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Quinn Emanuel Expands SEC Enforcement Practice, Adding Former National Asset Management Chief Dabney O’Riordan

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – Cementing its leadership position in securities enforcement defense, global litigation powerhouse Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan LLP today announced that C. Dabney O’Riordan has joined the firm as a partner, resident in the Firm’s Los Angeles and Washington, D.C. offices. O’Riordan joins Quinn Emanuel from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), where she led the Division of Enforcement’s Asset Management Unit (AMU) for over six years.

A pre-eminent expert in enforcement, regulatory, and compliance oversight of asset managers, O’Riordan chaired the nationwide unit comprised of some 60 lawyers, industry experts, and regional managers specializing in federal securities law governing investment advisers, mutual funds, ETFs, hedge funds, private equity funds, and other investment vehicles. Beyond overseeing hundreds of investigations conducted by staff across the country, O’Riordan led the Enforcement Division’s efforts to address emerging issues in the asset management industry, including as a founding member of the Division’s Climate and ESG Task Force, and worked closely with other SEC leaders on related rules, guidance, and examination priorities. 

“We are pleased to welcome Dabney to the Firm and excited about what it means for our SEC Enforcement Defense Practice. She is a true subject-matter expert in asset management enforcement, regulation, and compliance, and her talents will deepen our already considerable strength in this area,” said firm founder and Chairman John B. Quinn. “Dabney has been on the front lines of identifying, investigating, and litigating SEC actions with complex and critical issues, particularly those involving the asset management industry.” 

“Asset managers are integral to our capital markets and find themselves subject to increasing scrutiny by regulators. As a 17-year public service veteran and the longest serving head of the AMU, Dabney brings to our practice unparalleled expertise and legal judgment and the ability to help our clients navigate the increasingly complex enforcement and regulatory landscape. We are delighted to welcome her to the firm,” said Sarah Heaton Concannon and Michael Liftik, Co-Chairs of Quinn Emanuel’s SEC Enforcement Defense Practice, in a joint statement.   

“I was drawn to Quinn Emanuel for its singular focus on excellence as trial attorneys to best serve their clients. This focus uniquely positions the firm to get ideal results for clients subject to SEC enforcement investigations. I look forward to partnering with the firm’s talented lawyers to advise our clients,” said O’Riordan.

O’Riordan joined the SEC’s Los Angeles Regional Office in 2005 as a staff attorney, steadily rising through the ranks to become a member of the AMU when it was first formed in 2010.  In 2012, after working as counsel to the then-Enforcement Director Robert Khuzami, O’Riordan was promoted to an Assistant Director in the AMU. In 2016, O’Riordan was appointed Co-Chief of the AMU by then-Enforcement Director Andrew J. Ceresney. At the time of her appointment, Ceresney cited O’Riordan’s “excellent judgment, deep knowledge of the laws and rules governing the asset management industry, and strong leadership skills.”

Before joining the SEC, O’Riordan was a litigation associate at Munger, Tolles & Olson in Los Angeles and served as a law clerk to the Honorable David R. Thompson on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. She received her law degree from UCLA School of Law, where she was Order of the Coif, and her undergraduate degree with honors from Wellesley College.