William R. McLucas


Chair, Securities Department

McLucas, William R.

William McLucas is one of the most sought-after advisors to public companies, boards of directors, audit committees and special committees dealing with corporate crises and related issues. He joined the firm after serving for more than eight years as Director of Enforcement for the Securities and Exchange Commission—longer than any other Enforcement Division Director in Commission history. He represents public companies, investment banks, accounting firms and advisors to mutual funds facing a variety of corporate and market crises, as well as Securities and Exchange Commission investigations. Mr. McLucas is chair of the firm's Securities Department.

In 1977, Mr. McLucas joined the Securities and Exchange Commission's Division of Enforcement. He led the Division's Staff in numerous high-profile investigations and landmark enforcement actions, including hundreds of insider trading cases and numerous inquiries and proceedings involving public companies, accounting firms, investment banks, and participants in the municipal securities markets.

In addition, Mr. McLucas has overseen numerous audit committee and special committee inquiries, and has also represented numerous corporate executives and directors in connection with Securities and Exchange Commission investigations.

Chambers USA: America's Leading Lawyers for Business describes Mr. McLucas as "a cut above everyone else." 

Honors & Awards

  • Named a Fellow of the American College of Governance Counsel in 2015.
  • Named one of the 500 Leading Lawyers in America by Lawdragon Magazine every year since 2005.
  • Consistently recommended by The Legal 500 United States for financial services and securities litigation, and listed as a "Leading Lawyer" in the area of litigation: white-collar criminal defense in the 2009, 2010 and 2011 editions.
  • Recognized in 2008 as a Visionary in the Legal Times' "Greatest Washington Lawyers in the Past 30 Years"
  • Selected as one of only seven "Leading Lawyers" in Corporate Governance in the March 2008 issue of Legal Times. He was also named Washington DC's "Leading Lawyer" in the area of securities and corporate governance by the Legal Times, December 2004.
  • Nationally recognized for exceptional standing in the legal community in Chambers USA: America's Leading Lawyers for Business  for his work in the securities regulation: enforcement area (2006-2016). Previously recognized in the 2003, 2004 and 2005 editions for general commercial litigation; cited as "an expert in litigation" in the 2003 edition.
  • Selected by peers for inclusion in each edition of Best Lawyers in America since 2005; in the 2011-2017 editions of Best Lawyers of America he was recognized for his securities practice along with the areas of bet-the-company litigation, corporate governance and compliance law, and commercial litigation; named Washington DC Securities Lawyer of the Year in 2010 and Washington DC Corporate Governance Law in 2016
  • Named in 2013 to Securities Docket's inaugural 'Enforcement 40'—a list of the 40 best and brightest individuals in the securities enforcement defense field
  • Recognized as one of the world's preeminent corporate governance lawyers in multiple editions of Who's Who Legal: The International Who's Who of Corporate Governance Lawyers; Who's Who Legal: The International Who's Who of Business Lawyers; Who's Who Legal: Investigations; Who's Who Legal: Business Crime Defence; Who's Who Legal: Commerical Litigation; and Who's Who Legal: The International Who's Who of Investigations Lawyers, with sources saying he is “highly sought after by companies, boards and audit committees in need of advice on corporate crises." 
  • Selected to the 2007-2016 Washington DC Super Lawyers lists  for his securities and corporate finance practice.
  • Listed in Washingtonian magazine's "Top 30 Lawyers in Washington," 2004, 2007, 2009 and 2011. Named among "Washington's Best Lawyers" for his securities practice in the 2013 issue.
  • Named one of the National Law Journal's One-Hundred Most Influential Attorneys in America, 1997
  • Ranked as a "top litigation lawyer" in the 2003 edition of Euromoney's Guide to the World's Leading Litigation Lawyers
  • Received the SEC Alumni Association's William O. Douglas Award in 2010
  • Received the National Public Service Award in 1996
  • Received the Federal Bar Association's Tom C. Clark Outstanding Lawyer Award in 1997
  • Received the President's Award for Distinguished Executive Service from President Ronald Reagan in 1988

Publications & News


March 15, 2017

McLucas: SEC Pick’s Banking Ties Are an Asset

In an op-ed for Reuters BreakingViews, Securities Department Chair William McLucas explains why Jay Clayton's background representing public companies and Wall Street firms provides valuable experience for leading the Securities and Exchange Commission.

March 2, 2017

SEC Enforcement—2016 in Review and Looking Ahead to 2017

The article describes some of the key issues arising from the nearly 870 SEC enforcement actions and more than $4 billion in disgorgement and penalties imposed in 2016. This article was republished by the Harvard Law School Forum on Corporate Governance and Financial Regulation.

January 3, 2017

SEC Settles Two More Whistleblower Protection Cases

Continuing its efforts to bring enforcement actions for violations of whistleblower protections, the Securities and Exchange Commission recently settled two more cases. Both cases involved severance agreements that contained provisions that, the SEC asserted, expressly prohibited former employees from communicating with the government about possible violations of law. This WilmerHale Client Alert was republished by Law360.

December 20, 2016

Whistleblowers to Remain Prominent Fixtures in Securities Regulation

In this article published by The Hill, Bill McLucas discusses the emergence of whistleblowers and advises public companies to not ignore employees who speak up about corporate misdeeds.

December 2, 2016

Change and Continuity in Securities Regulation

Given the fluidity of the regulatory environment, making accurate predictions regarding what to expect from the SEC under a new Administration and a new Chair is difficult. Nevertheless, in this Client Alert we explore possible key areas of securities regulation that may be affected under the new Administration. This Client Alert was republished by the Harvard Law School Forum on Corporate Governance and Financial Regulation.

October 31, 2016

SEC Examiners Focus on Investment Adviser and Broker-Dealer Compliance With Whistleblower Rules

Last week, the SEC's Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations (OCIE) issued a Risk Alert regarding examinations of investment adviser and broker-dealer registrants' compliance with key whistleblower provisions arising out of the Dodd-Frank Act.

October 11, 2016

New SEC Settlements Show Continued Focus on Whistleblower Protection and Severance Agreements

The Securities and Exchange Commission continues to pursue enforcement actions against companies for whistleblower-related violations. This WilmerHale Client Alert, which was also published by Bloomberg BNA's Securities Regulation & Law Report on December 5, 2016, examines the latest in a recent string of settled orders.

September 20, 2016

SEC Settlements Put Severance Agreements Under Increased Scrutiny

An article by William McLucas, Harry Weiss, Matthew Martens, Thomas White, Arian June and Elizabeth Skey, published in Bloomberg BNA's Securities Regulation & Law Report, explores two settlements providing the latest examples of the SEC's continued focus on employee confidentiality provisions and the agency's broad application of the whistleblower protection rules.

September 9, 2016

WilmerHale's FCPA Practice Lands GIR “Elite” Ranking

Global Investigations Review Just Anti-Corruption recently gave WilmerHale's Washington DC office an “elite” ranking for its Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) practice, putting it among the top firms in the nation's capital.

August 17, 2016

SEC Settlements Put Severance Agreements Under Increased Scrutiny

The US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) recently announced settlements with two companies for using severance agreements that allegedly violated Rule 21F-17.

Recent Highlights

Mr. McLucas has represented the board committees in some of the most prominent corporate scandals that have arisen recently in the US markets, including the Special Committees of both Enron and WorldCom. He also advised the Special Committee of the Board of Nortel Networks in its review of certain accounting restatements and, more recently, the Special Committee of the Board of UnitedHealth Group in its review of options dating issues.

He also has represented numerous public companies and their executives, as well as public accounting firms and hedge funds in connection with securities enforcement and regulatory inquiries.

Professional Activities

Mr. McLucas is a frequent speaker on panels and programs on topics pertaining to securities laws, corporate governance and law enforcement.


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JD, Temple University Beasley School of Law, 1975, Research Editor, Temple Law Quarterly

BA, Pennsylvania State University, 1972, Phi Beta Kappa

Bar Admissions

District of Columbia

New York


Government Experience

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