We use our extensive government experience, independent perspective, and skill as trial lawyers to obtain favorable results for our clients at every stage of a government securities investigation. From the moment a client is first contacted by the SEC, CFTC, FINRA, PCAOB, or other federal or state regulator, our team leverages its experience to focus on the government’s core concerns and puts the government to its burden of proof, finding creative solutions and methods to drive the investigation to a swift resolution, and, when necessary, fighting all the way through trial and appeal.
Extensive Government Experience. Quinn Emanuel’s Securities Enforcement Defense partners have over 30 years of experience at the SEC, including as senior leaders making final decisions at every stage of the SEC investigation and litigating cases on behalf of the SEC. We also draw from our deep bench of white-collar defense attorneys and former senior criminal prosecutors, along with the firm’s securities and private fund litigators. As a result, we know how to help clients—including issuers, investment advisers, broker-dealers, private funds, directors, and senior executives—get the best results in the evolving SEC enforcement and regulatory landscape. We know how to craft the most compelling narrative, while also maintaining credibility with regulators, and we have earned the right to be aggressive to advance our client’s interests. We are not constrained by the “standard playbook”—we look for opportunities to do the unexpected, to challenge the regulator’s assumptions, to seize control of the narrative from day one, and to proactively address the issues. We advocate for our clients’ interests, rather than simply react to the regulator’s demands. We do not hesitate to escalate matters to senior supervisors and frequently draw on our hands-on understanding of the SEC’s internal mechanics and dynamics to our clients’ advantage. We are able to nimbly navigate the legal and institutional challenges of parallel criminal and SEC investigations. And when the investigation has an international component, Quinn Emanuel’s cross-border practice is unparalleled. In particular, we have extensive experience defending investigations on behalf of China-based issuers and Canadian issuers, investment advisers, and private funds. Our firm’s global reach allows us to capably handle foreign and domestic criminal and regulatory investigations.
Independent Perspective. One of our greatest assets is our independence from the transactions and disclosure documents that frequently are at issue in government securities investigations. We focus singularly on the matter at hand and zealously advocate for our clients without regard to our firm getting the next deal. Likewise, because our firm did not draft the deal or disclosure documents likely at issue we are able to review relevant documents from the regulator’s perspective and to ask the hard questions about corporate counsel’s work to best avoid surprises and defend the client. A client deserves a lawyer who, like the regulators investigating, has some distance from the relevant transactions and can make an objective, experienced judgment about the best strategy, witnesses, and approach to meet the client’s needs. Further, our separation from the underlying issues affords us greater credibility before the government when advocating for the client because we are not seen as trying to defend our own work.
Skill as Trial Lawyers. Quinn Emanuel’s entry into an investigation sends an unmistakable message to the government: we will take this all the way if needed. And, our trial focused approach enables us to get the most favorable result by focusing on the weaknesses of proof and ensuring the litigation record is as favorable as possible. Yet our experience and credibility with the government means we are often able to achieve favorable outcomes short of trial, including closing the investigation with no action by the government.
We have achieved favorable outcomes at every stage—informal inquiries, advocacy before agency decision-makers, and, of course, at trial. This is one of the many reasons why securities market participants turn to us when they find themselves in the cross-hairs of federal and state regulators.
Examinations and Inspections. We work with clients to navigate SEC, FINRA, and PCAOB examinations and inspections and provide seasoned advice on how to remediate issues uncovered during examinations, internal inspections, and audits. Compliance issues often arise unexpectedly and are highly disruptive to a company; here, we are able to apply a softer approach, working with our clients to keep their house clean, never losing sight of the goal of resolving the issues efficiently and preventing them from progressing to an investigation.
Stepping in Mid-Investigation. We are able to hit the ground running when asked to step in during any phase of the investigation or litigation, and are frequently brought on in the middle or even towards the conclusion of an investigation to change the trajectory in our clients’ favor.
Based on our extensive experience within the SEC, we also provide advice to best position our clients to avoid a government securities investigation in the first place. We have a robust compliance and advisory practice, including with regard to insider trading compliance, investment adviser compliance, cryptocurrencies and digital asset regulation, ESG disclosures, whistleblower compliance, and AML/BSA compliance. And, should a client self-identify a potential problem, but has not yet been contacted by the government, we reflect on our experience as senior government leaders who decided what investigations to open to advise clients on how to best position themselves for the most favorable outcome, including how to remediate the potential problem and whether to self-report to the government.
Our results speak for themselves. We repeatedly have obtained declinations, in which the SEC staff has determined not to recommend that the Commission take any action, and have negotiated favorable resolutions for our clients. We have successfully defended inquiries into financial and accounting fraud, violations of the Investment Advisers and Investment Company Acts, broker-dealer regulation, cybersecurity breaches, FCPA matters, and securities registration violations. We also have extensive experience with cryptocurrency and digital assets-related investigations, insider trading and market manipulation cases, and a variety of other securities-related matters.
- Represent CFO of company that went public in a SPAC transaction in SEC investigative and securities class action. Commission brought no action against CFO
- Represent digital asset platform in SEC investigation that platform issued tokens that were unregistered securities. Obtained Closing Letter from SEC staff.
- Represent investment consultant in SEC investigation into collapse of multi-billion financial product.
- Represent Bitcoin mining company in SEC investigation.
- Represent public benefit corporation in SEC investigation into Regulation Crowd Funding offering. QE was retained three months into the investigation and obtained a Closing Letter from SEC staff less than four months after retention.
- Represent public company in SEC investigation into subsidiary investment adviser for allegations of improper payments and financial reporting. Obtained complete declination from Enforcement for public company.
- Represent digital asset exchange in SEC investigation.
- Represent a multi-billion asset manager in SEC examination and investigation into portfolio trading practices.
- Represent CEO of publicly listed company in SEC investigation into financial reporting.
- Represent executive of publicly listed company in SEC Wells process stemming from violations of antifraud provisions of federal securities laws. Obtained Closing Letter from SEC staff.
- Represent Chairman of the Board in SEC investigation into alleged market manipulation and insider trading.
- Represent EV company that went public through a de-SPAC transaction in SEC investigation.
- Represent hedge fund in SEC and DOJ parallel investigation into alleged short and distort.
- Represent investor defrauded by investment adviser in connection with potential private causes of action under Investment Advisers Act and Investment Company Act.
- Represent large institutional asset manager in SEC investigations into digital tokens in which manager’s funds are invested.
- Represent principal of binary options firm in SEC and DOJ fraud investigation.
- Represent real estate mortgage finance firm and its principals in SEC investigation that real estate interests were unregistered securities and fraud allegations. QE was hired at the Wells Submission and negotiated substantially favorable resolution.
- Represent music industry executive in SEC investigation into a business partner’s financial reporting.
- Represent asset manager in SEC examination after Exam staff arrived at findings that indicated serious misconduct. Resolved examination with no referral to Enforcement.
- Represent international issue in SEC investigation into statements made during IPO.
- Represented large retail financial institution in SEC investigation into potential violations of the Safeguards Rule following a data breach. Resolved with no enforcement action.
- Represent CEO of publicly traded company and its affiliates in SEC investigation into financial reporting and accounting issues.
- Represent large communication platform in SEC litigation that platform issued unregistered tokens.
- Represent regional broker-dealer in FINRA investigation and litigation concerning alleged violations of FINRA membership rules and reporting requirements.
- Represent principal of overseas trading firm in SEC investigation and litigation alleging that business participated in “pump and dump” scheme.
- Represent public companies and hedge funds in SEC insider trading investigations.
- Represent hedge funds in ongoing compliance advice assessing material non-public information and other aspects of the Investment Advisers Act.
- Represented CEO and COO in SEC investigation into allegations of accounting and financial reporting violations.
- Represent Canadian asset manager in SEC investigation concerning accuracy of statements in offering materials. Coordinated closely with parallel OSC investigation.
- Represent US-listed Chinese issuers in SEC investigations and coordinate with CSRC.
- Represent company and CEO in SEC investigation into whether token offering was an unregistered offering of securities.
- Represent former portfolio manager of large asset manager in litigation against the SEC concerning reporting of expense reimbursement.
- Represent CEO of large credit reporting agency in Congressional and regulatory investigations following highly publicized data breach.
- Represent digital asset software development company in SEC investigation that associated token is an unregistered security.
- Represent FTSE 100 company in SEC investigation into potential disclosure and financial reporting issues.
- Represent Silicon Valley public company in SEC investigative sweep into consequences of the Solar Winds hack.
- Represent large manufacturing company in SEC investigation into financial reporting metrics. Obtained closing letter from Enforcement staff.
- Represent international public company in SEC investigation concerning wide ranging accounting and financial reporting issues.
- Represent multiple SEC whistleblowers in connection with SEC investigations and award claims.
- Represent municipality in SEC investigation into disclosures and financial reporting in bond offering materials.
- Represent online broker-dealer in multiple FINRA investigations and examinations and SEC investigation into compliance with various FINRA and SEC reporting and trading rules.
- Represent managing director of large venture capital fund in conjunction with SEC investigation into portfolio company on which board director sat.