THE FIRM Arnold & Porter is well regarded in the securities regulatory and enforcement space. Clients praise both the group's depth of experience and breadth of expertise. The team has been particularly involved in cases in the hi-tech and medical sectors, as well as defending accounting firms in major investigations. It also has a strong Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) practice, acting in several matters this year involving EU and UK regulatory authorities, in addition to the SEC.
Client Service "The lawyers are extremely thorough and uniquely client-conscious."
Commercial Awareness "The team has an ability to construct winning arguments on the briefs even when there are complex facts."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Michael Trager is praised as a "highly collaborative lawyer who gets on well with other lawyers, and with the client." He represents a wide range of public company and financial institutional clients in investigations by the SEC, DOJ and various other regulatory bodies.
THE FIRM The group at Bingham is noted for its thriving broker-dealer practice. It is a strong advisory team, and has recently been advising Morgan Stanley Smith Barney on the process of going self-clearing. It is also praised for its experience in SEC investigations and enforcement actions, recently representing a major financial institution in an investigation into subprime loans.
Client Service "The lawyers are extremely responsive and user-friendly. I get e-mail replies at 6 am if necessary."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Herb Janick is seen as "a real force at the Bar." He recently represented Morgan Stanley in an investigation conducted by the Massachusetts Attorney General into the firm's dealing with New Century, a mortgage originator. David Boch maintains an excellent reputation for advisory and enforcement matters. He acts as regulatory counsel to TIAA CREF and Fidelity. Neal Sullivan is the head of the broker-dealer practice group. Clients see him as an effective leader, with one source commenting that "he's excellent at managing competing interests." He was recently retained by an international financial institution in an investigation concerning credit default swaps. Michael Wolk is representing several major institutions in SEC and Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) investigations regarding structure, trading and Anti-Money Laundering (AML) rules compliance. Elizabeth Baird was praised as an adept strategist. She acts for a number of financial institutions in securities lending and bond markup investigations. Timothy Burke has represented Merrill Lynch, Morgan Stanley and Charles Schwab in securities litigations and arbitrations. The "extremely polished" Jeffrey Smith is a highly regarded litigator based in New York. He has represented Credit Suisse in major multidistrict litigation relating to the failure of ABS.
Since publication, Herbert F Janick III has joined Sidley Austin LLP
Since publication, Neal E Sullivan has joined Sidley Austin LLP
Since publication, Michael D Wolk has joined Sidley Austin LLP
THE FIRM The team at Cleary is often at the cutting edge of legal developments in the securities area. It is seen as highly competent in its regulatory advice, corporate governance advice and ability to handle complex investigations and enforcement actions. The team represented Bank of America in the recent settlement of an SEC investigation into its merger with Merrill Lynch and Merrill Lynch’s payment of employee bonuses. The team also enjoys a strong reputation in securities litigation, where it is handling some major cases. The team acts for HSBC in connection with matters arising from the Madoff fraud, including investigations by the DOJ and the SEC and related litigation in European jurisdictions.
Commercial Awareness "I find the lawyers to be pragmatic, extremely responsive and deeply experienced in SEC matters."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Alan Beller is an eminent corporate adviser, who is "adroit at dealing with board members and management, and practical in finding solutions to problems." He continues to act as counsel to Citi, including advising on its $20 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) repayment. Giovanni Prezioso is also nationally recognized in the securities field. He is assisting several high-frequency trading firms in government investigations surrounding the 'flash crash'. Mitchell Lowenthal is praised for his problem-solving capability: "He perfectly combines aggression with risk identification." He recently represented JPMorgan and ABN AMRO in securities class actions arising out of their underwriting of MBS.
THE FIRM Cravath handles some of the most high-profile, high-stakes litigation in the USA and has a world-class reputation for bet-the-company securities actions. The team filed the amicus brief for the British government in the Morrison case, and it represents Huron in a major multidistrict litigation. The team has also been instructed in securities litigation pending in Delaware pertaining to three separate high-profile hostile takeovers. On the regulatory side, the team has a market-leading reputation for high-end corporate governance and advisory work. It represents Bank of America in disclosure matters, and maintains links with major nonfinancial issuers such as IBM, which it advises on similar disclosure and reporting matters. Clients also praise the team's handling of SEC investigatory work.
Commercial Awareness "The lawyers have shown a great grasp of detail and displayed great acumen."
KEY INDIVIDUALS John White is described by sources as "an extraordinarily seasoned and accomplished attorney, with an unmatched pedigree." He has extensive practical experience in regulatory matters, as a former head of the division of corporation finance at the SEC. Recent work highlights include representing a special committee of the board of directors of The Band of New York Mellon in connection with a shareholder demand letter relating to executive compensation issues. Marc Rosenberg is another highly regarded corporate adviser who "can accomplish in ten minutes what can take other lawyers hours." He has advised the audit committee of GE in connection with a variety of significant governance matters, including an SEC investigation into aspects of its accounting and several shareholder demands. Susan Webster is a "smart, responsive and dedicated" corporate adviser. She has advised Huron Consulting Group in connection with the restatement of certain of its historical financial statements, and a related SEC investigation. Richard Clary is an outstanding litigator, who is praised for his "zealous representation of clients in high-stakes litigation." He represents the independent directors of Citi in connection with litigation, fiduciary duty and corporate governance. Robert Baron "argues cases that aren't easy to argue." He represented BNSF Railway in litigation relating to its $44 billion acquisition by Berkshire Hathaway.
THE FIRM The team at Davis Polk consists of some of the best-known names in the securities industry. It has added considerable strength to its enforcement practice, with the recent arrival of Linda Thomsen, former director of the Division of Enforcement at the SEC. The team has been involved in some of the highest-profile policy-making initiatives as Dodd-Frank made its way through Congress, representing the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association (SIFMA), ISDA and major international banks. It is also at the forefront of advice on the related rulemakings, with its regulatory tracking tool seen as market-leading.
On the enforcement side, the team is particularly commended for its handling of complex cross-border matters. It has represented major companies such as BHP Billiton and BAE Systems in FCPA investigations, and has acted for ABN AMRO and Intesa Sanpaolo in matters relating to the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC).
The team also has a strong record for success in high-stakes litigation. It represents Morgan Stanley in RMBS and CDO litigation, as well as cases relating to short selling. The firm also represents PwC in all Madoff-related litigation.
Sources say: "The lawyers have tremendous expertise and excellent advocacy skills."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Annette Nazareth receives extensive praise for her depth of experience in the sector, as a former SEC commissioner: "She really understands regulatory structure from her representation of the USA at international forums." She has represented several exchanges, including NYSE Euronext, the Chicago Board Options Exchange and ratings agency Standard & Poor's in regulatory matters. The "smart, able and experienced" Linda Chatman Thomsen has recently returned to the firm after a period as director of the SEC's Division of Enforcement. She has represented Bank of America and Freddie Mac in SEC and DOJ investigations. Daniel Kolb is a superb litigator, who typically represents major accounting firms, and financial and industrial corporations. Lawrence Portnoy is praised for his powerful presence in securities litigation: "When he speaks, people really listen. He brings an interesting perspective to problems." He is representing Bank of America Specialists in a class action challenging certain alleged practices of specialists working on the floor of the NYSE.
THE FIRM The group at Debevoise is an extremely accomplished enforcement team. It is particularly active in cross-border matters, including representing clients in FCPA-related investigations. The team also acts for a former senior Time Warner financial executive in civil litigation brought by the SEC, arising from an investigation into alleged financial fraud.
The team has a wide range of experience in securities litigation. In addition to SEC matters, it represents companies in shareholder litigation, recently acting for Hewitt Associates in a matter relating to its merger with Aon.
Sources say: "An excellent choice for enforcement and litigation."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Mary Jo White is the "crème de la crème, who is called upon for the most high-stakes case." She is a white-collar crime and enforcement expert, regularly representing multinationals in FCPA investigations. Paul Berger is highly regarded for SEC enforcement work. He recently acted for an accounting firm in SEC and Public Company Accounting Oversight Board investigations. Andrew Ceresney is "Debevoise's young litigation star." He represents clients across a range of criminal, civil and SEC enforcement matters and litigation, including insider trading, accounting fraud and issues of nondisclosure.
THE FIRM Gibson Dunn maintains a reputation as one of the strongest securities practices in the USA, with breadth and depth of expertise across corporate advisory, enforcement and litigation. The team's clients repeatedly single out the firm for its top-to-bottom quality, attentiveness and understanding of industry and regulatory best practice. It advises the Business Roundtable in drafting and submitting various comment letters to the SEC addressing proposed rulemakings, and acted for Kraft in its unsolicited bid for Cadbury.
On the enforcement side, the team regularly handles high-profile representations, including acting for Dell and GE in major SEC investigations.
Sources also praise the firm's strength in securities litigation. The team takes on cases around the country, with bench strength on both coasts lending the firm a strong national footprint. It is representing several domestic and foreign banks in a variety of matters pending in California, many of which pertain to the recent mortgage crisis.
Client Service "We find the team highly responsive and dedicated from associate to partner level."
Commercial Awareness "The lawyers do an excellent job of maintaining relationships, and are responsive to input and client needs."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Barry Goldsmith is praised for his depth of knowledge of regulatory framework and processes: "He has a great history and breadth experience in the area." He acted for a former senior officer of Merrill Lynch in connection with SEC and New York State Attorney General investigations into various issues growing out of the subprime crisis. Sources describe him as "a calm, pragmatic and thoughtful counselor." Brian Lane is a "talented lawyer with great judgment." He advises clients such as Del Monte Foods, Qwest and BioCryst Pharmaceuticals in regulatory compliance and SEC investigations. John Olson has been one of the "deans of the securities Bar forever." He has served as the independent counsel to the audit committee of Coca-Cola for more than 25 years. Amy Goodman is "absolutely crackerjack!" She acts as counsel to Abercrombie & Fitch, Kraft and Johnson & Johnson in various securities matters. The "highly capable and impressive" John Sturc has advised the special committee of the board of trustees of American Century Mutual Funds in responding to a shareholder derivative demand for a lawsuit. Joseph Warin is praised for his big-picture and client-focused approach. He represented the former general counsel of UBS Investment Bank in connection with various regulatory investigations into auction rate securities. The California-based litigator Dean Kitchens is an "enormously well-known and respected lawyer, who has a very large book of business in the securities litigation area." He is working on behalf of numerous underwriters of MBS offered by large mortgage lenders in litigation around the country. Mark Kirsch is widely considered to be "a leader in securities litigation." He has been retained to represent The Bank of New York Mellon in connection with a series of suits consolidated in the Central District of California, relating to an alleged multibillion-dollar Ponzi scheme by Medical Capital Holdings. Mark Schonfeld is praised for his "invaluable current knowledge of agency practice, procedure and personalities active at the SEC."
THE FIRM Hogan Lovells maintains a strong position in the marketplace, particularly for securities regulation. The team has focused on corporate governance, and particularly on executive compensation. It has also been active advising on new compliance procedures in the light of changes to the regulatory environments following the enactment of Dodd-Frank. Recent highlights including representing a pharmaceutical company in an FCPA investigation. Other clients include Antigua and Barbuda, Goldman Sachs and Intrepid Potash.
Client Service "The lawyers provide excellent customer service - they always go the extra mile."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Alan Dye "is a nationally recognized guru in securities law," say clients. Peter Romeo "has a very focused practice, working hard behind the scenes." Both are considered experts on Section 16 of the Securities Exchange Act. Dan Shea is based in Denver, and widely recognized as a securities enforcement and private litigation expert. "He has a strong sense of how the regulators will react to certain situations and maintains a strong rapport with the current enforcement staff," say sources. He is currently representing Intrepid Potash in a putative derivative class action. Michael Shepard "is a rising litigation star." He is currently representing a Fortune 150 company in an FCPA investigation into whether employees made payments to government officials to win a contract in China.
THE FIRM This firm was repeatedly praised for the consistent quality of its securities litigators. The practice is known for its collaborative culture, with offices routinely joining forces to provide a comprehensive service to clients. The team represents Deloitte & Touche in multidistrict litigation involving allegations of omissions and misrepresentations of material information in Washington Mutual's public disclosures. It also has a strong reputation on the issuer side, and is currently handling a major case for NaviStar.
On the regulatory side, the group has expertise in enforcement actions and corporate governance matters, where it often represents accounting firms.
Sources say: "The team has broad expertise and a lot of depth."
KEY INDIVIDUALS William Baker has an excellent reputation as an SEC enforcement specialist. He recently won a complete defense decision in a matter brought by the SEC against a partner at a global audit, tax and advisory services firm. Miles Ruthberg worked alongside him in this matter, and is described by sources as a "very cerebral attorney." He specializes in representing accounting firms in litigation. Peter Wald is a litigation partner in the San Francisco office. He is representing Ernst & Young, as independent auditor of Lehman Brothers, in securities class actions pertaining to Lehman's collapse. Lawrence West is a highly regarded enforcement specialist, and has recently represented a major issuer in an SEC investigation into accounting irregularities.
THE FIRM This team handles an impressive range of work across the country, and is often involved in cutting-edge, precedent-setting cases. It has a strong national footprint, and is well known for handling cases for hi-tech companies in Silicon Valley, as well as for financial institutions in New England. The team represented Yahoo! in a derivative action concerning Yahoo!’s disclosure of Internet user information.
Sources say: "A solution-focused firm with strong experience in cross-border actions."
KEY INDIVIDUALS The cochair of the securities litigation, enforcement and white-collar defense group Jordan Eth is "a highly sought-after leader in securities litigation." He is based in San Francisco, and acts for 11 of the 13 Countrywide Financial outside directors named in the class action complaint. Darryl Rains is another highly regarded securities litigator based in Palo Alto. He is known for his work with hi-tech companies and is currently representing several major financial institutions in securities litigation brought by the Federal Home Loan Bank of San Francisco. David Lynn is an enforcement specialist, who recently made the transition from the SEC to private practice.
THE FIRM This team has a strong reputation for both corporate advisory work and litigation. On the corporate advisory side, the practice is led by two former senior officials in the SEC’s Division of Corporation Finance. It regularly represents NYSE-listed companies on disclosure and reporting obligations, as well as providing high-level securities and derivatives advice.
In litigation, the team is noted for its strong footprint in DC, New York and California, and has recently represented a number of medical device and pharmaceutical companies. It also obtained a victory for Bank of America in the Countrywide Financial class action litigation.
Sources say: "A well-rounded group, with a comprehensive national scope."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Martin Dunn has a superb reputation in securities advisory work. He counsels numerous NYSE-listed clients on public company reporting and disclosure obligations under the Securities Acts of 1933 and 1934. Seth Aronson is based in California and is praised for his sound judgment and practical approach. He has acted for American Apparel and several directors and officers in shareholder derivative litigation. Jeffrey Kilduff is based in DC, and is praised as "highly skilled and enjoyable to work with." He is representing Fannie Mae in securities class actions, individual securities actions, shareholder derivative actions and an ERISA class action, relating to alleged misstatement of accounts. Rob Plesnarski is a younger partner in the public companies advisory group. He came highly recommended by sources this year, with several stressing his strength of substantive knowledge and his excellent rapport with clients.
THE FIRM The securities litigation group at Paul Weiss is one of the most influential in the country, with major financial institutions turning to the team in times of crisis. One highlight among many landmark judgments was the successful defense of Citi in the case against Terra Firma concerning EMI. It has also acted for the bank in numerous class actions.
The team is also recommend in SEC enforcement matters and is currently defending Merck in investigations relating to Vioxx and Vytorin.
Client Service "We are impressed with the client service and responsiveness first and foremost."
Commercial Awareness "The team is very hands-on, creative and knowledgeable about litigation procedure."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Chuck Davidow is a widely respected securities regulation expert who has "done a great job at bringing a real securities presence to the firm." Walter Ricciardi is an enforcement specialist who is valued for his practical experience as a former deputy director of the SEC’s division of enforcement. Both clients and peers are full of praise for Brad Karp, the managing partner of Paul Weiss. In addition to his managerial responsibilities, he maintains one of the strongest securities litigation practices in the USA. "He handles the client in such a way as to let them know that he is in command of the case," say sources. Daniel Kramer is an experienced securities litigator who "has earned the trust of a lot of high-profile clients." He recently represented AIG in its settlement of a securities fraud class action lawsuit and derivative litigation that had been pending since 2004. Richard Rosen "is one of the finest litigators in New York." He acted for Morgan Stanley and affiliates to win the dismissal of two class actions relating to disclosure of information of funds.
THE FIRM Sidley Austin has a well-regarded enforcement practice with a considerable depth of resources. The team has expanded its profile in the Asian market in recent years, representing numerous Chinese issuers and acting in cases relating to Japanese business operations. It has also been acting as counsel to a FINRA special committee looking at the authority's enforcement program as it relates to Ponzi schemes.
Source also point to the growing securities litigation practice at the firm, particularly due to recent hires from the US Attorney's office in California and the dissolved Howrey.
Sources say: "It is highly thought of for public company representations and advisory work."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Dennis Hensley is a highly recommended advisory lawyer. He was the lead lawyer of a team that served as counsel to a FINRA special committee examining the fallout of several Ponzi schemes. Joseph McLaughlin is also known for superb corporate securities advice. He served as counsel to both issuer and investment bank clients with respect to Regulation M and other rules relevant to 'at the market' offerings. Barry Rashkover is cochair of the SEC enforcement practice. He is currently representing several market participants, including a major investment bank, in several SEC and self-regulatory organization investigations into underwriting and trading in RMBS. Paul Gerlach cochairs the practice with Rashkover and is representing a major foreign medical device company in an FCPA investigation involving activities in multiple European countries.
THE FIRM The team at Skadden is repeatedly singled out as one of the powerhouses of securities litigation. The firm's outstanding corporate reputation leads to significant instructions in deal litigation, and the firm's Wilmingon office is fully equipped to handle some of the highest-stakes cases at the Delaware Court of Chancery. The team represented Coca-Cola in litigation arising out of a $12.4 billion transaction with its bottling company. In addition, it handles some of America's biggest class actions, including representing BlackRock in litigation pertaining to an issue of auction rate preferred securities. On the regulation side, Skadden also commands serious respect. The team has been advising Pfizer on proxy and disclosure matters, and counsels firms such as Daimler on FCPA issues.
Sources say: "The team makes strong representations, is responsive to client needs and is focused on positive results."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Colleen Mahoney was praised for her "ability to size up the big picture and effectively communicate and negotiate with the regulators." She is counseling various companies and audit committees that are the subject of government investigations for accounting, disclosure, antibribery and other issues. Erich Schwartz receives plaudits for his thoroughness in preparing witnesses for testimony, as well as his skill in "developing persuasive arguments to support the client's position." He advised Research In Motion in matters related to the granting of employee stock options. Jay Kasner is "at the top of his game." He is the head of the firm's securities class action defense practice and is representing Merrill Lynch in a case against Louisiana Stadium and Exposition District over alleged misstatements pertaining to an issuance of auction rate securities. Jonathan Lerner is recognized for his expertise and experience in appellate securities cases. He has recently assisted Heartland Industrial Partners to a resolution of two large federal securities class actions. Thomas Dougherty is an experienced securities litigator based in Massachusetts. Clients appreciate his application of technical theory to real-life situations. Scott Musoff "has a personable approach as well as being effective in the courtroom." He has played a leading role in securities litigation for Barclays.
THE FIRM The compact team at Willkie Farr has a strong reputation for the representation of accounting firms, hedge funds, private equity houses and mutual funds. It has recently seen an uptick in FCPA work, including assisting Daimler in a settlement with the SEC and DOJ for FCPA violations. The team also represents the CFO of IndyMac Bank in all matters resulting from the bank's failure and takeover by the FDIC.
Commercial Awareness "The team really understands where we are coming from, and what we are hoping to achieve."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Gregory Bruch is an enforcement specialist, who often works on cross-border matters. Sources praise his depth of experience and the breadth and balance of his practice. He recently acted for a former Ernst & Young partner, in administrative litigation with the SEC's Division of Enforcement. Elizabeth Gray has impressed clients with her "knowledge, experience and ability to handle sensitive issues." Work highlights include the representation of a foreign member of a global accounting firm network in an SEC enforcement investigation relating to independence matters, auditing issues and financial fraud. Michael Young is singled out as "a deeply experienced and knowledgeable securities lawyer." He is best known for his representation of accountancy firms and other professionals.
of Foley & Lardner LLP is widely recommended for his ability to "handle the most complex enforcement cases.
" He recently represented a financial institution in an SEC investigation into disclosure of subprime risk. Ralph Ferrara
, who recently joined Proskauer Rose LLP from Dewey & LeBoeuf, is considered to be "very creative and great for the complex class actions.
" He has recently been representing an energy company in a shareholder derivative suit alleging FCPA violations and kickbacks. Peter Romatowski
chairs the enforcement practice at Jones Day. He is representing a former Assistant Attorney General in various investigations of policies for terrorist surveillance and interrogation. Mark Hellerer
of Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP is widely regarded as a strong white-collar and securities expert. John Pritchard
, his partner at the firm, is commended for his enforcement work. Both lawyers have a strong reputation in the representation of major financial institutions, including BNP Paribas, The Bank of New York Mellon and Capitol Bancorp. Thomas Newkirk
of Jenner & Block LLP is described by interviewees as "an expert litigator, who is pragmatic and creative in his approach.
" Bill Tolbert
, also at Jenner, is a "solid, well-rounded and knowledgeable
" securities advisory counsel. He has been active advising GM in matters relating to its IPO. William Maguire
of Hughes Hubbard & Reed LLP is an excellent securities litigator who is singled out for his personable approach. He represented the failed Icelandic bank Glitnir Bank in litigation stemming from alleged financial misstatements. Kathy Patrick
of Gibbs & Bruns, LLP specializes in representing institutional plaintiffs in securities litigation. Clients value her for her "courage, dedication and ability to explain complex securities legislation.
" David Siegel
of Irell & Manella LLP is a securities litigator who "has outstanding judgment and good practical sense,
" according to interviewees. Gregory Markel
of Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft LLP is "one of those securities lawyers who has seen everything,
" say sources. His partner at the firm, Bruce Hiler
is also highly recommended in securities enforcement. Barbara Stettner
is a nationally renowned securities adviser who has played an important role in the recent development of rules governing 'Pay to Play'. She recently joined of Allen & Overy from O'Melveny & Myers. Neil Eggleston
of Kirkland & Ellis LLP "does an exceptionally wide range of things to a very high standard."
Recent highlights include representing a senior pharmaceutical company executive in a criminal investigation into off-label promotion of drugs. He recently joined the firm from Debevoise. Richard Morvillo
recently left Schulte Roth & Zabel LLP to found his own firm at Morvillo LLP. He continues to impress sources with his "first-class quality of practice."
He focuses on enforcement actions against broker-dealers.