WilmerHale is pleased to announce that Stephanie Avakian, most recently Director of the Securities and Exchange Commission’s Division of Enforcement, is rejoining the firm as Chair of its Securities and Financial Services Department and member of the Management Committee.
Stephanie will rejoin the firm later in the year and will have a wide-ranging public company and financial services industry practice well-positioned to help clients address the enforcement, governance and compliance challenges presented by today’s markets. As Chair of the Securities and Financial Services Department, she will lead a practice that has enjoyed decades of success under William (Bill) McLucas, longtime Chair of the Department who also led the SEC’s Enforcement Division earlier in his career, and who will continue to play an active role in the practice.
As SEC Enforcement Director, Stephanie earned a reputation at the agency, in the bar and with those who were the subject of the SEC’s enforcement investigations and actions as a tough yet fair, thoughtful, and effective regulator.
Stephanie is returning to a practice that she helped lead as the vice chair based in New York before she left the firm in 2014 to become the SEC’s Deputy Director of Enforcement. She will lead one of the nation’s premier groups of lawyers in counseling and defending financial institutions, public and private companies, hedge funds, accounting firms, investment advisors, boards, corporate executives, and individuals facing regulatory and criminal investigations and litigation with the government. Her practice will draw on the firm’s strength in investigations and litigation, and its deep regulatory expertise.
“I am thrilled to rejoin WilmerHale and to lead the Securities and Financial Services Department. The firm’s lawyers and staff are extraordinarily talented, its culture is supportive and collaborative, and the commitment to client service and public service is enduring.” Ms. Avakian said about rejoining the firm. “The strength and depth of the firm’s securities and financial services practice, combined with its exceptional litigation, congressional, criminal defense, and other regulatory practices, provides a dynamic platform that has achieved many noteworthy successes for clients.” She added, “I am excited to work with Bill and the firm’s many other talented and dedicated lawyers."
“We are absolutely thrilled to have Stephanie return to the firm,” said Susan Murley, WilmerHale co-managing partner. “As a leader, she is unmatched. The same is true for her lawyering and tremendous management skills,” Ms. Murley said. “Stephanie is first rate across the board.”
“Stephanie’s decision to rejoin WilmerHale given her many other opportunities is a testament to WilmerHale’s incredible platform, talent and culture.” said Robert Novick, WilmerHale co-managing partner. “She will contribute greatly to the WilmerHale community immediately and for years to come.”
“The leadership Stephanie will provide will ensure that WilmerHale remains the premier securities law practice in the country, and we are all thrilled to have her back as a colleague and as the Chair of the Department,” said Mr. McLucas. “She is the ideal person to take on this important role.”