Howard M. Privette

Top rated Securities Litigation attorney in Costa Mesa, California

Snell & Wilmer LLP
Howard M. Privette
Snell & Wilmer LLP

Practice Areas: Securities Litigation, Business Litigation

Licensed in California since: 1988

Education: Stanford Law School

Selected to Super Lawyers: 2005 - 2024 Selected to Rising Stars: 2004

Snell & Wilmer LLP

Plaza Tower
600 Anton Blvd, Suite 1400
Costa Mesa, CA 92626-7689 Phone: 714-427-7540 Email: Howard M. Privette Visit website


Howard Privette is a trial lawyer who represents U.S. and global clients in a wide range of complex business disputes, and focuses his practice in securities litigation and fiduciary duty litigation. 

Mr. Privette represents clients in cases involving business ownership disputes, financial restatements and alleged GAAP violations, insider trading, alleged corrupt practices (FCPA), privacy and cybersecurity, mergers and acquisitions (M&A), FDA regulations, false claims act and whistleblower issues, and other corporate governance matters. He also assists companies, officers and directors in relation to internal investigations, and in SEC, DOJ, and other regulatory proceedings.

Mr. Privette has perhaps unique trial experience among securities defense lawyers in that he has tried to judgment both civil and criminal securities fraud cases.  Perhaps most notably, Mr. Privette was lead trial counsel for the defense in one of the very few securities class actions to go to trial in the post-Reform Act era.  He successfully defended the former Chairman and CEO of, Inc. against claims based on the company's restatement of two years of revenues.  After a three-week jury trial and verdict, judgment was entered whereby the shareholder class took nothing from our client and the case was dismissed with prejudice.  This landmark victory was named one of the “Top Verdicts of 2011” by the Daily Journal and “Highly Commended” and ranked among the year's top 10 U.S. litigation cases by the Financial Times in its 2012 “Innovative Lawyers” report.

Mr. Privette was also a member of the trial team that obtained a complete defense verdict in favor of the former Chairman and CEO of sTec, Inc. in a SEC civil enforcement action based on allegations of insider trading and misstatements about the company's revenue guidance.  After a two-week trial in the United States District Court in Orange County, California, the jury took less than one day to return their unanimous verdict for the defendant.  This win was named one of the "Top Verdicts of 2014" by the Daily Journal.  

Mr. Privette obtained a securities class action dismissal for UBS, described as a "big win" by the American Lawyer and "Highly Commended" and ranked among the year's top 10 U.S. litigation cases by the Financial Times in its 2011 “Innovative Lawyers” report.

Mr. Privette graduated from Yale College (B.A., magna cum laude), Yale University (M.A., Economics), and Stanford Law School (J.D., with distinction; Order of the Coif; Note Editor, Stanford Law Review). 

First Admitted: 1988, California

Professional Webpage:

Bar/Professional Activity:
  • Orange County Bar Association
  • Federal Bar Association
  • Association of Business Trial Lawyers
  • Los Angeles County Bar Association
Educational Background:
  • B.A., magna cum laude, with distinction in Economics, Yale College, 1985
  • M.A. (Economics), Yale University, 1985
  • JD, Stanford Law School (with distinction), 1988
Scholarly Lectures/Writings:
  • Discussion of economic issues underlying the Supreme Court's consideration of the fraud on the market doctrine.   , Co-author, "The Law Professors’ Brief’’: A New Middle Ground for the Fraud on the Market Presumption in Securities Class Actions After Halliburton II?, Bloomberg BNA Securities Regulation & Law Report, 2014
  • Discussion of Delaware and California law concerning directors' fiduciary duties before and after insolvency., Co-author, Navigating Insolvency Risk in COVID-19 Distressed Companies, Harvard Law School Forum on Corporate Governance, 2020
  • As reflected in SEC guidance, disclosure of cybersecurity problems by public companies presents an interesting confluence of policy considerations., Co-author, The SEC Guidance on Cybersecurity Measures for Public Companies, Los Angeles Lawyer, 2014
  • Your Shareholders are Concerned About Cybersecurity,
  • Searching For an Efficient Market with Cross-listed Securities: Denial of Class Certification in Deutsche Bank Illustrates Increased Scrutiny of the Fraud on the Market Doctrine,
  • The U.S. Supreme Court Rejects a Broad Tolling Approach to the Statute of Limitations for Section 16(b) Claims,
  • Changing Securities Litigation Landscape Poses New Challenges For Public Companies,
Pro bono/Community Service:
  • Board of Directors, Orange County Bar Association, 2023
  • Member, Merit Selection Panel, Central District of California, 2023
  • Chair, Orange County Bar Association Judiciary Committee, 2020
  • Board of Directors, Constitutional Rights Foundation, 2019
  • Member of Paul Hastings Pro Bono Committee, 2013
Industry Groups:
  • Banking
  • Financial Services
  • Health Sciences
  • Real Estate
  • Technology

Office location for Howard M. Privette

Plaza Tower
600 Anton Blvd, Suite 1400
Costa Mesa, CA 92626-7689


20 Years Super Lawyers
1 Year Rising Stars
  • Super Lawyers: 2005 - 2024
  • Rising Stars: 2004

Top Lists

Top 50: Orange County Super Lawyers: 2018

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