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About me

As a former SEC lawyer and current FINRA arbitrator, Mr. Stephens’ legal practice forcuses on representing clients in binding securities arbitration before FINRA seeking to recover damages (compensatory and punitive) caused by improper stockbroker or adviser conduct, such as negligence, fraud, broken promises, excessive trading, unauthorized trades, or unsuitable investments.

Mr. Stephens, who has been interviewed by CNBC and "MONEY" magazine, is a former Attorney-Adviser with the U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission in both the Enforcement and Investment Management Divisions, and currently serves on the "Chairman" arbitrator roster of FINRA, having served as an arbitrator in customer cases for over 15 years.

Some notable Awards achieved by Mr. Stephens are highlighted by articles in the Wall Street Journal, such as Warren v. Morgan Stanley ($1,500,000 compensatory, $3,500,000 punitives), Saccheri v. A.G. Edwards ($750,000 compensatory, $2,250,000 punitives), and Boll v. Merrill Lynch ($625,000 compensatory, $938,000 punitives). Prospective clients may not obtain the same or similar results.


Additional Client References at

With offices in Boca Raton, Florida and Los Angeles, California, in a USA multi-jurisdictional practice, Mr. Stephens has handled FINRA. arbitration hearings for clients in such diverse locations as Anchorage, Seattle, San Francisco, Louisville, and Washington, D.C., and represented clients in many more parts of the United States and abroad.

Originally from New York, Mr. Stephens graduated from the University of Michigan with “High Distinction” and Phi Beta Kappa honors with a major in Economics. During college breaks, he was employed in New York on Wall Street" by Lazard Freres & Co., the international investment banking firm.
Subsequent to college, he graduated with a Juris Doctor degree from Cornell University and practiced law in New York City on Park Avenue with Otterbourg, Steindler, Houston & Rosen, primarily business litigation.

Accepting the invitation for a Fellowship with the Center for Study of Financial Institutions and Securities Markets, at the University of Pennsylvania, Mr. Stephens performed research on intricate legal questions under the Securities Act of 1933 and the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, and published several legal articles in law reviews. Following the Fellowship, which included finance course work at the Wharton School, Mr. Stephens was awarded an LL.M. (Master of Laws) post-doctorate degree in Securities Regulation from the University of Pennsylvania Law School.

Mr. Stephens then accepted a position as Attorney-Advisor with the U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission in Washington, D.C., initially with the Division of Investment Management, regulating investment advisors under the Investment Advisors Act, and mutual funds under the Investment Company Act. Thereafter, the Enforcement Division sought his services in its Organized Crime Branch, where Mr. Stephens presided over the first case to use the new U.S.-Swiss Treaty to open up Swiss bank accounts in a criminal investigation. In the evenings, Mr. Stephens, as an Adjunct Professor, taught business law to college students at Benjamin Franklin University, now merged with George Washington University.

Accepting an offer to relocate to California, Mr. Stephens served as a Senior Attorney with the Atlantic Richfield Company (“ARCO”) at its corporate headquarters involving major litigation defending ARCO. At one point, he was responsible for supervising ARCO’s defense in most of its litigation cases nationwide. While at ARCO, Mr. Stephens underwent training in the Trial Attorneys Program sponsored by the Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office, and performed pro bono services as a criminal prosecutor in Los Angeles.

Mr. Stephens decided to open his own litigation practice in Los Angeles, and ARCO became his principal client. Moreover, he was appointed by the Courts as a Judge pro tem, and sat on the bench for cases in the Los Angeles Municipal Court and Los Angeles Superior Court. Active in civic matters, Mr. Stephens was appointed and later reappointed to the State Architects Board by the Governor of California, where Mr. Stephens served as Vice-Chairman of the Enforcement Committee.

Mr. Stephens is a Member of the following Bars: California, Florida, New York, Washington, D.C., U.S. Supreme Court, U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit, 11th Circuit, and D.C. Circuit, U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida, and numerous other courts.


Languages spoken: English, Spanish

Practice areas


  1. Investment Fraud: 60%
    21 years, 100 cases
  2. Financial Services: 20%
    21 years, 100 cases
  3. Arbitration: 20%
    21 years, 100 cases


Payment types:


Attorney endorsements

2 total 

Are you an attorney? Endorse this lawyer

  • Scott Lance Silver

    Richard is a passionate advocate for defrauded investors with significant experience trying finra arbitration cases.


    Scott Silver Securities and investment fraud Attorney
    Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community

  • Christopher L Mass

    Richard's knowledge of securities law and FINRA rules and procedures is unmatched. His wealth of experience, strong advocacy skills and commitment to his clients sets him apart from his peers. He is certainly one of the top FINRA attorneys in Southern California. He's a first class attorney.


    Christopher Mass Construction and development Attorney
    Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community

Contact info

Law Office of Richard A. Stephens (Boca Raton and Los Angeles)

117 S. Gardner St.
Los Angeles, CA, 90036

Law Office of Richard A. Stephens

5550 Glades Road, Ste. 500
Boca Raton, FL, 33431



FLMember in Good Standing199306/21/2016
NYCurrently registered 197507/11/2016
DCInactive 197907/10/2016
We have not found any instances of professional misconduct for this lawyer.
Avvo contributions
Legal answers
Award nameGrantorDate granted
Candidate on Ballot for CongressU.S. Congress1992
SEC Testimonial AwardU.S Securities & Exchange Commission1979
Work experience
TitleCompany nameDuration
Sole Partner -Law Office of Richard A. Stephens1987 - Present
AttorneyAtlantic Richfield Company1979 - 1987
Attorney-AdviserU. S. Securities & Exchange Commission1976 - 1979
Attorney-FellowCeneter for the Study of Financial Institutions and Securities Markets1975 - 1976
AttorneyOtterbourg, Steindler, Houston & Rosen, PC1974 - 1975
Association namePosition nameDuration
U.S. Court of Appeals for D.C. CircuitMember of Bar2004 - Present
U.S. Court of Appeals for 11th CircuitMember of Bar2004 - Present
Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA)Arbitrator (Chairman roster)1998 - Present
U.S. District Court for the Southern Dist. of FLMember of Bar1994 - Present
United States Supreme Court BarMember1982 - Present
U.S. District Court for Central Dist. of CAMember of Bar1980 - Present
U.S. Dist. Court for the Eastern Dist. of NYMember of Bar1975 - Present
U.S. District Court for the Southern Dist. of NYMember of Bar1975 - Present
New York State Bar AssociationMember1975 - Present
U.S. Court of Appeals for 2nd CircuitMember of Bar1975 - Present
U.S. Dist. Court for the Northern Dist. of NYMember of Bar1975 - Present
Public Investors Arbitration Bar AssociationMember2001 - 2014
Los Angeles Municipal CourtJudge pro tem1989 - 1991
Los Angeles Superior CourtJudge pro tem1988 - 1991
California State Board of Architectural ExaminersBoard Member (Governor Appointee)1987 - 1992
Legal cases
Case nameOutcome
Estate of Jack Gambino v. Triad AdvisorsAward of $260,000
Resnick v. Citigroup Global MarketsAward of $400,000 plus attorneys fees
Estate of Michael Warren v. Morgan StanleyAward of $5,000.000, including punitive damages
See all legal cases 
School nameMajorDegreeGraduated
University of Pennsylvania Law SchoolSecurities RegulationLL.M - Master of Laws1977
Cornell Law SchoolLawJD - Juris Doctor1974
University of Michigan, Ann ArborEconomicsBA - Bachelor of Arts1971
Speaking engagements
Conference nameTitleDate
Newspaper InterviewPunitive Damage Awards in Arbitrations2004
CNBC Television interviewArbitrations filed against stockbrokers2001