Securities Enforcement

Securities Enforcement

WilmerHale has a record of success at all stages of enforcement proceedings—from informal inquiries to complex formal investigations.

Key Contacts

Meet Our Team

Areas of Focus

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Experience

  • HIGH-FREQUENCY TRADING

    Represented a prominent global hedge fund in parallel SEC and DOJ inquiries regarding customer order flow and execution quality, including in the client’s “dark pool.” Secured declination in the DOJ proceeding and a favorable settlement with the SEC.
  • PARALLEL INVESTIGATIONS AND LITIGATION

    Took over as counsel to a Palo Alto–based health technology and medical laboratory services company in federal and state law enforcement and regulatory investigations, private civil litigation in federal and state courts, and corporate restructurings, following explosive media exposés about the company in national publications.
  • DATA BREACH INVESTIGATION

    Represented the board of a financial industry company in a highly publicized data breach. Conducted an internal review and provided advice not only about the legal framework around data privacy and security but also about the related governance, securities and liability regimes. Our work for the client built on our representation of one of the largest retailers in investigations and litigation arising from an analogous breach.
  • INTERNAL GOVERNANCE INVESTIGATIONS

    Represented the board of a confectionary products producer in successive internal investigations concerning potential insider transactions by board members and a failed acquisition of a Chinese confectionary brand. We worked with senior management and board committees to review and enhance governance practices.
  • ENFORCEMENT PROCEEDINGS AND TRIALS ARISING FROM PUERTO RICO FINANCIAL CRISIS

    Successfully represented a corporate and investment bank in Puerto Rico Office of the Commissioner of Financial Institutions, FINRA and SEC proceedings in connection with FINRA’s actions against prominent financial services firms for allegedly failing to supervise the sale, concentration and leverage involved in selling Puerto Rico closed-end funds prior to the financial collapse of the Puerto Rico fixed income market in 2013. Following resolution of the regulatory inquiries, we have continued to represent the client in multiple class actions and client arbitrations arising from the same events.
  • PCOAB AND SEC CLOSING LETTERS

    Obtained closing letter from the SEC and PCOAB following a multi-year investigation into a major accounting firm’s relationship with its largest client. Allegations included embezzlement by a company employee facilitated by a junior member of the audit team, as well as potential violations of auditor independence rules by the auditor.
  • INTERNAL INVESTIGATION OF CORPORATE CONDUCT

    Conducted an independent review of a client’s competitive intelligence and data-gathering practices. We reported results to the board and new senior management, and coordinated our work with ongoing criminal and civil inquiries.
  • INVESTIGATION OF ACCOUNTING FOR GOVERNMENT CONTRACT

    Represented a client in a 16-month SEC investigation concerning accounting treatment of a multi-year, multi-billion-dollar defense contract. After presentation to senior enforcement staff, the SEC closed its investigation.
  • DEFENSE OF CEO THROUGH TRIAL

    Successfully defended a financial company CEO in SEC proceedings, including through trial and then potential retrial. In the first trial, the jury cleared our client of half the SEC’s counts. When the SEC opted to proceed on the remaining counts (despite a jury having deadlocked 11–1 in the defendants’ favor on the remaining counts), we convinced the court to severely limit the SEC’s ability to present evidence in the retrial, based on the earlier judgment. The SEC then dropped all remaining charges.
  • DOJ AND SEC FCPA INVESTIGATION, WITH FOLLOW-ON COMPLIANCE REVIEW

    Represented a Fortune 100 global manufacturer in a parallel DOJ and SEC investigation into violations of the FCPA and other securities laws. The inquiry focused on the use of consultants and sales agents in the Middle East and Asia, as well as the company’s revenue recognition practices over a decade. We successfully resolved the government inquiries and advised the company on a comprehensive overhaul of its compliance programs and financial controls.
  • REPRESENTATION OF AUDIT COMMITTEE IN MULTI-YEAR RESTATEMENT

    Represented the audit committee of public company in its investigation of a significant, multi-year restatement of its audited financials. At the same time, we are handling related DOJ and SEC investigations. We have coordinated extensively with company auditors, to permit completion of the restatement of the company’s financials in a timely manner.

Recognition

  • Award Text

    #1 Leading Investigations and Compliance Practice

    Global Investigations Review 30

    2017

  • Award Text

    National Tier 1 Firm for Litigation: Regulatory Enforcement

    U.S. News-Best Lawyers® “Best Law Firms” List

    2017

  • Award Text

    Ranked Band 1 for Securities Regulation:
    USA – Nationwide

    Chambers USA

    2018

  • Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business (2017) – Reports that a peer in the enforcement field describes WilmerHale’s team as “terrific, frankly top of this space.” Our team’s leaders are described as “formidable” and “a dominant force in the space,” and “one of the leading experts in the field.”
  • The Legal 500 United States – Consistently recognizes the firm in the area of securities litigation—defense. The 2016 guide highlighted our focus on regulatory enforcement matters, calling us “best in class” and noting that we offer “extraordinary service.”
  • U.S. News and Best Lawyers® – Recognized our securities regulation practice at the national level (Tier 1) and lawyers throughout the firm have received recognition in the 2018 edition of “Best Lawyers in America.”
  • Litigation Docket – Named WilmerHale Securities Department Chair William McLucas and Partner Randall Lee to its 2017 Enforcement 40 list, which highlights the best and brightest securities enforcement defense lawyers in the industry.

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