Gilbert Serota has extensive trial and appellate experience in all aspects of securities litigation, as well as corporate governance, real estate, trade secrets and employment law. His clients include issuers, officers and directors, broker-dealers, underwriters and their employees. He regularly appears as counsel in securities class actions, arbitrations, internal investigations, and SEC and FINRA regulatory proceedings. Mr. Serota also has successfully defended banks and bank holding companies against a variety of claims, including those involving ERISA, trade secrets, lending and credit card practices, employment discrimination, defamation and fiduciary duties.
In 2010, Mr. Serota was the recipient of the Anti-Defamation League Distinguished Jurisprudence Award. He is also an AV-rated attorney, a peer-awarded honor given by Martindale-Hubbell. Mr. Serota graduated from the Columbia University School of Law, where he was the Editor and Business Manager of the Columbia Law Review.
Mr. Serota taught Securities Regulation as an Adjunct Professor at Hastings College of the Law in San Francisco from 1990-95. In college, Mr. Serota was an All-Ivy League wrestler and won gold and silver medals for the United States in the Maccabiah Games in Israel.
- Yelp Securities Litigation: Successful defense of Yelp and three of its senior officers in a consolidated securities class action filed in the Northern District of California alleging violations of Rule 10b-5 in connection with an April, 2014 drop in Yelp's stock price. Our firm's motions to dismiss both the Amended and First Amended Complaints were granted by the federal court. Mr. Serota argued the appeal, and the Ninth Circuit affirmed the dismissal.
- Charles Schwab Best Execution Litigation: Successful defense of broker dealer Charles Schwab & Co. in two related class actions filed in 2015 in the Northern District of California alleging that Schwab failed to obtain best execution of equity trades for its customers during the putative class period. Our firm's motion to dismiss both complaints on grounds of SLUSA preclusion was granted by the Court, and final judgments entered in favor of all defendants. Mr. Serota argued the appeal, and the Ninth Circuit affirmed the dismissal on SLUSA preclusion.
- San Francisco Medical Foundation: Served as lead trial counsel for a San Francisco medical foundation, which obtained a $33 million breach of contract award against a Belgian pharmaceutical company from a AAA international arbitration panel; the award was confirmed by the federal court.
- Senior Officer of Broker-Dealer: Represented a senior brokerage officer against the SEC in an administrative law trial alleging a failure to supervise, and won a favorable judgment on all counts.
- Prudential Equity Group: Served as lead trial defense counsel in a class action jury trial against Prudential Equity Group in Washington state court arising out of a $20 million defaulted bond offering and won a unanimous jury verdict on all counts, including securities fraud; the jury verdict was upheld on appeal.
- Investment Advisory Firm: Won a jury verdict in San Francisco Superior Court for $1.8 million in damages against Mellon Bank arising out of its acquisition of a closely-held investment advisory firm.
- Arbitration Experience: Tried more than 75 NASD, NYSE, Pacific Exchange, JAMS and AAA arbitrations on behalf of investment banks and brokerage firms involving customer and employee claims.
Financial Services: Litigation (2017-2019)
Corporate Governance (2016-2018)
- JD, Columbia Law School, James Kent Scholar, Harlan Fiske Stone Scholar
- AB, Princeton University, cum laude
- United States Court of Appeals, Second Circuit, The Honorable Walter R. Mansfield
- Member, State Bar of California
- Member, SIFMA Compliance and Legal Division
- Elected Delegate, Democratic National Convention (2016); Co-Founder, Blue Tomorrow, Political Action Organization
- Member, National Executive Committee, Anti-Defamation League
- Member, Board of Directors, Good Cents for Oakland