Elizabeth L. Mitchell


Mitchell, Elizabeth
Elizabeth L. Mitchell's practice focuses on representing global financial institutions, investment advisers, broker-dealers, futures commission merchants, accounting firms, public companies, and their employees in regulatory investigations, enforcement actions, and litigation involving the federal securities laws. She has extensive experience representing clients in investigations and proceedings involving algorithmic trading and complex trading systems, alleged insider trading, alleged accounting irregularities, and compliance with numerous regulatory requirements, such as best execution, Regulation NMS, Regulation SHO, and the market access rule.

Ms. Mitchell has represented clients before the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, the Department of Justice, self-regulatory organizations, and state attorneys general. Ms. Mitchell also conducts internal investigations and counsels clients on regulatory and compliance matters.

From 1999 to 2001, Ms. Mitchell served as a Trial Attorney in the Torts Branch of the United States Department of Justice. In this role, she represented the White House and numerous federal agencies in the government's litigation against the tobacco industry.

Honors & Awards

  • Named to the 2015 Women Worth Watching list by the Diversity Journal
  • Recipient of the U.S. Department of Justice Civil Division Special Commendation Award in 2000

Publications & News


February 23, 2018

Supreme Court Articulates Dodd-Frank Whistleblower Definition in Digital Realty Trust, Inc. v. Somers

On February 21, 2018, the Supreme Court held in Digital Realty Trust, Inc. v. Somers that the anti-retaliation whistleblower protections under the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (the “Dodd-Frank Act”) apply only to those who have reported allegations to the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) as of the time of the allegedly retaliatory conduct.

February 11, 2016

SEC Adopts Rules on Non-US Firms That “Arrange, Negotiate, or Execute” Security-Based Swaps in the US

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) adopted rules that will affect firms operating in the global security-based swap market. Specifically, the SEC is requiring non-US firms that arrange, negotiate, or execute security-based swaps using personnel located in the United States to include those security-based swaps in their calculations of whether they reach the threshold requiring security-based swap dealer registration.

January 26, 2016

2015 CFTC Year-in-Review, and a Look Forward

CFTC continues to bring high-profile, large-penalty enforcement cases; begins bringing cases to enforce Dodd-Frank Act implementing regulations; and embarks on post-Dodd-Frank Act regulatory initiatives.

September 17, 2015

Diversity Journal Recognizes Two Partners Among Women Worth Watching

Partners Elizabeth Mitchell and Heather Zachary have been named to Diversity Journal's annual list of Women Worth Watching, which recognizes professional women for their passion, potential and positive influence both inside and outside the workplace.

May 13, 2015

DC Office Hosts Children’s Law Center Breakfast

On April 16, the firm's Washington DC office hosted the inaugural event in the Children's Law Center's 2015 Breakfast Series. Speaker Melody Barnes—former director of the White House Domestic Policy Council—challenged an audience of more than 50 lawyers and business leaders to think about "disconnected youth" in their communities in a new way.

April 28, 2015

SEC Applies Whistleblower Interference Rule to Corporate Confidentiality Requirement

On April 1, the US Securities and Exchange Commission issued—in a settled administrative proceeding—a cease-and-desist order in In the Matter of KBR, Inc., directing that the respondent cease violating Commission Rule 21F-17(a).

February 10, 2015

2014 CFTC Enforcement Year-in-Review, and a Look Forward

In 2014, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (“CFTC” or the “Commission”) filed 67 new enforcement cases—fewer than any year since 2010—but obtained a record $3.27 billion in monetary sanctions, nearly double the previous record of $1.7 billion set in 2013.

December 23, 2014

Recent Insider Trading Decision

On December 10, the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit issued an opinion in United States v. Newman that could be the most consequential insider trading decision in a generation, but for reasons that virtually no one anticipated.

October 1, 2014

Recent regulatory developments provide some clarifications regarding the market access rule for broker-dealers

An article by Bruce H. Newman, Elizabeth Mitchell, Stephanie R. Nicolas, Andre Owens and Ashley E. Bashur published in Journal of Investment Compliance,Vol. 15, Issue 3, pp. 10-19.

April 22, 2014

SEC Staff Issues First Set of FAQs on Rule 15c3-5, Risk Management Controls for Brokers or Dealers with Market Access

On April 15, 2014, the Staff of the SEC’s Division of Trading and Markets issued its first set of frequently asked questions (FAQs) regarding Rule 15c3-5 under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934.

Recent Highlights

  • Counsel to global hedge fund adviser in various SEC investigations into potential insider trading in equities and options 
  • Counsel to global financial services firm in SEC and FINRA investigations into the firm’s compliance with the Market Access Rule 
  • Counsel to major financial institution in FINRA investigation into trading on the firm’s ATS 
  • Counsel to global investment bank and supervisors in CFTC and FINRA investigations into unauthorized futures trading by a rogue futures trader
  • Counsel to major financial institution in SEC investigation into the firm’s compliance with Regulation SHO 
  • Counsel to major market-maker in SEC and FINRA investigations related to large IPO and May 6, 2010 "Flash Crash" 
  • Counsel to global investment bank in CFTC investigation into algorithmic trading of futures and options on futures 
  • Counsel to wealth management head in SEC investigation into auction rate securities 
  • Counsel to Big Four accounting firm in various SEC enforcement proceedings related to valuation and revenue recognition-related audit work 
  • Counsel to hedge fund adviser in NYAG investigation into use of paid research consultants 
  • Counsel to various broker-dealers in connection with NASD/FINRA investigations of mutual fund and variable annuity sales and trading practices
  • Counsel to Audit Committee of the Board of Directors of a large multinational public company in internal investigation and related SEC investigation of accounting irregularities 
  • Conducted internal investigations on behalf of public companies and investment advisers involving insider trading concerns

Professional Activities

  • Member, Former Chair – Board of Directors, Legal Counsel of Elderly


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JD, cum laude, Harvard Law School, 1998

BS, with Highest Distinction, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 1993

Bar Admissions

District of Columbia


New York


The Hon. Walter K. Stapleton, US Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, 1998 - 1999

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