Debevoise & Plimpton LLP today announced that Andrew J. Ceresney, who served from April 2013 to December 2016 as the Director of Enforcement at the United States Securities and Exchange Commission, will return to Debevoise as Co-Chair of the Litigation Department, where he will practice primarily in the White Collar & Regulatory Defense Group.
Mr. Ceresney will represent companies, boards of directors and individuals in criminal, SEC, and other state and federal regulatory matters, and will handle internal corporate investigations and complex civil litigation. He will join Mary Beth Hogan as Co-Chair of the Litigation Department, succeeding John S. Kiernan, who was elected President of the New York City Bar Association last year.
“Andrew’s experience successfully leading the SEC’s Enforcement Division, including coordinating with other federal and state enforcement agencies at the highest level, will enable him to bring an invaluable perspective to our clients on their most important matters,” said Michael W. Blair, Presiding Partner at Debevoise. “Andrew is not only one of the leading white collar lawyers in the country, but a true public servant who continues the firm’s long and proud tradition of our lawyers serving in critical government roles.”
“Given the increasingly complex and global web of enforcement activity that companies face from numerous regulators, Andrew’s knowledge and experience will be an enormous asset to our clients,” said Bruce E. Yannett, Deputy Presiding Partner of the firm and Chair of the White Collar & Regulatory Defense Group.
During his nearly four years as head of the SEC’s largest division, serving under Chair Mary Jo White, Mr. Ceresney implemented numerous initiatives that strengthened the Division of Enforcement’s impact. Under his leadership, the Division brought a record number of cases, including first-of-their-kind and significant cases across the entire spectrum of the securities industry. These included important matters related to financial reporting, asset management, insider trading, market structure and the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. Mr. Ceresney also helped broaden the use of analytical tools to detect and investigate financial misconduct, while enhancing the Division’s litigation capacity and improving morale.
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 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 matters for financial institutions, and investigations 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.
“I am thrilled to be coming back home to Debevoise,” Mr. Ceresney said. “Not only does the firm have, by far, the strongest white collar practice in the world, but the relationships I developed during my earlier tenure at the firm, and the firm’s unique culture, made this decision an easy one. I am excited to rejoin my world-class colleagues to serve our premier clients.”
According to Chambers Global 2016, Debevoise stands in a class of its own in the white collar space as the only firm in Band 1 in the “Corporate Investigations – Global-wide” category. Debevoise’s White Collar & Regulatory Defense Group has a roster of clients that comprises many of the world’s leading companies. In addition to Mr. Ceresney, Debevoise has several prominent former SEC officials, including two former co-chiefs of the Asset Management Unit of the Division of Enforcement, a former Associate Director of the Division of Enforcement and the former Assistant Director of the Division of Investment Management.
The group has numerous former prosecutors and law enforcement officials, including 16 former Assistant U.S. Attorneys or Department of Justice attorneys; the former Acting Assistant Attorney General for the DOJ Criminal Division and the former Deputy Assistant Attorney General for National Security; and a former leading federal district court judge. In addition, Debevoise is the only law firm with two former Attorneys General: Lord Goldsmith KC, the former Attorney General of the UK who serves as the firm’s Co-Managing Partner in London and Chair of European and Asian Litigation; and Judge Michael B. Mukasey, ex-U.S. Attorney General and currently of counsel at the firm.
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. He served as a Law Clerk to the Honorable Dennis Jacobs, formerly Chief Judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, from 1997 to 1998; and the Honorable Michael B. Mukasey, formerly Chief Judge of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York and U.S. Attorney General, 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 earned his B.A., summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa, from Columbia University in 1993.
Mr. Ceresney will join Debevoise in early March.
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