People

Randall R. Lee

Partner

Lee, Randall R.

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.

Background

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. 

Honors & Awards

  • 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

Publications & News

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November 3, 2017

Securities Docket Includes Randall Lee and William McLucas on Enforcement 40 List

The list represents the 40 best and brightest securities enforcement defense lawyers in the industry. More than 150 lawyers were considered for the 2017 list.

September 28, 2017

The National Law Journal Honors Randall Lee as a 2017 Winning Litigator

Lee was chosen by the NLJ for his victory over the Securities and Exchange Commission at trial last year.

September 26, 2017

Randall Lee Named to the Daily Journal's Top 100

The Daily Journal has honored Randall Lee as one of the top 100 Lawyers in California in 2017. Lee was named to the annual list for his accomplishments during the last 12 months, including a trial win against the Securities and Exchange Commission and a declination in a Foreign Corrupt Practices Act investigation.

June 9, 2017

The Legal 500 United States 2017 Recognizes 125 WilmerHale Lawyers Across 28 Practice Areas

The Legal 500 United States has released its 2017 rankings, recommending 125 WilmerHale lawyers—including 12 who are named to its elite “Leading Lawyers” list and two on its “Next Generation Lawyers” list—and 28 practice areas in its 11th edition.

February 6, 2017

SEC Dismisses Claims Against WilmerHale Clients

On February 3, the US Securities and Exchange Commission dismissed with prejudice the remaining claims against two former mortgage-lending officials in a financial crisis-related lawsuit on the eve of a retrial.

October 3, 2016

SEC Drops Centerpiece Of Case Against WilmerHale Clients

WilmerHale recently achieved a major victory after the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) dropped the centerpiece of its lawsuit against two former mortgage executives.

September 14, 2016

GIR Highlights WilmerHale's FCPA Dominance

WilmerHale has advised on the most Foreign Corrupt Practices Act public settlements of any law firm in the industry in the past eight years and has been particularly successful in 2016, according to a recent Global Investigations Review Just Anti-Corruption report.

July 12, 2016

WilmerHale Attorneys Fend Off SEC Claims in Fraud Trial

The Recorder discusses the first SEC defeat in 2016, detailing the case led by Heather Tewksbury and Randall Lee.

July 6, 2016

WilmerHale Hands SEC First 2016 Fraud Trial Defeat

A team of WilmerHale litigators persuaded an Albuquerque, New Mexico, jury to clear two former mortgage-lending officials on half of the 10 charges brought against them by the US Securities and Exchange Commission, while deadlocking on the remaining charges.

June 9, 2016

WilmerHale Makes Move Towards Silicon Beach

WilmerHale's Los Angeles office recently expanded with the launch of a corporate practice and the addition of intellectual property litigators over the past year.

Speaking Engagements

Professional Activities

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.

Practices

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Education

JD, Order of the Coif, University of California, Berkeley School of Law, 1989, Articles Editor of the California Law Review

BA, cum laude, with distinction, Yale University, 1983

Bar Admissions

California

Clerkships

The Hon. James L. Buckley, US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, 1989 - 1990

Government Experience

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