Best North American Law Firm – Ruddy Law, PLLC

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The Ruddy Law Office, PLLC (`Ruddy Law') is a Washington, DC-based boutique law firm founded by Mark Ruddy in 2001. The firm is primarily comprised of former regulators with the SEC, NFA, and FINRA.  

Ruddy Law services a diverse range of clients. The firm has previously received distinction as a "go to" firm for hedge fund startups. At the same time, the practice serves as legal counsel to investment funds with over $1 billion in AUM, brokerage firms, venture capitalists, and entrepreneurs from a diverse group of industries. In the hedge fund space, the firm's transactional practice entails investment manager registration, private fund formation, and work on all forms of industry related contracts. On the litigation side, the firm handles regulatory investigations and civil litigation. 

Mark Ruddy founded the firm as a solo practitioner after having worked as a regulator at the National Futures Association, and at a SEC registered investment adviser. The firm has since grown organically to a handful of attorneys. This past year Ruddy Law has continued its personnel growth. In June, the firm welcomed attorney James Gregory, bringing more than 40 years of experience to the table. In addition to his role with the firm, Gregory is an equity partner in the Global Environment Fund, an international private equity firm headquartered in Washington DC where he previously served as general counsel and chief compliance officer. "Jim's addition to the firm gives us a much greater ability to serve clients on physical commodity deals, private equity deals, and international tax matters,” noted Ruddy.

In recent years, the firm's attorneys have had success with some notable cases. Noteworthy is attorney Steve Berk's having won a landmark appellate case for an individual that pertained to US securities regulators imposing a lifetime ban on a broker for misconduct.  In a rebuke to the Securities and Exchange Commission, a three-judge federal panel ruled that regulators may not impose such a sanction – "the securities industry equivalent of capital punishment" – until having considered all "potentially mitigating factors" that might result in a lesser penalty.

In a field dominated by global law firms, there has been a tendency to commoditise the business of law in support of hedge funds. In that respect, as a boutique law firm, Ruddy Law provides an interesting alternative to managers who want reassurances that the work is handled independently rather than delegating it to associates – and according to Ruddy is often done at half the cost of the mega firms. Ruddy added: "At the end of the day, we are what existed prior to the growth of big law. It's a non-complex business. We are a small law firm and every attorney actively gets his hands dirty and is involved in grinding out the work. The only distinction between us and your neighborhood lawyer is that we limit our practice to a certain industry." 

Based in Washington, Ruddy Law has its finger on the pulse with respect to regulatory developments. Ruddy says the firm is "active" in the recent spate of insider trading investigations stemming from the SEC. 

On winning this year's award, Ruddy comments: "We appreciate this showing of support by Hedgeweek's subscribers and would like to thank everyone who voted for Ruddy Law this year."

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