Maria Windham of Ray Quinney & Nebeker’s Securities Litigation Practice

Maria Windham
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The firm of Ray Quinney & Nebeker P.C. (RQN), celebrating its 75th anniversary this year, boasts one of the largest and most experienced securities litigation practice groups in Utah. Maria Windham, a shareholder at RQN, has devoted the last 10 years of her career to litigating complex securities matters. Windham and her colleagues at RQN cover the entire spectrum of the securities litigation practice, including federal and state court trial proceedings, governmental investigations, white collar criminal defense and FINRA arbitrations.

Over the last decade, Windham has represented investors and whistleblowers, industry members and unlicensed individuals who are accused of violating federal and state securities laws. “We represent a wide variety of clients on securities matters. We’ve handled cases on behalf of large and small investors where we have obtained multimillion-dollar judgments or settlements for our clients,” says Windham.

Windham noted that RQN’s experience includes all sides of the financial industry: “On the one hand, we’ve represented investors who have been defrauded by a broker or financial agency. On the other side, we’ve frequently represented people who’ve been accused of securities fraud.” That perspective from both sides is “particularly beneficial to our clients.”

Before joining RQN, Windham clerked for the Securities and Exchange Commission in Utah, working on securities legislation on behalf of investors. “Working at the SEC sparked my interest in this area. When I came to RQN, I started working with Mark Pugsley, who has been practicing in securities litigation for 20 years and who is one of the go-to guys in Utah for securities litigation. We offer a lot of experience between the two of us.” Windham’s interest in securities work has also led her into both RQN’s receivership practice group and qui tam and false claims practice group.

AN EXPANDING PRACTICE AREA In the last three to four years, RQN has seen a steady expansion of its securities litigation practice. Windham notes that much of that dynamic growth has occurred through lateral movement – with prominent attorneys joining RQN and adding depth and bandwidth to the firm’s practice.

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“For example, Brett Tolman, the former U.S. attorney here in Utah joined us. He focuses primarily on criminal and corporate compliance work and he brings a great perspective to the criminal aspects of our cases. Likewise, Matt Lewis joined the firm after working in Washington, D.C. at a global law firm and then at a high-level position in the U.S. Department of Justice. Eric Benson is a former assistant U.S. attorney for the state of Utah. We have other talented attorneys coming up in the ranks, too,” she says.

Windham cites the firm’s unity of purpose as a major factor in the success of the securities litigation practice and for the firm overall.

“I think we have a great management philosophy in our practice group and in our firm. Law firms, as a whole, are interesting because you have a partnership of unique individuals with different talents and perspectives. The strength in that is that you can see and solve problems more quickly if you listen to each other. We communicate well with each other as lawyers and we trust each others’ judgment. That generates a lot of mutual respect among our team.” This unified team approach, says Windham, “directly benefits our clients because we can find solutions more quickly and effectively.”

Those same qualities are shared by RQN firmwide. The firm’s management practices open communication with all of the partners. Windham says that one of the best qualities of the firm is that it is managed in a transparent manner where all of the partners feel like they have input into the firm’s direction.

“Our firm has built its reputation on practicing at the highest level with a distinct sense of ethics and professionalism. We take great pride in that. It is part of our firm ethos to say that we do things ‘the Ray Quinney way’ when we practice law. That gives us a lot of credibility with opposing counsel and Utah’s judiciary. In turn, that translates to a lot of credibility for our clients in court.”

75 YEARS A UTAH INSTITUTION Ray Quinney & Nebeker P.C. was founded in 1940 by Paul H. Ray, S. Joseph Quinney and A. Hulme Nebeker and today serves clients statewide in a wide variety of practice areas. The firm has over 100 attorneys working from the main office in Salt Lake City and a branch office in Provo, which opened in 2005.

“Our business philosophy is to understand our clients’ businesses and make ourselves an integral part of their teams,” Windham says.

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