Norton Rose Fulbright US LLP
Related services and key industries
- Securities litigation, regulation and enforcement
- Class actions
- Corporate governance
- Regulation and investigations
Key industry sectors
Ellen Sessions is Head of the Disputes Section for the Financial Institutions Business Sub-Group for Banking and Other Non-Insurance Financial Institutions, United States.
Ellen concentrates her practice in the area of complex business and commercial litigation, including securities litigation and enforcement, internal and corporate investigations and arbitrations. Ellen regularly represents corporations, national and regional banks, investment banks, broker-dealers, clearing firms; and corporation's officers and directors.
Ellen represents both corporate and individual clients and has extensive experience in arbitrations before the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA).
JD, cum laude, Southern Methodist University School of Law, 1996
BA, Politics, Princeton University, 1991
While in law school, Ellen worked on the International Lawyer Law Review. She is licensed to practice in Texas and admitted to practice before the U.S. Fifth Circuit, the Northern, Eastern, Western and Southern Districts of Texas.
While at Princeton, Ellen was on the swim team and was a Captain of the Swimming and Diving Team her Senior year.
- Texas State Bar
Ellen has experience in many areas of civil commercial litigation, including:
General and Securities Litigation Experience: Ellen has extensive experience litigating in federal and state court and before arbitration panels. Her litigation practice includes defending class actions, as well as shareholder derivative actions and a wide range of claims against corporations, issuers, underwriters, banks, investment banks, brokerage firms, clearing firms, financial advisors, officers and directors. She has also represented companies in litigation over corporate control, including hostile tender offers and proxy solicitations.
Enforcement Experience: Ellen has considerable enforcement experience, which includes representing both companies and individuals in insider trading, fraud, theft, and other investigations and matters. She has also represented companies, officers and directors in inquires and investigations by the Securities and Exchange Commission ("SEC"), the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) and the Texas State Securities Board ("TSSB").
Internal Corporate Investigations: Counsel to Wall Street investment banks, trust companies and broker-dealers in internal and regulatory investigations nationwide (including FINRA, SEC, and multiple state agencies)
Mergers, Acquisitions, Going-Private Transactions and Proxy Contests: Ellen represents companies, directors, officers and investment banks in litigation arising out of mergers, acquisitions, going-private transactions and proxy contests.
Her representative experience also includes:
- Assist in supplementation of existing compliance resources, including the identification of material laws, rules and regulations ("LRRs") regarding business lines at brokerage firms and national banks.
- Lead Counsel in successful take nothing FINRA arbitration for $26 million defending a global broker-dealer and related global bank involving loans against security holdings, concentrated position allegations, collateral call liquidations and potential insider trading
- Representing a national bank in its multi-district litigation involving purported class action and investor committee claims relating to alleged victims of a PONZI scheme
- Representing 27 investment banks in a purported class action involving Section II and 12(a) claim in state court relating to oil and gas company preferred share offering
- Represented national clearing firm in a Multi-District Litigation involving purported class and individual claims relating to alleged victims of a PONZI scheme
- Represented national broker-dealer and clearing firm involving claims by an alleged class of victims of a PONZI scheme; obtained a motion to dismiss
- Represented a national broker dealer and clearing firm in an opt-out FINRA arbitration claim by an alleged PONZI scheme victim
- Represented four investment bank underwriters in a purported class action brought by shareholders against the issuer and its underwriters after an IPO
- Represented two investment bank underwriters in a purported class action brought by shareholders against its issuer and underwriters after two Shelf Offerings
- Represented investment bank / broker-dealer in several purported class actions and individual arbitrations brought by employees and shareholders of Enron stock relating securities fraud and claims of fraudulent securities analyst reports
- Represented oil and gas company officers and directors in a derivative suit involving employment compensation claims with a merger pricing related derivative claim overlay
- Represented investment banking firm in an purported class action involving a claim for fraud in conjunction with a valuation opinion in a bankruptcy reorganization; won motion for summary judgment and was resolved while on appeal
- Represented investment banking firm in an action involving a claim for fraud in conjunction with a startup power company seeking to build power plants in India
- Represented investment banking firm in a purported class action involving a claim for fraud in connection with a fairness opinion
- Represented investment banking firm in an purported class action involving a claim for breach of fiduciary duty by the company directors in approving a merger/acquisition
- Represented CEO of a national waste management company in two separate state cases (individual claims) and one federal (class claims) case in conjunction with claims of securities fraud
- Represented CEO of energy company in separate state (individual claims) and federal (class claims) case in conjunction with claims of securities fraud
- Represented national music distributor in a purported class action involving a claim under the Texas Unfair Debt Collection Act
- Represented broker-dealer in a purported class action involving alleged unlawful wiretapping of telephone calls
- Represented national credit counseling service in a purported class action involving claims for fraud and breach of fiduciary duty in connection to credit counseling services
- Successfully arbitrated numerous cases across the country before FINRA (formerly NYSE and NASD) for broker-dealers and clearing firms relating to claims for unsuitability, churnings, fraud, breach of fiduciary duty, breach of contract, negligence, selling away, theft, options trading violations, margin or other collateral loan violations, unauthorized trading, failure to supervise, Rule 144 stock violations, among many others
- Represented multiple broker dealers in matters in which a product and/or particular employee has generated numerous complaints and/or arbitrations which require coordination
- Through the Lawyers on Loan program with the Dallas District Attorney's Office, prepared and tried over a two dozen cases in three months.
- Chambers USA, Texas, Litigation: Securities, Chambers and Partners, 2019 – 2023
- The Best Lawyers in America, Litigation - Securities, Best Lawyers, 2024
- Legal 500, Recommended Lawyer, Securities Litigation: Defense, The Legal 500, 2021
- Texas Super Lawyer, Thomson Reuters, 2010 – 2013
- Texas Rising Star, Thomson Reuters, 2004 – 2009
- Dallas Best Lawyers, D Magazine, 2021
- Dallas Best Lawyers Under 40, D Magazine, 2004 – 2006
- Co Author, "In Mixed Ruling, California Court Addresses Interplay Between Arbitration and Choice-of-Law Provisions in Customer Agreements ", Fulbright Briefing, October 23, 2012
- Co Author, "Second Circuit Rules That FINRA Lacks Authority to Sue for Disciplinary Fines", Fulbright Briefing, October 7, 2011
- Co Author, "Mandamus Relief in Shareholder Derivative Cases", Texas Business Litigation, Summer 2010
- Co Author, "Supreme Court Curbs “Scheme Liability” Lawsuits", Fulbright Briefing, January 17, 2008
- SIFMA Annual Conference speaker regarding FINRA Arbitration Updates, March 2012, 2013, 2016 and 2017
- American Bar Association
- State Bar of Texas
- Dallas Bar Association
- Patrick E. Higginbotham American Inn of Court (Associate 1999, Barrister 2005-2007, Master 2016 - present)
- Texas Bar Foundation
- Texas Association of Defense Counsel