Cravath to Open in Washington, D.C., Former Leadership of FDIC and SEC to Join as Partners
Jelena McWilliams, former Chairman of the FDIC, will join Cravath’s Corporate Department and will serve as Managing Partner of the Firm’s Washington, D.C. office
Elad L. Roisman, former Commissioner and Acting Chairman of the SEC, will join Cravath’s Corporate Department, resident in new office
Jennifer S. Leete, former Associate Director of Enforcement at the SEC, will join Cravath’s Litigation Department, resident in new office
NEW YORK–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP today announced it will open a Washington, D.C. office anchored by former leaders of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (“FDIC”) and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”). Jelena McWilliams, former Chairman of the FDIC, Elad L. Roisman, former Commissioner and Acting Chairman of the SEC, and Jennifer S. Leete, former Associate Director in the SEC’s Division of Enforcement, will join the Firm as partners.
Ms. McWilliams, Mr. Roisman and Ms. Leete will advise Cravath’s clients across a range of sectors, including financial services, fintech and emerging technology, on regulatory, corporate governance and investigation matters, as well as M&A, IPO and other capital markets transactions. Ms. McWilliams will serve as Managing Partner of the Washington, D.C. office.
“Our clients face an increasingly complex and active regulatory environment, and our move today enhances our ability to provide the most creative advice in addressing their most challenging matters,” said Faiza J. Saeed, Cravath’s Presiding Partner. “With nearly half a century of combined public service, Jelena, Elad and Jennifer will bring exceptional regulatory experience, legal acumen and leadership on critical issues. We are thrilled to welcome them to Cravath.”
With the addition of Ms. McWilliams, Mr. Roisman and Ms. Leete, Cravath’s partnership will include attorneys who have served in leadership positions across key federal regulatory agencies, including Christine A. Varney, who chairs Cravath’s Antitrust Practice and previously served as Assistant Attorney General and led the Department of Justice’s (“DOJ”) Antitrust Division after serving as a Commissioner of the Federal Trade Commission; David J. Kappos, who co-chairs Cravath’s Intellectual Property Practice and previously served as Under Secretary of Commerce and Director of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office; and John D. Buretta, who chairs Cravath’s Investigations and Regulatory Enforcement Practice and previously served as the number‑two ranking official in the DOJ’s Criminal Division as Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General and Chief of Staff.
“Building the Washington, D.C. office for a firm as venerable as Cravath—its second U.S. office in over 200 years—is an opportunity of a lifetime. I am honored to be joining the Cravath partnership at this important moment for the Firm,” said Ms. McWilliams.
Mr. Roisman said: “I have worked diligently throughout my career in both government service and in the private sector to improve the capital markets and help businesses and investors succeed. I am honored to have the chance to do so at Cravath with its unparalleled reputation and securities law expertise.”
Ms. Leete said: “I am eager to get to work helping clients navigate their most critical enforcement and regulatory challenges. It will be an enormous privilege to join Cravath’s exceptional attorneys in bringing this storied firm to Washington.”
Founded in 1819, Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP is widely recognized as one of the world’s premier law firms. With the opening this fall, the Firm will have offices in New York, Washington, D.C. and London.
Jelena McWilliams is a former Chairman of the FDIC where she managed over 6,000 employees and engaged in oversight of approximately 5,000 banks. While at the FDIC, she served as a voting member of the Financial Stability Oversight Council; chaired the Resolution Group at the Financial Stability Board; chaired and served on the Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council; and served on the Financial and Banking Information Infrastructure Committee. She testified before U.S. Congress on numerous occasions, and engaged extensively with U.S. and international regulators, including at the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision and the International Association of Deposit Insurers. Ms. McWilliams previously served as Executive Vice President, Chief Legal Officer and Corporate Secretary for Fifth Third Bank; Chief Counsel and Deputy Staff Director with the U.S. Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs; and Assistant Chief Counsel with the U.S. Senate Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee. During the 2007–2010 financial crisis, Ms. McWilliams served as a consumer protection attorney at the Federal Reserve Board of Governors. She started her legal career in private practice in Silicon Valley and Washington, D.C., advising public and private issuer clients on corporate and securities matters, including public offerings. Ms. McWilliams has had over 200 public appearances before diverse audiences and has briefed numerous boards of directors and management teams on regulatory, business and work culture issues. She received her B.A. with highest honors from the University of California at Berkeley and her J.D. from the U.C. Berkeley School of Law.
Elad L. Roisman is a former Commissioner and Acting Chairman of the SEC. Mr. Roisman is a thought leader on corporate governance and ESG issues for public companies and regulated entities. At the SEC, he led the agency’s efforts to improve the proxy voting process, which included amending the rules applicable to shareholder proposals and proxy solicitations. Throughout his career, Mr. Roisman has also focused extensively on equity market and fixed income market structure matters. During his tenure at the SEC, he played an instrumental role in the efforts to modernize the regulation of the U.S. equity markets as well as the Treasury markets. Mr. Roisman joined the SEC after serving as Chief Counsel with the U.S. Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs. Prior to his work in the U.S. Senate, he served as Counsel to SEC Commissioner Daniel M. Gallagher, Chief Counsel at NYSE Euronext and as a corporate lawyer in private practice in New York. Mr. Roisman received his B.A. cum laude from Cornell University and his J.D. from the Boston University School of Law.
Jennifer S. Leete is a former Associate Director in the SEC’s Division of Enforcement, where she served for more than 20 years. As a Senior Officer and member of the Division’s leadership team, Ms. Leete supervised a broad range of investigations and enforcement actions, managed a team of more than 40 attorneys and collaborated closely with the SEC’s regulatory divisions. She frequently coordinated the resolution of highly complex matters with other authorities, including the DOJ, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, state securities regulators, international securities regulators and self-regulatory organizations, including the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority and the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board. During her tenure at the SEC, Ms. Leete investigated, supervised and filed enforcement cases involving financial fraud and disclosure violations at public companies, misconduct at major broker-dealers and investment advisers, auditing firms, private funds and self-regulatory organizations. She also led investigations in emerging areas of the securities laws, including in the ESG space, digital assets and crypto currencies, and Regulation Best Interest, as well as insider trading, internet and offering frauds and Ponzi schemes. Her prior roles at the SEC include Assistant Director, Branch Chief and Staff Attorney. Before joining the Commission, Ms. Leete was a litigation lawyer in private practice in Washington, D.C. She received her B.A. from the College of William and Mary and her J.D. from the University of Maryland School of Law.
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