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SEC v. Obus: Insider Trading and Taking the SEC to Trial 2014


Speaker(s): Joel M. Cohen, Mary Kay Dunning
Recorded on: Jul. 29, 2014
PLI Program #: 60320

Mary Kay Dunning is Senior Enforcement Counsel in the New York Attorney General’s Investor Protection Bureau, where she litigates and investigates potential securities fraud.  She is also a member of the Investor Protection Bureau’s Legal Standards and Practices Committee.  Prior to joining the New York Attorney General’s Office in 2018, Ms. Dunning was Of Counsel in the New York office of Gibson Dunn & Crutcher LLP, where her practice included securities and complex commercial litigation, white collar defense and investigations, and global anti-corruption matters.  In 2015, she was one of only four attorneys named a “Rising Star” in the White Collar category by Law360.  Ms. Dunning received her Juris Doctor from Georgetown University Law Center in 2004 and her Bachelor of Arts degree, summa cum laude, from Princeton University in 1999.  Following law school, Ms. Dunning served as a law clerk to The Honorable Deborah T. Poritz, Chief Justice of the New Jersey Supreme Court.  Ms. Dunning is an officer and director of the Fiver Children’s Foundation, a comprehensive youth development organization whose ten-year commitment to children from underserved communities includes mentoring and counseling programs, a character-building residential summer program, and partnerships with schools and community-based organizations.


Joel M. Cohen, a trial lawyer and former federal prosecutor, is Co-Chair of Gibson Dunn’s White Collar Defense and Investigations Group, and a member of its Securities Litigation, Class Actions and Antitrust Practice Groups. Mr. Cohen has been lead or co-lead counsel in 24 civil and criminal trials in federal and state courts. Mr. Cohen is equally comfortable leading confidential investigations, managing crises or advocating in court. Mr. Cohen’s experience includes all aspects of FCPA/anticorruption issues, insider trading, cross-border tax issues, securities and financial institution litigation, class actions, sanctions, money laundering and asset recovery, with a particular focus on international disputes and discovery.

Mr. Cohen was the prosecutor of Jordan Belfort and Stratton Oakmont, which is the focus of “The Wolf of Wall Street” film by Martin Scorsese. He was an advisor to the OECD in connection with the effort to prohibit corruption in international transactions and was the first Department of Justice legal liaison advisor to the French Ministry of Justice. Mr. Cohen is rated in Chambers, where practitioners and clients have noted that he has “incredibly strong substantive depth melded with a risk-based practicality,” “strong trial skills and handling of large-scale investigations,” and praised his ability to “handle very intense, complex matters with regulatory authorities and really just deliver great results.” Mr. Cohen has been repeatedly named a leading white collar criminal defense attorney by The Best Lawyers in America©, a “Litigation Star” national Top 100 Trial Lawyer by Benchmark Litigation, an “MVP” by Law360, one of the world’s leading practitioners in White Collar Crime in Euromoney’s Expert Guides – White Collar Crime, a “Super Lawyer” in Criminal Litigation, and his work is noted by Legal 500 in the areas of white collar criminal defense and securities litigation. In addition, The American Lawyer named Mr. Cohen as one of its Litigators of the Week after winning a jury defense verdict in an insider trading case on behalf of Nelson Obus, general partner of Wynnefield Capital.

Mr. Cohen was featured in The American Lawyer’s 2016 award of “White Collar/Regulatory Law Firm of the Year” to Gibson Dunn for his Obus trial victory. Noting that his client was “in awe” of his trial and cross examination skills, The American Lawyer linked the trial victory with the SEC’s decision days after the defense verdict to avoid jury trials and seek administrative actions in the future.