Ben Suter joined Keesal, Young & Logan in 1982 and has been a shareholder in its San Francisco office since 1987. As an active litigator, Ben focuses on complex litigation, including the defense of financial services firms (broker-dealers, registered investment advisors, banks, hedge funds, underwriters, insurers) and their employees in court, in arbitration, and in regulatory proceedings. As part of his employment practice, Ben frequently defends employers in wage and hour class actions and is active in cases involving claims for discrimination, harassment, defamation, breach of contract, unfair competition and related causes of action, and he will on occasion represent victims of workplace sexual harassment. Ben also defends attorneys in legal malpractice cases involving allegations of wrongdoing related to transactional work, courtroom competence, and professional responsibility. Over the past four decades, Ben has developed substantial litigation and subject matter expertise defending licensed professionals, entrepreneurs, and senior executives in essentially every type of business dispute involving securities, malpractice, trusts, and employment issues.
Ben has handled numerous cases involving Ponzi schemes, public offerings, broker-dealer sales practices, real estate sales, condominium developments, sales of businesses, dissolution of partnerships, and the like, predicated on claims of fraud, breach of fiduciary duty, bad faith conduct, elder abuse, unfair business practices, negligence, and related statutory claims under federal and state laws. Ben has defended over 60 class actions, “mass” actions, and private attorney general actions involving claims under various federal and state securities laws and consumer protection laws, including a complex municipal bond class action that proceeded to a jury trial in federal court (see Cromeans v. Morgan Keegan & Co., 859 F.3d 558 (8th Cir. 2017). Ben recently defeated class certification in a purported nationwide securities class action that challenged the suitability of asset transfers from broker-dealer commission accounts to registered investment advisor fee-based accounts (Nguyen v. Raymond James & Assocs., 2022 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 187653 (M.D. Fla 2022)).
Ben has also tried or arbitrated to conclusion approximately 100 cases in California, New York, Hawai‘i, Arizona, Minnesota, and Oregon. Those cases included jury trials and bench trials in federal and state courts, and arbitrations before the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (“FINRA”), the New York Stock Exchange (“NYSE”), the National Association of Securities Dealers (“NASD”), the Pacific Stock Exchange (“PSE”), the American Arbitration Association (“AAA”), Judicial Arbitration and Mediation Services (“JAMS”), and the Commodities Futures Trading Commission (“CFTC”). Ben represents securities clients in a variety of regulatory matters brought by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”), by State Securities Regulators, and by FINRA’s Department of Enforcement, many of which involve cutting edge legal issues affecting the securities industry. In addition, Ben has obtained client vindication before FINRA’s National Adjudicatory Council (“NAC”). Ben has also handled cases in Alaska, Florida, Missouri, Nevada, New Jersey, Texas, Guam, and Saipan, and has successfully argued appellate cases at the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, at the California Court of Appeal, and at the Hawai‘i Supreme Court.
In recent years, Ben has successfully represented numerous homeowners in court who lost everything in Northern California wildfires, and thereafter learned that their insurers and agents had failed to procure adequate insurance as promised, resulting in the homeowners being severely underinsured and unable to rebuild their homes or their lives without legal assistance. Ben has volunteered his time and expertise to United Policyholders, a non-profit organization that advocates for insureds throughout the United States, and has provided pro bono services to fire victims.
Ben was recognized by Best Lawyers in America (2024 Edition) as one of the top appellate law practitioners in Northern California. He was selected in 2023 and 2024 as one of the 500 Leading Litigators in America by Lawdragon. Ben was selected by his peers for a dozen consecutive years and thereafter as being among the top five percent of all Northern California attorneys, as recognized by Thomson Reuters’ Super Lawyers Magazine. Ben has been a biographee in multiple Who’s Who publications for several decades and is a 2017 Lifetime Achievement Inductee.
For years, Ben was a Senior Contributing Editor for the Securities Arbitration Commentator’s Securities Litigation Alert and provided weekly analyses and commentary for the publication. In 2017, Lawdragon published a profile on Ben’s career in its Lawyer Limelights series. (View Lawdragon Profile.) Ben has also participated in California Lawyer’s Roundtable Series on class actions that addressed the continued evolution of class action jurisprudence in the wake of recent U.S. Supreme Court and federal appellate court decisions.
Ben has served as a panelist and/or speaker on presentations to FINRA and to the IBC Mutual Fund Compliance Conference, and has made numerous legal and compliance presentations to Wall Street management and employees. He is a member of the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association (“SIFMA”) Legal & Compliance section and has served as an arbitrator for the National Futures Association (“NFA”).
As a dual citizen of the United States and Switzerland, Ben grew up in California and in Europe. After attending schools in France, Switzerland, and Austria, Ben attended the University of California, Santa Barbara where he obtained his B.A. in philosophy in 1978. He graduated from the University of California, Hastings College of the Law in 1982, after serving as Articles Editor for the Hastings Constitutional Law Quarterly. Ben is a member of the State Bars of California (1982), Arizona (1983), and Hawai‘i (1984). He is also admitted to practice before the United States Supreme Court (1987), as well as the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit (1982) and the Eighth Circuit (2013), and all of the United States District Courts in California, Arizona, and Hawai‘i. Ben has held a California Real Estate Broker license since 1986.