Randall Lee's practice focuses on representing companies, financial services firms and individuals in investigations by the US Securities and Exchange Commission, the US Department of Justice, and other regulatory and law enforcement agencies. He has led internal corporate investigations on behalf of management and boards of directors in the US, Europe, Asia, and Latin America, and he represents companies in complex civil litigation in federal and state court. Mr. Lee is the founding partner of WilmerHale's Los Angeles office, and joined the firm after serving as Regional Director for the Pacific Region of the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) from 2001 to 2007, and before that as an Assistant US Attorney.
Mr. Lee has substantial experience in matters involving the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA), accounting and disclosure issues, insider trading, regulations governing SEC-registered investment advisers and broker-dealers, and anti-money laundering and Bank Secrecy Act issues.
Mr. Lee maintains an active pro bono practice. In 2015, for example, he led a trial team that won jury verdicts in federal court on behalf of an inmate at Pelican Bay State Prison against four correctional officers for having retaliated against his client in violation of the First Amendment. Lee previously represented the client in an appeal by the California Attorney General's Office to the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, which led to a successful settlement and eventual release of his client from solitary confinement. Lee also led a team that, in partnership with the Southern Poverty Law Center, filed a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the US Department of Veterans Affairs' refusal to grant equal disability benefits to an Army veteran and her same-sex spouse. A federal judge declared the relevant statute unconstitutional—the first case to decide whether married gay and lesbian veterans and their spouses should receive the same benefits as their heterosexual counterparts.
Lee has also represented prisoners seeking resentencing under California's Three Strikes Reform Act and an immigrant who fled a gang in El Salvador and sought withholding of removal under the Immigration and Nationality Act and the United Nations Convention Against Torture.
As Regional Director for the Pacific Region of the SEC, Mr. Lee was responsible for the Commission's Los Angeles and San Francisco offices, consisting of enforcement, litigation, and compliance inspection programs covering nine Western states, including California. The first Asian American to head an SEC regional office, Mr. Lee led numerous significant and high profile SEC enforcement actions involving financial reporting and accounting misconduct, mutual fund abuses, auditor misconduct, FCPA violations, broker-dealer violations, municipal bond fraud, insider trading, market manipulation and investment fraud. He managed a staff of approximately 175 attorneys, accountants, compliance examiners and support personnel.
From 1994 to 2001, Mr. Lee was an Assistant United States Attorney (AUSA) for the Central District of California, where he focused on the investigation and prosecution of complex business crimes, including securities fraud, financial institution fraud, tax crimes, money laundering and computer crimes, and served as a Deputy Chief of the Major Frauds Section of the US Attorney's Office. As an AUSA, Mr. Lee tried cases involving securities fraud, bank fraud, money laundering, narcotics violations, and violent crime, argued appeals before the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, and led long-term grand jury investigations.
Before becoming a federal prosecutor, Mr. Lee was a transactional lawyer focusing on mergers and acquisitions, securities offerings and general corporate matters. He began his professional career as an associate in corporate finance and banking at Bankers Trust Company in New York, San Francisco and Los Angeles.
In 2014, Mr. Lee was selected to Lawyers of Color's 2014 "Power List," which recognizes the most influential minority attorneys in the United States. He was also named a 'Star Lateral of the Year' by The American Lawyer magazine in February 2008.
Mr. Lee is a frequent speaker on subjects relating to securities regulatory and enforcement issues, internal investigations, the FCPA, corporate compliance and ethics and white collar crime. He has lectured on behalf of the International Organization of Securities Commissions (IOSCO) in Bangkok, and on behalf of the US State Department in Tokyo.
Mr. Lee is a member of the Southern California Chinese Lawyers' Association and the Japanese American Bar Association. He serves as vice chair of the board of trustees of the Japanese American National Museum. He previously served as Chair of the SEC Enforcement Division’s Diversity Committee, as a member of the ABA Litigation Section Task Force on the Attorney-Client Privilege, and as a member of the board of directors of the Constitutional Rights Foundation and the Asian Pacific American Legal Center of Southern California.
- Recognized as a leading litigation attorney by Chambers USA: America's Leading Lawyers for Business for his work in white collar crime and government investigations
- Selected by The National Law Journal as a 2017 Winning Litigator for his victory over the Securities and Exchange Commission at trial last year. He was chosen as one of a select few who achieved major wins in high-stakes court cases.
- Selected by clients and peers as being among the world's leading investigations lawyers in the 2017 and 2018 editions of Global Investigations Review's Who's Who Legal: Investigations
- Recommended in the 2017 edition of The Legal 500 United States for his corporate investigations and white-collar criminal defense practice
- Named to the Daily Journal's 2017 and 2015 Top 100 Lawyers in California lists
- Included on Securities Docket's 2017 Enforcement 40 list
- Named a 2015 Rainmaker by the Minority Corporate Counsel Association
- Selected to Lawyers of Color's 2014 Power List, which showcases the most influential minority attorneys in the United States
- Named a Star Lateral of the Year by The American Lawyer magazine in February 2008
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JD, University of California, Berkeley School of Law, 1989Order of the Coif Articles Editor of the California Law Review
BA, Yale University, 1983cum laude, with distinction
The Hon. James L. Buckley, US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, 1989 - 1990
Department of Justice
United States Attorneys' OfficesAssistant US Attorney and Deputy Chief, Major Frauds, Central District of California
Securities and Exchange Commission
Division of EnforcementRegional Director