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Storming the Gatekeepers: When Compliance Officers and In-House Lawyers Are at Risk 2020

Speaker(s): Akinyemi T. Akiwowo, Amanda Kramer, Deborah R. Meshulam, Ellen M. Murphy, Gregory Morvillo, Jonathan R. Barr, Joseph K. Brenner, Joshua E. Levine, MaryJeanette Dee, Ralph DeSena, Rob Seco, Robert Stern, Ronald C. Machen, Stefanie J. Sundel
Recorded on: Sep. 2, 2020
PLI Program #: 278595

Akinyemi T. Akiwowo is an Executive Director in the Firm’s Global Litigation Group, Aki oversees the conduct of active domestic and international institutional (sales, trading, investment banking, capital markets, data privacy, private equity, and investment management) civil litigation, regulatory enforcement actions, and internal investigations.  His diverse experience includes defending the Firm in class action and antitrust litigation matters, as well as investigations by the Department of Justice, Commodities and Futures Trading Commission, and the Securities and Exchange Commission.  

Aki currently co-chairs Morgan Stanley’s Legal and Compliance Division Diversity and Inclusion Network, and is also a member of the Council of Urban Professionals Fellows Board.   

Prior to Morgan Stanley, Aki was Principal Counsel in the Department of Enforcement of the Financial Industry Regulatory Organization (FINRA) where he managed a complex case load, as lead counsel, handling all aspects of investigations of member firms and associated individuals for violations of FINRA, NASD and NYSE rules and federal securities laws.  Prior to FINRA Aki was in private practice in New Jersey, focusing on commercial and securities litigation.  

Aki is a 2002 graduate of Loyola University in Maryland and a 2005 graduate of Seton Hall University School of Law. 

Amanda Kramer is a partner in Covington & Burling’s White Collar Defense & Investigations Practice.  Before joining the firm, she served for more than 11 years as an Assistant United States Attorney and Senior Litigation Counsel in the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York where she first-chaired 12 criminal trials, supervised human trafficking and sexual misconduct investigations, and led complex securities fraud and related white collar prosecutions.  

Amanda represents corporations and individuals in sensitive, high-stakes government investigations and enforce actions, white collar criminal defense matters, internal investigations, and workplace culture reviews involving gender and racial equality and sexual misconduct.  Notable matters include leading a confidential internal investigation for a Fortune 50 company concerning the sexual misconduct of a senior executive, overseeing a complex accounting fraud investigation for a multinational corporation, guiding a large pharmaceutical company through a sensitive government investigation, and conducting a workplace culture review for a public company concerning racial equality.

For the past six years, Amanda has served as an Adjunct Professor of Advanced Trial Advocacy at Fordham University School of Law.   

Deborah Meshulam is a partner at DLA Piper where she is one of the leaders of DLA Piper’s Securities Enforcement practice.  An experience trial lawyer, Deborah has a broad practice which includes defending clients facing claims of securities law violations, including FCPA and accounting fraud allegations, and conducting cross-border investigations for multinational corporations related to those and other topics. She regularly advises clients on compliance matters and litigation avoidance and counsels them on a wide range of regulatory matters, including the application of the federal securities laws to digital assets. She advises exchanges, digital asset issuers, and regulated entities on these issues.  Deborah has published multiple articles related to the SEC’s regulation of digital assets and other securities law and compliance issues.  She is a sought-after speaker at professional programs on these topics. Deborah has been repeatedly recognized by legal industry publications including most recently by the Legal 500 for her work in Securities Litigation-Defense and Who’s Who Legal Investigations: 2021 as a Global Leader in investigations.  She is a past recipient of the Burton Award for Legal Achievement, run in alliance with the Law Library of Congress.  She is also recognized as a Washington DC Super Lawyer in Securities Litigation.

Prior to joining DLA Piper, Ms. Meshulam served for seven years as Assistant Chief Litigation Counsel for the Securities and Exchange Commission’s Division of Enforcement, a senior level position.  As lead trial counsel, she prosecuted securities enforcement cases, including jury trials, involving complex financial fraud, accounting, corruption, market manipulation, insider trading, sales practice fraud, Ponzi schemes and public offering fraud and disclosure issues.

At DLA Piper, Ms. Meshulam represents and has successfully defended individual and corporate clients in SEC and Department of Justice (DOJ) investigations relating to claims of securities law and FCPA violations. She also represents clients in investigations conducted by the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB), FINRA, Congress, state securities authorities, and Exchanges.

She counsels clients on compliance, regulatory and corporate governance matters, including Sarbanes-Oxley and Dodd Frank whistle-blower matters.

In her investigations practice, Ms. Meshulam leads and conducts investigations, including cross border investigations, involving a variety of industries and sectors including financial services, defense, energy, consumer, real estate, and healthcare. She has conducted and led investigations involving market manipulation claims, FCPA allegations and accounting fraud claims in China, India, Kazakhstan and Kuwait as well as in Europe. Ms. Meshulam has obtained SEC no-action and DOJ declination decisions in several such matters. In one of her recent matters, she persuaded the SEC to close an accounting fraud investigation against a global corporation with no action. In another recent matter she successfully resolved an SEC investigation involving complex financial products and a number of affiliated financial services companies. 

Ms. Meshulam’s regulatory counselling practice includes advising clients on a wide range of corporate governance and regulatory matters, including financial reporting and disclosure issues, design and implementation of compliance programs under the securities laws and the FCPA as well as issues faced by brokers/dealers, investment advisers and other regulated entities. She also represents clients in rulemaking proceedings and in SEC inquiries from the Divisions of Corporate Finance and Trading and Markets, the Office of Chief Accountant and the Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations.

She is an Audit Committee Member of the non-profit organization, Global Fund to End Modern Slavery.

Gregory Morvillo is best known for his work shaping insider trading law. His victory before the Second Circuit Court of Appeals in the landmark insider trading case United States v. Newman propelled him to being one of the most sought-after insider trading defense attorneys in the country. Since that time, he has successfully defended numerous individuals accused of committing insider trading before the Department of Justice and the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Greg represented Anthony Chiasson in the criminal, appellate and regulatory actions in the above referenced case, all of which resulted in total exoneration. His work for Chiasson led Law360 to note that he “went toe-to-toe with hard-charging U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara to win a landmark Second Circuit decision … that raised the bar for prosecuting individuals who are one or more layers removed from sources of confidential information and overturned the conviction of his hedge fund manager client.”

In the wake of Newman, Greg has become immersed in insider trading and securities fraud cases. He has tried numerous insider trading/securities fraud cases to verdict over the past several years and has taken on multiple appeals for clients in this ever-evolving area of the law. Recently, he prevailed on a motion to vacate former SAC portfolio manager Richard Lee's guilty plea. Subsequently, he secured a dismissal of the criminal charges even though Lee had previously pled guilty to insider trading and cooperated with the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York.  

Greg also regularly advises public companies and privately-owned hedge funds on their compliance issues and methods to train/educate employees to avoid running afoul of the law. He has written and spoken on insider trading and corporate best practices dozens of times in the past few years. 

Beyond his insider trading work, Greg has represented both individuals and corporations in numerous federal and state court actions and in government investigations. He has litigated against United States Attorneys’ Offices across the country, the Department of Justice in Washington, D.C., numerous regional offices of the Securities and Exchange Commission, the New York State Attorney General’s Office, the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office, the New York Stock Exchange, FINRA, the CFTC and other government and self-regulatory organizations. He has also handled appeals in the Second, Third, Fourth, and Tenth Circuit Courts of Appeals. He routinely advises clients on criminal law, securities, regulatory, civil, administrative and corporate governance issues.


Josh Levine is a Managing Director and Head of ICG NAM Regulatory Investigations at Citigroup.  Working at Citigroup since 2006, Josh handles a broad range of regulatory and internal investigations, sweeps, enforcement and litigation proceedings, and other related inquiries conducted by federal and state regulatory authorities, criminal law enforcement authorities, and self-regulatory agencies.  Prior to Citigroup, Josh was an enforcement attorney in the SEC's New York Regional Office, with responsibility for planning and directing investigations and litigations involving all aspects of the securities markets. Prior to the SEC, Josh was a litigation associate at Davis Polk & Wardwell.  Josh received a J.D. from NYU School of Law in 1999, an M.A. in Political Science from Columbia University in 1995, and a B.A. in Government and History from Connecticut College in 1994.

MaryJeanette Dee is a partner in the Government Contracts, Investigations and International Trade Practice Group in the firm’s New York office. She is a member of the firm’s Executive Committee and serves as the Firm’s Co-Managing Partner.

MaryJeanette concentrates in internal investigations and regulatory and white collar criminal defense. Ms. Dee frequently represents banks, broker-dealers, investment advisers, corporate officers, financial advisors and other securities professionals in connection with domestic and cross-border investigations and inquiries by U.S. Attorney’s Offices for the Southern and Eastern Districts of New York, the SEC, the CFTC, FINRA, the NY Attorney General’s Office, the FRB, the NY Department of Financial Services and other governmental entities and self-regulatory organizations. She has conducted numerous internal investigations into a wide variety of allegations, including insider trading, trading and position valuation issues, misuse of confidential information, embezzlement, money laundering and BSA/AML issues, sanctions compliance and retail brokerage sales practice violations.

Mr. Brenner was Chief Counsel of the SEC’s Enforcement Division from January 2011 through August 2021. He also is Adjunct Professor at the Columbus School of Law, Catholic University of America.

Prior to joining the SEC, he was a partner at Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr LLP. At WilmerHale, he was Vice-Chair of the firm’s Securities Department, and his practice focused on securities enforcement, related civil and criminal litigation, and internal corporate investigations.

Mr. Brenner served as a Court Law Clerk for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. He graduated from Georgetown University Law Center, and received his undergraduate degree from Cornell University.

Mr. Machen is co-chair of WilmerHale’s white collar defense and investigations practice and is also a member of the firm’s global management committee. His practice focuses on government enforcement actions, corporate and congressional investigations, and litigating complex civil business disputes across the globe. An experienced litigator who has tried more than 35 cases to verdict, Mr. Machen routinely helps clients navigate high-stakes, crisis situations that garner the attention of multiple regulators, enforcement authorities, Congress and private litigants.

Prior to rejoining the firm in 2015, Mr. Machen served for over five years as the US attorney for the District of Columbia. During his career, Mr. Machen has acquired substantial experience in both prosecuting and defending federal criminal and civil health care fraud matters and currently serves as a co-monitor to a major healthcare corporation.

Ralph DeSena is a Director in the Enforcement Department of FINRA, the self-regulatory organization overseeing the securities industry.  In this role, Ralph manages a team of six attorneys in all aspects of their investigations of member firms and associated persons, including taking testimony, requesting documents and other information, deciding on appropriate charges, preparing investigative memoranda, making settlement offers, issuing Wells Notices, drafting complaints, and preparing for hearings.  He has brought actions against Chief Compliance Officers (CCOs) and also co-authored an internal white paper on the potential liability of CCOs and Anti-Money Laundering Compliance Officers under FINRA and SEC rules.  Ralph received a performance award for his work on FINRA’s new guidance on credit for extraordinary cooperation, Regulatory Notice 19-23.

Prior to joining FINRA, for nearly eleven years Ralph was a Managing Director and the Head of U.S. Litigation at the Royal Bank of Canada, one of the largest banks in the world by market capitalization.  In that role, Ralph managed a team of attorneys and paralegals, and was responsible for all U.S. regulatory and internal investigations, litigations, arbitrations and subpoenas for RBC Capital Markets, the investment banking arm of the bank.  Ralph personally managed and supervised outside counsel on the bank’s most significant litigation and regulatory exposures.  During his time at RBC, Ralph also was a member of the SIFMA Litigation Advisory Committee from 2007 to 2016, and served as chair from 2011 to 2012.

Before joining RBC, Ralph was a Vice President at Morgan Stanley, where he handled litigations, arbitrations and regulatory investigations for the individual investor, institutional securities and investment management divisions.  He also was heavily involved in the SEC-mandated "top-to-bottom" review of conflicts and business practices, which achieved a major shift in the firm's regulatory strategy.  In private practice prior to going in-house, Ralph was a litigation associate in the New York offices of King & Spalding LLP and Rogers & Wells (now Clifford Chance LLP), where his practice focused on securities and antitrust cases.  He began his legal career clerking for the Honorable Stewart Dalzell, a federal district court judge in Philadelphia.  Ralph graduated from UCLA School of Law in 1994 and received his Bachelor of Arts degree, summa cum laude, from Boston College in 1991.

Rob is the Chief Legal Officer and a Partner in the New York office where he is responsible for overseeing the firm’s compliance program and all legal matters related to the organization. He is a member of the Operating Committee and Executive Committee. Rob has more than twenty years of experience in legal and regulatory matters.

Prior to joining Cerity Partners, Rob served as Senior Counsel at MarketCounsel, a regulatory and compliance consulting firm for investment advisory firms. In his role at MarketCounsel, Rob set up and built out the compliance and regulatory structure for more than 30 SEC- and state-registered investment advisers. Rob also provided ongoing compliance and regulatory consulting and audit services to over 80 advisory firms, broker-dealers and hedge funds. In addition to his work at MarketCounsel, Rob served as an associate at the Hamburger Law Firm concentrating his practice in the areas of the regulation and compliance of investment advisers and broker-dealers, private investment fund formation and general corporate counsel. Before his work at MarketCounsel and the Hamburger Law Firm, Rob worked as an associate in the capital markets group of the international law firm Cadwalader, Wickersham and Taft, LLP.

Rob earned a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science with Honors from Seton Hall University. He earned his Juris Doctor from Rutgers University School of Law-Newark. He is admitted to the Bars of New York and New Jersey.

Stefanie J. Sundel, Esq. is Regulatory Counsel and a Senior Compliance Officer at Sculptor Capital LP, the investment adviser of Sculptor Capital Management, Inc., a global alternative asset management firm.

Previously, Stefanie was a Securities Compliance Examiner and Attorney in the SEC’s Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations in the Investment Adviser/ Investment Company Examination Program. During her tenure at the SEC, Stefanie led and conducted complex examinations of investment advisers, including private equity and hedge fund firms, to ensure compliance with federal securities laws such as the Investment Advisers Act of 1940 and the Investment Company Act of 1940. 

Prior to joining the SEC, Stefanie was an associate at Bernstein Litowitz Berger & Grossmann LLP, where she specialized in private litigation focusing on securities fraud, corporate governance, and shareholder rights. 

Stefanie is a Certified Fraud Examiner, holds a Bachelor of Arts in International Relations from Franklin University Switzerland (magna cum laude), and a Juris Doctor from New York Law School (cum laude).   

A former Assistant U. S. Attorney, Department of Justice Fraud Section Trial Attorney and Securities and Exchange Commission Senior Counsel, Jon Barr is a seasoned advocate who vigorously defends and advises public companies, corporate executives, and individuals in white collar criminal, FCPA and SEC enforcement matters.

With more than twenty years of experience in government investigations, Jon is regularly retained to represent and defend General Counsels, Compliance Officers and other high-level executives in criminal and SEC investigations.  Jon’s practice also focuses on conducting internal investigations, assisting companies with self-disclosure decisions and advising on remedial measures and compliance programs.

The Securities Docket named Jon to its "Enforcement 40 for 2017," which is Securities Docket's list of the 40 best and brightest securities enforcement defense lawyers in the United States. He is ranked in Chambers USA for Litigation: White Collar Crime & Government Investigations in the District of Columbia.  Jon is also recognized in Best Lawyers of America and by his designation as a “Super Lawyer” in Washington, D.C.

Rob Stern is the Chair of the Firm’s White Collar, Investigations, Securities Litigation & Compliance practice group and a nationally recognized securities litigator by both Chambers USA (Band 1) and Legal 500 (Leading Lawyer).

Rob has a demonstrated track record of achieving outstanding results for financial services institutions, Fortune 100 companies, officers and directors of public companies and accounting firms. Rob's mastery of the field enables him to develop creative litigation strategies and business solutions for his clients in a broad array of situations.

For the past 20 years, Rob has handled many of the most complex financial services and civil and governmental securities matters. Rob has litigated dozens of securities and commodities class actions and the parallel SEC, CFTC, PCAOB and/or criminal enforcement matters that accompany them. Rob has also tried numerous FINRA, AAA and international arbitrations and litigated merger and acquisition disputes in Delaware Chancery Court. Rob possesses particular expertise litigating claims involving accounting-related matters, structured products, mortgages, futures and derivatives.

In addition to being a recognized practitioner, Rob is also a thought leader -- lecturing and publishing widely. Rob is a faculty member of Practicing Law Institute’s Securities Litigation program and Chairs PLI's Storming the Gatekeepers:  When Compliance Officers and In-House Lawyers Are at Risk program. Rob has also spoken on Bond Buyer webinars, NERA's Securities and Finance Seminar, the Advanced Litigation Strategy Summit and Strafford Seminars.

Ellen Murphy represents individuals and organizations in a variety of civil, criminal and regulatory investigations and matters.

Her practice focuses on white-collar defense and complex civil litigation. Her cases have involved allegations of public corruption, securities fraud, mail and wire fraud, as well as securities class actions and complex commercial litigations.

Ellen has significant experience litigating almost every aspect of civil and criminal cases and also has extensive experience handling mediations and all aspects of arbitrations. Ellen has represented both companies conducting internal investigations and individuals in connection with those investigations.  She has represented both individuals and corporations under investigation by the Department of Justice, the Securities and Exchange Commission, the District Attorney’s Office, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, and FINRA.