Petal P. Walker

Petal Walker counsels banks, funds, brokers, commercial companies exchanges and clearinghouses, as well as innovators in the digital space, in meeting compliance obligations in a complex web of regulatory requirements. She advises on futures and swaps compliance and regulation and works closely with attorneys in banking, corporate, and AML to deliver comprehensive, multi-faceted legal advice to clients. Ms. Walker rejoined WilmerHale in 2017 after serving as chief counsel for Commissioner Sharon Bowen at the CFTC, where she advised on policy and enforcement issues and lead the Market Risk Advisory Committee.

Ms. Walker also assists market participants by alerting them to the issues raised by, and helping them demonstrate compliance with, the requirements of the Dodd-Frank regulatory framework. Ms. Walker has rendered advice to CFTC registrants and end-users regarding the Dodd-Frank requirements in a number of areas, including reporting, mandatory clearing, product definition, segregation of customer funds, risk management and financial resource requirements. She also has enforcement and litigation experience, and has successfully assisted entities in responding to complex SEC and FINRA investigations.

As chief counsel for Commissioner Sharon Bowen at the CFTC, Ms. Walker advised Commissioner Bowen on a variety of significant derivatives-related issues, clearinghouses, exchanges, swap execution facilities and swap data repositories—including CCP resilience, recovery and resolution, equivalence, execution methods, algorithmic trading, and reporting requirements; intermediaries—including clearing members, swap dealers, and asset managers—on issues including portability, capital and margin, the de minimis requirement, and cross-border harmonization; and emerging technology market participants including issues such as FMI registration and the clearing obligation.     

Prior to her three years at the CFTC, Ms. Walker was a senior associate at WilmerHale. 

Professional Activities

Ms. Walker is chair of the District of Columbia Bar Subcommittee on Fintech Regulation and Enforcement, and on the board of Women In Derivatives (WIND). She is also a member of the ABA Derivatives and Futures Law Committee Innovative Digitized Products and Processes Subcommittee; Derivatives, Securitization, and Project Finance Committee of the Corporation, Finance and Securities Section of the District of Columbia Bar Association; the Derivatives and Futures Law Committee of the Business Law Section of the American Bar Association; and Women In Energy (WEN). 

Insights & News


  • Education

    • JD, Harvard Law School, 2008

    • EdD, Harvard Graduate School of Education, 2007

    • MA, Comparative Education, Columbia University, 1999

    • BA, History, Yale University, 1995

      summa cum laude, with Distinction Phi Beta Kappa
  • Admissions

    • District of Columbia

    • Maryland

  • Government Experience

    • Commodity Futures Trading Commission

      Chief Counsel to the Commissioner