Mark Toshiro Hiraide
Petillon & Hansen
When he was a boy, Mark Toshiro Hiraide would hear stories from his parents, both Japanese Americans, about their internment during World War II. Those accounts, says Hiraide, “gave me a perspective on justice and the power of the government.”
Hiraide has carried this perspective throughout his career as an attorney with the Securities and Exchange Commission, and now, at age 37, in private practice as one of the hottest young securities attorneys in L.A.
He practices at Petillon and Hansen, a small Torrance firm that specializes in representing early-stage growth companies on securities-related matters.
Richard Hansen, name partner at the firm, attributes much of his firm’s success to Hiraide. “We’re one of the few small firms that specialize in sophisticated securities transactions, and we are able to do that becuase of Mark’s background at the SEC,” says Hansen. “We’re looking to Mark to be one of the key people who will eventually take over management of the firm.”
Hiraide’s career was in large part shaped by his roots. As a third-generation Japanese American, Hiraide was interested in some day working in Japan after his graduation from USC Law School. He began his legal practice in 1984 at a small Century City firm, primarily because it had a large Japanese clientele.
By 1986, Hiraide decided that specialized intensive experience in securities law would be his ticket to getting a coveted job with a Tokyo office of an American firm. So he headed to the SEC, planning to stay for a year or two.
He wound up staying for eight years, moving up through the ranks to become a branch chief in the division of enforcement in L.A. and then moving to Washington as a senior attorney for the SEC’s Division of Corporation Finance.
While in Washington, Hiraide got an unusual request from the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Hawaii to aid in the criminal prosecution of several defendants who had been involved in a civil suit he had handled while in Los Angeles. SEC attorneys are rarely called in on criminal cases.
That experience added to his knowledge of securities law, a knowledge he took into private practice. He chose Petillon and Hansen, due to the firm’s specialization in an area of securities law that interested him financings for startup companies.
Since joining the firm in 1994, Hiraide has been involved in initial public offerings, private offerings and other securities matters.
“I’ve worked on the other side, so I know what they’re looking for and I know a lot of people (at the SEC),” Hiraide says. “I’m able to help clients identify problem issues before they become problems.”
Hiraide is proudest of the public offering he handled for Bonded Motors Inc., a rebuilder of automobile engines based in South Central.
“Bonded is providing good jobs for the local work force, and the workers are doing a good job for Bonded,” he says. “I feel like I’ve helped the company make some contribution socially.”
Lisa Steen Proctor