ATLANTA and WASHINGTON (December 21, 2011) – As the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC) expanded whistleblower incentive program begins to see results, Sutherland Asbill & Brennan LLP has formed a new Whistleblower Response Team. The team, consisting of Sutherland partners and legal thought leaders Cynthia M. Krus, Allegra J. Lawrence-Hardy, Holly H. Smith, and John H. Walsh (formerly chief counsel and associate director of the SEC), will help clients create effective whistleblower response programs, respond to whistleblower claims, and defend against SEC enforcement actions and civil litigation.
“A recent report issued by the SEC detailing the first seven weeks of the new program illustrates that the initiative is beginning to show traction," said Mr. Walsh. “Between August 12 and September 30, the SEC received 334 whistleblower tips, averaging nearly 48 per week. Senior SEC officials have stated publically that they are now receiving high-quality information. As a result, we believe it is critical that companies receive the most up-to-date information and proper counsel to effectively respond to whistleblower claims as they emerge."
Since the passage of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, the team has drawn on its aggregate experience in corporate governance, securities and employment law to provide useful information on the Act’s whistleblower rules. The team will continue to offer insightful analysis on cutting-edge developments as the program ramps up in 2012.
Legal alerts, articles, webinars and event information can now be found at regulatoryreformtaskforce.com/whistleblowerresponseteam.
More about the team:
Ms. Krus serves as the co-practice group leader of Sutherland’s Corporate Practice Group and has been involved in numerous public and private securities offerings. She counsels clients in a broad range of corporate and securities matters, crisis management, corporate governance, disclosure, executive compensation and shareholder matters and is the author of the Corporate Secretary’s Answer Book. Ms. Krus has also taught corporate governance at Georgetown Law Center.
Ms. Lawrence-Hardy, co-leader of Sutherland’s Business and Commercial Litigation team, has extensive experience handling complex commercial and labor and employment matters. She has successfully defended Fortune 100 companies throughout the United States and abroad in numerous trials, arbitrations and other forms of alternative dispute resolution.
Ms. Smith advises product developers, broker-dealers, insurance companies and securities exchanges on the application of the federal securities laws and the rules of the self-regulatory organizations. Before joining the firm, Ms. Smith spent 13 years at the SEC, where she served as counsel to Commissioner Mary L. Schapiro for approximately five years and later was appointed an associate director in the SEC’s Division of Market Regulation (now the Division of Trading and Markets).
Mr. Walsh is a 23-year veteran of the SEC where he played a key role in creating the Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations (OCIE), which administers examinations of the nation’s registered entities, including broker-dealers, investment managers, funds, self-regulatory organizations and others.
SUTHERLAND ASBILL & BRENNAN LLP
Sutherland Asbill & Brennan LLP is a law firm with global reach known for solving challenging business problems and resolving sophisticated legal issues for many of the world’s largest companies. Founded in 1924, the firm handles matters throughout the United States and worldwide. Seven major practice areas—corporate, energy and environmental, financial services, intellectual property, litigation, real estate, and tax—provide the framework for an extensive range of focus areas, allowing Sutherland attorneys to serve a diverse client base that ranges from small and medium-sized start-up businesses to a significant number of Fortune 100 companies.