WASHINGTON, D.C. (January 20, 2010) — McDermott Will & Emery LLP today announced that Fredric (Rick) D. Firestone, Associate Director of the Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC) Division of Enforcement, and Michael A. Ungar, SEC Division of Enforcement Branch Chief, will be joining as partners in the Firm’s Controversies Business Unit in Washington, D.C. The addition of Mr. Firestone and Mr. Ungar will expand the Firm’s already robust SEC defense practice, which is comprised of former members of the SEC’s Division of Enforcement. Mr. Firestone will head the Firm’s SEC Defense practice.
Anticipating the rapidly changing needs of McDermott’s clients, and the SEC’s intent to ramp up investigations, Mr. Firestone brings a wealth of experience in overseeing all aspects of enforcement matters at the SEC. During his more than 12 years at the SEC, Mr. Firestone was involved in some of the most complex and widely publicized matters. At McDermott, he will provide counsel to financial services firms, corporations, hedge funds, industry professionals, accountants, and individuals who need professional in-depth advice in SEC, criminal or self-regulatory organization (SRO) investigations. At a time when corporations and individuals face increasing scrutiny from the SEC and other agencies, Mr. Firestone will offer the Firm’s current and future clients unparalleled knowledge and experience on SEC defense strategy.
“The addition of Rick and Michael enhances our ability to help our clients’ navigate the important and ever changing securities and financial regulatory environment. Rick and Michael will add depth and experience to our enforcement defense practice and enhance our ability to assist our clients in addressing a wide range of issues – from financial and accounting cases to FCPA investigations. We are very pleased to have Rick and Michael come onboard, ” said Peter Sacripanti and Jeffrey Stone, co-chairs of the Firm.
Mr. Firestone’s experience and achievements reinforce and expand McDermott’s robust SEC Defense practice. At the SEC, Mr. Firestone oversaw enforcement actions in a broad array of industries and all major program areas, including spearheading investigations involving the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and the collapse of the Auction Rate Securities (ARS) market. Mr. Firestone’s impressive accomplishments in the ARS investigations ultimately led to a monumental $50 billion recovery for harmed investors, the largest settlement in SEC history. In recognition of his integral role in these matters, Mr. Firestone received the prestigious Stanley Sporkin Award in July 2009, the Division of Enforcement’s highest honor. Prior to his work with the SEC, he was in private practice as a trial lawyer in Washington, D.C., and served for four years as a JAG officer in the United States Navy.
“We are thrilled to have Rick Firestone head our SEC Defense team,” said Margaret H. Warner, the head of the Firm’s Controversies Business Unit. “His experience initiating, leading and implementing a wide range of SEC investigations and settlements, coupled with his deep knowledge of the Commission, will be of incredible benefit to our clients.”
During his more than 11 years at the SEC, Mr. Ungar was responsible for prosecuting or leading and coordinating investigations and enforcement proceedings in a wide variety of matters, including financial fraud, insider trading, broker-dealer violations, audit failures and market manipulation, as well as registration, SRO, Sarbanes-Oxley, and reporting violations. His leadership role in numerous actions led to significant sanctions and settlements. Prior to joining the SEC, Mr. Ungar was a litigation associate in private practice in New York City.
Mr. Firestone and Mr. Ungar will join the Firm’s elite cadre of highly specialized SEC practitioners, many of whom hail from the SEC’s Division of Enforcement. The Firm’s attorneys have represented clients in a wide spectrum of investigations and enforcement proceedings brought by the SEC; the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA); the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB); stock exchanges, and other SROs, as well as various state securities enforcement agencies.
Notably, McDermott possesses a full spectrum of enforcement defense attorneys specializing in areas that complement and enhance its SEC defense practice – including professionals who defend cases that involve White Collar Criminal Defense, the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), Federal Regulation and Oversight of Energy (FERC), and Federal Trade Commission (FTC). McDermott’s world-class expertise offers the Firm’s clients a comprehensive enforcement defense team.
McDermott Will & Emery is a premier international law firm with a diversified business practice. Numbering more than 1,000 lawyers, we have offices in Boston, Brussels, Chicago, Düsseldorf, Houston, London, Los Angeles, Miami, Milan, Munich, New York, Orange County, Rome, San Diego, Silicon Valley and Washington, D.C. Extending our reach to Asia, we have a strategic alliance with MWE China Law Offices in Shanghai.