We sat down with Jessica Corley, partner and chair of the firm’s Securities Litigation Group, to discuss her recent ranking as a BTI “Client Service All-Star MVP,” trends in securities litigation and how privacy and data security concerns are affecting securities litigation.
BTI Consulting honored you as a “Client Service All-Star MVP” in its 2015 annual survey of the nation’s top lawyers identified by clients as the best at serving clients. What traits do you think make you stand out to clients?
I believe that to properly defend a case, you really have to get in the weeds and know the client’s business as well as they do. Their problems are my problems to help solve, and I want to help them achieve the result that is the best for their business – be that to settle a matter before litigation or take it all the way to trial.
What’s your secret to keeping clients happy that earned you a spot on the BTI All-Star MVP list?
My approach to keeping clients happy involves really getting to know them and understand their personal and professional objectives and how I can help them achieve their goals. For example, when a GC or other in-house lawyer contacts me, I understand that they may be getting questions from their internal client – the CEO, another executive officer or a board member. I know that my job is to make them look good and the promptness of my response is crucial.
Whether I’m talking with clients about a current matter or issues we see other companies facing, we’re always exploring ways to help keep their business running while managing the risks that come with litigation.
What are the trends you’re seeing in securities litigation?
There has been an increase in appraisal litigation cases in recent years where shareholders are seeking the “fair value” for their shares when companies merge. Partners in my group are handling the largest appraisal action to date in Delaware Chancery Court.
We are also seeing an increase in enforcement actions by the SEC. And, of course, shareholder activism continues to be on the rise, particularly this time of year.
Finally, securities class actions and derivative litigation continue to keep my group busy.
Privacy and security are hot topics in the market. How are your clients affected by privacy issues?
We’ve all seen the news about high-profile security breaches. What many do not realize is that cyber security is increasingly becoming a key issue in risk management for boards of directors, as well as corporate officers, who are now expected to be fully engaged in overseeing their companies’ security protections and responses. Corporate directors and officers may face shareholder derivative actions and securities fraud class actions asserting claims for breaches of the duty of care and waste of corporate assets stemming from cyberattacks. Directors and officers must be acutely aware of the oversight responsibilities they now have for a company’s cyber security.