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Terrence J. Fleming, Fredrikson & Byron P.A.
Terrence J. Fleming, Fredrikson & Byron, P.A.

The POWER 30: Terrence J. Fleming

In 2007, securities regulators approved a merger between the enforcement arms of the New York Stock Exchange and the National Association of Securities Dealers, creating a single watchdog for brokers from Wall Street to Main Street.

It is the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, or FINRA, a self-regulatory body funded by the businesses it supervises and the fines it collects. It brought regulation of all size brokerages within one purview to save money and protect investors. It also provides arbitration under a uniform set of rules.

Terrence Fleming is a FINRA arbitrator who says that participants get a “fair shake” from the process, achieving much the same result as litigation but with less discovery. Typical FINRA claims include claims of unauthorized or unsuitable trading, churning the account for fees and fraud.

Fleming is also a trial lawyer in a variety of issues, including minority shareholder rights and dissenter rights. Dissenter rights are governed by Minn, Stat. sec. 302A.471 where shareholders seek a buyout after a corporate event with which they are dissatisfied. The procedures for dissenters and other minority shareholders differ, Fleming said.

Some lawyers have a “business court” in Minnesota, similar to the chancery court in Delaware. “I would not be opposed to it,” Fleming said. “But Hennepin County judges are not afraid to try cases.”

At the same time, “there’s always something frightening about a jury,” Fleming continued. “If there was no jury, it would be super appealing to me. Judges are better equipped [for business cases],” he said.

Fleming is an adjunct professor at the University of St. Thomas Law School and Mitchell Hamline School of Law. He is also president of the board of the Legal Rights Center in Minneapolis.

The Legal Rights Center was formed in 1970 to provide high-quality legal defense to indigent people, Fleming said. It is a 501(c) 3 nonprofit that is financially supported by the legal community and other non-government sources. It also serves juveniles in an effort to keep them out of the criminal justice system and in school, he said.