Stephen F. Boutin has successfully defended numerous investment disputes involving complex limited partnerships, tax shelters and securities, and acted as lead litigation counsel for over 7,000 plaintiffs nationwide in a successful securities fraud action. He also successfully represented plaintiffs before FINRA, the New York Stock Exchange, the National Association of Securities Dealers and the Pacific Exchange. For over 40 years Steve has worked on myriad ag-related issues, disputes and lawsuits. He has proudly represented farming families, small agri-businesses and ranchers, as well as large agricultural entities, including serving as lead outside counsel for two ag cooperatives with global businesses.
He began his path to practicing law by attending the University of California at Davis, King Hall Law School. After law school, Steve joined Downey, Brand, Seymour and Rohwer, a firm started by his grandfather, Stephen Downey. Steve started his legal career in business litigation, focusing on Constitutional, real property, contract, and sports issues. Early in his career he appeared before the First and Third Appellate District Courts and the Supreme Court of California and had numerous appellate court opinions published. He litigated cutting-edge issues and represented notable clients, including General Motors, McClatchy Newspapers, The State Bar of California, then-Assembly Speaker Willie Brown, CBS, “60 Minutes”, and Olympic Swimming Coach, Sherm Chavoor. In 1978, he was elevated to partnership at Downey, Brand. Within five years he had earned Martindale-Hubbell’s highest rating, AV, and was elected to the firm’s Executive Committee.
In late 1986, Steve co-founded Boutin, Lassner, Gibson, Perry & Delehant, from which Boutin Jones Inc. later evolved. In 1995, Steve joined three friends, William Dentino, Chris Gibson and John Di Giusto, to found Boutin, Dentino, Gibson & Di Giusto. In 1997, they welcomed Doug Hodell and in 2010, nearly 20 attorneys from the McDonough Holland and Allen law firm, including Jeff Jones, joined the Boutin law firm.
The practice of law and all that’s included has changed dramatically because of technology. We’ve gone from carbon paper to copiers to the electronic era. Research used to be in the library and now it’s electronic. It’s not only changed the way we do research, but how we communicate, which is often electronically. In one respect, it has evened out the playing field for lawyers in non-mega firms.
I handle, and attempt to efficiently and economically resolve, disputes involving people and entities.
Some days, I view my biggest professional accomplishments as the smaller cases where the issues at stake were life-changing matters for individuals. Other days, I am proud of the work I have done on a more complex, taxing case, where we got an incredible jury verdict. Then sometimes, it’s just about heart and how we were able to help a pro bono client turn around a challenging situation.
I want to be a participant, not spectator, in life, so I try to fully devote myself to whatever I’m doing. Family is incredibly important to me. My wife and I spend significant time with our kids and our grandkids. I also have traveled, and experienced, much of the world, and hope to continue doing so.
Moderator and panelist on numerous legal education programs including California State Bar CEB programs on real estate litigation and complex civil discovery, and investment law classes attended by attorneys and securities brokers
Lectured at the University of California at Davis, King Hall Law School
Being a successful attorney is never about one quality. Empathy for clients, competitiveness, persistence, optimism. I am blessed with stamina. I generally feel I can outlast opposing parties when it comes to arduous, protracted litigation. As a runner, I had a lot of stamina, and as a lawyer I try to use that to my client’s benefit. We’re in a profession of serving others; you cannot indulge your sense of impatience.