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Areas of Practice

FINANCIAL LITIGATION

Financial litigation is an interdisciplinary area of legal practice which focuses on dealing with court cases which involve financial matters.

Quite a number of different types of cases can fall under the umbrella of financial litigation. In all cases, they involve sums of money, often quite large ones. Some examples include collections, in which a company, organization, or government is obligated to go to court to collect monies owed, along with the flip side of this, fighting collections actions, fines, and other financial assessments. Financial litigation also includes disputes over contracts and interference with contracts by third parties; disputes between partners, corporate stockholders or limited liability company members; heirs in an estate, death or other serious injuries to persons or damages to business interests; fraud, misrepresentation, and conspiracies sometimes resulting in awards of punitive damages; and, recovery of attorney’s fees in handling these cases, when applicable. Some cases may involve bankruptcy filings to obtain discharges or reorganizations, or filing lawsuits in bankruptcy cases called adversary proceedings or contested matters.

In some cases, the threat of financial litigation can be enough to reach an out of court settlement. Such settlements may be advantageous to one or all parties in a suit, for a variety of reasons ranging from preserving a company's reputation to potentially recovering more funds out of court than would be possible in court. In other instances, it is necessary to proceed in court to try a case before a judge or jury, and the possibility of an appeal.

Other cases may involve marriages through prenuptial agreements, or the dissolution of marriages where the parties have substantial assets, and obligations for alimony or spousal support. Future obligations of the parents to children through court enforced support and other obligations subsequent to the emancipation of children for the health, education and welfare during college and graduate education and beyond.

ASSET PROTECTION

Asset protection consists of legal methodologies to protect assets from creditors. It should not be confused with limiting liability, which concerns the ability to stop or constrain liability to the asset or activity from which it arises. Assets that are shielded from creditors by law are few (common examples include some home equity, certain retirement plans and interests in LLCs and limited partnerships and even these are not always unreachable]). Assets that are almost always unreachable are those to which one does not hold legal title in domestic or offshore trusts. In many cases it is possible to vest legal title to personal or business assets in a trust, an agent or a nominee, while retaining some or all of the control of the assets. The goal of asset protection is similar to bankruptcy, and the two areas go hand-in-hand. When a debtor has none to few assets, the bankruptcy route is usually preferable. When the debtor has significant assets, asset protection may be the solution. Another form of asset protection involves shielding assets from creditors or from taxes in a will or estate through the formation of trusts or by protecting heirs from their creditors in a will or trust.

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