The Empirical Research Group at UCLA

University of California, Los Angeles pic
University of California, Los Angeles


Sylvia Scott is a lawyer and partner with Freeman, Freeman & Smiley, LLP, focusing her work as an attorney on securities regulations. An alumna of Loyola Marymount University, attorney Sylvia Scott earned her JD from the University of California, Los Angeles, School of Law (UCLA Law).

Recognized as a trailblazer in legal education and training, UCLA Law created the Empirical Research Group (ERG) in the 1990s. ERG focuses on designing and implementing quantitative research in public policy and law.

Faculty members associated with the methodology-oriented group have written extensively on a wide range of topics, encompassing campaign finance disclosure, gay rights, pollution prevention, legal aid, and bankruptcy.

ERG students can select a topic of their choice to improve their skills in data analysis, research design, and statistics. Students involved in the ERG program also have the opportunity to take part in special courses such as public interest law, housing issues, and bankruptcy law along with having the chance to work with prominent researchers in a work study program.


The Culture of Compliance and FINRA

Financial Industry Regulatory Authority pic
Financial Industry Regulatory Authority

Sylvia Scott is an attorney and partner at the Los Angeles law firm Freeman, Freeman & Smiley, LLP. Named a Super Lawyer in multiple years, Sylvia Scott has also authored articles for legal journals on topics related to compliance with FINRA regulations in conjunction with her role as an attorney.

Each year, FINRA releases its Annual Regulatory and Examination Priorities Letter in order to disseminate information among businesses about important issues as they relate to compliance with FINRA’s regulatory programs. In 2016, one of the main emphases of FINRA’s letter was a stringent focus on firm culture. FINRA asserted that it would put focus on determining if examined firms supported a “culture of compliance.”

In order to facilitate a culture of compliance, businesses are expected to exhibit a commitment to five core facets of operations. These operations encompass such issues as whether or not employees abide by control functions, whether leaders tolerate the violation of control breaches, and how much effort a company puts into seeking out instances of risk and compliance. Additionally, employees in positions of power must display a strong commitment to a compliant firm culture for the benefit of their teams. Sub-cultures within the corporate structure must also be monitored to make sure that operations fall under direct conformity with the company’s overall commitment to compliance.

Securities Regulatory Examinations for Broker-Dealers

Sylvia Scott, Attorney pic
Sylvia Scott, Attorney

A Los Angeles Super Lawyer, attorney Sylvia Scott earned her juris doctor from the University of California Los Angeles, School of Law. As the head of the Securities Regulation Practice Group at Freeman, Freeman, and Smiley, LLP, attorney Sylvia Scott is experienced with regulatory examinations.

Regulatory examinations are a common occurrence within the broker-dealer community. The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) conduct various examinations to evaluate regulatory compliance. These include cycle/routine examinations, sweep examinations, and cause examinations.

Cycle examinations are carried out by both FINRA and the SEC. They are conducted in a cyclical basis to identify the firm’s legal and regulatory compliance. The examinations, which form the bulk of broker-dealer examinations, are done using a risk-based approach.

Sweep examinations are done on a sample of firms. They focus on a specific area of business, such as sale of private placements, then evaluate how the selected firms deal with that specific area.

Cause examinations are carried out in situations in which the regulator believes there may be violations from a firm. Cause examinations can arise from customer complaints, tips, or press articles.

Cooperating with the FINRA and SEC Examiners

Financial Industry Regulatory Authority pic
Financial Industry Regulatory Authority

A Los Angeles attorney, Sylvia Scott earned her juris doctor from the University of California Los Angeles, School of Law. A partner at Freeman, Freeman, and Smiley, LLP, Sylvia Scott is an attorney representing brokers and financial advisors.

The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) carry out routine examinations to investigate regulatory compliance within the companies under their jurisdiction. For securities brokers, therefore, regulatory examinations are not a rare occurrence, but rather occur at regular intervals.

Cooperating with the regulator’s examiner during these examinations is important. Some of the ways the firm can do this is by:

1) Designating a point person
This is a principal at the firm who will be directly responsible for interfacing with the examiner. For much larger firms, an entire department may be tasked with liaising with the examiner to facilitate a smooth examination.

2) Common courtesies
These include providing the examiner with adequate work space to conduct the examination. In the course of interaction, all employees of the firm should be responsive and courteous.

3) Maintain good communication
Do not lie to the regulators. Address any previous miscommunication, making sure to correct any issues that arise afterwards. Do not give the impression that you are out to frustrate or delay the examination.

Tips for Giving a Speech in a Professional Setting

Giving a Speech pic
Giving a Speech

Sylvia Scott is a Los Angeles-based attorney with over 30 years of experience in the legal sector. Apart from her work as a lawyer and partner with Freeman, Freeman & Smiley, LLP, attorney Sylvia Scott has given speeches on topics related to the securities industry at several professional conferences in the past.

Giving a speech to a large audience in a professional setting can seem like a difficult task, but a few tips can help make the process much easier and more enjoyable for your audience. For example, if you find yourself nervous beforehand, take the opportunity to walk through the room and make brief conversation with a few audience members. Familiarizing yourself with a handful of faces in the crowd may help you feel more comfortable looking out and making eye contact with the group as you speak.

At the beginning of your speech, establish a strong, confident stage presence to set the tone for your presentation. Making your way to the heart of the subject matter as soon as possible will keep audience members engaged. Similarly, try to remain cognizant of how fast you are speaking and try to rely on note cards and other written material as little as possible.

A strong conclusion to your speech will leave a lingering impression. Depending on the subject of your address, consider closing with a statement that uses contrast, rhetorical questions, or a call to action to drive your point home.

FINRA Qualification Exams

Finance Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) Image:
Finance Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA)


A current partner and a three-time Super Lawyer at Freeman, Freeman and Smiley, LLP and with past experience as a faculty member for the National Association of Compliance Professionals, Sylvia Scott is an accomplished expert attorney specializing in securities compliance and litigation. In addition to speaking engagements at industry conferences, Sylvia Scott has previous experience at FINRA and the SEC with a concentration on compliance and enforcement litigation. Ms. Scott also has extensive experience with broker/dealer regulatory examinations and has been a featured speaker on numerous occassions.

The Finance Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), maintains a number of qualification examinations that securities professionals must take and pass prior to working in the industry. Each exam is focused on a specific securities activity; however, the exams as a whole cover the broad market and general regulatory requirements.

Exams vary based on the specific certification being sought. For example, the General Securities Representative Examination tests for competency as an entry level general securities representative. Visit for a full list of examinations.