With nearly four decades of experience in complex litigation, Joel H. Bernstein’s practice focuses on the protection of victimized individuals. Joel advises large public and labor pension funds, banks, mutual funds, insurance companies, hedge funds, and 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. His experience in the area of representing plaintiffs in complex litigation has resulted in the recovery of more than a billion dollars in damages to wronged class members.
For several years Joel led the Firm’s Residential Mortgage-Backed Securities team, a group of more than 20 legal professionals representing large domestic and foreign institutional investors in 75 individual litigations involving billions of dollars lost in fraudulently marketed investments at the center of the subprime crisis and has successfully recovered hundreds of millions of dollars on their behalf thus far. He also currently serves as lead counsel in class actions, including In re NII Holdings, Inc. Securities Litigation, Norfolk County Retirement System v. Solazyme, Inc., and In re Facebook Biometric Information Privacy Litigation.
Joel recently led the team that secured a $265 million all-cash settlement for a class of investors in In re Massey Energy Co. Securities Litigation, a matter that stemmed from the 2010 mining disaster at the company’s Upper Big Branch coal mine. Joel also led the team that achieved a $120 million recovery with one of the largest global providers of products and services for the oil and gas industry, Weatherford International in 2015. As lead counsel for one of the most prototypical cases arising from the financial crisis, In re Countrywide Corporation Securities Litigation, he obtained a settlement of $624 million for co-lead plaintiffs, New York State Common Retirement Fund and the New York City Pension Funds.
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 NASD Arbitration 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. He also has litigated cases which arose out of deceptive practices by custodial banks relating to certain foreign currency transactions.
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 Litigation as a Securities Litigation Star. He was also featured in The AmLaw Litigation Daily as Litigator of the Week 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.
In addition to his active legal practice, Joel co-leads Labaton Sucharow’s Securities Arbitration pro bono project in collaboration with Brooklyn Law School where he serves as an adjunct professor. Together with Labaton Sucharow partner Mark Arisohn, firm associates, and Brooklyn Law School students, he 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.
As a recognized leader in his field, Joel is frequently sought out by the press to comment on legal matters and has also authored numerous articles and lectured on related issues. He is a member of the American Bar Association, the Association of the Bar of the City of New York, the New York County Lawyers’ Association, and the Public Investors Arbitration Bar Association (PIABA).