William A. Despo founded the Despo Law Group, a Rumson, New Jersey law firm, after spending the last 30 years with a major Newark, New Jersey law firm that merged with a regional law firm that has become the 120th largest law firm in the country with over 400 lawyers. Bill was the chairperson of the Financial Services Practice Group that represented insurance companies, investment advisors, banks, credit unions, broker/dealers, insurance agents, brokers, hedge funds, capital market participants and others.

Although he enjoyed his years at his former law firm, Bill decided to refocus his practice and become more general with the nature of his work. He continues to counsel several of his institutional clients while expanding to service smaller clients. Partnerships, small to medium size companies, and individuals is the focus of his law practice. Because of the range of matters that he has been involved in over the years, he can assist clients with a wide variety of issues such organization of businesses whether as a corporation, partnership or limited liability company, capital market offerings, tax issues, employment matters, fiduciary issues,  commercial and residential real estate, trust and estates, wills, consumer issues, cyber-security, and of course representing clients in all venues from arbitrations, state and federal court and governmental administrative proceedings.  He represents start-companies, investors, and seasoned companies.

Bill has appeared in state and federal courts throughout the United States, and has represented clients in arbitration proceedings at the American Arbitration Association, JAMs, and Financial Industry National Regulatory Authority (FINRA). He is a member of FINRA and National Futures Association Arbitration Boards. He is also a member of the Disciplinary Panel of Tradition SEF, which is a national trading facility for swaps and derivatives.  He has defended individuals and companies including Registered Investment Advisors (“RIA”) and Broker Dealers  before the U. S. Securities Exchange Commission, U. S. Commodities Futures Trading Commission, New Jersey Bureau of Securities, and other federal and state agencies.  He has lectured about fiduciary issues affecting RIAs and Broker Dealers arising out of the Department of Labor’s Fiduciary Rule. He has tried cases and arbitrations throughout the country.

Bill also is active in the community. He is a member of the Eastern Monmouth Chamber of Commerce, Financial Planning Association N.J. Chapter, New Jersey Business and Industry Association. He volunteers his time for the Pro Bono Partnership that provides free legal advice to charitable organizations throughout New Jersey. He is the committee chairperson for Securities Committee of the New Jersey State Bar Association (“NJSBA”). He is also a member of the Professionalism Committee for the Monmouth Bar Association. He is a member of the Professional Liability Underwriter’s Society.  Bill has spoken at continuing legal education courses including attorney ethics, class actions, shareholder disputes, mortgage crisis, arbitrating customer securities claims and other subjects. He was recently honored to be a co-organizer for an all-day continuing legal education Securities Litigation Update program sponsored jointly by the Philadelphia Bar Association and NJSBA.  He has organized a program on Financial Fraud for the NJSBA Annual Meeting that included panelist from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, SEC, NJ Bureau of Securities, and FINRA.

LL.M, Georgetown University, 1978

J.D., Vermont Law School, 1976

B.A., Humanities, Michigan State University, 1972

Bar Admissions
New Jersey

Court Admissions
• U.S. Tax Court
• U.S. District Court for Southern District of New York
• U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit
• U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
• U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit
• Federal Circuit Court of Appeals
• U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit
• U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey

Legal Experience

• Despo Law Group, Rumson, New Jersey, May, 2016 – Present
• LeClairRyan, Newark, New Jersey, December 2007- April, 2016
• Seiden Wayne, Newark, New Jersey, 1991-2007 (merged with LeClairRyan)
• Cassidy Despo & Foss, 1981-1991
• American Stock Exchange, Inc. 1978-1981 (Enforcement Lawyer)

Memberships and Affiliations

• New York Stock Exchange: Arbitrator (former)
• FINRA: Arbitrator
• National Association of Securities Dealers Arbitrator (former)
• Monmouth Bar Association: Member, Banking and Commercial Law Committee (former); Member, Professionalism Committee
• National Futures Association: Arbitrator
• New Jersey State Bar Association: Chair, Securities Committee; Member, Class Action Subcommittee
• American Bar Association: Member, Securities Subcommittee for Self-Regulatory Organizations
• Securities Industry Financial Management Association: Member Compliance and Legal Division
• American Inns of Court, Haydn Proctor Inn of Court: Barrister (former)
• National Society of Compliance Professionals: Member (former)
• Professional Liability Underwriters Society: Member
• Financial Planning Association: Member, New Jersey Chapter Advocacy Committee
• Adjunct Professor at Seton Hall University Law School, Corporate Finance Law (former)