Joseph Brenner was the Chief Counsel of the Securities and Exchange Commission’s Division of Enforcement for more than 10 years, from 2011–2021. Prior to that, he was a WilmerHale partner for 20 years, with a practice that focused on securities enforcement, internal corporate investigations, and related civil and criminal litigation.

As Chief Counsel, Mr. Brenner was the Division of Enforcement’s principal legal and policy advisor.  He provided advice and guidance to the Enforcement Division’s leadership and staff across the country concerning Enforcement investigations and investigative practices, recommendations to the Commission for settled and contested Enforcement actions, and litigation.  He also was responsible for legal and policy issues concerning congressional oversight and legislation and the Division’s relationships with the Department of Justice and other federal and state law enforcement agencies.

In private practice, Mr. Brenner represented corporations, financial institutions, accounting and law firms, and individuals in investigations and enforcement proceedings involving the SEC, FINRA, and other self-regulatory organizations.  He also represented clients in federal criminal investigations and proceedings and private civil litigation involving allegations of securities and other financial misconduct.  His internal investigation work included representing the special committee of the Enron Corp. Board of Directors that examined the company’s business dealings with its former Chief Financial Officer.

Professional Activities

Mr. Brenner is an adjunct professor at the Catholic University of America Columbus School of Law. He has been a frequent speaker and educator on securities enforcement, internal investigations, and corporate governance to professional and industry groups, corporate boards, and law school classes.

Insights & News


  • Education

    • JD, Georgetown University Law Center, 1982

      cum laude Managing Editor, Georgetown Law Journal
    • BA, Cornell University, 1979

  • Admissions

    • District of Columbia

    • New York

    • US Supreme Court

    • US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit

    • US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit

    • US Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit

    • US District Court for the District of Columbia

    • US District Court for the District of Maryland

    • US District Court for the Southern District of New York

  • Clerkships

    • US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, 1982 - 1983



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