Andrew J. Ceresney is a partner in the New York office and Co-Chair of the Litigation Department.
Mr. Ceresney represents public companies, financial institutions, asset management firms, accounting firms, boards of directors, and individuals in federal and state government investigations and contested litigation in federal and state courts. Mr. Ceresney has many years of experience prosecuting and defending a wide range of white collar criminal and civil cases, having served in senior law enforcement roles at both the United States Securities and Exchange Commission and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York. Mr. Ceresney also has tried and supervised many jury and non-jury trials and argued numerous appeals before federal and state courts of appeal.
Mr. Ceresney is ranked in the top band for Securities Enforcement by Chambers USA (2021), where he is lauded by fellow practitioners and clients as “the real deal,” with “the right temperament to handle tough situations.” He is said to be “very revered, very smart and well credentialed,” and “at the top of his game.” He has been described as “knock-your-socks-off impressive,” “incredibly strategic,” and has received further praise for being a “marquee name” in the market with a “compendious knowledge of the facts” and an “extraordinary memory.” Mr. Ceresney was named to Securities Docket’s 2020 “Enforcement 40,” their list of the 40 best securities enforcement defense lawyers in the business. He receives further recognition from Chambers USA (2021) as a leading practitioner in White Collar Crime and Criminal Defense, where clients note that he is “brilliant, strategic, thorough and thoughtful” and declare that “there is no better lawyer to have by your side.” Sources have also credited his “unparalleled industry experience” and his “ability to bring insights and strategic advice.” Mr. Ceresney is also recommended by The Legal 500 US (2021).
Prior to rejoining Debevoise in 2017, Mr. Ceresney served for nearly four years as the Director of Enforcement at the SEC under Chair Mary Jo White. In that role, he oversaw approximately 1,400 SEC personnel, supervising law enforcement efforts in 12 offices throughout the country, including matters related to financial reporting and accounting, asset management, insider trading, market structure, and the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA). Under his leadership, the Division brought a record number of cases, including pathbreaking and significant cases across the entire spectrum of the securities industry. Mr. Ceresney also helped broaden the use of the SEC’s analytical tools to detect and investigate financial misconduct, while enhancing the Enforcement Division’s litigation capacity and improving morale. As Director of Enforcement, Mr. Ceresney worked closely with the high-level leadership of other regulators, including the Department of Justice, many U.S. Attorney’s offices, CFTC, New York Attorney General, New York Department of Financial Services, FINRA and CFPB.
Prior to joining the SEC in 2013, Mr. Ceresney Co-Chaired the White Collar & Regulatory Defense Group at Debevoise. During that time, he represented various financial institutions, accounting firms, companies and individuals, including a major financial institution in investigations and litigation relating to origination, securitization and servicing of mortgages. Mr. Ceresney played an integral role in negotiating the historic $25 billion national mortgage settlement between the federal government, 49 state attorneys general and some of the country’s largest banks. His practice focused on a wide range of issues, including securities-related and money laundering for financial institutions, and investigations and civil matters relating to accounting fraud, FCPA, valuation issues, complex financial instruments, insider trading and disclosure issues. He also handled matters involving the pharmaceutical industry, including government investigations of promotional practices and class action litigation.
Prior to joining Debevoise in 2003, Mr. Ceresney served as a Deputy Chief Appellate Attorney in the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York. During his tenure at the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Mr. Ceresney was a member of the Securities and Commodities Fraud Task Force and the Major Crimes Unit and handled numerous white collar criminal investigations, trials and appeals, including matters relating to securities fraud, mail fraud, money laundering, public corruption and obstruction of justice.
Mr. Ceresney served as a law clerk to the Hon. Dennis Jacobs, formerly Chief Judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit from 1997 to 1998; and the Hon. Michael B. Mukasey, formerly Chief Judge of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, from 1996 to 1997. Mr. Ceresney received his J.D. in 1996, from Yale Law School, where he was essays editor of the Yale Law Journal. He obtained his B.A. summa cum laude Phi Beta Kappa, from Columbia University in 1993.
Mr. Ceresney is a member of the Board of Advisors of the Yale Law School Center for the Study of Corporate Law.