds and other companies accused of violations of state and federal securities laws.