Andrew J. Ceresney is a partner in the New York office of Debevoise and Co-Chair of the Litigation Department.
Mr. Ceresney represents public companies, financial institutions, asset management firms, accounting firms, boards of directors, and individuals in federal and state government investigations and contested litigation in federal and state courts. Mr. Ceresney has many years of experience prosecuting and defending a wide range of white collar criminal and civil cases, having served in senior law enforcement roles at both the United States Securities and Exchange Commission and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York. Mr. Ceresney also has tried and supervised many jury and non-jury trials and argued numerous appeals before federal and state courts of appeal.
Prior to rejoining Debevoise in 2017, Mr. Ceresney served for nearly four years as the Director of Enforcement at the SEC under Chair Mary Jo White. In that role, he oversaw approximately 1,400 SEC personnel, supervising law enforcement efforts in 12 offices throughout the country, including matters related to financial reporting and accounting, asset management, insider trading, market structure, and the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA). Under his leadership, the Division brought a record number of cases, including pathbreaking and significant cases across the entire spectrum of the securities industry. Mr. Ceresney also helped broaden the use of the SEC’s analytical tools to detect and investigate financial misconduct, while enhancing the Enforcement Division’s litigation capacity and improving morale. As Director of Enforcement, Mr. Ceresney worked closely with the high-level leadership of other regulators, including the Department of Justice, many U.S. Attorney’s offices, CFTC, New York Attorney General, New York Department of Financial Services, FINRA and CFPB.
Prior to joining the SEC in 2013, Mr. Ceresney Co-Chaired the White Collar & Regulatory Defense Group at Debevoise. Mr. Ceresney played an integral role in negotiating the historic $25 billion national mortgage settlement between the federal government, 49 state attorneys general and some of the country’s largest banks. His practice focused on a wide range of issues, including securities-related and money laundering for financial institutions, and investigations and civil matters relating to accounting fraud, FCPA, valuation issues, complex financial instruments, insider trading and disclosure issues. He also handled matters involving the pharmaceutical industry, including government investigations of promotional practices and class action litigation.
Prior to joining Debevoise in 2003, Mr. Ceresney served as a Deputy Chief Appellate Attorney in the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York. During his tenure at the US Attorney’s Office, Mr. Ceresney was a member of the Securities and Commodities Fraud Task Force and the Major Crimes Unit and handled numerous white collar criminal investigations, trials and appeals, including matters relating to securities fraud, mail fraud, money laundering, public corruption and obstruction of justice.
Mr. Ceresney received his J.D. in 1996, from Yale Law School, where he was Essays Editor of the Yale Law Journal. He obtained his B.A. summa cum laude Phi Beta Kappa, from Columbia University in 1993.
Keith Higgins is a member of Ropes & Gray’s corporate department and chair of the securities & governance practice.
Keith rejoined the firm in 2017, after having served as Director of Corporation Finance at the U. S. Securities & Exchange Commission since 2013. While in that role, Keith led the Division’s implementation of significant rulemaking under the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act (JOBS Act), and Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act (FAST Act). He also led the Division’s Disclosure Effectiveness project and oversaw the issuance of significant interpretive guidance to companies and investors under the federal securities laws.
Prior to serving at the SEC, Keith had practiced at Ropes & Gray for more than 30 years, counseling public companies in securities offerings, mergers and acquisitions, compliance and corporate governance. Keith advises companies, their boards, and investors on matters with the SEC, including disclosure and financial statements, no-action letters, as well as SEC enforcement actions and related internal investigations.
While in private practice, Keith was recognized by Chambers, Best Lawyers, and other publications as a leading corporate and M&A lawyer in Massachusetts and nationwide.