Areas of Practice
Paul R. Berger is a litigation partner in the Washington, D.C. office, where he focuses his practice on securities litigation, enforcement and white collar criminal defense matters. Mr. Berger is ranked as a leading lawyer in Securities Regulation: Enforcement and FCPA by Chambers USA (2014), which notes that he is “superb at conducting investigations, processing information, reaching a judgment and preparing a compelling presentation to the government.” Chambers USA (2013) describes him as “one of the most experienced securities practitioners, with great attention to detail, encyclopedic knowledge of anticorruption practices and a broad knowledge base.” Mr. Berger is also recommended by The Legal 500 US (2014).
Prior to joining Debevoise, Mr. Berger was an Associate Director of the Securities and Exchange Commission’s Division of Enforcement. At the SEC, Mr. Berger oversaw Commission investigations and enforcement proceedings and served as a principal advisor to the Director of Enforcement and to the Commission on both specific enforcement cases and on enforcement initiatives and policies. Some of his high profile matters at the SEC include:
- Financial Fraud Cases against a major mortgage association resulting in the second largest penalty ever assessed by the SEC in an accounting fraud case ($350 million); a global telecommunications equipment company; Xerox and six senior executives; KPMG (based on Xerox audits) and five audit partners; AremisSoft and senior management (working with the Department of Justice to successfully freeze assets in the Isle of Man and repatriate $200 million to the U.S.); ACLN and senior executives (freezing over $45 million in four European countries); Huntington Bancshares and senior executives; Take-Two and senior executives; and Livent and senior executives.
- FCPA Cases against, among others, Titan (with the Department of Justice, the largest FCPA settlement ever); ABB Ltd, the first Commission case to seek and obtain disgorgement in an illicit payments case; and Syncor.
- Auditor Independence Cases against KPMG for the Xerox audits; another Big Four accounting firm for independence violations with respect to PeopleSoft (resulting in successful litigation in which the Chief Administrative Law Judge barred the firm from accepting new audit clients for six months); KPMG for the impairment of the AIM Funds; Moret Ernst & Young; and PKF UK concerning the AremisSoft audits.
- Regulation FD Cases against Schering-Plough and its former chairman/CEO; and Flowserve and the company’s CEO and director of investor relations.
- Broker-Dealer Cases against Knight Securities, the first fraud case ever filed against a broker-dealer for failure to provide “best execution” to institutional clients; and NationsBank, a sales practice case.
- Insider Trading Cases involving the former Chairman and CEO of an investment bank and Deephaven Capital, for trading in PIPEs transactions.
- Executive Compensation Cases.
- Other Notable Cases include the Fast-Trades Internet price manipulation case against law students; the SEC’s first action against a foreign issuer for making false statements concerning merger negotiations; and Solucorp, the first Section 10A case.
Mr. Berger helped establish and chaired the Commission’s Financial Fraud Task Force and played a leading role in the Commission’s recent focus on the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act enforcement program concerning bribery payments. He was responsible for numerous cases in the areas of financial fraud, foreign payments (bribes), executive compensation, auditor independence, Regulation FD, broker-dealer matters and insider trading. Recently, he and fellow Debevoise litigation partner Bruce E. Yannett co-authored, “FCPA: What It Is and Why It Matters to You,” Bank Accounting & Finance (2007).
Mr. Berger joined the SEC’s Division of Enforcement in 1992, becoming Assistant Director in 1996 and Associate Director in 2000. Mr. Berger received the SEC’s prestigious Stanley Sporkin Award in 1999, which is given in recognition of outstanding contributions to the Division of Enforcement.
Prior to working at the SEC, Mr. Berger was an associate at Jenner & Block in Washington, D.C. and a staff attorney at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.
He is a member of the District of Columbia Bar. He received his B.A. from The American University and J.D. from the Antioch School of Law.
District of Columbia
Antioch School of Law, 1982, J.D.
American University, 1972, B.A.