Paul R. Bessette

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Paul Bessette

AUSTIN
T: +1 512 457 2050
F: +1 512 457 2100

NEW YORK
T: +1 212 556 2120
F: +1 212 556 2222

SAN FRANCISCO
T: +1 415 318 1241
F: +1 415 318 1300

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Profile   |   Matters   |   Recognition   |   News & Insights

Paul R. Bessette serves as Co-Chair of the firm’s Securities Litigation Group. He has a national securities litigation practice with clients ranging from established Fortune 100 companies to the newly public. Paul has been lead counsel in scores of cases nationwide, defending companies, officers and directors, underwriters and accountants in shareholder class action lawsuits, derivative litigation, Securities and Exchange Commissions (SEC) proceedings, M&A litigation and other complex commercial litigation. He also has significant experience in litigation involving breaches of fiduciary duty and representing board committees in various types of corporate investigations. Paul is a frequent speaker and author on shareholder litigation, corporate disclosure and corporate governance.

Mr. Bessette frequently participates in industry panels and has participated on the topic of securities litigation to organizations such as the Association of Corporate Counsel, the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and The Center for American and International Law.  He has also authored numerous articles on securities-related matters appearing in publications such as ABA Business Law Today, Insights, Financial Executive, Law360, Financial fraud Law Report, The D&O Diary, Bloomberg Law Reports, National Underwriter and The Securities Reporter.  He also authored the chapter “Securities Litigation and the role of the SEC” in Energy and Environmental Trading:  U.S. Law and Taxation, Cameron May 2008, and is Co-Editor for the Securities Litigation Reform Act Reporter.

Mr. Bessette is an active member of the American Bar Association, and is Co-Chair of the ABA’s Securities Litigation Subcommittee of the Business Law Section.  He is also an active member of the State Bars of Texas, California and New York.  Mr. Bessette is a participant and lecturer for the Practicing Law Institute and a Fellow with the Texas Bar Foundation.  Mr. Bessette has been recognized by The Best Lawyers in America, Super Lawyers and Lawdragon, and is rated AV® Preeminent™ by Martindale-Hubbel. 

Professional and Community Involvement

  • Board Member, Foster Angels of Central Texas

  • Co-Editor, Securities Litigation Reform Act Reporter

  • Fellow, Texas Bar Foundation

  • Member, American Bar Association, Litigation Section
    Co-Chair, Securities Litigation Subcommittee

  • Member, State Bars of Texas, California and New York 

  • Participant and Lecturer, Practicing Law Institute (PLI)

  • Former Advisory Board Member, Securities Law 360

  • Former Board Member, Ballet Austin

Publications

  • Co-Author, “Cybersecurity: The Next Big Wave in Securities Litigation,” Association of Corporate Counsel, February 21, 2013

  • Co-Author, “Developments Regarding Extraterritorial Effect of U.S. Securities Fraud Statutes,” Financial Fraud Law Report, September 2012

  • Co-Author, “Securities Litigation And The Energy Sector”  Law360, New York, August 21, 2012 and also featured in The D&O Diary, August 23, 2012

  • Co-author “Securities Litigation in 2011 by the Numbers, and a Look Behind the Rise in Securities Cases Against U.S. Listed Chinese Companies,”  Advocate, Summer 2012

  • Co-Author, “Reverse Mergers and the Rise of SEC Investigations and Shareholder Lawsuits Involving Chinese Companies Listed on U.S. Stock Exchanges,” Bloomberg Law Reports, March 26, 2012

  • Co-Author, “Keeping Current: 2012 Outlook for Say-on-Pay Lawsuits,” ABA Business Law Today, February 2012

  • Author, “The Rise of SEC Investigations and Shareholder Lawsuits Involving Chinese Companies Listed on U.S. Stock Exchanges,” Insights, 2011 

  • Author, “Twombly and Iqbal’s Impact on Affirmative Defenses,” Law360, May 20, 2011

  • Author, “Wall Street Reform Bill Will Have Unique Impact on Small Companies,” ACC Newsstand, September 2010

  • Chapter Author, “Securities Litigation and the Role of the SEC,” Energy and Environmental Trading: U.S. Law and Taxation, Cameron May Ltd., 2008

  • Author, “Considering Going Dark?” Financial Executive, November 2006

  • Author, “The Current Landscape of Securities Litigation,” Association of Corporate Counsel Conference, October 2004

  • Author, “External Consequences: Internal Investigation After Sarbanes-Oxley,” NACD-Directors Monthly, March 2004

  • Author, “Defending Securities Class Actions Involving Accounting Restatements,” Securities & Commodities Regulation, January 2004

  • Author, “Strategies for Minimizing Risk in Securities Litigation Storm,” National Underwriter, November 2003

  • Author, “Accounting Fraud: What it Looks Like and How to Avoid It,” The Securities Reporter, Newsletter of the ABA Section of Business Law Committee on Federal Regulation of Securities, Vol. 8, Issue 2, Summer 2003

  • Author, “Accounting Fraud in 2002: Lessons Learned,” Securities Reform Act Litigation Reporter, Vol. 15, No. 1, April 2003 (and reprinted in the Practicing Law Institute’s Securities Litigation & Enforcement Institute Materials, 2003)

  • Author, “The Current Landscape for Securities Litigation,” Trying and Defending Securities Class Actions, American Conference Institute’s Securities Class Action Conference Materials, June 2003

  • Author, “Financial Restatement and Securities Fraud Liability — Do They Necessarily Go Hand in Hand?” Securities News, Fall 2001

  • Author, “Securities Class Actions in State Courts: A Way Around the Federal Securities Litigation Reform Act,” May 1998

  • Author, “The New Face of State Court Securities Litigation,” American Bar Association National Institute on Securities Litigation and Arbitration, 1998

  • Author, “Two Years After the Securities Reform Act — Has the Landscape Changed?” January 1998

  • Author, “Defending Securities Class Actions,” American Law Institute and American Bar Association, Securities Litigation Program, 1997

Speaking Engagements

  • Co-Author, “Delaware Court Opens the Door to Private Dilution Claims Against Venture Capital Firms,” Insights, Volume 27, No. 6, June 2013; and VC Experts, June 2013

  • Speaker, ABA Business Law Section, “2013 Business Bar Leaders Conference,” May 17, 2013

  • Panelist, “9th Annual Directors & Officers ExecuSummit,”  May 15, 2013

  • Speaker, “Securities Litigation Update,” American Bar Association Spring Meeting 2013

  • Speaker, Energy and Mineral Law Foundation, 33rd Annual Institute “Securities Litigation and the Energy Sector,” June 25, 2012

  • Speaker, Directors & Officers Liability Insurance ExecuSummit, May 8, 2012

  • Presenter, Shareholder Derivative Suits After say-On-Pay Votes, Strafford, April 18, 2012

  • Panelist, Clearing the Muddy Waters: Current Best Practices to Succeed in U.S. Capital Markets and to Manage U.S. Securities Litigation Risk, January 11, 2012, Shanghai

  • Panelist, Director & Officer Liability & Regulatory Risk Exposure for China-Based Companies, June 14, 2011, Beijing

  • Panelist, AUCC Annual Meeting, March 6, 2011, Shanghai

  • Speaker, “Securities Litigation and SEC Enforcement Trends,” Texas Lawyer Corporate Counsel Summit, November 2010

  • Panelist, “Securities Litigation and SEC Enforcement Trends,” The Directors Roundtable, January 2010

  • Panelist, “Conducting Corporate Investigations that Count,” The Metropolitan Corporate Counsel, January 2008

  • Panelist, “Challenges Facing Boards of Directors: Key Issues in SEC Disclosure & Enforcement,” The Directors Roundtable & The National Leadership Institute, November 2007

  • Speaker, “The Corporate Divorce: Cross-Shareholder Disputes,” American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, September 29, 2006

  • Speaker, “Securities Litigation & Enforcement Actions: What You Need to Know,” Association of Corporate Counsel Annual Meeting, October 25-27, 2004

  • Presenter, “The Current Landscape of Securities Litigation,” Association of Corporate Counsel Conference, October 2003

  • Panelist, “Trying and Defending Securities Class Actions,” American Conference Institute, June 2003

  • Speaker, “Securities Fraud and Shareholder Litigation in the Energy Industry,” The Center for American and International Law, November 2002

  • Speaker, “Defending Against a Securities Suit — A Litigator’s Perspective,” AON Conference to Directors, October 2002

  • Panelist, “Navigating Through Changing Times as a Public Company,” NIRI Conference, June 2002

  • Panelist, “Securities Update 2002: Anticipating Disclosure Scrutiny,” May 2002

  • Panelist, “A Look at the Future of the Public Markets,” FEI/NIRI Conference, April 2002

  • Panelist, “Legal and Business Issues Facing the Early Stage Technology Company,” Texas Institute of Continuing Legal Education Conference, April 2002

  • Speaker, “Crisis Communications: Keeping Your Cool When the Boat Rocks,” NIRI Austin Chapter, March 2001
EDUCATION
Law Degree, Baylor University
B.A./B.B.A., The University of Texas at Austin

ADMISSIONS
California
New York
Supreme Court of the United States
Texas
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit
U.S. District Court for the Central District of California
U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California
U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York
U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas
U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California
U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas
U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California
U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York
U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas
U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas