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George Canellos Returning to Milbank
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George Canellos announced on Wednesday that he will join Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy as a partner and its global head of the litigation practice, according to The New York Times. Canellos is the former co-chief of enforcement at the SEC. Canellos will join the firm beginning in March.

Canellos worked at the firm prior to joining the SEC in 2009.

  
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“At the end of the day, it wasn’t a hard decision,” Canellos said. “There’s the nucleus of an outstanding practice already there.”

The chairman of Milbank, Scott A. Edelman, said, “We’re not the white-shoe firm that people think we are. It’s a young, dynamic firm.” He added, “We have lots of opportunities to grow.”

Canellos is not the first person to leave the SEC for a position with a law firm recently. Last week, David Meister announced that he was leaving the SEC to join Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom.

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Canellos is not permitted to contact the SEC about business for one year after he joins the firm. Canellos is not allowed to defend cases he investigated as a member of the SEC. This stipulation lasts for life.

“If you’re in the S.E.C. pulling any punches, no one in the private sector has any respect for you,” he said.



While working at the SEC, Canellos led the agency’s crackdown on insider trading and producing cases against the largest hedge funds on Wall Street. Some of those hedge funds include the Galleon Group and SAC Capital Advisors.

Canellos also helped steer the SEC in its response to the financial crisis in the country. He filed multiple cases against some of the banks tied to the financial crisis, inclduing JPMorgan Chase and Goldman Sachs.

“People think he did a great job — in both the cases he brought and the cases he didn’t bring,” Edelman said. “He’s a lawyer’s lawyer.”

Canellos and Edelman met two decades ago while working as associates at Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz. Then they worked at the United States Attorney’s Office in Manhattan for Mary Jo White. White is working as the chairwoman of the SEC now.

Then the two joined Milbank, with Canellos moving over to the SEC in 2009 to become the director of the agency’s office in New York. In 2012, Canellos moved to Washington to work as the deputy director of enforcement and then the co-chief of that department.

“We’re ecstatic to have George return,” Edelman said in regards to Canellos’ rejoining Milbank.



 

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