SEC Veteran John H. Walsh Joins Sutherland Asbill & Brennan
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In recent days, the law firm of Sutherland Asbill & Brennan LLP announced John H. Walsh, a veteran of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) with nearly a quarter century of experience, joined the firm’s Financial Services Group and Securities Enforcement and Litigation Team in Washington, D.C.

Sutherland’s Managing Partner Mark D. Wasserman was quoted as saying in a press release at the firm’s site: “We are extremely pleased that John has joined our Washington, D.C., office. His strong background and extensive work experience at the SEC—particularly during one of the most trying financial times our country has seen in decades—will be invaluable to the firm and to our clients.”


Walsh was quoted as saying in the same press release; “Sutherland is extremely well-regarded within the industry and has built an excellent practice that has aspects of securities regulation, compliance and enforcement that I sought. As the line between compliance and enforcement increasingly blurs, I look forward to using my extensive knowledge to help counsel clients on some of their most critical matters and help them navigate today’s new regulatory and compliance hurdles.”

The addition of Walsh to the firm is both strategic and timely; with the landscape of the financial, security and other industries so rapidly shifting, his expertise will be a boon to the firm’s clients, as well as building the firm’s reputation and dominance in the legal industry.

Walsh played a large role in the creation of the Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations (OCIE) – the department within the SEC responsible for examining participants in the market, including brokers, dealers, investment managers, funds, self-regulatory organizations, and clearinghouses. Going forward, the responsibilities of OCIE will be more and more focused on finding areas for increased regulation and securities enforcement.

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Walsh also played a key role in the design and implementation of the SEC’s securities compliance examination practices. He served first as a Senior Advisor for Compliance Policy and then as Associate Director-Chief Counsel.  

Walsh served as OCIE’s Acting Director in 2009, in the midst of the nation’s financial crisis. He led the effort to retrain hundreds of examination staff on anti-fraud techniques. This effort included the examination and certification of staff as Certified Fraud Examiners. Up through January 2010, when a permanent director was appointed, he testified before Congress and responded to inquiries from the Inspector General, the Government Accountability Office, Congress, and the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission.

Before his experience at the OCIE, Walsh served as Special Counsel to former SEC Chairman Arthur Levitt, from 1993-1995. Prior to this, he worked in the SEC’s Division of Enforcement, where he served initially as Senior Counsel, then as Chief of the Branch of Regional Office Assistance. In this role, he made regular appearances before the Commission’s Closed Meetings to present and discuss regional office enforcement cases. Walsh started his long and distinguished career with the SEC in 1988 as an attorney in the Office of General Counsel.

Walsh has been the recipient of numerous awards during his career at the SEC. In both 2010 and 2011, his team received the SEC’s Law and Policy Award for their work on the Dodd-Frank Act. A Certified Fraud Examiner, he has also spoken frequently over the last decade at securities industry legal and compliance conferences.

Founded in 1924, Sutherland Asbill & Brennan LLP has over 400 attorneys. The firm focuses on seven major practice areas: corporate, energy and environmental, financial services, intellectual property, litigation, real estate, and tax.


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