ABOUT DEANA A. LA BARBERA
VAST EXPERIENCE - EXCEPTIONAL REPRESENTATION
Right out of law school Deana moved to Washington, D.C. to work for the Securities and Exchange Commission. It was a natural fit and a position she aspired to during her days as a stockbroker. Deana's specific work there was in market regulation--basically, writing and interpreting the rules that govern broker-dealer firms. In that position she frequently interacted with other divisions, including the Office of Compliance, Inspections and Examinations, the Division of Enforcement, the Division of Corporation Finance (which handles and regulates filings from private and publicly-traded companies), and the Division of Investment Management (which regulates investment advisers and investment companies (i.e., mutual funds)). If Deana had to choose a single most important lesson from the SEC, it is that she learned how the legal system works both practically and from a research standpoint. In that regard, she is deeply familiar with researching the applicable laws not only because she performed such research, but also because Deana has literally written some of the rules. As you can imagine, it tends to give one a different perspective than someone simply reading the law.
While working full-time at the SEC, Deana went to night school at Georgetown Law Center to earn a Master of Laws Degree (LL.M.) in Securities and Financial Regulation. The entire coursework of that program consisted of securities, business, insurance and banking laws. The classes in the Georgetown program were taught often by senior officials from the SEC and other financial regulators such as the CFTC and FDIC, and by senior partners at high-end law firms. Accordingly, Deana has extensive educational training in business, securities and financial laws and their practical application. Deana graduated from the Georgetown Master's program with distinction.
After the SEC she returned home to Los Angeles and worked at major international law firms: Morgan, Lewis & Bockius and Bingham McCutchen. At both firms she was in the corporate, securities and litigation departments handling all aspects of corporate work, including transactions (such as Mergers & Acquisitions) as well as litigation of corporate transactions. While there, Deana also represented broker-dealer firms in securities regulatory matters, including defending SEC inquiries, preparing opinions of counsel and defending customer arbitration disputes. In big firm practice, she also worked at Quinn Emanuel, which is a leading national litigation boutique firm. There, she handled all types of litigation including securities and corporate fraud, and disputes involving contracts, employment and intellectual property. This private practice work gave her broad experience in the business and financial world, which is unusual at big law firms because they tend to pigeon-hole the attorneys into narrow specialties.
In 2007, after working with so many business clients on succession planning in cooperation with estate planners, Deana decided to expand her own work into the area of estate planning. She took courses, partnered with established estate planners, and worked through the industry to begin her own estate planning and probate practice. Estate planning and probate has become a large portion of her day-to-day practice.
Finally, Deana has been involved in her family’s businesses as far back as she can remember and has been active with them since college. This has given her nearly three decades of general business experience and countless opportunities to learn from decisions both good and, occasionally, bad. Through it all, Deana has developed a solid sense of business and how it works.
All this experience has given her a unique perspective on handling business and personal needs: Deana looks at challenges as a transactional lawyer, a litigator and as a business person. It’s actually a surprisingly rare combination in the legal field. Beyond that, having her own practice ensures that you will have a single high level of work on all your matters—you will not have a junior associate cutting his teeth on your dime and you won't pay for numerous meetings getting a senior partner up to speed. What you will have is access to vast experience while getting personal attention to your matter. Also, because Deana is a sole practitioner, she is able to keep her rates low. The bottom line is that you get big firm partner-level experience for a reasonable price.