Juan Monteverde is an attorney based in New York City and is the founder and managing partner of Monteverde & Associates PC. His practice is a national class action law firm that focuses on issues of importance to investors and consumers. The firm often represents shareholders in situations where they have incurred financial damages as a result of corporate fraud or misleading advertising. The firm has a history of excellence in its work and has been successful in cases that have been appealed at levels up to and including the U.S. Supreme Court.
Monteverde often handles cases in which he advocates for shareholder rights. This work includes a number of high-profile mergers where he sought to maximize shareholder value. He also regularly works to improve merger transactions in the process of representing his clients.
Juan Monteverde contributes his opinion on a variety of topics upon request or when he has insight into a situation of public interest. This work has included regular speaking engagements at ACI, PLI, ABA, and other conferences centered around mergers or executive compensation. He’s also produced extensive written work in the form of articles pertaining to executive compensation and securities litigation.
He has been selected by Super Lawyers as a New York Metro Rising Star in Securities Litigation and has been selected by Martindale-Hubbell as a Top Rated Lawyer. He received his B.S. in Finance from California State University of Northridge. He received his J.D. from St. Thomas University School of Law where he graduated cum laude.
How did you get started in this business?
After a decade working in a number of firms and running the mergers & acquisitions department at the last firm where I was a partner, I took the final and natural step of starting my own firm. The firm specializes in protecting shareholders with an emphasis in merger & acquisition transactions.
The work is informed by my background in securities law and an understanding of shareholder rights. Since its creation, the firm has been able to build on that legacy and help many clients achieve favorable outcomes through legal action.
In terms of my education, after law school, I got a job at Diaz Reus in Miami. Diaz Reus is one of Miami’s most prestigious law firms known for high-profile commercial disputes. Diaz Reus also handles a lot of governmental investigations of large firms, financial institutions, and even foreign governments in some cases.
So my time at Diaz Reus exposed me to a lot of different practice areas that straddled consumer and shareholder rights. The firm had clients from around the world so it also gave me a solid foundation in international business.
I then accepted a position with Smith, Mazure, Director, Wilkins, Young, & Yagerman in New York, where I eventually made partner. The firm focused on a variety of practice areas encompassing consumer rights and safety like product liability and construction law. But this time, I served as a defense attorney which granted me insights in civil litigation and different facets of the legal field that I otherwise could not have gotten.
I still use much of the knowledge and experience I gained from being a defense attorney in my practice today.
How do you make money?
The firm only makes money if it obtains a favorable result for shareholders. The firm makes money through a fee structure that is referred to as a contingency fee. For example, if the firm obtains a cash settlement fund for shareholders, then it would take a percentage of the fund, subject to Court approval.
How long did it take for you to become profitable?
I started the firm with cases already on file from my previous firm.
My prior experience at the law firms I worked at could’ve served as a springboard to a number of other practice areas and legal careers. But ultimately, I felt my calling was in standing up for large groups of people who suffer damages because of corporate fraud, misleading information, and the inherent risks of dilutive effects and misstatements in large, complex transactions like mergers.
But I’d also consider your interests and passions outside of your immediate field of study, or current workplace. Both will provide you with valuable knowledge and experience, but your passions can end up dictating where you go. I thought I’d have a career in finance when I was still attending Northridge until I got a part-time job at a law firm and changed tracks.
In a sense, I boomeranged back to finance by focusing financial litigation where I still use that background to this day.
When you were starting out, was there ever a time you doubted it would work? If so, how did you handle that?
Everyone considering a law career should find a way to test it out, like taking a job as a legal secretary or in the legal department at a large company. Seeing it firsthand will help you decide if a law career is for you since you’ll get to see attorneys in action every day and decide if that’s what you’d like to do.
In my case, I got to participate in a real trial. Seeing the real world impact that law professionals have on their clients’ lives convinced me that this was what I had to do. That soon enough, I’d get to represent my own clients and make the same kind of impact on their lives.
Cases and Court rulings will not always turn out the way one plans, but this should not discourage an attorney. Attorneys should always fight for their clients. When the focus is on the client and achieving the best possible outcome, an attorney can often perform at their most effective, which is the goal.
How did you get your first customer?
The firm obtains clients through targeted marketing and press releases related to merger & acquisition transactions. I got my first client this way 15 years ago, when using the internet to get clients was not in vogue. Now everyone does it this way.
What is one marketing strategy (other than referrals) that you’re using that works really well to generate new business?
Working hard and getting good results for your clients is a must, but also let the world know. The firm maintains a section in its webpage that lists all its recent successes. That way, the ability of the firm to help people is on full display and prospective clients can understand its history of effectively practicing law.
What is the toughest decision you’ve had to make in the last few months?
The world faced a pandemic through Covid 19. The firm was ahead of the curve and closed its offices 2 weeks before it was required in New York City to ensure the safety of its employees. The time that has elapsed since that decision has underscored the serious nature of the pandemic and the importance of timely action whenever possible.
What do you think it is that makes you successful?
I stick to some basic principles: Always leave your prior employers on good terms. You never know when they will have opportunities for you. Opening my own firm was only a natural next step after more than a decade of being on the associate then partner tracks. My first clients were active cases that I had transferred from Smith, Mazure, Director, Wilkins, Young, & Yagerman and I wouldn’t have been able to do that if I departed on bad terms, or very abruptly.
Don’t go home until you are done with all your work. It can’t be understated how important it is getting your work done and in a timely manner. Especially in litigation, many tasks are subject to tight deadlines and attorneys must keep the eye in the ball and moving their cases towards trial.
Watch what’s happening on the Internet, you’ll never run out of business ideas. You can also find and attract clients very easily on the Internet today, building a law practice in the past involved more detailed and targeted outreach.
Experience can be the compass that tells you where to direct your efforts. Time and energy are limited and when they’re utilized in a manner that’s less than ideal, your work can suffer. Developing a rich background of experience helps to keep your professional endeavors on track.
What has been your most satisfying moment in business?
In 2019, the firm made the Top 50 list of Class Action Securities firms in the country. This solidifies the firm’s success and it is a nationwide recognition.
What does the future hold for your business? What are you most excited about?
Helping shape corporate law in this country through expanding the Exchange Act in merger & acquisition cases is very rewarding. The firm is excited be able to protect shareholders by recovering money when they are shortchanged in a merger.
What business books have inspired you?
Don Quixote by Miguel Cervantes. It is very inspirational book because sometimes you must fight things others do not or cannot even see. Even still, the fight can be a noble one and can serve to give meaning to your life and work.
What advice would you give to your younger self?
Refusal to delegate will be your downfall.
Hire employees once it’s feasible. Find experts for things that aren’t related to your field, even if you otherwise find them fascinating. I made this mistake when I had to build my own website. Today, there’s lots of solutions to make one really fast but this wasn’t the case when I opened my firm. I took the time to learn some basic programming skills but wish I’d just hired a web developer so I could’ve focused more on activities that make more money.
Working hard and connecting with other professionals is key in any business. Networking is crucial for growth professionally. Not only can peers connect you to new opportunities, they can help you come to important learnings about yourself and your work. Their support can be crucial throughout the naturally winding path that can characterize a career in law.
Are you willing to be a mentor? If so, how should someone contact you?
It is important for any leader to be a role model, which can be the natural result of achieving success in your field and carrying yourself in a manner that others want to emulate. If you want to succeed in law, it is important to be knowledgeable and up to date of all legal developments in the area of law you wish to practice in.