Lawdragon Features Blair Nicholas in “Lawyer Limelight” Q&A

August 7, 2016

BLB&G partner Blair Nicholas was the subject of the Lawdragon Magazine’s Lawyer Limelight” special feature, where he was profiled as one of the top securities litigators in the country.  In its “Limelight” Q&A, the national legal periodical focused on his over twenty year career, and the insights he has gained from his experience regarding important industry trends.

Mr. Nicholas, a senior and co-managing partner at BLB&G, has recovered billions of dollars for investors while representing many of the nation’s most prominent public and private institutional investors.  As he tells Lawdragon, being a plaintiffs’ lawyer has been “extraordinarily rewarding” knowing that “I am working to hold corporate wrongdoers accountable for the predatory practices and at the same time returning hard-earned savings to the retirement accounts of firemen, police officers, teachers and other hardworking Americans who have been defrauded at the hands of Wall Street.”  He credits his father, who was also a plaintiffs’ trial lawyer, as his inspiration to pursue this line of work, recalling that that “some of my best childhood memories were watching him at trial passionately advocating for justice and compensation for the insured.” 

Graduating from law school in 1995, Mr. Nicholas entered the field of securities litigation on the heels of a significant shift in the industry, ushered in by the passage of Private Securities Litigation Reform Act that year.  He touched on how the subsequent increase of institutional investor involvement in securities fraud litigation to recover assets and negotiate meaningful corporate governance reforms  have had a positive impact on corporate boardrooms.  Since the accounting scandals of the early 2000’s and the recent economic meltdown related to massive systemic wrongdoing, institutional investors have become “more connected and educated about their fiduciary duties with respect to fraud, asset recovery, and violations of the securities laws.” 

Mr. Nicholas credits this increased involvement by institutional investors with “leveling” the playing field in securities litigation.  “Corporations and their management have significant legal cover and protection from liability and the efforts of institutional investors to push these cases hard and hold wrongdoers accountable have impressed the courts.”   Their involvement has also resulted in significantly larger recoveries for investors. “There is a reason,” says Mr. Nicholas, “that institutional investor leadership in securities fraud actions has accounted for nearly 90% of the top 100 settlements in history.” 

In discussing recent trends, Mr. Nicholas points to the rise of appraisal litigation, which involves a formal court appraisal for the fair value of company shares in connection with mergers and acquisitions.  “Increasingly,” he explains, “institutional investors are not passively settling for the merger price negotiated by corporate insiders,” and that “the appraisal remedy is an important check on the merger negotiation process as well as board negligence and opportunistic behavior.”

When asked about what advice he would offer new lawyers who are entering the securities litigation field, Mr. Nicholas offers that their “top priority should be to know their clients’ goals and objectives.  Every client I represent has a different goal and objectives, which can dramatically alter the strategy and course of the litigation.”  He also stresses the importance of staying “apprised of all new developments, court decisions and regulations that may impact your clients so you can provide the most strategically effective and timely advice possible.”

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