With more than 35 years of experience with complex litigation, Joel H. Bernstein concentrates his practice on the protection of investors who have been victimized by securities fraud and breach of fiduciary duty. His significant expertise in the area of shareholder litigation has resulted in the recovery of more than a billion dollars in damages to wronged investors.
As a recognized leader in his field, Joel advises large public pension funds, banks, mutual funds, insurance companies, hedge funds, other institutional and individual investors with respect to securities-related litigation in the federal and state courts as well as in arbitration proceedings before the NYSE, FINRA and other self-regulatory organizations.
Joel heads up the Firm's RMBS (Residential Mortgage-Backed Securities) team, representing large domestic and foreign institutional investors that invested more than $5 billion in failed investments, which were at the heart of the current global economic crisis. The RMBS team is comprised of more than 20 attorneys and is currently prosecuting over 50 separate matters. Joel has developed significant experience with RMBS-related matters and served as lead counsel for one of the most prototypical cases arising from the financial crisis, In re Countrywide Corporation Securities Litigation. In this matter, he obtained a settlement of $624 million for co-lead plaintiffs, New York State Common Retirement Fund and the New York City Pension Funds.
Joel was lead counsel to a class of investors in Massey Energy Corporation stemming from the horrific 2010 mining disaster at the Company's Upper Big Branch coal mine, which resulted in the Firm obtaining a $265 million all-cash settlement with Alpha Natural Resources, Massey’s parent company. Joel is also currently litigating two cases which arose out of deceptive practices by custodial banks relating to certain foreign currency transactions; he serves as lead counsel to Arkansas Teachers Retirement System in a class action against the State Street Corporation and certain affiliated entities and he is also representing the Commonwealth of Virginia in its False Claims Act case against Bank of New York Mellon, Inc.
In the past, Joel has played a central role in numerous high profile cases, including In re Paine Webber Incorporated Limited Partnerships Litigation ($200 million settlement); In re Prudential Securities Incorporated Limited Partnerships Litigation ($130 million settlement); In re Prudential Bache Energy Income Partnerships Securities Litigation ($91 million settlement); Shea v. New York Life Insurance Company ($92 million settlement); and Saunders et al. v. Gardner ($10 million—the largest punitive damage award in the history of the NASD at that time). In addition, Joel was instrumental in securing a $117.5 million settlement in In re Mercury Interactive Securities Litigation, the largest settlement at the time in a securities fraud litigation based upon options backdating.
Joel also co-leads Labaton Sucharow’s Securities Arbitration pro bono project in conjunction with Brooklyn Law School where he serves as an adjunct professor. Joel, together with Labaton Sucharow associates and Brooklyn Law School students, represents aggrieved and defrauded individual investors who cannot otherwise afford to pay for legal counsel in financial industry arbitration matters against investment advisors and stockbrokers.
Given his depth of experience, Joel is frequently sought out by the press to comment on securities law and has also authored numerous articles on related issues, including "Stand Up to Your Stockbroker, Your Rights As An Investor." He is a member of the American Bar Association and the New York County Lawyers' Association.
Joel has been recommended by The Legal 500 in the field of Securities Litigation, where he was described by sources as a “formidable adversary,” and by Benchmark Plaintiff as a Securities Litigation Star. He was also featured in The AmLaw Litigation Daily as Litigator of the Week on May 13, 2010 for his work on In re Countrywide Financial Corporation Securities Litigation. Joel has received a rating of AV Preeminent from the publishers of the Martindale-Hubbell directory.