It is hard to believe that it has been ten years since I set out to form my own law firm.
My vision was to create a law firm that would handle all types of securities investigations, from the SEC and the DOJ, to State authorities, to FINRA and other SROs, however the client might be situated, be it as a defendant, witness, or whistleblower.
At the time, I received cautionary advice that I would not be able to represent securities defendants and witnesses while also representing SEC whistleblowers. According to that sentiment, corporate and individual defendants would not hire an attorney who represents SEC whistleblowers. SEC whistleblowers would not hire an attorney who represents defendants. Regulators would not respond well to an attorney who represents both sides. Supposedly, I would have to choose one or the other.
Fortunately, my friends, present and former colleagues, and clients supported and encouraged me. My very first client was a defendant in an SEC investigation that later went to trial. My second client was an SEC whistleblower. Over the ensuing ten years, colleagues, former clients, and even law school professors and news reporters referred new clients to me, on both sides. Far from being resistant, lawyers at the various government agencies and SROs embraced the dual nature of my practice as both defense attorney and whistleblower counsel.
White collar and corporate colleagues joined me in presenting programs about both SEC whistleblower cases and securities defense cases. For example, I presented a live program along with the first Chief of the SEC’s Office of the Whistleblower, and white collar defense partners from Patterson Belknap Webb & Tyler and Arent Fox. An employer-side partner at Epstein Becker Green and I taught an online CLE program about the Dodd-Frank (SEC) whistleblower program and the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, which we reunited to update a few years later. And just a few months ago, a white collar defense partner from Baker Botts joined me on a program about how to defend an SEC investigation.
During 2020, I defended a public company and its CEO in an SEC investigation related to the federal multi-agency COVID-19 task force; a private company in a cryptocurrency and binary options case pending in federal court; a corporate client, its CEO, and related entities in an SEC investigation; and individual clients in investigations by the SEC, US Attorney’s Office, FINRA, the NY Attorney General’s Office, the Virginia State Corporation Commission, internal corporate investigations, and an investigation by an outside professional organization.
Also in 2020, I represented SEC whistleblower clients in submitting new tips to the SEC, another client in connection with an SEC award application, and continued to work on pending SEC whistleblower cases filed on behalf of other clients previously.
None of this would have been possible without the help, support, and encouragement that I have consistently received these past ten years from my family, friends, clients, and colleagues in both private practice and in the regulatory and enforcement sectors. To all of you, I extend my thanks and heartfelt appreciation.
To those of you with whom I may not have spoken in a while, the tragic losses due to COVID-19 have taught us that every day is precious. But it has also taught us that it is never too late to reconnect with old friends and acquaintances. I sincerely hope that we will. Please feel free to reach out to me at any time.
To everyone, I wish you all a Happy and Healthy New Year, and all the best for 2021.
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