About Joel W. Sternman

Joel Sternman represents public corporations and members of corporate management in defense of securities class actions and in administrative proceedings brought by the SEC. Joel brings decades of experience, including that gained from representing petitioners in arguing Basic Incorporated v. Levinson before the United States Supreme Court. The Court's landmark decision in Basic is one of the most frequently cited decisions under the securities laws.

Helping defuse litigation so clients can get back to business

Joel brings a fundamental understanding of litigation strategy to every client he represents. In addition to representing defendants in securities matters, Joel represents parties in a diverse array of complex civil litigations, including those arising under CERCLA, ERISA, RICO and the Bankruptcy Code. As counsel to corporate committees, he has also conducted internal investigations to evaluate allegations of financial wrongdoing.

Joel has been a member of the faculty for programs on corporate and securities litigation presented by the Practising Law Institute and ALI-ABA, and has spoken in Japan about the exposure of directors of foreign corporations to litigation in the United States.

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Practice Focus

  • Securities class actions
  • SEC investigations and enforcement actions
  • Internal investigations

Representative Experience

  • Represented co-lead underwriter in securities class action. Complaint dismissed on motion and appeal withdrawn.
  • Represented online merchandise company in related securities class and derivative actions alleging issuance of misstatements. Both actions settled.
  • Represented defendants in related securities class and derivative actions alleging issuance of misstatements concerning write-off of goodwill relating to acquisition of motion picture business. Following limited discovery, derivative action dismissed on forum non conveniens grounds and class action, as well as related SEC proceeding, settled.
  • Represented senior corporate executives in securities class action arising from financial restatements. Following reversal on appeal of dismissal of complaint and denial of certiorari, matter remanded, discovery completed and case settled. In addition, following completion of SEC investigation, no claims asserted against senior corporate executives and related derivative action dismissed.
  • Represented underwriter in action arising from initial public offering of biotech company. Following dismissal of most claims on motion, remaining claims settled.
  • Represented officers and directors in securities class and derivative actions relating to nondisclosure of wrongdoing charged by FTC. Following dismissal of class action, derivative action voluntarily dismissed.
  • Represented special litigation committee in internal investigation of alleged insider trading by members of senior management of generic pharmaceutical company. Following completion of investigation and issuance of report concluding that the allegations had no merit, action settled.
  • Represented intervenor, second-largest victim of a criminal Ponzi scheme, as co-plaintiff in action by SEC, in which he recovered practically his entire loss.
  • Represented senior corporate executive in securities class action alleging nondisclosure of improper billing practices. Settled.
  • Represented underwriter of convertible debentures in securities class action arising from misstatements in registration statement and prospectus. Default judgments entered against insider defendants, multimillion-dollar judgment entered against stock underwriter and settlement agreed to by outside auditor. Claims against our client dismissed on summary judgment; during pendency of appeal, mediation held and claims settled.
  • Represented defendants in actions alleging breach of publication and motion picture financing agreements. Settled.
  • Represented diversified multinational industrial corporation in various matters including cruise ship propulsion systems and alleged misappropriation of technology trade secrets. Both matters settled.
  • Represented major apparel manufacturer in class and derivative actions. In addition, represented other major apparel manufacturers in RICO class action relating to working conditions in Saipan. Settled.


  • Exposure of Japanese Directors to Litigation in Japan and the U.S., Journal of the Japanese Institute of International Business Law
  • Discovery Stays, Lead Plaintiffs and the Fraud on the Market Theory: Observations on the PSLRA and Recommendations for Change
  • Life After Central Bank — Should Securities Professionals Really Sleep Better at Night?
  • The Origins and Implications of the Joint and Several Liability and Proportionate Fault Provisions of the PSLRA
  • Advising the Directors: Minimizing the Risk of Litigation Through Internal Investigations by Special Counsel