Securities Enforcement

Securities Enforcement

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

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

    Ranked Band 1 for Securities Regulation:
    USA – Nationwide

    Chambers USA

    2020

  • Award Text

    National Tier 1 Firm for Litigation: Regulatory Enforcement

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

    2020

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    Metropolitan Tier 1 Firm – Washington DC for Litigation: Regulatory Enforcement

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

    2020

  • Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business (2020) – Describes our “market-leading practice in the securities regulatory space” and our “deep bench of former SEC and government agency officials.” Clients report that we are “a class-A firm” who are “excellent in all aspects” and “are masterful at managing complex regulatory matters.”
  • Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business (2020) – Individually recognizes six WilmerHale attorneys to its regulation enforcement and advisory tables, including “a superstar,” “a really thoughtful adviser,” “one of the best regulatory attorneys” and “the dean of the securities enforcement Bar.”
  • Global Investigations Review – For the past five years, has named WilmerHale among the top three firms in its annual list of the world’s 30 leaders for investigations—including a number-one ranking in 2017 and second-place honors in 2015, 2016 and 2019.

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