Wayne Hillis is a highly experienced trial lawyer. Throughout his 30+ year career, Wayne has represented clients in high-stakes, complex business, securities, and employment litigation and arbitration. With over 200 trials under his belt, he has the experience and trial skills to zealously represent his clients and prevail at trial. Wayne also uses that experience and resulting judgment to guide his clients to the best resolution for their business.
As a securities trial lawyer, Wayne represents securities broker-dealers, investment advisors, and individual investment professionals in state and federal courts and in FINRA arbitrations defending all manner of securities-related claims. Wayne also has served as lead coordinating counsel and lead trial counsel in several mass actions. In addition, Wayne also represents clients in responding to the full gamut of regulatory inquiries, investigations, and enforcement actions.
On the employment side, Wayne represents employers before the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, in state and federal court, and in arbitration. These cases often involve claims of discrimination, harassment, and retaliation, as well as contractual and other disputes between his employer clients and their former employees. Wayne also has experience guiding his clients through serious and high-profile internal investigations.
Wayne works closely with his clients to get the result that best serves their business goals. He understands his client's business; he understands his client's goals; and he works hand-in-hand with them to fashion and pursue a strategy that achieves their goals.
Served as lead counsel representing a broker-dealer in an industry dispute defending claims by a former salesperson for contractual and quasi contractual claims for unpaid bonus compensation.
Represented broker-dealer client in two-year FINRA investigation resulting in an unreportable letter of caution.
Served as lead counsel in three separate state court suits arising out of a complex series of trusts and estate disputes.
Currently represent a Florida based broker-dealer in defense of a suit filed in federal court asserting a fraudulent conveyance and aiding and abetting breach of fiduciary duty claims.
Currently represent the wealth division of a national broker-dealer client in defense of a suit filed in a FINRA arbitration asserting claims based on fraud, negligent misrepresentation, breach of fiduciary duty, and conversion.
Served as lead counsel representing broker-dealer clients in a FINRA arbitration brought by a former customer asserting claims of unsuitability, churning, and negligent supervision.
Served as lead coordinating counsel and lead trial counsel in more than 150 FINRA arbitrations involving several open end and closed end high yield bond funds.
Served as lead counsel on behalf of a national broker-dealer client in a series of FINRA arbitrations arising out the departure of multiple employees following the client's sale of its wealth division. The firm filed individual arbitrations to recover amounts owed by the former employees and defended against their various employment-related counterclaims. The firm was successful in recovering over $16 million for the client and defeating more than $17 million in claims against the client.
Represented a national broker-dealer in defense of a FINRA arbitration filed by a former employee of the client alleging wrongful termination, U-5 defamation, and disparate treatment. The former employee sought over $11 million in compensatory damages and punitive damages. After the claimant rested, the Panel unanimously granted the client's motion to dismiss and denied the claimant's claims in their entirety.
Served as lead counsel for our broker-dealer client in a series of cases arising out of a third party's alleged Ponzi scheme. The broker-dealer client successfully defeated claims filed in Federal District Court in New York and California and in three FINRA arbitrations and recovered attorneys' fees in two of the arbitrations.
Represented a financial advisor and successfully defeated claims brought by the advisor's former client for violations of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, breach of fiduciary duty, fraud, and violation of New York's deceptive acts and practices act. The claimant sought to recover over $665,000 plus punitive damages. After more than a year of arbitration proceedings before FINRA, the claimant dismissed the claim with prejudice and recovered nothing.
Represented a financial advisor in defense of an enforcement proceeding brought by FINRA's Enforcement Department. As a result of the firm's efforts, the client received only a cautionary action letter, which is one of FINRA's least serious enforcement penalties.
Served as lead trial counsel and lead coordinating counsel in more than 700 arbitrations involving limited partnerships arising out of a settlement between the SEC and our broker/dealer client.