Securities

WilmerHale's securities practice of more than 200 lawyers offers premier enforcement, litigation and regulatory capabilities, and is widely recognized for its experience in all aspects of capital markets, investment management, broker-dealer and financial services regulation.

Recognized for providing "superior levels of service response time, business acumen, securities law expertise, and strength and depth of team" (Legal 500 US 2013), and cited as "a standout performer in the regulatory sphere with impressive depths of quality on both the advisory and enforcement sides" (Chambers USA 2015), WilmerHale has played a central role in a number of prominent US federal and state securities investigations and regularly represents companies, directors and senior management in governmental and internal investigations. On behalf of committees of outside directors, we conducted the investigations of Enron, Qwest, and WorldCom, and we represented the Special Committee of the Board of Directors in the Securities and Exchange Commission's (SEC) UnitedHealth options backdating inquiry. For every high-profile securities investigation we have handled, there are many others in which we represented the company or an officer with no charges made.

Our team has earned a national reputation—based on our defense of major class actions—as a leading defender of individuals and companies named in federal or state court by private litigants. We have handled the full spectrum of securities litigation matters, from cases relating to IPO allocation practices, excessive management fees, mutual fund market timing, insider trading, accounting fraud, market manipulation and insurance sales practices, to challenges to our clients’ business judgment in derivative actions, corporate control contests, proxy fights and other corporate governance disputes.

Our enforcement and litigation capabilities are complemented by our strength in all aspects of securities regulation. Our broker-dealer, financial services and investment management lawyers have navigated some of the most complex regulatory challenges faced by domestic and international market participants, and have played a pivotal role providing regulatory advice to clients—including investment banks, investment advisers and companies, as well as hedge funds and other alternative investment vehicles—in the current financial crisis.

Our clients rely on the valuable insight of a team of seasoned lawyers who have many years of experience working on the most complex securities matters. Among this experienced group, we count a former SEC Director of Enforcement, a former Chief Litigation Counsel for the Division of Enforcement of the SEC, a former Director of the Division of Corporation Finance of the SEC, a former Regional Director of the Pacific Regional Office of the SEC, a former SEC General Counsel and SEC Deputy General Counsel and a former Chief Counsel of the Division of Economic Analysis, now the Division of Market Oversight, and a former General Counsel at the Commodity Futures Trading Commission.

WilmerHale's securities practice of more than 200 lawyers offers premier enforcement, litigation and regulatory capabilities, and is widely recognized for its experience in all aspects of capital markets, investment management, broker-dealer and financial services regulation.

Recognized for providing "superior levels of service response time, business acumen, securities law expertise, and strength and depth of team" (Legal 500 US 2013), and cited as "a standout performer in the regulatory sphere with impressive depths of quality on both the advisory and enforcement sides" (Chambers USA 2015), WilmerHale has played a central role in a number of prominent US federal and state securities investigations and regularly represents companies, directors and senior management in governmental and internal investigations. On behalf of committees of outside directors, we conducted the investigations of Enron, Qwest, and WorldCom, and we represented the Special Committee of the Board of Directors in the Securities and Exchange Commission's (SEC) UnitedHealth options backdating inquiry. For every high-profile securities investigation we have handled, there are many others in which we represented the company or an officer with no charges made.

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Contacts

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McLucas, William R.

William R. McLucas

Chair, Securities Department

+1 202 663 6622 (t)

william.mclucas@wilmerhale.com

Davies, Christopher

Christopher Davies

Vice Chair, Securities Department

+1 202 663 6187 (t)

christopher.davies@wilmerhale.com

Hunter Jr., Fraser L.

Fraser L. Hunter, Jr.

Vice Chair, Securities Department

+1 212 230 8882 (t)

fraser.hunter@wilmerhale.com

Robinson, Andrea J.

Andrea J. Robinson

Vice Chair, Securities Department

+1 617 526 6360 (t)

andrea.robinson@wilmerhale.com

Architzel, Paul M.

Paul M. Architzel

Partner

+1 202 663 6240 (t)

paul.architzel@wilmerhale.com

Batter III, John F.

John F. Batter, III

Partner

+1 617 526 6754 (t)

john.batter@wilmerhale.com

Berkovitz, Dan

Dan M. Berkovitz

Partner

+1 202 663 6352 (t)

dan.berkovitz@wilmerhale.com

Berman, Bruce M.

Bruce M. Berman

Partner

+1 202 663 6173 (t)

bruce.berman@wilmerhale.com

Boot, Jeannette K.

Jeannette K. Boot

Partner

+1 212 295 6507 (t)

jeannette.boot@wilmerhale.com

Brown, Lillian

Lillian Brown

Partner

+1 202 663 6743 (t)

lillian.brown@wilmerhale.com

Butts, John J.

John J. Butts

Partner

+1 617 526 6515 (t)

john.butts@wilmerhale.com

Cahn_Mark

Mark D. Cahn

Partner

+1 202 663 6349 (t)

mark.cahn@wilmerhale.com

Experience

We bring unparalleled breadth and depth of experience to matters involving the securities markets. Our team includes former officials from the Securities and Exchange Commission, Commodity Futures Trading Commission, Department of Justice, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Federal Reserve Board and the Financial Conduct Authority of the UK.

Our approach is collaborative. Combining our diverse expertise into pragmatic solutions, together we have:

  • Counseled clients in hundreds of matters before the DOJ, SEC, NASD, NYSE, AMEX, state regulators and Congress, in the past five years alone
  • Defended more than 300 separate securities and market conduct class actions in the last decade
  • Established, registered and represented more than 200 open-end and closed-end funds with a wide variety of investment objectives and policies, including the representation of nine closed-end investment companies in initial public offerings in 2003 and 2004 with total proceeds of over $4.6 billion in the last 18 months
  • Served as counsel to over 70 mutual fund groups, over 50 registered investment advisers, over 50 broker-dealers and over 50 hedge fund managers
  • Navigated some of the most complex regulatory issues facing capital market issuers, underwriters, broker-dealers, investment companies and advisers, and other domestic and international market participants

Publications & News

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February 11, 2016

Changes to US Treasury Market Structure and Request for Comments

The dramatically changing market for US Treasury securities raises questions and concerns for the public and regulators alike.

February 11, 2016

Energy Sector Alert Series: Climate Change Disclosures in 2016

A sweeping federal rule from the Environmental Protection Agency, aggressive enforcement by a state attorney general, a landmark international accord, and the persistent demands of investors are combining to bring increased scrutiny to public companies' climate change-related disclosures. 

February 11, 2016

SEC Adopts Rules on Non-US Firms That “Arrange, Negotiate, or Execute” Security-Based Swaps in the US

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) adopted rules that will affect firms operating in the global security-based swap market. Specifically, the SEC is requiring non-US firms that arrange, negotiate, or execute security-based swaps using personnel located in the United States to include those security-based swaps in their calculations of whether they reach the threshold requiring security-based swap dealer registration.

January 26, 2016

2015 CFTC Year-in-Review, and a Look Forward

CFTC continues to bring high-profile, large-penalty enforcement cases; begins bringing cases to enforce Dodd-Frank Act implementing regulations; and embarks on post-Dodd-Frank Act regulatory initiatives.

January 26, 2016

WilmerHale 2015 in Review

As the new year gathers momentum, we want to pause and thank you for your support over the past 12 months—a period in which we enjoyed challenging legal work, strong client relationships, and a collegial culture grounded in hard work, teamwork and dedication to community.

January 25, 2016

As Iran Sanctions Wane, SEC Reporting Will Not

An article by Marik String and David Horn, published in the January 25, 2016 issue of Bloomberg BNA's Securities Regulation & Law Report. As global companies assess the implications of Iran sanctions relief announced on January 16, 2016, they should remain mindful that their Iran-related activities will actually increase the complexity of their compliance obligations in several areas, including so called ''Section 219'' Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) disclosure requirements under the Iran Threat Reduction Act.

January 19, 2016

Iran Nuclear Sanctions Relief Implemented: New Opportunities Await Non-US Companies, but Comprehensive US Transaction and Export Restrictions Remain in Effect 

On January 16, 2016, the United States, its negotiating partners and Iran announced the arrival of Implementation Day for the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, to which the parties agreed on July 14, 2015 with respect to the Iranian nuclear program. 

January 7, 2016

Congress Enacts Major Cybersecurity Legislation

On December 18, 2015, Congress passed, and the President signed, the Cybersecurity Act of 2015, which provides authorization and liability protection for cybersecurity monitoring and information-sharing and authorization for cyber defensive measures. The Act, which comes after four years of efforts to enact federal cybersecurity legislation, also creates a new regime to encourage federal agencies to share cyber intelligence with the private sector more rapidly.

January 4, 2016

SEC Proposes Significant Regulatory Changes for Alternative Trading Systems

The Securities and Exchange Commission recently proposed significant changes to the regulatory requirements applicable to dark pools and other alternative trading systems that trade national market system stocks. The proposed changes would require detailed public disclosure about the operation of the trading systems, as well as their owners and operators.

December 22, 2015

FERC Investigations and Enforcement Remain Focused on Market Manipulation

The Office of Enforcement (OE) of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) recently released its annual report for the past fiscal year. The report provides FY2015 statistics on the investigative and enforcement activities conducted by the OE's four divisions—Investigations, Audits and Accounting, Energy Market Oversight, and Analytics and Surveillance.

Recognition

  • Chambers USA: America's Leading Lawyers in Business consistently ranks WilmerHale highly among firms nationwide for securities regulation, enforcement and litigation work. In the 2015 guide, clients praise our attorneys as "Ivy League educated but also street smart—some of the most brilliant communicators I've come across." Bill McLucas is called a dean of the enforcement space and "a cut above everyone else," and Harry Weiss is described as "a thought leader of the practice." Additionally, peers commended Meredith Cross, saying she is "very smart and has lots of experience"; Doug Davison is seen as well-versed in representing individuals and knows the regulators well; and Christopher Davies is noted by clients as being "very responsive and knowledgeable" and "a good adviser and a good sounding board."
  • In the 2014 and 2015 "Best Law Firm" rankings by U.S. News and Best Lawyers, several of WilmerHale's securities practices are ranked in the first tier nationally, as well as in Boston, New York and Washington DC. Practices ranked include derivatives and futures law, mutual funds law, private funds/hedge funds law, securities/capital markets law, securities litigation and securities regulation. In 2011, WilmerHale was named "Law Firm of the Year" in securities litigation.
  • Chambers USA: America's Leading Lawyers in Business also highly ranks several of our securities litigation attorneys in the 2015 guide, calling out Andrea Robinson, John Batter and Bill Paine in Massachusetts; Fraser Hunter and Lori Martin as  in New York; and Doug Davison nationally.
  • Chambers USA: America's Leading Lawyers in Business consistently ranks WilmerHale among the top firms in the nation for its broker dealer compliance and regulation practice. "Its a treat to work with them on anything; they're outstanding. One of the top financial services practices in the country," say clients in the 2015 guide. Individually, Yoon-Young Lee is recognized as "highly regarded and very technically proficient,"  Bruce Newman is praised as "well versed in what being a broker-dealer means and what people need," Andre Owens is noted as being "very bright, very thoughtful and very adept at spotting issues," and Stephanie Nicolas is singled out as "a very helpful, really responsive broker-dealer attorney," appreciated for her "feedback and interpretation of regulatory requirements and how the rest of the industry is dealing with those requirements."
  • Fifteen securities lawyers were recognized for their work in their respective fields, and selected by peers for inclusion in the 2015 edition of Best Lawyers in America. William McLucas was named a 2009 Washington DC Securities Law "Lawyer of the Year."
  • The 2013 edition of The Legal 500 United States recognized our group in the alternative/hedge funds, mutual/funds and securities: shareholder litigation categories. The guide cites WilmerHale's "superior levels of service response time, business acumen, securities law expertise, and strength and depth of team,” and acknowledges the firm’s “broad clientele,” individually recommending Bill McLucas, John Valentine and Andy Weissman.
  • Our group was recognized with the Corporate INTL Magazine Global Award as Securities Litigation Law Firm of the Year in California in 2013.  
  •  Daily Journal named Michael Mugmon to its prestigious "Top 20 Under 40" list, featuring California lawyers under the age of 40, selected for his service to clients and impact on the legal industry.
  • Washingtonian magazine named four WilmerHale lawyers to its "Stars of the Bar" list in 2012, including Yoon-Young Lee, William McLucas, Harry Weiss and Laura Wertheimer.
  • WilmerHale was named one of five "Securities Defense Firms of the Year" for 2009 by the editors of Law360—one of the nation’s leading publishers of legal news and information.

Volcker Rule Resources

On December 10, 2013, the Federal Banking Agencies, together with the SEC and CFTC, adopted a Final Rule to implement Section 13 of the Bank Holding Company Act (the Volcker Rule), which was added by Section 619 of the Dodd-Frank Act.

Our Securities and Financial Institutions teams have compiled for you these relevant resources to help reinforce your understanding of the Volcker Rule.

WilmerHale Publications and Presentations

Statutory and Rule Text

Agency Statements

Federal Reserve Statements on the Volcker Rule, December 10, 2013

FDIC Statements on the Volcker Rule, December 10, 2013

OCC Statement on the Volcker Rule, December 10, 2013

SEC Statements on the Volcker Rule, December 10, 2103

CFTC Statements on the Volcker Rule, December 10, 2103